Below you’ll find a list of my favorite Horror Movies. These are the movies that transcend the genre and best exemplifies this dark realm of film’s potential. Happy Halloween!
-Bone Tomahawk: This movie is intense as all hell. Never before has a western been nearly as scary as this one. The film also gets a nod for having one of the greatest Kurt Russell performances ever.
-The Evil Dead: The series got goofier with each sequel. Those movies are a blast, but don’t match the grit and terror of the original. This is top-tier low-budget horror.
-Green Room: This modern take on the Straw Dogs format really surprised me. I would say it’s one of my favorite movies in general to come out in the last few years. There is something so real and gripping about the relationship director Jeremy Saulnier captures between this group of kids in over their heads and the neo-Nazis who are all too familiar the types of situations on display in this film.
-Nosferatu the Vampyre: Werner Herzog’s remake is both beautiful and incredibly unsettling. Klaus Kinski’s work is much more subdued than in their other collaborations and the result is absolutely chilling.
(Note to readers: the trailers in this post were an aesthetic choice and if you haven’t seen the movie I would HIGHLY recommend taking a pass as its best to go in blind)
Top Ten Horror Movies
It was difficult to not put Green Room in this slot, but I had to give it to Hereditary as it’s the most terrifying movie that has come out in decades. A lot of great horror movies are often referred to as “slow burn”. The original Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be good examples for me while another more modern example would be The Witch. It’s what I was expecting from Hereditary but was instead treated to one unsettling/horrifying moment after another, yet it didn’t feel like the film was stuffing the scares down your throat and instead found a way to subtlety raise the stacks and lead you to one of the greatest finales in horror.
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This and another movie that’s coming up a little further down the list (spoiler alert: Halloween) stand outside the sub-genre they are associated with and instead are nothing short of horror masterpieces. Whereas other “slasher” movies desensitize you with absurd amounts of gore and high kill counts, Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are instead filled to the brim with a feeling of dread throughout and the kind of palpable atmosphere I judge all other horror movies by. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre particularly gets under my skin in an agonizing dinner scene between an innocent protagonist and a family of cannibals.
8. The Vanishing
Not to be confused with the American remake from 1993, The Vanishing is an impeccably crafted film that burrowed into my soul and it has stuck with me ever since. It may be the horror movie that pops into my head most often and that can be unfortunate, to be honest, but its a testament to how truly terrifying this film is. The Vanishing’s villain, Raymond Lemorne, would have to be in the running for the most horrifying/greatest horror villain right along side the iconic Michael Myers for opposite reasons. While Michael (or more appropriately referred to as the Bogeyman or the Shape) is more of an elemental and unstoppable force of pure evil, Raymond feels like one of the most down to earth and realistic villains ever portrayed. It’s a disturbing truth realized in this movie, people like him do exist and who knows where they’re lurking.
Halloween is a timeless horror classic that is as bloodcurdling and scary today as it was 40 years ago. It helps to have such a great lead performance, a villain that is the stuff of your worst nightmares and what is arguably the greatest horror score of all time. Few horror movies match its intensity and of course the countless rip-offs and sequels don’t even come close. There’s something magical to how effective the film is in its beautiful simplicity. The Shape will go on to haunt us for generations to come, but few villains are as haunting as the Bogeyman in Carpenter’s original.
6. The Thing
This is where the list gets really hard to order as The Thing belongs right at the top of any list of not just the best horror movies but also the best sci-fi movies. Modern CGI has nothing on the practical effects in John Carpenter’s masterpiece and one aspect that makes this Carpenter’s greatest achievement is that those effects helped give us the best monster in film, an alien that’s been frozen in Antarctica for years and has been unearthed by a team of researchers. The Thing adapts to survive and can be any one of them. Carpenter makes the most of this premise and then some. The film is a perfect exercise in paranoia that doesn’t let up and lingers long after.
5. Wake in Fright
This is nothing short of one of the most unbelievably unique experiences I’ve ever had with a film. Sweat, booze and violence just oozes out of the screen in this fish out of water story of a vacation gone awry. A mild-mannered schoolteacher, John Grant, finds himself deep in the arid Outback, a town called Bundanyabba, where he surrenders to the mayhem facilitated by “the Yabba’s” distinct brand of locals. The film flawlessly manages to make you feel less like your watching his unravelling and more like you’ve been embroiled in the upheaval yourself. Wake in Fright dynamically and to an astonishing degree conveys the truth of horror in that it doesn’t come from bumps in the night, it can be found in us.
4. Throne of Blood
This meticulously realized epic is one of Kurosawa’s best. It’s an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with samurai and it may not be what the average viewer considers horror, but I couldn’t help myself as it features two of the most frightening sequences in cinema. I’m referring to the scene displayed above where two friends come upon a spirit in the woods and a moment later on in the film where the friend that has been betrayed by Toshiro Mifune’s samurai lord (Washizu), appears to Lord Washizu as a sinister spirit himself. While those moments offer horror atmosphere at its best, the moral degradation at the heart of the film is equally as horrifying.
