Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Finally Watched Every Disney Movie

This has been a week of checking off lists.

So I finally sat down and watched the loathsome 'Home on the Range' which I'd been avoiding for a couple years (along with 'Pocahontas' that I finally watched last month). Without further ado, then, this is what I think of every Disney animated classic.

Here’s the scale:

1 – This is a terrible movie.
2 – This is a really bad movie.
3 – This had a joke or two that was actually funny.
4 – More or less missed the mark.
5 – I wouldn’t be pleased if you bought me this.
6 – Like a 5, but with a little extra.
7 – I wouldn’t mind if you bought me this.
8 – I would like it if you bought me this.
9 – An excellent film.
10 – Fantastic.

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – 8. A great film, beautiful and well-executed.
2. Pinocchio – 8. Like Snow White, the quality of the art s impressive, matched with a good story.
3. Fantasia – 10. The best thing Walt ever did.
4. Dumbo – 6. Not much of a plot, and not as stylish as the earlier works.
5. Bambi – 5. Again, very little plot, character development, etc.
6. Saludos Amigos – 7. Interesting film, fun to watch.
7. The Three Caballeros – 9. One of Disney’s best – it is totally one-of-a-kind.
8. Make Mine Music – 6. A weird little package film, a few good segments.
9. Fun and Fancy Free – 4. Two dull pieces slapped together.
10. Melody Time – 7. The best of the overtly packaged films. All good segments.
11. Ichabod & Mr. Toad – 7. Kinda fun, the first half is stronger than the second.
12. Cinderella – 6. There is hardly any plot to this, possibly Disney’s slowest-paced film.
13. Alice and Wonderland – 7. A fun take on the classic stories, has some nice scenes.
14. Peter Pan – 5. I never really liked this one.
15. Lady and the Tramp – 4. Pointless film.
16. Sleeping Beauty – 8. Visually stunning, albeit with a less than stellar plot.
17. 101 Dalmatians – 6. Should be a 5, but the villain is great.
18. The Sword in the Stone – 6. Plotless, almost pointless. Again, upped a notch by a good villain.
19. The Jungle Book – 7. Good characters, if not much of a story, and good music.
20. The Aristocats – 4. I never got this film.
21. Robin Hood – 8. The best Disney film of the 60s/70s.
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – 5. An odd package of existing bits.
23. The Rescuers – 4. I don’t think I like any of the characters.
24. The Fox and The Hound – 3. One of the least pleasant Disney films.
25. The Black Cauldron – 2. I barely remember this, based on a book I actually like.
26. The Great Mouse Detective – 5. Kinda fun, but not really.
27. Oliver and Company – 3. Pointless, pointless, pointless.
28. The Little Mermaid – 6. I’m not a big fan, but it has a share of moments.
29. The Rescuers Down Under – 6. Better than the first, but still lacking.
30. Beauty and the Beast – 8. Very well-executed film.
31. Aladdin – 7. Not my favorite of the Renaissance films, but still quite good.
32. The Lion King – 8. The edge has worn off a bit, but still marvelous.
33. Pocahontas – 5. When I finally forced myself to watch this…I was not pleased.
34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – 6. Mostly dull, but has moments.
35. Hercules – 7. Fun, but nothing too special.
36. Mulan – 6. I never needed to experience Eddie Murphy as a dragon.
37. Tarzan – 5. Not too good, this one.
38. Fantasia 2000 – 8. Has enough good scenes, especially the triumph of the end, to merit.
39. Dinosaur – 2. Very unpleasant, pointless, movie.
40. Emperor's New Groove – 6. Lots of good things thrown together, but still lacking.
41. Atlantis – 3. Lots of awful things thrown together.
42. Lilo and Stitch – 9. Great film. Best depiction of childhood ever.
43. Treasure Planet – 1. Painfully bad movie.
44. Brother Bear – 3. More than just missed the mark.
45. Home on the Range – 1. Disney’s lowest point.
46. Chicken Little – 2. Very nearly Disney’s lowest point.
47. Meet the Robinsons – 5. A fun villain saves this from totally missing the point.
48. Bolt – 4. Not bad. Not good. Not needed to be made.
49. The Princess And The Frog – 6. After years of bad films this gave some hope.
50. Tangled – 7. A fun film, a little kitsch, but overall good.
51. Winnie The Pooh – 3. No reason to exist.
52. Wreck It Ralph – 7. Enjoyable, makes good use of the premise.

