My top 50 films of all time – 30-21.

Here’s part 3 of my top 50 films countdown.

If you missed either of the previous entries, links can be found here – part 1
and here – part 2

30: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)

“We accidentally replaced your heart with a baked potato. You have about three seconds to live.”

Oh, the wacky world of South Park. Despite running for a whopping 18 seasons, over 250 episodes and nearly 20 years now, it still hasn’t lost its way at any point unlike most long-running animated comedies, Family Guy being a prime example. I would say that I can find something that I’ll find incredibly funny in any given episode, whether it be when the boys innocently try to return a Killer Whale to the moon or when the Christmas critters (a bunch of seemingly sweet, cute, furry animals) need a human body to host the antichrist. Some critics almost go out of their way to be offended by the controversial humour shown in it, and I imagine this has always been one of the main objectives for Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Religion, Race, Gender, Nationality, nothing is off limits for the boys from Colorado. The film itself is like a more extreme, longer version of the TV series which is why this is all pertinent. Giving the boys their own feature film was a great move and well deserved, to turn it into a musical was a stroke of genius. I only wish that 16 years on we could have had a sequel of sorts.

Did you know?
“Blame Canada” was nominated for best original song, but lost to Phil Collins. In a retaliation, Parker and Stone poked fun at Collins and Genesis in the next series.

29: The Boondock Saints (1999)

“Why don’t you make like a tree and… Get the fuck out of here?”

Aside from being solid evidence that Norman Reedus (better known as Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead) is a real life vampire and doesn’t age, The Boondock Saints is an often overlooked gem of a film. With one of the best scripts you could ever hope for, a fantastic cast including Reedus, Willem Dafoe and… Billy Connolly (yes, that Billy Connolly) as you’ve never seen him before. Dafoe plays a somewhat deranged and quirky FBI agent trying to find the vigilante brothers, often resulting in elaborate set pieces as he traces back what’s happened at any crime scene while listening to Puccini. If you like dramas, comedies, actions or thrillers, there’s something in it for you.

Did you know?
The two brothers have tattoos that say “VERITAS” and “AEQUITAS” in the film, respectively meaning “truth” and “justice/equality” in Latin.

28: The Apartment (1960)

“The mirror… it’s broken.”                                                                     “Yes, I know. I like it that way, makes me look the way I feel.”

Yeah, I know, it’s another black and white romantic comedy with no Sharks, Dinosaurs or explosions in sight. Inspired by another alumni on my illustrious top 50, Brief Encounter, Billy Wilder came up with The Apartment, a film which even the great Francis Ford Coppola (of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now fame, to name but two) has been quoted as saying that it’s his favourite film of all time. At its heart, it’s a film about an all-round nice guy, CC Baxter (played by Jack Lemmon) who loans his own apartment to all of his higher-ups at work for their extramarital affairs in order to try and get a foot on the ladder, but can’t catch a break. He falls in love with the elevator girl (Fran) before discovering that she is one of the women having an affair with his boss. Ultimately, it’s a story about Baxter trying to get Fran to see sense and that he is right there all along, but she can’t see past her lust for his married dickhead boss, Sheldrake.

Did you know?
The Apartment was the last black and white to win the Best Picture Academy Award until The Artist in 2011.

27: Untouchable (2011)

“My true disability is not having to be in a wheel chair. It’s having to be without her.”

Based on a true story, Untouchable, or, as it was originally known, The Intouchables, is a touching story about two contrasting people from different lives. Philippe, a paraplegic from a wealthy background, requires around the clock care due to his accident. Applying for the role purely so he can claim his unemployment benefits, Driss, a criminal with a poor moral compass, eventually develops a bond with Philippe. Full of humour, Untouchable looks at disability in a positive light, showing that there is still a lot to enjoy in life despite physical hindrances. Driss even goes as far as to try and find love for Philippe and sets him up on dates which he cannot run away from due to being stuck in a wheelchair.

Did you know?
In real life, Driss was called Abed and was an Algerian man, but the directors changed this for the film as they enjoyed working with actor Omar Sy on a previous film. Sy also had first hand experience of living in the poorer suburbs of France, so they felt his experience would be great for the film.

26: Se7en (1995)

“This isn’t going to have a happy ending.”

A star studded cast chases a crazed serial killer as he attempts to create a pattern of the seven deadly sins. Part thriller, part horror, Se7en packs a punch and is not afraid to unsettle the viewer. Throw in a twist that’ll make your heart drop and you’ve got one of the best films the 90s had to offer.

