To celebrate the release of Super 8, we have unveiled the catchily titled list you see before you. It’s completely subjective, but it’s also 100% right.
To pare down the possible choices a little bit, let’s begin by laying down a few arbitrary ground rules;
- Sequels don’t count – the whole first half of the list would consist of Toy Story II and III, Terminator II, Godfather II and III. Boring!
- Years don’t count – not sure why, just feels wrong. For this reason, 2001: A Space Odyssey is conspicuously absent, as is 2012.
- Ordinal numbers don’t count – first, second, third etc. Hence The Third Man, The Sixth Sense, and The Fifth Element are not in this list.
On with the show!
A controversial entry, 300 is hated and loved in equal measure. But forget the haters, for they don’t understand the beauty of this film. Taking what Sin City did and turning every knob to eleven, 300 was both a surprisingly strict and faithful representation of the graphic novel and also a moving cinematic event. Love it or hate it, it’s a film to be admired.
9. The 40 Year Old Virgin
The only straight comedy on this list and one of the most crass and vulgar films of all time, The 40 Year Old Virgin somehow also managed to be touching and affectionate, in a strictly male way. Worth watching just for the ‘You know how I know you’re gay?’ scene, the film started Judd Apatow’s stratospheric success in the movie world and made Steve Carell a bona-fide comedic lead.
8. 101 Dalmatians
As one Disney’s most enduring movies, 101 Dalmatians introduced the world to Cruella de Vil and went onto make millions upon millions of dollars, through various remakes and live-action spin-offs. The most famous of these is the 1996 live-action remake, which features Glenn Close’s scariest role to date. Forget boiling bunnies, in this she is pure evil.
7. The 39 Steps
Hitchcock’s classic ‘wrong man’ thriller, and one of his earliest films, shows the big man himself showing that, even then, he was a master film-maker. Tense, wonderful, and genuinely surprising, the film is a treat from another era.
6. 13 Tzameti
Perhaps the best Georgian film of all time, and set to be remade starring Ray Winstone and 50 Cent, 13 Tzameti is the story of a poor immigrant worker who, through promises of money, takes part in a series of twisted games held by a mysterious and powerful criminal. See it now so you can crow to your friends about how much better the original was!
5. 21 Grams
An elliptical, non-linear story about a single, devastating event that brings together three separate people in the worst way possible, and shows the aftermath that this chaotic event has on each of their lives. The director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s second film after Amores Perros, it was nominated for two Oscars and he went on to make Babel and Biutiful.
4. Ocean’s 11
The only remake on the list, Ocean’s 11 is every male fantasy in one neatly packaged product – casino heists by wise-cracking criminals, all in the city of sin. Enormously popular on release due in no small part to George Clooney and Brad Pitt (what is it with Pitt and films with numbers in the title? Is he their patron saint?) and the rest of the cast obviously having as much fun off-screen as on. The fun in this film is infectious and it’s impossible not to get carried away.
3. 28 Days Later
The film that reinvented the zombie genre and ignited the tedious ‘fast vs. slow’ debate in horror circles, Danny Boyle’s low-budget, digitally shot third film was a surprise blockbuster smash and influenced a whole new generation of horror directors.
2. District 9
The new high watermark for films about aliens, District 9 astonished audiences and gained four Oscar nominations with its photo-realism and portrayal of a side of Africa that audiences don’t often see. It’s an engaging watch with a captivating central performance from Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe, the bureaucrat sucked into a literally alien world.
Parodied again and again, Se7en is the archetype that all other chase/crime films must follow. Kevin Spacey is completely convincing as the blood-curdling John Doe, and Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s Mills and Somerset are a surprisingly great pairing. Also featuring one of the greatest end sequences in history – if it hasn’t already been spoilt for you – the whole film is just amazing.
Don’t agree with the list? Tough! Write your own!