The Top Ten In Cinema Perfection
By Jess Bretin
There are movie gems that have excelled above all others as achieving cinema perfection! On Rotten Tomatoes, a score of 100 is granted to a film only if all professional critic reviews are assessed as “fresh” (positive) rather than “rotten” (negative). The following 10 movies not only have a 100% rating but are “certified fresh” based on having extremely high audience reviews!
10. Toy Story (1995)
Ah, the original Toy Story. No one can really argue with it having a place on this list. Pixar’s first-ever full-length feature, this animated film for the whole family is well-loved, with a heartwarming story that brings most people right back to those childhood feels. Megastar Tom Hanks voices cowboy doll Woody, the favorite toy of young Andy (John Morris). When the fancy new Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) toy is gifted to Andy and quickly becomes his new favorite, Woody’s jealousy gets the better of him and lands them in hot water. The good news is that Buzz and Woody end up finding common ground in their mutual love for Andy when they embark on an adventure together. In the end, Andy learns the “make new friends but keep the old” life lesson.
9. Before Sunrise (1995)
Rich in intellectual and contemplative dialogue, Before Sunrise walks you through an unfolding romantic experience between two strangers who meet on a European train and end up spending a long evening wandering through Vienna, deep in conversation. Falling fast for one another, American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Celine (Julie Delpy) are torn about what to do when Jesse must return to the States the following morning. Interestingly, this film is the first of a trilogy in which the principal characters reunite every 9 years; Before Sunset and Before Midnight, both excellent films, as well.
8. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
In this 1960s drama/crime film, Paul Newman plays Luke Jackson, a minor criminal who receives a two-year prison sentence. A sassy bad-boy by nature, Luke doesn’t like to play by the rules of either the cruel warden (Strother Martin) or resident criminal, Dragline (George Kennedy). Luke’s unwavering spirit comes to be respected, and his boldness makes him somewhat of a rebel hero to his fellow inmates. He remains strong even in the face of repeated stays in the dreaded solitary confinement cell, which makes him a real “thorn in the side” to the jail guards. This film is responsible for the famous quote, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”
7. The Wages of Fear (1953)
Another time-honored film, this French thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot is set in the South American rainforest. A ragtag cast of misfits are paid to transport nitroglycerine to a remote oil site that catches fire. There’s a French playboy, an aging ex-gangster, a friendly Italian man who discovers he is dying, and an intensely quiet man with a traumatic past. Funnily enough, the two roommate characters are named Mario and Luigi (coincidence, Nintendo?). On treacherous and isolated roads where the slightest jolt can be fatal, a clash of personalities leads to a competitive rivalry between the two groups of drivers. But they must learn to work together in order to survive the chaos that breaks loose!
6. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
If a musical were to wind up on this list, Singin’ in the Rain would be the obvious choice! This lively romantic comedy with singing and dancing, directed and starring the incredible Gene Kelly, also stars the ultra-talented Debbie Reynolds. This movie highlights the turbulence the film business went through in the late 1920s when silent films were replaced with “talkies.” Beautiful and spoiled, famous silent film star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) doesn’t exactly have the Hollywood-ready chops needed to fit the transition. So when her current project’s director, Roscoe Dexter (Douglas Fowley), decides to convert the film to one that has actual singing sound, no-name chorus girl Kathy (Reynolds) is asked to stand in, much to the resentment of Lina. A sweet love story between Don (Kelly) and Kathy ensues!
5. Rewind (2019)
A comparatively recent documentary by Sasha Joseph Neulinger, Rewind, is the story of a young man who digs through his father’s home videos and finds some unexpected things. He attempts to reconstruct the story of his boyhood, recalling the child abuse he has suffered through. There is some difficult subject matter here, but the film is quite compelling and was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign. It is deemed an “eye-opening and important story” to tell.
4. The Kid (1921)
A very oldie but a goodie, The Kid happened to be the first full-length feature film of talented jack-of-all-entertainment-trades Charlie Chaplin. If you are one to appreciate the art of silent cinema, this masterpiece holds up despite its age! The Kid is the sweet story of a young vagrant (or “the tramp”) who meets and raises an orphan child (Jackie Coogan), only to find himself all alone again after the orphanage demands to take the child back. He is surprised to discover how much better his life was by having the young boy in it. In addition to composing the film’s score, Chaplin also directed, wrote, produced, and starred in it!
3. Seven Samurai (1954)
If you like old black-and-white movies, Seven Samurai may be for you. This is a Japanese action-adventure story of a samurai with a bit of a past who comes to the rescue of a small town that is in desperate need of protection from hooligans. He rounds up an army of seven samurai (hence the name), and, in exchange for food, these trained warriors teach the feisty villagers how to defend themselves. Then a large group of bandits attacks and a war breaks out. The townspeople are ready to take them on with everything they’ve got! They are forever grateful to the seven samurai who changed their lives.
2. Stop Making Sense (1984)
In this amazing music film, directed by Jonathan Demme and filmed at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the band Talking Heads’ explosive energy and avant-garde rhythm are perfectly captured. Lead singer, David Byrne, makes his initial appearance on an empty stage equipped only with an acoustic guitar. Over the course of the band’s hit-filled set, he is gradually joined by bassist Tina Weymouth, drummer Chris Frantz, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and a large group of backup singers. The performance concludes quite memorably; Byrne wears a “big suit,” which is a huge, box-shaped business suit. He said during an interview, “I wanted my head to appear smaller, and the easiest way to do that was to make my body bigger because music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”
1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
In this outstanding film starring Henry Fonda, twelve men are escorted into the jury room of a New York City court of law. They must make the decision in a murder trial where the defendant, if found guilty, will receive the death penalty. A young man is accused of killing his father, and after casting their initial ballots, all but Juror #8 (Fonda) believes the young man is guilty. Heated discussions ensue because the group must reach an agreement by a unanimous vote. As more votes are cast, fewer and fewer jurors believe the defendant is guilty, but surprisingly, Juror #8 switches his vote to guilty. Will they ever reach a consensus?
12 Angry Men (1957) Official MGM Trailer
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