I was scrolling through Netflix last night looking for a movie to watch, and I somehow landed on The Whole Ten Yards. Being an admitted fan of The Whole Nine Yards, I decided to give the sequel a chance, which ended up being a gigantic mistake; the film is awful on almost every level. Bruce Willis, who is supposed to be a hitman, annoyingly cries his eyes out every other scene. The plot seems as if though it were written in a matter of hours. The acting is atrocious and the stakes, almost nonexistent.
While the film depicts the mob and criminals in one of the most unrealistic fashions I have ever seen, it did get me thinking about all the good gangster movies that I've seen through the years. Mob movies are some of the most popular in America, and why wouldn't they be? Stories about violence, redemption and corruption are always interesting to an audience, and mobsters are prime examples of self destructive public figures. Everyone loves a good, violent gangster movie.
If you're not a big fan of the genre, here are some examples I guarantee will change your mind. Here are my picks for top 10 "gangster" movies of all time, Part 1.
10. The Untouchables Brian De Palma's bloody film has Kevin Costner as Federal Agent Elliot Ness as he goes up against crime kingpin Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro. A classic good guy vs. bad guy flick that makes good on what it sets out to do. A terrific cast, that includes Sean Connery and Andy Garcia along with the aforementioned names, makes this standout among all the other movies about prohibition era bootlegging.
9. Snatch The first time I watched Snatch I hated it. I couldn't understand a damn word the characters were saying and I turned it off half way feeling confused. It sat in my DVD collection until I brought it out again on a friends recommendation. Good thing I did as Guy Ritchie's gangster movie is now one of my favorites. Snatch is told through interweaving tales from a pair of boxing promoters, a jewel thief and a Russian gangster to name a few. The film moves about at a lightening fast pace that includes a surprising amount of humor. A must watch, although I heavily advise the first time you do you throw on subtitles.
8. Bonnie and Clyde A game changer in American cinema. This was one of the first popular films that featured such likable anti-heroes; protagonists that feature undesirable qualities. The movie tells the story of Bonnie and Clyde and their gang of violent bank robbers. Although the film is told through a somewhat one sided romanticized lens, it's hard not to identify with our flawed heroes. With great acting from leads Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde is a classic that still holds up remarkably well today.
7. City of God This foreign film chronicles the ongoing gang violence of Rio de Janiero through the eyes of a photographer named Rocket. A remarkably realistic and potent film, but not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of uncomfortable scenes in City of God, but that is part of the appeal of the film. The scenes are suppose to shock you about the horrors of gang violence, and in that respect it succeeds. Shot in a Tarantino style, City of God is a remarkably violent and beautiful film all at the same time.
6. Scarface De Palma's stylized take on the 80s cocaine-fueled drug scene has Al Pacino star as Tony Montana, a rags to riches Cuban drug kingpin. Ultra-violent, drug crazed and just plain nuts is Tony Montana as he shoots and sniffs his way to the top. Pacino's performance is no doubt overacted, but this movie has become a classic thanks to it's stand out scenes and infinitely quotable one-liners. (Say hello to my little friend!)
Do you have a list of movies that you want to recommend? Now you have a place to do it.
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