Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

The John Carpenter Movie List

You might not think he’s a master but he is. The man has done more than you can imagine and now we’re all going to pay him some respect. This list goes out to Fangoria, without whom I would not have known nearly enough.

1. The Thing

2. Escape From New York

3. Halloween

4. They Live

5. Big Trouble In Little China

6. Christine

7. In The Mouth Of Madness

8. Dark Star

9. Body Bags’

10. Starman

11. Assault On Precinct 13

12. The Fog

13. Elvis

14. Escape From L.A.

15. Village Of The Damned

16. Someone’s Watching Me

17. Prince Of Darkness

18. Vampires

19. Memoir Of An Invisible Man

20. The Ward

21. Ghosts of Mars

Thoughts.

You know what’s awesome? I haven’t actually seen The Ward but I put it in the list because I have seen Ghosts of Mars and it only stands to logical reason that The Ward is better than that steaming, fly-swarmed pile.

The Thing is both the technical best and my favourite. It’s pretty much perfection.

Why is Escape From L.A. with the letters for the location? It wasn’t Escape From N.Y.

I’d Say Carpenter has five absolute classic movies, if not actually perfect ones.

Well, maybe four; I just love They Live so much. It’s the one movie I want to remake because it could work so well. And I’d keep Rowdy Roddy Piper on in some regard. And I’d make him fist fight, for reals, for at least 12 minutes in front of the camera.

Don’t even ask me why Body Bags is so high. Seriously.

I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that someone thought James Woods might even get an Oscar nod for his turn in Vampires. Ha. HA.

Carpenter is one of those few director’s who got his name into the title. How the hell did he manage that?

Carpenter should only be working with Kurt Russell – the stats don’t lie.

No, his Masters of Horrors episodes don’t count, they’re episodes.

But, for the record, I liked Cigarette Burns and thought Pro-Life was garbage.

Dark Star certainly has something about it, you gotta admit that.

Christine is surprisingly effective at capturing the tone of the book. People rag on it but more because it’s about a devil car. That’s not Carpenter, that was right there in the source material.

Halloween is the business. And it stands up.

In The Mouth Of Madness is so close to being great. So close, yet not.

If you don’t enjoy Big Trouble In Little China then I just don’t know what to do with you. Jack Burton is one of those icons who has become his own trope.

Snake Plissken must be in my top ten favourite movie characters. It’s like Kurt Russell playing Nick Fury, as written by Warren Ellis.

It’s interesting that the top flicks of this list are all so different, we have; sci fi/horror, action/sci fi, horror, sci fi/parody, and action/parody. That’s some wide net Carpenter is casting.

If there was a Music of John Carpenter Movies laser show I’d be there every week.

Dark Star really is incredibly inventive. Watching it always make me want to go out and shoot a flick.

Even as a teen, I was interested to see Escape From L.A. had the same script structure as Escape From New York. Seriously, watch one after the other, they follow the same structure completely but with new charcaters and action set pieces slotted in. Not that I’m complaining.

I always wonder if they’ll get back to the next Escape movie with Escape From Earth. I could be down for that, Russell going Eastwood style.

Man, if you’d told 80s Fangoria that Carpenter was eventually going to remake Village of the Damned they would have been so psyched. So sad, then, that it just wasn’t what we all wanted it to be.

For a master, Carpenter has a lot of dreck in this list. That’s such a shame.

And for those who haven’t seen it, Ghosts of Mars is really bad. Terribly bad. Possibly Bottom Five worthy bad. Yugh.

But I should end with a good note so I’ll mention those top five again. That’s an awesome top five to have and I hope Carpenter is a very rich and happy man right now.

This is my list, what’s yours?

The Christopher Nolan Movie List

Everyone loves Christopher Nolan. I rarely hear anything bad about him and it’s with good reason. The man is a freaking genius. And that’s not hyperbole. He is wicked smart and his movies always reflect this. It’s nice to look through a director’s movies and really have enjoyed all of them and had so many conversations about them.

1. Memento

2. The Prestige

3. The Dark Knight

4. Inception

5. Batman Begins

6. The Dark Knight Rises

7. Insomnia

Thoughts.

I watched Memento at uni with a bunch of mates. As soon as it ended we spent hours talking about it. That alone is why it’s a brilliant movie but when you seriously deconstruct the tale it’s great.

I’ve heard some people say Memento isn’t a good tale it’s just nifty because of how it’s told. To them I say, yeah, but it is made so though genius use of the form through which it is played out. It’s like good writers being able to command a comic page and do something new with it, Nolan does that but with film. It’s to be respected. It’s like Pulp Fiction. Those stories aren’t amazing to perfection, but the way they are woven creates a tapestry you just gotta love.

Oh, imagine Christopher Nolan and Brian K Vaughan collaborating. On anything. I’m going to be sad all night now thinking about this.

I’m sure I might cop some flack for The Prestige rating higher than TDK but, seriously, The Prestige rocks hard. That movie is very rewatchable and that says a lot because this flick really punches best on its first viewing. I got on a kick with this flick over summer and watched it like 2-3 times while doing stuff. It just hits home with me.

