Honestly, the best decision made concerning X-Men First Class was giving it the Cuban Missile Crisis backdrop of 1962 and dropping Charles, Erik, and the lovely White Queen in groovy 60s attire. Whatever other problems this hard-to-please dork had with the plotting and teenybopper mutants can be dismissed with this fresh perspective.
Since Matt took Sky Captain, Black Dynamite, and Call of Cthulhu for his Fistful I had to go with some rather obvious choices. The films below totally capture (I imagine since I didn't come into the world till 1979) the feel and the joy of the time period being portrayed...or fetishized. And my top two picks have been safe and sound in My Top Ten All Time Favorite Movies for quite some time.
5. That Thing You Do!: The saga of The Wonders is warm and wholesome and it's one of those rare films about the music industry that also produces great music. I don't think this film or director Tom Hanks gets enough credit.
4. Ed Wood: Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland. Whatever cinematic crimes Tim Burton has and will continue to unleash upon my poor, tired eyes will always be forgiven cuz once upon a time in the 1990s he granted us the gem that is Ed Wood. A film about the love of film and the joys of forcing that love on others no matter how little money or talent you have. Ed Wood gave me another personal hero to place atop my mantel.
3. Chinatown: Roman Polanksi's love letter to Film Noir is simply exquisite. It hits all the beats and still manages to feel new and exciting. A climax that punches you right in the gut and a villain so great he'd find his way back into cinema as a tortoise in this year's Rango.
2. Miller's Crossing: "Look in your heart" and witness the Coen Brothers' finest hour with this brilliant ode to the gangster film in which Albert Finney, Gabriel Byrne, Joe Polito, Marcia Gay Harden, and JE Freeman have never been better. But at the end of the day is this exercise in language just a film about a guy and his hat?
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark: Speaking of hats...In just the same fashion as he did with Star Wars, George Lucas sets about concocting the ultimate ode to the adventure movie serial while at the same time crafting the Ultimate Adventure Film. Harrison Ford's fedoraed silhouette has become so iconic it's easy to forget that Raiders started out as a retro experiment. It just doesn't get better than Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.