Down to two at a time now instead of three. Why? Because it drags it out all the more. No reason to stick a fork in them too quickly. And be honest; you’re enjoying these as much as I am.
We’ve finally reached the top 10! From here on in, the ranking does matter. 10 is not as good as 9, 9 is nowhere near as good as 2. Typical ranking. 11-25 were just in a random order. These ones have at least a good thirty seconds of thought into the ordering… Which is a lot for a modern day guy with a short attention span and other things to do.
#10: Les Miserables
I am one of those guys that pronounces this title as if it were English. Then I laugh, because I find that sort of thing funny. Crazy French folk…
The version of this classic that I personally enjoy is the one with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, and Uma Thurman in it. The basic story of the film is that Jean Valjean (Neeson) is an ex-convict. The 1800’s are very unfriendly to criminals (not much has changed in the ‘forgiveness factor’ here, unfortunately), and Valjean is looking for a place to stay the night. He’s allowed in by a priest. Then in the night, he steals some of the fine silver and bops the priest on the head.
The next day he’s picked up by the police and brought back to the priest. The kind and Godly priest offers up a story to the police about how he sent Valjean on an errand to get the silver cleaned, and then gives Valjean MORE VALUABLE STUFF. He has an eloquent and heartfelt speech about buying Valjean’s soul back from hell so that he may carry on a life worth living instead of staying with the life of crime to which he’s become familiar.
Then there’s a time-skip. This film plays well to 3 different locations, the first one being the shortest of the three. Valjean has cleaned up his act and tries to do the best he can to get along as a forgiven man. Unfortunately, Inspector Javert (Rush) is not a forgiving person. He remembers Valjean from his prisoner days and seeks to have him cast back down the societal ladder to where a criminal ‘ought to be’. Then Uma Thurman factors into the film by playing what is called in those days a harlot.
Other than a classic story and what I find to be a very enjoyable cast in this film adaptation of the novel I never read, I think it’s the viewpoints of right and wrong I love. Often those of us focused on morality are also the first to condemn others, and therefore ourselves, to judgment. We act (and I say we because I know I’m not alone) as though the breaking of the law of God or the laws of men strip a person of dignity for life. Granted, there are some crimes of such a vile nature that an individual can seem hopelessly lost. But the fact that they’re still alive should imply that they should be given a chance to change and better themselves.
The way this film plays out is that Valjean is a repentant and forgiven man who is just trying to get on with his life and maybe help out others along the way. Inspector Javert represents the unforgiving nature in that he refuses to budge in the belief that Valjean is first and foremost a criminal and therefore all his life actions are tainted by his past ones.
I personally see some correlation to the change from the strictness found in the Old Testament under the law and the grace and mercy provided through Chris in the New Testament… but I don’t know the author’s heart. Victor Hugo appears himself to be a person who understood these topics and strove to include this concept intentionally. I think the church of his day and its seemingly uncaring nature drove him away, but he still thought and believed in the Biblical concepts I pose here.
No matter what the literary genius behind the work is clearly visible. Having not seen any other film adaptations, read the book… or seen the musical… I still heartily recommend this classic to anyone.
Movie trailer for you.
I’d recommend watching ONLY if you’ve seen the movie already. Lego summarizing.
#9: The Saint
This one’s a little off the beaten trail as movies go. The strange thing I’ve found is that I like Val Kilmer as an actor a little more than most. Of all the horrible Batman movies of old starring George Clooney and Danny Devito and the ever-beautiful Alicia Silverstone, I find Val Kilmer’s acting to be the least stinky of the bunch.
Russians and cold fusion. I could stop there, because I already think that’s enough to make a good story. And since I find certain accents mildly hilarious, it would also be a comedy to me.
Basically Val Kilmer plays a very good thief. The reason he’s such a good thief is because he’s a fantastic chameleon. He adapts his appearance and voice to many different situations. Well, he’s working his last job before he retires when he is assigned to steal from a pretty girl. Not only is she pretty but smart and witty and apparently his soul mate. Well, a job’s a job. So he steals from her the recipe for cold fusion… or at least most of it.
The film develops from here, with lots of people randomly in trouble, and learning The Saint’s back story and trying to find his real name become intriguing. The main reason they start calling him the Saint is because all his fake names and identities coincide with Catholic saints. This movie helped me realize that there is quite a list of sainted people. I almost thought about trying to find the Big Catholic Book of Sainted People… almost. Chances are they’d be sold out. I do live in the Bible Belt, after all.
This one’s probably a little quirky and some will find it strange that it’s in my top 10. Well I think it’s cool. And TRUST me, there are far weirder surprises left in the top 10. Just you wait and see.
Surprisingly short on the options for this one from YouTube and other video hosting sites. Ever so depressing. Here’s a music video someone put together for it.