1. Best Moment - The Hallway Fight in Oldboy
Wow...what can I can say about this other than, wow. In this awesome scene, former imprisoned businessman Oh Dae-Su takes his revenge on his jailer and then proceeds to fight his way out of the building with only a claw hammer and his fists. He takes on tons of henchmen and in one scrolling 3 minute take Dae-Su exacts some violent, vengeful retribution on the guards who tormented him for 15 years. This cinematic classic scene was redone by Josh Brolin in the Oldboy remake by Spike Lee and even the Netflix Daredevil series paid homage to it. Watch for yourself.
2. Best Plot/Story - The Grand Budapest Hotel
A fantastic film that could fill any of these categories. Wes Anderson has made many well written films with memorable characters and locales. This film is Wes at his best. It tells the story of a former lobby boy, Zero Mustafa, at the posh Grand Budapest Hotel who tells the story of how he became owner and why he won't close the hotel even with dwindling guests. Then we're treated to a great whodunit with Ralph Fiennes playing Gustave H. the concierge who was framed for murder. Without spoiling anything, the plot thickens, there's daring escapes, romance, a sociopathic bodyguard, and great chases. Young or old, a fan of Wes Anderson or not, everyone I spoke to loved this film. The settings are wonderful, the acting is top notch, guest stars galore (Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman), and not a dull moment. Watch it.
3. Best Dialogue - The Office
The writing was handled most prominently by Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor), Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson), B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard), Lee Eisenberg (Gino), and Gene Stupnitsky (Leo), but the actors were given plenty of room to improvise leading to some of the best moments in The Office. The dialogue was so great between cast members. You could feel the awkwardness of each interaction due to the lines delivered. They made you feel as though you worked at Dunder Mifflin Scranton as well. The dialogue between characters felt genuine and as if we were just peeking into their world. A lot of directors are touted as being dialogue gurus (Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, etc.), but the writers of this show made magic for 187 episodes and 8 years of 1 hour shows. That's some serious dialogue writing there.
4. Most Intelligent Flick - Inception
Any movie done by Christopher Nolan tends to be geared more towards the thought-provoking movie side (Interstellar, The Prestige, Memento) not including his Batman Trilogy. Inception was no exception to that rule. Filled with dream invading and dreams within dreams within dreams, there were some parts that made it just as difficult for the viewer to tell the difference between what wasn't or was reality. Masterfully told and with one of the greatest cliffhangers in cinematic history, Inception claims this spot easily.
5. Best Movie - The Godfather
Loyalty, betrayal, deception, family; all things that The Godfather is about. Francis Ford Coppola's epic based on Mario Puzo's novel of the same name is a timeless classic that still holds up today. The story of the Corleone Family was spread out over three films but the first was the greatest. Focusing on Michael Corleone's rise to power and taking place from 1945-1955, The Godfather is a cinematic masterpiece of storytelling and filmmaking. It set the bar for what all other Mob movies after it would seek to achieve and some would come close but are still not in league with it. The only one to possibly surpass it is the sequel, The Godfather Part II. If you have not seen The Godfather then you cannot call yourself a movie fan or buff. Here are the accolades received by the film:
- 3 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Screenplay
- 5 Golden Globes - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score
- 1 Grammy for Best Original Score
- Selected to the National Film Registry in 1990
- Named one of the 100 greatest films by Time Magazine
- Entertainment Weekly ranks it the greatest film ever made
- American Film Institute - 100 Years 100 Movies #2
There you have it, the films that made a lasting impression on me and my movie watching. There are many movies that could have fit into these 5 categories. That's the beauty of a challenge like this, it gives us the opportunity to see what left impressions on others.