53. Frozen – 7. Disney getting slowly back into their stride.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

American Theater: America's Best Musicals and Plays


The musical is one of America’s chief cultural exports of the 20th century. Indeed, the murky history of the preceding century, unfortunately, has demanded that all the best plays are of the 20th century. Theater in America during the 1800s was a mix of morality plays and minstrel shows. By far the most popular work was the theatrical adaptation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin before the Civil War. After the war theater got worse with melodrama taking over, and depictions of Jim Crow becoming even more popular in the days after Reconstruction. Of note is James Herne, who began introducing modern theatrical (read: Ibsen) norms to his plays. In the stuffy North they were not well-received.

But it is important to recall the racial struggles, the minstrel show, and the view of theater as wanton, to understand how musicals in the 20th century started and why America’s first great musical deals with the subjects it does…


1.      Showboat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, 1927

Out of the 19th century’s past comes a truly modern take on the race relations and American legacy of the South. Showboat has a plot that can still effortlessly bring audiences to the edges of their seats – it’s subject matter is as important now as it was then. The songs that have become famous, especially the heart-wrenching “Ol’ Man River” delves into a nuanced portrait of characters and actions that took Broadway by storm. Serious theater had arrived in America.

2.      The King and I by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, 1951

The Fifties were the golden age of the musical in America. Not only was Broadway thriving, but MGM was at its height producing movie musicals. If we look past the treacle of The Sound of Music the best collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, by far, is The King and I, with classic songs like “Shall We Dance?”. It avoids the down home-sy feel of Oklahoma! or Carousel while remaining very American (the adaptation of “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”).

3.      My Fair Lady by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, 1956

Lerner and Lowe are the best musical team in American history, perhaps barring Rodgers and Hammerstein. Rex Harrison reprised his role as Professor Higgins in the successful film adaptation, whereas Julie Andrews was replaced with Audrey Hepburn, and Marni Nixon singing. Great songs include “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Rain in Spain”. Andrews’ best vocal performance, the stage adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion is a marvel from start to finish.

4.      West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Jerome Robbins, 1957

Bernstein’s only successful foray into musical theater is also one of America’s best. The updated telling of Romeo and Juliet that involves street gangs in New York, white and Puerto Rican, was a bit of a shock during the Eisenhower era. The forbidden love, this time interracial, the adolescent menace, and the incredible songs such as “America”, “I Feel Pretty” and the jazzy “Cool” determined that West Side Story was to be another watershed of American theater.

5.      Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, 1964

The Jewish experience is brought to life set in Russia during 1905. One of theater’s most famous creations, the milkman Tevye, tries to raise his daughters right. Famous songs include “If I Were a Rich Man” and “To Life” originally performed by Zero Mostel on Broadway. The generational conflicts that would come to define the back half of the decade are reflected in Tevye’s struggles to make sure his daughters keep the faith – and the loving parent’s concessions when they don’t.

6.      Cabaret by John Kander and Fred Ebb, 1966

As the Sixties got into full swing Cabaret won the Tony for Best Musical – a radical departure from the friendlier titles that had won in previous years (the only other musical to win the award and deal with Nazis was The Sound of Music, after all). Hedonistic, sexual, violent, and brazen the show deals with the declining days of Weimar Germany, and reminded viewers that free love was not a new phenomenon. Memorable songs include “Willkommen” and the title, “Cabaret”.

7.      1776 by Sherman Edwards, 1969

What could be more American than Ben Franklin in a kick line? Wildly inaccurate from a historian’s point of view 1776 is just too fun to ignore. It also got flak from Richard Nixon who opposed the song “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men” sung by the conservatives of the Constitutional Convention. There are very serious moments, dealing with the Revolution as well (the wartime plea of “Mama, Look Sharp”) which elevates this musical to the top tier of America’s canon.

8.      A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, 1973

Starting in the 1970s Sondheim came into his own (initially with Company). This adaptation of an Ingmar Bergman comedy, Smiles of a Summer Night brought Sondheim yet another Tony, and a series of classic numbers, “Send in the Clowns” and “The Miller’s Son” in particular are excellent. Unlike the broad farce of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Music’s humor is gentler, while still remaining delightfully funny. Not his most famous, but the best.

