For post-2008 movies, click here. This is not perfectly separate from the below.

Ivo Welch

Movie Critic

Obviously, I am not a (real) movie critic. (I like the late Roger Ebert's tastes the most.) These are opinions about the movies I like and the movies I do not like. I tend to watch movies on a large projection screen (Bluray or DVD) a few months after they come out—I hate movie theaters with neighbors munching or communicating on their cellphones during the movie.

Bluray: Unfortunately, the studios are doing everything in their power to kill Bluray: from long notices about all sorts of irrelevant stuff, to the inability to continue where one has just accidentally hit the stop button, to the inability to stream a disc directly to other home devices like the ipad, to the inanely long, useless, and complex HDMI handshake which sometimes fails when one starts the equipment in the wrong order. Some commercial bootleggers have hi-res setup that shoot frame by frame with high accuracy. With a one-time $50,000 expense, anyone can make a practically perfect copy 1ms after the video reaches the screen rather than 1ms before. And once the first digital copy is out, the genie is out of the bottle. A much better and more intelligent system would have been a simple handshake over the internet, at least when available, that informs customers whether their copy is legal or illegal and offers them a legal alternative. Such a system shouldn't even have to block such copies—in case the server is down, do not aggravate your customers! But you can assume that most customers would prefer to pay a modest amount and ask a pirate reseller for a refund; and, as importantly, the studios could pinpoint the origin of the false copies and trace them back. The studios are simply stupid. It is only their monopolies on their specific content that has saved them so far.

TV vs Movies: These days, I tend to watch longer TV series. They have to an extent assumed the mantle of most interesting story-telling vehicles from the movies. I like the fact that they engross the audience in longer and more complex stories. This is because they are less predictable than 99% of Hollywood movies. The Wire is indeed so good, it would make the A1 movie list below. Foyle's War, The Forsyte Saga, Downton Abbey (1st Season) Battlestar Galactica (3rd and 4th Seasons), Sons of Anarchy would make the A2 list. I am still working my way through Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Homeland. (For the same reason, Roger Ebert is correct that video games will probably never rival the movies as story-telling vehicles. Even the best games are only modestly more complex than a 5 minute trailer.) There were also some more episodic good shows, such as Homicide, but this page focuses on longer story arcs.

What qualities make a great movie? Not a secret: A great script. If the story is historically correct, it is much better—reality is often more interesting than fiction. To be an interesting story, you as the audience must not know in advance what will happen next (and you want to learn it), and characters must be self-aware. It must transport you and engross you. No, the secret is not the actors, director, producer, music or cinematography, although all of these can help greatly. And good scripts are the opposite of what sells in Hollywood movies: Save the Cat! scripts, which are so utterly ridiculously predictable.

Frankly, I am a little envious. I have been as successful in my career as I could have ever hoped for, but I would have loved to participate in telling engrossing stories to larger audiences.

Early on, this document is well organized. The further down you get, the worse it becomes. Apologies

Some Great Movies Post 2008 or so

click here. This is not perfectly separate from the below.

Some Great Movies Pre 2008 or so

Many classical movies were great in their time, so great that they have been imitated many times. Unfortunately, it is for this reason that many of these classics have been outdone by their imitations. Thus, they are no longer on my A1-list of films to watch. Many Black-and-White movies fall into this category, for example the terrific Citizen Kane or The Searchers or The Manchurian Candidate, but also films like All About Eve and many Hitchcock classics (e.g., Psycho). (Heck, even Shakespeare's comedic formula was obsoleted by its many sitcom descendants. He invented it.)

The followup movies were not as innovative or important, but my list is about movies that I would recommend to friends to watch today, and not to a film-critic or a film-historian. Of course, many of the originals are still very good films and worth watching, but just not A-1.

To change ordering, click on table header.


When I started adding notes to the list below, every one of my notes contained "fantastic story"...obviously. so I deleted this particular comment again. Sci-fi flicks are listed separately, even if they are A-1 (like Bladerunner, 1984, 2001, Gattaca, etc.)

