Five greatest films of all time

So I was reading Zak’s most excellent post on fun size vs. king size in art, D&D, and everything, and it’s given me some things to think about, but what I’m most confused by is his throw-away reference to Barbarella as one of the five greatest films of all time.  I guess I’d go so far to say that it was a lot better than it should have been, and pretty fun to watch.  Maybe it’s in my top 20 campy exploitation films (better than Hell comes to Frogtown but not quite matching Army of darkness).  There’s no accounting for taste, I guess, and actually the more I think about it, the surreal adventures of an often naked adventuress probably just fits his aesthetics too well not to be in his top five, if he was even serious about having  such a list.

Anyway I hate being asked to rank a top anynumber of anything because how the hell do you decide between (say) The lord of the rings versus Cat’s cradle as the #5 book, or Black Sabbath’s first album versus Rubber soul for the #5 album?!?  I always need to narrow the categories down so such a specificity that it is almost meaningless to rank them.  Top five comic dystopian novels? Top five stories about trolls? Top five Citadel Fantasy Tribe Fighters? Those I could imagine.

But if someone held a gun to my head and asked for my top five films, full stop, I guess I’d say:

  1. Brazil
  2. Excalibur
  3. something Clint Eastwood directed, probably a western
  4. some “big” film series like LOTR
  5. something directed by Arika Kurosawa, and/or starring Toshiro Mifune, and about samurai

and that’s about as specific as I can get.  So maybe I just really have two favorite movies, Brazil and Excalibur.  I can pretty much watch either of them any time they’re on, even though I’ve watched them, in whole or part, dozens of times.

Got an ultra-specific top X list? Leave a comment.  For example, these are my top five favorite kinds of single edged swords:

  1. Falchion
  2. Scimitar
  3. Falcata/Kopis
  4. Kora
  5. Yataghan

More for how they look than for utility. A straight, double-edged sword with a sharp point is probably the best design in most situations.


Published in: on September 14, 2011 at 5:00 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have the same problem with broad top 5 lists, especially since how I would rank something is going to be influenced by my mood at the time. In terms of sheer re-watchability, though, both Brazil and Excalibur would be in my top 5 as well. Brazil’s not my number 1 fave anymore; now, it’s Amelie. The (original) Day the Earth Stood Still gets a lot of re-watching, and so does O Brother Where Art Thou?

    But I was really tempted to throw Zardoz on there, too. Maybe everyone should have one bat-shit insane movie like Zardoz or Barbarella on their top 5 movie list.

  2. Top 5 Movies
    1 Outlaw Joesy Wales
    2 LOTR
    3 Empire Strikes Back
    4 The godfather
    5 Blade Runner

    Top 5 sword
    Long Sword

  3. I can’t help but think HEAVY METAL would be in there somewhere. It’s too bad I can’t include the old KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA cartoon. That’s some funny shit.

  4. Top Five F/SF Books That Bookstores Classify as Mainstream Fiction:
    1. Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell (this is a cheat – it’s a trilogy)
    2. Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Nifffenegger
    3. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (possibly other Atwood novels should go here also, but these are the two I’ve read)
    5. Honestly, something by Stephen King almost certainly belongs in this slot, but I’ve never read any of his novels. Since I like The Green Mile so much as a movie, I’ll assume the book is at least as good and put it here.

  5. I like that your top 5 includes a Gilliam film. I like Brazil a lot too, but my top 5 would be:
    1)Time Bandits
    2)Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy (always makes me laugh)
    4)Flash Gordon
    5)Any movie with Godzilla in it.

  6. I really liked The Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys, but I just find the favourites game depressing. I refuse to play favourites: there’s just a long list of stuff I like.

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