Top Ten Gangster Movies

There will also be a special place in my heart for the Gangster genre because it was films like Goodfellas and The Godfather (among other movies on this list, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away) that in all honesty got me into the art of film in general. When done right a good gangster movie is filled with rich and vibrant characters, stories and pieces of dialogue. This is my list of the best Gangster movies I’ve ever had the honor to watch.

Before getting into this, I’d like to clarify what I mean by Gangster movie. I considered any movie that involves gangsters driving the central drama of the film. That means I could use movies that didn’t necessarily star gangsters as the protagonists. For the list, I could use movies like The Untouchables and The Usual Suspects because even though the main characters weren’t mobsters, there would be no drama with out them. I could however not use a movie like The Dark Knight because even though gangsters play a part, they most certainly do not propel the plot of the film. Well, here we go…

10. The Untouchables

There were a lot of movies battling for this tenth spot; Miller’s Crossing almost made it, as did Gangs of New York and if I had an eleventh slot on this list it would be the complex drug drama, Layer Cake. It ended up being The Untouchables if only for how gratifyingly fun the movie can be from beginning to end. Robert De Niro is fantastic as the antagonist, but what makes this one of my favorite gangster movies is Sean Connery as Malone.

9. True Romance

True Romance is a beautiful love story as only Quentin Tarantino could write it. It’s filled with violence, course language, drugs, tense scenes (particularly one of my favorites in film including Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken), but at it’s heart it is a full fledged love story. It was unfortunately not directed by the man himself, but his brilliant writing is all there making True Romance undoubtedly one of the most incredible stories of crime ever told.

8. RockNRolla

Other than the sequel to Sherlock Holmes, I’ve loved every movie Guy Ritchie has ever made. It goes without saying that Snatch is just an awesome movie, while Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is even better, but for  me my favorite will always be RockNRolla. It has all the fast-paced direction and zest of any other Guy Ritchie movie, but with the added bonus of the greatest and most compelling characters Guy Ritchie has ever created.

7. A Prophet

A Prophet is simply a magnificent film that never fails to captivate. What sets A Prophet above most other crime dramas is a sense of brutality and realism. A Prophet is unbelievably epic and from beginning to end, it never fails to leave you speechless from scene to scene. And it’s not just the tense violence the director never fears or fails to utilize, but also the tense and dramatic scenes that propels the beautiful plot of a man raising through the ranks in a crime-driven French prison.

6. The Usual Suspects

I don’t think much needs to be said about The Usual Suspects and that right there is a testament to how truly spectacular of film it is. The writing is unbelievably intelligent and never spoon feeds you. While The Usual Suspects is an enjoyable and fascinating tale of thieves and criminal masterminds, it is also an enthralling mystery. It’s the kind of film you have to pay attention to. You have to take the time to examine every detail and by the end, what you find is simply an incredible film.

5. Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors who ever lived and Goodfellas is just one of the many films that showcase his prowess. Goodfellas is a masterpiece through and through and while never failing to be completely entertaining, it tells a tremendous tale that envelops everything you’d ever want to know about a life of crime. Ray Liotta is fantastic, Robert De Niro is just as amazing as ever and Joe Pesci gives an Oscar-worthy performance. It’s Scorsese that deserves the most praise for directing such an amazing movie.

4. The Godfather (Part I+II)

I’ve always had a constant argument with myself as to what I loved more the first two Godfather films or Goodfellas. It wasn’t until just recently when I realized that I have to give it to The Godfather (Part I+II) if only  for its beautifully epic tale of not only crime, but also family, loyalty and change. Francis Ford Coppola, with the first two Godfathers, creates one of the greatest movies of all time. It would be an absolute sin not to put The Godfather (Part I+II) on a list of my favorite gangster movies in existence. I mean, it’s The Godfather!

3. Drive

There was a dilemma for me on whether or not I should put Drive on this list. Yes, Drive is so much more than a gangster movie, but without the involvement of organized crime the film would have nothing to drive the plot or our protagonist to do the things he does. Drive is, to put it as plainly as possible, extraordinary.It’s the retro feel, it’s the tremendous music, it’s the stylized violence, it’s the minimized dialogue, it’s the spellbinding direction that takes its time  to tell its story, and it’s the way that regardless of how much tension, action and blood is in the movie, it never fails to have a pleasant moment of realistic affection. Drive is a profound film in its flawless creation and its relentless entertainment.

