Off Topic Messages

Top Tier Movies

Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:21 pm

The King Kong post inspired me(before I just saw Tom's last reply. lol I was typing!).

You know there are alot of guilty pleasures, but if you were to rate some movies as truly timeless and Top Tier in all capacities, what would you put up there? I think when one thinks of great movies you have to take into account story along with special effects and film making. So many after repeated watchings are still good, but many after years of setting them down, I don't think they hold the same fire. Here are a few of my picks that simply do not fade. In no particular order because it is impossible for me to compare these greats. I had to excise Rocky...cosindering my own parameters..that was a tough decision! I just had to use the though of eye candy as well as story. Certain one's just do not have both.

The Wizard Of Oz
Gone With the Wind
King Kong
Schindler's List
All Quiet On The Western Front
The Godfather
Star Wars

There are so many others that I could have added, but I just can't! If there is a non-perfect dull moment, then it doesn't belong. Still I welcome all people's input.

I guess if I absolutely had to choose..and I mean ABSOLUTELY, it would be the Wizard Of Oz. What a marvelous film.

Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:09 pm

The Blues Brothers is a comedy i just never get tired of. :lol:

American Graffiti
Boys Town
National Lampoon's Animal House
Top Gun
Young Frankenstein
La Bamba
Great Balls Of Fire
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return Of The Jedi
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
The Sound Of Music
Hocus Pocus

there's a lot of movies that are without a doubt, a permanent part of my collection.
Last edited by Elvis' Babe on Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:11 pm

I've got to say, my all time favorite, I won't say greatest, movie has to be "The Wild Bunch" (1969). Multiple, multiple, viewings, from credits to credits, it never loses it's power or entertainment value, for me. Same with your list, Genesim. Editing, acting, direction, story, dialogue, cinematography, everything, is world class, and set a very high, new standard, IMHO.

Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:20 pm

PikeBishop67 wrote:I've got to say, my all time favorite....... movie has to be "The Wild Bunch" (1969).

I agree 100% Pike. This is one of my all time favorites for many different reasons. FYI, there is a special edition DVD in the works as we speak for this classic film.


Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:55 pm

Hey Tom,

You read my mind. I was going to ask you about that in my first post. Great news, finally! The flipper disc got old quick. Thanx for the info!

Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:48 pm

On The Waterfront
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Magnificent Seven
Planet of the Apes
Bride of Frankenstein
The Guns of Navarone
It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World


Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:48 am

Godfather 1 & 2
Wizard of OZ
Ben Hur
Exorcist (The most perfect horror film ever made)
The Unforgiven
Outlaw Josey Wales
Deer Hunter
Pulp Fiction

Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:17 pm

PikeBishop67 -

OK, you've seen The Wild Bunch lots of times.

What's the Elvis connection ?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:44 pm

Jeremiah Johnson
Little Big Man
Billy Jack
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Time Machine

Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:22 pm

There are alot of surprises here. To me there are several aspects of movies that didn't make my list.

I am just going to comment on a few listed by others. Mind you these are films that I considered. Feel free to tear up my picks as well. Though reasoning does help.

When you think of the movies..think of how they compare with the best. Do they stand along side the others that I have mentioned.

Empire and Return-No way, Empire is an incomplete film and does not signal anything "new". Return has aging actors and actually IMO is bested by Episode III.

Raider's Of The Lost Ark series I would take out on the merits of taking from many many other movies. I suppose an Errol Flyn movie would come first in that regard.

Rocky-Great great story, but alas is it reall new? If you really look at the character I would put it along side On The Waterfront. Also there is no denying the picture is pretty guorilla(sp) film making. The pasted in stock footage of other fights is unforgiveable. Remember this is one of my favorite films though.

Pulp Fiction-Pretty much the same arguement that I had for Rocky. This was a low budget film and if this movie was on the list, then I would certaintly put Boogie Nights above it. Well made films, but so many times I see limitations of budget, rather then actual limitation of technology. with Gone With the Wind, I have yet to see computer effects of today pass them up!

Damn many of these are strong cases.

The Sound Of Music-I thought and thought about this one. I could be alone on this, but the problem with the movie is the awesome first half of the movie just overshadows the last half. Consistency is always a key. Comparing it to say...Wizard of Oz...who couldn't forget the "bad dream" angle. Its been parodied so many times. *Carolyn, still trying to figure out your meaning with you not agreeing about the tell!

The Excorsist-I couldn't agree more about it being a perfect horror why doesn't it hold with younger viewers? Perhaps it is the parodies...but if I were to truly think about it for the list, I would put Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I not only think of a well filmed movie...but what did it inspire afterwards. I think of TCM breeding many many slasher/chase movies. Excorsist certainly has an aura about it, but then I would go with Rosemary's Baby as well. But alas, over all of these, I would put Psycho! And that is my problem. Comparing Psycho with King Kong seems ludicrous.

Ben Hur- Call me prejudiced..but the movie just seems inconsisent and falls apart under its own weight. A fine film with one of the best action sequences ever though. Tough call.

Godfather II- Could never match one for originality. The Hymen Roth story is interesting, but one can tell it was still added to beef up what was left over from the book. Also the fall of Michael is not near as interesting as the "secret weapon" aspect in the first movie. We all aspire to better our parents and in knowing that, Vito truly had nothing to fear. There is absolutely no evidence of his weaknesses in the first movie. A cunning leader, his rite of passage was apparent. Part II is an interesting what if.. though. Part III was just redundent, even though alone it is also a fine film. The absence of Duvall is unforgiveable.

Titanic- was bettered by Pearl Harbor IMO but alas both disaster angles fall way short when you compare it to the bombardment and eventual burning of Atlanta in Gone With The Wind. As far as the love story, you cannot compare it.

Deer Hunter-IMO Apocalypse Now would go first. Then I have take it back to the better message film. All Quiet On The Western Front.

The Unforgiven-A admirable finality to the Eastwood Western, but Once Upon A Time In the West or the Good The Bad would be before even that, which of course leads us back to the Wild Bunch that should have made the list.

Jaws-A killer that is in the ocean. Certaintly reputable..but who is more feared..a big fish or a larger then life gorilla? Back to Kong for me.

Planet of The Apes-Man I would add this to the list. This is a tough one and I am still deciding.

Billy Jack- You know, I do love the movie and he certaintly is a rebel, but what always spoiled it for me is credibility. An idian just doesn't do it for me like an asian. A part of me just cannot pass up the fact that because of prejudice, Bruce Lee didn't get the difinitive underdog/honor film. For this I admit my disgust. That said, I would go back to the Rocky reason.

Papillon-For my ignorance of Steve McQueen I cannot comment. Is this truly cutting edge? Does it play like no other it timeless? To me, I am not interested in good films, if that were true, I got so many more that I would put up there. Troi Colour Trilogy would be my addition for sure.

The Wild Bunch...YEAH BABY! I'd add it! This is one I simply forgot..if that was truly possible!

Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:17 pm

The King and I......I`ve lost count of the number of times I have seen this film :wink:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:42 pm

ColinB wrote:PikeBishop67 -

OK, you've seen The Wild Bunch lots of times.

What's the Elvis connection ?

Hey ColinB,

Long time reader, hardly post though. Enjoy reading ya all's posts immensly. Been an Elvis fan since about '73, when I was a lad of 6. I probably listen to his music 90% of the time. Like the stones, beatles, '70's and '80's music. BUT, Elvis always will be #1. The only music that has ever actually gotten into my soul, if ya know what I mean. Collected all the reissued albums in the '70, orange, tan lables, etc. Had an 'oldies' record shop in Downey, CA, called "Wenzel's". The owner was huge Elvis fan and used to hook me up with deals on albums when I was kid going there, buy 4, she'd give me one free, stuff like that.

Got all the CD's, FTD's, except for a couple, but not one boot (just didn't know where to get em, and basically the sound just turned me off.).

Like the majority on here, Elvis is Back, From Elvis in Memphis, Elvis Country, etc, are top albums, along with all the '69 through '77 live stuff. Films, favorite is IHATWF. :oops: But, like most would agree, KC and FS are the best. But, still enjoy all the movies and soundtracks, up to, say, "Roustabout". But, still, some hidden gems after that soundtrack. Anyway, didn't mean to ramble. 8)

Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:48 pm

Anyway, back to the topic, my list would consist of:

Scarface '83
Carlito's Way
Blow Out

(Yeah, there's a thing for De Palma here)

The Untouchables
Angel Heart (even though ya know the twist)
Blue Velvet

And the favorite of the Duke's, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

Anyway, never get tired of those.

