Rank ’em: David Lynch Films

Years back I took a chance at the DVD store and bought a certain film by director David Lynch (I don’t wanna give away which one just yet as it’s number 1 on my list). From then on I was a die hard Lynch fan. I sought out every other film he has ever made and have since watched them all multiple times (some more than others). One of the masters of weird and surreal American cinema, I find even when one of his films perhaps doesn’t work as a whole, there’s always something interesting to experience. He is possibly my favorite director at this point in time.

Below is my ranking of all 10 David Lynch films, not including shorts, TV shows (sorry, Twin Peaks, as much as I love ya’) and anything else that isn’t a full-length feature film. Mind you this is going by my mood at this particular moment, and the list could change half an hour from now. For kicks I’ve included a moment/scene to highlight each film (spoilers lay within).

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Rank ’em: James Stewart

It is no question that James Stewart, known endearingly to much of the American public as Jimmy, is one of the American acting giants. Charming, aloof, yet carrying so much presence on the screen, he became the epitome of the Hollywood everyman from the late thirties throughout the sixties, starring in classic after classic.

Despite his praise though, many are only familiar with him due to Christmas viewings of It’s a Wonderful Life and a Hitchcock film or two of his. His filmography, of course, is so much more rich than that – so much so that I not only had trouble making a “top ten” favorites, but would have had trouble narrowing it down to twenty. Below though are my ten favorite James Stewart films, with some of my favorite moments attached as clips.

After checking out mine, share your own list and favorite James Stewart moments in the comments!

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Rank ’em: Paul Giamatti

Paul Giamatti has over 70 credits to his name according to the IMDb. Some of these are televisions episodes but still, that’s a much more impressive filmography than I thought. Of these 71 credits, I’ve seen 28 of his feature films and 1 television mini-series (“John Adams”). I haven’t caught Barney’s Version or Ironclad yet, but can’t wait to. Still, what the hell, I thought. Let’s rank out his performances shall we?

I’ve divided the list into two parts: (fairly) major roles and minor roles (unranked).

American Splendor
The Illusionist
“John Adams”
Cold Souls
Cinderella Man
Planet of the Apes
Shoot ‘Em Up
Win Win
Lady in the Water
Man on the Moon
Fred Claus
The Hawk Is Dying
The Last Station
Safe Men*

MINOR ROLES: (unranked)
Big Momma’s House
Saving Private Ryan
Private Parts
The Negotiator
The Truman Show
Doctor Dolittle
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Donnie Brasco

* = I don’t remember all that well

Rank ’em: Westerns

We haven’t done a Rank ’em in ages (it has been over a year, actually), so it is about time that we bring them back. Fun, superficial, and completely pointless – we always enjoy the banter that comes with trying to justify some sort of top ten list and then arguing about our opinions with others. With my recent re-watch of True Grit, what a better topic to cover than westerns?

Below is my list, based on my current mood, which I will surely be tempted to change in five minutes times. Be sure to share your own and feel free to tear into everyone else’s.

10. The Gunfighter (Henry King, 1950)
9. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
8. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
7. The Naked Spur (Anthony Mann, 1953)
6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1968)
5. The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)
4. The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005)
3. The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968)
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)
1. Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

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Rank ’em: Jeff Bridges

In honor of his Best Actor win at the Oscars and because Sandra Bullock doesn’t have too many good movies, we’re bringing you a Rank’ Em thread for Jeff Bridges, a dude that has been acting steadily since the 1960s and an actor that has always been cool to like due to his unappreciated status (despite his four prior Oscar nominations before this win). Glancing through this filmography, it seems I have yet to see a lot of his work (again, this guy has been around a long time, so specifically his older stuff), so maybe your lists will help me sort out what I should and should not bother watching. Rank these anyway that you would like: the movie itself, his performance, the amount of dudeness. I’ll rank mine by how much I enjoyed the film itself.

10. Starman
9. K-PAX
8. The Men Who Stare at Goats
7. Crazy Heart
6. Iron Man
5. The Contender
4. The Fisher King
3. Arlington Road
2. The Last Picture Show
1. The Big Lebowski

Rank ’em: Leonardo DiCaprio

With my recent re-fascination and enjoyment with flickchart (that now allows rankings of only actors or directors (had a good time ranking all my Soderbergh movies by the way) and also with all the recent Shutter Island talk around here, I’ve renewed my interest and respect for DiCaprio. He always, always puts on a good performance. Since I’ve seen just about everything in his body of work, here is how I see the quality of his films (not his performances) ranked in order from favorite to least favorite starting with the earliest work that I can remember seeing him in (Gilbert Grape)…

The Departed
Shutter Island
Romeo and Juliet
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Gangs of New York
Revolutionary Road
The Aviator
Catch Me If You Can
The Basketball Diaries
Blood Diamond
The Quick and the Dead
The Man in the Iron Mask
Body of Lies
The Beach

Marvin’s Room
Don’s Plum
Total Eclipse
The Foot Shooting Party


Rank ’em: Movies Starring Mel Gibson


Putting any personal political/social opinions you might have with Mel Gibson aside, you gotta admit the guy has presence and a flare of dramatic intensity few Hollywood A-listers can duplicate. Not to mention a pretty good sense of humor. Like any actor that’s been around for a while, he’s made a bunch of great movies and a few not so good ones. He’s also made more than an impression behind the camera as well – challenging himself with not only entirely non-English films, but all but dead languages (Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ come to mind). I anticipate his Viking movie with Leo and also in the ancient Norse language.