3. The Shining
And now we come to this, the greatest haunted house story cinema will likely ever offer (sure it’s a hotel, but you know what I mean and I stand by the statement). The Shining, like all my favorite movies by great auteurs, just gets better with repeat viewings. I always appreciate the lack of subtly when it comes to Nicholson’s shift from loving father to deranged killer as a commentary on the Overlook Hotel’s choice of him as vessel to spread its unremitting malevolence. The Overlook may just be my favorite setting in all of film for how it ceases to be inanimate as Kubrick, on a subconscious level, breathes such life and personality into its desolate halls. I am in awe of Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre but The Shining has always been my favorite by him.
I always find myself laughing at a multitude of scenes in David Lynch’s movies (does that meant there’s something wrong with me?!). This can be due to his deliberately divisive decisions as a director, the often off-putting exchanges between his characters or sometimes from nervousness or the shear absurdity. Other times I extensively laugh at movies (and I’ve found this to especially be the case with Lynch) just due to being enamored by the cinematic bliss. In Eraserhead, Lynch finds a way to splice between these feelings of jubilation and some of the most horrific imagery in all of film and it’s this juxtaposition that helps makes Eraserhead one of the most unnerving experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve often heard Eraserhead referred to as, in some way or another, an excursion into a realm of nightmares. I wholeheartedly agree with that, but it also feels like something so much more and what more could you ask for from horror cinema?
1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Twin Peaks as a whole is the pinnacle of story, cinema, and art. This is in no small part due to Twin Peaks’ only movie: a sometimes visceral, shocking and awe-inspiring dive back into an ever-growing epic Lynch had every intention to build upon. Leave it to David Lynch to top and offer an experience even more harrowing than Eraserhead. The film is dazzling and utterly foundational in its establishment of a certain blue rose and a glimpse into the cosmic horror elements with a meeting above a convenience store. And then we come to the true horror of the piece, getting a deeper understanding of the reason this mystery came about, Laura Palmer and the events leading up to her death. We become entangled in her being and in what really happened to her. The result is a film that becomes ingrained in you and is nothing short of the greatest horror in cinema.
Yes, yes I know, you don’t have to tell me. Paper Mario isn’t a movie and this is a site called “MoviesFilmsMotionPictures”. Well, I love a great movie, it’s my favorite art form and my favorite form of storytelling. However, how could I not love a great story in general? So here it is a list that has nothing to do with the art of film, this is a top ten list dedicated another favorite story of mine and far and away to greatest video game I’ll ever experience. I’ve always had a fascination with mario games, but no mario game and no game for that matter came close to the relationship I had with Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I love movies, but not even a movie would’ve done the tale of Paper Mario justice. Anyways, here it is, my favorite chapters of the greatest Mario story ever told…
10. The Mystery of Dry Dry Ruins
Whereas Storming the Koopa Bros. Fortress works as a fantastic introductory chapter to what you’re about to get into, it pales in comparison to exploring for the next Star Spirit. It’s easy to forget about Tutankoopa and the trials in his ruins being that its only the second chapter in the greatest Mario story, I always found this second chapter completely memorable. The Koopa Bros. Fortress is awesome, but you don’t get the epic tone of the game until those ruins reveal themselves.
9. The Key to Pirates
Whereas I could understand why someone might complain that The Thousand-Year Door doesn’t evolve much from the original, the reason I love The Thousand-Year Door is because its so similar, it’s the little differences that make it such a perfect sequel. It’ s a whole new adventure maybe even more epic but it still pays homage to its predecessor. Both chapter 5’s take you to an island, exploring a volcano in the original is a blast and it just missed this list. It couldn’t beat out this swashbuckling quest for Cortez’s legendary treasure at Keelhaul Key.
8. For Pigs the Bell Tolls
With fond memories of Tubba Blubba and Bow’s mansion, upon entering Twilight Town how could I not be ecstatic about the prospect of another haunted chapter. For Pigs the Bell Tolls and its strange plot of some sort of monster turning the townspeople into pigs is enthralling. Even though its not particularly challenging and it does involve a fair amount of backtracking it still makes for one of the most memorable Paper Mario chapters mainly because of one of the greatest characters in the series, Doopliss, oops spoiler alert, but hey you can’t tell him his/her name after finding that P anyways.
7. 3 Days of Excess
Paper Mario is my favorite game and one of the reasons The Thousand-Year Door is a close second is because of its similarities but also because the individual chapters of the sequel are so incredibly different in tone and playability and that comes into full force in this sixth and brilliant chapter in which you simply take a three day train ride. Where that might not sound incredibly exciting, it is just the opposite, with its unexpected boss, Riverside Station and the mystery of it all.
