Lazy Sunday CLXXX: More Movies XXXIII: Ponty’s Best Films, Part I

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:

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #5: Back to the Future (1985)

A recent installment of Open Mic Adventures inspired this pick, which I knew would show up on my list somewhere.  I’m not sure where I intended to put it, but I knew it would be in the top five; indeed, it should probably be higher, but it’s fresh on my mind, so I’m putting it at #5.

The film is one of the enduring classics of the 1980s.  It hit theaters on my half-birthday—3 July 1985—and was ever-present during my childhood on VHS (recorded from television broadcasts, of course).  The film franchise even inspired the name of my old brass quintet, Brass to the Future.

The flick, of course, is Robert Zemeckis’s science-fiction classic Back to the Future (1985).

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #6: Goodfellas (1990)

After taking last week off from movie reviews to celebrate Halloween, I’m back with my #6 pick for the best movies of all time.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling with some manner of fever-cum-sinus infection (probably not The Virus, but who even knows anymore), and after an unusual week, I fell behind on my rigorous pre-scheduling of posts.  As such, this review of a truly fantastic film may be a tad shorter than usual.  I doubt it will reach Pontian lengths, to say the least.

That said, I’m excited to write about this flick, even as I’m over here hacking up a lung.  It’s a movie that combines two of my favorite topics—mid-twentieth-century social history and gangsters—into one thrilling package.

I’m referring, of course, to Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #7: La La Land (2016)

If readers thought my placement of 1983’s sci-fi/fantasy/swashbuckler Krull at #7 was shocking, this week’s #7 pick from Ponty will truly blow your staggered minds.  From the man who just wrote about Halloween (1978), I’d never expect a splashy musical.

I remember seeing this flick back in 2016 on a date, and remember enjoying it (not just due to the excellent execution and story, but probably thanks to Emma Stone—shew!).  Suddenly, my students wanted to play “City of Stars” all the time, and jazz piano enjoyed an all-too-brief resurgence.

Ponty gives it a very thorough review, as you’ll see, that really brings out some of the sparkling details of the film without spoiling anything.  It probably also holds the distinction of being the only review of a film musical to reference Grand Theft Auto 5, so that should be worth something.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2016’s La La Land:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #7: Krull (1983)

While we’re still outside of the Top Five—where the rubber really hits the road, and the picks have to correspond to actual, objective quality, and not just the passing whims of two amateur film reviewers—I’ve got to squeeze in another personal favorite.  To say this week’s pick is one of the “best” films is, perhaps, a stretch.

Really, no “perhaps” about it—it was a box office bomb and, while it has attained a certain cult status, it has not risen to the heights of many films with that dubious distinction.  Many “cult classics” are viewed overly fondly, as if to counteract the overly negative reviews at the time of the film’s release.  My #7 pick has enjoyed a bit of an improved reputation since its release, but its reviews are still mixed.

But for me, it’s a great film—a bit of swashbuckling, sci-fi/fantasy fun that bends and blends genres like a wet noodle in a food processor:  somehow, the finished product comes out tasting pretty good, even if it doesn’t make any sense.

Should 1983’s adventure Krull go on my honorable mentions post?  Probably.  Am I placing it higher on my list than the (objectively better) films behind it?  You bet.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #8: Halloween (1978)

Just in time for the Halloween season, Ponty pulls out one of the all-time classics from perhaps my favorite director.  You can’t have Halloween without Halloween (1978).

I particularly love how Ponty opens his review discussing the impact of music in film.  Horror soundtracks now seem to be riddled with clichés, like sustained dissonant chords and screechy violin glissandos.  But John Carpenter and others were composing actual music that sounded creepy without resorting to silly gimmicks.  What kid doesn’t sit down at the piano this time of year and try to pick out that theme?

Well, I won’t give much more away; it’s an excellent, lovingly-crafted review.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 1978’s Halloween:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #8: Heavy Metal (1981)

There won’t be many animated films on my list—I don’t think!—but this week’s selection is the major exception.  If you like sword and sorcery, low fantasy carnage, outrageous science fiction, and classic hard rock, you’ll love 1981’s animated anthology Heavy Metal.

Heavy Metal is one of those flicks that won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s one that I find myself returning to routinely for repeat viewings.  I’ve always been a sucker for anthologies, and while some of the stories are a bit uneven, the effect of the whole is a colorful, musical ride through a fantastical, dark, humorous worlds.

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Lazy Sunday CLXV: More Movies, Part XXIX: Ponty and Portly’s #1 Worst Films

At long last, the retrospective of worst films comes to a close.  Ponty and I are both relieved to have this project done, although I think it was harder on him than me.  My capacity for consuming trash—both filmically and gastrointestinally—is a bit more substantial than his own.  Of course, that just means his biting vitriol is that much better:

Perhaps Ponty and I should host a film festival and screen these two flicks, then see which is worse.  Which would be your pick?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #9: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Ponty has been plugging away at this Top Ten Best Films, and as I predicted, he’s suffering from an embarrassment of riches.  Doing the bad films was difficult in some ways, but if you call a “bad” film wrong, it’s no big deal—no one would watch it, anyway.

Good films, while rarer, are still abundant enough to make the selection process difficult.  Just when you think you have a sense for your list, you’re reminded of some classic that you managed to forget in the depths of your memory hole.

That was my experience when reading Ponty’s #9 pick.  I love this film (which came out when I was in college), but somehow it had slipped my mind for consideration in my own list.  What a fool I was!  As Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote (to paraphrase, since I don’t feel like looking up the exact quotation): “We don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.”  So true!

Well, Ponty did an excellent job reminding me in this impressive review.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead:

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