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Your Top Three Films? 
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Post Your Top Three Films?
This is a hard question I know, but I want to hear what films you guys think are the best of the best. In other words list the three films that you consider "the best." If you want you can even name your personal favorite three as well. I'll go first with what I consider the best.

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Most people claim The Godfather to be the quintessential gangster classic, but this film will always be my personal favorite of the two. I remember the first time I saw this film. When it ended I was completely blown away. It was the first time that I had no question whether or not a film was a true four star-er. The scale of OUATIA is simply mesmerizing. This film tracks the entire life of a group of young gangsters, and yet it never feels like it short ends the viewer. I always felt emotionally connected with these characters, and always involved in the stunning narrative at play. OUATIA takes viewers on a journey that is truly unforgettable, and I consider it nothing less than a masterpiece.

The Conversation (1974)

A terrific film that can never be viewed the same way twice. Once you've seen this one time through, you know all the angles and twists. But a first time viewing of this film is nothing short of pure excellence, and it proves to be an worthy example of sensational film making. With that said I can't not mention this films wonderful use of sound. Sound is the driving force behind this film-- the way in which this film conveys information, tension, and emotion through the element of sound has always been amazing to me. If you have never seen this film I can't recommend it enough.

Notorious (1946)

I've seen Vertigo, North by North West, Rear Window, and Psycho. While I still love all of those films, something about Notorious has always resonated with me. Perhaps it's the eerie dark tone that is prevalent throughout, or maybe it's the central mystery in the story. Regardless of whatever it may be, I love every note this film plays. Carey Grant is as suave as ever, and Hitchcock's direction is brilliant. Others may treasure the more well known titles listed above, but I'll take this little gem over it's shinier siblings any day.

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Last edited by JackBurns on Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:55 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
So for the purposes of clarity -- you're asking for the best three films, not my three favorites, correct?

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
JamesKunz wrote:
So for the purposes of clarity -- you're asking for the best three films, not my three favorites, correct?


I fixed the question. Sorry about that, it was indeed fuzzy.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Top Three Films (according to what I value as a filmgoer):

Taxi Driver

I don't think there has been a film that has better understood problems of the human soul and so doggedly portrayed them from the inside out. Everything about this film comes together into an impeccable whole--Schrader's screenplay, Scorsese's storytelling, Chapman's visuals, Lucas's editing, Herrmann's score, and, of course, De Niro's performance.


2001: A Space Odyssey

I don't know that there's ever been another film with quite as large a scope as this one (from our most primitive tools up to technology and intelligence far beyond our most sophisticated understanding), yet such a fine attention to little line-level details like what astronauts eat in the future and the instructions for using a zero-G crapper. And what an experience of a movie--it gives our outer brain plenty to chew on while subtly playing with our most primitive, lizard-like inner brain.


Superman

As far as long-runners go, this one beats any other on any list I've ever made. This is essentially a romantic adventure film in the pre-Star Wars tradition that encapsulates so much of the human experience, albeit writ large--very, very large. I don't think there's been a more lavish, big-hearted superhero film yet, so this one stands as the best chronicle of our popular mythology.



Top Three Films (according to what other people value as filmgoers)


Vertigo

A former detective with a fear of heights is hired to follow a woman apparently possessed by the past, in Alfred Hitchcock’s timeless thriller about obsession.


Citizen Kane

Given extraordinary freedom by Hollywood studio RKO for his debut film, boy wonder Welles created a modernist masterpiece that is regularly voted the best film ever made.


Tokyo Story

The final part of Yasujiro Ozu’s loosely connected ‘Noriko’ trilogy is a devastating story of elderly grandparents brushed aside by their self-involved family.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
I'm still confused:
Quote:
"...you consider "the best." If you want you can even name your personal favorite three as well."

What's the difference between what "you consider the best" and your "personal favorite" in any case? Wouldn't a "personal favorite", automatically make it the "the best" for YOU? If you mean what is "the best" for everyone overall, then I don't see the value, since we can't honestly speak for anyone but ourselves, can we? Most will simply end up answering "Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Vertigo", done and dusted. It isn't really being truthful, just parroting what is the most widely considered "general consensus". Where's the fun in that? What I'm trying to say is I don't think you can expect people to differentiate between "best" and "favorite" in a meaningful way.


Last edited by nitrium on Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:27 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
nitrium wrote:
I'm still confused:
Quote:
"...you consider "the best." If you want you can even name your personal favorite three as well."

What's the difference between what "you consider the best" and your "personal favorite" in any case? Wouldn't a "personal favorite", automatically make it the "the best" for YOU? If you mean what is "the best" for everyone overall, then I don't see the value, since we can't honestly speak for anyone but ourselves, can we? Most will simply end up answering "Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Vertigo", done and dusted. It isn't really being truthful, just parroting what is the most widely considered "general consensus". Where's the fun in that?