6. A Star-Powered Showdown
There’s no video game experience quite like Paper Mario and it all leads to this. You’ve seen Boo’s Mansion’s and fortress’ in the realm of Mario but it’s just not quite as detailed, fun or captivating as exploring the realm of Paper Mario, but now you have all seven star spirits and it’s time to venture into the dark halls of Bowser’s Castle which is in the clouds and directly under peach’s castle where your love is being held captive. The final chapter has everything from awesome puzzles, an epic final battle and even a final appearance from my favorite Paper Mario character, the relentless Jr. Troopa.
5. The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario is the perfect game in my eyes and we can all forget about The Great Boggly Tree and I’ll say that so is The Thousand-Year Door. I’d have to give it to the original, but the ending of the sequel is even greater than the Star-Powered showdown in the first. After seven completely distinct adventures to obtain seven magical crystal stars, each giving you a powerful new ability, you have to go on one final and grueling adventure using the crystal stars as a key to open the titular Thousand-Year Door and traverse the mysterious Palace of Shadow. The chapter doesn’t disappoint and actually exceeds expectations with not one, but five boss battles. Maybe it sounds excessive but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. Of Glitz and Glory
When I first conceived this list, Of Glitz and Glory was a little higher. I got to thinking and I just couldn’t put it in the top three so here this miracle of a chapter stands. It’s hard to put it at four but there was no other way, this is where my favorite Thousand-Year Door chapter stands. Every Paper Mario chapter has its own feel, but 3 Days of Excess and Of Glitz and Glory may feel the most unique. Fighting your way to the belt is one thing, but past a certain point you find that the Crystal Star on the belt is a fake and there’s something fishier going on with the Crystal Star than just using it as a champion’s trophy.
3. The “Invincible” Tubba Blubba
Well you’ve stormed the Koopa Bros. Fortress, you’ve ventured through the Dry Dry Ruins and it’s time to find that third star spirit and boy are you ready cause those last two chapters were a cake walk, Bowser personally calls the Koopa Bros. and Tutankoopa “wimps”. The next challenge you must face appears to be much more overwhelming as the chapter itself is titled “The “Invincible” Tubba Blubba”. Crazy as it seems, you find out half way through the chapter that Tubba Blubba lost the Star Spirit he was supposed to be protecting for Bowser. Regardless, you still have to face off against the Boo-eating fiend if you want Skolar, the Star Spirit in a cage at the mansion owned by your new friend and partner, an assertive and confident Boo by the name of Bow.
2. Dark Days in Flower Fields
Of all the miraculous lands you venture to in the realm of Paper Mario, none are as beautiful and majestic as the world of Flower Fields. And while no level sounds as cheery and happy, no chapter feels as dark. Atmosphere and music are two of the many reasons I love Paper Mario and never is the music and feel of a chapter as riveting as Dark Days in Flower Fields. While some chapters have you searching high and low for a Star Spirit or a Crystal Star, some chapters have you playing the hero, taking down Tubba Blubba for helpless Boo’s, helping Twilight Town with the bell-tolling menace Doopliss, but no task feels as daunting or important as saving Flower Fields from the thunderous clutches of the evil cloud Huff n Puff.
1. A Star Spirit on Ice
The premise of Paper Mario lies in the power of the Star Rod and its protector’s the Star Spirits, unfortunately they weren’t able to protect it for long as Bowser sneaks in and steals the Star Rod, making Bowser himself nearly unstoppable.In the beginning you’re introduced to the mechanics of the game when Bowser trounces you with his new found power, only a truly epic journey can prepare you for one final showdown with the princess-stealing basterd, that and all seven Star Spirits.
Only with the power of the seven Star Spirits can Bowser’s power be matched, and with this seventh chapter of the greatest Mario story ever told only one Star Spirit remains. No other chapter feels as full or engrossing. Before you can enter a hidden passage for Shiver Summit and make for the doors of the terrifying Crystal Palace, you must find a scarf and a bucket, the scarf is one thing, but there’s no way of getting the bucket without solving a murder mystery. Then, upon entering the Crystal Palace you realize the mystery has only just begun. This hall of trap doors, mirrors and lies leads to the greatest Boss battle in the series, none other than the Crystal King. Six chapters have passed, six star spirits have been collected and yet this still feels more so than any other chapter, like a Paper Mario chapter, I love it the more I play it, just like the game.
Not too long ago I posted this: Greatest Show Ever. Even more recently I posted this: Top Ten Breaking Bad Episodes. And I’ll just throw this in for fun: Top Ten Breaking Bad Characters. If I can take one lesson away from Breaking Bad it is that things change. I’ve changed since these posts. I’ve changed into someone who whole heartedly believes the next 25 Breaking Bad Episodes are the greatest Breaking Bad episodes. I’ve also changed into someone who believes Breaking Bad is the greatest television show, a show I would consider the second greatest story and piece of art ever created. Number 1 being The Dark Knight Legend. Here they are, my favorite Breaking Bad episodes.
