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The Panda

BOT's Top 100 Movies of All Time - Hindsight is 2020 Edition

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We're over halfway through one hell of a year, there's so many questions and concerns, and one of them is surely, "What really is the definitive best 100 movies ever made?".  Well we're all about to find out! 

 

*Gulp*

 

We received 36 lists from members, lower turnout than in the 2018 edition, but that was also fresh off of Infinity War's release and we currently still in the era of Bloodshot being the reigning Box Office champ, so overall decent turnout given everything else that is going on.  

 

A few factoids about the movies that made the list:

 

- No more than 10 funny book films made the list (potentially less).

 

- No more than 15 cartoons made the list (potentially less).

 

- Some fan favorite directors made the list, and some did not at all.

 

- Not all of the movies that made the list are in the English language.

 

- The list was highly competitive, every list caused quite a bit of changes to the ordering and what made it through.

 

- I'll reveal numbers 250-101 as well over the course of the list, that way we'll be able to show IMDb what's really the top 250 movies.  Hahahaha... *help*

 

- There are some newcomers to the list, some returners, some movies that made past lists and didn't even crack the top 250 here.  

 

- While most movies did need at least 10 or more votes to make it onto the list (and even more the higher up you go), there were a few movies that managed to make it through from a smaller but very passionate base.  One movie made the list with only 4 votes!

 

Here are the first 25 movies that did not make the list for you to chew on while I prepare the first write up!

 

1.   Raiders of the Lost Ark
2.    The Empire Strikes Back
3.    The Dark Knight
4.    Schindler’s List
5.    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
6.   The Godfather
7.   Back to the Future
8.    Titanic
9.    Goodfellas
10.    Mad Max: Fury Road
11.    Jaws
12.   Star Wars
13.    T2: Judgement Day
14.    12 Angry Men
15.   Do the Right Thing
16.   Spirited Away
17.    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
18.    Jurassic Park
19.   Casablanca
20.    The Godfather Part II
21.    The Matrix
22.    Lawrence of Arabia
23.   Inside Out
24.   E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
25.   The Shawshank Redemption

26.   The Silence of the Lambs
27.    Parasite
28.    Pulp Fiction
29.    Inception
30.    Alien
31.    The Wizard of Oz
32.   Aliens
33.    Taxi Driver
34.    The Incredibles
35.   Heat
36.    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
37.   Apocalypse Now
38.   Princess Mononoke
39.    The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
40.    Singin’ in the Rain
41.    Saving Private Ryan
42.    Toy Story
43.    Forrest Gump
44.    Pan’s Labyrinth
45.    The Social Network
46.    The Truman Show
47.    Seven Samurai
48.    Rear Window
49.   Psycho
50.   The Shining

51.    Once Upon a Time in the West
52.    Vertigo
53.    Wall-E
54.    Beauty and the Beast (1991)
55.    2001: A Space Odyssey
56.    City of God
57.    Toy Story 2
58.    Memento
59.    Citizen Kane
60.    The Lion King (1994)
61.    Ratatouille
62.   Finding Nemo
63.   A Clockwork Orange
64.    The Thing
65.    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
66.    Rocky
67.    Inglourious Basterds
68.    Mulholland Drive
69.    Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
70.    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
71.    It’s a Wonderful Life
72.    Before Sunrise
73.   Spider-Man 2
74.    North by Northwest
75.    Joker Avengers: Endgame
76.    Aladdin (1992)
77.   Captain America: The Winter Soldier
78.   The Apartment
79.   The Terminator
80.   Die Hard
81.    Unforgiven
82.    Whiplash
83.    Gravity
84.    Toy Story 3
85.   Boyhood
86.    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
87.    The Wolf of Wall Street
88.   Fight Club
89.    Children of Men
90.    Predator
91.    The Bridge on the River Kwai
92.    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
93.   Avengers: Infinity War
94.    Coco
95.    In the Mood For Love
96.    My Neighbor Totoro
97.   Blazing Saddles
98.    Ran
99.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
100.   Before Sunset

101.    Groundhog Day
102.    The Departed
103.    L.A. Confidential
104.    The Princess Bride
105.    There Will Be Blood
106.    The Big Short
107.    Chinatown
108.    Fargo
109.    Gladiator
110.    Network
111.    Duck Soup
112.    The Sixth Sense
113.    Your Name
114.    Blade Runner
115.    The Big Lebowski

116.    The Usual Suspects
117.    Rashomon
118.    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
119.    Pinocchio
120.    Silence
121.    Grave of the Fireflies
122.    Raging Bull
123.    Bambi
124.    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
125.    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
126.    Amadeus
127.    All About Eve
128.    Se7en
129.    Get Out
130.    Arrival
131.    Interstellar
132.    Halloween (1978)
133.    Guardians of the Galaxy
134.    Bicycle Thieves
135.   The Grapes of Wrath
136.    Sunset Boulevard
137.    District 9
138.    Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
139.    The Great Escape
140.   La La Land

141.    Some Like it Hot
142.    Eyes Wide Shut
143.    Mary Poppins
144.    Ghostbusters
145.   Apollo 13

146.    The Deer Hunter
147.    Life of Pi
148.    Nashville
149.    Oldboy (2003)
150.   The Handmaiden

151.    Call Me By Your Name
152.    The Bourne Ultimatum
153.    Come and See
154.    Days of Heaven
155.    The Sound of Music
156.    Batman Begins
157.    Lady Bird
158.    Return of the Jedi
159.    The Avengers (2012)
160.    The Searchers
161.    Reservoir Dogs
162.    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
163.    Office Space
164.    Akira
165.    The Intouchables
166.    Django Unchained
167.    The Jungle Book (1967)
168.    Good Will Hunting
169.    A Separation
170.    The Iron Giant
171.    The Best Years of Our Lives
172.    Cinema Paradiso
173.    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
174.    Creed
175.    Life of Brian

176.    The Third Man
177.    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
178.    Ben-Hur (1950)
179.    Shrek 2
180.    Young Frankenstein
181.    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
182.    Black Panther
183.    Arsenic and the Old Lace
184.    The Elephant Man
185.    The Raid (2011)
186.    The LEGO Movie
187.    Hot Fuzz
188.    American Beauty
189.    Modern Times
190.    RoboCop (1980)
191.    Gone With the Wind
192.    Zootopia
193.    Captain America: Civil War
194.    Up (2009)
195.    City Lights
196.    Zodiac
197.    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
198.    All the President’s Men
199.    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
200.    No Country for Old Men

201.    Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
 

202.    Notorious (TIE)

Magnolia

JFK


203.    Margaret
204.    When Harry Met Sally
205.    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
206.    Ocean’s Eleven
207.    Frozen (2011)
208.    To Kill a Mockingbird
209.    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
210.    1917
211.    8 ½
212.    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
213.    Police Story
214.    Black Swan
215.    Fantasia
216.    A Night at the Opera
217.    Paths of Glory
218.    X-Men: Days of Future Past
219.    Planes, Trains and Automobiles
220.    West Side Story
221.    The Conjuring
222.    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
223.    Malcolm X
224.    Minority Report
225.    Sicario