Movie Year Rating Notes
Avalon (1990) 6 Superb I love charming and long family histories.
Braveheart (1995) 6 Superb unfortunately not historically accurate.
Chinatown (1974) 6 Superb "la confidential" is another great movie with similar 1930s los angeles setting.
Das Leben Der Anderen (2006) 6 Superb a portrait of a totalitarian era. first movie by director. what do you do afterwards?
Doctor Zhivago (1965) 6 Superb epic portrait of a totalitarian era. I love mclean epics.
Enemy At The Gates (2001) 6 Superb could have done without the love line, but this stalingrad duel is still captivating.
Farewell My Concubine (1993) 6 Superb a portrait of a totalitarian era.
Gandhi (1982) 6 Superb historically accurate.
Godfather I (1972) 6 Superb held up well: still the godfather of all great mob films.
Godfather Ii (1974) 6 Superb the best sequel of any film ever
Gone With The Wind (1939) 6 Superb the only dramatic epic before 1960 that has held up.
Hoop Dreams (1994) 6 Superb the only documentary on my a1 list.
In The Heat Of The Night (1967) 6 Superb the Jim Crowe south explained, better than in any book.
Jean De Florette And Manon Of The Spring (1986) 6 Superb you need to see both, incl the ending.
Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985) 6 Superb rare case where acting dominates the story.
Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) 6 Superb historically accurate. I love mclean epics.
No Country For Old Men (2007) 6 Superb one of two (almost) horror movies on my a-1 list
Once Upon A Time In America (1984) 6 Superb I love the long story arc. failed at the box office.
Once Upon A Time In The West (1969) 6 Superb stylish. bronson did well filling in for eastwood.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 6 Superb the chief is as brillant as jack
Raise The Red Lantern (1991) 6 Superb a chick flick but not for chicks. sad that zhang yimou went commercial later.
Roman Holiday (1953) 6 Superb just thoroughly charming. pg rated, too.
Shoah (1985) 6 Superb very painful. (my dad was in auschwitz.)
Silence Of The Lambs (1991) 6 Superb one of two (almost) horror movies on my a-1 list
The Age Of Innocence (1977) 6 Superb wonderful atmosphere in this movie
The Elephant Man (1980) 6 Superb unusual, slow, b-w. evokes great empathy.
The English Patient (1996) 6 Superb Epic. Not as good as made out at the time, but still A1.
The Great Gatsby (1974) 6 Superb portrait of an era about money...
The Last Emperor (1987) 6 Superb historically accurate and educational, too.
The Name Of The Rose (1986) 6 Superb the medieval atmosphere transports us. please don't compare to the book.
The Reader (2008) 6 Superb food for thoughts about ethics
The Usual Suspects (1995) 6 Superb kaiser sosse is clever.
Three Days Of The Condor (1975) 6 Superb best agent-spy movie ever.

The separation between A1 and A2 is arbitrary. The distance between many of the A-1's and A-2's can be tiny. The distribution of movie quality is probably Gaussian normal (bell-shaped). Thus, there are many more A2 movies than there are A1 movies.

