Some people say there are no good movies made anymore. This is hyperbole, of course, but it rings true because there is so much made we don't care for. Even some of the movies we enjoyed, we tell people about it saying, “It wasn't necessarily great, but it was good.”
For me, though, I only have to go back to 2015 because there were four movies that came out that year that make it onto my list: The Peanuts Movie [#19], Tomorrowland [#31], McFarland, USA [#92], and Star Wars: The Force Awakens [#95]. Conversely, 2016 produced only one movie that made it onto this list (you'll find out when I get to #15). Was 2016 a bad year for movies? No. There were a lot of movies I enjoyed last year, but only one I liked well enough to put on this list.
As I mentioned in the last blog of this type: your opinion may be different.
One of the best and most hopeful movies I have seen in years, and I've watched it over and over. The visuals are great, the score is catchy, and the denouement is a pretty good pattern for evangelism (look for the people with the spark). If you haven't seen this movie, go check it out.
I'd love to know how this movie went over in Paris.
Brad Bird turned down Star Wars VII so he could direct this movie. I will always wonder how much better SW7 could have been.
32. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
This is my favorite of the “old school Peanuts” movies. Yes, you wonder what sort of camp allows 8 years olds to raft by themselves down dangerous rivers, but once past that this is just a fun movie. As a kid, what bugged me about it is how everything gets blamed on Charlie Brown when things go wrong. But Snoopy always comes through.
This movie has the catchiest soundtrack of the Peanuts movies, too.
33. The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian
Yes, it departs from the text of the book in a couple large ways (that don't necessarily improve the movie [who thought they needed the failed castle raid?]), overall it's a good adaptation and a beautiful movie. As in the book, Reepicheep steals the show.
“This is Home” by Switchfoot is one of the best songs to ever appear in a movie, though I prefer the soundtrack CD version to the version that actually plays during the credits. “The Call” by Regina Spektor is another one of my favorite songs, making the soundtrack one of my favorite CDs (do I sense another list coming on?!?!).
34. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
In spite of what's going to appear on this list in slot #23, this movie was an excellent bookend to the original trilogy. I don't really care for Temple of Doom (don't even own it on DVD when I've got all the others and even The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), so maybe I should view this as a great middle movie of the trilogy I like. I have used Indy's leap of faith as a sermon illustration more than once.
“He chose … poorly.”
35. North By Northwest
My favorite Hitchock movie. It's well known that both Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make a Bond movie, but ultimately turned 007 down because they didn't want to commit to more than one movie. With that in mind, watch this movie and realize that they did make a spy movie. It's a travelogue, it has a super villain, and a beautiful but mysterious woman. But then, rather than being a British spy, the hero is thoroughly American and the final battle takes place on Mount Rushmore.
Still, it makes you wonder what a Hitchcock/Grant Bond movie would have been like, doesn't it?
36. The Spirit of St. Louis
Jimmy Stewart, an avid and accomplished pilot himself, lobbied for this part even though he was more than twenty years older that Linberg was when he made his flight. Part of what makes this movie so great—and so Jimmy—is that we all know how the story is going to come out but we're on the edge of our seats with anticipation anyway.
“The way you weld those sand-dabs, they're just awful!”
37. The Chronicles of Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
This movie really departs from the text, but I still enjoy it. The visuals are great, the acting is charming and, once again, a mouse named Reepicheep is the best part. Another enjoyable score, too.
Supposedly, the changes made in the movie—most especially the collection of the 7 swords—was added by the filmmakers because the original story was just a travelogue and they felt the Narnians needed a better reason to drive the story forward. IMHO it works OK, but it does make one wonder if the movie would have been better (and better received) if it had just stuck more closely to the book.
38. The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers
The middle part of a trilogy is often the hardest to achieve. It has to move the story forward, but it can't really wrap up the story. In fact, to keep the audience from getting bored with the series, you kind of need a cliff-hanger to keep people hooked. Yes, the battle at Helm's Deep is way longer in the movie than warranted by the book, but it's well done and great to watch.
“Those are the stories that mean something.”
39. Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home
The second-best Star Trek movie ever made, this one recaptured the spirit and feel of the original series (known as The Original Series to us serious fans), while also expanding on it. All of the main characters (except, maybe, Uhura and Sulu) are utilized to their fullness in service to a script with plot, humor and substance.
“He did a little too much LDS back in the 60s.”
40. Support Your Local Sheriff
The thing about a list like this is that every time I look at it, I move things around. (Except for the top 10, those have been pretty static since 2006 when the last movie to enter my top 10 was made [now you're wondering what that movie is, huh?) This movie could easily have been placed much higher on the list and I can't give you a good reason why it's not there today. A spoof, this movie tackles many of the old west tropes, but it's greatest asset is James Garner. With anyone else, this movie would have been thrown away and forgotten long ago, but he brings it to life as only he could.
Many people think of this movie as an extension of Garner's Maverick character, but it's not. The Bret Maverick of the TV show was, first and foremost, a coward, where as Jason McCullough is fearless and darn-near perfect. Garner's character of Latigo in Support Your Local Gunfighter is actually much closer to Maverick.
To see the movies that came in at 41-50, click here.
To see the whole list (so far) click here.