For the Umpteenth Annual Academy Awards. Let me just say that I believe that the Academy has lost it's way sometime in the last few decades and it's more of a popularity contest than an award for truly deserving filmmakers/actors. Not to mention that the writers (or lack thereof) for the televised portion of the awards show have been dismal since the early 90s.
So, to combat boredom and give you MY take on the best of the best, without further ado, I present the Empress's Quasi-Annual Motion Picture Awards™ to the following
Top Ten Films You MUST SEE
- Eat Drink Man Woman <--- There's a reason this film gets the number one slot
- La Vie En Rose - the story of Edith Piaf (A Sony Pictures Classic)
- Kingdom of Heaven
- Some Like It Hot
- My Man Godfrey
- River Of No Return
- Kill Bill 1& 2 <--- You have to watch them back to back to have the story make sense
- Band Of Brothers (HBO Miniseries but it really IS a must see)
- The English Patient
This film made a distinct impact on me as a child. I remember standing in line in California to see this film with my parents when it debuted. My lasting memory of the film was wondering WHY Ghandi was so persecuted for his skin color when he was just like everyone else. This film also earned Ben Kingsley an Oscar nod for his performance. In this case, the Academy got it right.
9. The English Patient
I saw this movie for the first time 2 years ago, Christmas. We rented it to watch with my in-laws and it was very good. It was the first time I'd seen Naveen Andrews and I was captivated by his performance. This film is amazing in it's storytelling..
8. Band of Brothers
While admittedly NOT a movie - it is in point of fact and HBO miniseries - it certainly deserves recognition as one of the finest specimens of filmmaking in this decade. It is far superior to any World War Two epic drama created thus far. The ensemble cast was genius and the better known actors outdid themselves stepping out of their well-worn characters of late and embraced the characters given them. Watching the older gentlemen of the 506th recount their stories at the beginning of each episode drew me more into each episode. Seeing the actors become those gentlemen made it more real.
7. Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2
Say what you want about Quentin Tarentino, NO ONE knows Hollywood better. Kill Bill taken together (as they were meant to be seen) is a send-up of every genre of Hollywood film. And then some. From Spaghetti Western to Akira Kurasowa's samurai films to blacksploitation and beyond, Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 take the Hollywood "formula" and turn it on it's ear.
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6. River Of No Return
One of the final films starring Marilyn Monroe, this film was very poignant and lacked a lot of the silliness of her earlier films. The final scene as credits roll and Monroe sings the title song made me shed a tear.
5. My Man Godfrey
An excellent example of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Stars Carole Lombard and William Powell pre-Thin Man. I won't say more and give it away.
4. Some Like It Hot
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon give the performance of a lifetime in this zany comedy. Voted the Funniest Film of All Time by the American Film Institute, Billy Wilder's black and white jazz era piece is a lasting icon.
3. Kingdom of Heaven
Set during the Crusades, this film takes an honest look at both sides of the coin and weaves a dramatic tale. Brilliant writing, skilled acting and incredible cinematography blend to create an awesome story of love and loss, truth and lies, honesty and duplicity.
2. La Vie En Rose - the story of Edith Piaf (A Sony Pictures Classic)
The poignant story of France's most beloved chanteuse, Le Môme Piaf . It follows her life from her early childhood to her untimely death in her 40s. The performance by Marion Cotillard was so thorough that she became Edith Piaf. It was as if you had a window through time to see the Tiny Sparrow in all her glory and pain.
Finally, we have the number one film: Eat Drink Man Woman
Ang Lee's film - one of his best - tells the tale of a retired chef who has lost his ability to taste and his adult children. The sensibility of this film is purely Chinese - romantic and pragmatic at the same time. While watching you gain insight into the traditions and culture that make up the Chinese family.