There was a big debate over this about a year and a half ago. My view is that favorite is best and to say otherwise is actually dishonest to a point since you're just a parrot reading off the Sight and Sound list.


Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:41 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
patrick wrote:
There was a big debate over this about a year and a half ago. My view is that favorite is best and to say otherwise is actually dishonest to a point since you're just a parrot reading off the Sight and Sound list.

I'm with you 100% here, unless someone sheds some definitive light on what is actually "expected" from this topic. How can your "favorite" be anything other than "the best"? Who are you speaking for?


Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:56 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
nitrium wrote:
I'm still confused:
Quote:
"...you consider "the best." If you want you can even name your personal favorite three as well."

What's the difference between what "you consider the best" and your "personal favorite" in any case? Wouldn't a "personal favorite", automatically make it the "the best" for YOU? If you mean what is "the best" for everyone overall, then I don't see the value, since we can't honestly speak for anyone but ourselves, can we? Most will simply end up answering "Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Vertigo", done and dusted. It isn't really being truthful, just parroting what is the most widely considered "general consensus". Where's the fun in that?


Well Nitty, the difference between best and favorite is an age old conundrum. But for me, I see a favorite film as one that you enjoy--or one that has a personal connection with you per se. A favorite film may make you feel good when you watch it, or may just be fun entertainment. Essentially, a favorite ( as I have heard) needs no quantification. For Instance you could say your favorite film is Goldfinger, but Casablanca is the film that you consider best. The best category is a little different. A film that you consider best is generally something that is much more objective. Something like Casablanca as mentioned above. It is a brilliantly crafted film, it has great performances, and outstanding cinematography.The best film per se highlights some of the best elements of cinema, and yes, is usually regarded as so. None of this is to say these categories can't overlap. Your favorite film can still be the Godfather, and it can also be what you consider among the best.

People can have other films that they consider "best", it doesn't have to match the Sight and Sound Poll done by critics every year.

Hopefully that cleared things up a bit for you in regards to this post in particular. If it still comes across as scathingly stupid or "un-fun" then you have my apologies.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:01 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
JackBurns wrote:
But for me, I see a favorite film as one that you enjoy--or one that has a personal connection with you per se. A favorite film may make you feel good when you watch it, or may just be fun entertainment. Essentially, a favorite ( as I have heard) needs no quantification. For Instance you could say your favorite film is Goldfinger, but Casablanca is the film that you consider best. The best category is a little different. A film that you consider best is generally something that is much more objective. Something like Casablanca as mentioned above. It is a brilliantly crafted film, it has great performances, and outstanding cinematography.The best film per se highlights some of the best elements of cinema, and yes, is usually regarded as so. None of this is to say these categories can't overlap. Your favorite film can still be the Godfather, and it can also be what you consider among the best.

That description made my head explode. SPLAT! There can never be genuine "objectivity" in what must ultimately be derived purely from subjective opinion. Right?


Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
nitrium wrote:
That description made my head explode. SPLAT! There can never be genuine "objectivity" in what must ultimately be derived purely from subjective opinion. Right?

^^^ Nitrium pokes the beehive.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:31 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Ken wrote:
nitrium wrote:
That description made my head explode. SPLAT! There can never be genuine "objectivity" in what must ultimately be derived purely from subjective opinion. Right?

^^^ Nitrium pokes the beehive.

And I'm seriously not at all trying to be contentious! But I just can't past the disconnect here. I'll leave it at that (I'm sure no one will miss my opinion on this anyway).


Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
This is one of the things I don't understand at all...why would your favorite films be the best movies ever made? Isn't that exceptionally arrogant, bordering on solipsistic?

For years my favorite movie was Zulu. It meant a great deal to me, I had a personal connection to it, I loved every minute of it...but that doesn't mean it's a perfect film. Why should the two always be connected? Maybe they are sometimes (Pan's Labyrinth is an all-time great film, and it's one of my all-time favorite films) but even 14 year old James Kunz knew that Predator was a personal favorite, but not really one of the all time bests.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:45 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Well I try to free myself as much as I can from being biased, just because a movie came at the right time in my life.

These three films are the ones I really deeply love (the most) and I think the are fantastic. I don't care what I am "supposed" to say. Fuck that shit!

2001, A Space Oddyssey seen it twice during the 1970s as a 70mm print. This film opened my eyes and my mind. Doesn't get any better than this. Kubrick scrapped the original score by the great Alex North on very short notice, but still: it was the right decision.