226.    Casino Royale
227.    Thor: Ragnarok
228.    Back to the Future Part 2
229.    The Young Girls of Rochefort
230.    The Music Man
231.    American Honey
232.    Barry Lyndon
233.    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
234.    The Maltese Falcon
235.    Andaz Apna Apna
236.    Fiddler on the Roof
237.    (500) Days of Summer
238.    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
239.    Roma
240.    The 400 Blows
241.    Tropic Thunder
242.    Ida
243.    Iron Man
244.    The Quiet Man
245.    Dangal
246.    The Sting
247.    The Battle of Algiers
248.    Dunkirk
249.    Before Midnight
250.    Once Upon a Time in America

 

Edited by The Panda
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2018 position within the top 250

 

226.    Casino Royale 150
227.    Thor: Ragnarok 153
228.    Back to the Future Part 2 New
229.    The Young Girls of Rochefort New
230.    The Music Man New
231.    American Honey New
232.    Barry Lyndon New
233.    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood New
234.    The Maltese Falcon New
235.    Andaz Apna Apna New
236.    Fiddler on the Roof NEW
237.    (500) Days of Summer 216
238.    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 146
239.    Roma New
240.    The 400 Blows NEW
241.    Tropic Thunder NEw
242.    Ida New
243.    Iron Man 157
244.    The Quiet Man 228
245.    Dangal New
246.    The Sting New
247.    The Battle of Algiers NEw
248.    Dunkirk New
249.    Before Midnight 136
250.    Once Upon a Time in America New

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Making its debut in the top 100!

 

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"Baby, you are gonna miss that plane."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Jesse, a writer from the US, and Celine, a Frenchwoman working for an environment protection organization, acquainted nine years ago on the train from Budapest to Vienna, meet again when Jesse arrives in Paris for a reading of his new book. As they have only a few hours until his plane leaves, they stroll through Paris, talking about their experiences, views and whether they still love each other, although Jesse is already married with a kid."

 

Its Legacy

 

"Think of this as time travel.” So goes one of the great pickup lines in all of cinema, arriving mere minutes into Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and inaugurating a screen romance unlike any other. Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young Texan on a train in eastern Europe, has just struck up a conversation with Celine (Julie Delpy), a young Parisienne who’s heading home from a visit with her grandmother in Budapest. A strong mutual attraction is evident from their effortless banter, which darts from whimsical (Jesse riffs on his idea for a yearlong, real-time public-access cable experiment) to solemn (Celine reveals that she’s constantly terrified of death) to confessional (they share childhood memories and discuss the burden of parental expectations). When the train pulls in to Vienna, where Jesse will catch a flight home the next morning, he persuades Celine to hop off and continue talking as they explore the city. He pitches this as a way to forestall doubt: when her future self looks back, she won’t have to wonder if that interesting guy she once met on the train was a missed opportunity.


The shifting meaning of a moment—as it is anticipated and then experienced, as it is remembered or misremembered, as it gains or loses luster in a year, a decade, or more—is the existential question that animates the story of Jesse and Celine, which has now played out over three films spanning nearly two decades. Before Sunrise depicts the charmed brief encounter of this bright, self-conscious, hyperverbal, sometimes maddening, mostly endearing pair; Before Sunset (2004) stages the rueful deferred reunion that characters and viewers alike long yearned for; and Before Midnight (2013) catches up with them on the cusp of middle-aged domesticity, in medias res, as they go about the business of living.

 

Each film is a window onto a stage of life, sharply attuned to the possibilities and disappointments of one’s twenties, thirties, and forties. Taken together, they have become something much larger and more radical: an ongoing collective experiment in embodying the passage of time. Such decade-spanning endeavors are hardly unprecedented in cinema: obvious analogues include Michael Apted’s Up documentaries and François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series. But The Before Trilogy gains its unique emotional force from being, in the fullest sense, a love story, a rare, knowing engagement with both the fantasies and the realities of romance. Especially for those who have aged along with them, these films ask to be read reflexively, which is to say personally. Watching them entails a very particular form of viewer participation: as Celine and Jesse openly wrestle with the transience of love, the deceptions of time, and the specter of mortality, we are obliged to do so as well, in ways that relate to our own lives.

- Dennis Lim

 

From the Filmmaker

 

" "I'm very interested in the reality of these actors on the screen, so I know you can't just say lines that are written by someone else. The script, the text, has to work its way through the person, and so by having Julie and Ethan kind of work with me in rewriting that script, and personalizing it and demanding they give a lot of themselves, I thought that was the only way that film could ultimately work the way I wanted it to. The script was really a first step, but for it to give the effect that I wanted, I was looking for the two most creative young actors to fill those shoes, because I knew what would be asked of them.

 

"She kind of echoes through the film. I always felt I would see her, like she would show up at a screening. When you make a film, you're in public quite a bit. You do screenings, festivals. I run into a lot of old friends, and I figured, just in my mind, 'I have a screening in Philadelphia; maybe she'll be in New York. ... ' And she never showed up. Even in the second film, I think that, in a way, works into the idea of the novel [that Hawke's character, Jesse, writes] and it's sent out as a beacon, you know, in some way, what Jesse admits to, that was swirling around. And I don't want to exaggerate: [My experience] wasn't as intense of a relationship, obviously, as Celine and Jesse have; it was just something swirling around in my mind. The new film is dedicated to her." [Linklater learned from a mutual friend that the woman died in a motorcycle accident shortly before Before Sunrise began filming.]"

- Richard Linklater, an Interview with NPR

 

before_sunset_-_h_-_2004.jpg

 

Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Few American films have the courage to rely entirely on dialogue and subtext for story. These filmmakers make certain they have nothing else to fall back upon.  To be sure, the two actors are pleasing to watch; indeed, a brief flashback to the first movie establishes they may be better looking now than then. And Delpy does sing a song she wrote late in the film. Otherwise, it's just two people chatting merrily away, asking questions and searching replies for clues as to where they now stand as a couple.

 

There are unexpected revelations. Both lived in New York at the same time and did their own version of Sleepless in Seattle but never encountering the other. (Tantalizingly, Jesse once thought he saw Celine and is further crushed to realize he just might have.) Jesse also has a wife and son, while Celine has a boyfriend she likes. Now where does that leave them as a couple? While it is clear they are as easy with each other as ever, it is not at all clear this won't be just another chance encounter.  The trio has made a wise film about how age works on people. Life has taught each a few things in the intervening years, so they look at people and options in a different light. That's why Jesse wrote a book and Celine a song about their one night together. It was more of a rare thing than either of them had realized.  Shot in just 15 days on a tight budget, Before Sunset is an accomplished bit of guerrilla filmmaking. Cinematographer Lee Daniel's long camera takes are smooth and unobtrusive, the actors appear relaxed, and the chemistry between them is excellent. Even Delpy's songs are not bad at all. 

