Best Terrence Malick Movies Ranked

Best Terrence Malick Movies Ranked

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Goonies85
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Best Terrence Malick Movies Ranked

#1

Postby Goonies85 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:49 am

Hi All,

Haven't seen Malick's latest couple of flicks, because I was pretty disappointed in the direction he started taking with To The Wonder. I'll get around to watching them eventually, but man, that one was tough to get through. I tried watching Song to Song (I think that's what it was called), but gave up after about ten minutes. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood (I love all of the actors involved, so maybe it just wasn't the right night to watch that movie, who knows?) I am glad to hear that Malick has indicated that he's going to focus on more "narrative-based films" in the future, as opposed to his kind of "loose/free-form" approach that he did for the past three movies of his...That said, of the ones I've seen, this is how I'd rank them:

1. Badlands. An all-time classic, featuring a beautiful musical score that was later paid homage to in Tarantino's True Romance. Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are great as two doomed lovebirds (okay, that's somewhat true but I'm not going to spoil the ending). Also has a great little role for Warren Oates (and Malick even has a brief cameo). Spacek's voiceover works perfectly in the movie, and it really just draws you in. Obviously inspired by the Starkweather killings, this is simply an extraordinary directorial debut. Anytime I catch this movie on TV, I'll tune in...The cinematography of the midwest setting is also quite striking...Glad to own the wonderful Criterion Blu-Ray...

2. The Tree of Life. Was surprised at how much I loved this one, as I heard so much stuff about how Malick was constantly recutting it and even if someone saw it at one film festival, chances are at the next film festival there were numerous additional changes (thankfully, it sounds like the Criterion Blu-Ray is going to include multiple cuts, including a brand-new one that Malick only recently completely. Brad Pitt was fantastic in his challenging role, the actors who played the kids were very good...Malick once again heavily relies on voiceovers but proves once again that he's one of the best filmmakers when it comes to utilizing that tool...Sean Penn is good, although his role was apparently cut down quite severely...And while I have hated pretty much everything Jessica Chastain has done since this one and Take Shelter, she really is phenomenal in this one. The music is great, and I'm always intrigued by the weird "origins of Earth" sequence that occurs at some point in the movie...Just really great stuff, and nobody but Malick would be audacious enough to pull this off (or, for that matter, be given the leeway to make; normally studio interference would be all over a movie like this)...

3. The Thin Red Line. I remember when this came out and having frequent arguments with buddies over whether they preferred this or Saving Private Ryan. Obviously the two movies are very different, but I'll take this one over Spielberg's any day of the week. I love all of the actors, even though many are really only granted cameos (not to mention the several actors who filmed scenes but were ultimately cut from the film). The cinematography is justly acclaimed, and the Hans Zimmer score is great. Also, the Blu-Ray sounds amazing, basically demo-quality (especially the scene where they're trying to "take the hill"...When the bombs go off, whoa boy, get ready to turn the volume down, cause your house will be shaking)...I'd single out Nick Nolte especially, for his insanely intense performance...But Ben Chaplin, Jim Caviezal, Dash Mihok, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, and Woody Harrelson were all stand-outs...A very unique war movie...

4. The New World. This one took me a couple of viewings before I truly appreciated it (but don't even bother asking me what cut I prefer; there's three of them and I've seen them all at one point or another). Really like Christian Bale's performance in this, and Christopher Plummer was great...but ultimately it was Colin Farrell that really carried the movie...Once again, just perfect cinematography, and a haunting score...Too many iconic images to list...

5. Days of Heaven. I used to rank this one a lot higher, but I've watched it several times over the course of the past several years and I'm finding I'm not as enthralled with it as I initially was. Obviously Malick's insistence on shooting at magic hour really pays off, as many of the images look like beautiful paintings...And Sam Shephard was great...And even though I don't generally love Richard Gere, occasionally he excels in a role, and in this one he was pretty good...The voiceover from the little girl is also pretty interesting, even though I don't feel it's as effective as the ones present in his other movies...Still a beautiful movie, just slightly, slightly lesser tier Malick in my mind (that said, on almost any other filmmaker's oeuvre, this would be their best movie, which just shows how great Malick can be)...

6. To The Wonder. This is where Malick lost me. I couldn't stand this one. It almost felt like a parody of a Malick flick. It seems pretty clear that he really had no script whatsoever, and was just able to go out and shoot whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, with the goal of piecing it together in the editing room. While that method of filmmaking can occasionally work, when it doesn't the results can be disastrous, and I believe that's what happened here. And, man, did I NOT like Ben Affleck in this (and I'm not necessarily an Affleck hater, occasionally he can be good), and ditto for the rest of the cast. Nobody really stood out to me...I had such high hopes for this when I originally saw it, and walked out tremendously disappointed...

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

E
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Re: Best Terrence Malick Movies Ranked

#2

Postby robhR » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:25 pm

1. Badlands
2. The Thin Red Line
3. Days of Heaven
4. The Tree of Life

All excellent.
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