1.Empire Strikes Back
The only no brainer on my list. Easily my favorite movie of all time. It surpasses the first in every way. Better story, better direction, better effects...I could go on and on. I love the way the heroes don't really win, they just kind of scrape by as best they can ending the movie on a down note. As a kid I'd never seen that, the good guys always won. Plus you can't discount how good the big twist was the first time around.
A movie that perfectly combines my two true cinematic loves, horror and sci-fi. Beautifully shot and tense as hell, it creates a fully lived in world that feels alive. Throw in one of the greatest movie monster designs by Giger and one of the first and best strong sci-fi heroines in Ripley and it all comes together perfectly.
3. Blue Velvet
For my money this is Lynch at his best. It's a perfect blend of his "what the shit?" insanity and a strong linear narrative. So many of Lynch's later calling cards show up here, the idyllic small town with a dark side, quirky off beat characters, classic noir mystery, and intense unsettling moments. Topped off with my favorite movie villain Frank Booth, a terrifying maniac, played to perfection by Dennis Hopper.
An epic undertaking in movie making even by today's standards. To realize this was made in the infancy of movies is incredible. Few movies have ever, or will ever, be as influential as this early Sci-fi tale of class inequality and oppression. This movie showed what cinema was capable of, and very little has matched it in the 80 plus year since.
As you can tell from my list I'm a genre fan, but I love true quality film making disguised as run of the mill genre fare. This movie explores the changing world of media and it's effects on us through some truly fucked up body horror and a frightening decent into a mad world. Any movie that can hide a larger message behind someone shoving a videotape into their newly formed stomach vagina is tops in my book. Plus Debbie Harry.
6. Apocalypse Now
I love what this movie represents almost as much as the movie itself. This is a movie that is the last of it's kind. A director driven big budget studio film. Some may consider this film a failure, running way over budget and time without ticket sales to make up for it, but for me it stands a testament to what can happen when you give the right person money and freedom. A sprawling war movie, that isn't really about a nation's war as much as a personal one. Beautiful from start to finish, it's the end of an era, but what a hell of a punctuation mark.
7. Dawn of the Dead
Social commentary about the trappings of consumerism wrapped up in a blood and guts zombie movie? Yes please. Romero takes his zombies to the next level, broadening the scope of the plague from a small farm house to entire cities. Exploring how the world changes, but people rarely do. It can be hard to view zombie as a fresh idea these days, but this is the movie that set the standard that so many run into the ground these days.
There are few people I love more the Weird Al. My early years were spent listening to nothing but his albums. Hell most of the popular music of the 80's that I'm familiar with is due to a Weird Al parody of it. Fast forward to 1989 and not even the looming presence of Batman could derail how excited I was about this movie. Easily the movie I've seen more times than any other in the theater. A movie that never fails to make me laugh while grinning ear to ear through the whole thing.
9. Spider-man 2
The newest movie on my list, but it earns it's spot. The biggest thing to happen to movies in the last decade has been the superhero boom. X-men and the first Spider-man both paved the way for Avengers to make all of the money, but it's Spider-man 2 that shows what a superhero movie should be. Faithful to the source material, but not to a fault, fun, exciting, with a story and characters you care about. Few of the superhero movies that followed this one even came close, and none have topped it yet.
Another newer movie that almost immediately took it's spot on this list the first time I saw it. I love movies about serial killers and no one does it better than Fincher. I saw this at the perfect time in my life for it to fully capture my imagination. Like Silence of the Lambs with more style and depravity. Great performances from everyone involved, visually beautiful and one of, if not the best, endings in movies.
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