Lists by Notspartacus
I do not necessarily think these are underrated. (You can't really include 'The Dark Knight' and 'The Matrix' in a list, and then call it a list of underrated movies.) In some cases, I just went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. Whatever my expectations were, and whatever society at large thinks, for me, these movies represent the triumph of hope over experience.
This is a list of movies that I watched for the first time in 2014, and have given a rating of 9 or 10. They do not necessarily have to be new releases as of my viewing. I am listing them in chronological order as I saw them.
This is a list of directors, ranked in order, who have all made three or more movies that I love. Each has some kind of quality running consistently through all of his best work. I am also including the movies that put them on the list, as well as any that missed the mark, and any that I have yet to see.
I don’t really have any specific criteria for which movies are or are not my favorites. For me, the most important test of a movie is whether or not it’s entertaining or enjoyable to watch. Even unpleasant subjects can be approached in such a way that I like where they take me. But many of the so-called best movies of all time can’t even pass this simple test. In order for a movie to be great, it must first be good. What difference does it make if ‘Memento’ tells its story backwards when it can't even get me to care about what's happening on the screen? Gore Verbinski re-spun the same tired old blockbuster formula with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ and the result there was magic.
The list, by the way, is a work in progress. I've been slow to come up with a commentary for all of them. These are ranked in order.
Here is a collection of movies that really grabbed my attention with dazzling visual imagery. I got number one right. Other than that, it's not in any particular order.
Here are the movies I have given a rating of 10.
This list is meant to serve as the antidote to my list of "My 10 Favorite Cinema-Snob Films." This list is populated entirely by movies that are meant to appeal more to the masses than to the snobs. In addition to the 'Cinema-Snob" list, this has another supplementary list: My Favorite Hybrids.
This list is sort of a supplement to two others of mine: 1. My Favorite Cinema-Snob Films, and 2. My Favorite Laymen's Movies. It's meant to include movies which (by my own estimation) appeal on more or less equal terms to both general audiences who want to be entertained and high-minded critics who are searching for art.
I am defining "cinema-snob film" here as movies that seem made for critics (and anybody else who wants to feel superior) to congratulate themselves for liking. In other words, these are the movies that most effectively appeal to my own sense of superiority and delusions of grandeur.
It may be not so much that these are "cinema-snob films," but that they are not necessarily meant for the masses, that they are acquired tastes, esoteric films.
This list also goes hand in hand with two other lists of mine: "My 10 Favorite Laymen's Movies" and "My 10 Favorite Hybrids."
These are 10 of the most pleasant surprises in my life, movies that exceeded my wildest expectations. Ranked (more or less) in order.
This list is so good that it's hard to say I really listed them in order, even though that was my original intention. I included one concert at the end of the list.
These are movie characters who are so minor to the plot that most of them aren't even given names. And yet, the parts they play in the movies, or the way they affect events, are so crucial or fascinating that the movie would have taken a different (inferior) course without them.
These are movies I've seen which were so unpleasant that it became a labor just to make it to the end. But not because they were badly done. Rather, because they dealt with subject matter and events that were so infuriating, or horrifying, or demoralizing, that watching became an endurance test.
This is meant to be a very exclusive list of movies that NEED to exist, and should be seen by everybody. Everybody in America, anyway. If the list ever includes as many as 25 entries, then I have failed at the goal of exclusivity. Any suggestions you have to consider for inclusion - along with compelling reasons - are welcome. Alphabetical order.
Here is a list of some of the actors who are active making TV and movies right now who I most enjoy watching. I am not as concerned with which actors are in a movie as I am with who wrote it, and who directed it. But these are some whose involvement in the making of a movie can make it a little more attractive to me.
(With shock and sadness, I had to remove Philip Seymour Hoffman from the list following his unexpected death.)
This list has a very simple set of criteria: I include all movies that I watched for the first time in 2011, and have given a rating of 9 or 10. These movies do not necessarily have to be new releases as of my viewing, and most of them weren't. I have listed these movies in chronological order as I saw them.
This is a list of movies that I watched for the first time in 2013, and have given a rating of 9 or 10. They do not necessarily have to be new releases as of my viewing, and many of them weren't. I am listing them in chronological order as I saw them.
The title is a Woody Allen quote. I don't know if he was referring specifically to dark comedies, but it fits them perfectly. This is a list of my favorite dark comedies, listed in order of rank.
Here is my shamelessly subjective and grossly self-indulgent list of the one thousand most desirable celebrity women in history, and I have gone to the trouble of ranking them in order. I am using the word ‘desirable’ here to mean a combination of physical beauty, sex appeal, and charisma, as well as any indefinable effect she's had on me. And I am taking a fairly broad definition of the word ‘celebrity.’
As we all know, it's a common complaint that the book was a lot better than the movie. Here are some movies that I consider exceptions to that rule. I guess the fact that the list is so short implies how common the complaint is.
Malcolm McDowell is one messed-up dude.
These people aren't necessarily horrible actors. I consider the first eight to be horrible actors, and the rest are just people who, when I watch them, it makes my skin crawl. Usually not a good quality for an actor. Also some of them have other talents that make up for their bad acting.
