Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Tony Scott

This week, we change things up a bit for the latest installment of the Top 5 Movie Guide. There were a few different filmmakers we had our eye on for this post, but with the sudden and unexpected passing of Tony Scott, we decided to pay our respects to his career the best way we know how - with one of these posts. As all of you have surely heard by now, director and producer Tony Scott died in an apparent suicide on Sunday night. There are plenty of rumors and reports floating around as to the reason for such, but we're not going to touch any of that here. Instead, we'll focus on the films from this filmmaker's career, and do our best to honor the legacy he left behind.


First, let's start with a quick rundown on Scott's life. He is the younger brother of also famed director, Ridley Scott. Both brothers enjoyed going to the cinema with their mother at a very young age, and both quickly developed a love for the medium. They also both started their careers by directing commercials - it's said that Tony has directed thousands himself; far too many to keep count of. His first film was "The Hunger", starring Susan Sarandon and David Bowie. The film was panned by critics, and because of such, he did not get the job for the project he next wanted to direct, "Starman" (it ultimately went to John Carpenter). But a few years later he was given the reigns to "Top Gun", and along with Tom Cruise, they turned the film into a blockbuster success.

Since that film in 1986, Scott continued to advance his skills in mainly the action genre, and developed his own unique styles along the way. His films were known for often using very rich colors, colored lenses, and the use of handheld cameras in high-intensity action scenes. And whether you've enjoyed all of his films along the way or not, there's no doubting that he left a memorable mark on the film industry.

Hit the jump for all of our favorite selections from the director's career.

Alex Schopp -
I'm never loved Tony Scott's films, but I do appreciate the impact he had on cinema. I generally have a good time with his movies, and I think he really understood the action genre. And more than anything else, you can usually tell when you're watching a Tony Scott film, and I think that's what every director ultimately wants from there work.

     1. Top Gun (1986)

This isn't necessarily a #1 film, but it's really the only one in his filmography that feels like a big deal. Tom Cruise is awesome, and you gotta love the pure friendship happening here. Plus there's some great music featured! Multiple generations love this movie.
     2. Spy Game (2001)
Great CIA thriller. Robert Redford is awesome in this. I only watched this film for the first time earlier this year, but I thought it was a lot of fun. And the way it was filmed kept it interesting.
     3. True Romance (1993)
This is just a crazy movie. But it's an interesting watch, and I do enjoy seeing Christian Slater in a starring role. More than anything though, I dare you to try and find a more impressive ensemble cast than what's featured in this film.
     4. Unstoppable (2010)
I'm glad that this is the type of film Scott went out on. I never much enjoyed his more aggressive editing and shaky-cam styles in films like "Domino", "Man on Fire", or "Deja Vu", and "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" just left a lot to be desired. But this one seemed to settle in a bit and was a much more enjoyable to watch. This was a fun action/adventure flick that felt very much like a throwback to the 80's and 90's.
     5. Crimson Tide (1995)
I don't love this film or anything, but it's a very solid war/action/thriller. Plus we get two Tony Scott favorites in Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.

Ben Foutch -
I've always enjoyed Tony Scott's films. He was definitely one of the great "action" directors.

     1. Top Gun (1986)

     2. Man on Fire (2004)

     3. True Romance (1993)

     4. Days of Thunder (1990)

     5. The Hunger (1983)



Derek Clem -

     1. Man On Fire (2004)

When I worked at a movie theater, my best friend and I would dance to the end credits music while we swept up popcorn. Definitely one of my favorite memories from my favorite job.
     2. Days Of Thunder (1990)
Cole Trickle is the perfect name for the lead.
     3. Unstoppable (2010)
Very nostalgic in its editing and feel. felt very 90's. I dug it.
     4. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
It's been so long since I've seen this but I do remember loving it as a child.
     5. The Fan (1996)
This movie feels older to me than '96. feels more like a '92 or '93 movie. Serves as a nice little creepy movie to watch in the afternoon.

Nathan Hinds -

     1. Enemy of the State (1998)

     2. Unstoppable (2010)

     3. Man on Fire (2004)

     4. Top Gun (1986)

     5. Days of Thunder (1990



Andy Schopp -

     1. Top Gun (1986)

I have always loved this movie! Plus it made "Danger Zone" popular, one of the best jams to ever hit those radios!
     2. The Hunger (1983)
David Bowie as a vampire...okay, I dig it. I dig it a lot.
     3. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Any movie with Judge Reinhold is a movie I want to watch happen.
     4. Man on Fire (2004)
One of the only movies I actually like to watch Denzel Washington in. I'm not sure what makes it different for me, but something about it fits nicely.
     5. Unstoppable (2010)
Such a classic 90's disaster movie. Reminds me of some of the other greats of the era, only it was made two years ago.

So that's what we're looking at this week. As usual, a pretty solid variety, but still a few quality gems shining out from the rest. As has been the case around here recently, again no film swept all five lists. Three did show up on four though: "Top Gun", "Man on Fire", and "Unstoppable". "Top Gun" seems like the obvious winner here, as three of its four votes were in the first-place variety. "Man on Fire" also managed to snag one first-place vote as well. These three films actually are a great cross-section of Scott's career, as "Top Gun" was his first hit", "Man of Fire" reinvented him in the 2000's, and "Unstoppable" was the last film he ever directed. While each of the selections in this post are films you should see, these three feel like pretty good staples to his filmography and an overall great place to start.

We had one film with three selections, "Days of Thunder". This was Tony Scott and Tom Cruise's second pairing together, and provided audiences with another instant favorite (though never loved nearly as much as "Top Gun"). And the only other films listed above with multiple selections were "True Romance", "Beverly Hills Cop II", and "The Hunger", each with two picks. Again, all solid choices and great places to start when familiarizing yourself with Scott's films.

As always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Tony Scott's filmography, and leads to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!