Top Ten Movie Gun Fights

Bullets, hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, snipers, shootouts, showdowns and more bullets: add these things in film and what you get are sometimes the best action scenes ever created. Whether the battle involves many people or just two, this is my list of my favorite gun fights in film. I found when making this list that, while a lot gun fights are extremely entertaining, there are many films that used violence and gun fights to emphasize or establish the morals of the story at hand. I like to think I found a good balance between the entertaining gun fights and the powerful ones when I made this list.

10. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Of the gun fights on this list, this one is the least meaningful for me. I just couldn’t help putting it on this list because it’s so insanely fun. Even more fantastic than the showdown at the end that pays homage to Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the ridiculous bullet fest through the desert that leads to the climax. The music and the added bonus of it being a chase scene makes it unforgettable.

9. Hot Fuzz

In a brilliant attempt to satirize buddy cop films and action movies in general, Hot Fuzz ends up having one of the greatest action scenes ever filmed in it’s finale. Throughout the film, laughs are had, blood is splattered and the idea that being a cop isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the movies is established. Then that idea is turned on its head and Hot Fuzz becomes a balls-to-the-wall shootout.

8. The Matrix

I don’t think anything really needs to be said here. I can’t think of the idea of gun fights in cinema with out thinking of the lobby shootout in The Matrix. It was probably the first truly great movie gun fight I ever saw and I love it still. I’ve always had an attachment to The Matrix as movie. I will watch it any time I get the chance and enjoy it every time. The lobby shootout is just one of the many reasons the film is awesome.

7. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is a Martin Scorsese masterpiece that is brilliantly punctuated by a bullet-filled and blood-soaked gun fight. Taxi Driver is one of the greatest character studies ever created. Travis Bickle is an incredibly dark and layered character and the examination of this complex character and the hell that surrounds him eventually leads to his baring arms and one of the most disturbing and yet glorious gun fights ever filmed.

6. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is simply an incredible movie all around filled with rich characters and memorable moments. The most memorable of which is the end of the film and the shootout that takes place. The greatest moment in L.A. Confidential though is the end of the shootout where Dudley says “Hold up your badge, so they know you’re a policeman.” Then protagonist Edmund Exley does the most honorable thing he’s done in the entire film.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is brutal, it’s honest, it’s epic, it’s inspiring and it’s one of the greatest war movies ever created. The D-Day scene in the beginning is nothing short of perfect, however my favorite sequence in the film and the one that makes my list is the finale. While exemplifying the idea that war is hell, Saving Private Ryan manages to tell an excellent story of honor and duty. This story reaches it’s peak when it’s realized what our protagonists will do to actually save Private Ryan.

4. Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the most phenomenally epic westerns ever created and one I would easily call the greatest western ever made had it not been for the creation of a couple other masterpieces. Some might say the best scene in the film is the tense opening scene, which is amazing, but for me the greatest scene of the film is the showdown between protagonist “Harmonica”  and antagonist Frank. Truthfully, the scene speaks for itself.

3. Inglourious Basterds

It is simply common knowledge at this point that Quentin Tarantino loves cinema and always shows his love for his favorite movies in the movies that he makes. Inglourious Basterds drew many allusions from the films of Sergio Leone and like a great Sergio Leone movie Inglourious Basterds has one hell of a showdown. In the La Louisiane  scene, Quentin Tarantino crafts an extraordinary gun fight by building tension not with the music, editing and cinematography that Sergio Leone would use, but with dialogue. Then he ends his showdown in an instant, not with a single bullet, but with a quick and bloody shootout.

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This is it. This is the showdown that epitomizes the idea of showdown and there was never a doubt in my mind that it would be right here as my second favorite gun fight in film. No film on this list is as beautifully epic as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s a dramatic, fun and enthralling adventure through the west and it all culminates into one of the greatest gun fights in film.

It’s almost indescribable how incredible this scene actually is. The film was already amazing, but it’s this showdown that makes it a masterpiece. We get to know these characters throughout this adventure and when the inevitable occurs, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. The dialogue is had, the music swells, the characters move and stare strategically, the shots change spastically and BAM!