25. End Times
As with many titles to Breaking Bad episodes, “End Times” had a very fitting title. The episode felt like a finale to a season or even a series which is quite the feat when the episode has to lead into one of the greatest season finale’s in existence. Not to mention it had to follow in the footsteps of “Crawl Space”. Essentially all of season four offers edge-of-your-seat tension. “End Times” fortifies that tension in spectacular fashion.
24. To’ hajiilee
I might as well say this now, Breaking Bad essentially managed to get better as it progressed and season 5 is without a doubt my favorite season. After the end of the first eight episodes it was hard to imagine what would happen next, how would it all come to a close? Well the initial response was “Blood Money” so they had no intention of cooling down. “To’ hajiilee” is an explosion of an episode, an episode in which Heisenberg gives himself up to his brother in law ASAC Schrader. What could possibly happen next?
23. …And the Bag’s in the River
Breaking Bad has this uncanny ability to surprise. Those surprises began with The “Pilot” and ended with “Felina”, but I don’t know who saw this third episode coming. Breaking Bad begins with quite the bang and that includes this third episode in which a dark drama plays out in a dark, drab basement. This episode marks Walter White catching a glimpse at exactly the kind of man he would have to be in meth business…now just wait for the empire business.
Effective, emotive, pivotal and enthralling to its final seconds. This is the episode season four needed and Gus deserved. Season Four is classic Breaking Bad, but Hermanos is the episode that stepped it up into levels we can all but expect from the beauty that is Breaking Bad. Gustavo Fring gets a bit less mysterious and just before the story of season four is wrapping up, an impeccable picture begins to take form.
21. Crazy Handful of Nothin’
In some ways I do agree with Bryan Cranston who says that Walter White broke bad. However, what I truly believes that Walter White broke bad in Season 1 Episode 5 “Gray Matter”, but even that episode was topped with episode six, the birth of Heisenberg. With every episode you can never forget to expect the unexpected. This episode is just a reminder that season 1 should be held on par with every other meticulously plotted season. I couldn’t imagine my favorite show beginning any other way.
20. 4 Days Out
Breaking Bad is one of the most emotionally jarring experiences or stories that will ever be told. “4 Days Out” is one of the finest exemplifications of how wild of an emotional roller coaster just a single episode of this show can be. It’s still pretty early for Breaking Bad so most at this point will be rooting for Walt, this father whose made bad decisions, but for the “right reasons” and to see him in this last ditch effort for his family before he gets what he expects to be bad news is rather enthralling. The episode becomes even more exciting as we see Heisenberg in a very tight corner, but its the end that makes this episode easily one of the greats.
“Phoenix” is without a doubt one of the most draining episodes to watch. It begins with the reveal that yes Walter White missed the birth of his baby daughter whom he won’t be able to see grow up either in order to finalize his largest drug deal yet. Now if that wasn’t enough, pace slows for a bit even offering some idle, but pertinent, conversation at a bar only to be followed by the final scene of the episode and arguably the darkest moment in the history of Breaking Bad.
18. Blood Money
This was the episode that was to follow one of the greatest cliffhangers in television history. At the beginning of “Blood Money” is a Walter White we thought we might never see, a retired man. Could this evil basterd actually get away with it and live a normal life? Not likely. Cranston should be endlessly praised for his portrayal of Walter White, but he’s not only one of the greatest actors in existence. He’s also quite the director and this is the greatest Breaking Bad episode he’ll ever direct. It’s a flawless follow up to the first eight, but its the episode’s final moments that takes this one to new heights.
I debated this for a while as I’m such a huge fan of not only “Phoenix”, but “4 Days Out” as well. I finally conceded that “Over” is my favorite episode of Breaking Bad’s taut and thrilling second season. This was the follow up to the fabulous ending of “4 Days Out” in which Walt explodes in anger because he gets what should be good news and realizes he won’t be dying as early and as conveniently as he might’ve hoped. In “Over” Walt decides he’s done, he’s out of the business, but by the end embraces the man he’s transforming into. It’s a truly flawless hour of television.
With every passing moment of Breaking Bad, it’s hard not to recognize the beautiful story progression in each episode. Rian Johnson’s first Breaking Bad episode doesn’t offer much by way of story, for its an entire episode in which Jesse and Walt attempt to kill a fly in their new super lab. Everyone has their own interpretation as to what this episode means to the overarching Breaking Bad canon, but love it or hate it, it’s one of Breaking Bad’s finest hours if only for Johnson’s beautiful direction.
15. Live Free or Die
The cold open of “Blood Money” is similar to the cold open of “Live Free or Die” in the way they both remind you that the end is near. While I love the “Blood Money” cold open, it just didn’t elicit the same excitement that the first scene of Breaking Bad’s fifth, final and greatest season did. The episode then proceeds to tie up loose ends and end with three beautifully crafted scenes that clue you in on exactly the kind of Walter White we can expect in this season, one to be feared.
14. Crawl Space
Season 4 is winding down, but it sure ain’t slowing down. There are three episodes left of the season and that means this deadly game of chess between Gustavo Fring and Walter White has to come to a close. Heisenberg has ingeniously overcome many obstacles, but Walter White hasn’t yet been painted into a corner quite like this and it’s when we’re backed into a corner when we find out who we really are.
