Each curated list at FilmsRanked.com takes into account genre acclaim, prestige, popularity, and awards. They can serve as an introduction to a genre while also challenging film buffs who are looking to round out their knowledge.
Just as it’s impossible to watch 1950s sci-fi without thinking of the Cold War and Red Scare, it’s impossible to see a Rock Hudson – Doris Day flick in the same way audiences did before Hudson came out. In the same way, future connoisseurs of early 21st-century cinema will mine our present cultural output for any nuggets that will tell them what we thought and how we felt about the beginning of the climate disasters.
Mark Bould’s newest book, “The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe Culture,” examines several recent films and novels in this light now.
Bould’s exegesis finds anxiety over climate change bubbling up in both East and West, in culture high and pop, and in a variety of mediums. He analyzes the themes foundin the 2016 film Arrival, Karl Ove Knausgård’s “My Struggle” novels, and the Swamp Man comics.
In some of my favorite pages, Bould examines the plot of each Sharknado movie
“Ludicrous, crudely rendered images of climate disruption and destabilisation, they gesture towards the weirdness and excessiveness of our changing weather,” he writes. “They are big dumb reminders that we share the world with other species.”
Bould finds the endless failures to avert global catastrophe in the Tom Cruise – Emily Blunt sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow as an analog to the real world’s response to our existential threat.
“Every route off the beach ends in disaster. There is no way out. Nor is there one for us. The necessary series of moves is impossibly complex, and we have already blown it.”
Bould describes a litany of half-hearted attempts to avoid the catastrophes we now face. “When the US, the UK, the USSR and Japan derailed concrete international emissions targets at the Noordwijk conference in November 1989, we died on the beach… When a common response to the too-little-too-late proposal that we act to keep atmospheric CO2 below 450 parts per million is to argue that 550ppm is more politically plausible, we die on the beach.”
Bould also writes about this sense of inescapable doom in the final and best chapter of the book: The Dialectics of Dominic Toretto:
“In almost every Fast and Furious film, characters talk about walking away from the life, but they never manage to get out or settle down. They are trapped in a juggernaut over which they have no direct control.”
Bould makes one stunning finding:
“Despite all the hours of screen time spent among cars, in auto shops, on city streets and open roads, we only actually see fossil fuels three times.”
This distraction is intentional, Bould argues. He sums the films up as “on the one hand, a fast, furious, thanatropic race to destruction, and on the other, a yearning for fullness.”
No matter what happens, the characters embrace their humanity. The street racing crew sees themselves as a family – a chosen, working-class family that reminds Bould of those aboard the Pequod in “Moby Dick.”
Like a masked ball in the middle of a plague, the franchise is a gratuitous celebration of petroculture. Everyone who made the film and everyone who watches it knows the oil can’t last. But can’t they take one last ride?
The 200 Greatest Fantasy Films of All Time
Fantasy is one of cinema’s oldest genres — Georges Méliès made beautiful magic in the 19th Century. But while filmmakers created indelible classics and unforgettable worlds through the 1900s, fantasy didn’t become a reliable blockbuster bet until the 21st Century. This list explores the evolution and milestones of fantasy films.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Wizard of Oz is the greatest fantasy film of all time, not only because of Judy Garland’s amazing voice, the lush Technicolor magic, and the captivating story.
The film is also a crucial piece of cinema culture, but also an iconic, irreplaceable part of American heritage. The Library of Congress believes it is the most-watched movie of all time, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History showcases many items from the film, including Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
The Two Towers (2002)
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Return of the King (2003)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
The 200 Greatest Horror Films of All Time
Horror is one of the most primal types of film. Perhaps some of the first stories humans ever told were of the horror genre, warning of the beasts and monsters that lurked outside at night. Now special effects and other narrative techniques work to bring tales of modern monsters to billions across the globe. This list of 200 greatest horror films is a guide for both a film neophyte wanting to see the best of the best and a film expert looking for a masterpiece she may have overlooked.
Naming Alien the Greatest Horror Movie of All Time is bound to be a bit controversial. Although nearly everyone agrees it qualifies as a horror movie, it’s quite a bit different than most other classics of the genre. It’s in space. It’s sci-fi. And there’s no real sense of the supernatural.
There are two stars in Alien: Sigourney Weaver and the alien. Weaver created a new type of action hero, giving depth to the type of role that usually lacks it. And the creature’s famous creation by H.R. Giger is the stuff of nightmares. Watch the movie again. It’s horrifying. And when you combine horror expert, film critic, popular appeal and award recognition, it’s the GOAT.
The Shining (1980)
Rosemary's Baby (1969)
28 Days Later (2002)
Get Out (2017)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Wicker Man (1973)
The 200 Greatest Musicals of All Time
Musicals are movie-making at its most spectacular. They unify sight and sound, create performances of song, dance and story. They bring us back to films’ antecedents on stage and push the art form forward into the future. This list of 200 musicals is a guide for both a film neophyte wanting to see the best of the best and a film expert looking for a masterpiece she may have overlooked.
West Side Story (1961)
The Lion King (1994)
Singin' in the Rain (1951)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
La La Land (2016)
All That Jazz (1979)
An American In Paris (1951)
The 200 Greatest Westerns of All Time
The Old West has been a source of American mythology for well more than a century. The genre grew alongside the birth of cinema. The character of the “cowboy” is instantly recognizable across the globe – and is synonymous both with Hollywood and the United States itself. These 100 films explore the varied ways filmmakers have creatively used the Western and created these larger-than-life legends.
The Searchers (1956)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
High Noon (1952)
Rio Bravo (1959)
The 100 Greatest Superhero Films of All Time
Superhero films are a relative newcomer to the entertainment world. 80% of the films on this list were released in the 21st Century — by far the most recent-heavy list on the site. But the genre has already created some of Hollywood’s most indelible classics. I anticipate this list changing a lot as I update it every year.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Avengers (2012)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Iron Man (2008)
Wonder Woman (2017)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
City Lights (1931)
The General (1926)
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
The Gold Rush (1925)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)