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What modern films are great?


over 6 years ago

In another topic everyone is saying how there are major problems with today’s modern day mainstream films. But that still leaves the non mainstream films right? And not all of the mainstream films are bad? So I am curious what films (if any) you feel rank with the greatest films of all time?


over 6 years ago

I’m not sure if it’s all time material but my favorite film of this year by far was Rachel Getting Married. It was such a wonderful story and reached far beyond Anne Hathaway. Honestly, probably the most beautiful display of an interracial relationship I have ever seen.

Justin Biberkopf

over 6 years ago

There Will Be Blood, Inland Empire, Time of the Wolf, Van Sant’s Death Trilogy, The Squid and the Whale, maybe a few others

No T.Hanks

over 6 years ago

In this decade, only The Incredibles, and the films by Lynch and Madden find a place deep in my heart close to the established classics. And maybe the WAnderson films between Bottle Rocket and Dajeeling.

Anything else, and I’d rather pop in The Three Amigos or Galaxy Quest.

davecit​o !

over 6 years ago

Well, there’s no kind of consensus generally. But – of recent films that did some kind of box office in the US – say the last 10-20 years – I personally thought The Ice Storm, The Aviator, Quiz Show, Dazed And Confused, Fargo, and Far From Heaven were all very, very good, and they are all quite different kinds of films. Of less widely-seen films, Yi Yi I think will go down as a real classic.


over 6 years ago

I am glad you brought up this topic Drew because i was going to start a discussion about this. I hate most films today because
A. Films are made for masses
B. There is always a left-wing political agenda
C. Affirmative action in all movies
D. Compromise of ideas and artistic value so you wont hurt any race or religion
E. Rap or Hip-Hop soundtracks
F. Loud noises for suspense, not real suspense
G.Independent films shoving Homosexuality down are throat( no pun intended)
H. Pretentious garbage people think is “art”
I. Most people are stupid so nobody tries to make a real film because viewers today wouldnt get it anyways.
J.The bad films make the most money so they will continue to get worse
The greatest film of the last 10 years
Eyes Wide Shut 1999

Honey Bunny

over 6 years ago



over 6 years ago

I agree with just about all you said Clovenhoof. Especially about Eyes Wide Shut. This film is one of my favorite films but I have trouble considering it modern because it was made by one of the greats. Still 1999 so it is modern.

Also to answer my own question. I agree about There Will Be Blood being great. I also love Gangs of New York. I know I’m alone but I just really love it.

In my opinion music (at least for now) is dead. I don’t consider film dead because there are plenty of good films and a few great ones. I pray to God it will never die. Daily I feel saddened by the public’s opinions and actions taken by studios.

___ _____

over 6 years ago

Yi Yi yes, and also Inland Empire, George Washington, Brand Upon the Brain!, My Own Private Idaho, Chungking Express, Lost in Translation, After Life, Audition, Dead Man, and Talk to Her. There are many many more, but I’m tired…


over 6 years ago

Well, Clovenhoof, I’ll just ask what is a “real film”? And really? Shoving homosexuality? Even the great Kubrick dealt with helping show homosexuality as a part of human life since it’s earliest histories with Spartacus. I don’t know about films that talk about affirmative action, but I do know of films that talk about what is happening in a world that balances most of it’s messages on politics, and has used the image as a means to express opinions, and talk about problems that have to do with human rights, hypocrisy, and compassion for others.

Either way, I think a great modern (American) film is any one that can find the balls to harken back to seventies American cinema that deals with emotional narrative, a fearlessness on part of the director to “express” themselves, and to be about the characters without a single action scene, and there are a few of those around, even mainstream ones. Can anyone think of which one I’m talking about? Basically movies that’ll shut an audience up.

Alot o' marQ

over 6 years ago

saying homosexuality is being shoved down our throat now is like saying non-white races were shoved down the throat of 1960s and 70s audiences. but guess what? those people existed, just like homos exist now and always have, but we’re finally as a culture (well, most of us anyways) willing and able to accept that these people who were usually swept under the carpet and ignored aren’t going anywhere and deserve a place in pop-culture as much as anyone else.