9.      A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine by Frank Lazarus and Dick Vosburgh, 1980

The 80s was dominated by British musical wunderkind Andrew Lloyd Weber (Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera). This little-known work written by Americans initially had a short debut in the West End, but came to Broadway where it garnered nine Tony nominations. The first half is the lives of ushers at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the 1930s (“The Best in the World”) – the second act is that night’s ‘feature film’ the new Marx Brother’s hit “A Night in the Ukraine”.

10.  Rent by Jonathan Larson, 1996

After the shame and fear of the 80s, the AIDS epidemic began to be openly talked about in the 90s (the track “One Song Glory” is the most poignant). Larson’s musical, based explicitly on the plot of Puccini’s opera La Boheme (for example the track entitled… “La Vie Boheme”) updates the story to present-day New York and swaps violins for electric guitars. Arguably America’s best rock musical (sorry Grease), Rent captured the feeling of a decade – no small task.

 Besides the musical, however, the American play also came into its own in the 20th century. A mix of comic and tragic masterpieces and authors rose to prominence. Unlike in musicals, radical themes took a hold much earlier in straight plays - both comically and tragically. And, like musicals, certain playwrights have become household names, and even more essential to the canon, due to their works being not only performed, but frequently read, in schools.


1.      Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring, 1939

The darkest of American comedies, Arsenic is a wildly funny, and totally American, play. Two old ladies who go about poisoning people, a brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt (handily digging locks in the basement that double as shallow graves) and a mobster with the face of Boris Karloff. Stuck in the middle is poor Mortimer who tries to deal with these lunatics, who, after all, are his family. Kesselring never really got the madcap chemistry quite right ever again.

2.      The Skin of Our Teeth by Thorton Wilder, 1942

Winning Wilder his second Pulitzer, The Skin of Our Teeth is not as famed as Our Town but is miles better. Our Town deals with the everyday struggle of everyday Americans…and so forth. But Teeth goes further with a bizarre but somehow totally apropos mashup of New Jersey in the first half of the 20th century and the Ice Age, while cleverly underscoring the timeless characters and symbolism of the acts. The second act, after a seven year war, was all too prescient in 1942.

3.      A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, 1947

It seems as though all great playwrights have to take a crack at dysfunctional families and tragic homes in American theater. Williams’ two most famous plays deal with these topics, one, more heavily, Glass Menagerie, one, as a side element, Streetcar. Blanche and Stanley have become iconic characters, and the theme of delusion and Williams’ steamy sensual/sexual tones made the play a landmark, bringing a Southern tone to the New England dominance of Broadway.

4.      The Crucible by Arthur Miller, 1953

Miller, like Wilder, is best known for a more American tragedy, in Miller’s case Death of a Salesman from 1949. But O’Neill does it better in Journey (below). The Crucible, as is well-known, deals with an allegory of McCarthyism in Puritanical America. Dealing with a troubling aspect of our American history –indeed, our very founding – as ignorant, ruthless, and fanatical the play has great American, and universal appeal. It is Miller’s most important work.

5.      Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill, 1956

Written the same year as Teeth, above, O’Neill didn’t publish it in his lifetime and it is easy to see why. O’Neill is America’s master tragedian, and the story of Connecticut family’s dysfunction and multiple addictions were way ahead of the times for theater. The mother, Mary Tyrone, is particularly poignant, and one of the most remarkable female characters developed in American drama. O’Neill had won the Nobel without this play, but his reputation sits squarely upon in.

6.      The Sandbox by Edward Albee, 1959

As with musicals, the 1950s was a particularly rich time for playwrights in America. Albee’s most famous work, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is admittedly powerful and a great play. But Albee’s forays into the absurd are more interesting, most notably in Sandbox. The play is extraordinarily funny at times, and the whole absurdist premise sometimes masks the deeper message that the audience is, themselves, part of the play – and playing the role of an audience.

7.      The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, 1965

Neil Simon was talented both with stage plays and musicals (Sweet Charity) and is deservedly given credit as one of America’s best theatrical writers. With its many adaptations, The Odd Couple may be Simon’s best known work. Two writers live together, one a neat-freak, the other a slob – and try their best to get along without killing each other. The play easily picked up best Author and Best Actor for Walter Matthau. It is still wildly funny to this day.

