top 200 movies of all-time: 200-161

200 200. The Wrong Guy (1997)
Director: David Steinberg
199 199. Broken Flowers (2005)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
198 198. I (Heart) Huckabee’s (2004)
Director: David O. Russell
197 197. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Director: Judd Apatow
196 196. The Prestige (2006)
Director: Christopher Nolan
195 195. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Director: John Hughes
194 194. Men In Black (1997)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
193 193. Dogville (2003)
Director: Lars von Trier
192 192. Lord of War (2005)
Director: Andrew Niccol
191 191. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Director: Dennis Dugan
190 190. Juno (2007)
Director: Jason Reitman
189 189. Hackers (1995)
Director: Iain Softley
188 188. Wicker Park (2004)
Director: Paul McGuigan
FUN WITH DICK & JANE 187. Fun with Dick & Jane (2005)
Director: Dean Parisot
186 186. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Director: Richard Brooks
185 185. Falling in Love (1984)
Director: Ulu Grosbard
184 184. Garden State (2004)
Director: Zach Braff
183 183. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Director: Stephen Herek
182 182. WALL-E (2008)
Director: Andrew Stanton
181 181. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Director: Rob Reiner
180 180. Speed (1994)
Director: Jan de Bont
179 179. Dil Chahta Hai (Do Your Thing) (2001)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
178 178. In Bruges (2008)
Director: Martin McDonagh
177 177. Fracture (2007)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
176 176. Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
Director: John Huston
175 175. Magnolia (1999)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
174 174. Die Hard (1988)
Director: John McTiernan
173 173. Appaloosa (2008)
Director: Ed Harris
172 172. Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World (2003)
Director: Peter Weir
171 171. Sideways (2004)
Director: Alexander Payne
170 170. Children of Men (2006)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
169 169. Hook (1991)
Director: Steven Spielberg
168 168. Dreamcatcher (2003)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
167 167. The Illusionist (2006)
Director: Neil Burger
166 166. Man on Wire (2008)
Director: James Marsh
165 165. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Directors: Ron Clements / John Musker
164 164. The Game (1997)
Director: David Fincher
163 163. Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Director: Jon Poll
162 162. Best in Show (2000)
Director: Christopher Guest
161 161. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Director: Richard Linklater

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Let me start out by saying that, up until this point, I had avoided watching this movie for a couple of reasons: I haven’t read the book, and was turned off by the reviews of it by people who had read the book and were disappointed by the movie, and because of the sort of meh reviews from others who hadn’t read the book. Also, I don’t know much about the indie music scene, or really any other music scene, and wasn’t really sure there would be much there in the movie for me to relate to.

I was wrong. There was plenty for me to relate to, I just had to wait until the end of the film to find it.

I won’t say that this was a fantastic movie, because it wasn’t. The first half of it sort of coasts by on the sweet, sort of mellow energies of Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, which is sort of fun to watch, if you like Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. If not, there isn’t much else there to keep a viewer’s interest. It’s during this portion of the film that the aimless nature of the plot — Where’s Fluffy? Where’s Caroline? — seems to pull the film down.

Later, when Dennings and Cera start to get on a little better together, and we start to learn a little more about what makes their characters so much more grown up than any of their friends, the aimlessness of the plot begins to make more sense and becomes an asset instead of a liability. As the main characters come together, everything else seems to as well, which draws a satisfying little parallel there.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a sort of love letter to that strange stage we reach during our Senior year of high school, when our options seem to diminish even as new ones open up all around us, and when we’re asked to look to the future to the possible detriment of the moment we’re in. Norah’s on-again-off-again boyfriend is using her for her father’s recording studio, while Nick’s off-again-on-again girlfriend is using him for the attention he’s willing to give her; Norah has to choose between a job in the music business, which she’s afraid will damage her love for the music, and college, while Nick has to choose between pining away for his cheating ex and fully participating in his own life. These are difficult decisions, and while we don’t get direct confirmation of the choices we might like these characters to make, the film does give us closure by reinforcing the idea that the path taken towards making those choices is ultimately just as important as the choices themselves.


Coming Soon — Sarah’s Top 200 Movies of All Time


Keep an eye out on TCV in the coming week. Inspired by my colleague, Alex, over at Film Misery, I will be posting my Top 200 favorite films of all-time.  Here’s the posting schedule:

Monday: 200 to 161
Tuesday: 160 to 121
Wednesday: 120 to 81
Thursday: 80 to 41
Friday: 40 all the way to Number One!

