45. High Fidelity
Director – Stephen Frears
Cusack playing his standard character, but in a screenplay that takes advantage. One of the better, more purposeful attempts at breaking the fourth wall, the slick, fun spin on the general lack of know-how we all endure is so far off our normal expectations that it manages to largely get around our walls as well.
44. Igby Goes Down
Director – Burr Steers
The crowning achievement of smartass youth, Igby Goes Down is a kind of testament to John Cage and his misused, overlooked adherence to the idea of having nothing to say, and saying it. A remarkably deft performance by Culkin amid material that is deceptively complex, this is the sort of work that, in another age (and another format) might have become the dog-eared tomes under the arms of furiously snapping beret-bedecked coffeehouse patrons.
Director – Werner Herzog
A more accessible than normal Herzog and a brilliant as always Roth deliver a mind-blowing opera of ideals in this film about a Jewish strongman, and a charlatan who has designs on a high place in the Nazi party as an Occult leader.
Director – George Clooney
Possibly among the more surprising of the many surprising films on this list, Leatherheads makes its way here on the back of a perfection of attempt. Much like Down with Love, this one takes a shot at going somewhere films have not gone for quite some time, and wonders if there isn’t a reason to look up that old friend after all.
Spinning many ideas together, all from a time that is all but lost, the slapdash of the nonsense chases, the zip of witty banter flung around faster than people can actually speak without a script, and the ode to words now left unused with good reason (such as dapper, because no one is anymore), all come together to make a perfectly executed run at unapologetic nostalgia.
Director – Tomas Alfredson
It’s the same old story really. A bullied boy meets a cute, but odd, young girl. She turns out to be a vampire. You know how it is.
Perfect mood, style, a winning story that is told well, and child actors that are unbelievable.
Director – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
A bored and boring barber stumbles onto a scheme he thinks can make him rich – dry cleaning. If only he can find a way to come up with the investment money… well, something may happen. The best laid plans of non-entities as they say. Gloriously nonsensical, and delivered with all the detachment of its main character, the film is just hopelessly watchable.
Director – Randall Miller
Bizarrely, a remake of his own film, this is a powerful bit of funny that balances depth and frivolity exceptionally well. A man suffers himself to carry out the last wish of a man he finds at death’s door, and new and old stories combine to give a sense of hope from the least likely of sources – nowhere. It turns out that just showing up is the thing.
38. Moulin Rouge
Director – Baz Luhrmann
37. Mulholland Drive
Director – David Lynch
A mysterious woman with amnesia, an even more mysterious night club, and the slow twisting of events. Many films demand that you write, “nothing is as it seems,” but few of them are so much fun and suck you in so deep.
Director – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
It’s The Odyssey… with rednecks.