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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

32. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

Starring: Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen

As a chess freak myself I'm naturally going to be attracted to any film about the subject (and there aren't too many) but this movie has a much wider, more universal theme than chess: it's about when children are good at any organized activity, particularly those that involve competition, and how much a parent should be involved. Anyone who's child has been in any organized sport or competition can relate to certain aspects of the film. It also addresses the rarer instances when one's child is a true prodigy.

Of course it helps when there is a tight, well-written script (Zaillian also wrote Schindler's List, so he knows what he's about), good characters and fine acting. All of which this film does. It also tells an inspiring story, and the "good" kid defeats the "bad" kid in the end.

A few notes for the non-chess geeks, in case you're interested: yeah the characters are real, but not as they're represented. Bruce Pandolfini does not have an Irish accent (that was strange but it works for the film.) Josh Waitzkin never rose above a master level player, though he did win US Junior championships. But he was not close to the "next Bobby Fischer". If a grandmaster is the equivalent of an NBA player, and Bobby Fischer is the equivalent of Michael Jordan, then Waitzkin would be a good college basketball player but not good enough to be drafted. His final game in the movie, simplified for the audience to understand, is one that never would have happened in real life. Poe, the losing player, would have resigned long before he queened his pawn. (Even before that GM Larry Evans noted a key mistake ten moves earlier that Poe never would have made- this is the sort of thing chess geeks live for.)

Finally, Bobby FIscher did not disappear as the movie indicates. He simply stopped playing, and went into seclusion. But people in the chess world knew where he was.

Up next: People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

You did not mention incredible cinematography. And the pacing (editing) is so well done. This movie is a technical masterpiece mostly because you don't notice it. Love. This. Movie.   

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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

32. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

Starring: Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen

As a chess freak myself I'm naturally going to be attracted to any film about the subject (and there aren't too many) but this movie has a much wider, more universal theme than chess: it's about when children are good at any organized activity, particularly those that involve competition, and how much a parent should be involved. Anyone who's child has been in any organized sport or competition can relate to certain aspects of the film. It also addresses the rarer instances when one's child is a true prodigy.

Of course it helps when there is a tight, well-written script (Zaillian also wrote Schindler's List, so he knows what he's about), good characters and fine acting. All of which this film does. It also tells an inspiring story, and the "good" kid defeats the "bad" kid in the end.

A few notes for the non-chess geeks, in case you're interested: yeah the characters are real, but not as they're represented. Bruce Pandolfini does not have an Irish accent (that was strange but it works for the film.) Josh Waitzkin never rose above a master level player, though he did win US Junior championships. But he was not close to the "next Bobby Fischer". If a grandmaster is the equivalent of an NBA player, and Bobby Fischer is the equivalent of Michael Jordan, then Waitzkin would be a good college basketball player but not good enough to be drafted. His final game in the movie, simplified for the audience to understand, is one that never would have happened in real life. Poe, the losing player, would have resigned long before he queened his pawn. (Even before that GM Larry Evans noted a key mistake ten moves earlier that Poe never would have made- this is the sort of thing chess geeks live for.)

Finally, Bobby FIscher did not disappear as the movie indicates. He simply stopped playing, and went into seclusion. But people in the chess world knew where he was.

Up next: People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

I liken this one to Finding Forrester.  Nice smooth pacing, interesting topic, good acting.  Yet never would I say top 100.

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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

32. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

I love this movie. Just adore it for so many reasons, not the least of which is having young relatives who are so incomprehensibly smart that one doesn't know how to talk to them or what to do with them! 

Love it.  

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Maybe I need to rewatch Fischer. I was pretty young when I saw it and it didn't do anything for me. Manhattan on the other hand is a well deserving of it's place here, the best Woody Allen movie IMO. 

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5 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Maybe I need to rewatch Fischer. I was pretty young when I saw it and it didn't do anything for me. Manhattan on the other hand is a well deserving of it's place here, the best Woody Allen movie IMO. 

I think it hits home. Everyone likes to think they have gifted children/relative children, etc., but when they're truly special, the frustration of the balance of hanging out and being able to converse with them can be intimidating. This movie almost perfectly reflects parental issues when dealing with a prodigy. 

You probably get that as a teacher often; but you're also really smart. Watching some of these kids is daunting at times.  