 

User Opinion

 

"At this point I'd name it as one of my ten favorite films of all time. Much as I love the other parts of the trilogy, this is the only one where I think every single conversation scene is as strong. and endlessly rewatchable, as any other (on the other hand, I become much less attentive when they meet the fortune teller and the street poet in Sunrise, or when Hawke starts talking about his premises for novels in Midnight). The theme of dealing with passed time hits me the most here, and consequently the resolution, where they finally - after almost a decade! - regain control over their lives and relationship to the sounds of "Just In Time" is one of the most triumphant and deliriously happy, yet not a tiny bit fake or forced, endings I've ever seen." - @Jake Gittes

 

Panda's Haiku

 

I watched your hands play

 

And it was then that I knew

 

I'm gonna miss that plane

 

before-sunset-4.jpg

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Richard Linklater - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1

 

Decade Count

 

2000s - 1

 

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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1 hour ago, The Panda said:

226.    Casino Royale
227.    Thor: Ragnarok
228.    Back to the Future Part 2
229.    The Young Girls of Rochefort
230.    The Music Man
231.    American Honey
232.    Barry Lyndon
233.    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
234.    The Maltese Falcon
235.    Andaz Apna Apna
236.    Fiddler on the Roof
237.    (500) Days of Summer
238.    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
239.    Roma
240.    The 400 Blows
241.    Tropic Thunder
242.    Ida
243.    Iron Man
244.    The Quiet Man
245.    Dangal
246.    The Sting
247.    The Battle of Algiers

248.    Dunkirk
249.    Before Midnight
250.    Once Upon a Time in America

 

 

What the shit?

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"Blow that piece of junk ... OUT OF THE SKY!"

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Jedi Master-in-hiding Luke Skywalker unwillingly attempts to guide young hopeful Rey in the ways of the force, while Leia, former princess turned general, attempts to lead what is left of the Resistance away from the ruthless tyrannical grip of the First Order."

 

Its Legacy

 

"In assuming the strategic defensive throughout The Last Jedi, the Resistance privileges the preservation of its forces over all other considerations — a strategic objective that is almost entirely military in character and appears isolated from any broader political purpose. The fact that the Resistance’s surviving leaders are uniformly military commanders rather than civilians only serves to underscore this point.  The recession of political considerations from The Last Jedi, however, does not mean they don’t exist or exert their influence. In an unlimited war like the one between the Resistance and the First Order, the original motive would have been “rather overshadowed by the law of extremes, the will to overcome the enemy and make him powerless,” Clausewitz writes. “But as this law begins to lose its force and as this determination wanes, the political aim will reassert itself” (Book I, Ch. 1).  

 

The events of The Last Jedi take place against a broader backdrop that is intensely political: an overarching struggle between a ragtag group of Resistance fighters and First Order militants over who rules the galaxy. To the disappointment of political scientists — and likely relief of moviegoers — much of this political intrigue is relegated to a series of Star Wars novels (specifically Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy and Claudia Gray’s Bloodline) that help bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.  After the collapse of the Empire following the Battle of Endor, Chancellor Mon Mothma and the Galactic Senate of the recently inaugurated New Republic order the peacetime demobilization of as much as 90 percent of the central galactic government’s starfighting fleet, leaving only a token force as part of a broader unilateral commitment to the galaxy’s disarmament.  Decades later, then-Senator Leia Organa becomes aware of a renegade element of Imperial loyalists in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Although she tries to warn her colleagues about this burgeoning threat, the increasingly polarized Galactic Senate refuses to remilitarize, driving her to resign and organize an armed Resistance over which she assumes command. Although formally independent, the Resistance effectively functions as a military wing of the New Republic once the First Order emerges under Supreme Leader Snoke — and becomes its lone surviving successor after the First Order eradicates the New Republic using Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens.

 

Gen. Organa and Vice Adm. Holdo therefore serve as de facto civilian leaders of the New Republic’s remnants in addition to holding their military positions, an arrangement Clausewitz found quite natural among the leaders he studied (Book VIII, Ch. 8). The defensive aims that Organa and Holdo pursue to preserve their own forces have what Clausewitz calls a “negative purpose” (Book I, Ch. 2). This posture can buy time to fight in the future under more favorable circumstances, but “a defender must always seek to change over to the attack as soon as he has gained the full benefit of the defense” (Book VIII, Ch. 4).  This dynamic shift from a defensive to an offensive orientation would, Clausewitz suggests, restore the original strategy the Resistance sought in disarming its First Order adversary — and with it, the Resistance’s ultimate political aim to reconstitute the Republic and restore peace and justice to the galaxy. Whether the Resistance actually follows Clausewitz’s advice is a question left for Episode IX.  As the last surviving Resistance fighters flee Crait aboard the Millennium Falcon, the audience is offered a fleeting glimpse of a stack of dusty books that bear a striking resemblance to the ancient Jedi texts once thought to have been destroyed on Ahch-To. As officials in our own galaxy weigh preemptive strikes against their adversaries’ weapons of mass destruction installations, they would be well advised to dust off the works of our own Jedi-like mastermind and heed his teachings in the art of warfighting."

- Theo Milonopoulos, Columbia University

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"“I think the instant you start thinking in terms of how do you not step outside of the bounds of what the original movies did, you’re not thinking the way the people who made the original movies did,” he said. “With every movie, they were pushing it forward, with every movie they were stepping outside those bounds and pushing the characters into new, emotionally honest, but surprising places.  “That’s why those movies are great. That’s why they’re alive. If they had been looking at something that came before it and saying, ‘Oh, we better not do this because that is outside of this or that,’ it would’ve been different.” - Rian Johnson in an Interview

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"You feel Mr. Johnson periodically reining himself in, yet the movie cuts loose when he does, as when he embraces the galaxy’s strangeness, its non-humanoid beings as well as its magic and mystery. There’s a trippy scene in which a character floats into a resurrection, an ethereal drift that borders on the surreal. It’s a fleeting bliss-out in a series that knows how to bring the weird but has too often neglected to do so amid its blaster zapping, machinations and Oedipal stressing and storming. This is, after all, a franchise in which the most indelible character remains Yoda, the wee, far-out philosophizer with the tufted pate and syntactically distinct truth telling: “Wars not make one great.”

 

Wars do, however, make warehouses of money as this franchise has been affirming for decades. It’s instructive how normalized its permanent war has become, with its high body count, bloodlessness and fascist chic (the black uniforms evoking the Nazi SS). Given this, it’s notable, too, that while Mr. Johnson manages the big-canvas battles well enough, he’s better with smaller-scaled fights, in which the sweat, vulnerabilities and personal costs of violence are foregrounded. With Mr. Driver — who delivers a startlingly raw performance — Mr. Johnson delivers a potent portrait of villainy that suggests evil isn’t hard-wired, an inheritance or even enigmatic. Here, it is a choice — an act of self-creation in the service of annihilation.

 

Mr. Johnson has picked up the baton — notably the myth of a female Jedi — that was handed to Mr. Abrams when he signed on to revive the series with “The Force Awakens.” Mr. Johnson doesn’t have to make the important introductions; for the most part, the principals were in place, as was an overarching mythology that during some arid periods has seemed more sustained by fan faith than anything else. Even so, he has to convince you that these searching, burgeoning heroes and villains fit together emotionally, not simply on a Lucasfilm whiteboard, and that they have the requisite lightness and heaviness, the ineffable spirit and grandeur to reinvigorate a pop-cultural juggernaut. That he’s made a good movie in doing so isn’t icing; it’s the whole cake."

- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

 

User Opinion

 

"I'm sure anyone who reads this already has their opinion on this film well and set, so there's very little I could say to sway somebody who's not on my side of the fence over on why Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a pop-art masterpiece.  As I was browsing through the comments in the review thread I saw a comment in which I ranked this as my second favorite Star Wars film and asked "Upon re-watches and time could this even top ESB?".  Well, two years later and I know that answer, yes it definitively has, it's the greatest of all these space opera fantasy movies.  I have also decided in my head cannon that this is the true finale of the franchise, or at least the Skywalker saga.  The final scene of the movie is absolutely brilliant on cementing the threading theme throughout the film about who can be a hero and the power of myths and legends.  The Last Jedi may not have been the film that some fanboys wanted, but boy was it the genre deconstruction and reconstruction that Star Wars so direly needed.  It re-affirms everything I love about Star Wars and is a true pinnacle in achievement in franchise filmmaking" - @The Panda

 

Panda's Haiku

 

Watch the fanboy rage

 

Rage, Rage at this masterpiece

 

But the past must die

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - N/A, 2013 - N/A, 2014 - N/A, 2016 - N/A, 2018 - 96

 

Director Count

 

Richard Linklater - 1, Rian Johnson - 1,

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Star Wars - 1

 

Decade Count
 

2000s - 1, 2010s - 1

 

Edited by The Panda
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Coming up at 98 is the movie which received only 4 votes, (I presume from die hard fanboys :ph34r:) who just had to rank it that high

Edited by The Panda
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"In a mad world, only the mad are sane."

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Japanese warlord Hidetori Ichimonji decides the time has come to retire and divide his fiefdom among his three sons. His eldest and middle sons - Taro and Jiro - agree with his decision and promise to support him for his remaining days. The youngest son Saburo disagrees with all of them arguing that there is little likelihood the three brothers will remain united. Insulted by his son's brashness, the warlord banishes Saburo. As the warlord begins his retirement, he quickly realizes that his two eldest sons selfish and have no intention of keeping their promises. It leads to war and only banished Saburo can possibly save him."

 

Its Legacy

 

"Ran is the late masterpiece and testament of a great director contemplating his own twilight—and the world’s as well. It’s a tragedy fed by Shakespeare, Noh, and the samurai epic, full of metaphors and grand themes, a film that shows human brutality, warfare, and suffering as if from the eye of a dispassionate God, seated far above the world’s terror. In King Lear, we hear that spine-chilling speech, “As flies to wanton boys, so we are to the gods. They kill us for their sport.” But in Ran, it is the humans who kill, wantonly and bloodily, before a God who never interferes, freezingly sad and silent.  Three decades separate Ran from Akira Kurosawa’s other great epic, Seven Samurai (1954), and though each is a grand, visually overwhelming saga of warfare, they’re quite different in style and effect. Seven Samurai is robust, earthy, full of lusty humor, excitement, and emotion—a film by a director in his prime. Ran, made when Kurosawa was seventy-five, is coldly beautiful, bleak, horrifying, and remote, with an Olympian view that holds little sympathy for most of the main characters.

 

Where Kurosawa loves the seven samurai led by the wise old Kambei (Takashi Shimura), glorying in their raffish camaraderie and rough-hewn courage, he is unsparing toward Ran’s self-destroying old emperor, Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai), whose ceding of his empire to his sons, Taro (Akira Terao), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu), and Saburo (Daisuke Ryu), is followed by an avalanche of betrayal and bloodshed. He is clearly contemptuous of Taro and Jiro, and unfazed by the sheer evil of Lady Kaede, the fiendish seductress who incites the war and plunges them all into hell.  As Kurosawa grew older—and especially during the years after 1964’s Red Beard, when his films were more infrequent and his career more difficult—the darkness that had always lain under his work, from Drunken Angel (1948), Stray Dog (1949), and Rashomon (1950) onward, began to grow more apparent. That pessimistic view of human nature and justice, which he shared with the great Russian novelists—and which is softened, in one way or another, in films like Rashomon, Ikiru (1952), and Seven Samurai—began, in some cases, to swallow up his fictional world. Almost like the darkly comic, cynical Yojimbo (1961), Ran initially shows a war in which both sides, Hidetora’s and his older sons’, are corrupt. If, by the end, we tend to root for Hidetora’s youngest son, Saburo, the true child who tries to rescue his father (Kurosawa’s equivalent for Shakespeare’s faithful Cordelia), it’s not with the intense empathy with which we cheer on Kambei’s samurai.

 

Instead, Ran’s tide of events is as pitiless toward Saburo as it is toward everyone else, the wicked—Kaede, Taro, Jiro—as well as the good: Jiro’s Buddhist wife, Lady Sue (Yoshiko Miyazaki); the epicene fool, Kyoami, a girlish jester (played by the drag entertainer Peter, in a striking departure from Kurosawa’s usual machismo) who goads and binds himself to his master, Hidetora; Sue’s blind flutist brother, Tsurumaru (Takeshi Nomura), who, in the film’s terrifying last image, is seen teetering on the edge of a cliff, and an abyss, a bloodred sunset flaming behind him."

- Michael Wilmington, Ran: Apocalypse Song

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"The main problem of today is the way of teaching and educating, which cause the emergence of such tendencies. In present Japan, the education system has become a source of income. I don’t allow my grandson to go to school. A responsible teacher is hard to find in schools nowadays. There used to be exceptional teachers in our school systems. As the story suggests in Madadayo, the students learned more from the teacher’s conduct than from what they were taught. So even once they graduated, they continued to remain devoted and loyal to their teacher. One of the school subjects was Psychology and Philosophy, a discussion on what kind of human one should be, which is no longer a part of the curriculum. Before the war, logic was taught as the aim of the army, but after the war teaching logic was forbidden. The problem was in the way it was taught (to the advantage of the army), not in the subject itself. This is a big mistake. In the past, schools set high goals in educating the students, but today, it’s just the opposite. It is very difficult to get into college in Japan today, yet it’s only enough to get in, and in a few years graduate with no particular education or training. On the contrary, in the West, it’s not so hard to get into college, but instead, scientific subjects are taught scrupulously and if one cannot pass them, he or she doesn’t graduate. In terms of the education system, Japan took the wrong road. Our politicians are constantly asked to reconsider this wrong approach. It’s quite unfortunate that the number of ignorant youth is on the increase.

 

It’s a simple story about people and their psychological problems. Compassion must be taken more seriously. Formerly, people thought of others before themselves. Now that we look back, we realize what a blessing that was, although it was a natural instinct. If it’s brought on screen, I know it will be effective. In the past, the relationship between neighbors was warm and sincere, while today no one knows what the next-door neighbor does and no one cares. My neighbor is a baker who has a bakery nearby. He often brings me fresh bread. I still consider such friendships important. (In many instances, I wanted to talk about some of his films but he seemed reluctant. Any talk of style or aesthetics bored him. At one point he said: “Style? What style? We just express humanitarian stories in a very simple way.” When asked what criteria he uses for showing violence in his films or the degree of violence used, he said, “I’ve never used violence in my films.” I thought it would be rude to mention about the violent scenes in Ran? As he was talking about murder and crime, I tried to phrase my next question in a way that would somehow refer to Dreams, hoping it would prompt him to talk about his film. I should mention that although many critics and a number of my mentors don’t particularly like Kurosawa’s Dreams, I’m quite fond of it.)"

