The advent of ubiquitously-owned movie channels & online-streaming services like Netflix has definitely eroded the relevance of this post. I created this list in memory of the days when you had to hope that something good was on USA or TNT.

The rankings

Here's the list, ranked from 5 down through 1:

5. "old school"

One of the greatest that has managed to stand the test of time. Any major quote from "Old School" will always get some serious laughs (Oh....Cheeessee). True tone-setter for so many comedies that followed ("Superbad", "I love you, Man"," "Role models", etc.).

Catching "Old School" on TV will elicit pangs of nostalgia that make it impossible to change the channel.

4. "Gladiator"

Maximus Decimus Aurelius and his pursuit of vengeance is something that you simply cannot turn off. If you are lucky enough to catch the film before the first fight with the Gauls, you know that you’re in for an awesome 2 hours of gladiatorial gore.

3. "Saving Private Ryan"

The original “America porn”. This film is a generational masterpiece that any American, regardless of political leanings, can enjoy. Case in point:

2. "Blood Diamond"

Leonardo DiCaprio fighting bloodthirsty rebels in Sierra Leone while crushing a very difficult South African accent is nearly as good as it gets.

"Blood Diamond" gets shafted with the silver only because we never get to see Jennifer Connolly hook up with Danny Archer.

1. "The Patriot"

Mel Gibson hacking British soldiers to death in front of his horrified 12 & 9-year-old sons is patriotic bloodshed that the whole family can enjoy. The “Aim small, miss small” advice still makes me feel insufficient as a son to this day.*

Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:

  • "I Love You, Man"
  • "The Last Samurai"
  • "Behind Enemy Lines"
  • "Wedding Crashers"
  • "Letters from Iwo Jima" (fantastic film, such a unique perspective. Clint’s refusal to die is the best thing to happy to Hollywood)
  • "Superbad"
  • "Role Models"

*A reward for the patient. You cannot pass up the opportunity to incorporate vintage Mel: