Random Rankings #2

Over the last couple of weeks, I watched 16 random movies. Here’s how I ranked them, from worst to best.

16. Greyhound Attack

  • Year: 2019
  • Director: Christopher Forbes

Don’t ask me how I found this film, or why I watched it, or if I made it past the first 10 minutes. All I can tell you is that it’s easily one of the worst movies ever made. F

15. The Good Liar

  • Year: 2019
  • Director: Bill Condon
The good Liar

You can see the plot twist coming from a mile away. Even though you might not be able to guess the plot twist, you still know it’s coming. And when said plot twist is finally revealed, it makes you realize just how pointless The Good Liar truly is. C+

14. The Hills Have Eyes

  • Year: 2006
  • Director: Alexandre Aja
The Hills have eyes 2006

This remake of Wes Craven’s horror “classic” accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: induce fear via gore, rape, cannibalism and human deformities. Torture porn, more or less. But surprisingly not as bad as it could’ve been. C+

13. The Garden of Allah

  • Year: 1936
  • Director: Richard Boleslawski
The Garden of Allah movie 1936

The Garden of Allah is a pleasure to look at — and so is Marlene Dietrich — but that’s not enough to make up for this boring melodrama about French monks in the Sahara. It’s a great movie to fall asleep to. B

12. American Gangster

  • Year: 2007
  • Director: Ridley Scott
American Gangster

American Gangster suffers from a bloated runtime and a lack of characterization, but Denzel Washington’s terrific acting is able to make up for these faults. His performance is so good that I didn’t notice I was rooting for a convicted murderer/heroin smuggler. B+

11. Heat

  • Year: 1995
  • Director: Michael Mann
Heat 1995

Grand Theft Auto V is basically the video game version of Heat. And that makes Heat … one of the most entertaining crime movies ever? Sure, it’s over-the-top and overlong and slightly over-abundant, but it’s still a fantastic pulp thriller. Could’ve been a great TV show, too. A-

10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  • Year: 1956
  • Director: Don Siegel
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The movie might be a metaphor for McCarthyism, but it’s prescient enough to not be tied down to any specific era. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is about parasitic plant pods from outer space, which is as relevant today as it was back in 1956. A bona-fide sci-fi classic. A-

9. Rashomon

  • Year: 1950
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa

A simple story, but told in four distinct variations, thus making it one of the most complex ruminations on human psychology ever filmed. A classic of golden age Japanese cinema, and quite possibly director Akira Kurosawa’s finest work. A

8. Au Hasard Balthazar

  • Year: 1966
  • Director: Robert Bresson
Au Hasard Balthazar

Is this the most depressing film ever made? Probably. Au Hasard Balthazar traces the life of a donkey from birth to death, and all his cruel masters in between, paralleled with the life of his first owner, a naïve young French girl who faces more abuse than the titular beast of burden. By the end, however, director Robert Bresson turns this bleak story into something inspiring. A

7. The Gold Rush

  • Year: 1925
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin
The Gold Rush

For great comedy, sometimes all you need is a great set-up. “Charlie Chaplin gets stranded in Alaska” happens to be a foolproof formula. “Charlie Chaplin cooks his own shoe and then eats it” is another one. Hilarity ensues. A

6. The Birth of a Nation

  • Year: 1915
  • Director: D.W. Griffith
The Birth of a Nation

The worst thing about The Birth of a Nation is how good it is. Rampant racism aside, the film provides the blueprint for all subsequent movie epics to follow. It was revolutionary and innovative, but it also resurrected the Ku Klux Klan. Still, it’s required viewing for any cinema historian … and much better than progressivists would have you believe. A

5. Key Largo

  • Year: 1948
  • Director: John Huston
Key Largo

In this underrated classic from director John Huston, a group of mobsters, led by the incomparable Edward G. Robinson, takes over a hotel during a hurricane. Even though Robinson is second-billing to Humphrey Bogart, his character completely steals the show. A

4. The Asphalt Jungle

  • Year: 1950
  • Director: John Huston
The Asphalt Jungle

Director John Huston and actor Sterling Hayden make robbing banks look like an art form in The Asphalt Jungle. The big lesson: crime doesn’t pay … but it’s damn fun to watch. A

3. City Lights

  • Year: 1931
  • Director: Charlie Chaplin
City Lights

City Lights has more heart than most comedies. In fact, it’s got more heart than most any other movie ever made. In this silent classic, the comedy is secondary, and by the final scene, the laughs give way to tears. A+

2. Bicycle Thieves

  • Year: 1948
  • Director: Vittorio de Sica
Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves is quite possibly the most realistic film ever made. Set in a bombed-out, post-war Rome, and filmed with non-professional actors, the film follows a poverty-stricken father and his son as they track down the titular bicycle thieves. You don’t know what you got till it’s gone. And you don’t know how important a bicycle can be until your entire livelihood depends on it. A+

1. Harvey

  • Year: 1950
  • Director: Henry Koster

Who knew that a film about a mild-mannered alcoholic who befriends an invisible, 6-foot-3-inch talking rabbit — and the family members who want to commit him to an insane asylum on account of said rabbit — could be so heartwarming? James Stewart gives one of his most inspired performances in this unforgettable comedy. A+

Random Rankings #2

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