1. Unforgiven

Unforgiven is the western masterpiece. It’s Clint Eastwood’s best film, it’s the greatest western in existence and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. Unforgiven tells a simple tale of a ruthless murderer who has long since retired but ends up taking one last job. Unforgiven shows the violent west for what it is and establishes profound ideas of violence and what makes us who we are. What you find in the finale of Unforgiven isn’t just the greatest gun fight, but also one of the greatest scenes in film.

Little Bill Dagget makes for a deliciously ruthless antagonist where as William Munny is simply one of the greatest characters in film. When Little Bill Dagget and the well-known and feared William Munny finally meet what results is with out a doubt one of the most flawless pieces of filmmaking ever. “I’ll see you in hell William Munny,” Little Bill says with as much dignity as he has left and what Munny replies with a cock of his gun and a simple, powerful, and shameful “yeah”. Unforgiven offers a lot of things one which is the greatest gun fight cinematic history.

 

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Top Ten Movie Endings

An ending, sometimes its the thing that makes or breaks a film. Sometimes an ending can be considered the most important aspect of any film. The entire plot, the characters, the tale at hand is all leading to one point, the ending. At so many points I’m completely engrossed in a beautiful film and wondering just how their going to take this fantastic plot and end it.

If you’re watching something amazing, you’re going to be saddened if it doesn’t end on an amazing note. There are unfortunately times where a film is incredible up until the ending. That’s how important an ending is. There are also other times (and these make for some of the best endings) when a film is pretty decent, but becomes a masterpiece because of the ending.

This list celebrates my absolute favorite movie endings. I’d like to say that each ending becomes a billion times less powerful with out watching the the movie in its entirety first so if you haven’t seen the movie I’m talking about, don’t read into why I love that ending. It would ruin the movie, but here it is. These are my top ten favorite movie endings.

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

!!!DON’T READ INTO THESE ENDINGS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!!!

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

10. Batman Begins

Even before 2008 when I fell in love with The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, I was blown away by the original Batman Begins. They’re have been many endings that attempt to make you excited for a sequel, but no other film made me as excited for a sequel like Batman Begins and the flip of that card did. Then on top of that, they end with brilliant written last lines: “I never said thank you”, Gordan says. “And you’ll never have to.” Batman says before he flys off. Takes my breath away each time.

9. Dead Poets Society

Its rare to get me as emotionally involved in a movie as I was at the end of Dead Poets Society. The film just builds and builds upon a story surrounding characters we love. The film just plays with your emotions. You absolutely love everyone in the movie that the filmmaker wants you to love and you absolutely hate everyone in the movie that the filmmaker wants you to hate. The plot is driven, eventually reaching a climax that makes you want to stand up on the nearest chair yourself. A truly beautiful film.

8. Unforgiven

Unforgiven is the greatest western in existence. It introduces you to two aging gunman in the west. A one-time ruthless bandit and murderer (William Munny played by Clint Eastwood) and a sheriff whose tactics in justice are nothing short of brutal (Little Bill Daggett played by Gene Hackman). We get to know these two characters eventually reaching the end, in which we see the two meet. “I ain’t like that no more”, William Munny constantly says throughout the film. The film builds and builds to one of the most memorable climaxes in film. Unforgiven was amazing throughout, but its the ending that makes it a masterpiece.

7. No Country for Old Men

When No Country for Old Men was released in 2007, a general complaint about the film was its unexpectedly dull ending. I’m not quite sure what the general consensus on the ending is now after the public’s had years to think about its meaning, but I honestly don’t care. The ending of No Country for Old Men is one of the greatest of all time. I truthfully not exaggerating when I say that my heart is pounding each time it ends. It’s a truly brilliant ending to a truly brilliant films and I never second guessed my placement of it on this list.

6. Fight Club

Fight Club is one of my favorite movies of all time and one of the reasons for this is because of its fantastic ending. And I’m not just talking about the fact that we find out who Tyler Durden truly is. The ending scene between the Narrator and Tyler Durden makes for one of the greatest scenes in film. We get the bravery of the Narrator as he shoots himself in order to get rid of the anarchist Tyler Durden, than we got a shot of true love as the Narrator holds the hand of Marla Singer. This is all happens right before we get to view a bunch of skyscraper’s leveled to the ground.

