Top 50 - 16 through 20

16. Fight Club (Fincher, 1999)

I know, I know, this is probably overrated. It's also one of the most impressively flashy, stylish and brash pieces of film making I know. from the credit sequence/opening shot zooming out from the main character's brain to the barrel of a gun to the endless quotability. It's a walking contradiction, but aware of it: it pretends to criticize consumerism and the pursuit of gadgets and "cool", but it's desperately cool and consumerist itself. Most of all, it's a film that remains exciting even on a fifth viewing, and I do believe it will still be watched thirty years from now.

17. Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)

All the upcoming starlets in skimpy outfits can't compete in sheer sexiness with Barbara Stanwick's ankle bracelet. This is noir at it's purest, and Stanwick plays the femme fatale to a hilt: dangerous, seductive, and ultimately so much more interesting than the man she seduces. Edward G. Robinson is also amazing here, and an integral part of the triangle. The main couple sizzles and the lines are unforgettable. Most of all, it satisfies one criterion: I can't think of anything that could possibly be improved.

18. Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967)

40 years ago today, this movie revolutionized movies. It isn't the violence - which was revolutionary and much protested against at the time - that makes this movie unforgettable though, even if the final scene burns itself into your brain. No, it's Faye Dunaway as she looks down onto Warren Beatty stealing her car; it's how Clyde's hat sits on his head; it's Bonnie writing their poem. It's unforgettable because it's so stylish and mythical, and because when their bodies seize, hit by a dozen bullets, it takes your breath away.

19. Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950)

Typically this film is filed under "noir", and it has many of the elements to qualify: a smart-aleck voice-over, a cynical main character, and no happy ending in sight. It owes almost just as much to the gothic genre, however, from the death of the monkey to the sinister butler, played by director Erich von Stroheim, and most of all in the tragically comic role of Norma Desmond. Gloria Swanson plays her as if she's still in a silent movie, all exaggerated gestures and extreme facial expressions, and in the end, you can't help but feeling for this doomed, crazy clown, and despise William Holden for mocking her so much.

20. Ed Wood (Burton, 1994)

It wasn't until I watched Glen or Glenda that I realized how much Burton had done Ed Wood justice. It is a terrible movie, but it's terrible in such an intriguing and original way that I understand why Burton wanted to make a film about the maker. He doesn't make apologies; he doesn't try to pass Wood off as some misunderstood genius. He does however show so much understanding and affection for his character that you're happy to go along with his adventures. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Ed Wood is played by the ultimate lovable weirdo Johnny Depp, who's rarely been better, or that Martin Landau portrays Belo Lugosi - another tragic figure in the movies - so formidably.

Next time: another noir, another maybe-overrated flashy picture, one movie that recently gained some significance, and one movie which would make Sam - who's leaving Filmspotting, I'm heartbroken - very happy.

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