10 October, 2010
1. Rear Window - there is nothing in this film that doesn't mesmerize me. The suspense; the actors; the mystery and dedication. Add to that, the incredible set that was built and the way that the film was shot, and it's simply unbeatable to me.
2. A Christmas Story - yes - done to death every Christmas. I remember for much of my teens and early twenties - whenever I mentioned this was my one of my top picks - I would be received by blank stares, because so few people knew what in the hell I was on about. The movie has only worked it's way into the Christmas consciousness thanks to TBS and Ted Turner's efforts. This movie excites me every holiday season because I can completely relate to the anticipation, anxiety, and over-zealousness exhibited by the movie's characters. I even went so far as to do a Nine Inch Nails remix featuring clips from this film.
3. The Shining. This movie terrified me as a child...bad enough that I looked like Danny. From the opening sequence of the car driving into the mountains and the score the accompanied it - I was struck dumb with fear and wonder. This was the scariest ghost story and still is the scariest ghost story I've ever heard.
4. The Exorcist. I was fucking two when I saw this and the story my mom likes to tell was that I was asleep in the backseat of the car at a drive-in and woke-up just in time to watch the movie playing behind us (The Exorcist) and her head began spinning around. I screamed holy terror and some synapses certainly got wired wrong as a result. This is the scariest movie I have ever seen to this day. To find out that this was a true story - well fuck - I give up.
5. Halloween - the John Carpenter masterpiece. This will never be improved upon. This is the movie I want to see every Halloween. The fall scenes, the neighborhood, the tension, the across the street shots, and the subtlety of the horror, I love this movie. I will never tire of seeing it.
6. The French Connection - this is another movie I saw as a child. When I saw it the first time, I came in at the point where the car are racing under the tram tracks. I didn't understand much about heroin dealers and dummying up cars to fill them with drugs - but I was enamored with Gene Hackman. He's an extremely talented and believable actor. I've seen the movie several times over the years and for me, this and Dirty Harry are the best cop movies ever made.
7. A Clockwork Orange. Unfortunately - one of my earliest memories is of me watching this movie. No - not really bad parenting - busy parents and I guess they thought seeing a movie like this would broaden my horizons. Did it ever. I will credit this film for why at the age of 5 I was making out with girls in the bushes in front of our home. This is another movie that took on a completely different meaning for me as I got older. The lessons it teaches is that everything we do in life takes on much bigger roles than simply the moment we live them - they will revisit us in ways we may never anticipate down the road.
8. The Changeling with George C. Scott. I saw this as a child and it scared the hell out of me. I recently purchased it on dvd and it's a lot less scary now - but I never realized how well acted the film is and how cool George C. Scott was. Still a good thriller if you are into those.
9. Night Of The Living Dead. I have to admit, I did not discover this movie until I was probably 13 or 14 and it blew my mind. This was the most interesting and intelligent filming of a horror movie I had ever seen and the holds true to today. The scenes with no dialouge for several minutes that build up a fear and anxiety about what's going on outside...brilliantly done. And in that situation - I'd react exactly as those poor souls did which adds credibility to the story. I can do without the addendums made some years later to the film.
10. Big Fish - not only could I completely relate to this movie - I also felt like for the first time, we got a glimpse into the life that created Tim Burton. This was storytelling at it's finest in my opinion. I am a sucker for Tim Burton - give me the trifecta of Burton, Depp and Elfman - and I'm all yours', but even without Depp in this instance, this is likely my favorite Burton film.
11. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. The score, the acting, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef - fuck - it's an eye/ear orgasm.
12. Dirty Harry - again, the score! The cinematography on this film is stunning too. The scene on the football field that rapidly pulls away into inifinity - how in the hell did they get that shot??
13. Ghost Dog - I love Jim Jarmusch's films - but this one captivated me. It was the comedic aspect to an otherwise sad tale of old school mafia and urban decay.
14. Snatch - Maisy introduced me to ths one. Best role Brad Pitt has ever done hands down. Again - a comedic aspect to a tale of deception, greed, and avarice. There's even poignant moments when you want to tear your heart out over the Pikey's mom.
15. Lonestar - I fell in love with the soundtrack to this movie and a friend of mine that did entertainment reviews for NPR asked me to tag along to the theatre to see this with her. It blew my mind. The mystery that builds and the twist that smacks you across the face at the end. Kris Kristoferrson plays the biggest ass ever and destroys countless lives. This movie is even more relevant now with the debate in America over immigration.