- Akira Kurosawa, Interview: Paradise is Around Here

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

" In 16th-century Japan, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji, has spilled “an ocean of blood” over more than 50 years to rule over the horizon.  A dream leaves the old man discombobulated: “I was in a strange land, a vast wilderness. I went on and on but met no one.” Thus, he outlines an unlikely retirement plan, one that will divide his kingdom among his three sons: Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. Hidetora, meanwhile, will retain the title of Great Lord.  Saburo, the youngest sibling, immediately scoffs: a warlord cannot retire, nor can his sons hope to live cosily in neighbouring castle-keeps. Tango, Hidetora’s most fervently loyal subject, agrees. Both are banished for their insolence.  Adding to familial friction, is the presence of Lady Kaede (Mieko Harada), cinema’s most formidable succubus, who manipulates one brother, then another. Her seduction technique includes knife-wielding, shrieking, and licking the blood from the puncture wound she has made in your neck.

 

With Ran, legendary director Akira Kurosawa reimagines Shakespeare’s King Lear against a bloody, feudal backdrop. The differences between the Japanese director’s work and the Bard’s play are not merely superficial transpositions. Saburo is no Cordelia: he is rather brash and, like the film itself, unflinchingly nihilistic.  There are strange cutaways to clouds and Godzilla creator Ishiro Honda is Kurosawa’s assistant and orchestrator of the epic samurai conflicts. In a film characterised by a sense of impending doom, there are hints of atomic doom. The frantic cuts and swashbuckling action that defined Kurasawa’s earlier films have given way to an unsparing, static gods-eye view.  All three of his regular DOPs - Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda, Asakazu Nakai - worked on Ran, a film he surely intended as his last great cinematic statement. He spent more than ten years on the detailed hand-painted tableaux that would become the film’s storyboards.  A similar level of painstaking undertaking was required at all levels. Costume designer Emi Wada won an Academy Award for her work on Ran; she spend three to four months on every painted silk robe.  One can never be short of things to look at while Kurasawa’s Ran is in the world." - Tara Brady, The Irish Times

 

User Opinion

 

"Kurosawa's best, and that's a tall order to meet. The last of his Shakespeare quasi-adaptations, this one riffs on King Lear with devastatingly good results." - @4815162342

 

Panda's Haiku

 

Who is the greatest?

 

Akira Kurosawa

 

He is the greatest

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Rian Johnson - 1, Akira Kurosawa (1), Richard Linklater - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Star Wars - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1980s - 1, 2000s - 1, 2010s - 1

 

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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do you still have that " number of #1 votes" thingy? Loved that.

 

Gearing up to be quite the amazing top!

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5 minutes ago, Daxtreme said:

do you still have that " number of #1 votes" thingy? Loved that.

 

Gearing up to be quite the amazing top!

Yeah it’s at the top, going to try to change the font on the graphic to make it more readable

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6 minutes ago, The Panda said:

Yeah it’s at the top, going to try to change the font on the graphic to make it more readable

 

:ohmyzod:

 

Am I blind? 

 

It's great!

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Dang it, I was literally working on my top 100 to send it, but I had to run to do something. 

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"Excuse me while I whip this out."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land, Hedley Lemar (Harvey Korman), a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new sheriff from the Governor (Mel Brooks). Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty winning over the townspeople."

 

Its Legacy

 

"By 1974, the Western, the dominant myth of American cinema, had already been subverted by plenty of other movies: Cat Ballou, Bonnie And Clyde, Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name trilogy, The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. It had been done, though never anywhere near as cartoonishly. But with John Wayne in the role, Blazing Saddles would’ve also subverted John Wayne’s own dumbass ideas about the way things should work.  Three years before Blazing Saddles came out, Wayne gave an interview to Playboy where he said stupid shit like this: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.” And perhaps the greatest legacy of Blazing Saddles is that it’s all about that great American lie of white supremacy. Nearly all the white people in Mel Brooks’ movie are hooting, howling idiots, and nearly all of them are willing to destroy their own town if it means that they can continue to feel superior to the Black sheriff, the only person willing to help them. John Wayne told Mel Brooks that he loved the Blazing Saddles script. Maybe he did. But the Blazing Saddles script did not love John Wayne. In any case, instead of appearing in Blazing Saddles, Wayne spent 1974 making a barely-remembered Dirty Harry ripoff called McQ.

 

If you’re going to watch Blazing Saddles in 2019, your cringe muscles are going to get a workout. The film’s characters spray racial slurs all over the place. There are long, protracted, honestly funny-as-hell jokes built entirely around racial slurs. There are rape jokes, too. One of the film’s most celebrated scenes, Madeline Kahn’s seduction of Cleavon Little, is pretty much an extended running joke about German accents and dick sizes. (That scene’s final punchline was the one joke that Brooks was nervous enough to cut from the film: “I hate to disappoint you, ma’am, but you’re sucking on my arm.”)    Mel Brooks was understandably apprehensive about cramming his movie so full of racial slurs. But Richard Pryor, one of the film’s five co-writers, reassured him that it was okay, since the bad guys were the ones saying all the vile shit. (Brooks wanted Pryor to play the lead in the movie, but Warner Bros. didn’t think Pryor would be dependable enough to show up for work every day.) Pryor was right. Blazing Saddles is, in effect, a knowingly absurd comedy about how dumb racism is. A rapacious rich guy wants to run all the people out of a small town because the land’s about to be worth a lot of money, so he sends in a Black sheriff, knowing that the town’s residents will be too blinded by their own racism to look after their self-interests. Really, Blazing Saddles has as much to say about American capitalism as The Godfather does.  

 

For months now, I’ve been looking at the history of hit movies, and only two of the films featured in this column before Blazing Saddles had any major characters of color: West Side Story, which was full of white actors wearing brown face to play Puerto Ricans, and Billy Jack, in which a white guy plays a character who’s half Native American. In the late ’60s, Sidney Poitier (who wasn’t in any of the movies covered in this column) became a major box office star, mostly by appearing in message movies about racism. But Poitier was literally the only one. Blazing Saddles isn’t just the first movie in this column with a Black lead. It’s the first with Black characters of any consequence at all.  The big debates happening in comedy right now are about whether comedians are allowed to joke about sensitive things—whether they’ll have their careers destroyed because they say the wrong things at the wrong time—and about the basic idea of punching down. There’s a persuasive argument that if you make jokes at the expense of people with less power than you, you’re an asshole. By that standard, Blazing Saddles has aged beautifully. It’s not perfect—the anarchic musical number at the end has more gay jokes than anyone needs—but for a 1974 comedy about race, it’s remarkably non-shitty.  And Blazing Saddles gets away with a lot because it’s also unbelievably funny. Mel Brooks anticipated the five-jokes-a-minute pace of something like The Simpsons by nearly two decades. Blazing Saddles is full of dumb jokes that achieve transcendence just because of how brutally unashamed they are and how quickly they keep coming. Some of those jokes are etched in the cultural memory now: Mongo knocking a horse out with one punch; Sheriff Bart kidnapping himself; a symphony of farts around a campfire. And they’re funny even if you know they’re coming. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Blazing Saddles, but this time, I still had to pause at “Mongo only pawn in game of life.” I needed time to recover."

- Tom Breihan, The AV Club

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"“She didn’t really understand. I said, 'Madeline, would you raise your skirt? I want to see your legs.’ And she said, ‘Oh, it’s one of those auditions,’” Brooks says on the phone. “I said, ‘No, no. You got me all wrong. We’re doing a takeoff of Western movies and one of the big ones is Destry Rides Again, starring Marlene Dietrich. And [in that movie] she kept straddling a chair with her beautiful netted black stockings and I gotta have good-looking legs.’ So, she said, ‘OK.’ She raised her skirt. She straddled a chair and showed me her legs. I said, ‘Oh, my God. You’re beautiful.’  Brooks pauses half a beat, before adding a joke about what later dawned on him and that he now does in his act. “I say, ‘I was thinking, why couldn’t it be one of those auditions? God. I’ll never get another chance.’”