13. One Minute
Hank Schrader is one hell of a hero, he’s a brilliant cop to Walt’s criminal mastermind and in “One Minute” Hank may have lost his way a bit and is “unraveling” as he puts it, but that doesn’t stop him from kicking ass in the end. Breaking Bad keeps you guessing and before watching the episode, part of me was expecting to watch the death of Hank Schrader. What I got was a triumphant Hank and the beautiful reestablishment of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman as partners.
12. Granite State
Breaking Bad’s penultimate episode was bittersweet as most are considering after it’s over there’s only one episode left . Watching Walter White as a lonely, frail and dying man gave me this feeling of unrelenting sadness. Walter White is a winner, I mean sure he transforms into one of the most depraved and malevolent characters to ever exist, but this is a man who is good at what he does, but in Granite State we’re watching a man who has given up. When I saw the final shot of the episode (pictured above) I was no longer sad, I was overcome with a feeling of excitement, I couldn’t wait to see how they would bring my favorite television show to a close.
When Vince Gilligan crafted the first episode for what would become one of the greatest stories ever told he wasn’t aware that what would follow would be 61 relentlessly breathtaking episodes. As a result, the Pilot of Breaking Bad, fittingly on the DVD titled “Breaking Bad”, didn’t just feel like the first episode of television series, it felt like fifty minute movie. You watch an episode from later seasons and you’re watching a completely different man than the one you’re watching in this first episode, but where as Walt’s moral code deteriorates as the show progresses, its hard not to recognize in this first episode that Walter White always had a piece of Heisenberg in him.
10. Full Measure
I come to expect a lot out of a season finale. This is especially the case when it comes to Breaking Bad and when it came to “Full Measure” how could I not expect a lot when this was to be not just the end of Season 3, but the follow-up to one of the greatest hours of television ever made. “Full Measure” exceeded any expectations beautifully setting up a fourth season in which criminal masterminds Walter White and Gustavo Fring are sworn enemies. Season 3 offers some of the best of Breaking Bad and that is mostly in part due to the final two episodes.
9. Dead Freight
I don’t know if there was any episode up to this point that was as hard hitting as this one and on repeat viewings, my heart-rate is still jacked and not because of the tense train robbery, but the final seconds that leave you breathless. Breaking Bad is never afraid to take Walter to new lows and show just how black dark can be and the end of this episode is terrifying. Jesse’s reaction is to be expected and at this point so is Walter’s, emotionless, a complete lack of any empathy for the child whose death could’ve easily been prevented if Walter hadn’t felt the need to once again cook meth and subsequently rob a train.
The appropriately titled “Confessions” opens with Todd professing to his compadres, his hand in the classic Breaking Bad train robbery begging the question of whether or not he’ll reveal the tragic aftermath in which he murdered a child. The cold open also serves as a reminder that these careless and dangerous neo-nazis still have a part to play in all this. Walt then ingeniously finds a way to get Hank to back off and then by the end when Walt thinks he’s in the clear, Jesse Pinkman, who had his suspicions, finally realizes exactly how evil his former partner is. The episode is full to the brim with important and memorable moments and by the end I was salivating for more.
7. Face Off
In “Face Off”, Season 4 and Walter White and Gustavo Fring’s deadly game of chess comes to an explosive finish as Walt makes his final and fatal move. If it wasn’t Gus it would’ve been Walter White and Walter White’s story wouldn’t come to an end until the end of another fifth and final television season so it had to be Gus. He came a long way and it all led to this episode, this moment in which we’d see the death of Gustavo Fring, the scene is pure cinematic bliss. Gilligan is in top form writing and directing this beautiful episode, but what really takes the cake is the final shot in which we see the line Walter had to cross in order to “win”, a point of no return.
If there was any Walter White left, he died with Drew Sharp leaving only the methodical and malevolent Heisenberg. In my favorite season of Breaking Bad, the final season, we witness the rise and fall of Walter White. In one of the all time greats, “Buyout” offers an uncompromising look into Walter White. Whereas child murder is where Mike and Jesse draw the line, that and they’ll be able to get out of the business with no less than $5 million each. Nothing will stand in Walter’s way however, he’s only getting started.
5. Gliding Over All
I don’t know if there is a greater way imaginable to end the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season. If seeing Walt dispose of 10 witnesses in a gruesome 2-minute prison killing spree wasn’t enough, just wait until Tommy James and the Shondells’ Crystal Blue Persuasion starts. We literally watch as Walter White’s empire flourishes to the point of boredom. There’s no opposing force anymore, no thrills, he has the power and he’s enjoyed the ride, but by the end after Skyler’s last ditch effort, Walt realizes it’s time. He’s out, but little does he know, it won’t be that simple. Cue what may be the greatest bathroom scene ever.