5. Pulp Fiction

The ending diner scene in Pulp Fiction is my favorite scene in film and it makes for one of the greatest endings in film. The ending of Pulp Fiction is amazing in the way that it somehow manages to take everything in the film that didn’t make much sense and then gave it some sense. We get to see why the film began the way it did, then we see why they weren’t in their suits when they went to the bar earlier in the film, why Vincent was alone when he was shot, etc. And this is all told through a scene involving the greatest writing ever put on the silver screen.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The ending to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is absolute perfection. That’s truly the only way to describe it. It somehow finds a way to make you incredibly sad and incredibly happy at the same time. There is no possible way it could’ve had a better ending. All you can do after watching the ending of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is sit back, take a breath and say, “wow, now that’s a movie.” The ending doesn’t make the movie because even before the ending I felt as thought the movie was a masterpiece, but the ending certainly solidified that thought.

3. There Will Be Blood

Its honestly hard to put into words just how amazing I feel that the ending to There Will Be Blood is. The whole movie we watch a rivalry between two undoubtedly terrible people. We watch as these characters constantly one up each other in despicable. The plot just weaves through the rise of an awful person and leads to one of the most mind blowing finales you could ever ask for. My heart just skips a beat every single time I hear Plainview say “Those areas have been drilled”. I absolutely love There Will Be Blood and the ending almost makes me tear up because of how brilliant it is.

2. The Usual Suspects

If you know anything about movies and you saw the title of this Top Ten list, you had to have guessed that The Usual Suspects would be on this list. The Usual Suspects has the greatest plot twist in film. The very mention of plot twist brings to mind the amazing ending to The Usual Suspects. The Sixth Sense pales in comparison.

The most beautiful aspect of The Usual Suspects is in the way that it makes you think that its going to end a certain way making the film great, but not amazing. Then the film becomes a masterpiece in the way that it flips the entire plot upside down and gives you a completely different and unexpected ending. Its truly an amazing film that I have watched so many times and will continue to watch till the day I die.

1. Inglourious Basterds

There is absolutely nothing and I mean nothing that is as satisfying to me in any movie than the ending to Inglourious Basterds. Col. Hans Landa is unquestionably one of my favorite characters in film and I absolutely love the fact that he gets exactly what he deserves in the end of the World War II epic Inglourious Basterds.

Quentin Tarantino has a knack for establishing these incredibly compelling villains, whether its Bill from Kill Bill or Stuntman Mike in Death Proof, who get exactly what’s coming to them. Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino’s magnum opus and that’s in part due to the fact that it ends on its highest point.

One of my favorite lines in film history is, “I mean if I had my way, you’d wear that god damn S.S. uniform the rest of your pecker suckin’ life. But I understand that ain’t practical. I mean at somepoint your gonna have to take it off. So, I’m a give you a little something you can’t take off.” If you’ve watched the rest of the movie leading up to this line and this scene, you can’t help but grin. The ending of Inglourious Basterds is the greatest ending in film.

Top 25 Movies

To a movie buff or someone who makes a site about movies, it’s essential to make Top Ten Lists. Some of my favorites to make were Top Ten Movie Directors and Top Ten Movie Villains. Top Ten lists are a very fun way to perfectly establish your opinion, but it is often a very difficult task. The most important and most difficult Top Ten List  to make is a list of your favorite films.

A Top Ten List of your favorite films has to be honest and completely encapsulate your take on films. I for one couldn’t do it. I do have a list of my top ten favorite films in this post, but I decided instead to post my Top 25 favorite movies of all time. Its a list that was practically impossible to make and will change as the years go on (I will edit the post if needed), but here we go. My Top 25 favorite films are…

25. To Kill A Mockingbird

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Gregory Peck is stunningly believable as Atticus Finch, one of the greatest fathers and heroes in cinema. To call To Kill A Mockingbird inspirational is an understatement. Like many great films, while inspiring, To Kill A Mockingbird is equally defeating. It’s a must-see film for every reason imaginable. The original novel is about the author’s actual childhood and the film doesn’t skimp on the thematic potential and tells the powerful tale through the eyes of the children.I have yet to have the pleasure of reading the original source material, but it sure made for one of the greatest films I’ll ever be blown away by.

