Happy Birthday to Jack Nicholson, who turns 79 tomorrow! 🙂
I love Jack. Jack is cool. I’d love to be as cool as Jack! He’s been a favorite actor of mine for years – Probably ever since I saw my top two movies on this list at the age of 15 or so. And, okay – since I also saw Batman at that same time. I became slightly obsessed with Jack’s Joker. I even had some awesome Joker earrings that I wore for months in 1989. What a nerd…
Nicholson has been in some damn good films. It’s not often that I do these Top Ten Actor lists where a couple of the movies are all-time favorites of mine but I can say that’s definitely the case this time with the two that top this list. Absolute classics! I like all the movies in this list but the top two are truly special and a lot of that is thanks to Jack’s performance in each of them. He’s my favorite crazy bastard.
Let’s get this started! Wow – it’s also not often that I’ve reviewed NONE of the films in a top ten I’m doing. A lot of that is down to me being uncomfortable “reviewing” the movies I love the most & I keep putting off reviewing the top two for my IMDB Top 250 Project. Anyway – here are My Top Ten Jack Nicholson Movies (not ranked by performance) counting down to my favorite:
10. TIE: A Few Good Men & Mars Attacks!
9. Easy Rider
7. Terms Of Endearment
6. The Bucket List
5. The Departed
2. The Shining
1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
**In case you wonder why some movies are missing, it may be because I haven’t seen them. Here are the remainder of his films that I’ve seen, but some were so long ago that I need to re-watch them:
– How Do You Know (the only one he was in that I’d consider “bad”)
– The Witches Of Eastwick (need to re-watch)
– Something’s Gotta Give
– Little Shop Of Horrors (need to re-watch)
– As Good As It Gets
– Anger Management
– About Schmidt (Jack was great in this)
Also, here’s a quick Happy Birthday tomorrow to the gorgeous Catherine Mary Stewart (57 – one of my favorite Twitter buddies). Yes, Catherine Mary Stewart & her co-star Kelli Maroney both followed me on Twitter after I reviewed their classic 80’s movie Night Of The Comet. And I use every opportunity possible to keep mentioning that on my blog… 🙂
(Some of my other celeb followers: Zach Galligan, Linnea Quigley, a girl from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the dude who got his throat ripped out in Road House!!!! I love my mostly-80’s celebrity Twitter followers!) 😉
Finally, there is one cool celebrity birthday that is actually today: Iggy Pop has just turned 69. Wow – he doesn’t look a day over 109!
As I’ve finally now seen The Martian, which has earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, I thought it was time to do My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies.
Holy hell, when did Matt Damon make so many movies?! I sometimes struggle to scrape together ten movies that I’ve seen for these actor lists but I’ve seen 22 Damon Films (counting the Bournes as one & not counting Field Of Dreams, in which he apparently had an uncredited role as “baseball fan at Fenway Park”. really??).
I’d never have called Matt Damon a favorite actor of mine but I like him just fine. To be honest, I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed him that much (which is why I was surprised when I looked him up & he was listed as being in 74 things). I was happy for the Damon/Affleck Oscar win for Good Will Hunting and how young, dumb, and full of… enthusiasm they were! Look at them accepting their Best Original Screenplay Oscar – they were so sweet:
I have to say I’ve always preferred Matt Damon to Ben Affleck, though. There’s something shifty about that guy! But their relationship has lasted longer than most Hollywood marriages so that’s pretty cool.
There are several Damon movies that I saw but just don’t remember that well (hey – I’m old & I’ve watched a lot of movies). I’ll list them all at the end so you know why they aren’t included. The one I really must admit to not remembering all that much of is Saving Private Ryan. So, I’ve given it an honorable mention to hopefully avoid a riot. I pissed people off enough as it was when I left it out of My Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies. I promise that if I ever re-watch it & think it deserves to be in the ten, I’ll update this list. Yes, I’ve put cameos and super tiny roles above Private Ryan. Sorry! 😉
So here are My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies (not performances) counting down to my favorite:
Honorable Mention (because it’s a worthy war movie & Steven Spielberg rules but I barely remember the film. I hope he got saved!):
The Ones I’d Need To Re-Watch Before I Could Really Include Them In A List: The Talented Mr Ripley Courage Under Fire Rounders Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind Hereafter School Ties
And who doesn’t say “Matt Damon” in this way now whenever they hear his name? He must get sick of people probably still doing that to him. But he apparently found this hilarious because Matt Damon seems like he’s just so damn nice. 🙂
As it looks like Leo may soon *finally* get that Oscar he deserves, I figured it was time for me to do My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies.
