Here we go. This week, in honor of Artemis Hotel coming out this week, John and Matt chose the topic of Criminal Underground movies for the Top 10 Show. It took me some research this week to fill out the Top 10 list, but I got it done.
The rules this week excluded any real life mafia/ mobster type films which eliminate The Godfather & Godfather 2, Scarface, Goodfellas etc. Of course, there may be some cheats on here and if that is the case, well sorry. It is my list.
#10. Bonnie & Clyde. This is one of the movies that could be considered a cheat, but the film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the real life criminal couple. The film comes to a dramatic and shocking conclusion and makes this one a film to be remembered.
#9. Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood wants you to get off his lawn. No, just kidding, but he does play an old, grumpy man who stands up to the local gangbangers who are causing trouble in his neighborhood. Mr. Rogers he is not. There is a revenge aspect here as well, and it might not completely fit with the category, but, again, it is my list.
#8. Free Fire. A funny and irreverent movie featuring a group of arms dealers trying to make work their black market deal. However, things go wrong and suddenly, everyone is shooting at each other. Very violent but also witty and funny, the cast is great including Armie Hammer, Sharlo Copley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, and Jack Reynor.
#7. Drive. I loved this movie when it first came out. I found the performance of Ryan Gosling tremendous, considering he does not speak much. The movie was very violent and deserved its R rating, but the story was very touching and showed the versatility of Gosling. A movie that you should certainly revisit.
#6. The Usual Suspects. Just recently saw this for the first time and I was very impressed with the cast and the amazing narrative of the film. It was great with how the movie made you think you were heading in one direction, only to pull a swerve that makes complete sense and that caught everyone off guard. Amazing performances across the board.
#5. The Ice Harvest. This one is probably not as well known as some of the other films on this list, but it is one of my favorite sleepers around. John Cusack is a lawyer who embezzles from his criminal boss with the help of sleezeball Billy Bob Thornton. On Christmas Eve (in the middle of an ice storm) the pair become paranoid and hope to escape town with the money. There are some really funny lines in this film, especially from Oliver Platt. This one is worth the watch.
#4. Sin City. Adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel (almost shot for shot), Sin City tells several tales of the low lives in the town and what they try to do. We see the story of Marv. We see the Yellow Bastard. And Sin City is an amazingly beautiful film. The use of black and white really created a mood for the noir stories inside. The sequel that the film (eventually) created could not match the original’s creativity and exquisite beauty. The great cast included Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, and Rosario Dawson.
#3. Baby Driver. A recent film that sees “Baby” as one of the great getaway drivers in the business, working for a group of criminals to pay off an old debt. The use of music in Baby Driver was astonishing and helped set the tone of the film. While I was not a huge fan of the relationship Baby had, the other criminals including Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Jon Bernthal were great. This was one of Ansel Elgort’s greatest roles and made him a movie star.
#2. Pulp Fiction. This is probably my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie. It has three fantastic stories, and is told across a timeline. We see the death of one of the main characters in part two before we see him in part three. There are some great quotes here as well. “A Royale with cheese.” “That better be one charming motha**** pig.” “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of the evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and goodwill, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!” “I love you honey bunny.” “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.” The dialogue is as good as any movie you will ever see.
#1. John Wick. What a great surprise of a movie. Keanu Reeves had become a bit of a joke. He was a great action start during his heyday with Speed and The Matrix, but he had been having some rough goes lately. That is…until they killed his dog. And that set him off. I loved how everyone was just afraid of John Wick. Even the big bad guys were like… “you stole John Wick’s car? Are you nuts?” And once triggered, John Wick wasn’t stopping until everyone was dead. John Wick 2 was a strong film as well, but this first one was one of the best around. It also introduced us to the Continental Hotel, which turned out to be as interesting a character as any in the film. Very exciting and very violent, John Wick brought Keanu Reeves back to the forefront of action movies.