My Top 50 All-Time Favorite Films (Part 4)*

This is a very lengthy post so no much intro needed now. Just a reminder, this is not a list of the best movies for me, this is my favorites list. If you missed the bottom 30 movies, check these out: Top 50-41, 40-31, 30-21. A’right. Back to the countdown….

20. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Genre: Horror
Director: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard
Plot: In October of 1994, three student film makers disappeared in the woods near Burkittesville, Maryland. One year later, their footage was found.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 88%

“I’m afraid to close my eyes, I’m afraid to open them.”

The second of the only two horror films in this list (the other is The Others), The Blair Witch Project is a great horror movie. There was no monster or ghost shown but it really scared the hell out of me. And I watched it already knowing that this did not happen for real. But still, I was blown away. Scary, scary, scary.

19. (tied) American Beauty (1999)
Genre: Drama
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening
Plot: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter’s attractive friend.
Top Critics’ Mark: 93%

“Remember those posters that said, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life?’ Well, that’s true with every day except one: the day that you die.”

Everybody was talking about this film and I just couldn’t care less. For starters, I thought, what could be interesting about suburbia. I thought suburbia was boring. And then after watching it, I realized that was exactly the point. Suburbia is boring but it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

19. (tied) The Safety of Objects (2001)
Genre: Drama
Director: Rose Troche
Starring: Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney
Plot: A powerful story intertwining the lives of four neighboring families as they struggle to understand each other and, ultimately, themselves.
Top Critics’ Mark: 42%

“When you have things and suddenly you don’t, it feels like you disappeared. Nothing should make you feel that way… Except when you lose a person.”

Another incredible film set in suburbia, The Safety of Objects is one dramatic treat. Most critics did not like it but what the hell, I enjoyed it so much. I was bothered by the twist in the end. I felt every character and I was moved. That’s enough for me.

18. (tied) Babel (2006)
Genre: Drama
Director: Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Rinko Kikuchi, Adriana Barazza
Plot: Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.
Top Critics’ Mark: 62%

Tragedy is universal.

Most of my friends did not like this but I did tremendously. Excellent performances by everyone in this film especially Adriana Barraza. Her line of action was also my favorite. Well-written screenplay. Awesome direction. And I understood what the film was trying to tell deeply. Very, very effective.

18. (tied) 21 Grams (2003)

Genre: Drama
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu
Starring: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Benicio Del Toro
Plot: A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother and a born-again ex-con.
Top Critics’ Mark: 89%

They say we all lose 21 grams (when we die)… who will be next?

Innaritu’s best film for me, 21 Grams is something that I tried to watch so many times but after the first 20 minutes, I would always stop watching or doze off. I found it really, really boring. But then, when the story finally picks up at the accident scene, my Gawd, I just couldn’t get my eyes off the screen. Truly a masterpiece. Even Tonet who is not fond of this kind of films and actually slept until the last 20 minutes loved this. The last moments of the film were just haunting.

18. (tied) Amores Perros | Love is a Bitch (2000)

Genre: Drama
Country: Mexico
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Emilio Echevarria, Goya Toledo
Plot: A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.
Top Critics’ Mark: 96%

You and your plans. You know what my grandmother used to say? If you want to make God laugh… tell Him your plans.

This was the first film using the non-linear narrative structure that I saw, and when the closing credits rolled, I told myself “I will make a film like that.” The most brilliant thing about this movie is the use of dogs as a theme (and motif) and how a single road accident weaved all three stories together.

17. Shattered Glass (2003)

Genre: Drama
Director: Billy Ray
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard
Plot: The true story of a young journalist who fell from grace when it was found he had fabricated over half of his articles.
Top Critics’ Mark: 82%

Read between the lies.

When I watched this film, I put all my expectations behind. I mean, come on, Hayden Christensen, NOT hot. But because a friend was persistently forcing me to watch it because he was sure I would like it, a’right, I watched it and thought I was doing him a favour. He was wrong. I did not like it. I LOVED IT. And I was persistently thanking him after seeing this movie. Simple. Beautiful. Shattering.

16. Taegukgi Hwinalremyeo: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

Genre: War, Drama
Country: South Korea
Director: Je-gyu Kang
Starring: Dong-kun Jang, Bin Won
Plot: A drama about the fate of two brothers forced to fight in the Korean War.
Top Critics Mark: 83%

“I wish this was all just a dream. I want to wake up in my bed, and over breakfast, I’d tell you that I had a strange dream.”

