The film world lost one of its great modern visionaries with Sunday's passing of Tony Scott. Though he never received the critical notices and awards love shown to his brother Ridley, Tony Scott was a huge success in his own right. With Top Gun in 1986, he practically ushered in the slick action blockbuster, and, for better or worse (I say better), paved the way for the likes of Michael Bay, Peter Berg, and countless others. It may be sacrilege to say, but I actually prefer most of Tony's films to Ridley's, who has seemingly coasted on the early brilliance of Alien and Blade Runner.
Tony's first movie, 1983's The Hunger, is one of the sexiest films I've seen. His output throughout the '80s and '90s is a textbook example of how to make smart, well-made commercial entertainment for adults. Other than Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987, he avoided sequels and mostly stuck with original ideas, save for the inevitable remake on his resume (2009's fairly useless The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3). He started losing me after Man on Fire in 2004. Though I enjoyed the dramatic, sun-drenched look and feel of that Denzel Washington flick, I think that over-the-top style of filmmaking gripped him and never let go in subsequent pictures like Domino (an ambitious misfire) and Deja Vu (totally forgettable).
2010's Unstoppable seemed to (pun intended) get him back on the right track, and, at the very least, spawned this awesome SNL parody. I was very interested in seeing what would happen with the Top Gun sequel that he and Tom Cruise were developing at the time of his death. Still, Tony leaves an impressive filmography behind and has made an indelible mark on film. What better way to honor him than to highlight his five most "essential" movies. Thanks for all the film memories, Mr. Scott. You will be missed.