8.      Fences by August Wilson, 1983

For a long time the de facto African American play was Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, which is unfortunate, since that play is, well…lacking. Fences accomplishes what Raisin does only mediocrely by showing a family that made it, has the house, and is trying to stay together – or not. In the initial Broadway production the lead was portrayed by James Earl Jones as the father who does not love, or even like, his son. Of Wilson’s ten-part series, this is the best.

9.      The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner, 1991

A one-woman showcase for Lily Tomlin, written by her wife Jane Wagner, Signs has as a narrator a bag-lady named Trudy, who communes with aliens. And it only gets stranger from there. Tremendously funny (especially the scene where Trudy tries to show the aliens the difference between soup and Andy Warhol’s art) there are nonetheless some characters whose stories are painfully human, and even tragic. Signs therefore has it all – and then some.

10.  Angels in America: The Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner, 1991

Part one of two comprising Kushner’s masterpiece, Millennium deals with AIDS and visions, religion and hypocrisy. A number of real-life characters appear, from the noxious Roy Cohn to Ethel Rosenberg. It would be difficult to find a more fundamentally American play – and indeed, the full title when combined with the second half, Perestroika, is Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Kushner was awarded the National Medal of Arts for the work.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nobel Wrap-Up

Luckily the U.S. got 2/3 of the Chemistry award this year. It was getting close there - I though we weren't going to get any prize at all.

Which got me thinking. Which years had the U.S. not won any award from the Nobel committee? I decided to investigate:

Early Woes

1901 02 03 04 05 

For the first five years of the Prizes no Americans won. It was essentially an exclusively European prize. Indeed it's not surprising the first American to win, Theodore Roosevelt, got it for dealing with a European issue - winning the Peace prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

Still Losing (Mostly)

08 09 10 11 13 15 16 17 18 

With one exception, the next ten years weren't very kind, either. The long-over-looked Elihu Root got the Peace prize in 1912, but except for that we had no winners approaching World War I. The streak was broken by a different Progressive US President, Woodrow Wilson, for his League of Nations idea.

Terrible Twenties

20 21 22 24 26 28 

Things picked up in the Twenties, but for the most part Americans did not fare well. In 1921 Albert Einstein won the Physics prize (not for relativity, but for the photoelectric effect), but he was yet to be an American citizen. The notable exceptions include in 1923 when Millikan got the Physics prize; 1925 when the Dawes Plan was recognized awarding Charles Dawes; and 1927 when Arthur Compton got the Physics prize for the Compton effect. in 1929 the award went to Frank Kellogg for the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and we entered the thirties consistently winning. 

Indeed, years when the U.S. did not win were henceforth isolated incidents.

1935, 1948, and 1957

In 1935 fewer than average prizes were awarded, (there was no Literature or Physiology prize that year.) In 1948 TS Eliot won for Literature, who if you want to count American expats, would count. However since he consciously left the United States to become a British subject, I don't really think it should count. In 1957 two Chinese-born  fellows won the Physics prize while working in the US. However, neither Tsung-Dao Lee nor Chen-Ning Yang was an American citizen - both becoming Americans later in the 1960s.

1963 and 1973 

In 1963 Maria Goeppert-Mayer was awarded the Physics prize, having been born in Poland, and marrying an American in 1930. She shared it with Hungarian-born American citizen Eugene Wigner. In 1973 Henry Kissinger won for the end of the Vietnam War having become a naturalized American citizen in 1943. Another naturalized US citizen won that year, the Norwegian Ivar Giaever for Physics, having become an American in 1964. That year's Economics prize also went to Wassily Leontief, who emigrated to the US in the 30s.

1991 and 1999

In 1991 no Americans got the award. Ronald Coase, an influential economist, won - but he retained British citizenship throughout his life and did not become an American, despite living and working in America from the 1950s. In 1999, the most recent year no Americans won, Ahmed Zewail won in Chemistry for basically inventing the field of femtochemistry. Born in Egypt he became an American citizen in 1982, and so was a citizen at the time of his award.

So by generous estimates, if you count naturalized citizens, expats, or future Americans, there have only been 21 years out of 111 years (the award was not given in any category between 1940-42) without American winners. In other words, 18% of the time we've not gotten it. By a stingy count, as I provided above, there are 27 years, or 24% of the years awarded when we've been snubbed.