It was my brother-in-law who introduced this film to me, and I immediately fell in love with the premise. I’ve always loved stories about male relationships: father and son or brothers or lovers. And I am a fan of war films. But hell, the copy he gave me did not have subtitles so off to Quiapo I went and finally found a copy. It was such a hard find. I went home only to learn that it wouldn’t play. Back to Quiapo, then. Finally found a good copy. I cried so many times. It’s not a perfect movie; there are several flaws and loopholes. But heck, all the effort I exerted just to find a copy of this — it was worth it.

15. Rashomon (1950)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori
Plot: A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.
Top Critics’ Mark: 100% WOW!

“It’s human to lie. Most of the time we can’t even be honest with ourselves.”

Besides love, “truth” is the most important concept to me. And Rashomon is the best movie about truth in history. All it wants to say is simple: truth is relative. There is no absolute truth. Although I do not really agree with that, it was presented in the film beautifully that you would really believe that it’s the truth. Most critics say that Akira Kurosawa’s best work is not this but “Seven Samurai.” Sadly, I do not have enough patience to watch a black-and-white movie that long.

14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet
Plot: A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
Top Critics’ Mark: 90%

“Valentine’s day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.?

We all know this: Michel Gondry is a genius. And this film is a strong proof. What if you can erase someone from your memory? Would you do it? This is about a couple who had forgotten to love each other and decided to get rid of the memories that involve each other. But somewhere along the way, they unearthed the good memories and realized how stupid of them to actually do the erase-thingum. But then, it was too late. The concept is interesting enough, no need to say more.

13. (tied) Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles | A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Genre: War, Drama
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel
Plot: A young woman relentlessly searches for her fiancée, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War I.
Top Critics’ Mark: 79%

“Ashes to ashes. Ashes to ashes.?

Most of my friends did not like this film. They say that it’s too complicated. And as the title suggests, it’s a very long movie. But I enjoyed every minute of it. It took me three viewings to understand the movie completely because, yes, it’s too complicated. I don’t know why I like this film so much. Maybe because it’s a war film. Maybe because it’s a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film. Maybe because it’s French. Maybe it’s the gorgeous cinematography. Or the grand production design. Or the beautiful acting performances. Haaaay. Engaging.

13. (tied) Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain | Amelie (2001)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey tautou, Matthieu Kassovitz
Plot: Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.
Top Critics’ Mark: 85%

“It’s called a reality check. The last thing Amélie wants.?

Amelie made me fall in love with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I love his story-telling. It’s always funny, colorful, heart-warming and charming. Actually, “charming” is the first word that I uttered after I saw Amelie, and the first word that enters my mind whenever I hear someone talk about this film. Charming, charming, charming…

12. (tied) Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998)

Genre: Drama
Country: Philippines
Director: Chito Rono
Starring: Vilma Santos, Carlo Aquino, Serena Dalrymple
Plot: Lea proves her worth as a mother, lover and woman.

“Akala mo lang wala, pero meron, meron, meron!?

I was a high school freshie when I first saw this film and even when bombarded with a lot of Tagalog curse words that almost blew my sanity that time, I still liked this film. It’s not because of its artistic or entertainment value, it’s because of Carlo Aquino and Serena Dalrymple and their humorous stints. Then in college, I decided to see this movie again and yes, I still liked it. This time, for intelligent reasons.

12. (tied) Sana Maulit Muli | Hopefully, Once More (1995)

Genre: Drama
Country: Philippines
Director: Olivia Lamasan
Starring: Aga Muhlach, Lea Salonga
Plot: A couple desperately try to fight for their relationship twice.

“Hurt? Hindi mo alam ang ibig sabihin ng salitang ‘hurt’ dahil hindi mo alam kung gaano mo ako nasaktan!”

Gawad Urian Best Picture awardee, Sana Maulit Muli is Direk Olivia Lamasan’s second film. But it was only in high school that I really appreciated the beauty of this work after seeing it on some cable channel. It was funny because in the first half of the movie, I sooo hated Aga and I sympathized with Lea. When they switched positions and Lea moved to the US and Aga gave up everything to follow her, I soooo hated Lea and I sympathized with Aga. Later I realized that it’s exactly what the film was trying to make me feel. Aside from its romantic and dramatic values, this movie is a gem technically. I just hated the ending. So much.

11. Fa Yeung Nin Wa | In the Mood for Love (2000)

Genre: Drama
Country: China
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Starring: Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
Plot: A man and a woman move in to neighboring Hong Kong apartments and form a bond when they both suspect their spouses of extra-marital activities.
Top Critics’ Mark: 88%

“He remembers those vanished years. As though looking throusth a dusty window pane, the past is something he could see, but not touch. And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.”

I was planning to tie this up with another Wong Kar Wai film 2046, but I realized that I love In the Mood for Love better by a mile. At first, I was hesitant to watch this because I wasn’t really fond of watching Chinese movies because at first, they all look the same to me. But then, since this movie has only a few characters, I was able to endure it. What I like about this film is that technically, it’s stylish. Emotionally, it’s moving. Psychologically, it’s haunting. After watching this, I kept on thinking about the story and the ending and the concept itself. Simple. Precise. Perfect. This is why Wong Kar Wai is THE Wong Kar Wai.