 

“I’m basically doing that same thing [at Radio City]. I’m doing Blazing Saddles, the movie first, and then I come out on a feather-bed of cheers and laughs … All I have to do is just take 15 or 20 minutes of bowing,” jokes Brooks, who actually engages with the audience for about an hour.  For example, Brooks had wanted Richard Pryor, one of the film’s five screenwriters, to play Sheriff Bart, but the studio wouldn't insure Pryor, who’d had a drug arrest, to act in the film. Brooks said he wouldn’t do the picture without Pryor, who urged Brooks not to quit. “So, I stayed. And Richard helped me find Cleavon Little,” Brooks says. “We looked at maybe 20 actors and Cleavon really stood out as being the most handsome and sharp.”"

- Mel Brooks, Interview with USA Today

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The movie is, among other things, a comedy Western. The story line, which is pretty shaky, involves some shady land speculators who need to run a railroad through Ridge Rock, and decide to drive the residents out. The last thing they want there is law and order, and so the crooks send in a black sheriff (Cleavon Little), figuring the townspeople will revolt.  Well, they almost do, but the sheriff (Black Bart is his name, of course) wins them over, and signs up a drunken sharpshooter (Gene Wilder) as his deputy. Meanwhile ... but what am I saying, meanwhile? Meanwhile, six dozen other things happen. The townspeople decide to stay and make a stand, even though, as the preacher intones, "Our women have been stampeded and our cattle raped." Bart rejects the advances of a man-killing woman who has been sicced on him (Madeline Kahn as Marlene Dietrich -- Lili von Shtupp), and the people build a dummy town and lure the bad guys into it.

 

One of the hallmarks of Brooks' movie humor has been his willingness to embrace excess. In his "The Producers," one of the funniest movies ever made, we got the immortal "Springtime for Hitler" production number, and Zero Mostel seducing little old ladies in the bushes, and Gene Wilder (again) choreographed with the Lincoln Center water fountain. Brooks' "The Twelve Chairs," not as funny, still had such great scenes as Brooks himself as an obsequious serf clinging to his master's leg.  And "Blazing Saddles" is like that from beginning to end, except for a couple of slow stretches. The baked bean scene alone qualifies the movie for some sort of Wretched Excess award. Then there's the whole business of Mongol (Alex Karris) who is a kind of dimwitted Paul Bunyan. He rides into town on an ox, sent to eliminate Bart, but is seduced by a black powder bomb in a Candygram. It would take too long to explain.

 

One of the criticisms of "The Producers" was that it took too long to end after "Springtime for Hitler." Determined that "Blazing Saddles" wouldn't end slowly, Brooks has provided for it a totally uninhibited Hollywood fantasy that includes a takeoff on "Top Hat," a scene at Graumann's Chinese Theater, a pie fight and, of course, a final fadeout into the sunset."

- Roger Ebert

 

User Opinion

 

""That's authentic frontier gibberish"

 

Damn fine movie.  It's the level of quality parody so many movies have tried and failed to achieve ever since." - @BiffMan

 

Panda's Haiku

 

I whip, whip this out

 

Riding the Blazing Saddle

 

Now watch me nay-nay

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Mel Brooks - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Akira Kurosawa (1), Richard Linklater - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Star Wars - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1970s - 1, 1980s - 1, 2000s - 1, 2010s - 1

 

 

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"Okay, let's pay our respects then get home for lunch."

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her 4-year-old sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoros (pronounced toe-toe-ro). They soon befriend these Totoros, and have several magical adventures."

 

Its Legacy

 

"The celebration of nature and the gentle spirit that guides My Neighbor Totoro is even hinted at in the title, since the Totoro represents nature and it implies the need for co-existence. In other words, it's the exact opposite of Manifest Destiny, or the subversion of nature, and it does away entirely with the narrative formula that paints things in black and white and in an "us" versus "them" mentality; which is what most Western cinema purveys in order to seduce audiences with a fast pace and a quick allegiance to the main protagonist. Ironically, despite the fact that My Neighbor Totoro is so well adjusted and nurturing, its release in the U.S. was held up due to a few scenes, including one wherein Satsuki shares a bathtub with her father. U.S. companies felt uncomfortable with the images, feeling that Western audiences wouldn't understand that traditional Japanese homes often had various tubs, washing in one before sharing a hot bathtub together. Meanwhile, Miyazaki was uncomfortable with giving any outside company the right to make edits of any sort, since he felt that the cuts and changes made to his film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds (Kaze no Tani no Naushika, 1984), which was then released in the U.S. as Warriors of the Wind in 1986, were so destructive that further U.S. releases were postponed for a long time thereafter.

 

My Neighbor Totoro was released in Japan in 1988 as part of a very unusual package alongside Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka), which was a very different animation experience based on the semiautobiographical work of a World War II survivor. The reason for this gambit was due to the fact that My Neighbor Totoro was considered too much of an investment risk on its own, but since Grave of the Fireflies was adapted from a well-known novel the filmmakers knew schools across the country could be counted on to encourage attendance based on its educational value. Although My Neighbor Totoro did not quite break even upon its theatrical release, it did put a foot in the door and give Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli (pronounced ji-bu-ri, and the name for both an Italian fighter plane and a hot Saharan wind) the means to establish itself. Of course, the merchandising juggernaut that came soon afterwards helped too.  Miyazaki made huge inroads with Western audiences with Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime, 1997), Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001), and Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro, 2004). Princess Mononoke became the biggest grossing film in Japan until it was unseated by an American behemoth about a sinking ship. Spirited Away won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. But Miyazaki's legacy extends far beyond these recent blockbusters.

 

Born in 1941, he started his career in 1963 as an animator at the Toei Douga studio and from there would go on to add screenwriting, directing, and producing to his credits. He has worked on about 25 projects and is a master of cel animation (where images on paper are transferred to cel via heat treatment, then colored with water-based paint and filmed with the background). His father was passionate about cinema and he remembers seeing films by Yasujiro Ozu, Vittorio De Sica, Andrzej Wajda, and Robert Bresson. But it was the heroine of Japan's first feature-length animation, The Legend of White Snake (Hakuja den, 1958), that stole his heart and made him want to bring that same experience to a new generation of children. And as more and more parents come across such gems as My Neighbor Totoro they'll see why Ebert puts it on his shortlist for kids. They might also be interested to know that, on top of Ebert's endorsement, no less an authority on cinema than Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) made it one of the few Japanese films that he placed on his list of the hundred best movies of all time." 

- Pablo Kjolseth, TCM Film Article

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"In the interview, Miyazaki states that he first came up with the idea for the creature named Totoro when he conceived the scene where Mei waits for the bus in the rain. Miyazaki wanted to capture something that was inexplicable and yet also familiar that would stand next to Mei. The original title for the film was Tonari ni iru Obake (lit. "The Ghost Beside Me"), which the late Isao Takahata approved of at the time.  The film's setting is based on the city of Tokorozawa in the Saitama Prefecture, where he lived with his wife when they were a young couple in the 1960s. The film is generally not based on specific locations, but rather on Miyazaki's vague memories of what Tokorozawa was like as a rural town in those days.  One scene in My Neighbor Totoro that is based on a real-life location is the hospital where Mei and Satsuki's mother has been resting. Miyazaki based it on the Shin Yamanote Hospital, which was where his own mother had been hospitalized for a long time years ago.

