Top Ten Movie Friendships

This is a list I was just recently inspired to make. Once I got started, there were many options, but it wasn’t actually too difficult of a list to make. I realized very early on that this wasn’t just a list of the closest friends in film, it was a list of my favorite friendships in film and what they meant to their stories as a whole. It was interesting to also look at each individual character and the part they played in the friendship. It was fun list and I hope you enjoy.

10. The Dude and Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski)

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski and Walter Sobchak are two loyal buddies who enjoy conversation, each other’s company and bowling. The Big Lebowski is my favorite comedy and the two main characters are great friends, but part of the hilarity comes from the fact that The Dude and Walter contradict each other so much. The Dude is the chillest of chill, he let’s things slide and lazes around without a care in the world, while Walter is a Vietnam veteran prone to screaming and pulling out his “piece”.

9. Billy Bickle and Hans Kieslowski (Seven Psychopaths)

If you didn’t get the chance to catch Martin McDonagh’s masterpiece, Seven Psychopaths, I’d get on that. Yes, Marty and Billy Bickle are best friends and to watch Billy violently attempt to inspire Martin to finish his most recent screenplay is thrilling. However, in this story about stories, the friendship that offers the juiciest inspiration to Martin’s story is one between Billy and the wise and mysterious, Hans. Hans takes life as it comes whereas Billy has plans to tell his story how he sees fit.

8. R. P. McMurphy and Chief Bromden (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

One Flew OVer the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the greatest movies ever made and the more interesting relationship involved is one between a hero and a villain. However, there are some great friendships formed in the film and the most beautiful of all is the friendship between the free-spirited Randle Patrick McMurphy and quiet Chief Bromden. Chief Bromden is the patient affected most by McMurphy’s will to stand up against the oppressive Nurse Ratched. The friendships leads to one of the greatest endings in film.

7. Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin (The Social Network)

The Social Network is a generation-defining masterpiece and it’s not about Facebook. It uses Facebook and this internet age we live in to tell a timeless tale of people and their nature. At the heart of this extraordinary film is a friendship that exemplifies betrayal. “I was your only friend. You had one friend.” Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were best friends at Harvard University before the multi-billion dollar company, Facebook, got involved. Eduardo is merely “left behind” in the wake of Mark’s rise.

6. Aidan and Woodrow (Bellflower)

Insipered by Mad Max, Aidan and Woodrow are two best friends who aimlessly spend their days making flamethrowers and bad ass cars for their post-apocalyptic gang, Mother Medusa. The only problem is that the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet so until then they’ll seemingly spend their days drinking, hanging and preparing. That is until a girl makes her way into the picture. Aidan is one of the most loyal friends in film. He’ll do anything for his best friend. It’s too bad I can’t say the same about the adolescent antihero, Woodrow.

5. Andy Dufresne and Red (The Shawshank Redemption)

I’ve never personally met a single person who wasn’t moved by the beautiful movie that is The Shawshank Redemption. It’s a stupendous film hardships, hope and the saving grace of friendship. The two friends at the center of this flawless film are none other than Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd Redding. Andy and Red are two charming, kind, intelligent and loyal friends. They are also prisoners at Shawshank prison and it’s their friendship that unites them through hell and to eventual freedom.

4. Sam and Frodo (The Lord of the Rings)

The Lord of the Rings isn’t just one of the greatest movies of all time, it’s one of the greatest stories ever told. We are taken on an epic journey and one friendship stands not on;y as the best, but also as the most important for without it middle earth would’ve never been saved. “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten very far without Sam”, those words spoken by Frodo at the end of The Two Towers are honest and true. The friendship between Sam and Frodo is a lasting one that overcomes the fiercest of obstacles. If the two didn’t have each other Middle Earth would’ve never been saved.

3. Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd (The Master)

This was actually the friendship that inspired the making of this list. The Master just came out recently and I was blown away. It’s a modern masterpiece that exudes brilliance with every passing second. It tells a poetic and powerful story about obedience and control. At the heart of The Master is the relationship between a leader and a follower. Freddie Quell is a drifter, a confused man looking for purpose after a violent world war. In a word, Quell is lost until he meets one Lancaster Dodd. Dodd is the influential leader of a religious following entitled The Cause. There’s a unspoken battle of power between the two them, but at the same time there’s an underlying love between them. They care about each other, but they’re just following different paths.

2. Narrator and Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Fight Club is and always will be one of my favorite movies. It’s a dark, nihilistic and extraordinary look at a bored generation. There is just layers and layers of meaning behind the enthralling masterpiece that is Fight Club. The friendship that drives this raw and insane drama is the friendship between the Narrator of the movie and the charismatic Tyler Durden. The Narrator is the white collar worker who exemplifies that bored generation I mentioned, while Tyler Durden is the anarchist and chaos that takes him out the mundane funk he seems to be in. However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the mystery that is Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden is one of the greatest characters in the history of film and it’s a relationship with him that tells one of the greatest stories of all time.