____###____

Wow. This is the first batch without any Nicole Kidman-starrer. Hihi. And oh, I’m sorry, there are a lot of tie-ups in this batch. I just couldn’t break ’em. Anyway, we’re getting closer to my Top 10 all-time fave films. Yipee. Bye for now.

Related Posts:
My Top 50 All-Time Favorite Films, Part 1
My Top 50 All-Time Favorite Films, Part 2
My Top 50 All-Time Favorite Films, Part 3

Credits:
Plot: imdb.com
Posters: talkcinema.com, dailyinfo.com, cnn.net, apple.com, wikimedia.org, milanodvd.com, play.com, comingsoon.net, kyopro.kufs.ac.jp, tesco.com, killermovies.com, allposters.com, cartelia.net, movies.msn.com, netflix.com
Screencaps: img.stern.de, timeinc.net, reelfilm.com, amazon.com, thecia.com.au, bbc.co.uk, movies.yahoo.com, honoluluadvertiser.com, dvdbits.com, fotos.sapo.pt, sympatico.ca, spiritualityandpractice.com, plenitude.com.br, skyinet.net
Marks: rottentomatoes.com’s Cream of the Crop Critics
*as of September 2, 2007,

Comments

  1. I’ve not seen some of those movies but I remember the Blair Witch Projected freaked me out a lot ( I can’t stand horror films). I liked American Beauty as well.

  2. nice choices! I’ve seen Blairwitch, american beauty, babel, 21 grams, amores perros and amelie. I hate to say that I haven’t seen bata, bata (shame) only because Ate Vi films never appealed to me that much. Hehe. Same reason why I didnt watch Spotless. I hate Jim Carrey.

  3. Hay.. namiss ko to! its been more than a month. hope i can do this more often. Wonderful list. Really wonderful.. Especially Amelie. Love it! =)

  4. I thought Blair Witch Project was real. I even tried to research about it, only to find out (years later) that it’s not real. pfft! I like the movie though…

  5. umm es, tama ba yun…? american beauty 1941???

    wuh, meron kang dvd ng the safety of objects? peram! i love dermot mulroney. wuuuh.

    in the mood for love… wuuuh. is the best! loveit! yan na ata ang pelikulang pinagaralan ko at ginawan ng paper ng maraming beses and everytime i do, i love it more and more. =)

    safety of objects ha! saka pala taegukgi! tinks!
    =)

  6. oooh yoshke! i lurve “Eternal Sunshine…” that was the title of my other blog pa naman. i think the fact that i couldn’t even understand the movie makes the whole watching experience more enjoyable. ang hirap kasi intindihin eh, kulang na lang pumutok ang mga cerebral aneurysms ko. 🙂 hihihi.

    ooh rashomon! where did you get a copy? and american beauty? wes bentley’s a-mah-zing, and by that i meant yummy! 🙂

    gawd, i really have to watch babel! brad and cate? here i commmmeeee!!!!

      • aaw gawd. i can’t wait to visit quiapo in the near future! 🙂

        i think the last movie that i saw (in the moviehouse that is) was final destination 3. hmm, yun nga ba? and we were at the moviehouse when the edsa coup erupted. (it was feb 2006 if im not mistaken).

        and oh yoshke, hindi ko pa nakikita ang FRIDA! 🙂

      • i was abl to watch amores perros at american beauty.. Nurse ruff, I was able to rent FRIDA one time sa Video store (siempre kc tungkol sa life ng isang latin painter kaya na iterest ako irent)

        Yoshke, sorry pero di ko nareview yung ibang list mo, kasama ciguro dun yung Y tu mama tambien no? Ok yun! (hehehe). pero memorable pa rin sa akin yung k felicity haufman ba yun ang transville ba yun… it was very touching… Hey ruff, y dont we watch dvd’s one time, hehehe, sama mo na rin si Yoshke at s Lionheart, ok ok, pati na rin si Bob mo, hehehe….oops may nalimot ako, c Chase pala, kaya lang layo……. 🙂

      • RUFF!!! kumusta naman yung February 2006 yung last movie na pinanood mo sa sinehan?!?!?! grabe ka! kelan birthday mo? rergaluhan kita ng sinehan!!! hahaha

        ako rin, tagal nang hindi bumibisita sa quiapo.

      • JOSH,

        yep, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is at #31.

        Yung kay Felicity Huffman ay TRANSAMERICA. Yep, ganda rin nun. Heart-warming at ang galing niya dun. Mukha talaga syang lalaki.

        about the DVD thing, bahala kayo. Go lang ako pag may nag-invite.

