Like a glutton for punishment, I’m back with a new Top 10. If you thought last week’s Christopher Nolan Top 10 was polarising, wait until you get a load of this one. Ridley Scott is a Marmite director, you either love him or hate him, simple as that.
I am a big fan of Ridley Scott and I often find myself in the minority when defending his work, and yes, that includes both Prometheus and Covenant even though it seems 99% of the populace detests them. I will say that when I was going through his list of movies, I was shocked at how many were, shall we say, a bit poo.
Films like The Counselor, Body Of Lies, and Exodus I started but never finished. Some I have no interest in, such as 1492, White Squall, and A Good Year. And I’m ashamed to say I’ve never watched G.I. Jane or Black Rain. There’s no reason and no excuse for this and this will be rectified this coming week.
But let’s be honest good Ridley Scott movies, are not just good, they are great. On the flip side, his bad ones, aren’t just bad, they are complete shite – looking at you Robin Hood. So all in all, the Top 10 Ridley Scott movies that I was so keen to get into, is already off to a shaky start. However, I’ve got this far and I promised Stark last week that I would do this list, so fuck it, let’s go!
10. American Gangster
We’re off to a rocky start already. Look, I’m just going to come out and say it, but I find Denzel Washington off-putting. He’s like Tom Cruise, in the fact that regardless of who Cruise is playing on screen, he’s always just Tom Cruise. The same goes for Denzel. He’s a fine actor and beloved by most but he’s always just Denzel in a different costume. This reason alone makes this movie my least favourite on this list.
Coming off the back of the masterclass™ that was Silence Of The Lambs, taking on the sequel, Hannibal was a risky move. Jodie Foster’s decision not to return should have been an early warning sign for Scott, but it’s pretty obvious that Ridley is a single-minded and stubborn old bastard.
We once again get another mesmerizing performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Gary Oldman is fucking fantastic as Mason Verger and the late Ray Liotta is always value for money. Julianne Moore is a fine Clarice but she’s no Jodie Foster and I think the film suffers from it. Regardless, Scott delivers a fine movie that is sadly underrated.
8. Alien Covenant
Yeah, get over it. I like this movie even though the last act is the weakest part when it should be the grand finale. Regardless, Alien Covenant is a movie that requires patience as it tells the story of what happened to Elizabeth and David after Prometheus.
A film many might have been expecting to show Elizabeth and David living “their best lives” as the kids of today say, actually reveals that David not only killed Elizabeth but experimented on her for God knows how long to create the perfect living organism.
Not content with that, it’s revealed that David destroyed an entire civilization of Engineers and released a mutagen that devolved or evolved depending on how you see it, every other living creature in this alien world. What a lady’s front bottom! Oh, and hats off to Fassbender for another magnificent performance.
7. The Last Duel
I only recently saw The Last Duel and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Ridley Scott always manages to get great performances from actors and actresses, and Matt Damon and Adam Driver keep you engaged for the entire duration.
Based on the true story of France’s last trial by combat in the Middle Ages, Scott expertly transports the audience back to witness three versions of the tale where Knight Jean de Carrouges challenges his former friend Jacques Le Gris to a duel after his wife Marguerite accuses Le Gris of rape. I strongly recommend this movie to those who haven’t seen it.
Yep. I love this movie and I’m unapologetic about it. I’ll admit that like all prequels, it’s not needed and some things about Alien and the Xenomorphs are best left unexplored, but I can’t blame Ridders for wanting to revisit the franchise he created. It was a risky move and most will say it didn’t pay off for Scott, but I’m not one of those people.
Now, I’m going to piss off a lot of you when I say that Aliens was the beginning of the end for this franchise. Aliens is a great movie, there’s no denying that but when Cameron took a sleek, stylish, and psychological horror movie and turned it into a rootin’ shootin’ action film, the majesty of Alien was lost and he forever changed the trajectory of the franchise. If Aliens, didn’t exist, then I honestly believe both Prometheus and Alien Covenant would be better well received.
Prometheus isn’t the guns blazing or even the horror film most were expecting. And let’s be honest, the scare factor of the Xenomorphs has been gone since Alien 3. What Scott decided to do was take Prometheus back to the original pacing of Alien and concentrate on the science fiction and the mystique of the original.
Scott knows the Xenomorphs have lost their mojo, so he creates a new monster in the Engineers. A species of people so technologically and spiritually advanced to human beings they can be seen as literal Gods. The story of Prometheus isn’t about the Alien, it’s about discovering that we are nothing more than a science experiment. A science experiment that has gone so tragically wrong that our Gods decided to wipe us all out and start again.
God creates man. God creates demons to destroy man. Man creates his own Man (David). David rebels and uses the demons to destroy God, therefore he has become the Devil. The Devil uses his demons to kill Man. The Devil reigns supreme. For me, Prometheus and Covenant are movies that are massively misunderstood.
5. Black Hawk Down
Phew, let me recover after that little Prometheus rant to get back to basics with Black Hawk Down. Another movie based on a true story that leaves you on the edge of your seat for the duration. Arguably one of the best war movies made with a stellar cast all on their A-Game.
4. The Martian
Who would have thought a movie about a dude trapped on Mars all by his lonesome could be so engrossing? Only Ridley Scott could make a movie where a majority of it is set on a barren desert of a planet look so stunning. The Martian has it all – plenty of science stuff for nerds. Despair and suspense are expertly entwined with humour, optimism, and disco music. The Martian is Ridley Scott at his best.
One of three movies by Ridley Scott that have become the gold standard for its genre. Gladiator put Russel Crowe and Joaquin Pheonix on the world stage and there’s been no looking back ever since. It’s been recently documented how often men think about Rome, and Gladiator gives us everything we desire. Fighting with swords in an arena, tigers, blood and guts, armies, battlefields, opulence, greed, rebellion, corruption, and betrayal. All rounded off with one of the most satisfying revenges ever seen on screen. This is a perfect movie.
2. Blade Runner
The second of three movies that are the gold standard. This time we are in a dystopian future that is as bleak as it is beautiful. The influence of Blade Runner in cinema is still immensely strong even 40+ years later. Ridley Scott nailed this genre and to be honest, it’s been virtually impossible to surpass the look of it even with the embarrassment of riches that CGI can provide.
The way the world of Blade Runner was created with practical effects, clever camera work, lighting, and sound and is still head and shoulders above 99% of anything made today is not only a testament to Ridley Scott’s direction but should be seen as an embarrassment to the vast majority of directors who cannot make anything remotely as astonishing today. Another perfect movie.
Here we are, the third gold standard movie, and this for not just for the industrial sci-fi but for the horror/creatures genre. This film just blows me away every time I see it, and I’ve seen it A LOT!
The Xenomorph is the most disturbing creature I’ve seen. It gets to my core instinct and I just find the thing fucking terrifying and vile in every aspect. Add that to the eggs, the face hunger and its relentless drive to not kill you, but to make you a host for his brethren is horrific. The Xenomorph turns you into a rape victim for the face-hugger and there seems to be fuck all you can do about it.
Alien is the perfect living organism and a perfect movie.
So there you have it Outposters, my Top 10 Ridley Scott movies. What a back catalog this man has, and that’s considering I’ve left off Legend, Nepoleon, Black Rain, G.I. Jane, The Duelists, Thelma & Louis etc. Ridley Scott doesn’t get the respect he deserves.
Now, head off to the comments section and let me have it about Prometheus and Covenant, I know you are all dying too!
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