Assuming that all goes as it should, “Machete” is in a position to become one of the most enjoyable ensemble films of all time. The giddier I get about the news, the more and more I think about other classic ensemble movies that “Machete” will one day measure up to. For your reading pleasure, here are five slices from the never-ending ensemble movie pie.
Clue: Based on the board game of the same name, “Clue” features some of the greatest character actors of all time, including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean and the late Madeline Kahn. Chock-full of shockingly hilarious deaths, multiple outcomes and one of the finest closing lines in movie history — “I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife!” — “Clue” is truly one of the best collaborative efforts ever set to film reel.
The Departed: Martin Scorsese’s fine film work and epic soundtrack aside, “The Departed” was so meritorious thanks to its awesome cast. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon take on most of the heavy lifting, but they’re hoisted on the shoulders of Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Ray Winstone and Vera Farmiga, who provide the bedrock for this compelling, Oscar-winning work of cinema.
Murder by Death: Going back to the classics, it doesn’t get much better than “Murder by Death,” a film that could win you over in title only. Adding further reason to celebrate this whodunit is the amazingly impressive ensemble, including Alex Guinness, Peter Falk, Charlie Chan, David Niven, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith and Peter Sellers. That’s not even mentioning author extraordinaire Truman Capote’s rare turn as filthy rich Lionel Twain. That performance alone is worth the rental price.
Ocean’s Eleven: This phenomenally complicated crime caper is so good that there are two versions of the film. The majority of Movies Blog readers are most likely familiar with the Steven Soderbergh version, featuring the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac and Andy Garcia. But don’t you dare forget about the original 1960 picture with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Cesar Romero — if you haven’t seen that one, you’re truly missing out.
Mars Attacks!: When it comes to ensemble films, “Mars Attacks!” might just be my personal Holy Grail. This movie could very easily boast the alternate title of “Film In Which So Many Celebrities Are Killed By Ruthless Martians, You Lose Count,” because that’s really the whole premise. Things don’t work out so well for Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and Danny DeVito. And things really don’t work out so well for Jack Nicholson — twice, I might add. And that’s not even mentioning the other stars: Glenn Close, Pam Grier, Lukas Haas, Annette Bening, Jack Black, Michael J. Fox, Natalie Portman, Paul Winfield and — of course — the one and only Jim Brown. In terms of all-out actor slaughter, this Tim Burton-directed movie is the creme de la creme.
What are your favorite ensemble movies? Drop some titles in the comments section!