July 9, 2012

"Rotten Tomatoes asks some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Name Your Five Favorite Films."

Links to the various lists are well-organized in this Metafilter post.

Which name did you impulsively click on first? I clicked on Werner Herzog, who likes "Freaks," "Intolerance," "Rashomon," "Nosferatu," and a movie I don't remember ever noticing before, "Where is the Friend's Home."

About "Rashomon" — which I once wrote an article about — he said:
It is probably the only film that I've ever seen which has something like a perfect balance, which does not occur in filmmaking very often. You sense it sometimes in great music, but I haven't experienced it in cinema, and it's mind boggling. I don't know how [Akira] Kurosawa did it. It's still a mystery to me. That's greatness.

218 comments:

1 – 200 of 218   Newer›   Newest»
MadisonMan said...

I like that Joan Rivers includes Can't Stop the Music and her own film.

I didn't click all the links (Hello! I'm working!) but did anyone like Groundhog Day. That's my #1.

Palladian said...

The Shining
Vertigo
Blow-Up
Barry Lyndon
Safe

Tibore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

ROFL! I love the entry for Billy Ray Cyrus's list:

"I should link to a malware site just to punish your curiosity."

Unknown said...

ZULU
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
BLACK NARCISSUS
THE GODFATHER

The Drill SGT said...

High Noon
Godfather (I and II)
Zhivago
Return of the King
Casablanca


not perhaps the best, but I think the ones I love to watch...

X said...

Hobson's Choice
The Left Hand of God
Calvin Marshall
Dean Spanley
Yohimbo

The Drill SGT said...

Unknown, I love Zulu, given my background, and I appreciate how it was made by Stanley Baker and the music, but it'd not in my 5.

Colour Sergeant Bourne: It's a miracle.
Lieutenant John Chard: If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.

X said...

"hold them. hold them."

Scott said...

The Gospel According to St Matthew (Pasolini)
400 Blows (Truffaut)
Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird)
Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen)

...also...

Godzilla (original release) (Ishiro Honda)
Murmur of the Heart (Louis Malle)
Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki)
Akira (Katsuhiro Ohtomo)

edutcher said...

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

The Big Country (mostly for the score)

North By Northwest

El Dorado (great lines)

They Died With Their Boots On (just to see Flynn and Olivia at their peak)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

First of all, most of those 'biggest names in Hollywood'....never heard of them.

Young Frankenstein
Cabaret
Princess Bride
It Happened One Night
Twelve Monkeys -(because I like time paradox stuff not because it is an especially good movie)

I can also watch Space Balls, Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part One, Monty Pythons Search for the Holy Grail and Life of Brian over and over and laugh every time....so my taste in movies is pretty much suspect

Dave D said...

Drill and X:

I LOVE the spoof of the Zulu movies from Monty Python's THe Meaning of Life! Captures the modern misunderstanding of this period nicely.

My current top 5:
Aliens
TLOTR trilogy
Love and Death
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
A Bridge Too Far

Dave D said...

DBQ:

That's a great list!

Dave D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cassandra lite said...

I scanned the whole list in vain for a name whose opinion I was interested in. They asked Dane Cook? Seriously?

Alex Ignatiev said...

Lawrence of Arabia
Citizen Kane
King of New York
Rashomon
The Spanish Prisoner

edutcher said...

PS "Zulu" is a great, underrated movie, all the more impressive since it was, I believe, Sir Stanley Baker's first directorial effort.

OTOH Larry of Araby, not so good.

All of David Lean's movies commit the cardinal sin of movie-making - they drag in the middle.

EMD said...

Singing in the Rain
Blade Runner
The Best Years of Our Lives
Citizen Kane
The Searchers

The sixth on the list would probably be Evil Dead 2.

Christy said...

I clicked on Craig Ferguson first.

Mad Man, I do love Groundhog Day. I can never pass it by without watching.

Exactly what is this word favorite supposed to connote? I came across Goodfellas the other night and stayed up to watch it for the umpteenth time. I cannot not watch, but I'm not sure I even like it. How can anyone like Pulp Fiction, but yet it is on my list of truly excellent movies. Kill Bill I like.

Blade Runner
Brazil
O Brother, Where Art Thou
Some Like it Hot
Moulin Rouge

List will change before I finish typing the verification. Which it did, but I'll never hit submit if I keep thinking. Sometimes it's best not to.

Patrick said...

The Sting
Princess Bride
Magnificent 7
No Country for Old Men
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Saint Croix said...

One day they will ask me and I will say, "Yes, I do have a list."

Scott said...