 

Miyazaki decided on creating a film with a rural Japanese setting during the time he was working on Heidi, Girl of the Alps. He said that when he went to Switzerland to learn how to draw the plants and wildlife there, he thought, "The greenery in Japan is better." Despite being a self-confessed Europhile, Miyazaki decided to create a film that captures just what is so spectacular about nature in Japan. "Although I still hate Japan," Miyazaki added.  The experience of creating My Neighbor Totoro reaffirmed Miyazaki's appreciation for the parts of Japan that have now been lost to time. Miyazaki notes that the landscape of Tokorozawa is completely different nowadays thanks to urbanization. Even during the production of My Neighbor Totoro in the 1980s, the Japan that Miyazaki remembered had faded.  "There was a house that was the splitting image of Kanta's house [in the film]. When we were making the film, I went there with the background artist Kazuo Oga to check it out, it was surrounded by all these levee protection works, and the scenery had changed. I was disappointed, but Mr. Oga said, 'I get the vibe.' He put his imagination to work and reconstructed the feeling."  Toshio Suzuki, producer at Studio Ghibli and a lifelong friend of Miyazaki, disagrees with the idea that Totoro's spirit has "left" Tokorozawa. It is mentioned in the book that Miyazaki has recently been taking Suzuki around Tokorozawa to show him "the place where Totoro was born." Suzuki was enchanted with Hachikokuyama Park, a forested area on the border of Tokorozawa, and remarked, "This is where the gods dwell.""

- Hayao Miyazaki Looks Back on His Memories of Creating My Neighbor Totoro, Anime News Network

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro was released in Japan 30 years ago to little fanfare. Misjudged by financiers and shoehorned into a double bill with Isao Takahata’s much-anticipated Grave of the Fireflies, Totoro trod water until slowly, surely, it became one of the most beloved animated feature films of all time.  Coming into the world two days before Totoro arrived in cinemas, I find myself strangely bonded to this great grey tree-dweller. I can’t remember when it was I first saw the film, but it has always been a remedy for particularly rainy days, a trophy film presented proudly to loved ones, and the cause of many barely concealed yelps of excitement during a trip to Japan. It would seem I’m not alone, too. “It’s like a tonic,” says Paul Vickery, head of programming at the Prince Charles Cinema, a London rep cinema that has been showing Studio Ghibli strands for years. “If it’s playing on one of the days I’m working I’ll pop in to catch some of it. It just tops up the wellbeing that you need.”  This year the Prince Charles has shown My Neighbour Totoro three times already, swapping from subbed to dubbed versions in the hope of drawing in a different crowds. “When you show the film at 1pm on a Saturday to 300 people, and half of those people are children, it’s really amazing. It’s available on Blu-ray in shops nearby, yet people still bring their families to see it on the big screen.”  Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for Totoro’s success is that everyone has their own interpretation of what it means. While the physical appearance of the title character has been compared to everything from an owl to a seal to a giant mouse troll, on a metaphysical level the theories run even deeper. In Miyazaki’s book of essays ‘Starting Point: 1979-1996’, Totoro is described as a creation of Mei and Satsuki’s imagination, a gentle giant who guides them through their mother’s illness.

 

I love that Miyazaki is a director who is willing to roll up his sleeves and animates as well, but it’s the collaborative nature of his work that elevates it to such an extraordinary level. Totoro wouldn’t be complete without Joe Hisashi’s score, for example, a sweeping composition that is as delightful and memorable as the whiskers on the title character’s cheeks. It feels like part of the magic that makes Totoro take flight or gives the cat bus its 12 legs.  Sega Bodega is a music producer and performer who has sampled Hisashi’s work in the first of three shows dedicated to the music of Studio Ghibli for a special run on NTS. For him, the score is an unmatched mix of playfulness and grandeur: “It’s the choice of sounds that makes it so heart-warming. It’s all very fun; cartoon-type noises but in parallel with this melody and chord progression that kills me.”  Bodega listened to every score from Studio Ghibli for the series but rates the originality of Hisashi’s score above all others, which links directly to his appreciation of the film. “There is just such a purity to it, but like a mature one. So many times, I go back to films I watched as a kid and find that they’re shit. But Ghibli films feel like coming of age films, mixed with pure fantasy. It just seems like a timeless combination.”  Timeless is key here, because the power of Totoro seems infinite. “You will never see an audience as happy as the one leaving the building after we screen Totoro,” adds Vickery. “A lot can be said for going to see a film that is genuinely just very nice, and you leave the screen with a big smile on your face because it doesn’t happen that much. You leave feeling full of love almost.”

- Beth Webb, Little White Lies

 

User Opinion

 

"A perfect movie in every way. One of the best fantasy films ever." - @Jack Nevada

 

Panda's Haiku

 

Flying cat so high

 

Please, do not eat me oh cat

 

Oh cat in the sky

 

C7CpUSZVsAAAQUv.jpg

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 84, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Mel Brooks - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Richard Linklater - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli (1)

 

Decade Count

 

1970s - 1, 1980s - 2, 2000s - 1, 2010s - 1

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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8 minutes ago, The Panda said:

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"Okay, let's pay our respects then get home for lunch."

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her 4-year-old sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoros (pronounced toe-toe-ro). They soon befriend these Totoros, and have several magical adventures."

 

Its Legacy

 

"The celebration of nature and the gentle spirit that guides My Neighbor Totoro is even hinted at in the title, since the Totoro represents nature and it implies the need for co-existence. In other words, it's the exact opposite of Manifest Destiny, or the subversion of nature, and it does away entirely with the narrative formula that paints things in black and white and in an "us" versus "them" mentality; which is what most Western cinema purveys in order to seduce audiences with a fast pace and a quick allegiance to the main protagonist. Ironically, despite the fact that My Neighbor Totoro is so well adjusted and nurturing, its release in the U.S. was held up due to a few scenes, including one wherein Satsuki shares a bathtub with her father. U.S. companies felt uncomfortable with the images, feeling that Western audiences wouldn't understand that traditional Japanese homes often had various tubs, washing in one before sharing a hot bathtub together. Meanwhile, Miyazaki was uncomfortable with giving any outside company the right to make edits of any sort, since he felt that the cuts and changes made to his film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds (Kaze no Tani no Naushika, 1984), which was then released in the U.S. as Warriors of the Wind in 1986, were so destructive that further U.S. releases were postponed for a long time thereafter.

 

My Neighbor Totoro was released in Japan in 1988 as part of a very unusual package alongside Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka), which was a very different animation experience based on the semiautobiographical work of a World War II survivor. The reason for this gambit was due to the fact that My Neighbor Totoro was considered too much of an investment risk on its own, but since Grave of the Fireflies was adapted from a well-known novel the filmmakers knew schools across the country could be counted on to encourage attendance based on its educational value. Although My Neighbor Totoro did not quite break even upon its theatrical release, it did put a foot in the door and give Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli (pronounced ji-bu-ri, and the name for both an Italian fighter plane and a hot Saharan wind) the means to establish itself. Of course, the merchandising juggernaut that came soon afterwards helped too.  Miyazaki made huge inroads with Western audiences with Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime, 1997), Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001), and Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro, 2004). Princess Mononoke became the biggest grossing film in Japan until it was unseated by an American behemoth about a sinking ship. Spirited Away won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. But Miyazaki's legacy extends far beyond these recent blockbusters.

