Op-Rob Top 50: 20-11

20. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

 TWL: In truth, I first watched the 1920 West German expressionist “Caligari” because of a funny skit on “Portlandia”. After getting used to the inter-titles and bizarre cinematography, what I found was a mind-bending, thrilling horror masterpiece.

TWL: In truth, I first watched the 1920 West German expressionist “Caligari” because of a funny skit on “Portlandia”. After getting used to the inter-titles and bizarre cinematography, what I found was a mind-bending, thrilling horror masterpiece.

19. “Cool Hand Luke”

 TLR: Paul Newman is flawless in this story of hope and unrelenting positivity in the face of hard times. Those who have seen and loved “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” will find similar themes, in a much subtler and smarter story.

TLR: Paul Newman is flawless in this story of hope and unrelenting positivity in the face of hard times. Those who have seen and loved “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” will find similar themes, in a much subtler and smarter story.

18. “High Noon”

 TLR: “High Noon” may come off as a bit too idealist for cynical viewers, especially in 2018. However, this classic western paints a portrait of a hero and leader we all want to believe exists.

TLR: “High Noon” may come off as a bit too idealist for cynical viewers, especially in 2018. However, this classic western paints a portrait of a hero and leader we all want to believe exists.

17. “Still Walking”

 TLR: A pitch-perfect film from Hirokazu Kore-eda about universal family struggles. Incredibly complex and touching messages seep through the simple setting and dialogue driven plot at every turn.

TLR: A pitch-perfect film from Hirokazu Kore-eda about universal family struggles. Incredibly complex and touching messages seep through the simple setting and dialogue driven plot at every turn.

16. “There Will Be Blood”

 TLR: “There Will Be Blood” tackles issues of ambition, and its potential toxicity led by Daniel Day-Lewis’ all-time best performance. In terms of backdrop, this is perhaps the most beautiful film on the Op-Rob Top 50.

TLR: “There Will Be Blood” tackles issues of ambition, and its potential toxicity led by Daniel Day-Lewis’ all-time best performance. In terms of backdrop, this is perhaps the most beautiful film on the Op-Rob Top 50.

15. “Citizen Kane”

 TLR: There is a reason “Kane” is often cited as the GOAT film. Orson Welles’ masterpiece is a riveting story fueled by the real life of William Randolph Hearst, not to mention the numerous groundbreaking cinematic aspects that went into its production.

TLR: There is a reason “Kane” is often cited as the GOAT film. Orson Welles’ masterpiece is a riveting story fueled by the real life of William Randolph Hearst, not to mention the numerous groundbreaking cinematic aspects that went into its production.

14. “Ex Machina”

 TLR: Low-budget, trim in length, and low-key overall, “Ex Machina” is a film that thrives on the strength of its ideas. This is the best film I have seen in theaters in the past five years, and begs for more and more relevance as complex AI becomes a reality.

TLR: Low-budget, trim in length, and low-key overall, “Ex Machina” is a film that thrives on the strength of its ideas. This is the best film I have seen in theaters in the past five years, and begs for more and more relevance as complex AI becomes a reality.

13. “Dirty Harry”

 TLR: “Dirty Harry” is the archetype for the great neo-Western. Clint Eastwood is singularly perfect for the role, and I also love how director Don Siegel utilizes San Francisco giving the viewer a vivid sense of the city.

TLR: “Dirty Harry” is the archetype for the great neo-Western. Clint Eastwood is singularly perfect for the role, and I also love how director Don Siegel utilizes San Francisco giving the viewer a vivid sense of the city.

12. “Goodfellas”

 TLR: The greatest American gangster film of all time, and by a length. “Goodfellas” offers a step-by-step narrative of the rise and fall of an Italian mobster, with study-worthy direction by Martin Scorcese and memorable performances by Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci.

TLR: The greatest American gangster film of all time, and by a length. “Goodfellas” offers a step-by-step narrative of the rise and fall of an Italian mobster, with study-worthy direction by Martin Scorcese and memorable performances by Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci.

11. “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

 TLR: “Strangelove” is a genius satire of MAD Theory (among other things) directed by the great Stanley Kubrick. The film perfectly tackles any number of issues about the Cold War, and does so in a funny, creative, and thoughtful way.

