The Ten Spot: My 10 Mt. Rushmores of Cinema
Forgive me if this gets cheesy real quick but this paragraph is the hardest I've ever had to write. After 8 years and almost 200 columns, this will be my last 10 Spot. It's the longest running column on JoBlo.com and I feel honored to have named it, shaped it, and delivered it every other week for as long as I have. For years I've tried to skip the typical top ten lists and mix it up with unusual looks at characters, scenes, situations, and moments. For my last entry I've decided to bring you the best of the best when it comes to my outlook on film. My favorite films, characters, villains, performances, actors, directors, etc..... It's my personal movie journal blown wide open to share with anybody that has ever cared about this column. Thanks to everybody that has ever read, commented, bitched, forwarded, suggested topics, helped my drunk ass think of shit, tweeted, liked, laughed, linked, or simply enjoyed anything I've ever written here. It's been a blast. Thanks, Berge.
I wanted to start off with a good one so you'd stick around and read the rest. This took 90 hours to put together - give it a chance. This also happens to be one of the most mainstream Mt. Rushmores I have. It's hard to argue with Hannibal Lecter being the greatest villain ever..... so I don't. Darth Vader, on the other hand, has his faults. He sells himself out by the end of the saga and finds the lighter side of the force. He bitches out pretty badly but for the most part epitomizes evil decently enough for a whole trilogy. Michael Myers is the fucking Boogeyman. You don't fuck with the Boogeyman. And Heath Ledger's Joker is one of the greatest moments in modern film. I'm pretty solid with this representation.
E.T. changed my life. As a child I was influenced by too much horror and evil (as you can see with the other 3 entries here) and it started to shape me into a serial killer of sorts. Seriously, I hated a lot of things. E.T. made me feel the emotions of a real human being. I laughed, I cried, and I didn't want everyone to die horrible deaths. The Thing made me want to tear my skin off and figure out if I was a real person. That was not a fun bath. Xenomorph are quite possibly the coolest creation in the history of film. People tend to not realize this because their bad movies outnumber their brilliant movies at this point. And the Predator have always had a special place in my heart because they could beat up Arnold Schwarzenegger. I only thought my dad could do that. He can, you know.
I wanted to make sure the animated genre had a spot here because it was hard to try and fit them into any other category. TOY STORY 2 is on a different level for me. To take a perfect concept and bring even more life to it with brilliant situations (the toy store, the toy collector, Zurg, the cartoon) is something I consider pretty much impossible to do (unless you're James Cameron in the late 80s/early90s). THE IRON GIANT is a movie so deep I haven't even let my kids watch it yet. They're not ready. THE INCREDIBLES is the superhero movie I always wanted. How there are not at least 2 sequels to this film by now still annoys the shit out of me. And finally, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is simply too original and perfectly delivered to not include here.
This was a hard one. We almost named our first son Atticus, which, I guess, means I hold Atticus Finch on some sort of pedestal. He taught me to not be such an asshole - what more is there to be said? Indy was a no-brainer. If I had to break down why I love film so much into one single entity, it would be Indiana Jones. Quint gets a spot because of how fucking crazy he is. Seriously, watch JAWS again and pay close attention to how eccentric he is every second he has on screen. Bluto has been a hero of mine for decades. Not a single fuck is given by him during this film and his outlook on life got me through more than my share of stupid situations.
Salma Hayek might get a bigger piece of the mountain than the others. She was actually the first name I wrote down after figuring out the categories here. Just..... untouchable in my opinion. Jessica Biel earned it the easy way. She's done way better photo shoots than she has movies, but I'm not holding that against her. Raquel Welch might be the hottest women that has ever lived. Obviously she doesn't get the advantage of 30 magazine covers a year or TMZ-type douchebags taking pictures of her every 3 seconds for exposure. Tit-for-tat, I'd put her up against anybody in Hollywood today. And Jennifer Love Hewitt is just one of those chicks that I've never been able to forget about. Like an old girlfriend that left you with a scar on your dick - you end up thinking about her every time you whip it out.
I considered giving De Niro's Jake La Motta a full spread on the mountain. Just him laying out, Burt Reynolds style, with a pair of boxing gloves and a swollen eye. However, Samuel Leroy Jackson turned Jules Winnfield into a cult phenomenon, Jack Nicholson's McMurphy taught me what the term "range" meant when it came to acting, and Denzel Washington's Pvt. Trip stared into my soul - making me understand that I will never take any shit from any mother-fucker for the rest of my life. So I decided to make room for them.
Go watch SOPHIE'S CHOICE. I'll wait. Now push your heart back into your chest and realize that Meryl Streep is still delivering quality role after role three decades later. She's a freak. Kate Winslet is easily my favorite actress of the modern era. Yes, I loved TITANIC, go fuck yourself. Susan Sarandon was actually a surprise to me by the time I made a final list. She just kept popping up in my favorite films, knocking it out of the park again and again. As for Bette Davis, I caught, ALL ABOUT EVE a lot later in life than I should have, but when I did, I realized what it was like to watch greatness. I'm still catching up with her filmography to this day and it only make the legend grow greater. Do not deny yourself her brilliance if you love movies.
This list actually differs greatly from my current favorite actor list but because these pimps are to be etched into the side of a mountain I have to go with my heart and honor the greatest there ever was. Robert De Niro is the greatest actor to ever live. It's incredibly sad that this has to be argued nowadays. There's no denying it's his own fault, he could have hung it up after RONIN in 1998 and called it "The Greatest Career of All Time". Sadly, he's been hanging around and teetering on the verge of Movie Jail for years. Al Pacino is in the exact same boat. Literally, these two dude are riding on a boat that leads to Mediocrity Island - an island that they never knew existed for years. Still, everybody else has a long way to go before they even approach their resume. Jack Nicholson has given me some of the greatest moments I've ever experienced in cinema ("You can't handle the truth!"). It's saying a lot that I included him here considering how much I loath the Lakers. James Stewart is a lot like Bette Davis for me. The dude's filmography is epic, but, from what I've seen (ROPE, VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, etc..), there's no doubt in my mind that he's on another level when it comes to the A-List.
Tarantino missed by a cunt-hair. Let me explain. Martin Scorsese brings a toughness and grittiness to my persona that separated the bitch from the man very early in my life. Steven Spielberg is what movies are all about in my eyes. I wouldn't be the geek I am without him and he will define many generations to come, not just ours. Alfred Hitchcock was so unbelievably ahead of his time it's comical. His films, if capable, would laugh at the decades of copycats that followed him. He defines "unique vision" and should be studied for years. David Fincher has a list of films that penetrate deep into my love of modern film, SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB, ZODIAC, and THE GAME are films that transform my own personal entertainment into gratified involvement. They've become a part of me over the years and I feel obliged to spread them to others.
I've said this a thousand times before on this site but it's needs repeating now more than ever - RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is a perfect movie. BRAVEHEART caught me at a time in my life when I needed some direction. It taught me to never stop fighting, to never give up in what you believe in. Even if they cut off your junk. SEVEN (my current favorite movie) simply spills out everything I ever want in my films - gore, suspense, dark humor, great performances, a fantastic villain, mystery, justice, and Brad Pitt at his best. There's really no argument for me right now so save it. PULP FICTION changed the way I viewed movies, so much so that I didn't even like the film when I first viewed it. "What the fuck was that?" I asked. By the time I found out the answer to that question my whole outlook on what was acceptable had changed. It was a good thing.
That's it. Thanks for reading my shit over the last 8 years. If this is your first Ten Spot, you've got a lot of catching up to do. Fucker. I'm out.