So the title is a bit of a stretch (and creepy), right? I was in trouble like three words into that. I would just like to preface this article by stating that this list is not what I consider to be the five best movies ever made it is simply the five movies that I enjoy watching the most at this time. Each film contains a number of redeeming qualities but like all movies they are not without their flaws (that I will gloss over, if not completely leave out). That being said, if you disagree with any movie on this list, you are completely wrong and know nothing about movies, please go fuck yourself.
5. Gangs of New York (Scorsese, 2002)
Most of these picks were tough calls but this may have been the toughest. Scorsese has made so many outstanding films choosing one just seems unfair. I have watched at least 14 of his films and at least three could have made it on this list. People consider his early films monumental in cinematic history and inspire many contemporary directors to produce their own modern day greatness. Although I myself enjoy watching classic films and think there is a great deal to be gained from their viewing, the advances made in cinema throughout the years make it almost impossible for me to enjoy watching them as much as newer films. Let’s face it; blood just seems bloodier in the past ten year. Setting aside his classics, the real choice comes down to Gangs of New York and The Departed (Scorsese, 2006). Gangs of New York wins because it was one of the first true films I had watched in my life that I was able to appreciate. It completely changed my perspective on what a good movie could be. Gangs of New York set the standard in which good movies would be judged against for the rest of my life and to this day has been outshined by very few. The Departed may very well be the more enjoyable of the two. Even having watched Infernal Affairs (Lau, 2002) before The Departed was made, the story is still one of the most intriguing and compelling ever written. It has an equally outstanding cast; Vera Farmiga clearly trumps Cameron Diaz, Jack Nicholson puts up a valiant fight but its tough to top Daniel Day-Lewis, and Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin all knock it out of the park, Fenway Park if I am not mistaken (and to gather that information involved multiple google searches and fact checking with my associates just to get right).
But back to Gangs of New York, Daniel Day-Lewis produces the greatest villain of all time (perhaps a bit of a hyperbole); an illiterate psychotic cleaver-wielding xenophobic gangster, the very best combo. The dialogue he was given makes up a fair amount of my favorite quotes and add to that the hatred in which Day-Lewis spews forth each line it is easy to see why they gave him the best actor Oscar that year (wait never mind, they gave it to Adrian Brody for his performance in Splice (Natali, 2009) or Predators (Antal, 2010) or whatever). It was also released at a point in time where I had only known Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic (Cameron, 1997), Romeo + Juliet (Luhrmann, 1996), and The Man in the Iron Mask (Wallace, 1998) so I automatically assumed he was a shitty actor fortunately enough this film came out and permanently put him back in my good graces. Does anyone remember when John C. Reilly was a dramatic actor? I do. In 2002, he had parts in three of the five best picture nominations, which has to be some sort of record. His best dramatic performance would have to be in Magnolia (Anderson, 1999) but to be honest he stands out much more in comedies (completely salvaged Cedar Rapids (Arteta, 2011) for me). Cameron Diaz performs well-enough to not damage the work but could easily be replaced with a score of other actresses. Honorable mentions go out to Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, and Jim Broadbent who all contribute great performances as well.
I am not sure what it is, but Gangs of New York is just one of those films that I could watch over and over again and keep on enjoying. There are many great movies out there with equally great attributes but Gangs of New York has a certain quality that sets it above the rest. For example, There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007) possesses many of the same characteristics; amazing acting, directing, writing, and characters (including a similarly amazing Daniel Day-Lewis performance) but I would never consider putting it on my top 5 because to be honest it is just not as enjoyable of a movie to watch. I don’t know if that makes it a better or worse film (probably better) but I have watched it twice in four years and most likely won’t watch it again for some time. This paragraph really doesn’t add much to the article, I just hope it helps the readers (robot overlords) understand what I take into consideration when I choose my top 5. I like the story, characters, acting, directing, and dialogue; Gangs of New York is an all around great film. I have nothing more to add. So I give it an obvious:
5 out of 5 notches on Brendan Gleeson’s shillelagh
That took me for fucking ever to write, and went on far too long so I will be breaking this down into 5 separate articles published every few weeks or days or whatever. If you read all the way to the end of this article and disagree completely with what I have to say and believe that Citizen Cane (Welles, 1941), The Godfather (Coppola, 1972), Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954), 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963), and Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) are the best five films ever made then not only did you miss the point, but I urge you to stop reading because it is only going to get worse from here (Vanilla Sky (Crowe, 2001) made the list) and I would like to reiterate that at any point in time you are free to go fuck yourself. Do I end all of my articles with a question? Yes.