I don't know why Citizen Kane shows up on so many Top 10 lists. It's self-consciously "arty" but there are few moving moments in it -- and Joseph Cotten had all of them.

Snap quiz: What was the name of the actress who played the female lead. Bonus question: Name one other movie she starred in. (Looking at IMDB is cheating.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

List will change before I finish typing the verification. Which it did, but I'll never hit submit if I keep thinking.

True. So many movies that I like to watch. Doesn't make them "good" movies in the artsy fartsy sense.

Ground Hog Day (yep me too)
Singing in the Rain
It's A Wonderful Life
Pulp Fiction (I liked it, but then I liked Natural Born Killers in a fascinated can't not watch the car wreck sense.)
Total Recall (so bad it is good)

So many movies. It is a moving target.

The Drill SGT said...

Edutcher,
The Zulu Baker thing is deeper. he starred, Directed, and Produced. He wanted the story made because it was Welsh. Hence Burton doing the Narration, and the use of the non-Historical but wonderful "Men of Harlech" as the counter-theme to the Zulu chants:

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
can't you see their spear points gleaming
see their warrior pennons streaming
to this battle field

Men of Harlech stand ye steady
Let it not be ever said ye
For this battle were unready
Welshmen do not yield

From the hills rebounding
Let the war cry sounding
Summon all, the clarion call
the mighty foe surrounding

Men of Harlech on to glory
This will ever be your story
keep these stirring words before ye
Welshmen do not yield

edutcher said...

Sarge, I know about the Welsh connection with Burton, as well as Baker's producing as well as directing, but wasn't aware he wanted to do it because of his heritage.

Good to know.

Bob Ellison said...

The Seven Samurai
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Star Wars
City Lights
Little Big Man

The Drill SGT said...

edutcher said...
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon


Though I like the movie, I think the interplay of Maureen O'Hara and LTC Yorke in Rio Grande is better.

As for Yellow Ribbon, my favorite scene is the burial of "Troop Smith"

In Rio Grande, it is clearly the (near the end) scene (a reprise of the beginning) where the women watch as the tired yet victorious troopers return to post with their wounded. No words, just an outstretched hand, taken....

That and the closing parade, with troops passing in review, Dixie playing and Maureen twirling her parasol (hmmm: Sherman!)

PS: In Yellow Ribbon, I never could figure out the tactics of leaving 2 squads on the far side in the delaying action. I would have placed them on the near side, and dominated the crossing...

Nathan Alexander said...

1) Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope
...best movie ever, hands down. Not sure why it hasn't been mentioned by anyone yet.
2) Groundhog Day
3) Crazy Stone
4) The Princess Bride
5) The Magnificent Seven

Honorable mentions:
The Holy Grail
Monsters, Inc
Aliens
The Empire Strikes Back
This Is Spinal Tap
Rio Lobo
Sliding Doors
Shaun of the Dead
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Charade
Silverado

The Drill SGT said...

Stanley Baker

Date of Birth
28 February 1928, Ferndale, Rhondda Valley, Wales, UK

Unknown said...

Stanley Baker starred and produced ZULU. Cy Enfield was the director.

Nathan Alexander said...

Also: A Fish Called Wanda

And a shout-out to Bob Ellison for posting Star Wars in that time gap it took for me to write and post my comment.

Oh, and Red Dawn, too!

Howard said...

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Downfall
Dr. Strangelove
The Conversation
Blow-Up

Dave D said...

Ya know, I'd have to add Promethius to my list. Great scifi movie!

Mr. D said...

Top Five:

Citizen Kane
North by Northwest
The Manchurian Candidate (original)
The Producers (original)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Honorable Mention:

The Big Sleep (original)
Chinatown
The Incredibles
Sunset Boulevard
Night of the Hunter

Best movie I’ve seen recently is Hugo

Bob Ellison said...

Nathan, thanks. The big film lists seem always to have Citizen Kane and The Godfather, but not the most exciting movies of all time (Star Wars, Raiders) or the funniest (Holy Grail) or the most-watched (Gone With the Wind, It's a Wonderful Life).

In the exciting category, I love Das Boot, which, aside from being a fantastic film, also has the greatest English over-dubbing ever done. In the humor category, I'm big on the Jacques Tati movies as well, like Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot's Holiday).

edutcher said...

Sarge, agree with everything you say about Ford's movies.

From what I've read, the homecoming scenes were actually like that during the Indian Wars.

As to the crossing, it may have been because the mounted men would have been at a disadvantage in the water. Ford had access to old cavalrymen and it may have just been done that way.

prairie wind said...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Dr. Zhivago
Princess Bride
The Cowboys
Cinema Paradiso

Das Boot...so glad someone else remembered that one.

prairie wind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Young Frankenstein

I really like the first half of the movie, and can quote from it at the drop of the hat. The back half pales, from about when the monster is animated. I'd put Blazing Saddles ahead of Young Frankenstein.

