Friday, October 2, 2009
My Top Ten Movies of All Time
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel
Oscars (winners in bold): 11 Nominations (5 wins) - Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, Best Music, Best Writing
Ranking on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie List (2007): 71
Review: What else is there to say about this movie that hasn't already been said? This is my vote for the greatest war movie of all time and it gets a few votes (obviously) for greatest of all time, in my opinion, of course.
Spielberg has always been in my top three as for favorite directors and no matter who you talk to, he is always in the discussion as one of the greatest of all time. This is his opus, this is the movie he wanted to make his entire career and finally got made.
This is a movie where you knew it was coming, it had all the hype that is was gonna be "one of the greatest war movies of all time" and it lived up to the hype entirely. The movie centers around a contingent of 8 men as they go on a quest to find a soldier whose three brothers had already been KIA.
What makes the movie so great is not just your standard fare of how people react in the field of battle, but how these men come to grips with their mission. Does it make sense to risk the lives of 8 individuals for just one? Why is the Army making them do this? These are the questions they raise and as members of their party die they all have different ways to deal with the deaths and with finishing their mission.
An inspired performance by Tom Hanks (of course) and a great supporting cast hold this movie above others. Not to mention the expert helming of Spielberg. I have no clue what it was like to be in WWII nor do I even have a clue what it was like to live in that time, but the actors made me believe that is actually what it would have been like and there was a sense of realism I have never seen in another war movie.
To tell you the importance of the movie in my life, not winning Best Picture (although it did win best director) was Strike 2 against the Academy Awards. As we all know, 3 strikes and you're out, which is what started my ban on the Academy Awards and it took No. 9 (The Departed) to put the Oscars back into my good graces (strikes 1 & 3 would be a good guess to make appearances on this list).
Why this made the list:
This movie came out when I was 13 and I remember beggin my parents to see it. My love for movies had reached a fever pitch by this age and I KNEW this was gonna be great. I HAD to see it in the theater. It was supposed to be very violent and Spielberg himself said no kid under 15 should see it. My awesome parents realized that I could handle it and I was very thankful for them allowing me to see this movie.
From the opening you knew this movie was going to be unlike anything you had seen to this point. The realism was eye opening, it was gut wrenching personally to see what these soldiers went through so I could enjoy the freedom I have today. Seeing how this war affected this generation really had an impact on me, even at such a young age.
This movie makes this list because it was the rare event that was able to impact me on two levels. It wowed me from a film perspective, with perhaps some of the greatest DP work and cinematography I have ever seen as well as the sheer power of the filmmaking that was at work here. It also impacted me on a personal level as I had a new perspective on the generation of my grandparents and what they went through to pave the way for me to have the life I have. This is a rare movie indeed, to be able to accomplish this and that is why it made my list.