24. Trainspotting

Trainspotting is a masterfully told film about herione-addicted misfits and friends in Scotland. Though disturbing and twisted throughout, Trainspotting still manages to stay unarguably beautiful, while entertaining from beginning to end. With Trainspotting, what you get is a pitch-perfect portrait of the very ideas of life in general, flawed and fun. Trainspotting is a true masterpiece of a film that makes you love, hate, laugh, cry and enjoy, among others.

23. Amarcord

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Federico Fellini beautifully portrays the memories of his youth and the town where he grew up. The movie is as poignant, colorful, hilarious and honest as life itself. To watch it is to be consumed by it. Fellini is one of if not arguably the greatest filmmaker to ever bless the silver screen with a work of true art and like a true artist, Fellini doesn’t just make pieces of art, with his movies what we are consumed by are pieces of himself.

22. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is unquestionably one movie. The Lord of the Rings is an epic in every sense of the word. That’s truly the best way it can be described. The Lord of the Rings has in it just about everything you could ever want in a movie; love, drama, adventure, friendship, a huge cast of memorable characters, a beautiful beginning, a magnificent middle, an epic ending and much, much more. The Lord of Rings is that kind of movie that other movies should aspire to be. It’s a movie that makes you realize why we love movies in the first place. It’s a truly sprawling epic of an adventure and one that inspires and enthralls every time.

21. 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece is easily one of the most unforgettable and unbelievable experiences in cinema. Still visually striking to this day, but even more striking is Stanley Kubrick’s ambition. 2001: A Space Odyssey may very well be the most ambitious undertaking in cinema as Kubrick manages to tell the story of all of us and our very existence.

20. 12 Years A Slave

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With just three masterpieces under his belt, I can already say with confidence that Steve Mcqueen is one of my favorite filmmakers. He has somehow managed to one up himself with each movie he has made and it goes without saying that I can not wait to see what he has in store for us next time. Excuse me if I doubt he’ll be able to top his latest any time soon. 12 Years A Slave is the most raw, real and horrific excursion into the human tragedy that is slavery that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s also one of the most glorious articulations of love and hate ever crafted in the form of art.

19. Throne of Blood

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Never before has Akira Kurosawa captured atmosphere like he has in Throne of Blood. Like he does with all his masterworks, he poured his soul into this one and it shows in more ways than one, not the least in the portrayal of Washizu by his greatest collaborator, the awesome Toshiro Mifune. This may be his greatest performance as he plays the samurai version of Macbeth with unbelievable humanity. He manages to find a perfect balance between intimidating and completely fragile.

18. The Shining

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Stanley Kubrick’s greatest film is also the most beautiful, flawlessly crafted horror film I’ve ever seen. We walk through the doors of The Overlook Hotel and we witness evil. It’s an evil place and the tragedy that takes place there in is one I willingly experience over and over again. I’m drawn in and blown away by the mastery every single time. Stanley Kubrick was a man who was meant to make masterpieces, with The Shining you’ll find my favorite of those masterpieces.

17. Inside Llewyn Davis

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About Inside Llewyn Davis, The Coen Bros. were quoted as saying, “We wanted to make an odyssey where the hero doesn’t go anywhere”. Well in there search for nothing, the greatest duo in film have found everything you could ever want in an extraordinary piece of expression. The film is beautifully melancholy and resonates with its palpable reality and tone. The conclusion or lack there of is unmistakably profound and makes it one of the greatest films I’ll ever made. It surpasses almost every one of their remarkable masterpieces.

16. M

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It’s hard to swallow that M was made over 80 years ago. And yet it’s still as haunting as ever. Unlike many movies made before it and many movies made long after it, M is not a movie you would call dated. M is a seamlessly plotted psychological drama that will always be pondered over. There’s reason behind every choice Fritz Lang makes in the crafting of this timeless classic.

15. The Human Condition

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Whether he’s the protagonist or the antagonist, Tatsuya Nakadai always has a likability to him, which makes The Human Condition that much more painful as we witness what may be the most arduous journey ever depicted on film. With a title like “The Human Condition” you need a hero whose particularly human and that’s just what Kobayashi and Nakadai craft in the courageous, yet flawed Kaji. At over 9 and a half hours, The Human Condition makes for one of the most exhilarating and all-encompassing experiences in cinema.

