Top 50 Countdown – #’s 15-13



Singin’ in the Rain

Year: 1952

Director: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen

Thanks to Comden-Green’s knowing screenplay, which sharply satirizes Hollywood types and hilariously parodies the industry’s awkward transition to sound pictures, Singin’ in the Rain is one of the best movies about movies ever made, whether in the musical genre or not. Mix in the musical numbers, most of which are among the genre’s most memorable moments, including, of course, the ebullient title number, and the film now becomes not just one of the best movies about movies ever made but also the greatest musical ever made – all of which is to say that Singin’ in the Rain is simply one of the greatest movies ever made…period.

To read my longer review click here




Miller’s Crossing

Year: 1990

Director: Joel Coen

Arguably the Coen brothers’ best film, Miller’s Crossing boasts an impressively labyrinth plot, memorably stylized dialogue, a superb score, and several stunningly executed, incredibly violent set-pieces, notably the electrifying Tommy gun shootout cut to the sorrowful strains of ‘Danny Boy.’ But it’s Gabriel Byrne’s brilliant performance as Tom Reagan, a gangster boss’s brainy right-hand man who’s so hell-bent on outsmarting everyone around him that he ultimately outsmarts even himself, that gives the film genuine emotional heft and elevates it to the very top of the Coen brothers’ oeuvre: like the anti-heroes of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars, Tom slyly plays both sides against the middle and ultimately emerges victorious – but, in his case, at a great personal cost: in the process he loses both his best friend and his girl, ending up as the last man standing and perfectly alone. Happiness for Tom seems to be as tantalizingly elusive as the haunting image of that hat blowing away in the woods.




The General

Year: 1927

Director: Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman

Featuring an endlessly inventive string of impeccably executed gags centering around Confederate engine-driver Buster’s indefatigable efforts to retrieve his stolen train (and his girl) from Northern spies, The General, whose expressive camerawork, imaginative editing and painterly compositions brilliantly expand and enrich Buster’s comic purpose, proves once and for all that Keaton possessed a far greater command of the visual possibilities of the medium than Chaplin.


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