Oh, and can't forget "The Wrath of Khan".

Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:53 pm

I do compare the directors best work.

For me Carrie and Scarface are DePalma's best work.

I'll take Muholland Drive over Blue Velvet. awesome movies.

Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:21 pm

PikeBishop67 -

You wrote:
Hey ColinB,

Long time reader, hardly post though.
Enjoy reading ya all's posts immensly.
Been an Elvis fan since about '73, when I was a lad of 6.

Glad to hear that.

But I actually meant, what is the Elvis connection with the film The Wild Bunch !

Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:26 pm

Pete Dube wrote:To Kill A Mockingbird

Don't forget 9/6:Image


Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:36 pm

ColinB wrote:PikeBishop67 -

You wrote:
Hey ColinB,

Long time reader, hardly post though.
Enjoy reading ya all's posts immensly.
Been an Elvis fan since about '73, when I was a lad of 6.

Glad to hear that.

But I actually meant, what is the Elvis connection with the film The Wild Bunch !

Oops, my bad,

I was just responding to Genesim's post about top tier ficks. No connection between E and the wild bunch. Well, none that I am conscious of. :?

Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:12 pm

PikeBishop -

Well, during the film the Mexican villagers are heard singing a folk song.

It is reprised at the end.

Same tune as Elvis' She Wears My Ring !

Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:15 pm

PikeBishop67 wrote:I was just responding to Genesim's post about top tier ficks.

Top tier WHAT??????


Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:31 pm

Tom in North Carolina wrote:
PikeBishop67 wrote:I was just responding to Genesim's post about top tier ficks.

Top tier WHAT??????



Sorry, Tom. See, now you know why I'm silent. :twisted:

Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:41 pm

ColinB wrote:PikeBishop -

Well, during the film the Mexican villagers are heard singing a folk song.

It is reprised at the end.

Same tune as Elvis' She Wears My Ring !

Yeah, "Las Golondrinas", I think it's called.

Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:20 am

I'm not sure originality of story or theme should knock a film off the list. Someone once said there are only four or five or ten (I forget the exact number) stories around and we just keep telling them with different variations. I agree with that. I would have no hesitancy in placing the original "Rocky" on a list of top tier films because the details are all so right and the story is so personal and moving. In many ways it is an extension of "Waterfront's" theme of what if Terry had gotten his shot. But it's also a portrayal of a democratic ideal in that it displays that it shows that love can give dignity and value to the least and lost among us. And it shows (only mildy disingenuously) that the difference between the common man and the elite (represented by the previously unbeatable Apollo Creed) is not great at all.

And as great a film as "King Kong" is I would have no hesitancy in putting "Psycho" above it or at least at the same level. You talk about a movie with no throwaway scenes and the level acting in "Psycho" is far superior to Kong. In many ways as well it's a more personally involving movie. We fear for and like Fay Wray but Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano really put us in Norman Bates' head.

I agree with Genesim's comments about Ben Hur. It's thrilling in the action and spectacle sequences but the dramatic passages are stilted. For sword and sandal epics I much prefer "Spartacus" although I feel that is also a little short of making a list like this.

Personally I think "Gone With the Wind" is overrated. The Scarlett character is too (admittedly intentionally) annoying and some elements like the Hattie McDaniel character have dated and some of the big scenes come off as corny. I also feel the story really starts to lag after she and Rhett get married. Still even for a non-fan it's hard not to get involved in the sweep of some of the more majestic scenes or to appreciate Gable's distinctly modern Rhett Butler.

I have never thought "Titanic" was a good movie. I thought a lot of elements were stranded, more importantly I thought the romance was too forced and obvious, too Harlequin romance. The acting performances are an uneven and there are several clunkers in the dialogue department. Waist deep in water with the ship turned sideways, Kate Winslett gets all romantic and remembers "Jack this is where we first met."

