Mynagirl’s Top Ten Movies

Posted on April 8th, 2005 in Entertainment,Movie Reviews by mynagirl
  1. Full Metal Jacket — This movie embodies all things I normally can’t stand — war movies, people shouting at each other, and yet it’s hypnotic and I can’t not watch it. It’s a shining example (so to speak) of Kubrick’s directorial skill. To this day when I see Vietnam-era movies with infantrymen moving through wastelands I keep waiting for that jangling rusty-swingset sound to come in and fray my nerves and am disappointed when it doesn’t. Plus, where else can you learn so many creative and voluminous insults?
  2. The Princess Bride — How this movie ever even got made is beyond me. How do you pitch this to a studio? “It’s a humorous mythical period piece with periodic interruptions by a grumpy sick kid and his forgetful grandpa.” And it’s so pitch-perfect, every frame, every nuance, each expression and turn of phrase. It’s endlessly quotable, so full of warmth and humanity. We got the privilege of seeing it once at the midnight movie here at the Landmark River Oaks and there is nothing like a theatre full of one hundred people saying in unison, “Drop…your…sword!”
  3. Romeo + Juliet — Baz Luhrmann’s lush visual feast is more than a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet transposed onto a pseudo-modern-day world infused with low-riders, pistolas, and Catholic iconography… it’s actually still an entrancing and heartbreaking tale, even more captivating and otherworldly for its use of the original Shakespearean language. Clare Danes and Leonardo di Caprio are unbelievable (along with Paul Sorvino, Brian Dennehy, and M. Emmet Walsh, and a very babyfaced Paul Rudd), and this movie makes me bawl every single time.
  4. Dangerous Liaisons — Because one lush visual feast wasn’t enough… I have to include this movie. It’s so easy to dismiss or make fun of this as a corset-intensive bore-fest, but it has a lot of layers. First of all, it’s the defining Malkovich role (as far as I’m concerned, he’s played this role since), and Glenn Close’s closing scene is worth the Oscar nomination the role garnered her. Yes, you have to pay attention to what’s going on in the story, but in my opinion, it’s well made and actually very gripping. Besides, you get to see Keanu Reeves in knickers. That’s pretty funny.
  5. A Christmas Story — The best use of voice-over narration, hands-down. The movie is wonderful because it is heartwarming and precious but not saccharine (when the kids are not around adults they call each other the sort of rude names that unsupervised kids would). The movie hits all the right notes, and the absolute icing on the cake is the the fact that the narration is indeed by the guy whose childhood the movie depicts and who wrote the screenplay. Perhaps that’s why it rings so wonderfully true.
  6. Beverly Hills Cop — This is a classic Hollywood action comedy / action movie, and it’s a bonus that every line is perfectly written and the main character beautifully realized for Eddie Murphy in his comedic prime. I know every single word in this movie (pretty damn close, anyway), but it’s still funny to me every time I watch it! Even after seeing it (roughly) 30 or 40 times, the plot is great, very tight, and the dialogue is so hilarious, made even more so by Murphy’s delivery! “I remember you used to drive this crappy blue Chevy Nova. What are you driving now?” “Same crappy, blue, Chevy Nova.” It doesn’t sound like genius written down but it sure is on screen. And props to Martin Brest for realizing how funny the character of Serge would be on screen — apparently it was a tiny part that was allowed to blossom after Bronson Pinchot ad-libbed it a bit and cracked everyone up.
  7. Orgazmo — Trey Parker and Matt Stone are geniuses. (Okay, let’s be honest, I think it’s probably Parker, but you never know, Stone could be the grounding force that keeps him from getting too high and mighty or something). I love all their movies (maybe not Cannibal: The Musical), but Orgazmo, their second film, holds a special place in my heart. First of all, Parker’s actually a really good actor. Anyone who can convincingly play a genuine good-hearted Mormon who accidentally falls into the porn industry because he happens to be really good at karate has to be a pretty skilled thespian (so to speak). But what’s so great about this movie, aside from its absurdity and total bizarreness with regard to its setting, is how actually straight it’s played. Parker never actually pokes fun at the Mormon church, and his character is completely true to his beliefs. He’s completely adorable and whoever he cast as his girlfriend in the film looks to have been exported from Salt Lake City the day before. The movie is weird, strange, ridiculous, and hysterical. (Oh, and if you’re wondering why the MPAA got skewered in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, it’s because they slapped Orgazmo with an NC-17 despite the fact that it has virtually zero nudity in it).
  8. 28 Days Later — Engineerboy may take issue with me putting a movie of such recent vintage on the list, but this movie is excellent. We saw it first in a sneak preview about a week before it was out in the U.S. and in the completely packed theatre we were so engrossed in the movie from the first frame that I never even took off my stuffy rain coat and Scott never even left the theatre to go get popcorn and cokes. Now that’s saying something. I’ve since seen it six or seven times, and the movie is tense and hypnotic and utterly engrossing every single time. It completely transcends the genre of zombie movie (to me) because it’s completely believable to me as a scenario, and every character acts in a completely believable way. But mostly it’s just a really good, tense movie.
  9. Army of Darkness — I know, I know, sacrilege… Evil Dead and Evil Dead II are supposedly the much better Sam Raimi / Bruce Campbell films. But I love Army of Darkness! It’s so silly and funny and stupid, I will watch it whenever it comes on cable. I love “This is my Boomstick!”. I love how he tells off his new 14th-century girlfriend when she tries to be friends with him. I love the tiny little Ashes that tie up Ash in the windmill and torture him. I love how he doesn’t really remember the words he’s supposed to say before getting the Necronomicon. The whole thing is just such fun and silly camp, it’s classic. And remember… Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart.
  10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail — Ah, how can we forget Holy Grail? It’s hard to properly express adoration for this opus in only a paragraph (especially considering there are entire web sites and even now a Broadway play dedicated in its honor), but let me try. It’s the distillation of the absurd, the perfection of the silly, the apex of that bizarre Brit wit that was pioneered by Python. “Fetchez la vache!”
  11. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas — Yes, we’re way beyond 10 now, but my list has to include BLWiT. This movie, for all its dancing titillations, is a perfectly captured diorama of small-town Texas in its see-no-evil attitude toward sin. The twangs are spot-on, the town square is picturesque, and the local cafe is just like the one in the town where I went to grade school. Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton have some real chemistry, Dom DeLuise is hilarious, and Jim Nabors and Charles Durning put in excellent turns as well. But above all it’s a love story, one with some fairly serious and tear-jerking scenes (I will honestly put it up there with Boogie Nights in terms of fabulous honest-to-god acting by Burt Reynolds). And if you’ve only ever hear Whitney Houston sing “I Will Always Love You”, do yourself a favor and watch this and hear Dolly Parton sing it in its original setting and version. Heartbreaking for sure.
  12. A Fish Called Wanda — I can’t leave out Fish Called Wanda, either. The perfect comedic crime caper (where Jamie Lee Curtis gets to kiss every single leading man in the film) with two former Pythons, this movie is HILARIOUS. Kevin Kline deserved that Oscar. Michael Palin is stutteringly brilliant. John Cleese is unreal in his repressed barrister role (Priceless moment: when he spins around on a heel and oh-so-Britishly tells the prison guards, “Fuck off, pigs. I said: Fuck. Off.”). The movie is perfectly plotted, hilariously acted, with blisteringly great dialogue (“Let me set you straight on a few things, Otto. Plato was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is NOT ‘Every man for himself’. And the London Underground was not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked ‘em up.”).

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