14. Rashomon

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Akira Kurosawa creates pure cinematic poetry with Rashomon. Kurosawa may be the most influential director to ever make a film and in terms of craft, Rashomon is arguably one of, if not, the most influential of his films. Rashomon not only shows just how much can be done with the art of film, it also tells one of the most powerful stories ever told about stories, human nature and the enigma that lies there in. Rashomon can be viewed as Kurosawa’s entire life and his endless search for truth.

13. La Dolce Vita

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La Dolce Vita is a juggernaut of a film that is as bitter as it is oh so sweet. Federico Fellini captures stark black-and-white beauty in every frame as his first Marcello Mastroianni alter-ego searches hopelessly and shamelessly for “the sweet life”. The film is inspired by Fellini’s own past as a journalist and in a way challenges us to look into our own pasts as he has, learn and progress.

12. Ikiru

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Takashi Shimura breathes pure humanity into Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece of a man searching for meaning in his final days. It is without a doubt a must-see for anyone and not just movie buffs, for it may be the most universal of all of Kurosawa’s masterworks. Kurosawa evokes life in Ikiru, literally “To Live”, and perhaps even more notably, death in an unbelievably fitting structure. It may not sound like the most original story ever told on film, but it’s certainly unlike anything I’ve ever seen and easily one of the most touching.

11. Yojimbo/Sanjuro

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Yojimbo/Sanjuro doesn’t tell one fluid story and in fact you could watch either of the flawless masterpieces first and all would make sense, for you’d still be watching just one of two endlessly viewable portraits of the life and times of a masterless and wandering samurai. Toshiro Mifune’s nameless samurai is the heart and hero of Yojimbo/Sanjuro and he makes for one of if not the most badass character in film. Akira Kurosawa is a master of the craft and can accomplish realism with ease, but with Yojimbo/Sanjuro he presents one of the most fun and fantastically captivating adventures in film.

10. The Master

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In The Master there is not a single beautiful shot or brilliant line of dialogue out of place. Paul Thomas Anderson has a way of getting the best performance out of at least one of his actors and in this case Joaquin Phoenix gives the best performance of his career, which is saying a lot because Joaquin Phoenix is an incredible actor. Some could even make an argument for Philip Seymour Hoffman in this masterpiece. The film is a magnificent and dark enigma. Paul Thomas Anderson just knows how to make a movie and he proves that with his sixth film, The Master, a gorgeous film about choice, obedience, control and freedom.

9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is undoubtedly one of the greatest feats in Cinematic history. One Flew is a beautiful and enthralling tale of the life and times of Randall Patrick McMurphy in a mental hospital. Jack Nicholson gives the performance of his illustrious career. Through the friends he meets, the schemes he pulls and most of all the enemy he makes, we get a story filled with brilliant morals and themes. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an incredibly entertaining film, an inspirational masterpiece.

8. Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is Francis Ford Coppola’s flawless masterpiece. Coppola gets endless praise for his brilliant work, The Godfather, but its Apocalypse Now that he should be remembered for. Apocalypse Now is and forever will be a truly epic war film that brings you on an amazing journey deep into the heart of darkness. The film builds and builds almost to the point of promising you one of the greatest climaxes in film and gives you just that. Apocalypse Now is equal parts violent and philosophical, a truly indelible masterpiece.

7. There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood is tremendous in the way that it tells a story through through the eyes of a single man and examines not the dream, but the american nightmare. It’s one of the greatest character study ever made and without a perfect portrayal of this antihero it wouldn’t be the flawless film it is. Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen as Daniel Plainview, a depraved oil man whose mask slides off  revealing a complete lack of humanity. The drama and rivalry that ensues once Plainview begins drilling makes for one of the most monumental and gorgeous pieces of art I’ll ever bare witness to. There Will Be Blood is unique, real, but at the same time larger than life and monumentally powerful. There Will Be Blood is a beautifully-woven masterpiece in which we watch in horror as an ambitious oilman loses any remnants of a soul.

