Now, I might admit that a Top Six list from a seemingly random six year period seems a little odd. There is a method to my Movie Madness.
As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, I’m building a twenty five year movie database with solely objective factors to better identify those movies most of us would “really like”. It’s a time consuming process. If I’m uninterrupted by other priorities in my life, I can usually add a complete year to the database in a week and a half. There will always be interruptions, though, and I don’t expect to finish my project before mid-year 2018.
I’m a little impatient to get some useful information from my efforts and so I thought it might be fun to create an Objective Best Movie List for however many years I’ve completed. I’ve completed six years and so I now have a list of the best six movies from my completed time frame. I should complete 1998 by the weekend and after incorporating the new data into my algorithm I’ll be able to create a Top Seven list. Now that you have the picture here’s the top six in ascending order.
6. Sense and Sensibility (1995). IMDB Avg. 7.7, Certified Fresh 80%, CinemaScore A, Oscar- 3 Major nominations, 4 Minor
This was the first of a mid-1990’s run of Jane Austen titles to make it to the big screen. Emma Thompson won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. She is the only person to ever win both a Best Acting and a Best Screenwriting award. The movie is also noteworthy for the breakthrough performance of Kate Winslet who at age 20 earned her first of seven Oscar nominations.
5. In the Name of the Father (1994). IMDB Avg. 8.1, Certified Fresh 94%, CinemaScore A, Oscar- 4 Major nominations, 3 Minor
This is the movie that will probably surprise many of you. This biopic of Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly imprisoned for an IRA bombing, was the second of Daniel Day-Lewis’ five Best Actor nominations. He lost 30 pounds in preparation for the role and spent his nights on the set in the prison cell designed for the movie.
4. Good Will Hunting (1997). IMDB Avg. 8.3, Certified Fresh 97%, CinemaScore A, Oscar- 4 Major nominations,, 5 Minor
This movie is in my personal top ten. Two relatively unknown actors, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck became stars overnight and won Oscars for Best Screenplay as well. If either of them ever get a Best Actor award, they’ll join Emma Thompson in that select group. In his fourth nominated performance Robin Williams won his only Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
3. Toy Story (1995). IMDB Avg. 8.3, Certified Fresh 100%, CinemaScore A, Oscar-1 Major Nomination, 2 Minor
Toy Story’s ranking is driven by its 100% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating from 78 critics. While its Oscar performance is weaker than the other movies on the list, it should be noted that Toy Story was the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Screenplay. As the database grows, I would expect that the number of Oscar nominations and the number of wins will become credible factors in these rankings. For now, receiving one Major and one Minor nomination has the same impact on the algorithm as for a movie like Titanic that won eleven awards. This is probably the only movie of the six that appears out of place in the rankings.
2. Shawshank Redemption (1994). IMDB Avg. 9.3, Certified Fresh 91%, CinemaScore A, Oscar- 3 Major nominations, 4 Minor
Shawshank still ranks as IMDB’s top movie of all time. At some point, I’m going to write an article about movies that achieve cult status after having only modest success at the box office. Shawshank would be one of those movies. After a pedestrian $28,341,469 domestic gross at the Box Office, it became one of the highest grossing video rentals of all time.
1. Schindler’s List (1994). IMDB Avg. 8.9, Certified Fresh 96%, CinemaScore A+, Oscar- 4 Major nominations, 8 Minor
Interestingly, this is the only movie of the six on the list to win Best Picture. It is also the only one on the list to earn an A+ from CinemaScore. Combine that with its twelve Oscar nominations and you can see why, objectively, it is at the top of the list.
Objectivity improves as data grows. It should be fun to see this list change as the database grows.
What do you think?