Watching the Top 100 Highest-Rated Movies: #31-40

In this installment of our challenge to watch the top 100 highest-rated movies of all time, my wife and I watch and rate movies ranked #31 through #40.

Watching the Top 100 Highest-Rated Movies: #31-40

This post is part of an ongoing series where my wife and I watch the top 100 highest-rated movies of all time. You can learn more about the challenge itself, and you can see all of the movies we've watched under the tag #top-100-highest-rated-movies. You can also check out the previous post in the series where we watched movies #41-50.

#40. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction, Β© 1994 Miramax Films

Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, Bruce Willis

Did we like it? Evan: πŸ‘, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘
Would we watch it again? Evan: πŸ‘, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘

It's amazing how engaging this movie is despite all the different storylines. I'm a big Tarantino fan, but somehow I've only seen Pulp Fiction twice, and I've really enjoyed it both times. It's unique and the dialog is fantastic. It's probably in my top three favorite Tarantino movies along with Kill Bill(s) and Inglorious Basterds.

Christopher Walken's speech about the gold watch is one of the most compelling monologues I've ever seen.

And my ultimate aspiration is to be as effective as Mr. Wolfe someday (albeit with less crime).

#39. The Apartment (1960)

The Apartment, Β© 1960 United Artists

Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder, I. A. L. Diamond
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Edie Adams

Did we like it? Evan: πŸ‘Ž, Sarah: πŸ‘
Would we watch it again? Evan: πŸ‘Ž, Sarah: πŸ‘

Ok, there was some good stuff in here, but overall it left a bad taste in my mouth. I think it was mainly because many of the themes in the movie have aged incredibly poorly, especially the misogyny and objectification of women. Or that if someone attempts suicide by sleeping pills, some of the steps that a doctor takes are to repeatedly slap you in the face and pour hot coffee down your throat (???).

The best way I can describe my issues with it: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) was great, despite the negative themes, because it was ostensibly a cautionary tale (or an intentional glorification of bad behavior, or something like that). In The Apartment, I didn't get the sense that it was that self-aware.

#38. Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story, Β© 1995 Buena Vista Pictures

Directed by John Lasseter
Screenplay by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John, Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, John Morris, Erik von Detten

Did we like it? Evan: πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘
Would we watch it again? πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘Ž

I haven't seen this since I was a kid. I have a greater appreciation for the animation now, especially given the technology in 1995 (except for Scud the dog - oof). Also, what the heck were Sid's parents doing? That kid was a straight-up sociopath.

#37. Jaws (1975)

Jaws, Β© 1975 Universal Pictures

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
Based on Jaws by Peter Benchley
Starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton

Did we like it? πŸ‘
Would we watch it again? πŸ‘

This was my first time seeing Jaws (at least all of it, I've at least seen bits and pieces on TV forever ago), and despite being heavily parodied, there was a ton of material I didn't know about and I was super engaged the whole time.

I especially liked Quint's speech on the boat about his war (and shark) experiences on the USS Indianapolis... haunting stuff.

Plus, now I know where that line in the Bad Hat Harry Productions thing comes from.

#36. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz, Β© 1939 Loew's, Inc.

Directed by Victor Fleming
Screenplay by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin

Did we like it? πŸ‘
Would we watch it again? Evan: πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘Ž, Sarah: πŸ‘

Despite having seen this movie many times when I was younger, it has been long enough that I didn't remember a lot of the details anymore. This movie is visually very impressive - we've seen many other movies that were made considerably after this that looked half as good. Plus, Toto is awesome.

#35. Rififi (French: Du Rififi Chez les Hommes) (1955)

Directed by Jules Dassin
Written by Auguste Le Breton, Jules Dassin, RenΓ© Wheeler
Starring Jean Servais, Robert Hossein, Magali NoΓ«l, Janine Darcey, Pierre Grasset, Marcel Lupovici, Robert Manuel, Carl MΓΆhner, Marie Sabouret, Claude Sylvain

Unfortunately, we couldn't find this one on any of our usual streaming platforms. We're going to come back to it later.

#34. Touch of Evil (1958)

Touch of Evil, Β© 1958 Universal-International

Directed by Orson Welles
Screenplay by Orson Welles
Based on Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson
Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Did we like it? Evan: πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘Ž, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘
Would we watch it again? πŸ‘Ž

I don't have much to say about this one; it was alright, but kinda slow.

A few random thoughts:

  • Orson Welles has a spectacularly long Wikipedia page (have I mentioned by favorite part of this movie challenge are the Wikipedia rabbit holes I can go down?)
  • We last saw him in #41: Citizen Kane (1941), which was made something like 18 years before this movie, and Welles was nigh unrecognizable because of how much weight he put on.
  • Apparently this was the first time Sarah had ever seen a Charlton Heston movie.