DiCaprio would also easily make a list of My Top Ten Actors but, although we’re the same sort of age & I’ve grown up with him since the days of Growing Pains, I never would have called him one of my favorite actors when we were younger. However, I’ve really respected his acting ever since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Look at how cute he was in Growing Pains!
I often say that I don’t think Leo got the respect he deserved in the past because he was too much of a pretty boy but I think I was also guilty of feeling that way about him. I mean, look at that baby face he had! It also kept him looking much younger than he really was. And although I have his two big “romance” movies high on my list, I can’t say I ever crushed on him. It was Johnny Depp I had the hots for in things like Gilbert Grape, it was never ever Leo. I just didn’t see him in that way. I think I have a slight crush on him now as an adult, though, with his baby face gone & his starring in proper “grown-up” movies.
Even though I always liked him, I’m not sure when it was that I finally started taking him more seriously. I think it was possibly thanks to Catch Me If You Can & then The Departed. And then, of course, Django Unchained (he really should’ve been up for an Oscar for that role). But, as I ALWAYS say with these lists but will still get asked about it, I’m ranking these according to my favorite films, not Leo’s performances. That list would vary quite a bit, I think (number one would stay the same but I’d have others much higher). I just happen to care about liking a movie first and then I care about the performances. But Leo is great in everything.
As I’ve already typed out absolutely everything of his that I’ve seen and as he’s been in so many damn good films and only one rather dodgy one, I figured I might as well just rank them all. (And, yes, I like number four. It’s good. I don’t see why some people have a problem with it). So here are My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies (including the remaining films as honorable mentions):
16. Poison Ivy
15. Revolutionary Road
14. The Man In The Iron Mask
13. Shutter Island
12. The Great Gatsby
To kick off the IMDB Top 250 guest reviews, we have the lovely Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger. Zoe writes fantastic movie & book reviews and top ten lists (and guest top ten lists, should you wish to join in on the fun). She’s super cool & friendly and Leonardo DiCaprio’s number one fan. She also reads LOTS of books & and is way smarter than me so you really need to check her site out if you haven’t already. 🙂
There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE.
Now over to Zoe & her thoughts on The Departed, IMDB Rank 50 out of 250…
I got really gung ho involved with Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 list. I got excited and I basically took a whole bunch, filling my arms. But whatever, moving along, they are great movies that need to be honoured. I thought that The Departed is one of those films. I have an obsession with this movie. I love it. I really, really do, and I revisit it often. I know dear old Mutant is not the hugest Scorsese fan, but I love the man and was going to explore this, no two ways about it. Oki, I’m going to stop rambling now, and get down to it.
“We have a question: Do you want to be a cop, or do you want to appear to be a cop? It’s an honest question.”
– Oliver Queenan
Plot Synopsis: An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat. (IMDB)
Now, for me I really enjoyed the story, it was sharp and tight and very well written, and had a stellar cast to carry the story as well as a phenomenal director to helm it. Leonardo DiCaprio (yep, here I go again) is just amazing. He nailed the role of Billy Costigan, truly amazing work from him yet again, I expected no less. Coming up from nowhere, working his backside off to get into the police force and being shot down was a painful thing, but when Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) offer him the chance to go undercover for them, to take down a big Irish crime lord, he takes it, not thinking twice. What I loved is how he went in, incredibly optimistic, a chance to prove himself, be more than was expected. Instead he ended up running scared, trying so hard to outsmart everyone and keep his real life separate from the undercover life that was designed for him, and struggling to distance himself as well as accept all the cruel and nasty things that he saw.