TLR: “Strangelove” is a genius satire of MAD Theory (among other things) directed by the great Stanley Kubrick. The film perfectly tackles any number of issues about the Cold War, and does so in a funny, creative, and thoughtful way.

Op-Rob Top 50: 30-21

30. "Midnight Express"

 TLR: Inspired by the true story of Billy Hayes, an Aerican college student sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish rison for drug smuggling, “Midnight Express” is a disturbing, yet unforgettable film. 

TLR: Inspired by the true story of Billy Hayes, an Aerican college student sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish rison for drug smuggling, “Midnight Express” is a disturbing, yet unforgettable film. 

29. "Zero Dark Thirty"

 TLR: Every year it seems a new American War Drama is released, however, seldom few can match the patient, realistic approach employed by Kathryn Bigelow in this masterpiece. A film with such intense themes could have easily been over-dramatized.

TLR: Every year it seems a new American War Drama is released, however, seldom few can match the patient, realistic approach employed by Kathryn Bigelow in this masterpiece. A film with such intense themes could have easily been over-dramatized.

28. "Sex, Lies, and Videotape"

 TLR: An invigorating, totally bizarre story that somehow feels totally realistic.  It would be difficult to compare this movie to anything else, perhaps as a result of James Spader’s unflinching performance as Graham.

TLR: An invigorating, totally bizarre story that somehow feels totally realistic.  It would be difficult to compare this movie to anything else, perhaps as a result of James Spader’s unflinching performance as Graham.

27. "Spotlight"

 TLR: “Spotlight” is well filmed, well directed, and well acted.  However, it is the importance of its topic, and the delicacy of the entire crew’s approach, that make this film truly great.

TLR: “Spotlight” is well filmed, well directed, and well acted.  However, it is the importance of its topic, and the delicacy of the entire crew’s approach, that make this film truly great.

26. "Children of Men"

 TLR: With all-around great performances and skillful direction from Alfonso Cuaron, “Children of Men” is a superior dystopian film that never loses its white-knuckle suspense, or relevancy.

TLR: With all-around great performances and skillful direction from Alfonso Cuaron, “Children of Men” is a superior dystopian film that never loses its white-knuckle suspense, or relevancy.

25. "Ikiru"

 TLR: Akira Kurosawa made many great films, but "Ikiru" this is perhaps his most emotionally stirring work.  Anchored by the great Takashi Shimura, this film is a beautiful tribute the importance of approaching one's job with professionalism and care, no matter how old you are.

TLR: Akira Kurosawa made many great films, but "Ikiru" this is perhaps his most emotionally stirring work.  Anchored by the great Takashi Shimura, this film is a beautiful tribute the importance of approaching one's job with professionalism and care, no matter how old you are.

24. "True Grit" (2010)

 TLR: The Coen Brothers’ rendition of the 1962 film, “True Grit”, improves upon its predecessor in every single conceivable aspect.  Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are the stars, but Matt Damon’s understated role as LaBoeuf acts as the glue for this stark western.

TLR: The Coen Brothers’ rendition of the 1962 film, “True Grit”, improves upon its predecessor in every single conceivable aspect.  Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are the stars, but Matt Damon’s understated role as LaBoeuf acts as the glue for this stark western.

23. "Rear Window"

 TLR: This thriller from Alfred Hitchcock holds up without a hiccup even in modern times.

TLR: This thriller from Alfred Hitchcock holds up without a hiccup even in modern times.

22. "Early Summer"

 TLR: “Early Summer” represents many of Yasujiro Ozu’s strongest assets as a filmmaker.  And, along with “Late Spring”, features one of Setsuko Hara’s most graceful performances.

TLR: “Early Summer” represents many of Yasujiro Ozu’s strongest assets as a filmmaker.  And, along with “Late Spring”, features one of Setsuko Hara’s most graceful performances.

21. "The Pianist"

 TLR: This film takes a horrific true story, and portrays it with respect and simplicity. Adrien Brody is perfect in the lead role.

TLR: This film takes a horrific true story, and portrays it with respect and simplicity. Adrien Brody is perfect in the lead role.

Op-Rob Top 50: 40-31

40. "Drive"

 TLR: Dialogue is mostly avoided in this intense, brutal tale of self-sacrifice and principle; expertly driven by a razor-sharp performance from Ryan Gosling.

TLR: Dialogue is mostly avoided in this intense, brutal tale of self-sacrifice and principle; expertly driven by a razor-sharp performance from Ryan Gosling.

