The BEST - Part 1: The Outline

19 Articles. 17 Genres. 170 Films. A Month of Research. And ultimately, one definitive list.

The quest? To find the best of the best. The absolute must-sees in every major genre of film. The best films of all time. And from all over the world.

Huh? How?

Here’s the breakdown. First, we’ll have a series of articles every few days breaking down the (approximately) 10 best films in each genre, detailing why they were picked, and what influence they have had on the genre, and our culture. This will lead up to one big article, picking just one film from each genre as the best/ most significant film of that genre's history.

The task is epic, but I’ve collected, combined, split, slashed, modified, and merged many of these to cover most aspects of cinema today. Sources have ranged from IMDb, to the American Film Institute, to various other film and cinema magazines and websites. The genre’s break down as follows:

Action/Superhero – Big budgets. Explosions. Special effects. Adrenalin. That type of action. Movies that are exciting. Movies built for the masses (and their wallets) with otherwise little merit to society. Or so we think. Perhaps some of the up-coming picks will prove otherwise.

Adventure – The idea separating this from generic action is the notion of a quest. There is an actual adventure taking place in these films, and they may not necessarily be action-focused. We will see...

Animation – Absolutely anything animated (and feature-length) is fair game here. Sounds simple, but people have done some amazing things with the animated film medium.

Biographical/Historical – These pictures, often epics, cover a person or time period in our recognized history. Their creator’s use slices of the past, or fragments of an individual’s real life, to create something meaningful and relevant to today’s audience. The best stand the test of time.

Comedy – Though the core purpose is to make you laugh, there are many sophisticated (and unsophisticated) ways of going about this. Parody, satire, absurdism, they’re all at play here in some of the funniest and most poignant comedies across the globe.

Crime – Flicks where the central concept or theme is crime, from film-noirs, to gangster pictures. The central protagonists are either criminals, or closely linked with them. An important distinction, as “courtroom dramas” are not really included here.

Documentary – For the purpose of this list, a documentary is not a biography film, but an actual documentary. It has real footage. Real people. Real interviews. The best often uncover and capture something extraordinary. The best of the best will make you see the world differently because of it.

Drama – Okay, so for the purposes of this list, a “drama” is generally what you see winning “Best Picture” awards, and is often called a “Prestige Picture”. The goal, generally speaking, is to make the audience feel a wide range of emotion. You know the cliché “I laughed, I cried”. Yeah, that type of drama. These often bear some degree of cultural or social significance as well.

Fantasy – Complete and utter hogwash. Made-up worlds, with made-up creatures, characters, and creations. Stories of worlds that don’t exist, with faeries, unicorns, and absolutely anything else the brain can possibly imagine.

Musical – In real life, we don’t break out into song and dance numbers whenever we have something to say. In the magical world of musicals, these people do. Smile Song quality will be taken into account as well here, as they are clearly part of the musical experience.

Romance/Romantic Comedy – Often incredibly formulaic, we know the outcome of these tales in the first 3 mins. The central idea is a blossoming love between two (or more) characters, and the trials and tribulations they must endure in order to move forward with these feelings.

Slasher – As a fan of slasher flicks, I was forced to expand the horror category, and split it into two sections. The purpose of the slasher flick is entirely different than that of the thriller, so I think its important to make distinctions here. A slasher is all about collecting bodies in interesting, creative, gory ways. They often have a strange twist at the end (often that the killer is not dead, but sometimes much more shocking) .

(Psychological) Thriller – This brand of horror flick its more “intellectual”, and will usually be scarier. They can get you thinking about lots of creepy things, and make you enter the mind of a psychopath. Or they can jerk you around until you don’t know what is what and are scared to even move.

Science Fiction – Fantasy and science fiction are often closely linked, but here, there is a definite difference. For the purposes of this list, science-fiction has some clear element of science or technology involved in it. The best science fiction is a reflection of our present society through the construction of a future or fictional alternative based on current trends.

Sports – I might remove this genre, as its pretty broad, but for now, it’s here. These stories revolve around the sports world, and often include strong allegory and parallels to life. The best of these films will use character as well as their sport/career in conjunction with one another to bring about the more complete character studies. Then again, some are just plain fun. Smile

War – Once again, for the purpose of this list, a war film will be one that deals primarily with combat-related war themes. Much of the action takes place in, during, or around a war. They say something about the nature of humanity, and the nature of combat, while, at the same time, showing humanity blasting the hell out of one another.

Western – Do I need to define this...? ...Takes place in the “wild west”...probably the most distinctive of genres. The best often have something to say about law and morality in a time when both were loose or invisible. That type of western.

And that’s the general break-down for the time being. Some small things may change over the course of this “series”, but we’ll see how that goes. I have about 7-10 more movies I want to see/re-see before finalizing these lists, so I must go get at it. Happy watching people and stay tuned! There’s bound to be some controversy coming your way with this one.

Comments 2
George Prax's picture

I can't wait for this. This is going to be epic. I'm putting my money on Snakes on a Plane the to take it all.

Micheal Aldred's picture

This is going to be amazing. No, it's going to be bigger than that. It's going to be massive, and if we're really serious about which film takes it all, George, it's clearly CLEARLY Battlfield Earth.