6. No Country for Old Men

The Coen Brother’s are, unquestionably,  two of the greatest filmmakers of all time and this is their greatest feat. No Country is a beautifully violent film filled with unstoppably moralistic power. It’s a blood-soaked tale told magnificently through subtleties, a film that is truly perfect in every way imaginable. No Country for Old Men tells, what seems to be on the surface, a simplistic tale of cat and mouse. A chess game, if you will, between an average joe who happens upon a suitcase full of drug money and a ruthlessly intelligent killer who has no empathy what so ever and will stop at nothing. The powerful tale that is realized with No Country for Old Men is one of violence, malevolence and art. No Country for Old Men is a masterpiece in every single sense of the word.

5. Ran

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Ran is an epic tragedy of gargantuan proportions. At 75-years-old Akira Kurosawa still knew exactly how to make a film and not just any film, but a monumental achievement as only a truly magnificent artist could have envisioned and realized. From the first frame to the last I am swept away to this vast and evolving world. Ran is on a whole other level of filmmaking. It defies and tramples over any expectation you could have in a film by any director and this is the director. It astounds with every passing second. Discussing it here could never do it justice. Like all true masterpieces, Ran is a film one must experience for themselves.

4. Harakiri

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Anyone who enjoys the occasional movie owes it to themselves to bask in the glory and perfection that is Harakiri. It begins simply enough, a samurai walks into the house of the Iyi clan and asks to commit Harakiri (the ritual suicide of a samurai). Harakiri offers one of the most engrossing movie experiences ever and on top of that it’s one of the most important. Tatsuya Nakadai makes Hanshiro Tsugumo one of the most captivating characters in film as the one man willing to take a stand against the powers that be. Harakiri tells its compelling story that captivates from start to finish and long after once you begin pondering about all the film has to say, not exclusively bringing into question the meaning of honor. Harakiri tells an endlessly powerful story which by the end proves to be one of the greatest ever told.

3. The Dark Knight Legend

Batman Begins is nothing short of the perfect hero’s journey. We are brought on the wondrous, yet arduous journey of one man as he becomes the greatest hero of all time, Batman. It is a story that asks and answers the question, what makes a hero? And it does so flawlessly and without once being anything, but completely enjoyable. It is monumental, there is an eloquence to it, it is a masterpiece and it was only the beginning. The Dark Knight is unlike any other story or film ever created in the way that is a pure, spectacular and perfect examination of good and evil. The Dark Knight takes the symbol for good established in Batman Begins and brings him to the darkest corners of existence when he goes toe-to-toe with a symbol for evil and the greatest villain in history, The Joker. The Joker is evil for the sake of being evil, while Batman is good for the sake of being good. To see this poetically constant battle unfold between the two is to see nothing short of some of the greatest cinema of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises is a sweeping epic that defines the story that has been being told and offers the greatest end in the history of film. While Batman Begins was about Batman and The Dark Knight was about Batman and The Joker, The Dark Knight Rises is about the beating heart of Gotham and the people who are willing to fight to keep it beating. It can be viewed as Batman’s final trial into the status of a legend. It is an extraordinary masterpiece that brings the story to its inevitable conclusion. The Dark Knight Legend (or The Dark Knight Trilogy if that tastes better going down) is Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus through and through. I care about this story and these characters and the events that transpire. As if it were poetry or Shakespearean, this story actually has alot to say and it says alot to me personally. Whether it be The Joker, Bane, Batman, Catwoman, Jim Gordon, Alfred, Ra’s Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul, Scarecrow or any of the other magnificent characters in this story on the screen I am hooked. I’m involved and engrossed because I care about these characters and what they add to the majesty of it all.

2. 8 1/2

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I’m a bit lost for words when it comes to 8 1/2. And I mean how fitting that I find it hard to collect my thoughts and actually produce something when it comes to 8 1/2. I don’t know if there is a movie in existence other than 8 1/2 that calls to mind the phrase “speaks for itself”. Federico Fellini’s masterpiece is truly something you must experience to believe.

“I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything at all. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.” Federico speaks honestly through Guido and to us and from the beginning of 8 1/2 to end Fellini bares all that he has and is.