Rap is used in alot of movies, but i seldom hear real Hip-Hop used in films of this decade. if it were used more, it’d be a gem. personally, i hear a buttload of Indie-pop, which typically makes me sick to my stomach, but as long as its used well in the film then i noramlly enjoy it.

movies have always been made for the masses. with the exceptions of the 1970s, American cinema has been more about money because-surprise!-the industry is run by million-dollar businesses who need to watch their bottom line. that’s why Independent films are so important, but unfortunately most indie films that get wide release these days are pretty much all the same, and the ones that show in most theatres where i live are dull and very run-of-the-mill. even enjoyable pictures like Juno really don’t do much for me, other than entertain for an hour or so.

as far as what modern films are great? well, not sure what is condiered modern, but if we were to say 1990 and on, here’s my short list of exceptional films:
Pulp Fiction
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2
Malcolm X
The 40 Year Old Virgin
The Piano Teacher

for better or for worse, i feel like these movies made an impact on their genres that was either unexpected, unprecedented, or just plain hard to come by from anyone else. i’m probably missing some, but these were at the top of my head. cheers.

dope fiend willy

over 6 years ago

great films are still being made.

2000:Amores Perros, Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, Gladiator

2001:Gosford Park, Black Hawk Down, Training Day
2002:Road to Perdition, Bourne Identity

2003:Master and Commander, Mystic River, Whale Rider, Pirates of the Carribean, House of Sand and Fog, Seabiscuit, Lost in Translation

2004:Passion of the Christ, The Aviator, Man on Fire, Alexander

2005:The New World, Brokeback Mountain, Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Kingdom of HEaven, Hustle and Flow, Munich, Good Night and Good luck, Capote

2006:Departed, 300
2007:Eastern Promises, There Will Be Blood, Charlie Wilson’s War, Michael Clayton


over 6 years ago

Clarification: Do you want films from the modern era? Or modern as in “recent”? Because technically, every film listed above is post-modern.

The modern era had very few good films, among them The Sting and Loving. Overall, it’s not my favorite film era. In terms of post-modern films, I think everyone’s got the best pretty much covered above.

dope fiend willy

over 6 years ago

I believe that the author is talking about films being made today, or in the last few years; as he refers to another thread about the supposed dire state of the film industry and how it is bankrupt as an artistic medium.


over 6 years ago

I’d consider Michael Mann a great modern director. He appeals to me in a way that other “big names” (Tarantino, Coen Brothers, Aaranofsky, etc) don’t for some reason. His films manage to be poetic without the trickery and pretentiousness, even whilst carrying mainstream themes (ie, cops and robbers).

Aside from that I’d consider “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Dead Man” both as excellent. Same with most Wong Kar Wai or Van Sant. How about Hsiao-hsien Hou? What do people think of him? Some might find him pretentious but I loved “Cafe Lumiere” and “Millennium Mambo”. “Flight of the Red Balloon” was ok.


over 6 years ago

“Rap is used in alot of movies, but i seldom hear real Hip-Hop used in films of this decade. if it were used more, it’d be a gem.”

Very true. Hip-Hop of the Def-Jux, Stones Throw, Rhymesayer (labels) kind.

I guess modern films fail more because of their heavy reliance on SFX and trying to use some wow factor, previously it was just human emotions and/or natural magnificence.

Honey Bunny

over 6 years ago


@Sully I’m sure that (as most of the above have responded) Drew meant Post-Modern films. Modern, to the greater population, means contemporary films. So “contemporary” is the topic.

dope fiend willy

over 6 years ago

yeah, I don’t care about modern, post-modern, or post-post modern, or neo modern classical.

I only care about good and bad.

Walt Ostrand​er

over 6 years ago

As far as this last decade goes, There Will Be Blood really is a singularly fantastic film, as was No Country For Old Men. Way to go, 2007.

Though well off the mainstream, Guy Maddin still makes some wonderfully hyper-cinematic stuff that never ceases to astound me. I’d highly recommend “My Winnipeg” and “Brand Upon the Brain!” in the vein of the last three years.

dope fiend willy

over 6 years ago

what about the new world? Amores Perros?

Hopeles​sly Addicte​d

over 6 years ago

My guess is, among the films that came out in the past ten years, film enthusiasts living in mid 21st century would still be admiring these:

FIGHT CLUB (Fincher)

Hopeles​sly Addicte​d

over 6 years ago

Re. Clovenwoof’s comments:

“A. Films are made for masses”

Apart from Fight Club, I don’t think any in my list can be considered to be made for the masses. Even Fight Club, one could argue, is not. Still, the preference or the lack of preference of the masses, by itself, doesn’t necessarily say anything about the quality of films.

“B. There is always a left-wing political agenda”

Is it possible to make agenda-less films??! (Or do you only like a particular agenda?) What has it got to do with the quality of the film?

