This evening brings us to a new best of list covering the last 25 years of motion pictures. And this time, instead of the best movies, we’re covering my personal list of greatest movie trailers of the last generation.
Let’s be clear: making this particular list was quite difficult. There are lots of criteria for what makes a brilliant trailer. Frankly, it frequently has little to do nothing with whether or not the finished product is any good. There are movies contained in this list that I was no fan of, but that doesn’t mean its teaser or trailer wasn’t pretty sweet. And the teaser and trailer designation is key. I’m including both on this list. There are some teasers that actually had little to do with the eventual picture. And there are some full trailers that effectively captured how terrific the eventual picture turned out to be.
Obviously this list is all in the eye of the beholder (meaning me) and there are several spectacular ones left off. Here’s just a dozen of them: Spider-Man, Zero Dark Thirty, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, The Day After Tomorrow, Star Trek, Heat, Guardians of the Galaxy, Pearl Harbor, Fight Club, Kill Bill – Vol. 1, and Suicide Squad. I’m also glad I limited myself to the past 25 years because there’s some of the best ever prior to that period – namely Psycho, Alien, and The Shining.
As is typical with these lists, I’ll count down from 25 to 1 in five part installments every day. Here we go:
25. Taken (2008)
It’s not often you can say that one trailer spawned a film franchise, but Taken did just that with its trailer focusing on that famous Liam Neeson speech to his daughter’s captors.
24. Black Mass (2015)
Johnny Depp had starred in a string of commercial and critical disappointments, but one look at this chilling dinner table trailer and you knew he was back in his element. A likely Oscar nomination may well follow early next year.
23. Unbreakable (2000)
It may be hard to recall now, but Unbreakable was M. Night Shyamalan’s supremely eagerly awaited follow-up to his phenomenon The Sixth Sense. This mysterious trailer raised the bar of expectations and though some would disagree with me, I believe the actual film delivered.
22. Red Eye (2005)
The late Wes Craven’s pic has one of the cleverest trailers on the list. The first portion of it makes it seems like a lame romantic comedy (with Rachel McAdams no less, making that prospect more believable). The sudden tone shift makes you realize what you’re really in for…
21. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
It had been 30 years since director George Miller was behind the camera for this franchise and legitimate doubts persisted whether his reboot that replaced Mel Gibson with Tom Hardy would work. Once the first trailer hit, there was little doubt at all in this visually breathtaking work.
We will get to numbers 20-16 tomorrow, folks!