Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (Full Version)

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Rebel scum -> Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 12:45:11 AM)

Since I compiled a list for the Top 1000 poll, I figured I may as well put it to good use, and see how long I can stick to a project! The write-ups won't be too in-depth (some of the writing on here really puts me to shame!), but hopefully it'll be interesting.

100: The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)


I find it hard to describe why I love The Maltese Falcon as much as I do, but the most likely reason is that I’m a sucker for a protagonist with a healthy air of cynicism about him. Bogart always brings an impression that his character has seen it all, and that nothing really surprises him anymore, most obvious in this film when he laconically points out for the first time (of many) that the film’s resident femme fatale is lying to him. While in other noirs this would be greeted with a big emotional speech, here Bogart’s Sam Spade praises her lying skills and suggests ways of improvement. That is just cool.

Bogart’s effortless awesomeness aside, the best thing about Falcon is the script. At times it seems like less of a noir and more of a screwball comedy, with various characters making up increasingly ridiculous lies with Bogart in the middle playing everyone off against each other. This is helped by a brilliant ensemble of supporting players, such as Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, and Mary Astor, whose Brigid would be the best femme fatale of a film noir, if not for one that’ll turn up later. Most of the joy of this film is seeing all these great actors bounce witty retorts off each other.

All this is tied to a pretty decent plot, involving a valuable Maltese MacGuffin which is wanted by pretty much everyone in the film (Sam aside). The crosses and double crosses can get a little dizzying, and the film did seem to end a little abruptly, but if the main complaint as a film is that you want more of it, that’s a pretty damn good sign.

Also: the fan theory kicking around that this is a prequel to Casablanca only makes the film better!

BEST SCENE: The finale is justly famous, but for me the scene where Sam, Brigid and Joel Cairo all meet in Sam’s office blends tension, plot developments and dry humour the best.

Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:05:21 AM)

Woohoo! New list!

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:10:22 AM)

99: X-Men 2 (Singer, 2003)


Judging by everyone’s reaction, it seemed in 2008 that the notion of a serious superhero film-as perfected by The Dark Knight-was a radical thing that had never been done before. X-Men 2 is the perfect rebuke to such a statement, as it presents a film that, while not quite reaching the standards of The Dark Knight, is one of the best superhero films, and a lot better than that other hyped up sequel that came out at the same time. The reason it’s so good is that it actually has something to say. X-Men has been used as an allegory for gay rights, the Civil Rights movements of the 60s, and a whole swathe of other interpretations, and X-Men 2 wisely doesn’t pick a side. Iceman’s “coming out” to his parents suggests the gay issue, but the governmental crackdown on mutants leans more towards Civil Rights.

Despite the maturely handled subtext, X2 does remember that it is primarily an action movie, and provides in spades what the first film only hinted at. With the characters already established, the film can jump straight into the action, and does so with the now classic sequence where Nightcrawler attacks the President. That sequence marks a high point of the action, but all the other set pieces trump anything the first film had to offer and, even after two more X-Men films, mark the high point for the franchise as a whole.

If there is a complaint to be levelled against the film, and it deserves to be, it’s that the massive ensemble of mutants result in some underdeveloped characters. While this is true, and it would have been nice of a mutant other than Wolverine to have been a focal point, every character gets some kind of defining character moment and generate enough emotional attachment that we care about them (With the notable exception of Cyclops, who got a lousy deal out of the trilogy, didn’t he?). Iceman’s aforementioned “coming out” is the most hard-hitting, but Nightcrawler’s small speech about life in the circus is another high point. The problem is that despite attempts to make the story seem more epic-the X-Men team up with Magneto! And try to stop every mutant from being killed!-the overall arc belongs to Wolverine and pretty much nobody else.

This doesn’t stop the film from being great, though, and the high point of one of the best trilogies of the last decade (I even kinda liked the third one. Not Origins though, that sucked). The new First Class makes me hopeful for another great X-Men film, but if it isn’t, one’s still good enough.

BEST SCENE: Nightcrawler’s attack on the President. Nightcrawler damn near ran away with the film, and this sequence shows off his powers beautifully, providing more suspense over 3 minutes than most films manage over an entire running time.

chambanzi -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:19:00 AM)

Two good and very different films. Will enjoy this thread. Short and sweet reviews, good job [;)]
I absolutely love Humphrey Bogart too, possibly my favourite actor of all time.

Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:42:36 AM)


ORIGINAL: Rebel scum
and a lot better than that other hyped up sequel that came out at the same time.

What film was that?

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:52:22 AM)


ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf


ORIGINAL: Rebel scum
and a lot better than that other hyped up sequel that came out at the same time.

What film was that?

