Here’s the fifth set of movies in my ongoing Patrick’s 100 Movies feature in which I recommend 100 of my favorite motion pictures.
I start off this edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies with several well-known science fiction films. I hope they’re on your list as well.
If you missed Part 4 of my Patrick’s 100 Movies list, you can find it here.
As before, these are in no particular order.
41. ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (1982)
In a perfect world, this would have been the movie that relaunched Gene Roddenberry’s dream. This one had everything: a fantastic villain, special effects that didn’t get in the way of the story, action, adventure, location. It also had a real connection between the characters that was oddly missing from the first picture. It is the second-best of the Star Trek movies in my book.
I note with amusement that it contains what my mom calls one of the most annoying lines ever. when Kirk and company are looking at the Genesis project’s results inside the dead moon, Dr. Carol Marcus looks at Kirk and says, “Can I cook or can’t I?” Mom says she just wants to slap her over that line.
42. ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country‘ (1991)
Other than a cameo for a couple of the original cast members in the next film, this was essentially the swan song movie for the cast of the original series. The elements of family here are alive and well and stronger than ever.
This is easily the best of the ‘Trek’ films; part of me wishes they would have just stopped here. And that collection of autographs that appear on the screen as the Enterprise makes its final trip home actually manages to still choke me up because it comes as the period of such a beautifully-rendered sentence.
43. ‘Star Wars’ (1977)
Star Trek and Star Wars have a strange connection with each other to me. When I was a kid, I couldn’t get into the original Star Trek TV series because it just felt dated to me. I was seven when the first Star Wars movie came out. This was the first “real” science fiction movie I saw in the theater, and it was the first science fiction film that made me like the genre.
In fact, it was only after watching Star Wars so many times that I really gave the original Star Trek TV series a real look. And despite the first Star Trek movie’s preoccupation with special effects, it was the second that locked me in as a fan of both franchises.
44. ‘The Return of the Jedi’ (1983)
What a way to end a story. The good guys win — as if anyone thought they wouldn’t — the Force survives, and even evil gets its redemption. I’m not particularly interested in what happens after this picture because it ended so beautifully. And I never could get that interested in what happened before for the same reason.
So to me, the original Star Wars trilogy may always be the only trilogy worth watching.
45. ‘Blazing Saddles’ (1974)
Whenever you take any genre and add a little Mel Brooks, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Though I’m generally not a fan of westerns, how could you say no to this western comedy about a corrupt politician who decides to bankrupt a town by installing a black sheriff?
There are jokes that you almost certainly couldn’t get away with today. But back then, the laughter was pretty loud. It’s a shame we lost actor Cleavon Little so early.
46. ‘The Truman Show’ (1998)
If Jim Carrey makes a movie, there’s a 98% chance that I won’t watch it. I don’t like his brand of campy, over-the-top silly comedy. I don’t find it funny. But both of the movies on my list in which Carrey appears are roles in which he largely plays it straight, and this is one of them. I think on some level, we’ve all wondered what it would be like if our life was some weird reality show; I know I’ve had moments where I have felt like any minute some producer would step out from behind a wall and tell me that I was on Candid Camera or something like that. I like that it’s also a kind of commentary on society that everyone else would get so caught up in what ends up being…just a TV show.
47. ‘Lethal Weapon’ (1987)
Danny Glover plays the good cop who’s ready to retire. Mel Gibson plays the bad cop who’s a little too close to the edge. There are plenty of clichés and the script is, at times, predictable.
But the chemistry between Glover’s Murtaugh and Gibson’s Riggs makes this movie enjoyable. You’ve probably already seen it…but if it’s been a while, give it another look. I particularly recommend the director’s cut on DVD with a few additional or extended scenes.
48. ‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
This was the first James Bond film I saw with someone other than Roger Moore playing 007. I grew up in the Moore era, so that was the only person I wanted to see playing James Bond.
My best friend forced me to sit with him and watch his favorite, Sean Connery, in the iconic role. With this one film alone, about James Bond trying to foil a plot to contaminate the gold at Fort Knox, my mind was changed.
Now, I can’t accept Moore’s Bond all that easily. Daniel Craig is the only other actor I can fully get into as the famous agent.
49. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (2001)
I’ll confess to not having seen the original 1960 version with the original Rat Pack. But in this remake, George Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, a conman who has decided on the ultimate casino to rob: the Bellagio vault. He quickly assembles a team of misfits to pull off the ultimate heist.
What I love about this film is the clever way it’s edited to show what we’re supposed to see, then snippets of what we didn’t see to set up what really happened. It keeps us in the loop but still ahead of Bellagio owner Terry Benedict (played by Andy Garcia).
It’s definitely worth a look.
50. ‘Back to the Future’ (1985)
It actually hurt me a little to type 1985 next to the title for that one. In some ways, it feels every bit like almost 35 years ago. But in others, it doesn’t seem like it could possibly have been that long ago. This movie came out during my freshman year of high school.
Michael J. Fox became a film sensation as high schooler Marty McFly who accidentally winds up 30 years into the past where he meets his own parents and nearly prevents them from getting together. Fortunately, the mad scientist whose invention propelled him into the past is there to help him find his way back to the 1980s.
It’s fun to watch for little details that change from the present to the past or from the past back to the future. One well-known example is the shopping mall which was originally Twin Pines Mall…until the famous DeLorean mows one down in 1955. When Marty makes it back to his real present, it’s now Lone Pine Mall.
That’s my latest edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies. Check out Part 6 of my list here.