“I’m gonna need the identity of your undercovers.” – Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson delivered quite the performance here. As Frank Costello, the Irish mob boss whose gang Costigan has wormed his way into, you can see exactly why he is being hunted. He is sharp as a tack, he is ruthless and psychopathic, calm and cool all the time, not much ruffling him. Never mind the mole snooping around his little unit, he as one up on the police: he has his very own mole really high up in their department. Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) has been working with Costello since he was a child, and is treated like the son. The two have a very solid relationship with each other, and work really well together. They rely on each other and they understand each other. Costello has his organisation so tightly wrapped up that even Sullivan is a very well hidden secret from within. Things are going fine up until the point that Costigan gets in. It dawns on the police as well as Costello at roughly the same time that someone is leaking information from the inside. This was really great for me, seeing how things started to heat up. The movie never dragged, and even though it took a while for both sides to make the realisation, it was a fantastic one to arrive at.
The camera work was amazing, and keeps bringing new things to the table, keeping it all fresh. The cast works so well together. On one hand you are rooting for the good guys, and the other you want to see the bad ones succeed. Again, this is an example of fine filmmaking for me, though ultimately your loyalty lay with Costigan and his shattered life due to his cover story, his one “big” opportunity that he was granted. Dignam proved to be an exceptionally angry character, though it was grand watching Wahlberg and DiCaprio together, and Sheen regulating them all the time. The score was great; it worked so well with this film, and the whole Irish theme. Vera Farmiga had her psychiatrist role as Madolyn, seeing police who have fired their weapons in line of duty. A meeting with Sullivan in the elevator and all his cocky confidence start their relationship, and all seems to be going well. Naturally, as all paths are crossing in this movie, she meets Costigan, and the two enter into an unknown thing together, which soon break the practitioner/patient boundaries and escalates into an affair. Costigan is hanging onto her like some kind of lifeline, and it is crazy to watch how her perfect relationship with Sullivan crumples when he starts to hide things about her, stripping her of her character, basically. He is a control freak, and everything has to be just so.
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.” – Frank Costello
The movie pacing is great. It is a long film but never (for me) actually feels that way, which is just awesome. It starts off, sets the tone, introduces the characters, and works with them all a little bit so that we have some background understanding, making all the events that unfold into something more than just a quick smack dab crime flick. As the movie progresses, you witness the cracks that start to show in the characters, the perfectly uneventful lives suddenly have issues that they have never dealt with before. Everything slowly starts unravelling, and soon gains momentum, spinning out of control but never losing the audience or sight of what is going down. Costello’s cockiness is slowly but surely falling away, and he is devolving into something more brutal and his anger is barely kept in check. Nicholson, of course, played that down to a tee. From the relaxed but scary Irish gang leader before, he refuses to relinquish his power, and everyone that stands before him will pay. Sullivan is doing what he can to protect himself as well as Costello, and is desperate to wheedle out the rat that has upset the perfect balance.
“I can’t wait to wipe that fucking smirk right off of your face.” – Dignam
All in all The Departed earns a 9/10 for me. A simply stunning piece of cinema, it was astounding to watch and never ceases to provide the height of entertainment that I am looking for, supported by a outstanding cast, great score and story, and stellar directing, this was destined to be a goodie. It is deserving of all praise, and you are sure that whenever DiCaprio and Scorsese come together, something beautiful will come from it!
I’m cheating – I was going to do a top ten every Thursday but time is short this week so I’m doing one today as this is quicker than what I really want to do, which is write a review for the brilliant The Wolf Of Wall Street. I’ll try to get to that soon.
In the meantime, here are My Top Ten Movies Directed By Martin Scorsese (Sort Of) counting down from ten. Basically, this is different from my other top tens – this is actually a list of the ONLY Scorsese-directed movies I’ve seen, ranked from least favorite to favorite. That’s right – I’ve not seen Casino (and a lot of other Scorsese classics).
**List updated March 12th 2017 to add The Last Temptation Of Christ & The Color Of Money.
My hubby will moan at me for doing a “top ten” when I haven’t even seen some of Scorsese’s biggest films. Oh well – I can always amend the list! And if I’m totally honest, I don’t think I’ve seen Taxi Driver all at once from start to finish & barely remember it. I know, I know… It’s my list and I can do what I want!