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5 hours ago, timschochet said:

32. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

Starring: Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen

As a chess freak myself I'm naturally going to be attracted to any film about the subject (and there aren't too many) but this movie has a much wider, more universal theme than chess: it's about when children are good at any organized activity, particularly those that involve competition, and how much a parent should be involved. Anyone who's child has been in any organized sport or competition can relate to certain aspects of the film. It also addresses the rarer instances when one's child is a true prodigy.

Of course it helps when there is a tight, well-written script (Zaillian also wrote Schindler's List, so he knows what he's about), good characters and fine acting. All of which this film does. It also tells an inspiring story, and the "good" kid defeats the "bad" kid in the end.

A few notes for the non-chess geeks, in case you're interested: yeah the characters are real, but not as they're represented. Bruce Pandolfini does not have an Irish accent (that was strange but it works for the film.) Josh Waitzkin never rose above a master level player, though he did win US Junior championships. But he was not close to the "next Bobby Fischer". If a grandmaster is the equivalent of an NBA player, and Bobby Fischer is the equivalent of Michael Jordan, then Waitzkin would be a good college basketball player but not good enough to be drafted. His final game in the movie, simplified for the audience to understand, is one that never would have happened in real life. Poe, the losing player, would have resigned long before he queened his pawn. (Even before that GM Larry Evans noted a key mistake ten moves earlier that Poe never would have made- this is the sort of thing chess geeks live for.)

Finally, Bobby FIscher did not disappear as the movie indicates. He simply stopped playing, and went into seclusion. But people in the chess world knew where he was.

Up next: People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

Tremendous movie.  Helps immensely to like chess.   Some really fine actors in this.

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25 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I think it hits home. Everyone likes to think they have gifted children/relative children, etc., but when they're truly special, the frustration of the balance of hanging out and being able to converse with them can be intimidating. This movie almost perfectly reflects parental issues when dealing with a prodigy. 

You probably get that as a teacher often; but you're also really smart. Watching some of these kids is daunting at times.  

Dealing with prodigies? No, that is not something I have really encountered. 

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Just now, Ilov80s said:

Dealing with prodigies? No, that is not something I have really encountered. 

Ah, I was thinking that but I assumed there are a few that might have blown your mind at times. Maybe not. My brother seems to feel the same way you do. All I know is I'm pretty intelligent -- my niece, who I do not brag on, is about twenty times beyond me. That's not a braggart statement, it's fact. 

Wow. What to do with her? She's in BC Calc at 16. Oh my.  

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23 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Ah, I was thinking that but I assumed there are a few that might have blown your mind at times. Maybe not. My brother seems to feel the same way you do. All I know is I'm pretty intelligent -- my niece, who I do not brag on, is about twenty times beyond me. That's not a braggart statement, it's fact. 

Wow. What to do with her? She's in BC Calc at 16. Oh my.  

We had a kid that was super smart like that but she tested out of most her HS classes and was off to college by 15 or 16. I never had her in a class. I've had kids that were MENSA level smart but not intimidating or anything, just normal kids. The girl I have now who is super bright is pretty lazy and just coasts on her smarts. She's not very impressive.

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1 hour ago, Ilov80s said:

Maybe I need to rewatch Fischer. I was pretty young when I saw it and it didn't do anything for me. Manhattan on the other hand is a well deserving of it's place here, the best Woody Allen movie IMO. 

Yeah, but that's really not saying much.  ;)

 

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3 minutes ago, KarmaPolice said:

Yeah, but that's really not saying much.  ;)

 

I'm mixed on Woody. There's a few movies I really liked and a lot that do nothing for me.

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3 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

I'm mixed on Woody. There's a few movies I really liked and a lot that do nothing for me.

I think that he ruins most of the films that he stars in himself. The ones without him seem to be much better.

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31. The American President (1995)

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Starring: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen

The West Wing is my favorite TV show of all time, and this film, written by it's creator Aaron Sorkin, is its precursor. Sure, Andrew Shepard is a little different than Jed Bartlett Ithough not in ideology) but Martin Sheen's character in the film is Leo from the show, while Michael J. Fox could be Sam or Josh. It's also astonishing that, 22 years after this film has been made, the political issues that it focuses on (climate change and gun control) remain part of the national discussion.