That said, the US has more Nobel laureates than any other country (over 350), so there.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Moving Art’s 100 Greatest Films of All Time

As of today I've now watched all of The Moving Art’s 100 Greatest Films of All Time. My annotation says whether I agree with the selection, and if not, why not.

#1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Kubrick) – Great movie. On my list.
#2. Citizen Kane (1941, Welles) – Great movie. On my list.
#3. The Godfather (1972, Coppola) – Great movie. On my list.
#4. Andrei Rublev (1966, Tarkovsky) – Great movie. Not on my list, but may be soon.
#5. The Rules of the Game (1939, Renoir) – Good movie. Overrated in my opinion, but I like Renoir.
#6. Casablanca (1942, Curtiz) – Great movie. On my list.
#7. Vertigo (1958, Hitchcock) – Great movie. On my list.
#8. La Dolce Vita (1960, Fellini) – Great movie. On my list.
#9. Seven Samurai (1954, Kurosawa) – Great movie. On my list.
#10. The Godfather Pt. II (1974, Coppola) – Great movie. On my list.
#11. The Third Man (1949, Reed) – Great movie. On my list.
#12. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Fleming) – Great movie. On my list.
#13. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Kubrick) – Great movie. On my list.
#14. Goodfellas (1990, Scorsese) – Great movie. On my list.
#15. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Herzog) – Good movie. Again, I feel it’s overrated.
#16. 8½ (1963, Fellini) – Great movie. On my list.
#17. Singin’ In The Rain (1952, Donen, Kelly) –Okay movie. “An American in Paris” is way better.
#18. Raging Bull (1980, Scorsese) – Great performance. Good movie.
#19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Lean) – Great movie. On my list.
#20. Solaris (1972, Tarkovsky) – Great movie. On my list.
#21. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Laughton) – “Rank sentimentality”.
#22. On the Waterfront (1954, Kazan) – Good movie. Should probably rewatch.
#23. Intolerance (1916, Griffith) – Intolerably long and awful.
#24. L’Atalante (1934, Vigo) – Very, very good movie… But not great.
#25. Apocalypse Now (1979, Coppola) – Great movie. On my list.
#26. Birth of a Nation (1915, Griffith) – Important movie, but like the next entry, doesn’t hold up outside a film class.
#27. Battleship Potemkin (1925, Eisenstein) – Important movie.
#28. Taxi Driver (1976, Scorsese) – Great movie. On my list.
#29. Chinatown (1974, Polanski) – Great movie. On my list.
#30. Rashomon (1950, Kurosawa) – Good movie. Not my favorite Kurosawa by a longshot, though.
#31. The Searchers (1956, Ford) – I don’t think I can credit Monument Valley as a performer.
#32. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, Leone) – Great movie. On my list.
#33. Yojimbo (1961, Kurosawa) – Great movie. On my list.
#34. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Fellini) – Great performance. Good movie.
#35. The Curse of the Cat People (1944, Fritsch, Wise) – “Rank sentimentality”.
#36. Annie Hall (1977, Allen) – Good movie. Should probably rewatch.
#37. Tokyo Story (1953, Ozu) – I may be the only person on earth who doesn’t like this. I’ll rewatch.
#38. M (1931, Lang) – Great movie. On my list.
#39. Brief Encounter (1945, Lean) – Good movie.
#40. Rear Window (1954, Hitchcock) – Good movie.
#41. Barry Lyndon (1975, Kubrick) – Great movie. On my list.
#42. Ikiru (1952, Kirosawa) – Great movie. On my list.
#43. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Kubrick) – Good movie. But he’s done better.
#44. Metropolis (1927, Lang) – Great movie. Not on my list, but may be soon.
#45. City Lights (1931, Chaplin) – Good movie. Not Chaplin’s best, though.
#46. Bashu, The Little Stranger (1986, Beizai) – A very good movie. Possibly great.
#47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Kazan) – Good movie.
#48. Badlands (1973, Malick) – Good movie.
#49. The Asphalt Jungle (1950, Huston) – Okay movie. Not quite sure why it’s on here.
#50. Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955) – Great movie. On my list.
