Best American Films (1)


A look into the inner workings of a downright desperate and gloomy real-estate office. There isn’t much more to say about this male-oriented film other than it being a true performance piece containing true legends of the industry. Based on the award-winning David Mamet play of the same name, this story, which is beautifully told by Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey (to name a few), will have you never wanting to step foot in a sales job for as long as you live. A must-see for true cineastes.


A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss. For fans of Kevin Spacey, this is the film for you. He plays that boss you wish you never have the pleasure of working for. He is manipulative, waspish and is one real malevolent son of a bitch. You really would end up killing him.

 3. THE GAME (1997).

Wealthy financier Nicholas Van Orton receives a strange birthday present from wayward brother Conrad – a live-action game that consumes his life. David Fincher strikes again. This is a Fincher film that seemed to go under the radar slightly and I am not quite sure why. The cast is superb, the cinematography is Fincher at his best and, by God, do I wish I had written this roller coaster of a storyline. A real gem.

 4. TRUE ROMANCE (1993).

Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it. Straight off the bat, this is currently and has been my favourite film of all time for 15 or so years now. Tarantino’s ability to subtly blend romance and violence is flawless. In addition, this film comprises a cast that now would cost $100m easily. Why would you not want to watch a film that has Pitt, Oldman, Walken, Hopper, Kilmer, Sizemore, Slater and Samuel L. Jackson just ripping up the screen. That is to name but a few.

 5. THE APARTMENT (1960).

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. This was my first experience with Jack Lemmon and certainly wasn’t my last. “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” may be one of the most appropriate sayings when discussing this film. His ability to play the underdog is effortless. Without your Jack Lemmons or Billy Wilders, we wouldn’t have The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm, fact! Please watch this.

 6. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964).

An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. I had heard about this film for many years, yet had somehow never found the time to watch it. What had I been doing all that time? Peter Sellers, wow!  There are not many films which have me in stitches but Kubrick’s satirical masterpiece really does have you gasping for breath. I would like to think this film isn’t an accurate portrayal of war room behaviour; however, I’m really not sure.

 7. CHINATOWN (1974).

A private detective investigating an adultery case stumbles on to a scheme of murder that has something to do with water. Here we have another sordid, yet beautifully shot classic from Polanski. Along with Rosemary’s Baby, this certainly ranks as a masterpiece in the pre-fugitive Polanski era, despite its incestuous subject. I can’t think of many examples of films that would even touch on this issue prior to this. As well as Jack Nicholson in his usual superlative form, the casting of Hollywood institution, John Huston, as the main bad guy is inspired. It is a shame Polanski had to hightail it out of the US soon after.

 8. PRIMAL FEAR (1996).

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep. Immediately, I own up to Edward Norton being my favourite actor. Watch films, such as this, American History X and Rounders and you will agree that somebody somewhere seriously needs to get this man acting properly again. His core, technical acting ability is obscenely good. It would be a shame for him to whittle away. His portrayal of Aaron/Roy will put a shudder down your back. Again, this film seems to have gone fairly unnoticed over the years and I am not sure why. I love this film.


A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did. If you haven’t seen this film, questions have to be asked as to where you have been living. I really believe most actors wouldn’t have had the bottle to even take on this role, let alone unleash the venom Edward Norton did. It could have seriously ruined his career. If you are looking for the ultimate bad-guy-turns-good-guy story, this is your film. It is all about his redemption – the racism is just a part of what’s going on. To think the director, Tony Kaye, requested to have his name taken off the credits is mental. An all-time classic. Norton is the man.


Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse. Jack Nicholson is an actor that would actually never be in my top 20; however, I watch him in this film and I question whether I should belong in such an institution myself. He is quite simply incredible. With a rather strange, yet extremely competent ensemble of actors working with him, including a young Danny De Vito and Christopher Lloyd, the stage was set for Nicholson to deliver arguably his magnum opus. He is blistering. He is a real tour-de-force in this film. This is an out-and-out must-see for any serious film buff.

Written by Conley Low

3 thoughts on “Best American Films (1)

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