Thursday, January 11, 2024

Top 103 Favorite Moves #29 - 20

We're back with my favorite 103 movies of all time. If you want to see the previous entries, they are here:

39 - 30

49 - 40

59 - 50

69 - 60

79 - 70

89 - 80

103 - 90

Why 103? Because there were some movies (three) I couldn't just ignore.

So let's continue with the countdown:

29: The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Based on the Tom Clancy book, this movie is a suspenseful epic. If you like military and CIA stuff, you'll love this flick. The one downside, Alex Baldwin stars. But he's young, so it's easier to ignore. A Soviet submarine captain wants to defect with his high-technology nuclear missile boat. But will the Americans understand and let him? Sean Connery plays the Soviet with a bit of a Scottish accent. Still an intense movie. Available on Philo.

28: Jurassic Park (1993)

One of the first movies to use CGI extensively (after Terminator 2). But watching it, you don't care. This movie is scary, intense, and fast-paced. Directed by Steven Spielberg with amazing results, the tension builds and builds as carnivorous dinosaurs stalk humans. Based on the book by Michael Crichton. Jeff Goldblum plays a cynical mathematician who is not happy to be right. Available on Amazon Prime Video.

27: E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)

We have a few Steven Spielberg movies in a row. E.T. was a blockbuster when it came out. Everyone wanted to know about the little alien botanist. There's plenty of humor and pathos and kids riding bikes to escape government agents, which was just fun. Featuring a very young Drew Barrymore and other young actors who do a very good job. Suburbia was never this enjoyable. Available on YouTube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video (all paid).

26:  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The chemistry between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery is amazing. Why didn't these two men make more movies together? Ford, of course, plays Indiana Jones and Connery, his father (with a slight Scottish accent). While the climax is a bit dull (after the tank chase), the adventure getting there is amazing. Directed by Steven Spielberg. I remember seeing this in the theater with a very pregnant wife after waiting in line for two hours in the California sun. Available on Paramount+ and Disney+

(When I revise this list, this is where Oppenheimer will go.)

25: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The movie that introduced us to Indiana Jones and of course it was directed by Steven Spielberg. The whole premise (an archeologist hunting for rare artifacts in the 1930) plus evil Nazis, plus a love interest plus an evil French archeologist, all adds up to some of the most fun on film. Ignore the (many) bloopers and plot holes and just hang on for the ride. Available on Paramount+ and Disney+

24: The Matrix (1999)

Ignore that this movie makes no sense from a thermodynamic point of view. Written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, err, sisters, this is basically a live-action anime with violence and a smart storyline. Evil computers enslave humanity and keep them "entertained" in a matrix that looks like late 20th century real world. Again, don't think about it too much. Good fighting and shootout sequences. Available on Max and Amazon Prime Video.

23: Schindler’s List (1993)

Back to Steven Spielberg. This true story about the Holocaust is brutal and hard to watch at times. Spielberg won an Oscar for this and deservedly so. Schindler is a German who tries to save as many Jews as he can with a list of concentration camp inmates that he wants to work in his war factory. Shot in black and white (mostly), it's a powerful movie that'll make you say "Never again." Available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video (both paid).

22: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Steven Spielberg's follow up to Jaws was this science fiction movie about aliens visiting Earth. At times mysterious and other times funny, it shows extra-terrestrials to be benign. Well, except for kidnapping humans. Richard Dreyfuss is a man who, after an encounter with a UFO, starts acting strange and building a model of a mountain in his house. It all ends Wyoming with a light show. The special effects are very good for this era. Doesn't seem to be available on streaming.

21: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Probably one of the most realistic war movies ever made. Director Steven Spielberg doesn't flinch from the violence and brutality of combat. The first minutes of this film are near horrific as the Allies land on the beach on D-Day. And it goes on from there. Tom Hanks stars and Vin Diesel has a small role. This isn't a feel-good movie, but it's one that you can't stop watching. Available on Paramount+

20: The Right Stuff (1983)

"They all wanna see Buck Rogers, and that's us." Okay, this movie is a little long, I admit. It could have used a good edit. Like cut out the Australian sequences completely. But if you like planes and space exploration (and I do), this is a great movie about the beginning of the space race. Based on the Tom Wolfe book (which I read before the movie came out) there is humor (some of it bathroom humor), excitement, and history in this flick. Available on YouTube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video (all paid).

That's it for this ten. What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments below.

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