- Godfather and Godfather II: Let’s take them as one. The best all-time movie with a sequel. Francis Ford Coppola, with a screenwriting assists from the Godfather author Mario Puzo and Robert Towne (talk about an “A team”) set the standard for good mob films, and many excellent ones followed, particularly by Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino, which rank among my very top favorites).
- Apocalypse Now: So, I’m a Coppola fan (when he was in his prime). He was a screenwriter who became a director, and he blended his skills to create masterpieces. The beginning of the film to the trip down the river is a classic, and the film only starts to fade, remarkably, with Brando’s over the top depiction of Kurtz. Thank God for Dennis Hopper’s interjection in those final scenes.
- The Shawshank Redemption: This film was a good thing, maybe the best of things. Incomparable dialogue and narrative technique.
- Saving Private Ryan: The best war movie of all time. The murderous Omaha Beach landing scenes…no other war film can top the sense of realism and bloody chaos. It’s a director’s movie reflecting Spielberg’s mastery but the collaborative script was well-crafted, hitting all the numbers.
- Forrest Gump: Culturally influential, whenever it’s on TV, I will watch for the umpteenth time, and even suffer the commercials, though I could watch the film again without them! Who doesn’t use lines from that movie all the time? May the screenwriter Winston Groom bask in glory.
So many more but there is a top five! And a bottom five…
- Daddy Daycare: Eddie Murphy should have quit while he was ahead. Role reversal stereotype tropes, just unfunny.
- Shrek I and II: Not a fan of these crowd-pleasing Mike Myers vehicles in computer animation, sorry DreamWorks but Pixar just kicks your butt each and every time. And Eddie Murphy as the Donkey…as Donald Trump would say, “Sad.”
- The Cat in the Hat: I don’t think I laughed once when I took my kids to this bomb of a movie. Probably my too salty movie house popcorn with a Diet Coke was the best part.
- Any Adam Sandler movie fits into my bottom five. Insufferable, cannot bear to watch.
- Anchorman sequels: Will Ferrell should have quit while he was ahead, but we know he cannot. As you can see, I can be harsh on former Saturday Night Live stars when they misstep, and they have done so with frequency. For example, I did not pick on Chevy Chase, but I should have.