This is the conclusion of my effort to watch at least 100 films, 10 from each decade. There have been four previous entries: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
I kept track of certain details of films I watched (IE- how many were superhero movies?) New movie just means I haven’t seen it before, even if it may have come out before my parents were born.
Movie #84/ 2010s Movie #13/ New Movie #66: Dunkirk
I get that seeing it on an Imax big screen was a rare opportunity, but it was significantly cheaper to see it in my local theater, and it still impressed the hell out of me. It’s an excellent war film about three sides of a British military campaign (stranded soldiers, civilians trying to help, pilots) with all the strands coming together beautifully.
Movie #85/ New Movie #67/ 1930s Movie #9: Grand Hotel
This Best Picture winner is famously groundbreaking as the first major film to feature a lot of A-list stars, and generally fun. Parts of it may be very dated, but Lionel Barrymore is a standout as a gentleman thief.
Movie #86/ 1950s Movie #11/ New Movie #68/ Japanese Film #4/ Criterion Edition #19: High and Low
This Kurosawa film is an excellent procedural, exploring the investigation and the people affected when an attempt to kidnap a wealthy man’s son results in the capture of his chauffeur’s kid, forcing a businessman in the middle of a hostile takeover to make a major sacrifice. It then takes some very interesting turns.
Movie #87/ 1990s Movie #6: Apollo 13
This was a solid science disaster movie, with an excellent cast (Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinese, and Academy Award nominees Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan, showing intelligent people solving life and death math problems, during a media frenzy .
Movie #88/ 1990s Movie #7/ Superhero Film #7/ Animated Film #5: Batman- Mask of the Phantasm
This is an excellent distillation of what is great about Batman, combining parts of some of this best comics adventures into something new and exciting. It doesn’t come across as an extended arc of the animated series (even if that could still make for a great story) because the choices for the Dark Knight are so monumental.
Movie #89/ New Movie #69/ Silent Movie Era #9/ Criterion Edition #20: The Lodger
This is an excellent Hitchcock thriller, initially about the reasons a family might have to be worried about a lodger whose absences coincide with the strikes of a serial killer, that takes a turn when the lodger becomes the target of a lynch mob.
Movie #90/ 1940s Movie #8/ Criterion Edition #21/ French Film #4: Beauty and the Beast
Strikingly beautiful adaptation of the fairy tale.
Movie #91/ New Movie #70/ Silent Movie Era #10: The Jazz Singer
I can be appreciate the significance of the film (although it was quickly outdated) and it is often joyous, but it refers to a frame of reference that just doesn’t exist any more, with a rather one-sided family crisis at the core.
Movie #92/ New Movie #72/ 1930s Movie #10: Dark Victory
It’s a film famously lost in the shuffle in 1939 that probably would have otherwise gotten a boatload of Oscars and now hovers in the top ten in the best year of cinema. The story of a dying heiress is elevated by a wide-ranged performance by Bette Davis, who has to handle all the stages of grief. One thing the film pulls off is twisting the direction. There are numerous concepts that could be an entire film but the characters then choose to go in a different direction. Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan are two of the supporting players, elevated by their subsequent significance.
Movie #93/ New Film #73/ 2000s Movie #8/ French Film #5: OSS 117- Lost in Rio
A fun James Bond/ Hitchcock pastiche by an actor-director pair that would later dominate the Oscars.
Movie #94/ 1990s Movie #8/ Science Fiction Film #7: Dark City
It’s a twisted sci-fi noir that has an excellent sense of world-building and set design, even if the final confrontation is a bit cliched.
Movie #95/ 1940s Movie #9/ Criterion Edition #22: To Be Or Not To Be
Very funny theater satire that turns into a military conflict, as a ham actor has to impersonate German officials in order to uncover a spy during World War 2.
Movie #96/ New Film #74/ 1960s Movie #8: The Americanization of Emily
Smart military satire, with a uniformly great performance by Julie Andrews, and a slightly uneven performance by James Garner (much better at reactions than speeches). There’s a final morally dubious decision, although it can lead to interesting discussions, suggesting writer Paddy Chayefsky knew what he was doing.
Movie #97/ 2000s Movie #8/ Animated Film #5: Ratatouille
This is just a reminder of how brilliant the guys at Pixar are, taking a ridiculous concept (a rat that wants to be a cook), and making it about something (the need to create rather than to take; loyalty VS friendship) and elevating minor characters in unexpected ways; it’s one of my favorite moments in film when Anton Ego takes a bite into the ratatouille.)
Movie #98/ New Movie #75/ 1940s Movie #10: Man Hunt
This is a bold thriller about a British hunter chased by Germans that moves a lot quicker than I thought it would, and ends in a very powerful daring way.
Movie #99/ New Film #76/ 1960s Movie #9/ Science Fiction Film #8: The Village of the Damned
It’s a creepy concept executed well, and in a relatively manner of fact way.
Movie #100/ 1980s Movie #9/ Science Fiction Film #9/ Superhero Film #8: Superman II (The Donner Cut)
Give the chaotic origin it’s a miracle it exists at all, although the flaws can’t all be blamed on the process. It alternates between dopey and brilliant.
Movie #101/ 2000s Movie #9/ Musical #5: Walk the Line
This is an excellent biopic/ showcase for Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Watching it again I do get a sense of how deeply flawed Phoenix’s Johnny Cash is, although that’s more to the film’s credit.
Movie #102/ 1960s Movie #10: Lawrence of Arabia
I had the opportunity to see Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen, and it was so worth it. It is easily one of the most beautiful films ever made, with some of the most action-packed long shots I’ve ever seen. It’s interesting to watch it now in the context of discussions of cultural appropriation and white saviors, although the film is nicely agnostic about the extent to which Lawrence’s contributions are positive, and notes the shortcomings in the British approach.
Movie #103/ New Movie #77/ 1990s Movie #9: Thelma and Louise
This is a tragedy, but remains a fun movie, about two friends who find their options increasingly limited as the result of some bad decisions, and cruelty from others.
Movie #104/ 1980s Movie #10/ Science Fiction Movie #10: John Carpenter’s The Thing
It’s fun to watch this a second time, when several plot points are more clear. The arctic base is one of the great locations for a science fiction thriller, and the twists are excellent.
Movie #105/ 2000s Movie #10/ Superhero Movie #9: Batman Begins
This was a very well-made superhero origin story, that is elevated by awesome moments you’d expect the director to save for the sequel (Gordon driving a batmobile.) It is actually about something, sets up the world really well, and even the shortcomings have explanations (Batman endangers civilians, but it fits with the recklessness of a young man on an impossible mission.)
Movie #106/ New Movie #78/ 1990s Movie #10/ Criterion Movie #23: Metropolitan
A very smart and witty film about self-absorbed rich young people in Manhattan in the 1980s. What elevates is their realizations that they may be anachronisms, but that their status isn’t to blame for their failures, and that their hanging out is just a temporary phase. Excellent low-budget debut feature.