The Ten Best Directors of All Time [Relay Race]

A couple months ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a great blogathon known as the Ten Best Actors of All Time Relay Race. That meme is still alive and kicking, but Nostra at My Film Views has added a couple more features, with the most recent one being a version specifically for directors. Dan from Public Transportation Snob sent the baton my way, and now it is my turn to join in on the festivities. Here is Nostra’s description of the relay race for those who haven’t been keeping up with it:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors.
If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!

And here are the other entries so far:
My Film Views (The originator of the list, and the ten that he began with were: Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Hayao Miyazaki, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Akira Kurosawa, and Christopher Nolan)
Southern Vision (Replaced Christopher Nolan with Krzysztof Kieslowski)
And So It Begins… (Replaced Darren Aronofsky with Ingmar Bergman)
Surrender To The Void (Replaced Steven Spielberg with Lars Von Trier)
Cinematic Paradox (Replaced Lars Von Trier with Paul Thomas Anderson)
Defiant Success (Replaced Krzysztof Kieslowski with Sidney Lumet)
“…Let’s Be Splendid About This…” (Replaced Quentin Tarantino with Abbas Kiarostami)
1001Plus (Replaced Paul Thomas Anderson with Billy Wilder)
Cinema Sights (Replaced Billy Wilder with F.W. Murnau)
Bill’s Movie Emporium (Replaced Martin Scorsese with Werner Herzog)
Public Transportation Snob (Replaced Sidney Lumet with John Ford)

Here is the current list:

Alfred Hitchcock

Stanley Kubrick

Hayao Miyazaki

Werner Herzog

The Coen Brothers

Akira Kurosawa

Ingmar Bergman

Abbas Kiarostami

F.W. Murnau

John Ford

My Removal:

This is always the hard part with these blogathons. With such a great and diverse list this time around, it was even more difficult to remove one of these legends. I dismissed the idea of removing those I am unfamiliar with — in this case, Kiarostami and Murnau — and immediately skipped over the “untouchables” — Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Kubrick. After much deliberation, I decided on removing Werner Herzog. Perhaps this isn’t entirely fair since I am only familiar with his more contemporary work, but I have yet to see something from him that absolutely blew me away. I know he has a lot of devout fans in the blogging world, but I have a feeling he will make a reappearance at some point. I will say this, though — I could listen to that man talk all day long.

My Addition:

Speaking of reappearances, I have decided to enter Billy Wilder back into the race with the hopes that he will get a longer run this time around. I have been on a huge Wilder kick lately (thanks in part to the local theater doing a summer marathon dedicated to his work), and I have fallen in love with a number of his films. I don’t give out 10/10s too often, but he has two films that I would easily go all the way for — Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment. Quite a few of his films are not far off, including Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole and The Lost Weekend. He is one of the all-time great directors, and I believe he is a worthy addition to this list.

Now I am passing this on to Kristen over at Journeys in Classic Film. Good luck!

Top 10 Films From 2011

While working on my top ten list for 2010, I opted to wait longer than most to post my final results. My plan was to catch up on films I missed at the tail end of the year, so I didn’t actually post my list until March 16. I am not doing that this year. There are just too many movies that came out in the final quarter of 2011 that I missed out on, and I would rather not wait until they are out on DVD to compile a top ten.

This top ten list is for 2011 movies that I saw during that calendar year. There are noticeable exclusions that I simply have not seen yet (The Artist, Take Shelter, Tree of Life, to name a few), so I may amend this list in the next few months to include those that I missed last year. I am in full-on list-making mode right now, so here is my preliminary list of the Top 10 Films From 2011:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

10) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Perhaps an unnecessary remake, but Fincher’s adaptation is engrossing and features powerful performances from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

The Ides of March [2011]
9) The Ides of March

Star-studded film that wonderfully shows the backstabbing and selfish nature of politics.

I Saw the Devil [2010]
8) I Saw the Devil

Brutal, disgusting and unbelievably violent; in a nutshell, another badass Korean revenge thriller.

Attack the Block [2011]
7) Attack the Block

One of this year’s most entertaining movies, even if subtitles are almost a requirement to understand it.

13 Assassins [2010]
6) 13 Assassins

Miike’s samurai homage has one of the most unforgettable and epic battle scenes I have ever seen.

