RT Picks Our All-Time Favorite Movies

For our 10th anniversary, the staff looks back on its most-beloved films.


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Nobody's Fool (1994)
Tomatometer: 89%
Chosen by Jeff Giles, RT Staff


When I was a kid, in an effort to show me that being a smart aleck doesn't pay, my parents showed me Cool Hand Luke. It didn't have much of an impact on my smart mouth, but watching the movie did spark a lifelong hero-worship of Paul Newman for me -- and my unabashed fanboy love is most pronounced for 1994's Nobody's Fool, the Robert Benton-directed adaptation of Richard Russo's wonderful novel. Newman has made a career out of playing irascible losers, but his portrayal of absentee dad and off-the-books construction worker Donald "Sully" Sullivan is, for me, the best of them all. He's at the top of his game here, playing off a stellar cast that includes Jessica Tandy, Melanie Griffith, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a toned-down Bruce Willis. Though the film wasn't a huge success at the box office, critics responded positively, and Newman, Benton and Russo clearly enjoyed working together; they went on to re-team for 1998's (admittedly inferior) Twilight, and Russo -- who won the Pulitzer for his 2001 novel Empire Falls -- is now working on a sequel to Nobody's Fool.








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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
Tomatometer: 98%
Chosen by Nick Hershey, RT Staff

For me, Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sets the standard to which every other western must aspire (come to think of it, every crime drama, buddy movie, etc.). The third film in the Man With No Name Trilogy follows three gunslingers on a quest to find a fortune in buried gold, and what a ride it is. Unlike many earlier westerns which typically feature the standard fantasy face-off between good and evil, it's refreshing that Ugly's protagonists are all of dubious morals; with even the most honorable of the trio (Clint Eastwood as 'Blondie,' aka The Good) a habitual lawbreaker. The film is memorable on so many counts: the majestic landscape (Southern Spain making for a convincing Old American West), knockout performances (Eastwood, in perhaps his most famous role, Lee Van Cleef as the sinister hit man, and especially Eli Wallach, who as Tuco the outlaw injects a humor and charisma not seen in the earlier installments of the trilogy), tense gunfights (the final three-way standoff is a killer), all backed by Ennio Morricone's immortal score. What more needs to be said? I love this movie!









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My Life to Live (1962)
Tomatometer: 90%
Chosen by Sara Schieron, RT Staff

Every bit of my favorite film sounds pretentious. Vivre sa Vie (My Life to Live) is in black and white, it's French, at one point the protagonist dialogues with a philosopher, I first saw it in a film class. Seriously, answering this way is like huge film buff cliché, but like most clichés it's super functional. I love this movie in about every way I can love a thing -- though it's wrong to call such an animate film a "thing." Vivre sa Vie is intelligent, poignant, reflexive, sexy, and now, as in 1962 when it came out, tragically hip. The star, Anna Karina, is the most magnetic bad actress in history! Karina's character Nana leaves her husband and child to take middling stabs at an acting career but ends up a prostitute. The moments when Nana comes slowly undone in the face of the camera (and perhaps because of it) are awful: the sort of thing surgically accurate language can't ever hope to wrap itself around. Vivre sa Vie's self-awareness is revelatory; it never vies for our affections and it's unapologetically imperfect. Implicitly, the film makes you part of Nana's undoing and her undoing is somehow yours too. Ironic, since the film begins with the Montaigne quote, "Loan yourself to others. Give yourself to yourself." See what I mean? Pretentious.


Comments

ZiGyStRdUsT

Carlos Monino

Thanks for the great recommendations RT, I'll be sure to check out the ones I haven't already seen!

Good job, I think I'll really like the movies on this list.

Aug 14 - 05:35 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

Thanks, ZiGy!

Aug 14 - 06:36 PM

Introducing..

sam baiamonte

Excellent recommendations, my netflix list just got longer.