2. The Departed

It’s practically unbelievable that Martin Scorsese has made as many masterpieces as he has. He made the raw and rugged Raging Bull, he made the grotesque and hellish Taxi Driver and he even made another entry on this list, Goodfellas, but The Departed is Scorsese’s magnum opus. There are a lot of different opinions as to what Scorsese’s best movies are and that’s understandable, but for me it’s The Departed and I seriously doubt that will ever change. Scorsese holds nothing back, he pulls all the punches and the result is something miraculous. The Departed tells a fantastic intertwining tale of cops, criminals and grit. It is and forever will be a masterpiece.

1. Pulp Fiction

Take what may be the greatest writing in cinematic history, a handful of characters that individually could have their own movies centered around them, the direction of a mastermind, some of the stories that inspired said mastermind to make movies in general and then throw in that magical twist that Tarantino adds to all of his films and what you get is the greatest gangster film in existence. Pulp Fiction is and will always be one of my favorite movies that will ever be created.

What Pulp Fiction offers isn’t just beautiful, but refreshingly original. And this originality isn’t in the case of the stories that are being intertwined, the film is original in the way that the stories are told and the characters that are being followed. In Pulp Fiction, what you get are days in the lives of the kind of low-lives you wouldn’t expect to see as protagonists whether they be a pair of talky hit men, the wife of a crime boss, a low-rent boxer or even a couple whose hobby is robbing restaurants and liquor stores.

With Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino taps into a the vein that is the gangster genre to make something truly extraordinary. Pulp Fiction offers an experience that is nothing short of breathtaking from start to finish. Every single aspect of Tarantino’s crime masterpiece is not only a gorgeous piece of art, but it’s also a consistently entertaining piece of pulp. It is one of the greatest movies ever made and nothing short of the greatest gangster movie of all time.

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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.

#22 Revealing the Secret Scene (The Usual Suspects) !!! SPOILERS !!!

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This is an incredible scene, the usual suspects was a pretty damn good movie before this scene, but this scene made it a masterpiece.

Best Character: Verbal Kint

Best Quote: “And like that (poof), he’s gone.”

Scene:

 

 

Top Ten Films of the 90s

This is a really fun top ten list to tackle. I’m a 90s kind of guy so most of my favorite movies come out of the 90s. It’s fun to look at the 90s because what you get are some movies that people think are classics now and some movies that people think are still new and will be thought of as classics eventually. There’s a lot of different opinions you can have on this decade, as with any, but this one especially. Well, let’s get to this list.

10. SE7EN

An incredibly plotted and graphic thriller, that allows you to figure out the case through grisly murders instead of just showing you them first hand.

9. Ed Wood

A hilaurious and realistic look a the worst director of all time. Everyone big or small deserves to have their story told.

8. The Usual Suspects

A complex, well-acted, crime thriller with an ending that’ll leave any man speechless.

7. American Beauty

A close and astoundingly interesting look into the lives of the not so ordinary.

6. The Silence of the Lambs

An excellent “classic” about the tracking of a serial killer through the conversations of a much worse one.

5. Goodfellas

The documentary-like drama is by far one of the best mob movies ever made and without question surpasses The Godfather in my opinion.

4. The Shawshank Redemption

An epic and inspiring look at prison life and friendship. A  movie that will never be forgotten, it is number 1 on IMDB TOP 250.

3. Unforgiven

The best western there is that flips around sides and forces you to root for the wrong one. Or is it?

2. Pulp Fiction

From the incredible dialogue, to the teeth cringing violence, Pulp Fiction will now and forever be known as a classic.

1. Fight Club

The psychological thriller has just about everything. Great acting, great characters, great writing, story, directing, ending, etc. Fight Club is a masterpiece and always will be.

#22 Verbal Kint (The Usual Suspects)

Just a stupid cripple. Why is he on my list?

 

  • Actor: Kevin Spacey
  • Quote: “And like that (poof) he’s gone.”
  • Action: Shoots a guy when no one else would.
  • Clip(s):