 

Born in 1941, he started his career in 1963 as an animator at the Toei Douga studio and from there would go on to add screenwriting, directing, and producing to his credits. He has worked on about 25 projects and is a master of cel animation (where images on paper are transferred to cel via heat treatment, then colored with water-based paint and filmed with the background). His father was passionate about cinema and he remembers seeing films by Yasujiro Ozu, Vittorio De Sica, Andrzej Wajda, and Robert Bresson. But it was the heroine of Japan's first feature-length animation, The Legend of White Snake (Hakuja den, 1958), that stole his heart and made him want to bring that same experience to a new generation of children. And as more and more parents come across such gems as My Neighbor Totoro they'll see why Ebert puts it on his shortlist for kids. They might also be interested to know that, on top of Ebert's endorsement, no less an authority on cinema than Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) made it one of the few Japanese films that he placed on his list of the hundred best movies of all time." 

- Pablo Kjolseth, TCM Film Article

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"In the interview, Miyazaki states that he first came up with the idea for the creature named Totoro when he conceived the scene where Mei waits for the bus in the rain. Miyazaki wanted to capture something that was inexplicable and yet also familiar that would stand next to Mei. The original title for the film was Tonari ni iru Obake (lit. "The Ghost Beside Me"), which the late Isao Takahata approved of at the time.  The film's setting is based on the city of Tokorozawa in the Saitama Prefecture, where he lived with his wife when they were a young couple in the 1960s. The film is generally not based on specific locations, but rather on Miyazaki's vague memories of what Tokorozawa was like as a rural town in those days.  One scene in My Neighbor Totoro that is based on a real-life location is the hospital where Mei and Satsuki's mother has been resting. Miyazaki based it on the Shin Yamanote Hospital, which was where his own mother had been hospitalized for a long time years ago.

 

Miyazaki decided on creating a film with a rural Japanese setting during the time he was working on Heidi, Girl of the Alps. He said that when he went to Switzerland to learn how to draw the plants and wildlife there, he thought, "The greenery in Japan is better." Despite being a self-confessed Europhile, Miyazaki decided to create a film that captures just what is so spectacular about nature in Japan. "Although I still hate Japan," Miyazaki added.  The experience of creating My Neighbor Totoro reaffirmed Miyazaki's appreciation for the parts of Japan that have now been lost to time. Miyazaki notes that the landscape of Tokorozawa is completely different nowadays thanks to urbanization. Even during the production of My Neighbor Totoro in the 1980s, the Japan that Miyazaki remembered had faded.  "There was a house that was the splitting image of Kanta's house [in the film]. When we were making the film, I went there with the background artist Kazuo Oga to check it out, it was surrounded by all these levee protection works, and the scenery had changed. I was disappointed, but Mr. Oga said, 'I get the vibe.' He put his imagination to work and reconstructed the feeling."  Toshio Suzuki, producer at Studio Ghibli and a lifelong friend of Miyazaki, disagrees with the idea that Totoro's spirit has "left" Tokorozawa. It is mentioned in the book that Miyazaki has recently been taking Suzuki around Tokorozawa to show him "the place where Totoro was born." Suzuki was enchanted with Hachikokuyama Park, a forested area on the border of Tokorozawa, and remarked, "This is where the gods dwell.""

- Hayao Miyazaki Looks Back on His Memories of Creating My Neighbor Totoro, Anime News Network

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro was released in Japan 30 years ago to little fanfare. Misjudged by financiers and shoehorned into a double bill with Isao Takahata’s much-anticipated Grave of the Fireflies, Totoro trod water until slowly, surely, it became one of the most beloved animated feature films of all time.  Coming into the world two days before Totoro arrived in cinemas, I find myself strangely bonded to this great grey tree-dweller. I can’t remember when it was I first saw the film, but it has always been a remedy for particularly rainy days, a trophy film presented proudly to loved ones, and the cause of many barely concealed yelps of excitement during a trip to Japan. It would seem I’m not alone, too. “It’s like a tonic,” says Paul Vickery, head of programming at the Prince Charles Cinema, a London rep cinema that has been showing Studio Ghibli strands for years. “If it’s playing on one of the days I’m working I’ll pop in to catch some of it. It just tops up the wellbeing that you need.”  This year the Prince Charles has shown My Neighbour Totoro three times already, swapping from subbed to dubbed versions in the hope of drawing in a different crowds. “When you show the film at 1pm on a Saturday to 300 people, and half of those people are children, it’s really amazing. It’s available on Blu-ray in shops nearby, yet people still bring their families to see it on the big screen.”  Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for Totoro’s success is that everyone has their own interpretation of what it means. While the physical appearance of the title character has been compared to everything from an owl to a seal to a giant mouse troll, on a metaphysical level the theories run even deeper. In Miyazaki’s book of essays ‘Starting Point: 1979-1996’, Totoro is described as a creation of Mei and Satsuki’s imagination, a gentle giant who guides them through their mother’s illness.

 

I love that Miyazaki is a director who is willing to roll up his sleeves and animates as well, but it’s the collaborative nature of his work that elevates it to such an extraordinary level. Totoro wouldn’t be complete without Joe Hisashi’s score, for example, a sweeping composition that is as delightful and memorable as the whiskers on the title character’s cheeks. It feels like part of the magic that makes Totoro take flight or gives the cat bus its 12 legs.  Sega Bodega is a music producer and performer who has sampled Hisashi’s work in the first of three shows dedicated to the music of Studio Ghibli for a special run on NTS. For him, the score is an unmatched mix of playfulness and grandeur: “It’s the choice of sounds that makes it so heart-warming. It’s all very fun; cartoon-type noises but in parallel with this melody and chord progression that kills me.”  Bodega listened to every score from Studio Ghibli for the series but rates the originality of Hisashi’s score above all others, which links directly to his appreciation of the film. “There is just such a purity to it, but like a mature one. So many times, I go back to films I watched as a kid and find that they’re shit. But Ghibli films feel like coming of age films, mixed with pure fantasy. It just seems like a timeless combination.”  Timeless is key here, because the power of Totoro seems infinite. “You will never see an audience as happy as the one leaving the building after we screen Totoro,” adds Vickery. “A lot can be said for going to see a film that is genuinely just very nice, and you leave the screen with a big smile on your face because it doesn’t happen that much. You leave feeling full of love almost.”

- Beth Webb, Little White Lies

 

User Opinion

 

"A perfect movie in every way. One of the best fantasy films ever." - @Jack Nevada

 

C7CpUSZVsAAAQUv.jpg

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 84, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Mel Brooks - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Richard Linklater - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli (1)

 

Decade Count

 

1970s - 1, 1980s - 2, 2000s - 1, 2010s - 1

 

 

:wub:

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I’ll try to get around 10 each day starting tomorrow.  Started to late today for that to be feasible.

 

Also, by popular demand in the telegram, for all of the movies following I will be writing.. errr... haiku’s got each entry.

 

I may go back and write some haiku’s for the past 5 entries.

 

Best of luck to you all for having to suffer through me attempting to haiku.

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