Shame [2011]
5) Shame

Not an easy watch by any means, but this is a fascinating portrayal of the depths of an intense sexual addiction.

Hugo 3D [2011]
4) Hugo

Not your typical family flick, this one is a real treat for film lovers, especially when seen in 3D (ironically enough).

Moneyball [2011]
3) Moneyball

A faithful adaptation of a terrific sports book, this is a baseball movie that can be appreciated even by non-fans.

50/50 [2011]
2) 50/50

The biggest surprise of the year, a cancer film that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.

Drive [2011]
1) Drive

Could there be anything else at #1? Drive is stylish, cuts out unnecessary dialogue, utilizes a killer soundtrack to perfection, and boasts a stellar cast. All the makings of a best movie of the year.

Honorable mentions: Win Win, Bridesmaids, Beginners, The Adjustment Bureau, The Descendants

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with any of these selections? What were your favorite movies from 2011?

List: Top 10 Video Games I Just Can’t Quit

A couple of weeks ago there was a “Freshly Pressed” blog post that caught my eye. This post, titled “Video Games I Just Can’t Quit,” was about the author’s list of games that he kept coming back to time and time again. I was very intrigued by this idea, and have been thinking about my own personal list since initially reading his. Here’s what I have come up with, a list of games that I continue to play over and over regardless of their age:

Super C [NES, 1990]
1) Super C [NES]
I have fond memories of playing this with my brother when I was a kid. In typical Contra fashion, the game is hard as hell. I think we only beat the game once or twice back then… it was brutal.

Dr. Mario
2) Dr. Mario [NES]
Man, I can’t even tell you how hooked I was on this game. We used to have insane Dr. Mario marathons in college, even developing a ranking chart for everyone who played regularly with us. My roommate was always #1 on the list, but I was a close second. Ah, the good ol’ days… Even today, my girlfriend and I bust it out from time to time.

Tetris
3) Tetris [NES]
For some reason, old puzzle games got a lot of “airplay” in college. My buddy Roy and I would play Tetris all the freakin’ time, often listening to The National while doing so (an odd mix, but it worked perfectly). I still have some version of Tetris for pretty much every system I own today.


4) Super Mario Bros. 3 [NES] & Super Mario World [SNES]
My two favorite Mario games. I still play them every now and then, picking up right where I left off. My girlfriend and I are working our way through SMW again, this time collecting all of the Yoshi coins and hidden items. Good times.


5) Golden Axe [GEN]
One of my favorite beat ’em ups. It’s still fun to relive the glory days as Gilius Thunderhead, that badass axe-wielding dwarf.


6) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night [PS1]
Believe it or not, this is what introduced me to the Castlevania series. The cheesy dialogue, the incredible soundtrack, the exploration gameplay, the inverted castle… this game has it all. Now that I also have it for the PSP (via the Dracula X Chronicles disc), I can play it anywhere.


7) Star Ocean: The Second Story [PS1]
I have probably started and stopped this game at least a dozen times. I still have a save file that is in the final dungeon, but I have been stuck on one of the last bosses for YEARS. Someday I will pick this back up and finally beat the damn game, and it will be absolutely glorious.


8) Suikoden [PS1]
Still one of my favorite RPGs to this day. I played through it multiple times and loved trying to recruit all 108 characters. Although many prefer the second game, I still think this one is best by far.


9) Quake III: Arena [PC]
Back in high school, my friends and I used to get all of our daily work done in “Computer Lit” (or whatever the basic computer class was) as fast as we could so we could play this. We had some furious deathmatches back in the day, and it remains one of my favorite FPS titles to this day. I never could master that damn rail gun, though I was pretty lethal with the rocket launcher and plasma gun.


10) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 [PS2]
This is the best all-around Tony Hawk game and it features some of the most memorable levels in the series (Airport, anyone?). This is one of the rare games where I had so much fun that I went through and beat the game multiple times with different skaters. I can still pick it up and play it today while remembering most of my special trick combos. Best skateboarding game ever, in my opinion.

So there you have it, my list of ten video games I just can’t quit. Working on this list has just made me want to go back and play all of these again.

How about you guys? What games do you keep coming back to?