The Matrix Reloaded came out within about a week or two of it.

Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 6:00:22 AM)

Ah. In that case I agree, this one's much better. Shame this is the only X film in the list though. I think The Last Stand is the best [:D]

matty_b -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 8:51:56 AM)

Great choice with The Maltese Falcon - can't say I've ever heard the 'Casablanca prequel' theory, however. Care to elaborate? [:D]

X2 is OK. Don't listen to Gimli, though - he's crazy. [:D][;)]

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 11:23:18 AM)


ORIGINAL: matty_b

Great choice with The Maltese Falcon - can't say I've ever heard the 'Casablanca prequel' theory, however. Care to elaborate? [:D]

X2 is OK. Don't listen to Gimli, though - he's crazy. [:D][;)]

I think it goes something like this:

After the end of Falcon, Cairo and Gutman escape the police by using Wilmer as the fall guy. They wind up in Casablanca looking for the falcon, but can’t leave due to the Nazi occupation. Cairo remains a petty crook, while Gutman becomes a respected nightclub owner. Both adopt an alias (Cairo and Gutman likely being similar aliases) and, it being Casablanca, nobody asks questions. Later, Wilmer reveals just how much Spade was involved, causing Spade to flee America and head to Paris, then Casablanca. He also changes his name as the Falcon case made headlines, and he fears people will be looking for him.

Some evidence is that Ugarte's comment to Rick, "I hope you are more impressed with me now," makes sense when you consider how pathetic of a criminal he was as Joel Cairo; this time, he actually managed to kill someone and steal something, for once! Also, Ferrari knows Rick is secretly a sentimental guy, because he knows about Rick/Sam's past with Brigid.

It’s all just hypothesis, but it’s also a pretty nifty theory!

matty_b -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 12:22:48 PM)

Nice one, I could live with that being true. [:D]

elab49 -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 12:33:03 PM)

Someone who loved the films came up with a very amusing 'what if', didn't they?

Fantastic start to the list. Bogart was always more perfectly matched to Spade than Marlowe, and I'm pleased to see Double Indemnity will be further up your list [:D]

A bit of a left turn with X2 above it. The problem you raise is why I'd rank it below the original - it tries to pack in too many characters and it loses too much control as a result. That said I'd probably still put it above TDK thinking about it now.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 2:01:34 PM)

98: Black Book (Verhoeven, 2006)


Whenever I talk to people about Verhoeven’s best film, it usually turns into a Robocop vs. Total Recall vs. Starship Troopers match. Then I mention Black Book and everybody blanks, Which is a shame, because it’s his best film and one of the best World War Two films ever made. It doesn’t have any epic battle scenes, instead focussing on political machinations and invoking the spirit of classic wartime spy movies.

The film effectively rests on the shoulders of the lead, Clarice Van Houten-who sadly hasn’t done much of note since-and her performance is one of the best ever. The love subplot between her and the Nazi commander she had been sent to seduce could easily have come across as unrealistic or carrying an uncomfortable implication of Stockholm Syndrome, but Van Houten sells it as genuine emotion. She’s backed by an excellent supporting cast, including Sebastian Koch as the Nazi commander, Waldemar Kobus as a sadistic Nazi bastard (Which every WW2 film seems to be required to have) and Thom Hoffman as a fellow resistance member.

The story is also an excellent look at German attitudes towards the end of the war, with some recognizing all is lost and attempting to negotiate with the Allies, and others stubbornly holding on to ideals that have just gone out of date. While the film does occasionally slip into the “everybody betraying everyone else” trap that marred, for example, the Pirates sequels, by and large it’s a good story well told-and even the betraying thing can be justified by everyone trying to benefit from the end of the war.

What I find a shame is that the film has passed into relative obscurity. Recent films such as Defiance or Inglourious Basterds, which played with the same themes and subject matter, have received a lot more attention. Ironically, Van Houten turned up in Valkyrie, which was a similar film that sadly lacked what made this film great: an interesting bunch of characters reacting to history in a believable way, so that they stop becoming characters and become people.


The death of Ackermanns. While some other films would glorify the killing of the big bad Nazi collaborator, here instead it’s presented in agonising detail, as we watch Ellis slowly screw the nails in and exit the car, all as Ackermanns pleads for his life. It’s one of the most chilling death scenes I’ve ever seen.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 9:55:25 PM)

97-Platoon (Stone, 1986)


The Vietnam War proved itself fertile ground for all kinds of films, from epic action films to reflective dramas. While Platoon is not the best Vietnam War film, it does offer the best blend of these two elements. The action scenes are well shot and ably capture the confusion and terror felt by the soldiers-rapidly cutting and yet never losing focus on exactly where everyone is. The drama side is played out as a battle for a soldier’s soul, with Charlie Sheen (back when he was one of the most promising emerging stars, instead of a walking punchline) as the soldier in question. The film does miss a trick in having a clear good Sergeant (Willem Dafoe’s easygoing Elias) and a clear bad Sergeant (Tom Berenger, striking a balance between good acting and slightly OTT), but the film is much more concerned with them at a spiritual level, almost to the extent of them embodying the side of light and the side of evil, and seeing which one Sheen ultimately picks.