Beyond these points, this is a fine romantic comedy in the best Hollywood tradition. Like all Sorkin works, the dialogue is funny, quick witted, and poignant. And watching this film and the TV show that followed, they serve as a fictional contrast against what reality has given us in the White House.

Next up: I love him! I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.

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4 hours ago, Mr. Mojo said:

I always felt sorry for Annette Bening in the film as they made her look as unattractive as possible.

Odd. I don't think of her as a super attractive lady - but I think she is gorgeous in this movie.

Oh, and I'm with tri-man, LOVE this movie.

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30. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Hard to believe this movie is over 20 years old, because it still seems so modern. I don't really need to explain the plot, everybody's seen it. I'll just comment that it's very well written, well acted, well directed. The music soundtrack is great (this movie introduced me to Ricky Lee Jones' "The Horses", which is now one of my all time favorite songs.)

Cruise is probably his most likable ever in this role. Jay Mohr is a really good villain too. Glen Fry makes a surprise appearance as the Arizona GM. And as for Kelly Preston...damn what a beautiful woman.

Up next: It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.

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On 1/25/2017 at 3:59 PM, rockaction said:

I love this movie. Just adore it for so many reasons, not the least of which is having young relatives who are so incomprehensibly smart that one doesn't know how to talk to them or what to do with them! 

Love it.  

Oh holy hell.  Buckle up because we agree on something.  This movie (Bobby Fischer) is pretty much perfection.

tim, I didn't get to say "come back!" when you left as I was too late, but I'm glad you're back.  I poked into this thread and found my last unread post was May 2016!  

Now for my nearly indefensible admission:  I love Jerry Maguire.  A little part of it could be the circumstances under which I first saw it (helping a friend cheer up from some awful stuff), but largely it's that it's just...always charmed me.  Quite a few times I've settled on it in the "nothing better on" situation of wanting some background noise and then found myself pulled in.  It's unabashedly kind and sweet and uplifting, sort of the way I wish things were.  And funny as hell.

That said, most of your list blows.  Welcome back.

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21 minutes ago, krista4 said:

Oh holy hell.  Buckle up because we agree on something.  This movie (Bobby Fischer) is pretty much perfection.

tim, I didn't get to say "come back!" when you left as I was too late, but I'm glad you're back.  I poked into this thread and found my last unread post was May 2016!  

Now for my nearly indefensible admission:  I love Jerry Maguire.  A little part of it could be the circumstances under which I first saw it (helping a friend cheer up from some awful stuff), but largely it's that it's just...always charmed me.  Quite a few times I've settled on it in the "nothing better on" situation of wanting some background noise and then found myself pulled in.  It's unabashedly kind and sweet and uplifting, sort of the way I wish things were.  And funny as hell.

That said, most of your list blows.  Welcome back.

Heh. I think artistically and (possibly) emotionally and spiritually we agree on more than we think, but stuff on the internet is also left often unsaid. I often (almost always) find your comments insightful and in good tone; I'm just not in the habit of positively reinforcing those things that I find valuable. I need to work on that. Cheers, krista4. 

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10 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Heh. I think artistically and (possibly) emotionally and spiritually we agree on more than we think, but stuff on the internet is also left often unsaid. I often (almost always) find your comments insightful and in good tone; I'm just not in the habit of positively reinforcing those things that I find valuable. I need to work on that. Cheers, krista4. 

Completely agree with this, including agreement on both of us being stubborn jerks sometimes.  Cheers back atcha.

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On 6/19/2015 at 11:29 AM, timschochet said:

36. Andrew Johnson

The Good

Abraham Lincoln believed that the Reconstruction of the South should not be punitive in nature. Johnson agreed with him. The Radical Republicans did not, and therein caused the conflict between them. Johnson believed that men like Andrew Stephens could continue to serve the United States. Under Andrew Johnson, the United States successfully acquired Alaska from the Russians. Andrew Johnson reaffirmed the Constitutional right of the President to fire whomever he wanted to by removing Edward Stanton, which violated the unconstitutional Tenure of Office act passed by Congress.

The Bad

Johnson, a Southern man of his time, did not believe that blacks should be given citizenship and particularly the right to vote in the South. Johnson was unable to work with Congress, dominated by radical Republicans. He has the disgrace of being the first President to be impeached, and unlike Bill Clinton, he only barely survived removal. Johnson must also be attributed with the execution of Mary Surratt and 3 others for the death of Lincoln, which were essentially political executions.