“C. Affirmative action in all movies”

What does this mean? I don’t dwell on the color, creed or sexuality of the characters or the filmmakers so I could be forgetting the details, but, if we are talking about including the “points of view” of non-white, non-male characters in the film (which is what affirmative action means from an American point of view I assume), Beau Travais (which takes place in Africa), Flowers of Shanghai (which takes place within a brothel so, among other things, it comments on sexism) and Les Glaneuse… (made from the point of view of Agnes Varda, ‘a chick’) are the only films in my list that could offend him. I hope he could forgive these films and me. ;-) (Sorry if Clovenwoof is not a he…)

But, how does ‘affirmative action’ ruin a film?

“D. Compromise of ideas and artistic value so you wont hurt any race or religion”

I hope my choices don’t do that.

Filmmakers always choose what they want to express and how they want to express it. I think intelligent and interesting filmmakers wouldn’t want to be too simplistic to hurt any race or religion since I am yet to come across a perfect race or religion. They can make us question aspects of ‘our’ society though…

“E. Rap or Hip-Hop soundtracks”

Again, I could be wrong but none of the films in my list would probably offend clovenwoof… But, what exactly is wrong with Hip-Hop? Shouldn’t the film reflect the society as well as add to the mood of the film? Since a lot of young people are interested in hip-hop and since it could convey a particular mood, why can’t it be used by filmmakers?

“F. Loud noises for suspense, not real suspense”

Sound is part of the film. Things can be overused and we could become desensitized but it is still can be a useful tool.

“G.Independent films shoving Homosexuality down are throat( no pun intended)”

How do they do that?

There are critics who claim that part of the allure of foreign films in the 60s was due to the fact that frank depictions of ‘sensuality’ was very uncommon in American films of that era (or, for that matter, in all films from earlier eras). Frank depiction of sensuality (and sexuality) can be used in many ways – for mere titillation or to invoke a shocking reaction or in a matter of fact way. It is the audience who should answer certain questions. Why does something allure us? Why do we find something shocking?

“H. Pretentious garbage people think is “art””

What is art? How do we know when something is art or pretentious garbage? What are the criteria for distinguishing one from the other?

“I. Most people are stupid so nobody tries to make a real film because viewers today wouldnt get it anyways.”

What is a real film versus a fake film? Are there more smart people in the past than now? If we accept the validity of IQ tests, for example, they show that average IQ of populations tend to rise…

“J. The bad films make the most money so they will continue to get worse”

If you are a producer (as opposed to a philanthropist), the intention is to make profit. In Hollywood (where the major players are part of conglomerates), there is understandable pressure on the executives. Their obvious trick is to appeal to particular target groups. The prime target thus is the 15-40 age group which, if I am not mistaken, make up the largest slice of the filmgoers. Thus, a lot of money goes towards making movies for them and a majority of people in this group are easily bored. So, we have your typical summer blockbusters and cartoon(ish) films.

What is wrong with such films? I am sure you’d find fellow forum members here who like the ‘art’ of some Quentin Tarantino films or films made from graphic novels (which I don’t find particularly appealing). Are they wrong? How would you make them appreciate the films you like?

Why should they like a movie I do? How can I say that my taste is better than theirs?

You can’t win everyone but what can we do to get people interested in certain types of films so that the film companies would be more invest in making such films?


over 6 years ago

^ I like that idea of what’ll be shown from today later on that was considered “important”? Seriously, is there anything today we could consider relevant to film’s progression besides it’s technical qualities? If there is anyone, though, I think we’ll be talking about later on it’s Lars Von Trier for his shifts in style and focus to show the dynamics of a single filmmaker and his constant experimentation, Mike Leigh because of his method and beautifully witty dialogue, and uh the entire Thai movement for reminding us about distance, and fashioning it into something that’s now become a fashion statement but was once just a great way to add realism, and use alot less film.

Oh, I almst forgot Peter Watkins, Alan Clarke, Derek Jarman, Quentin Tarantino, and maybe some other people from the UK.


over 6 years ago

calling all “art” movies pretentious garbage just makes me believe that whoever is saying that only likes totally linear, basic films that are just there to entertain the masses, and anything else is just garbage. you could call almost any david lynch movie pretentious garbage because some of the scenes don’t relate to each other, but he’s one of my personal favorite filmmakers. i don’t see why a film has to make any more linear sense than a painting, it’s all art. not everyone’s going to hang it on their wall, but it has a valid place in the art world.


over 6 years ago

In the Mood For Love (this is the greatest film of the past twenty years; if someone mentioned already, I missed it)
The Piano
Dead Man
The Royal Tenenbaums
Dazed and Confused
Boys Don’t Cry
Mulholland Dr.
Brokeback Mountain
Gosford Park
A History of Violence
Yi Yi
Pulp Fiction
Million Dollar Baby
All About My Mother
Terminator 2
There Will Be Blood
The Big Lebowski
Office Space

That was off the top of my head, more or less. I may have missed something.