Did you know?
Brad Pitt injured his arm during filming, after slipping and smashing through a car windshield. Rather than delay filming, they worked the injury into the script.

25: No Man’s Land (2001)

“Neutrality does not exist in the face of murder. Doing nothing to stop it is, in fact, choosing. It is not being neutral.”

A black comedy-drama about the conflict between Bosnia and Serbia at the height of tensions may not be what most would consider an enjoyable premise for a film, but Danis Tanovic’s No Man’s Land is a brilliant insight into a war that we generally hear very little about. Initially about two opposing soldiers who get trapped right in the middle of a trench in a battlefield between the two sides. Surrounded by traps, they find themselves stuck with a fellow soldier who has to lay down on a mine to stop it from detonating. As the UN gets involved to diffuse tensions, the miscommunication that is often seen in conflict emerges prominently, causing more trouble as in the incident becomes international news.

Did you know?
No Man’s Land has won 42 awards to date, including Best Foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

24: Babel (2006)

“My Mum said Mexico is dangerous.”                                                                 “Yes, it’s full of Mexicans.”

The first film of my favourite director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, to be inducted into my hall of fame, Babel follows his signature style of having multiple concurrent narratives which are seemingly unrelated, but converge in unexpected ways. The way I look at this, is you’re effectively getting four films for the price of one, all of which are top notch. This time, the film was spread out across multiple continents, making it all the more impressive. Deals very well with tragedy, although maybe not to the same devastating effect as some of his other work.

Did you know?
Allegedly, the cast in the Moroccan segment of the film had not been decided until just seventeen days before filming. Most of the actors were locals from regional towns, villages and Mosques, all eager to participate in the film.

23: The Godfather I & II (1972 & 1974)

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

Kind of cheating on this one as I can’t separate the two, and feel like they belong together as much as Tom & Jerry or Ross & Rachel. Often regarded as the greatest films of all time alongside Citizen Kane (1941), The Godfather I & II are arguably Francis Ford Coppola’s greatest legacy. As someone with a huge interest in La Cosa Nostra, I’m an avid fan of gangster films and this is one of the finest, with some superb acting from a whole host of great actors, many of who went on to star in other mafia films. If it wasn’t for some scenes which I feel maybe drag on a little bit, like the wedding at the start of the first film, it would probably be significantly higher up my list.

Did you know?
The actor playing Luca Brasi, Lenny Montana, was genuinely so anxious about meeting Marlon Brando that his stuttering and messing up his lines was real.

22: Get Him to the Greek (2010)

“This is the longest corridor in the world!”                                                        “It’s Kubrickian!”

I genuinely believe that if anyone of note ever reads this, I’ll be chastised for the decision to put Get Him to the Greek ahead of The Godfather, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. It’s definitely not to everyone’s taste, but the ridiculous comedy in it can literally make me laugh no matter how many times I watch it, whether that be through the songs (e.g. a power ballad with the lyrics “Why has the world gone so still? The world is so still, I feel my next meal might be my last. Will you come for my bangers, my beans and mash?”), or P Diddy showing that he has a sense of humour – playing a hilarious cameo as psychotic music executive Sergio Roma. Essentially, it’s a comedy about an average record company worker needing to get rock God, drug addict and womaniser Aldous Snow to the Greek theatre for a concert with many hijinks along the way.

Did you know?
The fictional TV show trailer for Blind Medicine about a blind surgeon stars Sarah Marshall, the character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), in which Russell Brand’s Aldous Snow character also appears.

21: 21 Grams (2003)

“How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?”

The second of Innaritu’s films to be in my top 50, 21 Grams is another trifecta narrative in which the stories cleverly work in tandem with one another. The scriptwriting is incredibly impressive and powerful, the way that it can provoke strong emotions without seeming clichéd at any point. Perhaps most impressive is the story of Jack Jordan (Benicio Del Toro). Jack’s a born-again Christian with a history of criminal activities, drugs and alcohol abuse, his faith helping him overcome his past until a tragic accident which shatters a number of lives. This tragedy constantly overshadows the film and will remain in memory for long after it ends. It’s not meant to be entertaining or upbeat, but it certainly manages to be thought-provoking and emotional.

Did you know?
The title of the film comes from a scientific experiment by Dr Duncan MacDougall in Massachusetts in the 1900s, where he weighed dying patients in an attempt to prove that the soul was measurable. Needless to say, the results varied quite dramatically.

 

Click here for part 4 – 20-11!

As always, the Walrus has spoken.

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