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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Best Film Rivalries of All-Time

Cold Fargo

This is probably the best true story ever converted to film. Most of the time, when movies say "Based on a True Story" or "Based on Actual Events", I mean, what isn't? Even Star Wars could be based on actual events if you think about it long enough. What's great about Fargo is there's no "based on" it's simply fact. Everything from William H. Macy being involved in a kidnapping plot to Steve Buscemi being crammed into a wood chipper actually happened. Ever notice how Macy hasn't been in many movies since this? Parole. Buscemi? Okay, that was actually a stunt double put into the wood chipper, but the rest of the movie is exactly true, even that cold scene where those poor people witness the cop killing and then well … get iced. I hate that scene. Not because it's bad, just because it's so real. I hope I'm never on either end of a murder scene.

What lies at the heart of this movie though, is a great rivalry between William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, two weasels that aren't quite smart enough to be involved in a fake kidnapping plot. Where does this rivalry rank among film's greatest you ask? Well boom, here's a long freaking list.

The Top 30 Rivalries in Cinema History! (Whoot, there it is … wait, wait, WHOOMP there it is … side note: Upon glancing at Acclaimed Music's best songs of the 90s, "Whoomp" makes the cut, but "Whoot" does not. What a crock.)

Before I start, I'm not including Batman vs. the Joker on this. It's obviously a classic rivalry, but I don't want to get into the logistics of Michael Keaton vs. Jack Nicholson; Christian Bale vs. Heath Ledger; or Adam West vs … well, whoever played the Joker in the classic 60s version. And now, on with our countdown. (Homer whispers into Marge's ear "Casey Kasem").

30. John Rambo vs. Stupid Chief

All you have to do is let Rambo eat lunch. Some people never learn.

29. Arnold vs. the Predator

The Predator is the sole "Monster" to make my list (Freddy vs. Jason is not making it. Though the idea of the rivalry is great, the movie should not have been seen by anyone. If Freddy Krueger is doing the voice over, it can't possibly be good).

28. Pee Wee Herman vs. Francis

This rivalry was all over a bicycle.

27. Jimmy Stewart vs. the Banker in It's a Wonderful Life

Here we have a good old fashion young giving protagonist versus an old greedy antagonist.

26. Maverick vs. Iceman

I can't wait for Top Gun 2, which is allegedly happening: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/15/top-gun-2/

25. McFly vs. Biff in Back to the Future

This is a nice little multi-generational spat.

24. Ferris Beuller vs. the Principal

The classic "cool kid" vs. Principal, though this is done better (see below).

23. Matt Damon vs. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed

These actors get made fun of a lot, but they're both pretty darn good, especially in this movie.

22. Rocky vs. Apollo Creed

No matter what awful situation you are in with life, never EVER bad mouth Apollo Creed.

21. Daniel LaRusso vs. Johnny in The Karate Kid

The classic bully vs. the new kid led to a generation of us trying to learn how to do some Crane kick.

20. The Hustler vs. Minnesota Fats

Obviously the best pool rivalry ever.

19. The Fugitive vs. Tommy Lee Jones

… and they end up friends in the end, awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

18. Mikey McD vs. Teddy KGB

This is a nice poker rivalry, and they each win once so it's balanced.

17. Max Cady Vs. Nick Nolte in Cape Fear

This is a good revenge one. There's nothing quite like a convict going after his attorney. DeNiro playing Cady helps a lot, and surprisingly this is one of DeNiro's best roles ever.

16. Eastwood vs. Hackman in Unforgiven

A good old western one. Surprisingly, this is the only time I have Clint Eastwood in my list, though The Good, The Bad & The Ugly probably deserves to be here.

15. DeNiro vs. Pacino in Heat

I'm kind of torn on this one. This is one of those rivalries that you always wanted and when it happened, they were only on the same screen for a brief period AND AL PACINO WINS IN THE END! No freaking way that happens in real life.

14. Jack Nicholson vs. Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

It's strange how my only Nicholson movie on here has his greatest rival being a woman. I also could have included A Few Good Men, but his rival in that was pretty much a woman too.

13. Michael Corleone vs. Hyman Roth

You'd think a rivalry from The Godfather series would rank higher, but as fantastic as the movies are, the rivalries aren't too intense. That being said, the Ay-talian vs. the Jew from Miami is pretty darn good.

12. Bill the Butcher vs. The Vallons

The match against the dad lasts only a few minutes into the movie, but taking the son under his wing leading to the next show down is great, even though that son is Leonarda and she wins which is even more improbably than a comedic Al Pacino dicing Robert DeNiro.

11. Dorothy vs. The Wicked Witch of the West

Bitch landed a house on top of the witches' sister!

10. Macy vs. Buscemi

See above.

9. Maximus vs. the Emperor

When someone is as evil as the Emperor in Gladiator, it's easier to establish a rivalry. Dude kills his own dad to obtain the throne over his rival, tries to kill the rival, AND THEN kills the rival's wife and kid. All of this leads to a final showdown in which he cheats and stabs the rival before the match … and the rival still WINS … before he dies. This is what great rivalries are all about. Just imagine if David Ortiz did all this shit to Derek Jeter before the 2004 ALCS. That would definitely explain why the Sox won. That or steroids.

8. Drill Sgt. vs. Gomer Pyle

The first half of Full Metal Jacket which may be the best hour in film history (it's on the short list) all revolves around this one sided battle. I guess the true definition of rivalry is that it has to be two sided, but Gomer does kill him in the end, so maybe it is.

7. John McLain vs. Hans

The first Die Hard rivalry is a classic. Family is involved. American cockiness vs. Eastern European smarminess. And America wins! Fuck Yeah! There should be another version where the American loses shown in the Middle East. That'd sell like gang busters, except for the fact I don't think Muslims are allowed to watch movies that have humans depicted as people in them.

6. Andy Dufresne vs. the Warden in Shawshank Redemption

Here we have the classic bad guy who's really the good guy, and a good guy who's really a bad guy. A true heart always wins, or does it?

5. Jon Bender vs. the Principal in The Breakfast Club

The classic burnout vs. authority figure tops spoiled brat Ferris Bueller's rivalry with the pederast. These two simply don't like each other.

4. Terry Malloy vs. Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront

You didn't think I'd have this list without Marlon Brando did ya? It's always good when a rivalry ends up with a classic fist fight. There aren't as many fist fights in movies nowadays as their used to be.

3. Daniel Plainview vs. Eli

Atheism vs. Evangelical Christianity, and Atheism wins in spectacular fashion. A bowling pin beat down.

2. The Bride vs. Bill

The best revenge I've ever seen.

1. Luke vs. Darth Vader

This pretty much embodies everything a great rivalry is about. Good vs. Evil. Father vs. Son. Man vs. Machine, and all with light sabers.

1 comment:

  1. In this post very nicely describe The Best Film Rivalries. I really appreciate this stories of Based on a True Story" or "Based on Actual Events. I read this both. Both are such a fantastic stories.