#51. Touch of Evil (1958, Welles, Keller) – Good movie.
#52. The 400 Blows (1959, Truffaut) – Great movie. On my list.
#53. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Dreyer) – Great movie. On my list.
#54. King Kong (1933, Shoedsack, Cooper) – Great movie. On my list.
#55. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, Murnau) – Great movie. On my list.
#56. L’Avventura (1960, Antonioni) – Good movie. Just not an Antonioni fan.
#57. The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Kirshner) – Great movie. But Star Wars: A New Hope is better.
#58. The Apartment (1960, Wilder) – Good movie.
#59. The General (1927, Keaton, Bruckman) – Okay movie. Keaton has better.
#60. Pierrot le Fou (1965, Godard) – Glad to see Godard so low on the list, but I still don’t like his movies.
#61. The Seventh Seal (1957, Bergman) – Great movie. Not Bergman’s best, though.
#62. Talk to Her (2002, Almodóvar) – Great movie. On my list.
#63. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971, Altman) – Okay movie. Not quite sure why it’s on here.
#64. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, Ford) – Okay movie.
#65. Do the Right Thing (1989, Lee) – Good movie.
#66. Pulp Fiction (1994, Tarantino) – Great movie. On my list.
#67. Ugetsu (1953, Mizoguchi) – Great movie. On my list.
#68. Manhattan (1979, Allen) – Good last scene in an otherwise okay movie.
#69. Star Wars (1977, Lucas) – Great movie. On my list.
#70. F for Fake (1973, Welles) – Great movie. On my list.
#71. Blue Velvet (1986, Lynch) – Overrated movie.
#72. The Leopard (1963, Visconti) – Very, very good movie. But not great.
#73. Modern Times (1936, Chaplin) – Great movie. On my list.
#74. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Mackendrick) – Great movie. On my list.
#75. Yi Yi (2000, Yang) – Okay movie.
#76. Grand Illusion (1937, Renoir) – Great movie. On my list.
#77. Out of the Past (1947, Tourneur) – Good movie.
#78. Mulholland Dr. (2001, Lynch) – Blegch.
#79. Wild Strawberries (1957, Bergman) – Good movie. Again, there’s better Bergman out there.
#80. Synecdoche, New York (2008, Kaufman) – Great movie. On my list.
#81. Psycho (1960, Hitchcock) – Great movie. On my list.
#82. Nayakan (1987, Ratnam) – Good movie.
#83. Wings of Desire (1987, Wenders) – Great movie. On my list.
#84. The Big Sleep (1946, Hawks) – Okay movie. Better Bogart performances out there.
#85. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Gondry) – Good movie.
#86. Ulysses’ Gaze (1995, Angelopoulos) – Great movie. On my list.
#87. Notorious (1946, Hitchcock) – Great movie. On my list.
#88. Nashville (1975, Altman) – Good movie.
#89. Days of Heaven (1978, Mallick) – Okay movie.
#90. The Maltese Falcon (1941, Huston) – Good movie.
#91. The Bicycle Thief (1948, de Sica) – Very, very good movie. But not great.
#92. A Touch of Zen (1971, Hu) – Great movie. On my list.
#93. Fargo (1996, Coen, Coen) – Overrated movie.
#94. Breathless (1960, Godard) – Again, since Godard was destined to be on such a list, glad to see him so low.
#95. Children of Paradise (1945, Carné) – Great movie. On my list.
#96. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999, Kiarostami) – Okay movie.
#97. Rio Bravo (1959, Hawks) – Okay movie.
#98. Jaws (1975, Spielberg) – Quite possibly the most overrated film of all time.
#99. There Will Be Blood (2007, P.T. Anderson) – Good performance. Overrated movie.
#100. Japón (2002, Carlos Reygadas) – Good movie.

So, out of 100, I am a fan of 45 – not the best odds. If, however, you also include “good” movies it’s actually a very solid list. There’s only a handful on here I wouldn’t actively recommend someone to watch, (even Jaws I’d recommend for being a cultural touchstone). Those fifteen movies I simply can’t recommend are:

Rio Bravo, The Wind Will Carry Us, Breathless, Days of Heaven, The Big Sleep, Mulholland Dr., Yi Yi, Blue Velvet, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The General, The Asphalt Jungle, The Curse of the Cat People, Intolerance, and The Night of the Hunter.

The rest on here are all worth a watch, though.