Analysis

The radical Republicans wanted to punish the South, and they wanted freedmen to vote because it would add power to the Republicans. They feared that returning the southern states to the fold too quickly would swing power back to the Democratic party. So much of their clamor on behalf of African-Americans was wholly cynical, and Andrew Johnson recognized this. The impeachment was a complete sham- most of it's articles were lies, and the main one attempted to remove him for something he had a constitutional right to do- fire whomever he wanted to.

I'm not suggesting that Andrew Johnson was a good or effective President. But I think he was better than the guys I have ranked below him. He was a man of conviction who sought to reintegrate the South without taking advantage of it's misery. He was blocked from doing so by some pretty unscrupulous people. Johnson was also supported by some pretty bad guys as well, such as the founders of the Ku Klux Klan. As I look at the Reconstruction struggle, it's hard to find very many heroes.

Analysis

Gonna need this one.

He belongs at 44 but he's got company...

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7 hours ago, krista4 said:

Oh holy hell.  Buckle up because we agree on something.  This movie (Bobby Fischer) is pretty much perfection.

tim, I didn't get to say "come back!" when you left as I was too late, but I'm glad you're back.  I poked into this thread and found my last unread post was May 2016!  

Now for my nearly indefensible admission:  I love Jerry Maguire.  A little part of it could be the circumstances under which I first saw it (helping a friend cheer up from some awful stuff), but largely it's that it's just...always charmed me.  Quite a few times I've settled on it in the "nothing better on" situation of wanting some background noise and then found myself pulled in.  It's unabashedly kind and sweet and uplifting, sort of the way I wish things were.  And funny as hell.

That said, most of your list blows.  Welcome back.

:lol:

 

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7 hours ago, krista4 said:

Oh holy hell.  Buckle up because we agree on something.  This movie (Bobby Fischer) is pretty much perfection.

tim, I didn't get to say "come back!" when you left as I was too late, but I'm glad you're back.  I poked into this thread and found my last unread post was May 2016!  

Now for my nearly indefensible admission:  I love Jerry Maguire.  A little part of it could be the circumstances under which I first saw it (helping a friend cheer up from some awful stuff), but largely it's that it's just...always charmed me.  Quite a few times I've settled on it in the "nothing better on" situation of wanting some background noise and then found myself pulled in.  It's unabashedly kind and sweet and uplifting, sort of the way I wish things were.  And funny as hell.

That said, most of your list blows.  Welcome back.

Love you krista! But you're just pissed off that my list doesn't have any long, endlessly boring foreign films about donkeys. (There are 29 movies left, though so you never know...)

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10 hours ago, krista4 said:

Oh holy hell.  Buckle up because we agree on something.  This movie (Bobby Fischer) is pretty much perfection.

tim, I didn't get to say "come back!" when you left as I was too late, but I'm glad you're back.  I poked into this thread and found my last unread post was May 2016!  

Now for my nearly indefensible admission:  I love Jerry Maguire.  A little part of it could be the circumstances under which I first saw it (helping a friend cheer up from some awful stuff), but largely it's that it's just...always charmed me.  Quite a few times I've settled on it in the "nothing better on" situation of wanting some background noise and then found myself pulled in.  It's unabashedly kind and sweet and uplifting, sort of the way I wish things were.  And funny as hell.

That said, most of your list blows.  Welcome back.

:goodposting:

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29. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Starring: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer

The funniest movie ever? For me, probably so. Of course, you have to have been a rock fan of the 70s and 80s to truly appreciate it. But since most people my age are, that means most people my age are going to love this film. And they do.

There are so many great gags in this film, and I don't need to mention most of them as they are pretty much famous. The lyrics to "Big Bottoms" (twas my lucky bun day!) are always at the top of the list for me. Actually almost all of the song lyrics are fantastic. The acting is great, particularly by Guest. But Rob Reiner who also wrote the film deserves most of the credit I think. He outdoes his dad in creating a biting, satirical work that is incredibly funny.

Up next: You're television incarnate...: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, .... Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you.

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28. Network (1976)

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall

Although this movie was directed by Sidney Lumet, it really belongs to one person: it's screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky. Chayefsky was determined to make a statement about America's media society, and where it was heading. So he created this black satire in which he quite accurately predicted the future of television and the news- it would become more and more a circus in which anything was acceptable for ratings. But as brilliant as this is, Chayefsky goes even deeper than that- in the character of Howard Beale (Finch) he issues a grave warning about the seductive power of populism- something which, as our latest national election has demonstrated, is a lesson society needs to relearn over and over.