1. Batman and Commissioner Gordon (The Dark Knight Legend)

The friendship between Batman and Jim Gordon represents the greatest friendship in film. The Gotham police Commissioner, James Gordon is Batman greatest friend and ally. Not only are they true friends, but their friendship is solely based on the idea of fighting the good fight against the forces of evil. Batman is an absolute good, he does what he does because it’s the right thing to do. Commissioner Gordon is a good cop, one of the few. He’s a good man, a hero worthy of praise, but he has to do the good things he does under the confines or “shackles” of the law.

“A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat on a young boy’s shoulders to et him know the world hadn’t ended”. The life of the greatest hero in existence can be a lonely one and without the lasting friendship between noble cop, Jim Gordon, Batman would not have been able to overcome the chaos and despair that he overcomes. Batman and Gordon don’t hug, or catch up, they don’t go out for coffee, invite each other over for family dinners, or catch a movie. The friendship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon is based around protecting the innocent and the good people who can’t fight for themselves. It’s the greatest friendship in any story ever told.

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Top Ten Movies of 2011

I love movies. I love the art of film more than any other art form and I love discussing this art form. That’s why I spend time reviewing and discussing movies on this site. What I love more than reviewing though is making top ten lists. Don’t get me wrong, I love reviewing movies, but it is so fun to- from time to time- not just establish why I liked or disliked a film, but to also discuss a film within the context of other films. I haven’t posted a top ten list in a while (Top Ten Horror Movies) because I’ve been preparing for this list.

I look forward to posting a top ten list every year that allows me to discuss my favorite films of that year. I will say that this was a pretty lackluster year. It felt like a year in film where my favorite directors weren’t working. And that’s completely true; the Coen Brothers didn’t make a film this year for the first time in four years, Tarantino’s western, Django Unchained, is coming in 2012 as is my most anticipated movie of 2012, Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. However, like any year no matter how underwhelming it was, 2011 still offered a handful of films that I could not live with out. This is a list celebrating those films…

10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was not the masterpiece that I had hoped for. I can’t ignore the fact that I did get a lot of enjoyment out of this film though. This is a tale of espionage that needed to be told and what you get in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, instead of relentless action is a bleak and enthralling examination of loyalty, betrayal and what a man will do to carry out his duty.

9. Hesher

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is simply brilliant as the title character. This is dark comedy filled with anarchy, vulgarity and rage. Hesher is able to stand above a lot of black comedies and its of my favorite films of the year for one reason, it has a lot of heart. Initially, it can be ones first reaction to be as apathetic as the title character, but by the end you can’t help but care about these characters.

8. Moneyball

It’s rare for me to find a sports movie that really loved, but Moneyball is one of those exceptions. This film certainly didn’t affect as much as almost every other film on this list. Nevertheless, Moneyball is such a fantastic film all around that it was hard for me not to put it even higher on my list. Also, there was a lot of drama in this story for me because I- unlike most- had no idea how the events would play out.

7. 50/50

50/50 is quite the memorable film. It’s easy to remember if only for the way it mixes hilarious comedy with tear jerking drama. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives his best performance in a career of great performances. 50/50 offers up a completely unforgettable experience that’s more than comedy or drama that can make you laugh at times and cry at others. It’s a film I can’t wait to watch again because it is simply and unquestionably amazing.

6. Attack the Block

If you would’ve asked me five months ago what my favorite movie of the year was I would’ve said with out a doubt in my mind, Attack the Block. It just misses my top 5 because this year offered most of its glory in its final months. Attack the Block, unlike most films with similar subject matter, takes itself completely seriously. Instead of just throwing aliens in the mix, Attack the Block has a coherent and interesting plot. Joe Cornish’s first film is spectacular.

5. Shame

With Shame, director Steve McQueen looks at ideas of addiction, family and self-hatred through the unbelievably mature character study of a sex-addict. Michael Fassbender gives the greatest male performance of the year as main character, Brandon Sullivan. Shame takes the glamourous world of sex and shows exactly what it can be. Without hesitation, this is the most emotionally draining film I’ve seen in a very long time and I loved every single powerful minute of it.

4. Bellflower

Bellflower is a film that left me absolutely speechless. It was a film that stuck with me long after I watched it and the more I think about it, the more I find it extraordinary. The story is unique, fascinating and one meant to be savored, the interactions in this film are deliciously and incredibly palpable, the imagery can be beautiful and at other times be haunting, but ¬†most of the time the film manages to blend the two together. That’s what happens when you mix ideas of apocalypse and love. There is a lot to take in when it comes to the film Bellflower and it’s truthfully something to experience for yourself.

