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Mike’s Top Ten of 1964

1964 is the year where the true schism occurs. The films seem to be clearly demarcated on either side of a line: either they’re representative of the last gasp of studio system filmmaking (evidenced by a generally bloated nature and a staid feel) vs. the new, vibrant filmmaking coming up that would be the calling card of the 70s independent movement. Trust me, you can tell the difference.

My favorite thing about 1964 is that there are two films in the top ten list that are just completely unknown. One is a film that was hated at the time and completely dismissed. The other is just a forgotten film that’s really engrossing and has some relevance to today.

Otherwise, the rest of the top ten is full of classics that are all just magical in their own way. Plus, it’s a really deep year. I can go thirty deep in this year for great movies. That doesn’t happen often. Read the rest of this page »

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Mike’s Top Ten of 1963

A lot changed this year. This was the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and you definitely saw a shift in the types of films that came out after that event occurred. Plus, this was the year — I guess it’s because of Cleopatra — where it became clear the foundation of the studio system was really on its way out. This feels like the year that demarcates ‘business as usual, but with some more nuanced and realistic subject matter’ with ‘last gasp of the old ways before everything changes’.

There’s a lot of good stuff under the line this year. A lot of cool little gems worth checking out. As for the top — most of the top ten is incredible. A couple of really beloved films generally considered some of the best ever made. And there’s a handful of great films that aren’t as well seen as you’d think. It’s not as overall strong as some of the other years, but it for sure makes its mark.

If there’s one thing I’d like to stress about this year, it’s that you should really go see films #5 and #6 if you haven’t yet. Read the rest of this page »

Mike’s Top Ten of 1962

My favorite year of the 60s. This is the year where legitimately the top ten is amongst the greatest films ever made, and the year where I can go 25 deep for great films. I don’t know how other people look at these lists, if they look at the top ten and ignore everything else. But here, you want to look through the top 20 and see them all, because this year is wonderful.

The great thing about 1962 is that you can go down the list, and pretty much one of the greatest (insert genre here) films was released. One of the greatest epics, one of the greatest westerns (two, for my money), one of the greatest courtroom films, one of the greatest prison fils, one of the greatest thrillers, one of the greatest spy films (which spawned the most successful spy franchise of all time), one of the greatest biopics, one of the greatest war films, and one of the greatest cult films of all time.

Top to bottom, this is hard year to beat. Read the rest of this page »

Mike’s Top Ten of 1961

This is one of the strongest years at the top of the 60s. This is like when a famous band that’s been around a long time plays a concert and then starts playing the major hits one after another. It’s just banger after banger.

The year as a whole isn’t as strong as some of the other 60s years. You don’t go ten deep of classics. But still, there’s cool shit here. The 60s isn’t so much about the major stuff — since we can all pretty much agree on that — it’s about the gems that are below the surface that no one remembers anymore. They’re not as numerous as they were in the 50s, so they’re more pronounced. And because they’re not as much a product of the studio system as they were (since the studio system at this point is decaying and will be gone before the end of the decade), they’re all really interesting, subject wise.

But really, the best part of 1961 is getting to talk about the top tier films. Because man, are those all-timers. Read the rest of this page »