Movie Year Rating Notes
...And Justice For All (1979) 5.5 Excellent  
12 Angry Men (1957) 5.5 Excellent  
48 Hours (1990) 5.5 Excellent  
A Better Life (2011) 5.5 Excellent Almost A-1 list. Very depressing. Trump Supporters--this movie is for you.
A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) 5.5 Excellent leone's spaghetti movies have held up well.
A Prophet (2009) 5.5 Excellent hard (and great) prison movie
A River Runs Through It (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
A Separation (2011) 5.5 Excellent  
Affliction (1998) 5.5 Excellent unpleasant
All The President's Men (1976)5.5 Excellent  
Amadeus (1984) 5.5 Excellentsorry, this story is an invention
American History X (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
Annie Hall (1977) 5.5 Excellent  
Apocalypse Now (1979) 5.5 Excellent  
Apollo 13 (1995) 5.5 Excellenthistorically accurate
As Good As It Gets (1997) 5.5 Excellent  
Awakenings (1990) 5.5 Excellentbased on a true story
Bad Lieutenant (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
Basic Instinct (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
Basquiat (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Ben Hur (1959) 5.5 ExcellentVery weak ending..
Birdman Of Alcatraz (1962) 5.5 Excellent  
Blues Brothers (1980) 5.5 Excellent  
Born On The 4th Of July (1989) 5.5 Excellent  
Bound (1996) 5.5 Excellent unusually clever, covers up its low budget.
Boyz In The Hood (1991) 5.5 Excellent  
Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) 5.5 Excellent I like Mclean, though this...
Broadcast News (1987) 5.5 Excellent  
Buena Vista Social Club (1999) 5.5 Excellent Almost A-1
Cabaret (1972) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Carlito's Way (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
Carlos (2010?) 5.5 Excellent long miniseries
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) 5.5 Excellent  
Chaplin (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
Children Of A Lesser God (1986) 5.5 Excellent  
Cinema Paradiso (1988)5.5 Excellent Almost A-1
City Slickers (1991) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Coogan's Bluff (1968) 5.5 Excellent  
Crocodile Dundee (1986) 5.5 Excellent yes, the Aussie low-budget comedy flick
Crumb (1995) 5.5 Excellent  
Cyrano De Bergerac (1990) 5.5 Excellent  
Dances With Wolves (1990) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Dangerous Liaisons (1988) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Das Boot (1981) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Dead Man Walking (1995) 5.5 Excellent  
Dead Poets Society (1989) 5.5 Excellent  
Deer Hunter (1978) 5.5 Excellent  
Der Untergang (2004) 5.5 Excellent German movie about Hitler is historically extremely accurate.
Die Hard (1988) 5.5 Excellent die hard 2 was also great. then it became too repetitive.
Dirty Harry(And Magnum Force) (1971) 5.5 Excellent  
Donnie Brasco (1997) 5.5 Excellent  
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) 5.5 Excellent  
Easy Rider (1969) 5.5 ExcellentI hate predictable endings...
Ed Wood (1994) 5.5 Excellent  
Elizabeth (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
Fargo (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Fiddler On The Roof (1971) 5.5 Excellent  
Forrest Gump (1994) 5.5 Excellent  
From Here To Eternity (1953) 5.5 Excellent  
Frost/Nixon (2008) 5.5 Excellent almost a-3
Giant (1956) 5.5 Excellent  
Glengary Glen Ross (1992)5.5 Excellent unpleasant
Glory (1989) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Good Morning Vietnam (1987) 5.5 Excellent  
Good Will Hunting (1997) 5.5 Excellent  
Goodfellas (1990)5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Gorky Park (1983) 5.5 Excellent  
Great Expectations (1946) 5.5 ExcellentA-1 for many decades
Green Card (1990) 5.5 Excellent  
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)5.5 Excellent almost A-1
Heat (1995) 5.5 Excellent  
Henry V (1989) 5.5 Excellent  
High Noon (1952) 5.5 Excellent open range is essentially a better remake
Highlander (1986) 5.5 Excellent  
House Of Games (1987) 5.5 Excellent brillantly the Usual Suspects
Howard's End (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
Hugo (2011) 5.5 ExcellentAlmost A-1
In The Name Of The Father (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
Jfk (1991) 5.5 Excellentbut note that this movie is completely factually wrong.
Jefferson In Paris (1995) 5.5 Excellent  
Jeremiah Johnson (1972) 5.5 Excellent An anti-western. See also Josey Wales.