Once Upon A Time In The West another sweeping operatic epic. Saw it three times on the big screen - last time about 12 years ago as a brand new 35mm Cinemascope print (the recently restored DVD and BluRay versions are even better!) It is the "final" and perhaps definitive Western (even though not really an American movie, but it added scope, drama and some character arcs to the classic Leone Westerns). Ennio Morricone's brilliant score adds tremendously.

Superman (1978). Nope, I am not wiping Ken's ass. I genuinely love that movie. Chris Reeve was and will be forever the perfect Superman and Margo was just pitch perfect, since she had the chemisty and the zest. Gene Hackman is brilliant as ever and the John Williams score is one of his best (you heard me) - please get the DVD with the "music score only" track - then watch from Supe's Earth dad's funeral all through the part when he is leaving home and his earth mother. I have never (!) heard anything more moving including the entire end section of E.T. which was so good that Spielberg re-cut the footage to perfectly match the music. Superman is better!!!!

For all you impatient young lads (I still wouldn't know what to do without you guys): drop in at 1:31 - trust me!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge-8LWd2lds

1st runner up: Y'all guessed it: [bTaxi Driver[/b]. What a movie!!!

2nd runner up: The Deer Hunter (you heard me!): yes it has pacing issues - but just look at the cast and how wonderfully they perform! There is a gritty white-trash verisimilitude and an epic, deliberate pace to it - I just love that movie. Seen it dozens of times all the through. O.K. I admit it: I am biased: saw it on the big screen on my 18th birthday with my dad. Still.....


What about "Vertigo" and "Citizen Kane"? - seen them both. Great movies, but both didn't really catch my heart. Sorry. To make matters worse. I largely prefer "Vertigo". I had to fight my way through "Citizen Kane" and that's a bad sign isn't it?


Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
JamesKunz wrote:
This is one of the things I don't understand at all...why would your favorite films be the best movies ever made? Isn't that exceptionally arrogant, bordering on solipsistic?

For years my favorite movie was Zulu. It meant a great deal to me, I had a personal connection to it, I loved every minute of it...but that doesn't mean it's a perfect film. Why should the two always be connected? Maybe they are sometimes (Pan's Labyrinth is an all-time great film, and it's one of my all-time favorite films) but even 14 year old James Kunz knew that Predator was a personal favorite, but not really one of the all time bests.

1. This is why "best" is all but meaningless in the context of movies...

2. ...And "perfect" is perfectly meaningless.


Seriously, what does "perfection" even mean in terms of movies? That's like saying there's such a thing as a "perfect" stage in evolution.

EDIT:

Crap. Now I've thrown a rock at the beehive. And I'm probably too dumb to run.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Threeperf35 wrote:
Superman (1978) ... the John Williams score is one of his best (you heard me) - please get the DVD with the "music score only" track - then watch from Supe's Earth dad's funeral all through the part when he is leaving home and his earth mother. I have never (!) heard anything more moving including the entire end section of E.T. which was so good that Spielberg re-cut the footage to perfectly match the music. Superman is better!!!!

I almost got into a car accident when I realized (somewhat recently!) what Williams was doing in the scene in which Clark hikes north and creates the Fortress. In the absence of dialogue, Williams is using call-and-response to imply the feeling that draws Clark to that spot. Spooky, inventive, and brilliant. If you ever hear me referring to a "three dimensional" score, this is what I mean.

Pity Hans Zimmer. I'm sure he'll work to the best of his abilities, but his feet are too small to fill these shoes.

EDIT:

I originally brought up this moment in the score in this post.

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Last edited by Ken on Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:12 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
This is one of the things I don't understand at all...why would your favorite films be the best movies ever made? Isn't that exceptionally arrogant, bordering on solipsistic?

For years my favorite movie was Zulu. It meant a great deal to me, I had a personal connection to it, I loved every minute of it...but that doesn't mean it's a perfect film. Why should the two always be connected? Maybe they are sometimes (Pan's Labyrinth is an all-time great film, and it's one of my all-time favorite films) but even 14 year old James Kunz knew that Predator was a personal favorite, but not really one of the all time bests.

1. This is why "best" is all but meaningless in the context of movies...

2. ...And "perfect" is perfectly meaningless.


Seriously, what does "perfection" even mean in terms of movies? That's like saying there's such a thing as a "perfect" stage in evolution.

EDIT:

Crap. Now I've thrown a rock at the beehive. And I'm probably too dumb to run.


Even if my choice of "perfect" was perhaps too strong, are you telling me that I should have considered Zulu and Predator the best movies ever made? Of course there's no true objectivity in art, but there is difference between critical appraisal and appreciative love.