Star Wars (Original Trilogy)

Star Wars original trilogy, Β© 20th Century Fox

Directed by George Lucas (Episode IV) Irvin Kershner (Episode V), Richard Marquand (Episode VI)
Screenplay by George Lucas (IV, VI), Lawrence Kasdan (V, VI), Leigh Brackett (V)
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing (IV), Alec Guinness, Billy Dee Williams (V, VI), Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz (V, VI), Ian McDiarmid (VI)

Well, these are arguably the most popular science fiction movies of all time (is it really arguable, even?). I've seen them a bunch, I like them, but I'm not a crazy fan or anything. This was Sarah's first time seeing any of the original Star Wars movies. I don't think there's much I can say about these that hasn't already been said a million times, so I'll leave it at that.

We pretty much have the same ratings for all of them:

Did we like them? Evan: πŸ‘, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘
Would we watch it again? Evan: πŸ‘, Sarah: πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ‘

#45. Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars original trilogy, Β© 20th Century Fox

I've probably seen this one the most out of all of them (although as a kid, Return of the Jedi was my favorite – I liked those adorable Ewoks). I also really like Ol' Ben Kenobi ("Of course I know him!").

Oh I will add: This is nothing new, but the retroactive CGI stuff that George Lucas added to these movies in the 1990s is terrible. It looks super out-of-place and is distracting at best. The CGI Jabba the Hutt scene was particularly atrocious. Oof. Please revert.

#33. Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

I used to take umbrage at everyone saying this was the best of the original trilogy (because come on, Ewoks, and I didn't like the Hoth stuff), but yeah, I agree now. It's a solid movie.

Because this was Sarah's first time seeing the original trilogy, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed her experiencing some of the big reveals for the first time. It actually makes me pretty excited to watch these movies with my daughter in the future.

Bonus: Star Wars – Episode V: The Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars original trilogy, Β© 20th Century Fox

The Return of the Jedi was the only film in the original trilogy to not make The List, but this was my favorite as a kid. And either way, it wouldn't have been right to leave the story hanging like that.

There are a lot of problems with this movie, but the stuff with Darth and Luke is absolutely still fantastic and makes this movie worthwhile. I think the jankiest part after not having seen this movie for a long time is the whole storyline in Jabba's palace; it just seemed lower quality than everything else and felt very straight-to-DVD (er, VHS?).

Oh and rehashing the terrible retroactive updates stuff, spoilers below in case you haven't seen this 38-year-old movie:

Spoilers about Return of the Jedi below

As you probably know well, at the end of this movie, Luke is visited by the magical Force ghosts of his father (Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker), Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who all smile in appreciation of his great success in saving the universe. It's a nice touch.

Originally, the actor who played the unmasked version of Darth Vader is shown in this scene, except now as a healthy happy Jedi version of himself (Anakin Skywalker) rather than the maimed Darth Vader.

Well, in the Star Wars prequels, a new actor was understandably cast to play Anakin Skywalker. So when George Lucas remastered Return of the Jedi, he changed it to have the new Anakin Skywalker actor in this scene, and not the actor you literally saw earlier in the movie as Darth Vader. And if you've never seen the prequels, then you have no idea who this guy is.

When this movie was over, I asked my wife (who has never seen the prequels) who she thought the Force ghosts were. She got Obi-Wan, Yoda, and had no idea who the third guy was. Oof.

Didn't I say I wasn't going to say stuff that has already been said a million times about these movies? Oops.

Ewoks still rule, by the way. Bonus points for that.

#32. The Thin Man (1934)

The Thin Man, Β© 1934 Loew's Inc.

Directed by W. S. Van Dyke
Screenplay by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich
Based on The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell

Did we like it? πŸ‘
Would we watch it again? πŸ‘

Fantastic movie. Clever and super funny, and much better than many of the other 1930s movies we've seen so far.

And remember, if you're ever being held at gun point: make sure to punch your wife in the face and knock her out so that she doesn't accidentally get shot in the crossfire.

#31. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story, Β© 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Directed by George Cukor
Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart
Based on The Philadelphia Story (1939 play) by Philip Barry
Starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

Did we like it? πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘Ž
Would we watch it again? πŸ‘Ž

It was ok. The beginning was slow, the middle picked up a bit, and the ending was a 90Β° hairpin turn into nonsense (this may have been in part due to this "comedy of remarriage" fad that popped up in the 1930s and 1940s as a result of strict censorship rules at that time) .

I'm not quite sure why this one is on the list, but perhaps at the time this was a bigger deal as a successor to the Broadway play.


If you liked this, you should check out our next post in the series where we watch movies #21-30.

Want to see more posts about our challenge to watch the top 100 highest-rated movies of all time? Check out the tag #top-100-highest-rated-movies, and you should also sign up for my newsletter (it's free!) to get automatically notified when I make new posts in the series.