So get ready!  The Virus is about to strike in 200 wonderful and different ways!


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Weekend Viewing: HP6, Pulp Fiction…

Movies for July 17-20:

In Theatres:

I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Saturday.  It was really good and I think it will be a great lead-in into the two-installment finale.  HP6 left less of an impression than the more recent films did, though I think the performances were excellent by all the cast, and Yates did another solid job directing.  I didn’t think it was too long, as some have said.  I should say, HP6 is my least favorite of the books, and there are definitely some odd choices in editing/screenwriting–probably why it didn’t leave a strong impression.


On the upside, the film was really visually stunning.  I’m past the point of nitpicking on wardrobe–it’s well-done, even if not what I expect based on the books.  I have found the most recent installments (Cauron’s Prisoner of Azkaban, Newell’s Order of the Phoenix, and Yates’ direction on 5 and 6) to be sufficiently true to the story, and much closer to capturing the real “magic” of Hogwarts.  Sorry Chris, you did some good work on the first two installments, and you were working with younger actors, which may play a role.  I still enjoy those films, but mostly because of the stories they’re based on, not the direction.  I am thoroughly pleased with Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson.  They’ve grown with their characters, and have managed to hold it together in the believability department, given that they’re significantly older than their characters now.  I’ll be glad to see these roles conclude, to discover their talents in new and challenging roles elsewhere.  My call: HP6 is definitely worth watching.  If you’re not a fan of the series, check out the DVD/Blueray in six-ish months.



I also watched Rachel Getting Married, which was a strange but enjoyable film…very similar to Margot at the Wedding, I think (Hathaway and Kidman’s characters are very similar, but Hathaway’s is much more likable).  Music plays its own unique character in the story.  This is a fairly typical family drama, but I thorougly enjoyed the complicated nature of the characters, who fluxuate between being likable and bizarre to untrustworthy and even a little viscious.  At times, Kym (Hathaway) seems to be the most reliable character in the confluence, even as a recovering drug addict with almost no tact.  The cinematography truly shines at moments, and there is a harmony between the visuals and the mood that will keep you riding along on the wave.  If you’re into dramatic indies with fusion feel, rent it.


Also watched Yes Man for a second time.  I still don’t think it’s great, but it’s all right.  I do appreciate the unconventional lead female character.  Zooey Deschanel’s performance is delightfully awkward; the character is not just “spontaneous” and “has no idea what she’s doing,” but also reveals a lot in quick bursts.  You figure out without a lot of discussion, but through song and a brief, funny chat, that she’s definitely had her heart broken before, and that it’s really affected her.  At the same time, the jilted lover isn’t her sole personality trait.  She’s kooky and wild without being truly nutty.  And Ms. Deschanel plays off her costar nicely.  Carrey has managed to avoid “phoning in” his performance, but he does have a somewhat limited range to work with in this film.  Watch it if you are in the mood for funny tinged with bittersweet and a little nutty.


Finally, I have had a chance to appreciate Pulp Fiction.  It’s got some really memorable interconnected stories.  However, some of the characters are awfully two-dimensional, there are minor plot gaps, and some of the dialogue was stilted and/or predictable.  Still, that’s part of Tarantino’s charm, I think…and some of it may be intentional, given that it’s called  Pulp Fiction.  I think he was really in his element with Kill Bill, but I was reminded of the kind of performance he can pull out of his actors in the final scene of Pulp Fiction.


The performance by Samuel L. Jackon in that scene (between Jules and “Pumpkin”/Ringo during the Mexican Standoff ) was extremely reminiscent of Uma Thurman’s when the Bride faced off against Karen Kim in Vol. II.  Obviously the writing and setting were similar (what’s a good Tarantino scene without an immenent gunfight?), but it’s truly about the performances of these two actors.  They completely lived up as honest badass motherfuckers, struggling with self-doubt and major transitional moments while keeping their cool, while the gun is pointed at their heads.  I think Tarantino is at his most virtuosic in those moments.  The outlandish fight scenes and blown-out stylistic choices make his movies fun, but those little, honest moments in the midst of the haze of bullets is what gives movies like Pulp Fiction a redemptive quality, and make the stories worth watching.  So, if you haven’t managed to see this classic yet, what are you waiting for, Honey Bunny?


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