In personifying himself in 8 1/2, Federico Fellini has crafted a work of art for us and about us. In telling the story of a director finding his voice we realize the similar challenges we all face. He effortlessly uses Guido’s tale as an allegory depicting for all of us from a whimsical dream of a birth to the stage we leave behind. I defy anyone to witness 8 1/2 and not find a little piece of themselves as it is the most personal film I’ve ever seen, if not the most personal and progressive film ever made. It is not only one of the greatest films ever made, but one of the most glorious and beautiful pieces of art I will ever bask in.

1. Seven Samurai

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Akira Kurosawa is the greatest artist to ever craft a piece of art and Seven Samurai is his greatest and my favorite movie. No other film offers the reality, the escape, the journey, the camaraderie, the inspiration, the honesty, the heroism, the humanity, the growth, the truth and the beauty that Seven Samurai overflows with. It is the true masterwork of a man who consistently worked to better himself and his incomparable craft.

Not just the film as a whole, but every painstaking detail from character to camera movement to cut is a living, breathing thing with purpose and resonance. I am in awe by it and the master craftsman who made it all possible to say the least. This is a film as only Akira Kurosawa could make. Auteurs have their recognizable trends and styles, but Kurosawa’s trend is consistently progressing, starting from scratch and delving into an entirely new world and feeling. Seven Samurai is like no other film, not even an Akira Kurosawa film as no two Kurosawa films are even close to the same (other than of course the companion pieces Yojimbo and Sanjuro, but that’s neither here nor there).

Seven Samurai tells a seemingly simple story about a village, some bandits and seven samurai. Akira Kurosawa tells his tale and fills it to the brim with as much profound substance and beauty as a single film could have and then some. The film could not have been made any other way. No detail could have been changed. Every character and sequence amounts to the unbelievable epic at hand. I am wholly invested in every second of the film. It dramatically capitalizes on all the potent emotion you could ever ask for in a single film. It’s fun and funny, it’s sad, it’s overwhelming in its scope and it’s a visionary work of art and magic. Seven Samurai is my favorite film and the greatest piece of art ever crafted.

 

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Top Ten Westerns

This is a list I’ve truly been prepping for, for about a year now. About a year ago I had only seen a couple westerns that I had actually enjoyed (a few of those made this list), and I realized as a lover of movies I have not seen nearly enough westerns. So, I filled my netflix queue and got to watching and enjoying. I realized two things while watching the many westerns I did.

First of all, I’m quite sorry to say and I know many won’t agree with this statement and might even just X out of this page as soon as they read it, but an opinion’s an opinion and I’m not gonna lie to agree with society. I found John Wayne to be overrated. I’m just not a fan. I liked a few of his movies, such as The Searchers and The Shootist, and my favorite would probably have to be The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but that didn’t even make the list. It probably would be 11 or 12 though if I were to add on to this list.

Secondly, and much more importantly, I realized that the Western genre is one of my favorites and this list would be harder to make than I thought. I was very right. Through watching this dying genre I found not only fantastic westerns, but also some of the greatest movies I’ve seen of all time. Well, I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time now. Here are my top ten favorite westerns.

10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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At the heart of this classic lies what may be the most iconic duo of all time. Paul Newman and Robert Redford play so impeccably well off each other that every scene is made real and memorable. The timing of every witty crack is absolutely perfect, the action sequences are highly entertaining, while sticking to realism and the finale is breathtaking.

9. Tombstone

Tombstone is a fantastic film that  was a shoe in for this list. Tombstone is the greatest telling of the now classic tale of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. There are many memorable parts, from the classic OK coral shoot-out, to Holiday’s tricks with a tea cup in a bar. There’s something for everyone in this flick because even if you don’t find solace in the fantastic scenes, you will certainly find enjoyment out of Val Kilmer’s masterful performance as Doc Holiday.

8. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This is one of the newest westerns to be placed on this list and in my eyes this movie is a breath of fresh air because it showed that great westerns can still be made today. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck are phenomenal. A brilliant cast and script was combined to tell the very true and quite epic tale of the assassination of one of the most famous western outlaws there ever was.

7. For A Few Dollars More

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For A Few Dollars More is a fascinating character study of bounty hunters in the old west. It’s the second film in Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name Trilogy, but as with every movie in the Dollars trilogy, it stands alone as its own fantastic story. Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef make for a very interesting and entertaining pair in the old west. Leone builds tension, keeps you guessing, and in the end he most certainly does not disappoint.

