What’s up? Welcome back to the next installment of Prolific Ranker, this being the monthly iteration where I rank all of my first time watches of the month. This month was a little less than January and February and that’s because I also managed to cram in a complete rewatch of the Alien franchise and the first four Fast & Furious movies. If you would like to check out my previous installments, you can find them here and here.
Enough chit chat. Let’s rank!
13. Solis (2018)
Starring: Steven Ogg
Directed by: Carl Strathie
Look, I’m gonna be completely honest here. I only watched this because it stars Steven Ogg, best known as Trevor from GTA V. And sure, he was pretty good in it, but the movie itself is just boring. It borrows a little bit from Sunshine (a really fantastic sci-fi if you haven’t seen it), and it actually has a really underrated score, but those things alone are not enough to make this interesting.
12. Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Garner
Directed by: Danny Leiner
If I watched this when it came out in the year 2000, 15 year old me would’ve thought it was a cinematic masterpiece. So maybe I’m just getting old now, but I didn’t really find this funny at all. The only reason it isn’t last is because I actually thought it had some heart to it, which is nice.
11. Honest Thief (2020)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Jai Courtney, Kate Walsh
Directed by: Mark Williams
Three things in life are guaranteed; death, taxes, and an average Liam Neeson action/thriller every year. I’m a big fan of Neeson, and I am happy he found a late career resurgence as an action hero. Truly I am. Plus, I love Taken, as well as Run All Night, the latter being quite underrated. But Neeson’s bad-assery, which is on display here once again, cannot save this one from the utter genericity of the script and the black hole of talent that is Jai Courtney.
10. Firefox (1982)
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Freddie Jones
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
I’ve been trying to complete more director’s filmographies and Clint Eastwood has one of the largest there is, so I decided to check this out. But why the hell did I watch this instead of like, Million Dollar Baby or Letters From Iwo Jima or…well, anything but this. It isn’t inherently bad, in fact, it features some great effects that still hold up to this day. The rumour is that of the $21m budget, $20m of it went on the effects. I just found this movie to be bland and forgettable overall.
9. Volcano (1997)
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Don Cheadle
Directed by: Mick Jackson
So this is one of two volcano movies to come out in 1997, the other being Dante’s Peak. This one has the benefit of being easier to remember due to it’s very basic name. Not to mention, it features a solid performance from Tommy Lee Jones, and a great supporting cast that features Anne Heche, Keith David and Don Cheadle. The problem with this one is that they tried to force an anti-racism narrative into this. Of course, that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but it is delivered with all the subtlety of a punch in the face and comes off as cringeworthy and disingenuous.
8. Tower Heist (2011)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick
Directed by: Brett Ratner
First off, this features an all-star cast; Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Michael Pena…hell, I could probably keep going. Not only that but I think guys like Broderick and especially Eddie Murphy are really going all out here. At the time this came out, this would’ve been the best non-animated Eddie Murphy performance since The Nutty Professor some ten plus years prior. I think he is genuinely hilarious in this. Where this is letdown is it’s incredibly generic, derivative and cliched script. I have no doubt that the performance of this cast elevated this to being way better than it deserved to be. It’s dumb fun.
7. Contact (1997)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Contact is a very well-crafted movie that has some thought-provoking ideas woven throughout the story. The basic theme comes down to science vs faith and it’s done in a way that is clever and doesn’t take sides at all. I think the conclusion it comes to is pretty well done as well. The performances of Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey are both brilliant and elevate this as well. Where I get let down is that this is incredibly cheesy. I don’t mind a little cheese, but this is overpowering. It has some real sappiness throughout and the score is way too over-the-top. I get why some people love this, but I think it’s just okay.
6. Air Force One (1997)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
While Contact had some interesting, thought-provoking topics woven throughout it’s narrative, Air Force One certainly does not. But what Air Force One does have is Harrison Ford playing a President who is also a total bad ass that kicks bad guy ass. This also has a deliciously villainous performance by perhaps the greatest villainous actor ever, Gary Oldman. This is by far the most MURICA movie I’ve ever seen; it’s even moreso than Team America: World Police which literally came up with the MURICA thing. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s a hell of a lot of fun as long as you can turn your brain off for it.
5. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Yes, this is four hours long. Yes, I watched it when it launched and all in one sitting. Yes, I enjoyed it. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is far from the masterpiece that some DC heads would try and have you believe. The dialogue is full of exposition and there is a ludicrous amount of slow-mo shots. There are so many slow-mo shots that John Woo was like “Damn, calm down Zack.” But, after what Zack went through, I am glad he got to make his vision a reality. I do think this would’ve been better served as a four part mini-series or whatever, but I still enjoyed it much more than that booty 2017 version.
4. Trance (2013)
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
Directed by: Danny Boyle
I like Danny Boyle. He has such a weird, eclectic mix of films in his filmography. One of his more underappreciated ones (not the most underappreciated, because that is Sunshine) is Trance. It is an amnesiac crime thriller that has a lot of twists and turns, and uses the amnesia trope in a very clever way to reveal it’s information, piece by piece. James McAvoy is amazing in the lead and is supported well by Rosario Dawson. It is written, acted and directed well, and I wish more people had seen it, because it’s great. The editing is especially great as this is edited in a way that isn’t “traditionally chronological” (that’s the best way I can explain without spoiling it) and it could’ve been very easy to mess it up, but it all comes together at the end. Check it out.
3. Predestination (2014)
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook
Directed by: The Spierig Brothers
Now, I won’t say anything about this movie except the fact it deals with time travel. Otherwise, I highly recommend you watch this and go in blind. Don’t watch a trailer or anything. I try not to swear too much in these things but the best way I can describe this is that it fucked me up in the best way possible. It’s very cleverly written and incredibly well acted by Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook. My one issue with this is that the first half is very slow whereas the second half is very action-packed. But check this one out ASAP. (It’s on Netflix).
2. Tombstone (1993)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton
Directed by: George P. Cosmatos
Tombstone tells the story of Wyatt Earp, famous lawman who tried going to Tombstone, Arizona to retire, only to be dragged back into the law-upholding lifestyle. This features fantastic performances all around, and I am not exaggerating when I say that Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday in this is one of my favourite performances from any actor in any movie ever. It also features brilliant facial hair, all of which was real. Kurt Russell really knows how to grow a great moustache. There is excellent drama, exciting action sequences and some truly nice cinematography. Considering all the behind the scenes drama, it’s incredible that this even got released, let alone be as good as it is.
1. Crimson Tide (1995)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, James Gandolfini
Directed by: Tony Scott
Tony Scott was one of the most underrated directors when it came to making anything exciting. In this, there is a one minute sequence of the submarine submerging and it was totally riveting. He was an absolute master in his field and Crimson Tide is definitely one of his best. Add to Scott’s brilliant direction, the acting of two legends, Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. This almost felt like a passing of the torch in the scene where Denzel and Hackman are arguing and just trying to out-yell the other. Because Denzel was truly on Gene’s level there. This is a tense, exciting thriller and I’d go as far as saying it’s the best submarine movie ever, even better than Das Boot.
There it is for another month. Check back in a month’s time for the next installment, or I may pop in with a random ranking here or there. Also, follow me on Twitter, because I am hilarious.
Until next time…