3. Beginners

Beginners is a completely charming film about the moments and people that make life worth living. At its heart Beginners is a love story, but the drama isn’t in whether or not this man and woman will fall in love, it’s in whether or not these two can actually take a leap of faith and believe in love. Past the love story, Beginners has so much more to offer. This is an unbelievably breathtaking film about who we are and what makes us that way. While Beginners is incredibly meaningful, the filmmaking is gorgeous and the acting is flawless. All this to say, Beginners is and always will be a one of kind masterpiece.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher is an amazing director and my favorite to have made a film this year. Practically everything he makes is a masterpiece and yes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is just that. Fincher is able to shine bright with dark tales of killers (SE7EN, Zodiac), but he is able to even surpass those two brilliant films with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo merely because there is more emotion and subsequently an attachment to the characters at hand.

Rooney Mara gives the greatest performance of the year, hands down, as title character Lisbeth Salander. Salander is damaged, she’s strong, she’s dark, she’s layered, yet she has a soul and Mara plays the character to perfection. There are so many pieces to this story, aside from just Salander, and Fincher manages to blend these pieces together to make for a relentlessly beautiful cinematic experience that never fails to keep you invested and entertained.

1. Drive

Drive is profound film the offers up the definition to the word, masterpiece. When it comes to film, a masterpiece should be a piece of art because cinema is a beautiful art form and one that needs films like Drive to serve as a reminder of that fact. It’s not enough to just be technically beautiful though, a true masterpiece needs to be entertaining. A true masterpiece needs offer a form of escape because at the end of the day, that is the point of film. Drive is truly a masterpiece and the best film of 2011.

Drive proves that the way one tells a story is just as important as the story itself. From a filmmaking stand point, director Nicolas Winding Refn has made a perfect film. Both the mood and tone of the film are defined and never tarnished, each moment is made memorable through elegant editing and cinematography, the music is phenomenal, the violence is grotesque and somehow fitting, but what’s truly breathtaking is in the way the film seamlessly flows from one mesmerizing moment to the next.

I won’t even mention a single performance because it would be an insult to mention one performance without mentioning every single fantastic performance in this film. Drive has the ability to be so much. It can be thrilling, it can be heart felt, it can be tense, it can be inspiring, it can be dramatic, it can be frightening, it can be glorious, it can be gorgeous, but what it never stops being most of all is riveting. Drive is a masterpiece that flawlessly blends substance and style and resonates with the ideas of exactly why we go to the movies.

Bellflower Review

What to say about Bellflower? I can’t speak for everyone and say that once you’re done watching this film it will stick with you long afterwards, but it certainly has for me. It’s hard for me to say I’d recommend this film because I can see people hating it, I could see people being appalled by it, I could see people enjoying it and never wanting to see it again, and I could also see people feeling the same way about this film as I do. I loved Bellflower. It was a film that touched on a lot of themes and it did so seamlessly while telling a story that kept you wanting more. It was exhilarating, it was haunting and it was breathtaking.

Bellflower is the story of two best friends who spend most of their days preparing for a post-apocalyptic world. Woodrow and Aidan’s vision of an ideal world is one where the world has basically ended and they rule with their gang, Mother Medusa, complete with their flamethrowers and their “bad ass” muscle car that shoots flames out of its exhaust pipes. It starts out with all fun and games, but Bellflower is the story of what happens when a girl is thrown in the mix and so much more.

Bellflower begins seemingly bland with bad performances and sub-par filmmaking, but past a certain point early on in the film it was as if the performers and the filmmakers (most of them overlap) had come into their own. The performances no longer felt amateurish, but instead were real. The direction and cinematography ceased to be dull and ¬†went the way of brilliance. It was a film that literally morphed from alright to indescribable. The more I think about the film (and trust me I can’t stop), it might have even been intentional because of the constant shift in tone of the film.

If someone were to watch this movie and not like a certain aspect, I probably loved that aspect about Bellflower. There was so much for me take away here. I loved the intentionally grainy and archaic lens that the film was shot through, I loved the palpably awkward moments between some of the characters, I loved the portrait of adolescent ambition and angst, I loved the poignant imagery, but most of all I loved the vivid and enthralling story which constantly gave you the feeling that the events and characters colliding may very well lead to the apocalypse that Woodrow and Aidan so crave.

All this to say, Bellflower was amazing. It was a film that is not only great, but also inspiring in its creation. It was made on a shoe-string budget of around $17,000 and is a much better film than most of the films that come out these days that are made for millions. There’s truthfully something in this movie that is just magical, almost unexplainable. And it’s not just the fact that it was unique in both the story and the filmmaking. There was a true passion that went into the creation of this film and it shows.

Grade: A