Apr 8, 2013

(116-112) Stephen Strenio's Five Star Netflix Movies Countdown


Hello Readers,

I have rated almost 800 movies and TV shows on Netflix, and I ranked 125 of the movies as five stars. I then went through, sorted those movies out into seven tiers, and then ranked all the movies. These are only the movies that I've seen and ranked on Netflix. There may be movies I haven't seen, and there may be movies I haven't rated on Netflix. But otherwise, these are the official, undeniable rankings of all movies ever. Enjoy my brief reviews!

Today is the sixth-best group of movies. These movies have definitely earned five-stars from me, but they might not earn them from you.


116. Rango
Rango is a really high-quality modern western. There's a comedy band, a noble quest, an evil capitalist, and some meta-humor. I liked it better than the Coen Brothers' "True Grit", as an example of a modern western that didn't quite do it for me. This movie works as an adventure, a family film, a comedy, and there's all sorts of callbacks and winks and nods to the western tradition. And man, the theme song is catchy.

115. High Fidelity
This is a great John Cusack movie. In the way that "Being John Malkovitch" really highlighted how weird it is that John Cusack is a movie star, High Fidelity highlights how weird it is that John Cusack is a romantic movie star. It's so weird, right? 90% of the film highlights exactly why no one should ever want to date him and then the last instant reveals that underneath all the creepy, compulsive, or stupefying behavior there's a human and all humans are able to love and be loved. Also, I really like making lists and John is great at being a smug elitist.

114. Back to the Future
This is a classic American film. One of the most beloved time-travel movies of all time, Marty McFly not only paradoxically invents rock and roll, almost has his mom jump his bones, covers his dad's boss in poop, gets involved with an international terrorist group, and stages an alien invasion, he also gets sucked right back in through one of the most shameless sequel-begging endings in film history.

113. Garden State
I probably am over-rating this movie, but there's a great big soft spot in my heart for it. Let me be clear: I'm not really even sure why I like it. This is one of my least favorite Natalie Portman roles. Zach Braff is alright, but nothing spectacular. The soundtrack is good, but doesn't really enhance the movie so much as it's a bunch of good songs. But somehow this movie got stuck right in my blind-spot and I get very emotional every time I watch it. Well done, movie, even though I'm not sure what it was that was done well.

112. Shall We Dance? (Japanese)
There could be some confusion if you think that this is the American film. It's not. It's the Japanese film that the American film was based on. I have not seen the American film. Moving on.

It might be because I was thoroughly sleep-deprived when watching this film, or that I was watching it when trying to learn Japanese so I was paying more attention than I normally would, but this movie has stuck with me over the years. The sense of loneliness in a routine life is a favorite theme of mine, and Japanese dramas have a particularly excellent way of expressing the tedium of the 9-5 life. I really like the way that this movie which centers on a non-physical quasi-affair deals with the complications that come from deception, regardless of how benign the truth might be. Also, the dance sequences are beautiful. I still can see a lonely japanese officeworker standing completely straight, arms in holding position, waltzing by himself.

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