Jerry Maguire (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Judgment At Nuremberg (1961) 5.5 ExcellentAlmost A-1. historically accurate
Kalifornia (1993)5.5 Excellent unpleasant
L.A. Confidential (1997) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
La Story (1991) 5.5 Excellent good if you have lived in LA
La Femme Nikita (1991) 5.5 Excellent  
Le Clan Des Siciliens (1969) 5.5 Excellent Wanna see a jet land on a freeway?
Le Samourai (1967) 5.5 Excellent alain delon as an assassin. precedes "the american".
Leon (The Professional) (1994) 5.5 Excellent  
Lone Star (1996) 5.5 ExcellentI love understated films
Looking For Richard (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Magnolia (1999) 5.5 Excellent  
Malcolm X (1992) 5.5 Excellent historically accurate
Manhattan (1979) 5.5 Excellent  
Margin Call (2011) 5.5 ExcellentI teach finance. This is great.
Memento (2001)5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Men In Black (1997) 5.5 Excellent  
Million Dollar Baby (2003) 5.5 Excellent  
Mississippi Burning (1988) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Monsieur Klein (1976) 5.5 Excellent hard to believe that Delon is a neo-nazi in real life
Monsters Inc (2001) 5.5 Excellent my favorite animated movie
Mutiny On The Bounty (1962) 5.5 Excellent  
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) 5.5 Excellent  
My Left Foot (1989) 5.5 Excellent  
Network (1976) 5.5 Excellent  
Night Of The Generals (1967) 5.5 Excellent  
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)5.5 Excellent Almost A-1
Nobody's Fool (1994) 5.5 Excellentjust thoroughly charming
North By Northwest (1959) 5.5 Excellent  
Notre Dame De Paris (1956) 5.5 Excellent  
Open Range (2003) 5.5 Excellent better "high noon" remake.
Out Of Africa (1985) 5.5 Excellent  
Pascali's Island (1988) 5.5 Excellent slow. you have to like slow melancholic history pieces.
Patton (1970) 5.5 Excellent  
Philadelphia (1993) 5.5 Excellent This movie changed our society's view of AIDS
Platoon (1986) 5.5 Excellent this movie changed our society's view of vietnam.
Precious (2009) 5.5 Excellent  
Presumed Innocent (1990) 5.5 Excellent  
Pulp Fiction (1994) 5.5 Excellent innovative. almost a-1.
Q&Amp;A (1990) 5.5 Excellent  
Raging Bull (1980) 5.5 Excellent  
Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) 5.5 Excellent innovative
Rain Man (1988) 5.5 Excellent  
Ran (1985) 5.5 Excellent  
Rebel Without A Cause (1955) 5.5 Excellent  
Reservoir Dogs (1992)5.5 Excellent extremely violent
Revolution (1985) 5.5 Excellent underrated
Ridicule (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Rocky (1976) 5.5 Excellent  
Roots (Tv Miniseries) (1977) 5.5 Excellent  
Roxanne (1987) 5.5 Excellent  
Saturday Night Fever (1977) 5.5 Excellent  
Saving Private Ryan (1998) 5.5 Excellent But trumped easily by "Band of Brothers"
Scarface (1983) 5.5 Excellent  
Scent Of A Woman (1992) 5.5 Excellent  
Schindler's List (1993) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Sense And Sensibility (1995) 5.5 Excellent  
Serpico (1973) 5.5 Excellent  
Shakespeare In Love (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
Shutter Island (20??) 5.5 ExcellentMind-twisting.
She's Gotta Have It (1986) 5.5 Excellent  
Shogun (Tv Miniseries) (1980) 5.5 Excellentdo not watch the awful movie adaptation.
Something The Lord Made (2004) 5.5 Excellent  
Sunset Blvd (1950) 5.5 Excellent  
The American (2010) 5.5 Excellent clooney as a lone assassin. see also le samourai.
The Big Chill (1983) 5.5 Excellent  
The Breakfast Club (1985) 5.5 Excellent  
The Cider House Rules (1999) 5.5 Excellent  
The Crying Game (1992) 5.5 Excellentalmost a-1
The Defiant Ones (1958) 5.5 Excellent  
The Departed (2006) 5.5 Excellent  
The Duellists (1977) 5.5 Excellent  
The Fall (2008) 5.5 Excellent Tarsem Singh's fantasy film is incredibly creative.
The French Connection (1971) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
The Fugitive (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
The Graduate (1967) 5.5 Excellent  
The Great Dictator (1940) 5.5 Excellent prescient. brillant. meaningful.
The Horse Whisperer (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
The Hustler (1961) 5.5 Excellent  
The Insider (1999) 5.5 Excellent  
The Killing Fields (1984) 5.5 Excellent  
The King's Speech (2010) 5.5 Excellent historically accurate
The Last Seduction (1994) 5.5 Excellent  
The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988) 5.5 Excellent  
The Lion In Winter (1968) 5.5 Excellent  