Insomnia just sticks out on this list like a sore thumb. It’s not bad, far from it, but it’s just not on the same level at all. It’s like Nolan had to do something for the studio, he did it, now they leave him alone. If only it was always that easy.

The Batman movies feel like films. Burton brought the caped crusader onto the big screen but Nolan made films about him. Those films aren’t perfect but they get judged as so because they’re the closest superhero flicks to get there but nonetheless without all the reverse hype that sees it fashionable to bash these flick now I still got a lot of respect for them and love them a lot.

The Dark Knight is a great flick and I’d wager about 80% of that is truly due to Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. But Nolan still brought so much game to that flick, his action is gritty and real, and his sense of world fits perfectly.

Inception is an awesome movie. I’ll state that upright. It’s tight and smart and dense but most of all I think it succeeds because through it all it is fun. It’s a cerebral Bond movie for a generation that wants to tune out but can’t because this movie changes it up every fifteen minutes.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor. That is all.

I’d pay good money to see Nolan make a Parker movie with Gordon-Levitt. You know you’d fund me paying it on Kickstarter, as well.

While everyone was fawning over David Fincher and drowning him in their forced expectations, Christopher Nolan slipped out there and became the best creator of his generation.

I’m also waiting for Nolan and Guy Pearce to work together again. Damn, movies like Memento do not come around often enough.

The Dark Knight Rises was exceptionally enjoyable. It had some major issues but I can shove those aside because I’m digging on enough of the other stuff. Interesting that Nolan managed to get Tom Hardy’s Bane to follow up Ledger’s Joker. That’s impressive.

Nolan is one of those directors where just talking about his movies makes me want to rewatch them. All of them. The guy makes movies that are smart yet constantly rewatchable.

This is my list, what’s yours?

The Coen Brothers Movie List

My understanding of the best order of the Coen Brothers works.

1. Miller’s Crossing

2. The Big Lebowski

3. Blood Simple

4. The Hudsucker Proxy

5. Fargo

6. Raising Arizona

7. The Man Who Wasn’t There

8. No Country For Old Men

9. O Brother Where Art Thou?

10. True Grit

11. Burn After Reading

12. Barton Fink

13. Intolerable Cruelty

14. A Serious Man

15. Crimewave

16. The Ladykillers

Thoughts.

To be honest – the first two are probably tied. Lebowski might be rewatchable but Crossing is their masterpiece.

The Ladykillers is about the only one I’m not even certain I’ll ever watch again. Ugh.

Yes, Crimewave counts, even if it’s directed by Raimi and not very good.

In my mind, Blood Simple is always a double bill with Blade Runner. I think it’s M Emmett Walsh.

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who didn’t get Barton Fink. But then I see plenty of other people who don’t love it and I see it just isn’t for everyone.

The Hudsucker Proxy will always be inexplicably awesome in my book. I can watch that movie so much.

Fargo is actually that good. Go watch it again.

So is Raising Arizona.

What’s your list look like, put ’em in the comments or link me up.

The David Cronenberg Movie List

The David Cronenberg catalogue as I see it. In order.

 

1. The Brood

2. Videodrome

3. The Fly

4. The Dead Zone

5. Eastern Promises

6. A History Of Violence

7. Scanners

8. eXistenZ

9. Naked Lunch

10. Rabid

11. Shivers

12. Dead Ringers

13. Spider

14. Crash

15. M. Butterfly

NA – Crimes of the Future

NA – Stereo

NA – A Dangerous Mind

NA – Cosmopolis

 

Thoughts.

Yeah, I’ve even read the novel of The Brood. Solid, haunting, atmospheric stuff. Must see. There’s something so brutal and nasty and yet not schlocky about it. It’s one of the few true smart horror flicks.

Is it weird to say Videodrome is one of those flicks that defined my childhood in the 80s?

I honestly do think The Dead Zone is that good. The book is still better but this movie is so damn solid. Walken nails it, Sheen nails it, there’s not much wrong with it. And it’s got Sheriff as a Skeritt. Wait, scratch that, reverse it.

Crash is one that drops even further after having read the book. That’s the only book where I’ve finished it and felt so damn dirty about it afterwards. That book lured me in, tricked me, and did things to me.

Surely someone out there has Dead Ringers as their favourite flick. That’s scary.

Scanners was never an instant classic for me. It’s good, sure, better than so much else, but it’s still so far behind so much other stuff of Cronenberg’s.

I stand by Eastern Promises just being that touch better than AHOV. Viggo is solid, and so different, in both but AHOV loses it in the third act, EP ramps it up a little.

The Fly would go down as the best remake of all time were it not for Carpenter’s The Thing.

eXistenZ is so surprisingly strong and fun. You kind of forget just what it does and then you watch it again and go, oh yeah, nice. Extra point for the PKD reference, too.

Naked Lunch is one that actually transcends the book. I would never read that book again but the flick will tempt me from time to time.

I remember being really underwhelmed and then disillusioned with Spider. Glad to see him rise up from those dying ashes.

And if I could find his earliest stuff I’d be so damn happy. If only…

I still haven’t gotten to his latest two. I will. Then I’ll slide them into the list. I’ll probably tell you about it.

This is just my list. What’s yours?

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