Allen Grey

over 6 years ago

people are making strong lists so sure there’s lots of great films—films that are apt to stand the test of time—being made. I suspect this thread and the companion one are cropping up because it’s February which is when most of the worst films are released. Looking at screentimes this morning, I too think that no good movies are made anymore. A lot of the most evidently strong films get rushed out in Dec. so if you’re like me you glut yourself. Then mid-jan comes and those stronger films have been out awhile and you’ve seen them all and its famine until maybe March when some surprises and sleepers appear. Then quiet for a while and then in May you get blockbusters—which can be fun, though ot challenging—as well as more interesting independent fare that appears to balance out the blockbusters. But now? Well, it’s a long and cold month. I find myself asking, “well, I mean how bad could Paul Blart really be?”

By the way, some people are tired of Hollywood shoving heterosexuality down their throats.


over 6 years ago

The question was do you feel any rank with THE GREATEST OF ALL-TIME, not has there been any good movies made in the last two decades. Keeping it in the realm of the greatest of all-time, There has been maybe one or two this decade and a couple in the 90s. I think There Will Be Blood and Yi Yi are the only two this decade that could be in a discussion with movies such as Citizen Kane, Godfather, Singin’ In the Rain, etc. In the 90s, I would argue Pulp Fiction. These are the only 3 movies in recent years that would garnish a top ten nomination. Do the Right Thing came out in ‘89, so I don’t know if we are going back that far.

With time, Yi Yi, Pulp, Blood, and Do the Right Thing HAVE A CHANCE to be mentioned with the “greatest” ones.

No T.Hanks

over 6 years ago

Is it just me, or is there any merit to the crackpot notion that, as there’s an increase of technological means to preserve and reproduce works from the past, there’s been a drop-off in quality and nature of current work? It’s like an inversion of the infamous theological assertion—and since we KNOW that the gods of cinema do exist, it’s no longer neccessary to reinvent one.

Yi Yi is an absolute wonder of a film, and one I’m planning to revisit soon. But what distinguishes so much of the great cinema from the 30’s through until the late 70’s is how a great deal of it managed to perform so high in regard to craft while still reaching a broader and appreciative audience—in fresh, exciting ways. (And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Yang say in the commentary track to Rayns that he’d determined never to even release Yi Yi in his own country based on the indifference his previous films received there?)

After reading some subsequent posts, in a bid to seem less of a master crank I’d expand my list to include a few works mentioned by others: I really enjoyed The Ice Storm, but as far as it standing beside the works of Kubrick, Renoir, Mizoguchi, Godard, et. al., I’d stall at just about that point. Simialr feelings regarding No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Aside from their appeal to the fetishism of the darker side of human nature, do they really rate with even Miller’s Crossing, let alone Godfather I and II? (I’d be happier to sit through The Grifters, despite the detriment of Cusak’s performance.) And as far as a Coen film from this decade, I’d rather sit and stare at The Man Who Wasn’t There. But not rather than drinking in a Melville.

Minghella’s Ripley is a great flic—but is it on par with the great Kurosawa or Satyajit Ray films?

From Hawks and Disney to Teshigahara and Coppola’s few masterpieces, there was a character to a huge amount of work from the past, both mainstream and outside, that seemed far less pre-packaged than what’s produced now. And likewise far less grim.

Bobby Wise

over 6 years ago

that’s just history working on you. believe me. everything seems golden and mysterious if its older and distant. the next generation removed will be saying the same things about films from the postmodern era.

that being said, “pulp fiction” is certainly going to have a place among the greats of cinema. this is the only postmodern film i feel certain about, but maybe because it’s so important a film for me. i dont know. but i surely think a jarmusch film will enter the canon of greatness, and a coens film, lynch too. i just dont know which of theirs.

David Ehrenst​ein

over 6 years ago

Take my HOT THOBBING Homosexuality, Clovehoof! You WANT it shoved right down your throat, don’t you slave!