The Lonely Guy (1984) 5.5 Excellent  
The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) 5.5 Excellent  
The Natural (1984) 5.5 ExcellentAlmost A-1
The Negotiator (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) 5.5 ExcellentBook was written by a Klansman, but still great.
The Paper Chase (1973) 5.5 Excellent my favorite professor...
The People Vs. Larry Flint (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
The Piano (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
The Princess Bride (1987) 5.5 Excellent great PG movie for children, too
The Remains Of The Day (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
The Right Stuff (1983) 5.5 Excellent Historically accurate
The Secret In Their Eyes (2010) 5.5 Excellent an argentinian understated film
The Spanish Prisoner (1998) 5.5 Excellent  
The Straight Story (1999) 5.5 Excellent  
The Thin Blue Line (1988) 5.5 Excellent  
The Third Man (1949) 5.5 Excellent  
The Verdict (1982) 5.5 Excellent  
The Wedding Banquet (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
The Wild Bunch (1969) 5.5 Excellent among the earliest westerns to transform the previously all-too-predictable genre.
The Wind And The Lion (1975) 5.5 Excellent  
The Witness (1985) 5.5 Excellent almost a-1
Thelma &Amp; Louise (1991) 5.5 Excellent  
Three Kings (1999) 5.5 Excellent  
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 5.5 Excellent  
Trading Places (1983) 5.5 Excellent  
Traffic (2000) 5.5 Excellent  
Training Day (2001) 5.5 Excellent  
Trainspotting (1996) 5.5 Excellent  
Unforgiven (1992) 5.5 ExcellentAlmost A-1
Wall Street (1987) 5.5 Excellent  
Wall-E (2007) 5.5 Excellent  
What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993) 5.5 Excellent  
When Harry Met Sally (1989) 5.5 ExcellentAlmost A-1
Where Eagles Dare (1969) 5.5 Excellent  
Who'll Stop The Rain (1978) 5.5 Excellent  
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolfe? (1965) 5.5 Excellent (unpleasant)
Wonder Boys (2000) 5.5 Excellent  
Working Girl (1988) 5.5 Excellent  
Year Of The Dragon (1985) 5.5 Excellent  
Close to or Almost A2-list:
Movie Year Notes
8 Mile (2002) 5 Excellent
A Beautiful Mind (2001) 5 Excellent
A Few Good Men (1992) 5 Excellent
American Beauty (1999) 5 Excellent
Accidental Tourist (1988) 5 Excellent
Ali: Fear Eats Soul (1974) 5 Excellent
American Gigolo (1998) 5 Excellent
An Officer And A Gentleman (1982) 5 Excellent
Atlantic City (1980) 5 Excellent
Becket (1964) 5 Excellent
Bekenntnisse Des Hochstaplers Felix Krull (1982) 5 Excellent (European TV Miniseries)
Belle Epoque (1994) 5 Excellent
Beverly Hills Cop (1984) 5 Excellent
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 5 Excellent
Bugsy (Maybe) (1991) 5 Excellent
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969) 5 Excellent
Carlos (Long Version) (2010) 5 Excellent
Casino (1995) 5 Excellent
Chocolat (2000) 5 Excellent
Cleopatra (1963) 5 Excellent
Days Of Heaven (1978) 5 Excellent
Die Blechtrommel (1979) 5 Excellent
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) 5 Excellent
Do The Right Thing (1989) 5 Excellent
Exodus (1960) 5 Excellent But the book is much, much better.
Footnote (2011) 5 Excellent
Funny Girl (1968) 5 Excellent
Heaven Can Wait (1978) 5 Excellent
Husbands And Wives (1992) 5 Excellent
Inception (2010) 5 Excellent
Interview With The Vampire (1994) 5 Excellent
Julia (2009) 5 Excellent
Jungle Fever (1991) 5 Excellent
Last Tango In Paris (1972) 5 Excellent
Little Man Tate (1991) 5 Excellent
Lord Of The Rings (Trilogy) (2000) 5 Excellent
Mean Streets (1973) 5 Excellent
Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997) 5 Excellent
Mississippi Masala (1992) 5 Excellent
Poetic Justice (1979) 5 Excellent
Quo Vadis? (1951) 5 Excellent
Reds (1981) 5 Excellent
Rich Man Poor Man (Tv Series) (1976) 5 Excellent
Roger&Amp;Me (1994) 5 Excellent
Se7en (1997) 5 Excellent
Sleepless In Seattle (1993) 4.5 Excellent only for irony
Sleuth (1973) 5 Excellent
Solitary Man (2010) 5 Excellent
The 6th Sense (1999) 5 Excellent
The Boxer (1997) 5 Excellent
The Crimson Pirate (1952) 5 Excellent
The Gods Must Be Crazy (1990) 5 Excellent
The Guns Of Navarone (1961) 5 Excellent
The Hunt For Red October (1990) 5 Excellent
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) 5 Excellent
The Social Network (2010) 5 Excellent
Titus (1999) 5 Excellent
To Live And Die In La (1985) 5 Excellent
Tom Waits: Big Time? (1988) ?
Up In The Air (2008) 5 Excellent
Wag The Dog (1997) 5 Excellent
When We Were Kings (1996) 5 Excellent

