The countdown-cum-retrospective continues with my #7-#5 picks for the best films of all time. I’m very satisfied with my picks for #6 and #5, although I think I would reconsider #7 and add it to my honorable mentions list. I do think Krull (1983) is a fun film, but putting it among the best films is, perhaps, giving it too much credit.
Ponty always delivers some of the most thoughtful and poignant film reviews, and this week’s installment is no different. He’s really nailed the essence of these films, which are properly understood as two parts of one larger film.
I’m also impressed with Ponty’s rigor in making his picks; he’s much more intentional about his choices than I am. I’m impressed with the way he considers his picks carefully, and it’s apparent that he really struggled with what to put into this #4 slot.
But, wow, what a pick! When these flicks came out in 2003-2004 I was just starting college, and managed to largely miss them. I always thought (and still somewhat do think) that the title is stupid, but it does say what the flicks are about.
There’s where any stupidity ends. The Old West meets The Mystical East, all with Uma Thurman slicing and dicing through baddies. It’s grindhouse and kung-fu and everything trashy and awesome thrown into one super-long flick.
Last Sunday we looked at my #10, #9, and #8 picks for the best films. Now we’re looking at Ponty’s choices for the same. So far, I think Ponty has the better list, although I stand by (most of) my picks.
His first three are all in the horror genre, but all vastly different films. They’re also exemplars of the genre, and are must-see films:
The 1990s were the golden age of comedy films, churning out one classic, genre-defining masterpiece after another. It was also the moment of Jim Carrey’s rise to comedy superstardom.
For a kid in the 1990s, Jim Carrey was a demigod. His films were hilarious, cartoonish, madcap, irreverent, ribald, raunchy—and all must-sees. Jim Carrey could do no wrong.
Then, in 1996—when yours portly was at the ripe old age of eleven—Jim Carrey made his first career misstep with The Cable Guy. It still had all the great Carrey-esque antics we’d come to love, but the film’s dark comedy threw audiences and critics alike a curveball, and they weren’t quite sure what to make of it. The flick was panned at the time, and the consensus is that it was a potential career-killer for Carrey. Even The Simpsons decried the film as the one that “nearly ruined Jim Carrey’s career”:
But as is often the case—like with wearing masks in elementary schools and forcing toddlers to take experimental gene therapy injections—the general consensus was deadly wrong. The Cable Guy (1996) was the best film of Jim Carrey’s 1990s output, and it’s my pick for my #4 best film.
This cold, wintry season always makes me want to bundle up with a hot pizza and a cool flick. What better way to kick back after a long day of mind-molding than with a classic gem (or a B-flick schlock-o-rama) and piping hot pie, drizzled in olive oil and dripping with cheese. Oooooh, baby….
Erhem—but I digress. That got me thinking that it’s time to start going back through the best films lists that Ponty and I now halfway through compiling. Since I started off the list, I figured I’d look back at my #10, #9, and #8 picks first, then jump over to Ponty’s next week.
Audre Myers is offering up an unusual-for-her pick in this week’s edition of Myersvision—a comedy horror flick! Given the time of year, it’s even more unusual, but who says yuletide can’t become ghoultide? [I originally had this review scheduled for the week leading up to Christmas, but pushed it to January due to the various Christmas movie reviews Audre, Ponty, and I wrote in December. I liked my “ghoultide” pun too much to revise it, and it is technically still the Christmas season through 6 January 2023, Epiphany (and Audre’s birthday!). —TPP]
Ponty picked Shaun of the Dead (2004) as his Number 9 Best Film, so it’s interesting to compare his review to Audre’s. Ponty (and myself, I should add) loves this film; Audre’s take is altogether different.
I don’t want to spoil too much of her—let’s call it “scathing”—review, but I’m going to chalk up the difference of opinion to the generation and gender gaps. While I have known plenty of women who enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, it definitely has more of a “guy” vibe to it. I find Pegg and Wright’s antics hilarious, and am a big fan of their so-called Cornetto Trilogy, of which Shaun is the first installment.
I also think that the title character does show some growth and transformation, going from being little more than a shuffling zombie himself to rising to the occasion to help save his friends. The duress of a zombie outbreak forces this loser to change his ways to protect himself and his loved ones, even if he makes mistakes and reverts to old habits along the way.
But I digress. Audre offers up a good counterbalance to the fanboyish enthusiasm of Ponty and myself.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two months since Ponty’s #6 pick in our countdown of the Top Ten Best Films. A combination of Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Ponty struggling through a gnarly sinus infection pushed back our foray into the halfway mark of his reviews until now. We also went into reviews of two classic Christmas films across three different authors, but now we’re back!
I grew up in a house full of Alfred Hitchcock. My mom has always been a big fan of the portly director, and issues of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine still clutter bookshelves and spare crannies all over my parents’ Queen Anne-style home (built in 1901!).
It’s a tad remarkable, then, that I have not (yet) considered any of the director’s films in my own list. That is a massive oversight on my part. Thanks for Ponty for expanding beyond my 1980s myopia with a classic Hitchcock gem.
As always, he delivers. Just reading his review reminds me of how intense this thriller is—and makes me eager to watch it again.
With that, here is Ponty’s review of 1954’s Rear Window:
My sincerest apologies again to readers: I am extremely delayed with this review (as readers will note, this Monday review is going up on a Thursday—d’oh!). Like a good little port, I re-watched 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Lifetwo or three weeks ago, when Audre, Ponty, and I agreed to review it and the 1951 Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol earlier in December. I was writing and editing like the wind to get most everything done before departing for a pre-Christmas trip to Arizona (more on that in a separate post), but didn’t quite manage to get it all done.
As I’ll detail in another post, I spent the first quarter of Christmas Day driving from western Kentucky down through Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Augusta, before finally reaching my parents’ home in western South Carolina. I’d managed to get posts done through Christmas, thanks to a delayed connecting flight in Minneapolis, but was unable to get much more writing done beyond that. Christmas Eve saw me convoying to Kentucky from my older brother’s home in Indianapolis; I spent a frosty Christmas Eve with his in-laws on their farm, before setting out early Christmas morn along the route delineated above.
That’s all to say that, despite my chubbiest efforts, I was not able to get everything done. Facing the prospect of writing this review late on Christmas night, I put it off, hoping I’d knock it out Monday evening—to no avail.
But I digress—enough excuses. What about the film?