Film Forum: The G.O.A.T.

This is the final post  from a discussion between friends about the best in motion pictures.

With the exception of Frank, none of us knows what we’re talking about.

That’s never stopped us before.

Our final topic: What’s the greatest of all time?

Jay Sanders: The Right Reverend

I keep a mental list of the top five movies ever made.  The five movies have been the same for maybe ten years but their position is constantly changing.  Lucky for me, Breakin’ Two Electric Boogaloo moved down to number three on my mental list at the time of this writing.   Wait.  Did I just say that?

My favorite movie this week is The Apostle.  I picked this movie because I really like it but also because of how it overcame the odds.  If you asked me to come with you to see a small budget film about a church planter in the south I’d tell you that I’d love to go but I had a base jumping lesson.

Somehow this movie takes all of the things that Hollywood usually gets wrong and makes them work.  The preacher is authentic and church culture is portrayed perfectly.  But what really pushed The Apostle over the edge was the gray areas.  The church people aren’t all perfect and the bad guys aren’t over the top.  It’s a lot like real life today and probably a lot like real life back when imperfect men like David and Samson were walking around.

Shane Burchfiel: The Agrarian

Good Will Hunting. “How ya like them apples?”

Jeff Merrill: The Musician

Easy and you already know my answer – Good Will Hunting.  The cinematography, the soundtrack, the script, best…ever.  The characters and the dialogue felt real. I missed those guys like friends when the movie was finished. What do you mean it’s done? I want to hang out more.  Great film.

Marty Duren: The Social Media Strategist

Tough one. Casablanca, Psycho, or To Kill a Mockingbird.

Kevin Lester: The Webmaster for Mayberry PD

The Princess Bride.

First off, I know I lose man points for listing a movie that has both
Princess and Bride in the title.  Luckily I am married and no longer
need man points.  At this stage they are as about as useful to me as
the euro.  Why is this the best movie ever made?  I quote Peter
“Columbo” Falk, “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge,
giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… “.   It has
everything that makes a movie the best. Here are some examples in
random order.

1) Great lines.  Every movie needs great dialogue.  If you don’t
believe me, Michael Bay can give you more explosions than a reality TV
show but eventually people have to talk to one another and then you
get to take a power nap before explosions wake you up again.  TPB has
great lines like, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently
is selling something.” “Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the
world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich,
where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe; they’re so
perky, I love that.”  “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”  And of course
who has never repeated this before stomping a cockroach or swatting a
fly? “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare
to die.”

2) Great fight scenes.  Wesley and Inigo’s battle on the Cliff’s of
Insanity.  Inigo and Count Rogen in the castle.  You even got to see
Andre the Giant get beat via a sleeper hold by someone worthy of
beating him, aka NOT Hulk Hogan.

3) Battling the elements.  Fighting a great evil or injustice is
important to a movie, but you also need to see your hero battling his
environment whether that be nature or some overly complex assembly
line that tries to squash him.  It makes you wonder how the product
that the assembly line is producing ever survives it.  Anyway, TPB has
the fire swamp.  Flame spurts, lightning sand, R.O.U.S’s.  See some of
those Ninja Warrior guys survive that.  I think not.

4) Getting the girl.  Men do not watch romances.  Guys in our movies
get the girl.  Two completely different things.  In our movies guys
don’t ride up in a white limo with flowers and climb a fire escape and
pretend an umbrella is a sword.  In fact movies have taught us that’s
how you make a hooker fall in love with you.  Great story.  In our
movies guys kill a big monster or fight a bad guy or win a race.
That’s how a woman knows she is loved.  If it wasn’t for women, men
would never have to do anything hard.  We’d still be in the Garden
playing football. In a perfect world football would have still been
invented but would not need refs or instant replay or kickers.  But
God gave us women so we would understand his love and his sacrifice.
And a good movie should have this.  TPB has it in spades.  Wesley is a
man’s man that uses his wits, strength and skill to win back his
woman.  Plus he is a smooth talker.  As Richard Lewis would later say
of him in Robin Hood, Men in Tights. “He’s definitely a smoothie.”

5) Conquering Great Odds.  The odds need to be stacked against the
hero.  Rich dude, brute squad, The Machine…yeah TPB has that
covered.  Plus Wesley is mostly dead for a while and is brought back
because of true love.  What Christian can’t appreciate that on a
certain level.  Because if you can’t beat death what good are you
really as a hero.

6) I could go on and on but my last argument is this is the best movie
because you can share it.  Your wife or girlfriend will watch it with
you.  Your kids will watch it with you.  Your parents will watch it
with.  Your dog will watch it with you. Enough said.

Frank Glidden: The Actor

I know people are going to tell me I’m crazy, for not picking a “classic” for this. Almost every list of the greatest movies of all time picks Citizen Kane as the best. I watched this movie a couple of months ago for the first time. I wasn’t overly impressed, and there are a lot of classics that I do love. It was good, but by no way the greatest. Now let the Frank bashing begin. That being said, in my opinion, the best movie ever is Fight Club. The book by Chuck Palahniuk, which I read after the movie, was great. The screenplay, by Jim Uhls, followed the book almost exactly. Norton and Pitt were fantastic together. Throw in Helena Bonham Carter as the out in left field Marla, and you have a wonderful trifecta. The ending was so unexpected I had to go watch the movie again the next week to see if I had missed anything. Finally Fincher. Why has this director never won an Oscar? Did anyone see, The Game, Seven, Social Network, or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? (Ok we will forgive him for Alien 3 and Panic Room) His direction of Fight Club had just enough darkness, mixed with tounge in cheek. Mix all of these elements together, and to me you come out with the best movie ever.

Casey Harpe – The Newlywed

Impossible. That’s not the name of the movie, that’s the answer to the
question. It’s impossible. That’s like asking what’s the best tree in
the woods or what’s the best kind of fish in the ocean. There are
millions of bests depending on the category and the context. Every
time I try to think of one that I would say is one of the bests, I
think of goofy or stupid things in the movie that disqualify it. For
example, Tombstone was one of the best movies ever except for
goofball Bill Paxton. Now every time I think of that movie I hear him
say on his death-pool table, “Don’t let ‘em get you, brother” and it’s
ruined. I think of some of my favorite Pixar movies but I’m far too
manly to choose a Pixar movie as the best of all time. I don’t know.
That’s my final answer…there is no absolute best. There’s not even
an absolute favorite of mine personally. Wait…Passion of the
Christ. Done.