Maybe Drive (2011).

A-List, Science-Fiction:
I love science fiction, so I have grouped science fiction movies separately. Unfortunately, most Sci-fi movies are dread awful. Here is my selection of better choices:

Movie Year Rating Notes
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Excellent A-1 unconditionally
A Clockwork Orange (1971) Excellent  
Ai (2001) Excellent possibly A-2 unconditionally. great ending.
Alien(S) (1979) Excellent often overrated, but still good. aliens
Bladerunner (1982) Excellent A-1 unconditionally
Brazil (1985) Excellent A-1 unconditionally
Children Of Men (2006) Excellent bleak
Conan (1982) Excellent just barely on this list.
Contact (1997) Excellent A-2 unconditionally
Dark City (1998) Excellent A-1 unconditionally
Dark Star (1974) Excellent  
District 9 (2009) Excellent  
Dune (1984) Excellent (but poor end; avoid the scifi channel tv remake)
Escape From New York (1981) Excellent barely on this list
Existenz (1999) Excellent more original than inception. cronenberg...
Gattaca (1997) Excellent A-1 or A-2 unconditionally
Highlander (1986) Excellent  
Inception (2010) Excellent  
K-Pax (2001) Excellent spacey a different way...
Mad Max 1 (1979) Excellent  
Men In Black (1997) Excellent  
Metropolis (1926+1984) (1984) Excellent  
Minority Report (2002) Excellent  
Moon (2009) Excellent  
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) Excellent A-1 unconditionally
On The Beach (1959) Excellent  
Outland (1981) Excellent  
Planet Of The Apes (1968) Excellent just barely. the remake is good,too.
Predator (1987) Excellent  
Serenity (2005) Excellent Just barely...
Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) Excellent  
Star Trek 4: The Search For Whales (1986) Excellent  
Silent Running (1971) Excellent  
Soylent Green (1973) Excellent  
Sunshine (2007) Excellent  
Star Wars (1977) Excellent The original one. Others can be entertaining.
Surrogates (2009) Excellent often underrated. not as bad as often claimed to be.
Terminator 1 (1991) Excellent a-2 unconditionally: probably the lowest-budget film on my a-2 list
Terminator 2 (1991) Excellent a-2, too. the second-best sequel ever. this one did have the budget...
The Andromeda Strain (1971) Excellent  
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Excellent The rare old sci-fi flick that has held up.
The Fifth Element (1997) Excellent lousy ending.
The Lord Of The Rings (2003-) Excellent  
The Matrix (1999) Excellent great 1st half. lousy 2nd half
The Road (2009) Excellent children of men
The Thing From Another World (1951) Excellent  
The Thirteenth Floor (2000) Excellent  
The Time Machine (1960) Excellent (not the 2002 version!)
Time Bandits (1981) Excellent a-2 unconditionally
Total Recall (1990) Excellent lousy predictable ending.
Twelve Monkeys (1995) Excellent a-2 unconditionally
28 Days Later (2002) Excellent children of men.
Wall-E (2008) Excellent not really sci-fi, but still...
War Of The Worlds (2003) Excellent a-2 unconditionally
Westworld (1973) Excellent  
Zardoz (1974) Excellent  

Reasonable: Monsters, Inc. I have not seen "2046" or "The Man from Earth" or "The Host" or "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" or "The Adjustment Bureau" or "Super 8" or "The Fountain" or "A Scanner Darkly" or "The book of Eli" , or any Transformers or "Looper" or "Timecrimes" or "John Carter" or "Cloud Atlas" or "The Arrival" or "Underworld" or "In Time" or "The Island" or "The Dark Knight" (on Netflix Instant:) "Troll hunter" or "Vanilla Sky" or "Thor" or "The X Files" yet. I did not like Donnie Darko. I thought Star Trek (2009) was just ok (but better than most ST films, which does not mean much), just like Avatar (2009) which is a copy of Dances with Wolves in space, Equilibrium (2002), "I Robot" (2004), Solaris, and "Pitch Black" (2000). Tron has not aged well. I did not like later Terminator films, "V for Vendetta" or Stargate or 2010. I am not sure what to think of Starship Troopers.

