35 – Babe (1995)
Talking animals generally don’t equal a great time at the theater, but Babe somehow manages to rise above the genre and become a memorable, one-of-a-kind film that runs a lot deeper than one would first suspect. It’s poiniant, positive, beautiful and original. And it’s spliced up into bite-sized chapters with mice coming along to narrate. James Cromwell is the lead (human) actor and, as his first name implies he is very good as what he does. One more great reason to see this film: It was banned in Malaysia.
Why not rank this higher? That’s a tough one. I’d have to go with the fact that it’s a bit slow in places and the story, while certainly very well-crafted and likable, is a simple one. Man, maybe I should rank this higher.
34 – Mary Poppins (1964)
The best-selling film of 1964 was the final film Walt Disney himself produced (and it shows – before 1964: Disney = good; after 1964: Disney = lousy). So many elements combine to make this a success that it’s impossible to single out one reason why I love it, but I think I can name three: Great songs, great human-animation segment and a very anti-capitalism message.
Why not rank this higher? Because it’s just a fun movie. Well-made, and fun, but nothing more.
33 – Citizen Kane (1941)
Citizen Kane is a masterpiece. Nearly every critic loves this film, and many place it on the top of their lists of all-time best films. And it is awesome. It’s brilliant. Thre’s so much to love about the cinematography: the opening gothic scenes of Kane’s fog-enshrouded mansion, the bizarre filming of Kane’s death, the news-report reel that explains his life and death, the scene that takes us through a neon sign, the deep-focuses, the over-lapping dialogue, the oblique angles (in one scene, we witness the action from below the floor), the montage of Kane’s failing marriage depicted by an ever-growing distance at the breakfast table. And the story itself is gripping, too: the title character dies in the first five minutes, the mystery of his final words, and on and on and on.
Why not rank this higher? Like other films from that era (such as Gone With the Wind), Citizen Kane suffers on the small screen. I’ve viewed it twice on TV and once in the theater and the difference was stunning. Also, much of the love given to Citizen Kane is due to its not being sentimental (a rarity at the time) and its innovative filming techniques. These are noteworthy things, to be sure, but here, in 2007, they don’t make a film stand out as much as they did back then.