Talking Heads

Singin in the Rain

What’s the best movie ever made? Would the person sitting next to you agree? Does the title really matter, or is the search a happy distraction meant to let the cream of the crop rise to the top? What happens when you watch a bunch of that cream? And why has “cream” become a metaphor for quality? The Sight & Sound Top 50 is a great place to start with all of those questions. For almost two years, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs have been watching the best movies of all time and discussing them with the aim of discovering and re-discovering important cinematic experiences. Now that their quest is over, here are their thoughts and conclusions on what it’s like to see that many treasured movies, followed with links to all 50 conversations for your perusal. Take a deep breath, grab a bowl of cream and dive in.

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City Lights Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they revel in the unadulterated delight of City Lights and imagine it as an elderly film that still feels young at heart. In the #50 (tied) movie on the list, The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) and tries everything he can to earn money, even as life throws him repeatedly under the bus. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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The Battle of Algiers Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they bow to the ethical and empathetic complexity of a movie violently opposed to the inhumane destruction of conflict: Gillo Pontecorgo’s The Battle of Algiers.  In the #48 (tied) movie on the list, resistance fighters hoping for Algerian freedom from France square off against French soldiers — each employing their own methods of madness — with regular citizens in the crossfire.  But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Histoires du Cinema Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they attempt to dissect a movie that’s a dissection of movies. In the #48 (tied) movie on the list, Jean-Luc Godard chops up cinema’s past in order to praise and bury it by relegating it to histories. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Gertrud Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they look back on a life in love and celebrate a simpler (but often more difficult) form of filmmaking from Carl Theodor Dreyer. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, a marriage falls apart, leading a woman to seek a lover and, above all else, love. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Playtime Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they get lost in the whirling modern wonder of Jacques Tati‘s fictional Paris to revel in whimsy, caprice and noisy angst. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, the doofy Mr. Hulot (Tati) bumbles around the labyrinthine steel and concrete of a tech-addled city while tourists bounce around station to station and the background eventually comes to the foreground. Honestly, writing a plot synopsis for Playtime is a self-defeating purpose. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Some Like It Hot

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they think subversively about Billy Wilder‘s men-in-dresses comedy Some Like It Hot since everything seems to have a “secret gay agenda” these days. And because you can’t bend genders without making romance a little interesting. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play musicians who foolishly witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Trying to hide out, they get into drag to join an all-female band traveling to sunny Miami where they both court love with Marilyn Monroe and Joe Brown. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Close-Up Movie

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they appreciate the nuance of a meta movie that’s part documentary, part real-life recreation using people playing themselves. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, Abba Kiarostami becomes interested in the story of a young man pretending to be a famous director in order to take advantage of a family, and decides to jump into the middle by making the situation into a movie. Close-Up rings with dozens of moving parts, but it still takes the time to appreciate an empty can rolling down a hill. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Pierrot le fou

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they leave their old lives behind to go on the run with a beautiful woman who can literally drive a man insane. In the #41 (tied) movie on the list, Jean-Luc Godard delivers a fancy-free story involving crime, waterboarding and whirlwind romance that comes with a bomb strapped to itself. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Journey to Italy - Hercules

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they visit Pompeii, Sorrento, Naples and Capri alongside a husband and wife who are on the verge of no longer being husband and wife. In the #41 (tied) movie on the list, Roberto Rossellini directs his wife Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders as a foreign place shows them their true natures, intentions and the idea that they may merely be strangers after all. For its generic title, Journey to Italy is anything but. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Pather Panchali

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they travel to Bengal to spend a few days with a poor rural family. In the #41 (tied) movie on the list, Satyajit Ray delivers a view into poverty that eschews exaggeration in favor of realism and calm, quotidian contemplation. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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400 Blows

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they hang around Paris with a troubled young man named Antoine who isn’t wearing a red hunting cap. In the #39 (tied) movie on the list, Francois Truffaut delivers a semi-autobiographical tale of misunderstood youth that careens downward toward prison, aided by uncaring authority figures. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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La Dolce Vita

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they let Federico Fellini take them around Rome to psychoanalyze an incredibly cool cat who loves splashing in fountains with the beautiful and famous. In the #39 (tied) movie on the list, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) looks for love in some of the right places — namely with the gorgeously fun-loving Syliva (Anita Ekberg) — but his heart isn’t in the correct state of mind. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Jeanne Dielman

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they spend a few days with Chantal Akerman‘s delightfully uptight Jeanne Dielman at her home at 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. In the #36 (tied) movie on the list, a woman of incredible order provides for her son by sleeping with men for money, maintaining a spotless home and cooking hearty meals day in and day out. When she ruins dinner one night, it destroys the comfort of her routine. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Shoah Film

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they revel in the evil banality of the Holocaust, its survivors and its perpetrators. In the #29 (tied) movie on the list, Claude Lanzmann whittles 350 hours of footage into a 9-hour experience of peaceful fields and conversations about death camps. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Satantango

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they find themselves at odds over a 7-hour Hungarian movie from the excessively patient Bela Tarr focused on a farming collective and the wacky exploits of its denizens. In the #36 (tied) movie on the list, cows meander out of their barn for 9 minutes, then a group of scheming communards deal with the return of a charming, long-lost figure in different ways — in between extended tracking shots of the landscape and people walking from one place to another. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Metropolis 1927

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they march with the masses to the factory while dreaming of Utopia by exploring the more-than-spectacle magic of Metropolis. In the #36 (tied) movie on the list, a madman fuels a robot with his obsession, but it will lead to his downfall when the people form an uprising. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Buster Keaton - The General

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they celebrate Buster Keaton as a superhero who is faster with his locomotive. In the #34 (tied) movie on the list, the union army steals a supply train with a damsel on board, and Johnnie Gray But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they try to paint a smile on the face of Alfred Hitchcock‘s most terrifying chiller. In the #34 (tied) movie on the list, taxidermy enthusiast Norman Bates struggles to run a small roadside motel, but his life is turned upside down when a beautiful young woman on the run with some money rents a room and steals his heart. When his overbearing mother disapproves, she’ll threaten to tear his love apart. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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The Bicycle Thief

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they dig into Vittorio De Sica’s heart-squeezing journey through post-WWII Rome in search of The Bicycle Thief, appreciating how pessimistic and PG-rated it can be. In the #33 movie on the list, Antonio needs his bicycle for work, but it’s stolen, so he and his son Bruno must track the thief down or risk going hungry. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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