4. Half Measures
Before seeing Half Measures, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to say with certainty what my favorite episode of Breaking Bad was. After Half Measures, I knew. It still remains one of Breaking Bad’s finest hours and one of the reasons Season 3 works so perfectly right there in the middle. I don’t know if I could name my top ten scenes from Breaking Bad off the top of my head, I’d have to put some thought into it, but I know you’d find Mike’s “Half Measures” speech right in the top five. The episode practically tops itself with each passing moment and no matter how many times you view it, the episode and the end just never fails to level you.
No matter what season or particular episodes of Breaking Bad you are personally drawn to, it’s hard to deny the magnitude of this the third to last episode of Breaking Bad harmoniously titled “Ozymandias”. Witness the fall of Heisenberg’s “empire”. When Vince Gilligan hired Rian Johnson to direct this episode I have to believe he was looking for perfection, I can also make a safe bet that when he saw the completed episode his expectations were exceeded.
“Ozymandias” is made complete with some of the most prominent and defining moments of all Breaking Bad from the death of Hank Schrader to Walter Jr. finding out the truth about his father and it’s not that the episode was chock full of these pulse-pounding moments, it’s that they were executed flawlessly. I don’t know if there was ever a more haunting moment in the show then seeing Jesse as a meth cooking slave, but then I saw Walt run away with that innocent child. “Ozymandias” is one of the best and it’s given even more resonance with the brilliantly contrasted phone calls.
2. Say My Name
I didn’t end up watching Breaking Bad until around mid-season 4, but I was lucky enough to catch season 5 live. When I saw “Say My Name” live there was no question that what I had just watched was the greatest episode yet of Breaking Bad. If you’re looking for the pinnacle, the climax of the story of one man’s transformation then look no further than “Say My Name”. Never has Walter White been more consumed by his own depravity. No matter the obstacles and antagonists our protagonist faces, Walter White is both the hero and the villain.
Breaking Bad is a story humans, in particular a man and all life has this tendency to change. This is Walter White’s lowest point, never has he been dragged so far into the depths of madness and cruelty. We’ve watched five seasons as Walt has made inconceivable, unforgivably, sadistic choices, but never like this. They’ve never been made for no reason other than pure, blind hate. Walter White is my favorite fictional character and “Say My Name” may be the most beautifully articulated piece to his character arc.
Breaking Bad is one of the greatest stories ever told and one of the most beautiful pieces art that will ever be created. As sad as it may be, stories have to end. It’s not sad at all really. Breaking Bad couldn’t last forever and I could not fathom five seasons with a beginning middle and end blowing me away quite like Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad. It’s truly amazing everyone behind and in front of the camera was able consistently add to and craft a single story that not only kept me engaged, but blew me away with every episode.
It’s not as if every episode was better than the last, Breaking Bad wouldn’t be the masterpiece it is if that were the case. It needed it’s high points and low points, it allowed you to take a breath for moment and ponder before exploding in your face. I didn’t have to see the last 8 episodes of Season 5 and of the series to know that my favorite season was season 5. The first eight blew me away, but little did I know the last eight would would top even those.
“Felina”, the final episode of Breaking Bad, is my favorite hour of television. When “Felina” ended and my jaw was to the floor, I didn’t sit there and recall what a phenomenal episode I had just watched. Breaking Bad’s series finale did for me what all series finales should, it elicited a feeling love not just for an episode, but for an entire series, a story, a life. If I was told that Walter White would die before I saw this episode, any expectations I would’ve had for this ending would have been completely exceeded. This is the ending Breaking Bad and any appreciator of its greatness deserved and nothing short of it.
In a way “Felina” didn’t feel like a Breaking Bad episode. This was very fitting because Breaking Bad, like the characters who drive it, is constantly changing and this wasn’t just any Breaking Bad episode, this was the last Breaking Bad episode. It was beautifully subdued, more melancholy and awe-inspiring. It felt like an end and even the characters knew it. Now this is not the redemption of Walter White. He’s too far gone and he realizes that, by now he’s come to terms with that and the man he’s become. In this self-reflective final hour, Walter White is beautifully humanized. Walter White is not the monster Breaking Bad has been crafting all along, he’s not the devil, he’s a man, a man who has the ability to make the right choice, a man who can tell the truth, a man who can die. Breaking Bad will forever be one of my favorite stories and it wouldn’t be the mesmerizing masterpiece it is if it didn’t come to an end.
Before beginning a list, I always have an idea of what a direction a list will go and I was hesitant to start this one because I thought the list would just be too full of PIxar movies and I already have a list of Top Ten Pixar Movies. I was wrong. I mean of course you’ll find some Pixar movies on this list, but I never quite understood how much some of these movies meant to me until I put them up against each other. Naturally, nostalgia plays a part in the creation of these lists, but even more so with this list. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know which of your favorites didn’t make the cut…
10. A Bug’s Life
Before making this list, I never would’ve imagined making this list without A Bug’s Life. It saddens me that it had to be placed in the tenth slot, but the list couldn’t have been made any other way. In the world of Pixar, long before a fish searched for his son and a robot fell in love, there was a story of bugs standing up for what’s right against other bugs. I may have seen A Bug’s Life more than any other Pixar movie. It never gets old.