Aug 14 - 06:58 PM

adkboomer

Noah Goodheart

Nice list...you guys should do this more often. I'm not hating, but some of your lists could, um, use some work (Wayne as a memorable movie STONER, c'mon!?!). This one however, i love, because it has no coherent theme except: "we like these". Well I like many of them too. It's nice to see Paul Newman, Sergio Leone, and Cassavettes get some love. And somehow Jen (and this is probably based solely on your sunglasses) I am not surprised to see Empire Records on the list. Well, it's a guilty pleasure for me too... Anyway, ditto on the thanks for the recommendations.

Aug 14 - 07:01 PM

adkboomer

Noah Goodheart

Nice list...you guys should do this more often. I'm not hating, but some of your lists could, um, use some work (Wayne as a memorable movie STONER, c'mon!?!). This one however, i love, because it has no coherent theme except: "we like these". Well I like many of them too. It's nice to see Paul Newman, Sergio Leone, and Cassavettes get some love. And somehow Jen (and this is probably based solely on your sunglasses) I am not surprised to see Empire Records on the list. Well, it's a guilty pleasure for me too... Anyway, ditto on the thanks for the recommendations.

Aug 14 - 07:01 PM

adkboomer

Noah Goodheart

Ugh, sorry about the double post...i hate that

Aug 14 - 07:03 PM

stork-lor

Adam Staple

Nice list. And since you asked, my answer is always down to one of two films, depending on my mood: Steven Spielberg's absolutely freaking perfect Jaws, and David Lynch's savagely unhinged masterpiece Wild At Heart.

Aug 14 - 07:26 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Good list. Being John Malkovich, Rushmore, 2001, The Graduate, and The Good The Bad and The Ugly are some of my favs, especially The Graduate! Hey Jen why didnt you have them put Barbarella on the list?!?!?!?!

Aug 14 - 08:12 PM

frozensilver

Patrick Dunne

I was suprised at Umbrellas. I heard it was a good film, but 100% rating is outstanding. Btw, I love Being John Malcovich, and have The Manchurian Candidate on my "to watch" list. I've had it on there for a very long time, and it makes me wanna see it even more now

Aug 14 - 09:30 PM

frozensilver

Patrick Dunne

Oops. Didnt see the rest of the list. Shadows seems popular, though I'm kinda unfamiliar with it. I saw GBU, and enjoyed it. Still havent seen The Graduate.

Btw, I noticed GBU and 2001 changed a bit in their ratings...

Aug 14 - 09:33 PM

frozensilver

Patrick Dunne

Oops. Didnt see the rest of the list. Shadows seems popular, though I'm kinda unfamiliar with it. I saw GBU, and enjoyed it. Still havent seen The Graduate.

Btw, I noticed GBU and 2001 changed a bit in their ratings...

Aug 14 - 09:34 PM

senorpastry

Bon Champion

I saw Manchurian Candidate when I was young, and it made me love movies. I have one poster in my room, and it's the Manchurian Candidate. Amazing.

Aug 14 - 10:53 PM

thebatmanroxx

thebatman roxx

from this list the only one ive seen is 2001 a space odyssey and i honestly didnt get it
this really got me thinking well i dont really have one favorite film of all time but if we're talking about geeky stuff then im gonna say empire strikes back and ofcourse the dark knight but if were talking about the deepest of themes then i got nothing but no country for old men ( its basically a cause and effect film) and children of men ( for all that kids are the hope thing goin on)

Aug 14 - 11:04 PM

citizenjames

James Ford

i love lists but i always find it interesting that of the fourteen movies on the list, seven (50%) were made after 1990. i am not discounting those movies as not worthy but in the hundred years of film 50% were made in (less than) the last twenty years?

somebody needs to get to watching some more movies. :)

www.jamesford.wordpress.com

Aug 15 - 05:46 AM

ThinPhantom

james cochino

beautiful words alex. rushmore has been one of my favorite films for a long time, but i was never able to articulate exactly how it made me feel. this sentence sums it all up..."I now believed I knew how to succeed when the world draws the curtains on our adolescent dreams." i believe this mantra is woven in and out of all of anderson's movies. spot on.

Aug 15 - 06:26 AM

iakobos

J Taylor

I've only seen two on the list.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is defintely a classic. I also love the steel plate under the serape showdown at the end of a Fist Full of Dollars later spoofed in another favorite movie series of mine in Back to the Future (III). But my favorite Eastwood man-with-no-name movie is High Plains Drifter. Certainly one of the spookiest westerns ever.