Although "The Exorcist" is unquestionably technically brilliant, I distrust it because of its reliance on shock effects in the second half of the movie. I actually think the 2000 recut, which made the movie less scary, definitely improved the film as a whole because it gave it a soul. Of course I could have done without that Casablanca cop ending. Still one of the problems you have viewing the original movie is that the girl becomes so violent and powerful that you see it inadvertently as a man vs. monster confrontation. I can't tell you how many people have suggested that the priests should just belt Regan. It was even the subject of a Richard Pryor SNL skit. The little exchange between the two priests outside Regan's room gives us not only a much needed break from the intensity but also rehumanizes the girl and really lays out the stakes for us.

The movies I personally would include besides some of those mentioned here would be "Goodfellas" (even though because of its intense violence it is hard for me to watch), "White Heat" which is the most compulsively watchable movie I've maybe ever seen, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre". Critic Leonard Maltin had the best comment about this one when he said that whenever people claim that movies from the '30s and 40s are corny, he has them watch "Sierra Madre". It really is like a timeless legend.

Others that would be on my list include: "It's a Wonderful Life", "Sweet Smell of Success" and "The Searchers".

My dark horse would be 1945's "The Body Snatcher". Some of the secondary performances are a little flawed but the leads, Boris Karloff and Henry Daniell, are magnificent and the story holds you every step of the way with a genuinely jolting ending. What makes it a top tier is the depth of the characters and the interplay between them. Even though many ways they are obviously on a Hollywood set, the reality of characters makes them seem as if they actually exist in some sort of alternate universe. If you look at the two leads they are wonderfully ambiguous characters and their motivations are the same. For instance although the Daniell character can give Karloff true real world power by bribing him with his wealth, Karloff would prefer to live in poverty but hold Daniell at his feet. Neither Karloff or Daniell do anything for just one reason. It's just a fascinating dynamic that puts the movie ahead of the pack.

Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:50 am

Actually you have misunderstood me to some extent.

Rocky, while having a great love story, does fall short in the technical department. It is exactly what it seems to be...a low budget film that in many cases seems rushed. That is not to say it isn't a brilliant story and it is a tough call.

Psycho is not. Though I cannot find flaws, it doesn't have the grand scope of the films I mentioned. Though again, this is not to say it isn't a great film..just to me it isn't top tier. I wish I could put my finger on it. It is even a tougher call then Rocky. It certainly has some innovation, but at the same time, doesn't it seem stuck in its time to a degree? Isn't it supposed to obtain its scary capacity, and yet parts of it just don't seem on par?

As far as Gone With The Wind being overrated..BAH!!!! There is inveribly a "fall" with Scarlett and Rhett, but I don't find it less exciting. To me it comes unraveled like the fall of Scarface. That is what makes the "don't give a damn" so convincing.

Oh and for the record, what is not to like about Scarlett? She is without a doubt the toughest character on the damn screen. She will do absolutely anything to survive...and when the man she loves(and I do believe she does in the end) steps out of her the Terminator...she shrugs it off in the longest time it ever takes her to getover a tragedy. Lets see what was that anyway? 5 minutes. lol

A woman like that you gotta admire. So oblivious to the ones around her just because of her own problems. She is truly the epitomy of being better for others by thinking of one'self FIRST.

Goodfellas would be up there...if there wasn't a Godfather before it!
Ditto for White regards to Scarface. Though I am speaking out of my ass on this one cause I have still yet to see WH!!!

I love Treasure...but innovative??? Its a Wonderful Life also great film, but not exactly ground breaking and the aura? I can't help but think of Maureen O Hara in a much better role...several years before.

Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:59 am

You're thinking of "Miracle on 34th Street". "Wonderful Life" is Donna Reed.

It's a difference between how we classify a great movie or film. To me innovation is not that important. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" was extremely innovative but few would argue it stands on its own as a masterpiece today. To me emotional power and creativity in creating that emotional power are what makes a movie stand up. In say "Goodfellas" which was preceded as mafia movie by "The Godfather" and dozens of others you have Scorsese's breathtaking use of the camera, the concise and potent script, the stunning performances, the depth of the characters.

I'm not sure what the problem with the technical aspects in "Rocky". A large budget was not required to put the movie across. Complaining about stock footage of fights is kind of reaching IMO. You might as well complain about the toy plane landing at the airport in "Casablanca".

