I love “the classics”. You know what movies I’m talking about.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE GODFATHER, STAR WARS, JAWS, TAXI DRIVER, THE THIRD MAN… This list could go on and on. Many movies come out and are forgotten. Others come out and enjoy a moment in the sun before being relegated to “that movie was pretty good!”
And then there are “the classics.”
These are the films that stick with us. You can put one on at anytime and whatever you were planning on doing during those two and a half hours melts away. These movies have everything you could possibly want from cinema. They are the movies you want to show your new girlfriend or boyfriend. The movies you can’t wait to show your kids. The movie that is just waiting for a rainy afternoon so that you can put one on and experience it all over again.
It usually takes decades for us to suss out what a “classic” film is. That’s fair. When a movie comes out it’s hard to tell what it will mean for you ten years down the line. I was certain ten years ago that I would be watching STRANGER THAN FICTION for the rest of my life. I haven’t seen it since and I’m okay with that.
There have been, however, several films that have come out in the last decade that are going to be classics. You can mark my words.
These are going to be all-timers.
GONE GIRL – 2014
(dir. David Fincher)
The work of David Fincher has already been featured in the “New Classics” compendium twice and it seems like those were just warm-ups, because his latest film may be one of his best. GONE GIRL is a piece of pulp perfection. Every performance is juicy and nuanced and completely serves the tone of the story that is unfolding before us. When you can’t figure out who has the better performance between Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry… You know that you have a winner on your hands. The next masterwork from David Fincher can’t get here soon enough.
GRAVITY – 2013
(dir. Alfonso Cuaron)
The least “underrated” movie that will ever be on one of these lists. GRAVITY is, nevertheless, a “New Classic.” It is the most watchable, pulse-pounding, beautiful movie to have come out in the last decade. The level of artistry on hand in this movie is astonishing and really reminds you why we go to see movies on the biggest, brightest screens. Sandra Bullock gives a wonderful, understated performance of a woman waking up from a grief coma. Every scene has her becoming more and more engaged with what is occurring around her. George Clooney also delivers a performance that reminds you how much of a movie star he is. I can’t wait to watch this movie again and again and again.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – 2013
(dir. Ethan & Joel Coen)
“If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song.” This movie is a folk song. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is the quintessential movie about being a struggling artist that is prone to self-sabotage. This is also the big coming out party for Oscar Isaac whose performance in this movie was a promise of great things to come. So far he hasn’t disappointed. What I love most about this movie is how it continues to surprise me. Every time I put it on, I find something new and exciting. It’s not the most uplifting movie, but there is a small optimism to it that Llewyn wants his life to be this way deep down and therefore it is.
THE RAID – 2011
(dir. Gareth Evans)
I don’t need to tell you why THE RAID is a “new classic.” You know already. You’ve seen the movie more times than you have fingers and toes. You could write a book about how great and wonderful THE RAID is. You could go on for hours about the simplistic narrative that lays a foundation for one of the most visceral, exciting fighting movies ever made. You fall in love with the movie all over again every time you watch it. Your heart rate goes through the roof during the scene where they are hiding behind the wall. I’m so glad I don’t have to tell you about THE RAID. It just makes things so much easier. And I won’t even get you started on the sequel…
SUNSHINE – 2007
(dir. Danny Boyle)
Yes. Two space movies. I love space movies. This movie couldn’t be more different from GRAVITY, though. It is a thoughtful, intense science fiction film that feels completely believable in the reality that they have presented us. The movie also features an ensemble all on the cusp of stardom. There is Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, and Benedict Wong. The script was written by future EX MACHINA helmer, Alex Garland, and has one of the best scores in recent memory. This movie slipped by, so if you haven’t seen it… I heartily suggest you rectify that most grievous error.