80. Jackie Brown (1997) Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction changed the rules for Hollywood pictures, but this is one is deeper and more textured, while retaining the flashy wit. Even better, the two central performances, by Pam Grier and Robert Forster, are powerfully moving.
79. They All Laughed (1981) A small masterpiece of seemingly incongruous parts, Peter Boganovich’s film has terrific, lived-in performances from a game cast, and a sense of lovely melancholy from first frame to last. Overpowered at the time of release by the shocking death of his then-girlfriend Dorothy Stratten, the film tanked at the box office. Loose, informal, and entertaining in an old-fashioned way, with Ben Gazzara, Colleen Camp, John Ritter, and Audrey Hepburn at their most likable.
78. Miller’s Crossing (1990) I’ve often thought this was the best script I’ve ever read. The film, somehow, isn’t as good as the script – never been able to put my finger on why. Still a great picture, however, with brilliant dialogue equal to the noir films that it consciously echoes. Incredible cast, photography, and ending.
73. The Big Red One (1980) There are lots of Samuel Fuller pictures that could have made this list, including the great Shock Corridor, but this one always stays with me. Fuller put himself in the film – the cigar-chomping Robert Carradine in a scene-stealing role – and Lee Marvin lends his gravitas of having actually served in WWII. Uneven and episodic, but haunting and real.
72. Medium Cool (1969) A brilliant, fractured, film with a documentary quality, Medium Cool lacks a traditional narrative but contains an amazing slice of reality. Famously shot during the riots at the 1968 Democratic convention, this is as striking a historical document as it is a movie. An amazing film featuring a terrific Robert Forster in the lead, nearly thirty years before his "comeback" role in Jackie Brown.
71. The Ninth Configuration (1980) Hilariously profane, unrelentingly bizarre, and ultimately Catholic, William Peter Blatty’s picture is one of the most unique film experiences ever made. Stacy Keach is the best effing psychiatrist since Jung, and he is tasked with helping discern whether a group of loonies are faking or barking. Includes an unforgettable sequence on the Moon and an insane bar fight. Seriously, check this thing out.
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