Favorite: a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference
Best: of the highest quality, excellence, or standing

You're a smart guy, and I just don't see how you don't see a difference between them. Watership Down is my favorite book but it's not the best ever made. Zulu was my favorite film and it wasn't anywhere close to the best ever made. Hell I would cut a good 15 minutes from its first act. But I still love it. The Twilight Zone is my favorite TV series but it's not as impressive from an artistic standpoint from The Sopranos or The Wire. On the other hand, Massaman Curry is my favorite food and it is, apparently, the most delicious food in the world: http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/worlds-50-most-delicious-foods-067535?page=0,0 :)

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:15 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Short-ish post O.T.:

Since I learned that Hans Zimmer (a bloke born in the same town I grew up BTW - Frankfurt am Main, Germany) wrote the music score, I have doubt I am going to see it. Zimmer is a great remixer, minimalist composer, sound designer and sound tweaker, but NOT a great composer. It takes profound and surgeon-like knowledge of centuries of symphonic music and its writing techniques and the timbric and emotional range and the way it blends with other instruments - to know what really works and provies true emotional depth instead of just a trendy soundscape - and the nerve and talent to push that surgical knowledge and the deep understanding that goes along with it further in a way which doesn't come from a "fuck Berklee/Boston, Julliard and USC/L.A.!"- post punk/new wave attitide (which is nothing more than anti music).
Want remix-style stuff? No prob. Love the Chemical Brothers? No prob. Love a wall-to-wall soundtrack with cheesy 50s through 80s mainsteam pop? No prob. Just count me out. Thanks.


Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:52 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
JamesKunz wrote:
Even if my choice of "perfect" was perhaps too strong, are you telling me that I should have considered Zulu and Predator the best movies ever made? Of course there's no true objectivity in art, but there is difference between critical appraisal and appreciative love.

Favorite: a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference
Best: of the highest quality, excellence, or standing

You're a smart guy, and I just don't see how you don't see a difference between them. Watership Down is my favorite book but it's not the best ever made. Zulu was my favorite film and it wasn't anywhere close to the best ever made. Hell I would cut a good 15 minutes from its first act. But I still love it. The Twilight Zone is my favorite TV series but it's not as impressive from an artistic standpoint from The Sopranos or The Wire. On the other hand, Massaman Curry is my favorite food and it is, apparently, the most delicious food in the world: http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/worlds-50-most-delicious-foods-067535?page=0,0 :)

I'm not saying there's no difference. I am saying that a "best" movie is purely theoretical--based on external criteria whose existence we can propose but cannot realize.*

I believe it is more arrogant to make the distinction between "best" and "best strictly based on my own peculiar inclinations" (i.e. "best to me", or "favorite"), then to proceed to claim that one knows what the BEST films are, independently of one's own peculiar inclinations. It would be less arrogant to say that such a thing is profoundly unlikely for a human being to be able to do.



Conversely, if one draws a distinction between "best" and "best to me" (i.e. favorite), then proceeds to choose a BEST film that is openly still a function of one's own set of values, then the film one has chosen is really another variant of "best to me". Perhaps this is a deliberate attempt to rearrange the weighting that one places upon one's own values, but it's still based upon one's own values. Still solipsistic, if you insist upon the term.

And that, it appears to me, is what's actually happening when people choose a "best" film. We might be putting on a different set of lenses, but we're still seeing through our own eyes. And, lordy lordy, we sure as hell aren't making our choices based on external criteria; otherwise we would all be either picking the same best film or offering fact-based reasoning to one another why the wrong choices are demonstrably, verifiably wrong.



Or we can all do what I did and just rip off the Sight & Sound poll. It's a listing of movies thought to be the best by the democratic vote of people who aren't me; thus, the choices were made independently of any particular person's unique inclinations. Ignoring the consequent issue of what makes S&S preferable to any other democratically selected list...



*Last time this discussion came up, it resulted in me asking how one objectively evaluates a film, followed by people simply insisting that they do it. I ended up feeling a little like Robert Vaughn in the "Did I just fart?" scene in Baseketball.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
Ken wrote:



*Last time this discussion came up, it resulted in me asking how one objectively evaluates a film, followed by people simply insisting that they do it. I ended up feeling a little like Robert Vaughn in the "Did I just fart?" scene in Baseketball.


The key to any discussion like this is the wonderful, underused word 'inasmuch." As in,

Inasmuch as anyone can ever evaluate a film objectively, one does so by looking at aspects of filmmaking (cinematography, editing, direction, acting, etc.) and evaluating their respective merit.

YES said evaluation will of course be subjective to a degree, but the key is that you are evaluating on perceived merit rather than meaning or important to you personally.

Let me give you an example that I think works well. When I grade my students' essays, am I being subjective? Of course. But I'm still trying to hold their papers to an fair system even if it is my own system.

The same logic largely holds for film criticism.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:37 pm
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Post Re: Your Top Three Films?
I didn't mean to open a can of worms here.

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Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:56 pm
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