The other one is 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are 3 things that stand out to me about the movie and in no particular order.
1. When it was over I told my wife, "We've just watched some kind of religious message."
2. All in all I didn't like it. It just didn't do anything for me.
3. And finally, all film buffs and I mean ALL, must watch it at least once because it is probably referenced more than any other movie in the movies that have come in the decades since. Case in point the computer in WALL-E.

On my own personal favorite aside from the normal SW fair, which I've watched as much as anyone and loved and enjoyed, is The Princess Bride. Our family watched it in the theater on a whim back in '87 and we've been hooked ever since. It's the perfect combination of humour, adventure, action, romance, dialogue, sword play, giants, princeses, pirates, Cliffs of Insanity, Rodents of Unusual Size, torture in the Pit of Despair ------------------ and some kissing.

Inigo: You really have a gift for rhyme.
Fezik: Yes, yes some of the time.

Vizzini: No more rhymes now and I mean it!
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut!
Vizzini: Ahhhg!!!

Aug 15 - 06:57 AM

dahluzz

joe shmo

props are being awarded....now. great list guys. we don't usually get this much personal insight from you staffers, and i get that, you guys have to remain objective so that we can sling mud and lavish praise in an unskewed setting.

However, when you get people, especially film buffs, to think of not just what their favorite film is, but WHY it stands as such, you get to know the person a little better. This list has less to do with t-meter scores than personal preference and that's refreshing (i realized the pun halfway through writing that word, so I'll say it was intended).

some of my favorite excerpts include alex's comments about 'mindbombs' and his eloquence on what makes 'rushmore' on of the best comedies of the 90's (and one of the most affecting); the gall of joe utichi to put 'empire records' atop his list; and community manager ryan's description of '2001,' which makes me want to finally get through it without dozing off (sorry, it's just that i always get really high and the classical music and tempered, hypnotic kubrick direction combine to make me nap).

so way to go, RT. I was actually thinking of re-tooling my own top 10 yesterday, which I do on an annual basis, so this is a nice excuse to do so. I'll chime back in with my updated list after i've had my coffee and granola bar.

Aug 15 - 07:03 AM

astrangefish

Andrew Strange

I have to agree with you about Moulin Rouge, Paul Lee - i found it a stunning visual and aural experience that blew me away when i saw it. That makes two of us males who like it (although i find that most who say 'no' to liking it, also say 'no' when you ask have they seen it!), lets start a mass 'outing' of male Moulin Rouge fans!

Aug 15 - 07:08 AM

GinnyWeasley

Lacy Haguewood

I never hesistate to answer Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when the question of my favorite movie comes up. I love the story, the settings, and the score. Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang break my heart everytime.

The odd thing is taken apart I wouldn't care for this movie. I am not a lover of martial arts films, rebellious teens or forbidden love stories. Put it together and I fall in love everytime. I also cry at the end. This being the ONLY film to make me do so everytime I watch it.

Thanks RT for one of my favorite sites and your personal lists.

Aug 15 - 08:39 AM

tfortier

Thierry Fortier

mmm... that was a weird extract of Leolo (the youtube link)... why not put the one were the boy is master bating in the veal liver..!!

great list! thanks!
Firsts coming to mind;

La Grande Bouffe (The Big Feast)
C'est arrivée pres de chez vous (man bite dog)
La Strada (The Road)
2001 space odyssey
Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice)
Seven Samurai (and few others old japanese movies)
Blade Runner
Chunking Express
Delicatessen
Jean de Florette
Rear Window
Chinatown
The Man Who Planted Trees
Spirited Away or Mononoke-Hime (my fav is totoro though)
Das Boot
Rabbi Jacob (and most of Funes stuff)
Groundhog Day (sorry, could not resist!!)

ect ect...







Aug 15 - 08:59 AM

cmayven

Carlos Mayora

tfortier,

Love your list two. It really represent a good bunch of absents in the RT list.

Aug 21 - 08:54 AM

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