If any of these posts has inspired you to give even one of these movies an initial chance or a second look, then my effort has been rewarded immeasurably.
I don’t regret my choices for a moment, especially since this list was never meant to be carved in stone. With so many of my favorite writers, directors, actors and cinematographers still working, odds are good that I’ll happily be making adjustments.
A few parting thoughts.
Technology never gets worse (except for whatever those shit farmers were getting up to in the Dark Ages). I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find a way to work an animated film into the 10. So many delight and amaze me, like The Incredibles (2004). Computer-generated Imagery (CGI) offers filmmakers an ever wider palette for projecting their imaginations into the world, provided they don’t get lost in the tech or the pace of its lifecycle. There must be something liberating and utterly terrifying about having the ability to create an entire film literally from nothing.
Technology always gets cheaper and more accessible. Movie studios will likely be with us for a long time (effects-laden blockbusters with exotic locations more or less require them), but here-now-today we have never had a more hospitable environment for independent filmmaking and distribution. That’s exciting, because there are more and better stories to tell than Hollywood (or its international equivalents) has the imagination or risk tolerance to greenlight, and there is enough of an appetite for good storytelling to make these movies profitable.
Never start with the technology. To stage a play all you need is a story, light, air, actors, gravity (optional) and an audience. While I love having my mind blown by the scale of movies like The Avengers (2012), I am made equally happy (if not more so) by movies like Sleuth (1972). For Pete’s sake, start with a worthwhile story and then embellish it with great acting and visuals. Anything else is like trying to polish a turd. And Hollywood, please stop systematically ruining my happy childhood memories with your cynical failures to cash in on my nostalgia. Or don’t. The days of your captive, artificially-propped-up business model are numbered. Maybe. Previously.
Bonus fun 10 movies (not otherwise mentioned) that might have made the top 10:
- Blade Runner (1982, 1992, 2007 or whenever the last time was that Ridley Scott stopped fucking around with it)
- Brazil (1985)
- Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
- The Fifth Element (1997)
- Forbidden Planet (1956)
- The Name of the Rose (1986)
- One Night at McCool’s (2001)
- Ronin (1998)
- Strange Days (1995)
- Zombieland (2009)