Saturday, April 4, 2009

Conspiracy (movie) theories

Everyone loves a good list*. Thankfully, our friends over at Rotten Tomatoes -- in anticipation of the new something-is-up-with-the-government flick (and probable yawner) State of Play; trailer here, if you must -- recently revealed one:

*As opposed to a bad list, like this one.

The 25 best conspiracy movies ever.

A note, before we break it down: The list is formula-based (percentage of critics who approve, average rating, etc.), so it's not decided by a committee. Therefore, films like JFK -- easily among the best -- missed out, because they didn't get unanimous raves*.

*The ones who didn't like Oliver Stone's masterpiece probably were in on the whole thing!

Thoughts ...

-Glad they recognized Blow Out (#24), a forgotten part of the John Travolta arsenal. An idea: Let's just think about this 1981 flick -- in which a B-movie sound designer stumbles upon a plot against a Presidential candidate -- when this nonsense comes out later in '09.

-Hot Fuzz (#20) is the only comedy on the list. What, did the plan to overthrow San Marcos' new leader not count?

-Seeing Minority Report (#19) on here just makes me angry. It still is the worst case of ending FAIL I can remember. What a way to blow an incredible setup.

-Finally caught The Bourne Ultimatum (#15) the other day, and it was pretty good. Can't say the same about Gone Baby Gone (#13), which had some strong moments and a confounding moral question at its center ... but overall felt a little hackneyed.

-Between Touch of Evil (#14) and Manchurian Candidate (#6), I'll take the one that was directed by the Wilt Chamberlain of filmmaking.

-L.A. Confidential (#4) is a little bit overrated. No Way Out (#8) is not.

-Speaking of overrated, I can't quite get the unconditional love for North by Northwest (#2). It has some great moments and a helluva score, but its plot registers high on the Convoluted Scale.

-Chinatown is No. 1, and no dispute with that. But two others are right up there: The Insider (#11) and The Conversation (#7) -- which just might be Francis Ford Coppola's best*.

*Yes, better than that overrated mob movie he made.

Omissions (other than Woody Allen's aforementioned Latin American satire, of course):

-JFK: Duh.

-The Alien series: It's not just a rabid, acid-blooded killer they're fighting ...

-The Usual Suspects: Or was it a conspiracy?

-The Parallax View: Like The Conversation, pure 1970s minimalism. Wow.

Huh? Exactly ...

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