39. "The Handmaiden"

 TLR: With a plot twist for the ages, “The Handmaiden” is a disturbing, but ultimately triumphant film with undertones of class and gender conflict. *Not for young audiences

TLR: With a plot twist for the ages, “The Handmaiden” is a disturbing, but ultimately triumphant film with undertones of class and gender conflict. *Not for young audiences

38. "Groundhog Day"

 TLR: A hilarious Billy Murray classic with a timely, and thoughtful message about how to treat women with respect.

TLR: A hilarious Billy Murray classic with a timely, and thoughtful message about how to treat women with respect.

37. "Full Metal Jacket"

 TLR: The definitive Vietnam War movie, with two equally compelling chapters, and a final statement that speaks volumes about the conscience a soldier who has come face-to-face with the horrors of war.

TLR: The definitive Vietnam War movie, with two equally compelling chapters, and a final statement that speaks volumes about the conscience a soldier who has come face-to-face with the horrors of war.

36. "Fargo"

 TLR: A Coen Brother’s masterpiece that haunts as much as it entertains.  With quite unforgettable characters portrayed by Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, and William H. Macy.

TLR: A Coen Brother’s masterpiece that haunts as much as it entertains.  With quite unforgettable characters portrayed by Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, and William H. Macy.

35. "Cast Away"

 TLR: This movie excels as a simple island-survival adventure.  What makes it an all-time great is its message about overcoming life’s most difficult challenges by holding on to hope, as well as a stellar performance from Tom Hanks.

TLR: This movie excels as a simple island-survival adventure.  What makes it an all-time great is its message about overcoming life’s most difficult challenges by holding on to hope, as well as a stellar performance from Tom Hanks.

34. "Mississippi Burning"

 TLR: This movie is a steel-fisted depiction of a true story about injustice and reckoning in the deep South.  Not to be taken lightly.

TLR: This movie is a steel-fisted depiction of a true story about injustice and reckoning in the deep South.  Not to be taken lightly.

33. "The Excorcist"

 TLR: “The Exorcist”, even with its 1973 release date, remains as scary as ever by utilizing the ancient, enduring fear of possession by a demon.  The eerie Georgetown University setting also gives a unique film identity to the typically un-cinematic city of Washington, D.C.

TLR: “The Exorcist”, even with its 1973 release date, remains as scary as ever by utilizing the ancient, enduring fear of possession by a demon.  The eerie Georgetown University setting also gives a unique film identity to the typically un-cinematic city of Washington, D.C.

32. "Harakiri"

 TLR: Don’t let the 1962 release date deter you from watching this gruesome tale about judgement and revenge.  This film is not only powerful in its message, but also incredibly beautiful throughout.

TLR: Don’t let the 1962 release date deter you from watching this gruesome tale about judgement and revenge.  This film is not only powerful in its message, but also incredibly beautiful throughout.

31. "Late Spring"

 TLR: One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. This film gets to the heart of the sacrifices involved with marriage, and old age.

TLR: One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. This film gets to the heart of the sacrifices involved with marriage, and old age.

Op-Rob Top 50: 45-41

45. "Branded to Kill"

 With fascinating quirks such as hit man rankings and erotic rice-sniffing, “Branded to Kill” is a kinetic, stylish plunge into yakuza film.  

With fascinating quirks such as hit man rankings and erotic rice-sniffing, “Branded to Kill” is a kinetic, stylish plunge into yakuza film.  

44. "The Bourne Ultimatum"

 The culminating episode in the OG Bourne trilogy makes good on both plot development and the jaw-dropping action that brought the first two films to life.

The culminating episode in the OG Bourne trilogy makes good on both plot development and the jaw-dropping action that brought the first two films to life.

43. "Midnight in Paris"

 “Midnight in Paris” is always a joy to watch because of its consistent, witty dialogue, an innovative plot, and a completely satisfying ending. Owen Wilson is a national treasure!

“Midnight in Paris” is always a joy to watch because of its consistent, witty dialogue, an innovative plot, and a completely satisfying ending. Owen Wilson is a national treasure!

42. "In the Line of Fire"

 Featuring an all-star matchup of Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich “In the Line of Fire” is a riveting assassination thriller set in Washington, D.C.

