Potshot's Greatest Movies of the Century

By Bill "Potshot" Kunkel


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The Ten Greatest Movies of the Century

I love movies. I have loved them since I was four years old. And I'm sure I'm forgotting at least a hundred other films that I'd say belong on this list. So, off the top of my head, in no particular order.

Unforgiven. The fruition of every western from Red River to The Searchers and the Sergio Leone trilogy and the ultimate evocation of Clint Eastwood's gritty, morally ambiguous take on the cowboy movie.

King Kong. Made largely on a tabletop in Willis O'Brien's garage, how does it remain so compelling in an era of sfx wizardry when anything one can imagine can be digitally produced on film? Not sure, but if Fay Wray isn't the hottest woman I've ever seen on film may a giant monkey grind me between his teeth.

Pulp Fiction. Tarantino reinvented movies, tossing out not only the traditional three act structure, but ignoring linear time altogether. Discussions on everything from drugs in Amsterdam to the True Meaning of foot massages are intersperced brilliantly with images of impressionistic violence. When the final tale is told, you want nothing more than to sit back and watch MORE of these stories. Tarantino likely to suffer from Orson Wells syndrome on this one.

The Godfather Saga (Parts 1 and 2). The first two were both excellent movies, but only when run in linear form does the epic grandeur of this saga really unfold. Spectacular performances, great direction (back when FFC still had chops), it's the ultimate mob movie masterpiece.

Citizen Kane. Orson Wells had the poor fortune to make his masterpiece right out of the box. The Magnificent Ambersons is over-rated and only Touch of Evil ever approached his magnum opus. The film has one marvelous flaw -- since no one is there when Charles Foster Kane dies, how, exactly, do they know that his last word was "Rosebud"?

Performance. A movie so wonderfully druggy it will get you stoned just watching it. 
Mick Jagger made all his subsequent film appearances redundant with his "performance" as Turner, the washed-up pop star whose trippy sanctum is invaded by a London gangster seeking sanctuary. Nick Roeg was a genius, even if Warner Bros. had no idea what to do with this film and actually kept it on  the shelf for years.

The Thing. You know, I honestly don't know which version I prefer. The original (which was largely directed by Howard Hawks, though credited to Chris Nyby) is a cold war masterpiece of paranoia, while John Carpenter's remake duplicates the scientifictional impact of Heinlein's original story, "Who Goes There?" Pick 'em.

The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars was good, but this is the only film in the Lucas series that deserves to be called great. From the opening battle on Hoth to the cliffhanger ending, everything since has been all the more bitterly disappointing because this one was so good.

Saving Private Ryan. There are other great war movies, but shit, I can't think of any. The scene where Tom Hanks character finally admits he was a school teacher sends 
chills up your spine. Spielberg's greatest film, and that's saying something.

Goodfellas. Maybe the greatest horror film ever made. I'd call it a black comedy 
except it's all true -- and it all happened in my old New York neighborhood. You laugh, you gag, you gasp as master director Scorsese shows us all sides of his sociopathic monsters and the flawed human beings who fall among them.

The next on the list would be 

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) 

Beauty and the Beast (1946) and 

Taxi Driver.

You can order any of these movies at Amazon.Com or Barnes & Noble.Com, just click the link to your left.

This article is Copyright ©  2001 Bill "Potshot" Kunkel. All Rights Reserved. 

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