Sunday, February 8, 2009

Let's all go to the movies

Every generation has culture-defining movies. From the '80s, movies such as the Star Wars (which I personally am not a fan of, but that's not my point so let's just keep going), Indiana Jones, the Caddy Shack, ET, Scar Face, and so on and so on are the movies we (well, I, really) think of when we (again, I) consider the era or generation. The '90s had movies such as The Shawshank Redemption, Usual Suspects, Tommy Boy, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and Fight Club.

All this got me thinking....what are this generation's cultural icons? What is our Godfather? What is our Psycho? Well, this is the list, in my opinion. Feel free to chime in, I'm sure I left some good ones off the list (perhaps even on purpose). Also, these are in no particular order other than in which order I typed them in to the list. Finally, I'm defining the era for this list as between 2000 and now. Enjoy. (The titles are YouTube links, FYI)

1. Anchor Man. Arguably Will Ferrell's best work. Which, as some could argue, isn't all that great (Ferrell's work, not the movie). Sure, he's essentially the same character in every movie. Sure, he runs around in his tighty-whiteys (or less) a little too much. But, he is funny and this was his best movie. You really can't go a day without hearing somebody make reference to this movie. Truly classic. I also include Step Brothers, Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights, Wedding Crashers, Zoolander, Old School and Elf in this category. For the most part, these are the all the same movie. Think about it. I'm right, aren't I?

2. 300. Much like Sin City, this movie is based on Frank Miller graphic novels. Both of these are spectacularly violent. Both of these are great movies. 300 was insane in the IMAX theater. If it doesn't get you pumped up, you might not be normal. Great fighting scenes. I didn't think there was any anti-Persian sentiment in the movie, other than what was historically fairly accurate. This was not about East vs. West in today's political scene. This was about the Battle of Thermoppylae. Enough said.

3. Batman Begins. The return of Batman to this generation. Watching the old (well, from the 80s and 90s) makes me laugh now. Not because they're funny, but that they're so bad. Those are closer to the Adam West TV Batman than the newer Batman movies of the 2000's. Laughable.

4. Memento. This was the first movie with what I consider to be an anti-hero. What I mean by that is somebody who the viewer roots for and pulls for, but is not a "good guy" so to speak. The anti-heroes push moral and legal lines, but, nonetheless, are compelling characters. I think this movie paved the way for 24. Not at all in terms of going backwards, but because of the anti-hero angle. Feel free to disagree.

5. The Royal Tenanbaum's. Perhaps the funniest movie of the era, and one of my all time favorite movies. From an all-star cast, to a great story, to brilliant one liners, this movie has it all. Absolutely hilarious. Even though Bottle Rocket and Rushmore were so good, The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic were not enjoyable. At all.

6. Lord of the Rings Triology. These were good. You can admit you liked them. I never read the books, but I thoroughly enjoyed these movies.

7. City of God/Hotel Rwanda. I'll also include any other movie that made Americans feel bad about being Americans and not impoverished and uneducated people in third world countries. I haven't seen it but I would include Slum Dog Millionaire. I do include The Constant Gardener and Blood Diamond, to some extent. These were sad movies, but were good movies. This was part of the cultural overtones of the era, even if that sounds somewhat pretentious.

8. Mystic River. Another movie with an all star cast. This movie had it all: murder, revenge, drama, suspense. Great movie.

9. Pan's Labyrinth. I'm not the biggest fan of subtitles. I find them distracting. I think I miss things going on visually if I'm reading subtitles. This movie was still great. A mixture of fantasy, horror, and politics, this Spanish movie makes my list.

10. Training Day. Denzel Washington, one of the finest actors of the past 20 years, finally breaks from his holier-than-thou mold and plays (very well, I'll add) a bad guy. Another anti-hero, Denzel plays one of his best roles in this movie.

11. Snatch. (hey look, a bonus #11 on the list [and you were expecting 10]) is probably the best movie of this era. This is in my top 5 movies of all time. It has comedy, action, suspense, gangsters, British accents and a dog. An all star cast, again. Try watching this movie with subtitles (even though I said I don't like them, once you've seen a movie enough to know what's going on, it's ok) and you'll get at least 8 to 10 more jokes that you didn't get earlier because of British slang or accents. Every scene is great. Every line is great. Truly incredible movie.

12. Super Troopers (another bonus movie). Does anything need to be said about this movie? Hilarious. If you haven't seen it, you need to. Immediately. I struggle to trust people who haven't seen this movie.

That's it, that's the list.


gizmo said...

if anchorman is our star wars or shawshank redemption, we're fucked.

Trey said...

I don't have a problem with the list, it's pretty good. I'd add The Prestige, and consider the Pirates and Bourne trilogies. You should really see Slumdog.

Frink said...

You may be right about Training Day, Snatch and Pan's Labyrinth, but I didn't think they were that great (good, but not great). I didn't see Mystic River, 300 or City of God. I'd probably add Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and maybe Best in Show. I'm also a huge fan of Gosford Park and Wet Hot American Summer, but I don't think they're generation-defining.

n.a.t.e said...

i was going to say the Bourne trilogy, but trey beat me to it. I personally put Bourne in my top 5 action thriller's of all time category with Die Hard. I must say that I have to disagree with Trey's take on the Pirates' movies. They were big blockbusters (in my opinion solely because of Johnny Depp), but I do not think they were generation defining. You know what, take that entire last sentence back, because I would agree with Vik that some of these movies were significant even if we personally did not care for them. So I guess I throw Pirates in my "I fell asleep on this movie more than once and have given up on trying to finish it" category along with Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings movies, and the Harry Potter flicks. Another movie that I would add to the list is the Kill Bill series.

Mystic River is a dead on pick, as well as City of God. Frink, you def need to see both immediately as in if you aren't doing anything this weekend I would go to and order them (if you dont know already you can buy them both for probably less than 5 bucks a piece if you click on the new/used tab).

Jordy said...

The obvious omission is the holiday classic, Jingle All the Way.

I don't care what decade in which it was made. That flick transcends time.

n.a.t.e said...

jordy, good one! lol

Caroline said...

You don't know shit about shit. Life Aquatic continues to be one of the best movies of all time, and I'm sorry for you if you don't know it.