Featuring an all-star matchup of Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich “In the Line of Fire” is a riveting assassination thriller set in Washington, D.C.

41. "Hunger"

 “Hunger” does not make for pleasant viewing, but it cuts right to the heart of intense moral issues through astounding dialogue and an all-time performance from Michael Fassbender.

“Hunger” does not make for pleasant viewing, but it cuts right to the heart of intense moral issues through astounding dialogue and an all-time performance from Michael Fassbender.

Op-Rob Top 50: 50-46

50. "Side Effects"

 Tweet length review: A slow-start, then quick to unravel psychological-thriller featuring a creepy blend of horror and paranoia with unwavering performances from Rooney Mara and Jude Law.

Tweet length review: A slow-start, then quick to unravel psychological-thriller featuring a creepy blend of horror and paranoia with unwavering performances from Rooney Mara and Jude Law.

49. "Diner"

 Tweet length review: Set in Baltimore, “Diner” is a charming bro-comedy with excellent rewatchability, a surprisingly deep message at its core, and a handful of truly unforgettable scenes.

Tweet length review: Set in Baltimore, “Diner” is a charming bro-comedy with excellent rewatchability, a surprisingly deep message at its core, and a handful of truly unforgettable scenes.

48. "3:10 to Yuma"

 Tweet length review: Backed by the always stellar Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, this updated take on a Western classic is both beautifully shot, exhilarating throughout, and moving at its end.

Tweet length review: Backed by the always stellar Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, this updated take on a Western classic is both beautifully shot, exhilarating throughout, and moving at its end.

47. "Wait Until Dark"

 Tweet length review: With a perfectly cast Audrey Hepburn at its core and an unforgettably disturbing Alan Arkin, this suspense film defies its age and will scare the wits out of modern viewers.

Tweet length review: With a perfectly cast Audrey Hepburn at its core and an unforgettably disturbing Alan Arkin, this suspense film defies its age and will scare the wits out of modern viewers.

46. "Sideways"

 Tweet length review: Wine-snob jokes abound in this off-beat comedy that speaks profound truths to a mature audience.

Tweet length review: Wine-snob jokes abound in this off-beat comedy that speaks profound truths to a mature audience.

Honorable Mentions

Per the suggestion of a few of my readers, this new addition to Op-Rob will document my favorite movies.  Over the course of the next few months, I will post my 50 favorite movies with reviews for each of them.

For now, however, I am posting a list of films that I love, but didn’t make the cut for top 50.  I’ve added a sentence or two commenting on each of the honorable mentions.  If you strongly dislike any of these movies or want to know more about why I like them, feel free to post a comment and I will do my best to respond in detail.

I hope you enjoy and get the chance to watch a few of these titles if you haven’t seen them already!

"La Femme Nikita" (1990, Action)

 For fans of Jason Bourne and James Bond, Luc Besson's "La Femme Nikita" is an essential viewing.

For fans of Jason Bourne and James Bond, Luc Besson's "La Femme Nikita" is an essential viewing.

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016, Adventure-Comedy)

 Set in the New Zealand bush, this film is non-stop excitement from start to finish, with more than a few thoughtful moments too.

Set in the New Zealand bush, this film is non-stop excitement from start to finish, with more than a few thoughtful moments too.

“Charlie Wilson's War” (2007, Comedy Drama)

 -           This scene  is one of many reasons I love this true-ish Cold War political comedy/drama.

-          This scene is one of many reasons I love this true-ish Cold War political comedy/drama.

“Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai” (1999, Action)

 This movie blends seemingly incongruent themes to create an entirely unique take on the crime genre.

This movie blends seemingly incongruent themes to create an entirely unique take on the crime genre.

“Locke”  (2013, Drama)

 “Locke” takes place almost entirely inside of a car.  If you can get past the static scenery, this movie bears a compelling message about family, honor, and a man’s duty to own up to his mistakes.

“Locke” takes place almost entirely inside of a car.  If you can get past the static scenery, this movie bears a compelling message about family, honor, and a man’s duty to own up to his mistakes.

“Shaft”  (1971, Action-Crime)

 "Right on."

"Right on."

“Little Miss Sunshine” (2006, Comedy-Drama)

 This movie presents such a dreadful cast of characters at its outset (with the exception of Olive), it is remarkable that you’ll be rooting for them all by the end of the story.