These are movies I have seen that pretty much sucked, but had one great moment, a fleeting sign of brilliance. In some cases, though, I liked the movie, but one scene was so far above the rest of the movie that I felt like including it on this list. These movies are in no particular order. And, if I mention a movie that you haven't seen, but you want to, consider this your:
(Incidentally, if you look at the years these movies were released, you will have an idea of when my movie-watching was at its peak, and I wasn't so discriminating about what I watched.)
Many of my favorite movies portray a skewed and shifting reality, in which the rules seem to change capriciously. A lot of them are linked with dreams or drug-states.
These are some bad guys that I hated. Or feared. Or secretly rooted for. And I have ranked them in order.
My definition of a 'stupid movie' is a little bit elusive, but one key aspect is that the main characters behave in outrageous or absurd ways, and other characters - especially those who've never met them - respond as if this is normal. Some movies - particularly the ones that aren't comedies - might be better described as 'guilty pleasures.'
(*NOTE: If Luis Buñuel or Terry Gilliam was involved in the making of the movie, it automatically gets a free pass, exempting it from any list describing it as "stupid.")
This list has a very simple set of criteria: I include all movies that I watched for the first time in 2012, and have given a rating of 9 or 10. These movies do not necessarily have to be new releases as of my viewing, though many of them were. I have listed these movies in chronological order as I saw them.
When done well, this is one of my favorite sub-genres. But it's kind of self-defeating in its way. If it's done right, there is nothing left to say, and sequels, remakes, or ripoffs would fail before they even get started.
Anyway, these are my favorites.
This is a companion to another list of mine, "The Most Desirable Celebrity Women of All Time." I put in way too much effort to create that one, and in my research, these women kept showing up on other lists, and I don't get it. Many of them were never considered for inclusion on that list. But, just because she's on this list doesn't mean I think she's ugly. I just disagree with the general consensus that she's beautiful. A few, however, have managed to show up on both lists. Those are not contradictions, but examples of sexuality and charisma overcoming the lack of physical beauty.
This is a list of actors who are/were so thoroughly themselves that it's difficult to envision them expanding beyond a very limited range of expression. And yet, although they don't have much range, they can get very comfortable and really explore a very small space. In most cases, it might be said that they play the same character in every movie. Some of them do have range, or at least try, but it never suits them. It's like they're wearing someone else's clothes.
These movies have exactly one thing in common.
These are movies which, for a variety of reasons, I have found difficult to get through. Some were just plain bad. Some were agonizing in an intriguing way. Some were too slow and boring. Some were too long. And some, I started and didn't finish. It's reasonable to consider the inclusion of any movie on this list to be me waving a yellow flag at you. Proceed with caution. You've been warned.
READ THIS FIRST!!! (***SPOILER ALERT***) The first nine movies on this list are truly depressing, through and through. The next five, though, have bittersweet, mildly happy endings. Something good came from them.
And then, there's #15. That one had an incredibly depressing moment in the deleted scenes that kinda changed the movie for me.
#16 also deserves an asterisk.
Movies that could have been great (or could have been a whole lot better), if only they hadn't ______________ .
And it's not just that they COULD have been better, but they SHOULD have been better. The elements were there for a great film, but in most cases, it just didn't deliver.
A variety of people who know me have observed repeatedly that the thing I appreciate most about a good movie is the writing. And they're right. Whether it's dialogue, plot, or storytelling, great writing is the common denominator in most of my favorite movies. Here is my list of some of the best examples of great writing that I have ever seen, in no particular order.
This is a companion list that I built while compiling my Favorite Movies of the 2000's Decade list. Alphabetical order.
Some of these movies were just plain bad, but many were well-made. Those just failed at one of the most important aspects of a movie: Do I care about what happens to the characters? The answer in these cases is NO.
Mostly to expand the list, I have a few different definitions of 'overrated.' One is a combination of financial success and a general positive response to the movie, which means that "Avatar" is eligible, but "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is not. Another is the rating given on IMDb. Word of mouth, critical acclaim, and awards season success are all criteria that make a movie eligible for this category.
These are pretty much ranked in order.
Ranked in order.
I have a better eye now, and I generally avoid movies that suck. So there aren't any new movies on this list. And I don't intend to add to it. I am perfectly content to get on with my life having never seen "Troll 2" or "Baby Geniuses 2." (Really?! You felt the need to turn the worst movie ever into a franchise?)
Which they aren't. At all. Not coincidentally, most of them single-handedly stopped the franchise in its tracks.
Some sequels I get. Even if the Transformers sequels keep getting worse and worse, it makes sense for the studios to squeeze as much as they can out of their cash cow. But in some cases, the studios should recognize that a movie's success was just lightning in a bottle. Everything that the filmmakers had to say was said well enough in the first one, and there was just nothing left to explore.
These are the scenes that made me cry, or at least well up. Listed in chronological order.
Some of them have twists. Some don't. But I love them all. They are in no particular order. This is not my definitive list. If I left some out, then so be it.
I won't reveal anything, but just mentioning the movies is enough of a spoiler.
These are the movies that have made me laugh the hardest, and only rewarded repeat viewings. They are ranked in order.