A-List, Comedy:
Interestingly, it appears that while most people can relatively easily agree on what is a good drama, tastes diverge greatly when it comes to comedy. I personally like the British sense of humor, but it is definitely not to everyone's tastes.
Movie Year Rating Notes
Crocodile Dundee (1986) Excellent yes, the aussie low-budget comedy flick
Romy And Michelle's High School Reunion (1997) Excellent 
The Full Monty (1997) Excellent  
Young Frankenstein (1974) Excellent  
Brazil (1985) Excellent  
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) Excellent  
Being There (1979) Excellent  
Dr. Strangelove (1964) Excellent  
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) Excellent  
Delicatessen (1991) Excellent  
Time Bandits (1981) Excellent  
Down And Out In Beverly Hills (1986) Excellent  
Ruthless People (1986) Excellent  
Bowfinger (1999) Excellent  
Other People's Money (1991) Excellent  
Wayne's World (1992) Excellent  
The Court Jester (1956) Excellent  
Me And The Colonel (Maybe) (1958) Excellent  
Coming To America (Maybe) (1988) Excellent  
The Jewel Of The Nile (1985) Excellent  
Romancing The Stone (1985) Excellent  
Crossing Delancey (1988) Excellent  
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) Excellent  
The Rocky Horror Picture Show*. (1975) Excellent  
Tootsie (1982) Excellent  
Without A Clue (1988) Excellent  

* if you are <15, you might like the Rocky Horrow Picture Show. If you can laugh, read the Rocky Horror Review, a Christian Analysis of the movie — though they have not yet figured out https (only http)..

To see or resee:
Maybe The Replacements.
Movie Year Rating Notes
A Hard Day's Night (1964) TBS  
Aguirre (1972) TBS  
AlienS (1986) TBS  
Austin Powers (1997) TBS  
Pride And Prejudice (1995) TBS  
The Big Sleep (1946) TBS (only the original, not the remake!)
The Game (1997) TBS  
The Night Of The Hunter (1955) TBS  
8 Mile (2002) 5 Superb 
A Man For All Seasons (1966) Superb  
Adaptation (2002) Superb  
Alexis Zorba The Greek (1964) Superb  
All Quiet On The Western Front (1979) Superb  
All The Real Girls (2003)Superb chick flick
Almost Famous (2000) Superb  
Altered States (1980) Superb  
Avalon (Jap Scifi) (2001) Superb  
Babe -- Pig In The City (1998) Superb  
Bend It Like Beckham (2003) Superb  
Blazing Saddles (1974) Superb  
Body Heat (1981) Superb  
Breaking The Waves (1996) Superb  
Chicago (2003) Superb  
City Of God (2002) Superb  
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2003) Superb  
Exotica (1995) Superb  
Far From Heaven (2002) Superb  
Gates Of Heaven (1978) Superb  
Howard Stern, Private Parts (2001) Superb  
In The Company Of Men (1997) Superb  
Inspector Maigret (1957) Superb (maigret tend un pihge [year na])
Invincible (2002) Superb  
Kill Bill (2003) Superb  
Kokaku Kidotai (1995) Superb  
Le Fils (The Son) (2003) Superb  
Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (2000?) Superb  
Les Diabolique (1955) Superb  
Lion In Winter (1968) Superb  
M (1931) Superb  
Miller's Crossing (Coen Bros) (1990) Superb  
Minority Report (2002) Superb  
Monster's Ball (2001) Superb  
Moscow On The Hudson (19??) Superb  
Mr. And Mrs. Bridge (1990) Superb  
Nowhere In Africa (2003) Superb  
On The Waterfront (1954) Superb  
One False Move (1992) Superb  
Out Of The Past (1998) Superb  
Rear Window (1954) Superb  
Seize The Day (1986) Superb  
Snatch (2000) Superb  
The Departed (2006) Superb  
Spartacus (1960) Superb  
Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Superb  
The Aviator (2004) Superb  
The Battle Of Algiers (1965) Superb  
The Chess Player (India) (19??) Superb  
The China Syndrome (1979) Superb  
The Conversation (1974) Superb  
The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) Superb  
The Hours (2002) Superb  
The Hunted (2003) Superb  
The Jerk (19??) Superb  
The Long Walk Home (1990) Superb  
The Maltese Falcon (1941) Superb  
The Quiet American (2003) Excellent Spies and love
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (Not On Dvd) (1965) Superb  
Yellow Submarine (1968) Superb  
Z (1969) Superb  
Some Star Ratings
Movie Year Rating Notes
Amistad (1997) Good  
Brother's Keeper (1997) OK  
The Legend Of Bagger Vance (2000) OK  
The Producers (1968) OK  
Brassed Off (1996) OK  
Full Metal Jacket (1987) Good  
Stealing Beauty (1996) Good  
The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) blah  
Empire Of The Sun (19??) OK  
The Golden Bowl (2000) OK  
Go (1999) Good  
The Year Of Living Dangerously (1983) Good  