Epic sweep is also not important to me. To me it takes just as much artistic vision to barrel deep into the relationship of two nobodies as it does the decline of the Roman Empire or whatever.

I don't think there are any perfect films. I can really name in almost any movie I've ever seen some sort of miscue or element that doesn't work.

I do find Scarlett (I find Vivien Leigh as tough Scarlett forced) annoying but that is not the only reason I'm not a fan of the movie. As I mentioned previously, there are many corny and dated elements of the film like the Hattie McDaniel character. I don't say this from a PC perspective but her character does not seem real today and it destroys the mood of the film. It's like cheap comic relief. The character of Miss Melanie is also a problem for me as she is too perfect and saintly. And so much of the fim seems like grand soap opera.

I understand (just like Scarlett's tics) that the ending may be part of a grand artistic design but my contention is that it really doesn't work. The shift in the dramatic narrative. You can see the same thing in "Giant". The decline of the James Dean character due to his obsessive of Elizabeth Taylor is an integral part of the overall sweep of the story along with the minor growth of the Rock Hudson character. However, it's just not that interesting and in "Giant" at least it's not even particularly well done.

Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:31 am

Hold on there. Though I admit my goof on Donna Reed. lol...

The character of Melanie isn't as saintly as you might think. She absolutely knows Scarlett's character and chooses not to call her out, because deep down inside she knows her husband. Though she does keep an eye out, she very much knows that Scarlett hasn't grown yet. The sad part is that Rhett does not take her advice and gives up on Scarlett.

The reason that Gone With The Wind works is that there are people like that! She is so special that she can find the good in anyone. I don't get it myself, but I feel oh so touched to know those kind of people. Melanie in every way is the polar opposite, and yet Rhett says it best....she just isn't strong as you Scarlett(physically), but she is the only true GOOD person I ever known!

I admire people like that, who have hoards of people show up to their funeral. They didn't have will never be like that with me!

Incidently, for a good attention to the look that she shoots Scarlett at the Red Dress Party. She knows what Scarlett has done, and the deep breath shows that it is hard for her to forgive...BUT she also says "this is our darling Scarlett" in such a way to say....when you humilate Scarlett you are humilating SHUT THE F*CK UP and mind your business!

Also remember, her character hated death and conflict. YET she does everything she can to help Scarlett. She even says that what Scarlett did(killing the Civil War soldier) was a good thing. In a sense she admired Scarlett and wanted to be like her. It was a push pull kind of thing, and I think she truly meant that they were like real sisters.

The movie was soap opera..but guess what it was the first SOAP OPERA of its kind!!! Perhaps it set the bar for all soap opera's to come! You sure you aren't judging by the crap you have seen now on day to day television. The reason that they work is because they touch on the stuff that happens in our lives.

It may be shcmaltz..but it is damn good schmaltz.

Incidently, the toy plane and midgets(little be pc) in Casablance work a hell of a lot better then some damn stock footage thrown in half assed! We are talking laziness vs lack of technology.

To me it takes just as much artistic vision to barrel deep into the relationship of two nobodies as it does the decline of the Roman Empire or whatever.

Actually, Gone With The Wind uses the Civil War as a back drop..the story itself is also about a family of nobody's. They just happen to be rich. Surely, you got that from repeated viewings of the film.

To me I cannot understand Vivien Leigh not being the part????...she is British for crying out loud playing a southern richy??? Not once do I hear an accent!!! Everyone has opinions, but I think you are way off base on this one.

Incidently the DVD rewatch helped me see alot more things I didn't see before. It is quite an experience and at 20 plus times I still find more to enjoy. This is probably my 6th copy of the movie and it was money well spent.

I could go on and the Mammy and Captain Butler...Sam and Scarlett...her father.....the sisters.... Think about it, where Dallas without Gone With the Wind!

One thing that cannot be underestimated is the special effects! I challenge you to actually know how much wasn't real in the movie..if you don't know already. It makes Forrest Gump look like Plan 9 From Outerspace!

Titanic as we agree is the opposite and that is why I will never place it at the top...the ship sinking is the only real attraction.