At any rate, it’s been a while since we’ve done a “Rank ’em” feature around here and with Edge of Darkness opening wide this weekend, I thought it apropos to look back at all of Gibson’s work (that I’ve seen) and rank them from best to worst. These are only pictures that he’s starred in, not the ones he’s directed. And this list is based on the quality of the film, not necessarily Gibson’s performance. So here we go…

Braveheart (1995)
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Maverick (1994)

Gallipoli (1981)
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Mad Max (1979)
Chicken Run (2000)

Payback (1999)
Signs (2002)
We Were Soldiers (2002)
Hamlet (1990)
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
The Patriot (2000)
Ransom (1996)
Conspiracy Theory (1997)

The Man Without a Face (1993)
Forever Young (1992)
Air America (1990)
The Singing Detective (2003)
Bird on a Wire (1990)
What Women Want (2000)


Rank ’em: Bill Murray


We haven’t done a Rank ’em in ages, so I figure before the insanity of awards season starts, we better sneak another one in. Very few people shaped my humor as a child as much as Bill Murray did (to this day, Ghostbusters is probably the movie that makes me laugh more consistently than any other) and really, he’s the type of guy that most guys would like to be. I’m really looking forward to his upcoming Get Low), which will be another dramatic turn for the man, perhaps chasing another chance at an Oscar. Rank ’em any way you’d like: the quality of the movie itself, his performances, whatever pleases you. For me, I’m ranking the movies by how much enjoyment I get out of watching them.

10. Where the Buffalo Roam
9. What About Bob?
8. Lost in Translation
7. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
6. Caddyshack
5. The Royal Tenenbaums
4. Rushmore
3. Ed Wood
2. Groundhog Day
1. Ghostbusters

What about yourselves?

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Rank ’em: The Films of Ryan Gosling

Ryan GoslingOne of my few man crushes in the film world is Ryan Gosling. After my first knowing experience (The Notebook) I was immedaitely a hooked fan. Since then, each subsequent screening experience has only strengthened my high opinion of his work. Tonight, I’ve finished the only Gosling film that I hadn’t seen yet and am ready for a new “Rank ’em” post. As of today, he’s only been in about ten films, so this is a quick and easy list to put together.

So here are all of Gosling’s films ranked from best to not best:

1) Half Nelson
2) The Believer
3) The Notebook
4) Lars and the Real Girl
5) Stay
6) The United States of Leland
7) Remember the Titans
8 ) The Slaughter Rule
9) Fracture
10) Murder by Numbers

Rank ’em: Samurai Films

Very little seems to capture my imagination as much as a well-made samurai drama (save maybe a western – the American equivalent to the Japanese samurai film). While I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly what it is about the samurai that fascinates me so much – their romanticized views on the world, their strict code of honor, their unwavering loyalties and dedication to the craft of swordsmanship – these Eastern knights in shining armor have been the focus of some of the finest and most influential films in cinema. From Sergio Leone to George Lucas to John Sturges, their influence, particularly that of the legendary Akira Kurosawa, has been acknowledged time and time again. Recently watching the brilliant Love and Honor, I felt inspired to whip this up and get some discussion going on all of our favorite samurai films, and maybe in the process find myself some recommendations.

Continue on and make sure to rank yours in the comments!

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Rank ‘Em: Sam Rockwell Performances

Iwill finally be able to catch Choke this upcoming weekend, so I thought it’d be appropriate to have a rank ’em for Mr. Sam Rockwell‘s performances. While most cinephiles recognize his excellence, he’s still not a household name, although I do remember at one point boldly proclaiming he was right around the same level as Norton or Bale or DiCaprio or any of the greats in his age range (hell, not long ago I even said he reminded me of a “young De Niro”). While he’s still not quite a household name, I feel the same way.

Now, he has a BUNCH of upcoming films on his plate. Of course, there is Choke. Then there is the Oscar-hopeful Frost/Nixon coming out later this year. He has Moon, directed by David Bowie’s son Duncan, about an astronaut stranded on the moon for three years. He’ll follow that up alongside Robert De Niro and Kate Beckinsale in Everybody’s Fine about a widower (De Niro) who goes on a spontaneous road trip to reconnect with all of his grown children. Then there is Jared Hess’s Nacho Libre follow-up Gentlemen Broncos, the James C. Strouse (Lonesome Jim, Grace is Gone) dramedy The Winning Season co-starring Emma Roberts about a has-been coach who is asked to coach a local high school girl’s team, and End Zone with Josh Harnett about a “college football running back struggles to balance his newfound fame, a crush on a co-ed, his relationship with the school’s excitable publicist, and a teacher with nefarious plans for the star athlete.”

Needless to say, Sam has been busy lately, and I think this could be the year that he really falls into the spotlight – and I do mean “fall,” as he doesn’t seem particularly interested in the whole fame thing.

Read on to check out my top ten Sam Rockwell performances (not necessarily movies). Then write up yours in the comments or just discuss what you think about Rockwell.

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