9. Treasure Planet
I loved disney movies growing up from Mulan to Hercules and even more so, classics like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Treasure Planet is actually one of the biggest box-office bombs, but I was in that theater when it came out and few animated movies have touched me the way Treasure Planet has. I wonder if it would’ve been as powerful to me had I known the story of Treasure Island prior to my first viewing.
I have just begun my excursion in the gorgeous world of Studio Ghibli. Ponyo isn’t my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but it is the most visually beautiful. Hayao Miyazaki astounds with the worlds he creates and the stories he tells. I was in disbelief at just how magical of a movie I was watching while appreciating Ponyo, a simple story about the love between a boy and a fish.
Up is a Pixar movie that speaks for itself, I mean just watch the first fifteen minutes. Love is a theme that has and will always be delved into, but how often does the relationship at the heart of a story begin and end in the first sequence of a film? Not that Up’s unique structure is the reason it’s so great, watch the rest of the escapades of Carl Fredricksen and his new found friends, you’ll see.
6. Howl’s Moving Castle
Not only is Howl’s Moving Castle one of the most unbelievably breathtaking animated movies, it’s one of the greatest fantasy films I’ve had the pleasure to be swept away by. Hayao Miyazaki is a revolutionary storyteller and you just never know what to expect with each passing frame of Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s one hell of a ride getting there, but it’s not until the end when it can be realized just how beautiful of a movie Howl’s Moving Castle is.
5. Toy Story Trilogy
Pixar is responsible for some of the greatest and most well-known animated features ever. Arguably, their greatest feat were the Toy Story films. Toy Story was the first Pixar film and it’s hard not to be leveled by the characters and the creativity behind it all. The trilogy as a whole is another story with the fabulous sequel and the best film in the series, Toy Story 3. I’ve heard talk of another Toy Story and I couldn’t be more disappointed. The trilogy is perfect as it is.
4. The Lion King
The Lion King is such a large part of my childhood and in fact the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I could completely understand anyone putting The Lion King at slot number 1, but this is where it had to fall for me. From beginning to end, The Lion King is dazzling every time. Watch the beginning, let Circle of Life flow through me, then when that title explodes on the screen you’ll be craving the majesty that is the rest of the movie.
WALL-E tells the story of one lonely robot’s search for love. I said early that you could argue that the Toy Story trilogy is Pixar’s greatest feat, well you could argue anything. WALL-E is far and away my favorite PIxar film and one of the greatest animated features that will ever be made. Even though it’s a science-fiction film that takes place hundreds of years in the future, there’s still this palpable reality to the film, WALL-E is unbelievably human, its impossible not to fall for him. WALL-E is one of the greatest films about the power of undying love ever created.
2. The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is actually the movie that inspired the creation of this list. I had seen it a long time ago and it never really stuck with me, I didn’t remember it at all and seeing it again recently opened my eyes. For The Iron Giant is one of the more moving films ever made. Never have a seen such a glorious depiction of life and death in a children’s film. It’s inspiring, it’s funny, it’s beautifully crafted and it’s an understated masterpiece. I can’t wait to watch it a million more times. The story of young Hogarth and his Iron Giant is a film I can’t wait to watch with my own children one day.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
There is no film that I have viewed more times than The Nightmare Before Christmas and I’ll keep going back to it because I love it to this day. It’s the first film I truly loved and I will continue to love to it. As a child I would dance around my house and sing Jack’s Lament and What’s This?, etc. I would watch the film daily. Film is a form of escape, and the world of The Nightmare Before Christmas is the world I wanted to escape to over and over again.
So, why? Well, maybe there was something appealing about ghosts and monsters under the bed, about a skeleton who could “take off his head” as the hero. There was something different to this world and these creatures, a twisted beauty to the idea that a werewolf or a skeleton could have his own character traits, could be sad, could feel, could love. To this day, it’s one of the most magical movies I’ll ever see. The Nightmare Before Christmas is the animated masterpiece.
Alright, I think it’s finally time I made this list. A while back I made a list of my Top Ten Movie Gun Fights, but now it’s time for my list of the greatest fights in film. By fights I mean anything other than guns, whether that be swords, bats, rocks, or yes, fists. For most of the fights I tried to keep it to mano a mano, but I made some exceptions I felt I needed to. I also tried to keep it so a film could only make the list once even though things would slightly change otherwise. I wanted to make a definitive list that shows exactly how I feel about fights in film. These are the ones I love…
10. Oh Dae-Suh vs. Henchmen (Oldboy)
In a work of tour de-force filmmaking, Chan-wook Park crafts one of the greatest fights in film. Our protagonist on a gritty journey of vengeance is trapped in a tight hallway with a number of heavily armed henchmen whom he does battle with single handedly. The camera never takes it’s eye off the action and never changes it’s shot as we venture down the hall through all the carnage. It quenches blood thirst and showcases truly great filmmaking.