        RUFF & JOSH, hmm. tingnan na lang natin kung nasa Top 10 and FRIDA, COLD MOUNTAIN at TRANSAMERICA. Hehehe. Soon.

      • i love Frida as in! salma is just perfect for the role. argh i just love that movie.

        and cold mountain? like everytime i watch that movie, that ***particular scene*** never fails to bring me to tears!

        ooh transamerica! loved kevin zegers and huffman! 🙂

        PS. yoshke, i agree. yung home theater ha! 🙂 hahaha! and no more landian for us (ni bob, that is). hahaha! 🙂

    • BOB, told ya. maganda talaga yang ETERNAL SUNSHINE. ang refreshing pa ng approach.

      Kung ayaw mo ke Jim Carrey, andito rin sina Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Mark Ruffalo.

      Ayan, todo plugging ako. haha

  7. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind… one of my all-time faves yan! Amelie is superb as well. Haha Blair Witch… i remember I brought my friends to watch it pero ako lang naka-appreciate ng husto, and to think i was the only one among them who knew that it was all not real… tapos ako lang para nagscare sa self ko, i had trouble sleeping the night we watched it… hinintay ko na sumikat ang araw bago ako natulog haha.

    I still have not watched 21 Grams and Amores Perros… those are on my list. parang maganda yang The Brotherhood of War ah.

  8. The Blair Witch Project succeeds in scaring people without the use of pathetic ghost effects and the like. Basically, we scare ourselves. LOL.

    Shattered Glass. Yeah. So-so.

    Rashomon. Love that movie. Saw it in my Arts Appreciation class. The movie’s mise en scene is excellent.

    I’m looking forward to your top 10 list. 😀

    • BLAIR WITCH, exactly. and that’s what’s brilliant. the movie gives us enough room to imagine what the “witch” might look like. something na most horror films hindi nagagawa kasi sumu-spoonfeeding eh.

      RASHOMON, haha. ngayon ko na lang ulit narinig yang term na mise-en-scene na yan. haha.

      medyo matagal pa yang Top10, tinatamad pa ako ng fatal eh. haha.

      • Wahahahahahahaha! Basta I’m looking forward to it! Hahahaha! I actually envy you. You can hoard up all the movies that you like. I can’t remember na kasi everything eh na napanood ko. Hahahaha. Anyway, good job on your top 50 post.

      • oh no, since i started this countdown last month, A LOT has changed already coz I’d seen a number of movies between i published part 1 and now. Uh, that explains the many tie-ups.

        OC lang ako when it comes to movies. hehe. i’m a film graduate, what do you expect? haha

  9. I love Innaritu’s Amores Perros.. and I love Gael Garcia-Bernal. HAHA! Sorry, I just can’t help it.

    I really didn’t like Blair Witch Project. Masyado akong nahilo sa panonood nun. Haha!

    American Beauty was just.. my gaaad.. kinikilabutan pa rin ako every time I remember that movie. Naramdaman ko talaga every moment of that movie.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was just plain weird. Maybe that’s the reason why I loved it so much. Haha!

    Can’t wait for your Top 10. 😛

    • marami akong friends na pinanood ang eternal sunshine at sabi rin nila, WEIRD. pero unlike you, hindi nila nagustuhan. hahaha. shet, ang hirap talaga magpa-appreciate ng magandang pelikula na experimental ang treatment.

      yung AMERICAN BEAUTY, originally, nasa Top 10 ko, but then… nawala na yung impact niya saken. haha. so nasa top 20 na lang.

  10. ay yoshke, off-topic. lam mo ung “The Pillow Book” starring Ewan Mcgregor and some japanese girl? ung about calligraphy. Love that movie. 🙂

    • pinalabas sya sa UP eh, pero hindi ko pinanood. for the same reason na ayaw mo panoorin ang ETERNAL SUNSHINE. ako naman, hindi ko lang talaga gusto si Ewan McGregor. hahaha

      • may original vhs ako ng pillowbook n ni ewan, talk about oriental jewels, hehehe. i’m asking my officemate to bring my vhs and conver it to dvd, kaya lang mga P500 yata gastusin ko (ikain ko na lang). so where can we get pirated copy of this Pillow Book, bob?

  11. ahaha! okay, got your point. maybe take Ewan out of the movie, baka may chance na magustuhan mo. di pa ko nakapunta sa quiapo for the Eternal Sunshine. Hmmm… ES=Eternal Sunshine= ES as in yoshke… aba. connect ha.

  12. Wow, that is a very impressive list you have so far!! I have seen some English movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but haven’t seen many of the ones in Spanish. Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

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