A friend just posted on his blog about his Top 10 movies, and so I thought I would do the same. Here they are. My requirements are simply that I’ve seen it and I liked it. I’m not a complicated guy.
10. Big Jake
This is one of John Wayne’s later movies. It isn’t one of his best ones. I love “The Sons of Katie Elder,” “El Dorado,” “The Sands of Iwo Jima,” “The Green Berets” and a host of others, but I am very fond of this one. I was not a Western/Wayne fan growing up, but my dad loved all of his movies and often watched Big Jake. I sat down prob 3 or 4 times as a teen just to watch it with him. So while it isn’t his best by any stretch of the imagination, I still put it in my top 10 for sentimental reasons.
It is a story about Jacob McCandles whose grandson, Little Jake, was kidnapped and held for ransom. My favorite line from the movie is at the beginning when a couple of men were about to hang a sheep farmer. Big Jake is threatened by a man who about dares him to cut the farmer down. Jake replied, “No, you got me scared,” and threw the knife into the tree. “You do it.” The man asks who he thinks he is, and the reply comes, “Jacob McCandles.” The man’s expression changed, and fear covered his face, “I thought you were dead, Mr. McCandles.” And then the line: “Not hardly.”
9. 12 Angry Men
I’m not a Henry Fonda fan, but I do like this movie (and “The Grapes of Wrath”). It was based off of a play by the same name with the plot being that of a young man on trial for murdering his father. The jurors (12 angry men) are now deciding his fate. Only Fonda’s character thinks him innocent. The entire movie revolves around only those men (with a short appearance of a bailiff) arguing about the innocence or guilt of this young man. Of course, in the end he is found not guilty and set free. Many adaptations have been done, and one remake that I know of. Nothing beats the original. Don’t even watch the remake.
8. Schindler’s List
Oscar Schindler was an up and coming business man before Nazi Germany, and knew how to schmooze the big wigs. He joined the Nazis when they came to power for business reasons only. He single-handedly saved over a thousand Jews by putting them to work in his factory and kept them out of the ghettos and camps. At the end of the movie he looked back and rather than be proud of what he did, he wept because he wanted to do more.
This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. This pin…two people. This is gold. Two people. He would have given me two more, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern, for this. I could have got one more person, and I didn’t. I…I…I didn’t.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird
Based off the book by the same title, I was surprised how closely it followed what Harper Lee wrote. A black man is being put on trial for raping a white woman, and Atticus Finch was his attorney. It is told from a Atticus’s daughter’s perspective looking back at this time when she was a young girl, not knowing what is really going on. At the end of the movie (and book) as Atticus leaves the court house late at night, tired after so long a trial, “Scout” (her nickname) was lying up in the balcony with “the colored folk.” She didn’t see them stand for her father, but the reverend gently chided her, “Miss Jean Louis. Miss Jean Louis, stand up. Your father’s passing.”
6. The Cowboys
Another John Wayne movie. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to watch them, and I finally saw what my dad did so long ago. This one is a story about a rancher who has to take the steer to market, except there are no men to help with the drive. He hires a bunch of boys to do it. It is obviously a “coming of age” movie that I usually do not like, but this one was good. However, what made this movie for me, was not Wayne, but Roscoe Lee Brown, who played the cook. I could watch this movie a dozen more times and not tire of it.
5. The Last Samurai
Tom Cruise plays an American military advisor to the Emperor of Japan as they are attempting to enter the modern world. He is injured in the first battle against the samurai and taken to their village. Just before his capture, he kills one of the samurai, but then is nursed back to health by that same samurai’s wife. There is much in this movie that I enjoyed. So much so that I blogged about it before. You can read it here.
4. Superman II
This was my jam growing up. I watched this thing dozens of time on our Beta Vision. I practically had the entire movie memorized. Superman gave up his powers for love, but soon realizes that he needs those powers because General Zod and his fellow-bad guys have escaped from the phantom zone. Of course, he regains his powers and defeats the villains. I love how he does it though. Zod thinks he has no powers, and orders him to kneel before him. “Take my hand and swear eternal loyalty to Zod.” At this point Superman takes Zod’s hand as if weak, and softly the Superman theme song begins to play. The next thing you know, Superman is crushing Zod’s hand; he picks him up and throws him across the Fortress of Solitude. I love it. I still sit on the edge of my seat for that!
3. Black Panther
I’m not going to say much about this movie, as I’ve only seen it once, but it was the best Marvel Universe movie to date. It had me spell-bound the entire time. I’m waiting for the DVD. Here is a blog I wrote after seeing it.
2. The Shawshank Redemption
A man is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent 20 years digging a tunnel to escape. How it all happened and the lessons learned make this movie a must-see. This is one movie I will watch whenever it comes on. It never gets old. I’d rather watch the TV version though, as there is quite a bit of cussing.
1. A Few Good Men
This is another movie I will watch if it is on. Two Marines are court-martialed for the death of another Marine. This movie has an all-star cast, even stars before they were stars. Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollack, Noah Wiley, Cuba Gooding, Jr…. No one outdoes another. Definitely number one.