Everything below here has been neglected for many years.

Movies Still To See

My selection is influenced by Roger Ebert, because of all the movie critics, my tastes are closest to his. Amandla (SA Music) (2003)

Movie Year Rating Notes
Argo (2012) TBS  
Life Of Pi (2012) TBS  
Lincoln (2012) TBS  
End Of Watch (2012) TBS  
Black Swan (2010) TBS  
I Am Love (2010) TBS  
The Kids Are All Right (2010) TBS movie about "The Who"  
The Ghost Writer (2010) TBS  
Another Year (2010) TBS  
Never Let Me Go (2010) TBS  
Bad Lieutenant (2009) TBS  
Crazy Heart (2009), TBS  
An Education (2009), TBS  
A Serious Man (2009) TBS  
Departures (2009) TBS  
Disgrace (2009) TBS  
Goodbye Solo (2009) TBS  
Revolutionary Road (2008), TBS  
Encounters At The End Of The World (2008) TBS  
Shame (2011) TBS  
The Tree Of Life (2011) TBS  
Le Havre (2011) TBS  
The Artist (2011) TBS  
Melancholia (2011) TBS  
The Mill And The Cross (2011) TBS  
Another Earth (2011) TBS  
Flight (2012) TBS  

maybe: Chloe (2010) All Good Things (2010), Somewhere (2010), Greenberg (2010), Secretariat, (2010) Everlasting Moments (2009), Sin Nombre (2009), Ballast (2008), The Dark Knight (2008), W (2008), I.O.U.S.A. (2008), Terri (2009), Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), Arbitrage (2012), Rogue Trader (1999), Boiler Room (2000), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005),

Movie Year Rating Notes
Better Luck Tomorrow (2003) TBR asian american teens
Spirited Away (2002) TBR japanese animation
The Pianist (2003) TBR depressing
Walking Life (2001) TBR animation
Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002) TBR ? sex film
Requiem For A Dream (2000) TBR avoid: this is from the same guy who made "pi."


J.B. Bury, The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians
A great history book on the fall of the Roman Empire. Easy to read and informative.
Matt Ridley
SciFi Books
Greg Bear: The Forge of God, Anvil of Stars, Eon, Eternity, and Blood Music, are among my favorite sci-fi readings. I do not like his later work as much. Gibson's Neuromancer is also terrific (but not the followups). Other great authors: Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and Jack Vance.
Among Sci-Fi Shorts: A.E. van Vogt's The Battle of Forever (1971?), is an absolute sci-fi classic, and unfortunately largely forgotten (as seems to be van Vogt). George R.R. Martin's Sandkings (1981) is easily among the five best scifi shorts ever written.

And here is a forgotten great one: Mike Resnick, Birthright: The Book of Man. Give yourself a treat.

Wear Sunscreen
Interesting lyrics, funny urban legend.

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