This movie presents such a dreadful cast of characters at its outset (with the exception of Olive), it is remarkable that you’ll be rooting for them all by the end of the story.

“Gladiator”  (2000, Action-Drama)

 High School teachers can debate the historical accuracy all they want, “Gladiator” is a grand adventure that never fails to inspire with a killer soundtrack and a powerhouse cast.

High School teachers can debate the historical accuracy all they want, “Gladiator” is a grand adventure that never fails to inspire with a killer soundtrack and a powerhouse cast.

“The Descendants”  (2011, Drama)

 Don’t let the backdrop of Hawaii fool you, “The Descendants” is an often dark, but ultimately inspiring tale about a family coming together in the wake of a physical, and behavioral tragedy.

Don’t let the backdrop of Hawaii fool you, “The Descendants” is an often dark, but ultimately inspiring tale about a family coming together in the wake of a physical, and behavioral tragedy.

“Mulholland Drive” (2001, Mystery)

 With an ever present eeriness and twist for the ages, one must question everything in this mysterious thriller from the mind of David Lynch.

With an ever present eeriness and twist for the ages, one must question everything in this mysterious thriller from the mind of David Lynch.

"Casino" (1995, Crime-Drama)

 Scorcese? Check. De Niro? Check. Pesci? Check. "Casino" would break the top 50 if a similar film weren't just a little better...

Scorcese? Check. De Niro? Check. Pesci? Check. "Casino" would break the top 50 if a similar film weren't just a little better...

“Fantastic Mr. Fox”  (2009, Comedy)

 Stop-motion with the Wes Anderson signature touch. This film is light, funny, and has an all-star voice cast and an excellent soundtrack.

Stop-motion with the Wes Anderson signature touch. This film is light, funny, and has an all-star voice cast and an excellent soundtrack.

“Moneyball”  (2011, Sports-Drama)

 Who knew a movie about baseball analytics could be so thoughtful and entertaining?

Who knew a movie about baseball analytics could be so thoughtful and entertaining?

“State of Siege”  (1972, Historical-Thriller)

 A Costa-Gavras matter-of-fact political thriller, “State of Siege” is a lesson in the shadier corners of Cold War history, and a conversation-starting message about the rules of war.

A Costa-Gavras matter-of-fact political thriller, “State of Siege” is a lesson in the shadier corners of Cold War history, and a conversation-starting message about the rules of war.

“In Bruges”  (2008, Dark-Comedy)

 Quotable and clever, “In Bruges” is an all-around well executed movie about the perils of the hitman business.

Quotable and clever, “In Bruges” is an all-around well executed movie about the perils of the hitman business.

“Rushmore”  (1998, Comedy)

“The Hunter”  (2011, Adventure)

 It’s a slow-burn, but visually rewarding throughout and surprisingly creative in the climax.

It’s a slow-burn, but visually rewarding throughout and surprisingly creative in the climax.

“The Gift” (2015, Horror Thriller)

 -          “The Gift” is one of those movies that takes your expectations and throws them out the window.  It is very scary, but the source of real terror will certainly surprise you.

-          “The Gift” is one of those movies that takes your expectations and throws them out the window.  It is very scary, but the source of real terror will certainly surprise you.

“A Serious Man”  (2009, Dark Comedy)

 Detailed, hilarious, and shrouded in symbolism, "A Serious Man" is a movie that makes you think.

Detailed, hilarious, and shrouded in symbolism, "A Serious Man" is a movie that makes you think.

“Green Room”  (2015, Horror-Thriller)

 Not for the faint of heart, “Green Room” is a sharp, bloody plunge into a culture of neo-nazi’s from which a visiting rock band must extract themselves.

Not for the faint of heart, “Green Room” is a sharp, bloody plunge into a culture of neo-nazi’s from which a visiting rock band must extract themselves.

“Inside Out”  (2015, Animated Comedy-Drama)

 Somehow achieves to be kid-friendly and entertaining while executing an inventive and extremely complex premise. “Inside Out” is Pixar perfection.

Somehow achieves to be kid-friendly and entertaining while executing an inventive and extremely complex premise. “Inside Out” is Pixar perfection.

"Die Hard" (1988, Action)

 It’s scenes  like this  that never get old, and make “Die Hard” an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

It’s scenes like this that never get old, and make “Die Hard” an annual Christmas Eve tradition.