If Network concentrated only on these two points, it would no doubt be one of our greatest films. But Chafeysky also features Diane Christensen (Dunaway) as a commentary on the soullessness of the corporate world. The scene in which Dunaway has sex with William Holden and reaches orgasm all the while talking about ratings is marvelous black satire. And their breakup scene, which I quoted from in my last post, includes some of the best writing I have ever seen on screen, as does this entire film. This movie is a magnificent piece of art. 

Up next (about the game of poker) If you look around the table and you can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.

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27. Quiz Show (1994)

Directed by: Robert Redford

Starring: John Turtturo, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Morrow

Like the last film on my list (Network), this movie is a commentary about the power of television, but it is also specifically about the world of the late 1950s, when it took place. And it's based on a true story, though Redford and the screenwriter (Paul Attanasio) take some dramatic license with what actualy happened. The script is pretty brilliant as are the actors: Fiennes is at the top of his game, in his second best role ever (we'll get to the first one a little later on) while Turtturo is terrifically quirky. Paul Scofield, as Van Doren's professor father, steals every scene he's in (but he always did and it's really too bad Hollywood has so little of this fine actor, who did most of his work on the stage.)

Given the current political atmosphere, with Trump and the accusations of "fake news" from all sides, I think this film is especially pertinent and poignant if watched now over 20 years after it was made. It focuses on dishonesty from the media, the gullibility of the public, and how the public reacts when a celebrity is caught in a lie. Or at least, how they used to react.

Up next: Well, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the keen minds of the South and with our President, who apparently shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind is instead - and I know this is a controversial idea - is freedom.

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

27. Quiz Show (1994)

Directed by: Robert Redford

Starring: John Turtturo, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Morrow

Like the last film on my list (Network), this movie is a commentary about the power of television, but it is also specifically about the world of the late 1950s, when it took place. And it's based on a true story, though Redford and the screenwriter (Paul Attanasio) take some dramatic license with what actualy happened. The script is pretty brilliant as are the actors: Fiennes is at the top of his game, in his second best role ever (we'll get to the first one a little later on) while Turtturo is terrifically quirky. Paul Scofield, as Van Doren's professor father, steals every scene he's in (but he always did and it's really too bad Hollywood has so little of this fine actor, who did most of his work on the stage.)

Given the current political atmosphere, with Trump and the accusations of "fake news" from all sides, I think this film is especially pertinent and poignant if watched now over 20 years after it was made. It focuses on dishonesty from the media, the gullibility of the public, and how the public reacts when a celebrity is caught in a lie. Or at least, how they used to react.

Up next: Well, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the keen minds of the South and with our President, who apparently shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind is instead - and I know this is a controversial idea - is freedom.

This movie is woefully underappreciated, and I say that not just because Ralph Fiennes was smoking hot in it.  The acting is brilliant all around.  Need to rewatch this in light of current events, as you mention.

Still need more donkey on your list, though.

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1 minute ago, Ilov80s said:

Great call on Quiz Show. The fact Forrest Gump beat it for Best Picture is one of biggest Academy errors in history. 

1994 was a very good year for movies. Gump, which is not on my list, was among  the least of them IMO. 

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Just now, timschochet said:

1994 was a very good year for movies. Gump, which is not on my list, was among  the least of them IMO. 

One of the best years ever. Every Best Picture nominee was great and has aged well except for Gump which is a flat out bad movie.

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9 hours ago, timschochet said:

27. Quiz Show (1994)

Directed by: Robert Redford

Starring: John Turtturo, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Morrow

Like the last film on my list (Network), this movie is a commentary about the power of television, but it is also specifically about the world of the late 1950s, when it took place. And it's based on a true story, though Redford and the screenwriter (Paul Attanasio) take some dramatic license with what actualy happened. The script is pretty brilliant as are the actors: Fiennes is at the top of his game, in his second best role ever (we'll get to the first one a little later on) while Turtturo is terrifically quirky. Paul Scofield, as Van Doren's professor father, steals every scene he's in (but he always did and it's really too bad Hollywood has so little of this fine actor, who did most of his work on the stage.)

