1. The Fugitive (1993): starring Harrison Ford & Tommy Lee Jone

This film is widely considered to be the best TV series-to-film adaptation and for good reason. I have never seen the TV series so I cannot speak to how good it is, but I have heard it was the type of show that held audiences spellbindingly captive during the series’ duration. The film gives you the same feeling. Harrison Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble, a well-respected and wealthy man in the Chicago medical community, suddenly finds himself on the lam from the law for the murder of his wife. He is forced to use his survival instincts to keep one step ahead of the law while he attempts to piece together who killed his wife. The ‘cat’ in this cat-and-mouse chase is Tommy Lee Jones’ Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard. The film is great, but what makes it so is Tommy Lee Jones, who earned an Academy Award for his performance. His character’s dogged persistence to capture his man and keen intelligence lends the film its high stakes. You are left wondering how in hell Kimble can possibly outwit Gerard and coupled with Jones’ performance, The Fugitive has become one of the greatest action chase films ever made.

2. The Addams Family (1991): starring Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christina Ricci, & Christopher Lloyd

The Addams Family does not have a plot, but neither did the TV show. As the slightly classier version of its competitor, The Munsters, The Addams Family is simply about an eccentric family of what would now be known as goths who live in a big old mansion. The characters of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Thing were created by cartoonist Charles Addams and were originally featured in the The New Yorker. The film was directed by former DP Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black series), whose well-recognized aesthetic style behind the camera lent this film a gorgeous look and style. The film’s plot is paper-thin, but the uniqueness of the characters, the performances of the actors (especially that of the late Raul Julia and Angelica Huston), the stunning production design, and the morbid humor made this into a highly entertaining film.

3. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, & Simon Pegg

With the exception of the lackluster second film, which was directed by John Woo, I am a big fan of the Mission: Impossible series of films, which began with Brian DePalma directing, shifted to John Woo, and then J.J. Abrams before finally being handed to Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles). Each film has been tailored to its director’s signature style and amazingly enough, the series has largely remained a critical and box office success. In fact, I now look forward to a new installment of Mission: Impossible just as much as I do for a new James Bond movie. However, of all the helmers who have taken on this series, Brad Bird seemed to be particularly suited to direct a Mission: Impossible film. Given the series’ over-the-top and playful nature and Bird’s storytelling style, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol set a new bar for Mission: Impossible films that will be difficult to surpass or even match.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Ricardo Montalban, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, & Kirstie Alley

There have been many Star Trek films, many of which are very good (as many fans have pointed out, the series has fallen into a pattern in which every other film in the series is good). However, the second film still remains after all these years the best of all the series, including the Next Generation and J.J. Abrams’ reboot. I have not seen Abrams’ Star Trek 2, but given how unimpressed I have been by most of his past work, I am not holding my breath that his upcoming Star Trek film will blow me away. The Wrath of Khan has so much going for it. There is a new Enterprise, new uniforms, the introduction of Captain Kirk’s son, Mr. Spock’s death, and the return of Kirk’s arch nemesis, Khan, who is superbly brought to the screen by Ricardo Montalban. Khan is a step for step match against Kirk and this maintains a high level of momentum and tension throughout the film. Add to all this the further development of Kirk and Spock’s friendship and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is an instant classic.

5. The Untouchables (1987): starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia, & Robert De Niro

Dances With Wolves may have propelled Kevin Costner to stratospheric career heights, but it was Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables that put him on the map. With a fantastic film score by Ennio Morricone, an electric screenplay by David Mamet, and the sure directorial hand of Brian De Palma, The Untouchables is an exciting and dramatic film that earned Sean Connery an Academy Award for his performance. Especially watch for the Union Station scene where Eliot Ness gets into a shootout with a bunch of gangsters. Beautifully shot and a real treat for film history buffs because it recreates a classic scene from the film Battleship Potemkin.

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