In a recent interview, the man who used to be one of my top 5 directors praised the completed script for a sequel to Blade Runner and indicated he might actually be willing to return to direct it. In the past, he’s said he was done with Blade Runner based on the bad experiences he had with it: The studio made him overdub narration from Harrison Ford, which dumbed the movie down, and critics generally hated it.
And then it became a cult classic—and one of my personal favorite movies. It’s one of those I can watch again and again.
I say he “used to be” one of my favorites because his recent work (Prometheus, The Counselor, Robin Hood, and, based on previews, Exodus) has not lived up to the depth and power of his earlier films. It’s not that these are bad movies—they aren’t—but they’re certainly not great ones, either. But when you look at the body of work he’s produced, his influence and ability is undeniable.
In light of this great news, I thought a tribute to the knight called “Sir Ridley,” was in order…
BERKELEY PLACE’S TOP TEN RIDLEY SCOTT MOVIES!
10. G.I. JANE (1997).
Call it corny, call it over the top, call it a complete fictionalization of real events, but the movie started people talking and it’s much better than you think it is. Demi Moore got a Razzie for bad acting in it, but go look again: She’s pretty good in it. One thing Scott can do is get good-to-great performances out of mediocre talents.
Plus: Demi Moore shower scene!
9. MATCHSTICK MEN (2003).
The rare example of a Ridley Scott comedy, I’d forgotten that this was one of his films. It included a sighting of the Yeti of Hollywood (i.e., Nick Cage as a good actor), Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman, and I think it was largely overlooked—but it’s a damn good movie.
8. BLACK RAIN (1989).
Michael Douglas chews scenery in Japan. I’m pretty sure this was the first time Japan’s famous motorcycle gangs were depicted on film. This wasn’t an “important” movie, it was just balls out fun.
7. GLADIATOR (2000).
I hate swords and sandals as a genre, but this one worked for me. So much so that I saw it twice.
The second time was terrifying. Not because of the movie, but because this very tall, very muscular, very scary looking dude kept wandering down the center aisle and talking loudly to himself and shadow boxing.
Movies at Union Station in DC. Always interesting.
6. ALIENS (1986)
Going from SF/noir to full-out action, this movie was groundbreaking and a shitload of fun.
5. AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007).
I know lots of people hated this movie, and the soundtrack, but I think it’s one of Denzel Washington’s most interesting performances, Russell Crowe’s best, and Jay-Z’s best post-retirement album. So there.
4. THELMA AND LOUISE (1991).
Because Sir Ridley was into girl power before it was really cool. See also: GI Jane.
3. BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001).
Before Katherine Bigelow started making contemporary war movies, this was the best depiction of modern warfare on film.
2. ALIEN (1979).
His second movie, his first big hit, and one of the first sci-fi noir movies. It’s the rare example of a “first film” that is wholly and completely unlike its sequels, which were really action movies. Kind of like how Pitch Black—a small movie with dark and shadows—spawned Riddick, a huge action film. (The major difference is that Aliens was damn good and Riddick…Wasn’t.)
1. BLADE RUNNER (1982).
Harrison Ford’s best film (take that, Star Wars!), and one of only two good movies to star Rutger Hauer (the other is The Hitcher).