1. The Three Colors Trilogy (Krysztof Kieslowski) Deeply beautiful, metaphysical trilogy of films based on the idea behind the three colors of the French Flag Blue=Liberty, White=Equality, and Red=Fraternity. These aren’t political films, but rather they are deeply felt films about the human condition.
2. Miller’s Crossing (The Coen Brothers) The Coen’s hard boiled Irish Gangster picture is perhaps their greatest film in a slew of great films. This labyrinth of loyalty, double, crosses, and ethic within the crime business is darkly comical, tough, with attitude. Not since the 1940s has a film delivered such a wallop of noirish goodness.
3. L.A. Story (Mick Jackson) I seriously think the films of Steve Martin should be re-evaluated as comic masterpieces in Hollywood filmmaking. Martin had a light touch to his satiric films making them acerbic and accessible at the same time. In his prime, he was a comic tour de force, and this film which he wrote feels like a lost masterpiece.
4. The Double Life of Veronique (Krzystof Kieslowski) Kieslowski was a Polish director who made many important films in the 80s and 90s. His life was cut short just when he made a slew of great films. This one tells the parallel story of dopplegangers who end up living different lives, but are strangely connected.
5. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg) Spielberg’s holocaust drama won him many accolades and brought him to the forefront of being a serious filmmaker. The fact this is considered his prestige picture shouldn’t diminish the real craft Spielberg displays as a filmmaker. One of the most deeply moving films ever made.
6. The Hudsucker Proxy (The Coen Brothers) An outrageous comedy that again should be reevaluated as one of The Coen’s best films. This film which displays the rise and fall of a naive office drone and his crazy invention of the hoola-hoop is down right ridiculous, but has so much fun and is zany, fast paced, it puts you in a great mood all the time.
7. Heat (Michael Mann) Mann’s epic crime saga is the one to beat all other crime sagas. Perfectly cast Al Pacino and Robert De Niro play up their legendary status as cop and bank robber who set aside a personal life and are driven by their work.
8. The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese) Scorsese’s period piece is an underrated gem by him. It deals with passion, but also repression, and forbidden love. Scorsese seems obsessed with the idea of letting go of what you want because of societal manners. A hypnotic film.
9. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai) Two stories converge as it tells of two different cops who fall for very eccentric women. Highly stylized, and high octane love stories. This is a film that rather displays emotion rather than story, and it’s a visual feast.
10. Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood) Eastwood’s western is still the best film he has ever done as a director. Telling the story of a former outlaw who does one last job for the money, but the old ways come back to haunt him.
Honorable Mentions: Number 11 would go to Spike Lee’s masterpiece Malcolm X featuring Denzel Washington’s best performance. “The Truman Show” wouldn’t be far behind. The Coens had “Fargo” which brought them into mainstream fair as well as “Barton Fink”. Michael Mann had an equally great film to go with “Heat” which was “The Insider”. Quentin Tarantino changed the game with “Pulp Fiction” which is endlessly watchable, although I prefer his follow-up film “Jackie Brown”. Scorsese had “Goodfellas” and sometimes I lean towards “Casino” myself. Tim Burton had his two best films in my opinion “Batman Returns” and “Ed Wood”. Oliver Stone had his best film “JFK”. Steven Sodebergh had “Out of Sight”. Paul Thomas Anderson gave us “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” both epic ensemble pieces worth your time. Terrence Malick returned after 20 years to deliver “The Thin Red Line”. Bill Murray had maybe his best role with “Groundhog Day”. Steve Martin had one last great film giving Eddie Murphy a showcase with “Bowfinger”. “Terminator 2” was a great follow-up to a great movie. “The Matrix” brought bullet time to our lives. “Rushmore” is one of Wes Anderson’s best films. Richard Linklater had “Before Sunrise” and “Dazed and Confused”. I really like “Dances with Wolves”. “Forrest Gump” has its haters but I rather enjoy it, also by Zemeckis was “Contact”. Brian De Palma had “Carlito’s Way”. “The Fugitive” was a terrific chase film. “Speed” was a great concept and great blockbuster. John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” was maybe the most out there action movie ever made.”L.A. Confidential” brought back the detective genre. Spielberg had his underrated film “Amistad” which should be re-evaluated. And…. the late great Jonathan Demme created “Silence of the Lambs”.
I know I’m missing some stuff out. Let me know your favorites