9. Jake LaMotta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson (Raging Bull)
Raging Bull is Martin Scorsese’s raw and brutal masterpiece of man, a boxer no less. Where his violent tendencies are helpful in the ring, the same can’t be said about his life outside of what he was born to do. The greatest scene in the film takes place between the protagonist Jake LaMotta and his boxing rival Sugar Ray Robinson. In their final fight Robinson may be announced the winner, but after seeing this brilliant scene, I leave it up to you. Who really won?
8. Rick Deckard vs. Roy Batty (Blade Runner)
Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner who loses his gun and falls prey to the powerful and philosophical replicant, Roy Batty. Roy toys wit him the whole time before showing him the value of life. Who is Deckard to take it away? What makes a human a human? Roy delves into this after proving his worth over Deckard’s. Their final meeting in the rain on the rooftops is what makes Blade Runner the glorious and profound masterpiece that it is.
7. Maximus vs. Commodus (Gladiator)
Gladiator takes it’s viewers on one of the most epic and satisfying journeys ever filmed. We follow Roman General Maximus as he falls into slavery eventually making his way into the Colosseum as gladiator. The climax of Maximus’ beautiful quest comes in form of a sword fight between the heroic gladiator, Maximus and the pretentious scum that is the Emperor of Rome, Commodus. It’s impossible not to love Maximus and hate Commodus. To see them finally clash swords is breathtaking.
6. King Kong vs. T-Rex (King Kong)
In order to protect Ann Darrow, the mighty Kong does battle with a troupe of ferocious T-Rex. This is just a beautiful realization of the magic of movies. We feel for this giant ape and his character, he’s a protector here and we root for this mighty beast to conquer over these flesh-craving fiends. The scene is just awesome. It grabs hold of you and puts you in that theater again as a kid, a kid just sitting back and taking it all in. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is an unspoken epic and this moment is a testament to its excellence.
5. Arthur vs. Projections (Inception)
Inception is one of the most memorable and fascinating movies ever made. You’d be hard pressed to find a moment in the film as memorable as the now classic hallway scene. Arthur is left to fend for himself in the second level of dreams and he’s very able to hold his own against Fisher’s trained projections. Fighting becomes an interesting task when you’re not only fighting on the ground, but on the ceiling, the walls and in the air. Christopher Nolan holds no punches in his reality-bending, science fiction masterpiece.
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
The Star Wars saga doesn’t particularly hold a special place in my heart. I enjoy Star Wars and I always will, but I’ll always be more of a Lord of the Rings man myself. My favorite Star Wars movie is actually Revenge of the Sith and the reason is this scene. This is far and away the greatest lightsaber fight ever filmed. Not only is it an extravagant action scene that thrills with every passing second, it also has the emotional gravity. This is a master and an apprentice fighting for their lives. It was all leading to this and the spectacular scene makes Revenge of the Sith the only redeeming quality of the atrocious new trilogy.
3. Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins)
Like slot number four, this scene also follows a fight between a master and an apprentice, but it’s far more beautiful here. Ra’s Al Ghul is personally responsible for the training of the warrior that would become Batman. Ghul believes in a less merciful brand of justice than Batman does and their differences lead them to a train and the greatest scene in Batman Begins. Ra’s Al Ghul is a fantastic character and the relationship between him and Batman is established flawlessly. It all culminates to their final confrontation and it is miraculous.
2. The Bride vs. Bill (Kill Bill)
Kill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s perfectly epic, blood-soaked and gorgeous tale of revenge. There is one thing that our protagonist needs and it’s in the title of the movie. A bloodlust drives our deadly hero and she will stop at nothing to accomplish her goal. As I said before I didn’t want to use two different fights from the same movie and take up two spots. If I had I certainly would’ve had the Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves on this list, but it’s basically just tied for the second slot of the greatest fights in film with the fight the entirety of the four-hour epic is leading to, The Bride’s confrontation with Bill. Like all brilliant Tarantino scenes, tension is built through dialogue and the payoff is extraordinary.
1. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
There are two fights between Batman and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises that exemplify the war that is waged between these two titans throughout the entire movie. The two fights themselves represent the two greatest fights in film. If I had to pick one, I’d lean towards the beautiful war in the snow in which the stakes are made clear and hope triumphs over despair. Don’t get me wrong however, the scene in which Bane breaks the Bat far surpasses any movie fight I’ve seen, but as I said I would I choose one. Their first encounter is drawn out and brutal as Bane inflicts as much pain and damage on Batman as he can before literally breaking him (physically and mentally). When Batman conquers over Bane in the end, Batman doesn’t have that time. It’s a battle of efficiency and realism. Batman has faced this monster of a man before, he’s gone through a journey since and it’s the result of this fight that decides the fate of Gotham. It’s the greatest fight in all of film.