The circle is now complete.

You might have heard about a Best of the Blogosphere poll that’s going around. It’s kind of a response to the most recent AFI 100 Best Films. As I was compiling my nominees, a thought occurred to me (or recurred, really) about how all the great movies are connected somehow. Like George Clooney is in Steven Soderberg films and Coen Brothers films. And the Coens used Barry Sonnenfeld as a DP before he started directing. And Barry Sonnenfeld directed an Elmore Leonard adaptation, as did Soderberg. And on like that.

So here are 100 of my favorite movies, starting with my favorite, The Right Stuff, arranged such that each film has something in common with those that precede and follow it. A director, a star, a writer, a featured player, a composer. Of course, 100 connects back to number one. In some cases, the connection is pretty remote or fuzzy, though they're mostly all legit. Some of the them are downright inspired, if I say so myself. I tried not to have the connection be the same for more than two movies in a row. Yes, there are some glaring omissions, as well as some filler. Or what I like to call “mortar.” I’d much rather have gotten Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the list than Test Pilot, for example. But Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy weren’t around when John Hughes started making movies. I can honestly say that there are no two “mortar” movies in a row. And these are all movies that I genuinely enjoy watching again and again.

Anyway, take a look and see if you can guess the connections. I’ve posted the leftovers at the end. If you can figure out how to work them in, I’m all ears.

The Middlebrow 100, Zen Edition:

  1. The Right Stuff
  2. Aliens
  3. Working Girl
  4. Three Kings
  5. Out of Sight
  6. Defending Your Life
  7. Men In Black
  8. Full Metal Jacket
  9. Dr. Strangelove
  10. Blazing Saddles
  11. Young Frankenstein
  12. Tootsie
  13. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  14. Star Wars
  15. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  16. The Great Escape
  17. Once Upon a Time in the West
  18. The Lady Eve
  19. Sullivan’s Travels
  20. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
  21. Raising Arizona
  22. Moonstruck
  23. In the Heat of the Night
  24. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  25. The Lion in Winter
  26. The Silence of the Lambs
  27. Manhunter
  28. The Last of the Mohicans (Mann)
  29. A Room with a View
  30. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  31. Lord of the Rings
  32. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  33. Collateral
  34. Risky Business
  35. Jerry Maguire
  36. High Fidelity
  37. Bull Durham
  38. The Shawshank Redemption
  39. Stand By Me
  40. This is Spinal Tap
  41. A Few Good Men
  42. The Princess Bride
  43. The Incredibles
  44. Jurassic Park
  45. Get Shorty
  46. Blowout
  47. The Untouchables
  48. Goldfinger
  49. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  50. Casino Royale (2007)
  51. Shakespeare in Love
  52. The Royal Tennenbaums
  53. Groundhog Day
  54. Lost in Translation
  55. The Godfather
  56. To Kill a Mockingbird
  57. The Godfather, Part II
  58. Goodfellas
  59. Jackie Brown
  60. The Fifth Element
  61. Pulp Fiction
  62. So I Married an Axe Murderer
  63. Glengarry Glen Ross
  64. Mr. Roberts
  65. My Man Godfrey
  66. The Thin Man
  67. Test Pilot
  68. It’s a Wonderful Life
  69. It Happened One Night
  70. Run Silent, Run Deep
  71. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  72. Hud
  73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  74. The Graduate
  75. Jaws
  76. Marathon Man
  77. Rebecca
  78. The Jungle Book (1967)
  79. Night Shift
  80. Cars
  81. Cool Hand Luke
  82. The Hudsucker Proxy
  83. His Girl Friday
  84. The Awful Truth
  85. Notorious
  86. Casablanca
  87. The Usual Suspects
  88. L.A. Confidential
  89. Eight Men Out
  90. Lone Star
  91. The Bourne Identity
  92. Ocean’s 11 (Soderberg)
  93. The Limey
  94. Boogie Nights
  95. Fargo
  96. Miller’s Crossing
  97. Monsters Inc.
  98. The Empire Strikes Back
  99. Blade Runner
  100. Alien

The Island of Misfit Films:

  1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  2. Clueless
  3. Blast from the Past
  4. Annie Hall
  1. Breaker Morant
  2. Black Robe
  1. Sideways
  2. Election
  3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  4. Amadeus
  1. A Fish Called Wanda
  2. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  3. Time Bandits
  1. Toy Story
  1. Laura


goldie said...

Oooh wait, I got it:

Charles Nelson Reilly starred in "The Right Stuff." At the time, he was involved in a torrid affair with "Working Girl" star Sigourney Weaver. Sigourney Weaver also starred in "Aliens," in which "Three Kings" star George Clooney popped out of her stomach. George Clooney was a bit player on the "Facts of Life," starring, in which "Out of Sight" co-star J-Lo portrayed Natalie. J-Lo was once married to "Defending Your Life" director and star Albert Brooks. Albert Brooks is actually DJ Jazzy Jeff, who recorded old school rap with "Men in Black" star Will Smith. Smith also starred in Stanley Kubrick's "Wild Wild West" ...

fish said...

Wow. Just wow. That you can generate 100 is impressive enough, that you can connect them, godly.

stennie said...

You're like a crazy person, linking all these movies together! Just putting together the list was a difficult enough endeavor, paring it down to 100 was excruciating. I'd still be poring over it if I tried to link them all together. I was lazy and arranged mine by decade.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Goldie--what have I told you about horsin' around on the airplane?

Fish--generating them isn't hard, and I don't know if connecting them is godly or just plain nuts.

Stennie--my wife said the same thing--minus the 'like.' I should point out that this isn't the exact list of my nominees. I started with that, but had to make some adjustments for the sake of connect-ability.

Hud, Marathon Man, and Rebecca, for example are all great movies, but not necessarily ones I'd consider part of my 100 essentials.