The List: Top 10 Sam Raimi movies

From the March 7, 2013 edition

With Sam Raimi at the helm of the ambitious “Wizard of Oz” prequel (and an “Evil Dead” remake on the way), can I get all fanboy over one of my favorite directors and rank my 10 favorite Raimi movies? Groovy.

10. “Darkman”

When Raimi wanted to make a dark superhero movie but couldn’t get the rights to Batman or The Shadow, he made up his own. Pretty cool.

9. “The Gift”

This Southern Gothic tale about a small town clairvoyant (Cate Blanchett) deserves to be remembered for more than just Katie Holmes shedding her “Dawson’s Creek” good-girl image by shedding her clothes.

8. “Spider-Man 3”

Worst in the trilogy? Sure. But even that lambasted piano bar dance scene was pure Raimi.

7. “The Quick and the Dead”

Raimi’s flair for comic-book visuals was a great fit for this gunslinger remake starring then-star Sharon Stone and then-rising-star Leonardo Di Caprio.

6. “Drag Me to Hell”

Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures released a string of horror pics that were both inventive and throwback, but the director’s own return to the horror fold was a blast.

5. “Army of Darkness”

The time-traveling finale to the “Evil Dead” trilogy sated our desire for further adventures of Bruce Campbell’s Ash. I just wish the studio would have let Raimi stick with his original title, “The Medieval Dead.”

4. “Spider-Man”

Fans thought the casting of Tobey Maguire was nuts — OK, some still do — but Raimi’s first shot at a comic-book blockbuster was a smash. This franchise didn’t need the reboot it got last summer.

3. “A Simple Plan”

This pot-boiler of a thriller was Raimi’s most grown-up film by a sizable distance. It makes me wish he’d decide to do more straight dramas.

2. “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”

Raimi’s low-budget rethinking of his lower-budget “The Evil Dead” upped the splatter factor, added humor and made Bruce Campbell a cult icon. And that was before it spawned a musical.

1. “Spider-Man 2”

Until Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, this was the high-water mark for the overcrowded field of superhero movies. Perfectly paced, it was an expert blend of summer-movie action and real heart.