Given the current political atmosphere, with Trump and the accusations of "fake news" from all sides, I think this film is especially pertinent and poignant if watched now over 20 years after it was made. It focuses on dishonesty from the media, the gullibility of the public, and how the public reacts when a celebrity is caught in a lie. Or at least, how they used to react.

Up next: Well, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the keen minds of the South and with our President, who apparently shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind is instead - and I know this is a controversial idea - is freedom.

Very nice. Love Quiz Show. Turturro and Fiennes are terrific but agree 100% about Scofield. Chris McDonald was also really good. 

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9 hours ago, timschochet said:

Fiennes is at the top of his game, in his second best role ever (we'll get to the first one a little later on

Expect that to be top 5 on this list. 

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7 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

One of the best years ever. Every Best Picture nominee was great and has aged well except for Gump which is a flat out bad movie.

Stop it it's a very good movie. Just watched it last week and it's still damn good. 

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8 minutes ago, RBM said:

Stop it it's a very good movie. Just watched it last week and it's still damn good. 

We can all have opinions. I think it's just beyond absurd and corny. It's pretty condescending to intellectually disabled people as well. 

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On 2/4/2017 at 10:16 AM, timschochet said:

Fiennes is at the top of his game, in his second best role ever (we'll get to the first one a little later on)

Glad to see confirmation that those Clash of the Titans remakes will make your top 10, maybe even top 5.

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26. Amistad (1997)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins

This movie is a fictionalized retelling of the La Amistad slave revolt incident, and while it takes many liberties with the historical record, it's an outstanding and mesmerizing film. The depiction of the Middle Passage is grueling and accurate so far as it goes. The acting and storytelling are superb, as is the score (IMO, one of John Williams' best.) And Anthony Hopkins' speech before the Supreme Court is one of my favorite scenes in all of movies (even though it never happened; John Quincy Adams' argument in real life was highly legalistic).

There is a scene in this movie that I want to discuss here because over the years I've heard two very different perspectives on it and they fascinate me. It's the scene in which Cinque and his buddy look at a Bible and discuss the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A very religious Christian friend of mine told me that she thought this was one of the most beautiful scenes about Christ she had ever encountered, and she went so far as to take that scene and show it to her church on Easter. She found it ironic that it was so well done because Spielberg is Jewish.

However, a few years later I heard an African-American professor of history on the radio angrily attack this scene as offensive, because the Mende people are Muslim, were quite aware of Jesus Christ (who is a major figure in Islam), quite aware of Christianity. He said the film presented Cinque and the captured slaves as savages ignorant of western culture, which was quite untrue. Anyhow, I thought these two perspectives of the same scene were interesting. 

Up next: Is it safe? 

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25. Marathon Man (1976)

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Lawrence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane

Dustin Hoffman and Sir Lawrence Olivier, who came from two very different schools of acting, square off in this wish-fulfillment fantasy by William Goldman. Goldman's hero Babe (Hoffman) doesn't just get to punch Nazis, he gets to hunt one down and kill him...in the end. Goldman deliberately informs us early on in the film that Babe's liberal professor dad was ruined by Joe McCarthy, and that Babe is obsessed with vengeance against the bad guys- and he gets it, eventually.

First, however, he has to witness the death of his brother (Scheider), and then be tortured while strapped to a dentist chair. The dentist scenes are what most people remember about this film, and they should remember them, because they may be the most terrifying moments ever in cinema. But the ending to the film, in which Babe makes Szell eat his diamonds, is at least as satisfying. This is a wonderful suspense film, the best of it's kind, and they simply don't make 'em anymore.

Up next: The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.

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24. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis 

I'm betting most people that are reading this post have seen this fine movie, probably more than once, so there's no need for me to describe the plot here. I'll just comment that I really enjoyed the way each of the 3 stories were told out of order from each other. Acting, scriptwriting, cinematography, character interaction- all superb. Easily one of the best films of the last 30 years. If I were ranking "greatest American films", this one would probably be in my top ten, perhaps top five. But since this is a favorites list, it goes a little below some others that I realize may not be as good films, but which I have a slight preference for. (But not much below.)

The following actors IMO, gave their best performance ever in this film:  Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Eric Stoltz, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer....and Christopher Walken. 

Up next: If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.

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