Written by / 12/23/2012 / 2 Comments / , , , , ,

JMT FILM INSTITUTE: 10 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME

1) THE GODFATHER PART II (FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA)
Two time periods covered in a single motion picture… A sequel that exceeds the original when the original is a classic… Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino… The Black Hand and Vito Corleone walking the same direction toward a very different fate… John Cazale telling Al Pacino he’s not dumb, he’s smart… How Richard Bright pronounces “Buenos Aires”… When Joe Spinell says, "The family had a lot of buffers".... Lee Strasberg proves he can practice what he teaches...  
2) THE GODFATHER (FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA)
The slow pan on Al Pacino as he turns from passive little brother into calculating mobster… Al finds the gun in the latrine as the train shakes the building’s foundation, providing a suspenseful score without music… Marlon Brando becomes an aging old crime boss, more human than hateful, more loving than evil… James Caan, Robert Duvall, John Cazale… And don't forget the cannoli...
3) GOODFELLAS (MARTIN SCORSESE)
Joe Pesci ain't your clown – and don’t remind him he shined shoes… Ray Liotta’s sharp narration as Henry Hill, telling a tale that, in the two-and-a-half running time, has so many twists and turns the entire thing seems like separately intense, and often darkly humorous, vignettes… Monkey Man, Gimme Shelter, Sunshine of Your Love, the second half of Layla… Morrie’s wig commercial… Lorraine Bracco’s narration as Henry’s wife, not just a token female but an important part of the proceedings: it’s her story too… Martin Scorsese’s peak as a director, gliding the camera like no one else can do, or has done, or will ever do again…
4) RAGING BULL (MARTIN SCORSESE)
Robert DeNiro with the tight muscular build of a middleweight boxer… Then with a belly and double chin… Flashbulbs pop during boxing scenes… Joe Pesci with a looser, fouler mouth than Tommy in GOODFELLAS… Cathy Moriarty at the public swimming pool… Bare knuckles bleeding on a brick prison wall…     
5) CITIZEN KANE (ORSON WELLES)
A twenty-five year old kid transforms into a bitter old man… A twenty-five year old kid pissing off a real life mogul that could, and would, hinder a promising career… Dorothy Comingore playing chess in a room with a giant fireplace… Stock footage bats from SON OF KONG… Joseph Cotten in a wheelchair… Everett Sloane remembering that timeless woman in the white dress…
6) IN COLD BLOOD (RICHARD BROOKS)
The meticulous routine of two criminals, and a passive small town family, connected as one living/breathing creature… Not showing the murders till later on… Rain shadows as tears on Robert Blake’s face… Scott Wilson, Scott Wilson, Scott Wilson…
7) TOUCH OF EVIL (ORSON WELLES)
Despite the "Charlton Heston as a Mexican" becoming a pop culture punchline, this is the legendary actor's most subdued and genuine performance... Up against director Orson Welles as a crooked cop epitomizing Film Noir villainy... The three-and-a-half minute opening shot without a single cut... Akim Tamiroff's bulging eyes... Janet Leigh trapped in a rural motel, the first time... Marlene Dietrich's voice... Joanna Moore's figure... Joseph Cotten's cameo... Joseph Calleia's loyalty... And don't forget the shadows, oh those amazing shadows...
8) CHINATOWN (ROMAN POLANSKI)
Only the hidden things matter… Jack Nicholson knows nothing… Faye Dunaway knows everything – how she hides it from both Jack and the audience is the key… John Huston eats fish with eyes…Burt Young eats venetian blinds…
9) JAWS (STEVEN SPIELBERG)
The camera is the shark long enough so the fake looking beast means nothing… Robert Shaw recalling the S.S. Indianapolis – tapping his mug on the table… Roy and Richard kicking home... Spielberg’s camera maneuvers in a viewer-friendly fashion that big budget blockbusters still attempt to this day… Duh Dum, Duh Dum… 
10) LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (DAVID LEAN)
Peter O’Toole admits he enjoyed killing the man he had saved… Peter O’Toole saving the man he then has to kill… The match flame becomes a burning desert sun… A desert mirage becomes a man with a gun…
10 GREATEST MOVIES LIST BY JAMES M. TATE
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2 comments:

  1. Excellent list. Three of these are on my personal Top 10 and all are worthy of recognition.

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  2. JMT Film Institute? Are they taking applications?

    Great list. Not my Top 10, but I love the first 5, and I still haven't seen TOUCH OF EVIL or IN COLD BLOOD. I know I know, shame shame shame. It gives me something to look forward to.

    (okay just took care of TOUCH OF EVIL, ordered it)

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