Even if you don’t agree with the message of the film, the story is good enough that it doesn’t get in the way, featuring an ensemble of excellent acting talent, including Forest Whitaker, Johnny Depp, John C. McGinley and Keith David (who should be much more famous than he is). The clear care and attention played even to the smaller parts help the rest of the squad have character without diminishing from the central threesome.

What is interesting is the lack of a real story. This is much more of a character study, and is more told in vignettes and individual scenes that show Sheen’s growth. The beauty of it is that if just one of those scenes went, you’d be missing a vital part of the character development, which is a clear sign of a quietly brilliant script.

Overall, Platoon is a Vietnam war drama that doesn’t skimp on the war or the drama, tied together by outstanding performances from pretty much the entire cast. The biggest complaint I can make is the overuse of Adagio for Strings. First it plays over the credits-this makes sense. Then it plays as they burn a village. This also makes sense. Then it plays over them walking somewhere. And then as they make camp. And as they leave. By the time it gets its big epic use in the famous death scene (spoilt on the poster, DVD case and in every article mentioning the film, naturally), all I could think was “This damn music again?” But that isn’t enough to stop Platoon from being an excellent film.

BEST SCENE: The village. Its refusal to skimp on what tended to happen to villages that were suspected of hiding Vietcong is laudable, and it also has vital character moments for Sheen, Dafoe and Berneger. I’ve heard a comparison somewhere between it and the infamous “red coat” scene in Schindler’s List, and in terms of emotional punch, Platoon surpasses it.

elab49 -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 10:08:24 PM)

Black Book - I thought it had its moments but it felt a bit like a greatest hits of resistance films at times, and just liked lots of excuses to remote the leads clothes. I do like Platoon though. A lot of Stone leaves me cold but this, and more particularly Salvador are different. And Talk Radio, although that's more performance I think.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 11:26:59 PM)

Yeah, Black Book is something of a mish-mash of resistance films, but I think it does the cliches and tropes so much better than any other one I've seen, and still managed to have a couple of plot twists I didn't see coming. As for the continual excuse to get Van Houten IS Verhoeven [:D]!

I'm not the biggest Stone fan either, although I enjoyed JFK and thought Nixon was pretty decent. I think my opinion of him has been marred after W. was so godawful!

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (29/5/2011 11:54:54 PM)

96-Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)


Shaun of the Dead is one of those films that juggles several elements at once and actually pulls it off. The film is at times moving between a silly comedy with zombies, a romantic comedy with zombies, and a full-on horror film that happens to contain a fair bit of humour. In most other films, either the comedy or the horror would be dramatically dialled down-Zombieland, for example, was funny but lacked any really effective scary moments. Shaun of the Dead, however, balances the two more finely than any horror film since Evil Dead 2 (which missed out on this list by a whisker).

In terms of comedy, the film realises that creating funny, likeable characters, putting them in an increasingly dangerous scenario and just seeing what happens is a pretty sure-fire way to create good comedy. The laughs come from a character’s natural reaction to things, instead of forcing jokes on situations where they don’t fit. For instance, Philip never once cracks a joke or breaks out of character, and yet his short screen time is littered with brilliant lines (“I ran it under a cold tap”) that stem naturally from the character, instead of simply thrown in for a cheap laugh.

The horror takes a while to get going, but the film should be praised for making the actual zombies threatening instead of pratfalling idiots. Granted, they are the traditional, somewhat rubbish Romero-style zombies, but that works in the film’s favour, especially when the characters wind up trapped and can only watch as the zombies get closer. The slow build up of the horror elements leads to a third act where-sudden outburst of Queen notwithstanding-comedy takes something of a back seat. It’s testament to the quality of the film that this tonal shift comes across as totally natural and born out of the circumstances.

Above all, it’s a rare comedy-horror that works as both, and has more interesting characters than most horror films and about 99% of comedies.

BEST SCENE: Shaun going to the shop after the zombie apocalypse has taken place and wondering blithely past scenes of chaos and destruction. The scene obviously works as comedic, and is absolutely hilarious, but the amount of horrendous stuff implied here is the perfect example of the film’s blend of comedy with a very dark undercurrent.

swordsandsandals -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 12:52:01 AM)

The opening scene in X2 is one of my favourite action sequences of all time.

Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 2:11:20 AM)

Three very good films there. Nice to know Ed2 isn't in the list!

Deviation -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 2:51:12 AM)

RS, have you seen Soldier of Orange? I think that it is a much better than Black Book (which is a very good film in itself).

Great list btw.

rawlinson -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 2:55:37 AM)

So far

The Maltese Falcon > Platoon > Black Book > Shaun of the Dead > X-Men 2

And Evil Dead 2 is better than them all. [:D]

matty_b -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 9:27:16 AM)

Shaun of the Dead is clearly awesome.

Platoon is OK. Some individually brilliant scenes hamstrung by a lousy script and Charlie Sheen in the lead role.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 12:15:40 PM)


ORIGINAL: Deviation

RS, have you seen Soldier of Orange? I think that it is a much better than Black Book (which is a very good film in itself).

Great list btw.

I haven't, but I've noticed it's streamable from Lovefilm, so I'll rectify that as soon as I can!

elab49 -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 12:39:55 PM)

Shaun of the Dead = wonderfulness [:)]

swordsandsandals -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:21:28 PM)

Edgar Wright is one of my favourite people in the film industry right now.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:28:00 PM)

95-Monsters, Inc. (Docter, 2001)
Contains minor spoilers.


Monsters Inc is a film that shows that just because something is marketed as a kids movie doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer for adults. Indeed, one of the main skills of Pixar as a studio is that a lot of their films have a lesson for kids and a separate one for adults. In Monsters Inc the kids learn that the monsters in their room are really just nice guys (Seriously, this film must have saved thousands of parents from having to stay awake all night with scared children) and the parents get an interesting examination of fatherhood. Having the protagonists of your animated film be two single guys stuck with a kid is a bold notion, even if the protagonists are also monsters. Also, the whole “laughter is more powerful than screams” idea at the end is surprisingly profound-even by Pixar’s high standards.

That’s not to say that Monsters Inc skimps on what everyone turned up for, and this is definitely Pixar’s funniest film. There are more great supporting characters than any non-Toy Story Pixar film, with my personal favourites being Roz the wonderfully snarky receptionist, George the eternally unlucky workmate, and the brief appearance of-of all things-the Abominable Snowman. One of the strengths of the film is that the supporting characters steal scenes and are all memorable, but never detract attention from the main characters.

Said main characters are Sulley and Mike as the heroes, with the instant rapport they have being one of the most believable friendships ever put on film; and Randall as Pixar’s best bad guy (again, Toy Story films notwithstanding). It’s clear that Goodman, Crystal and Buscemi are having a great time with the material they have, providing some of the finest voice work in any animated film I’ve seen.

While it’s not Pixar’s best film, it’s certainly the most purely entertaining, and they even manage to sneak a deep and thought-provoking message in between the jokes and chases. Most animated films struggle to do one of these, but Monsters Inc manages both.

BEST SCENE: The chase through the doors. When I first saw this, I was genuinely blown away at the visual inventiveness of the scene, as well as just how exciting it was and how well it worked as an action scene. For the entirety of the chase, I completely forgot I was watching an animated film-it’s that immersive.

elab49 -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:31:45 PM)

Gimli may be a little over enthused when declaring undying love for you - please don't be scared. [:)]

I still prefer this.

impqueen -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:32:38 PM)

The Maltese Falcon is an exceptional film one of John Huston's best.

X-Men 2 I think it is certainly one the better comic book films but not a particular favourite.

Black Book I liked this a lot on my initial viewing but it loses something on repeat viewings. Soldier of Orange is a better film.

Platoon not a fan, a film hampered by Charlie Sheen, I much prefer Salvador.

Shaun of the Dead is a good fun comedy.

Monsters, Inc is probably the second best film on the list so far, a fantastic animation and just a brilliant film in general, not too keen on the idea of a sequel/prequel though.

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:35:46 PM)


ORIGINAL: elab49

Gimli may be a little over enthused when declaring undying love for you - please don't be scared. [:)]

I still prefer this.

I love that short too, although the garbage disposal scene in Monsters Inc. where they homage it doesn't really work for me-it's the closest thing I have to a problem with the film.

Undying love? What have I gotten myself into? [:D]

elab49 -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:40:38 PM)

The lair of a Pixar lover [:D]

Rebel scum -> RE: Rebel Scum's Top 100 Favourite Films (30/5/2011 1:56:34 PM)

Best start planning my escape. Maybe if I mentioned that the Pirates sequels were just average...[:D]

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