The James Cameron Movie List

by ryankl

C’mon, I’m a kid of the 80s, of course I got this list in me. I don’t think Cameron is the greatest director in the world but there’s surely no doubting he’s one of the finest visionaries of the business. The man sees in leagues and astronomical units. His movies are complete spectacle and success, even if they lack heart most of the time. I’ve enjoyed enough of his flicks to want to put them in order so let’s make with the fun.

1. Aliens

2. The Terminator

3. True Lies

4. The Abyss

5. T2

6. Titanic

7. Avatar

8. Piranha 2: The Spawning


Aliens is just about the greatest sci fi action flick ever made. There’s nothing but love for that movie right here because it manages to deliver a decent cast, and rounded characters, all while nailing some chilling and very cool fight scenes. This is the ultimate for what it is.

I would often flip flow between the Terminator flicks and in the end I have to cede that the first one is vastly superior. It’s actually a good flick, and the cast all sell the grittiness completely. It’s so good it actually made Arnie count on screen, something which hadn’t really happened before. And you know what, Arnie is great in this role. Make of that what you will.

Man, I love True Lies. There’s something about it that just speaks to me. I think it’s the fact Arnie, again, actually gives this role what for. Bill Paxton is superb in his little role. Tom Arnold is so great in this movie, it’s like he saved up all his tickets in life and spent them right here. Even Charlton Heston as the grizzled old Nick Fury is genius. Jamie Lee Curtis dancing certainly didn’t hurt it’s hopes with me. This movie is collectively so much better than people remember, or give it credit for. It might not be ‘better’ than some of the other stuff on the list but I certainly like it more.

The Abyss is one of those deceptive flicks that tends to be forgotten. Go back, take your time, and see how enjoyable it really is. Again, it’s the acting that sells it as Ed Harris finally comes into his strength on screen, and Michael Biehn is used in a completely different way. There plenty to love in this one, too.

T2 is a movie that has not aged well for me. The effects are good, and the bombastic nature is still as you remember it, but it’s not that great. It’s certainly not as good as the first one but it just feels so dated to me. The first one is kind of 80s/timeless whereas this one is a real 90s slice of life. I just don’t know how much I dig on that.

The bottom three are an eclectic bunch. Titanic is a good movie, I’ll give it that much. The pure majesty of what Cameron brought to the screen has to be respected but he also carved a damn fine love story into that sinking hull. It’s not to be underestimated.

Then there’s Avatar. Man, that’s just not a good flick. The script is pretty garbage (unobtanium, seriously?) and while it is put together quite well it’s not actually that good. How it made so much money is beyond me. I guess with the cost of 3D being so crazily expesnive it must have only had to sell half the amount of tickets to eclipse Titanic. The shame.

Then there’s Pirahna 2. I saw this one years ago, haven’t seen it since, and it wans’t good. It had the Jamaican guy fishing with dynamite, or was that one of the Jaws sequels? It’s so hard to tell your aquatic slasher flicks apart sometimes. All I know is this one isn’t as good as Joe Dante’s first outing.

I like that Cameron has his usual players in Biehn, Lance Henrickson, even Schwarzeneggar. Not to mention Wild Bill Paxton. Cameron works well with them and they deliver every time.

I do find it interesting that Cameron has only ever really peddled in sequels and remakes. The Abyss and Avatar are his only original ideas. One of them is cool, the other interesting but definitely not well written.

I still don’t understand how Avatar got all that Oscar attention. It’s not a good flick and yet I guess money can buy you love.

Say what you will about Cameron’s King of the World moment when he won the big Ocsar, at that moment he was right.

Cameron has definitely given cinema more than he’s taken so for all that I’m happy to have watched all his films. Though not perfect, they’ve certainly added high quality concepts, technology, and acting performances to the pantheon of the visual arts.

This is my list, what’s yours?