6. The Proposition

The Proposition is another western that is relatively new. It was made only a few years ago and I believe it is one of the greatest westerns of all time, only surpassed by some of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. The plot of The Proposition is genuinely simple, yet superbly poetic. In the Australian Outback, a man is hired to kill his older brother in order to save his younger one from the noose. It’s the most brutal western I’ve seen and it never lets up till its pitch-perfect ending.

5. True Grit

The Coen Brother’s never cease to amaze and with their remake of the now classic John Wayne movie, they do more than that. True Grit is undoubtedly the most light-hearted of their films I’ve seen and the most light-hearted western. It’s also the one that feels the most real. Like almost all westerns, True Grit tells a simple tale, but because of the people who are telling the tale, what you get is something unbelievably moving.

4. Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone’s complex, gritty, western tale of revenge and mayhem is so amazing that it was hard to even put it at just number three. I’m going to say this right now, Sergio Leone builds tension better than Hitchcock does. Every single scene from the (waiting for the train) opening to the final showdown, your always on edge. I’d also like to say that Ennio Morricone is probably the greatest film composer in history. Westerns almost always have fantastic scores, but this is my favorite of any western score.

Last, but certainly not least I have to mention Henry Fonda’s flawless performance as the ruthless western gunslinger Frank, certainly out of character for him; his best work. This is some of Sergio Leone’s best work. A film that builds and builds with a well thought out, detailed and at times even complex plot that ends up being a very simple tale of good vs. evil. Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the third greatest western I’ve seen.

3. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Most commonly called the classic western and for good reason. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is nothing and I repeat nothing short of a masterpiece. If I’m not mistaken I think the Man With No Name trilogy is the only trilogy that truly gets greater with each film. Leone’s skill for building tension, which has been attempted, but never matched, was never greater than in every single, intricately plotted, scene of this movie.

What Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood (Blondie-The Good) , Lee Van Cleef (Angel Eyes-The Bad) and Eli Wallach (Tuco- The Ugly) have given us is masterful look at the west, the adventures, and the subsequent stories that were inspired. A story full of depth and characters, whether that be the good guys, the bad guys, and the ones in between. A timeless epic that savors my hunger for excellence with each passing scene eventually leading to what is probably the most iconic and greatest western showdown/ending ever put on screen. And for this, from the bottom of my heart, I thank them.

2. Django Unchained

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Django Unchained is about a hero of mythical proportions on a quest for love. It’s a tale of friendship and taking a stand against the savagery of slavery. It’s a spaghetti western and an epic legend with all the blood and violence of the west and the heroes and villains you find in legends. It’s finds a balance between the intense drama that’s playing out and the rollicking good time that it is. It’s a magnificent story as only Quentin Tarantino could’ve told.

It’s hard not to root for Django in his vengeful and loving journey. It’s hard to to jump up and cheer when the whip or gun is turned back on the slaver. Dr. King Schultz can see slavery for what it is and he sees Django as a man and a friend in need. Only together can they attempt to conquer the Candyland and the ignorant villainy that lies within. Django Unchanged is ridiculously entertaining and unbelievably powerful.

1. Unforgiven

As I said in the past, this was a difficult list to make, but there is not a doubt in my mind when it comes to number one. Clint Eastwood starred in many classic westerns including Sergio Leone’s classic Man With No Name Trilogy. Then he directed some of his own great westerns. His knowledge on the genre grew over years of experience and he eventually gave us the greatest western of all time. Unforgiven is the western that was able to do what no other western was able to. It showed us what the west really was. Unforgiven showed us that a ruthless killer could fall off his horse or miss a shot.

Unforgiven shows the realistic West where no one could really be considered the good guy, not even the guy your rooting for (William Munny- Clint Eastood in an Oscar nominated performance) ,  and especially not the sheriff (Little Bill Dagget- Gene Hackman in an Oscar winning performance). Unforgiven was a masterful look into a world we’ve never seen. We thought we had, but we realize now that was all just fantasy. Unforgiven mixes dark realism with the  fantasy Western genre. Add brilliant acting and characters, fantastic writing and direction and the result is not only the greatest western of all time, but one of the greatest movies ever made. A true masterpiece of our time worthy of recognition and praise.