10. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
While certainly not superb, “Kingdom of Heaven” is a very, very solid film. The acting is very good, with a well-balanced plot, and plenty of outstanding action. This film lacks a bit though, in the epic qualities that make others in the genre stand out.
9. Body of Lies (2008)
This was a dream pairing of Crowe and Leo DiCaprio. The movie itself was pretty solid, but not as spectacular as it could have been. The story was solid and the writing was pretty good. Crowe though, came off a bit like a CIA version of Andy Griffith.
8. American Gangster (2007)
The true story of infamous gangster Frank Lucas was another jewel in the acting crown that is Denzel Washington. Add in Russell Crowe, and this is a very good movie. While it wasn’t one of Scott’s absolute best, the film is still excellent.
7. Matchstick Men (2003)
This is an often overlooked Cage flick. The acting and plot are solid, but the film does lose its way at the end. Nonetheless, a good outing for Cage, when he was still making good movies. Sam Rockwell is also very good in a supporting role.
6. The Martian (2015)
Given some recent disappointments, “The Martian” really put Ridley Scott back on the map as one of film’s best directors. The film is extremely dramatic, but also sharply funny. Matt Damon, in the title role, turns in possibly his best performance.
5. Blade Runner (1982)
A movie this author finds highly overrated, is nonetheless revolutionary and extremely creepy at the same time. The idea of cloning and artificial intelligence is something that we view as unquestionably good, but we need movies like “Blade Runner” to remind us that things can go terribly wrong.
4. Thelma & Louise (1991)
“Thelma & Louise” was one of the most significant films of the entire decade, systematically shifting gender roles and stereotypes in major feature films forever. Both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are phenomenal. This one feature so many memorable scenes and lines, but that ending is historic.
3. Black Hawk Down (2001)
Few modern war films can match the excellence of those several decades prior. One of these few, is Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down.” The film is obviously a true story, of which we know the outcome. Nonetheless, the movie is so well-crafted, that it’s still suspenseful and tense. The combat scenes are heart-stopping.
2. Gladiator (2000)
“Gladiator” is the single biggest star-making performance in the career of Russell Crowe. The story is simple, yet emotionally stirring as Maximus attempts to get his revenge on Johnny Cash. The film is best-known now for state-of-the-art action sequences, but the acting is fantastic as well.
- Alien (1979)
“Alien” combined state-of-the-art special effects with the slow burn pacing of monster movies from bygone eras. The alien in question was about as horrific as any you could ever imagine. And the way it reproduced…just ghastly. The whole idea of confining the action in space led to an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia and dread.