Bob Ellison said...

I think The Dark Knight will be long remembered. The acting was sometimes spotty-- Christian Bale was silly (Patrick Leahy out-played), but Heath Ledger was amazing-- but the story and overall cinematography are great.

edutcher said...

Unknown, you're absolutely right.

And I should have remembered it.

The Drill SGT said...

As to the crossing, it may have been because the mounted men would have been at a disadvantage in the water. Ford had access to old cavalrymen and it may have just been done that way.

I was a new old cavalryman (waiting for Roger J to show and out rank me.). Here's how I see it.

in a defensive position on the far side, with the river to your back, you have:

- a well protected rear
- a disadavantage of higher ground to your front
- the ability of the indians to skirmish at will, using cover and darkness to approach you on three sides.
- lack of intel about the size of the enemy force.
- complete inability to break contact. for if you do, the indians will be on the bluff overlooking the river, as you struggle across.

If you defend the near side (closeest to the Fort), you gain:
- ability to dominate the enemy approach inflicting serious losses in the opening volleys
- in the event that there is only one ford, you create a linear defense, with no flanks.
- if the fordable river is wider that you control by fire, you still may get a good count on the flankers
- you can not be charged from the front
- you can break conact easier because you don't have a river to cross

Paddy O said...

Glory

Master and Commander

Rivers and Tides (this and Into Great Silence are my "soul-cleansing" movies)

Elf

Braveheart

Given there are a lot of runners up, these are the movies that are on the list because they're what came to mind first.

Bob Ellison said...

Drill SGT, A Well Protected Rear would be on most lists, but the canon-makers usually exclude anything > NC17.

MadisonMan said...

Groundhog Day
Blazing Saddles
Singing in the Rain
The whole LOTR saga as one movie :)
Gaslight

Manchurian Candidate is a close 6th, as I (heart) Angela Lansbury. If she had starred in Mame instead of Lucille Ball, I'm sure that would be near the top. Annie Get Your Gun is way up there too.

Paddy O said...

The whole LOTR trilogy has to be included for me too.

What's interesting is how people determine their lists. Professionals tend to look for tradecraft.

I'm more interested in how it affects me emotionally--what kind of impact it had on me when I first saw it.

Tank said...

I clicked on Woody Harrelson, who had a damn good list.

Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967; 100% Tomatometer)

Probably my favorite is Cool Hand Luke. That's kind of been my favorite for a while. I just love that movie.

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971; 85% Tomatometer)

The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967; 87% Tomatometer)



The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel-Donnersmarck, 2006; 93% Tomatometer)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Milos Forman, 1975; 96% Tomatometer)

Not bad for a wack job.

Also surprised to see so many Princess Brides above. That is one of my favorites.

I'm ashamed to say, I thnk my favorite movie is Shrek. Look at the way my eye is twitching.

The Drill SGT said...

On the other hand Bob,

If you can butcher them in the water, very few get to your rear and you have a good count.

MadisonMan said...

Do I want to watch it again?

That's my #1 question for a movie.

I should have The Incredibles on my list too.

The Drill SGT said...

Not that I care, but I looked up the tomato scores:

High Noon 96%
Godfather (I and II)100 & 98%
Zhivago 85%
Return of the King 94%
Casablanca 97%

victoria said...

The More the Merrier
The General
It's a Wonderful Life
It Should Happen to You
Now Voyager


I stop to watch these movies every time they are on TCM.In addition, I have copies of all of them on DVD.
Jean Arthur, Buster Keaton, Jimmy Steward, Jack Lemmon and the divine Bette Davis.

Buster has my heart. Has since i was 15 and saw my first silent movie.


Vicki From Pasadena

Chip S. said...

There ought to be a silent flick on somebody's list, so I'll submit what Orson Welles said about The General:

"the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made."

Paddy O said...

Shrek is definitely high on my list... and I think I'll also add Avengers. For its genre it also, I think, found a tremendous balance.

Chip S. said...

Vicki is brilliant!

Bob Ellison said...

Chip S., City Lights is silent, except for the music written by the star, director, and producer.

Mike said...

Breaker Morant
Das Boot
Real Genius
Mona Lisa
Babe 2: Pig in the City

AllieOop said...

The Last of the Mohicans
The Last Emperor
Dr. Zhivago
Aliens
Terminator
2001 Space Odessy
Life is Beautiful
Schindler''s List
Shawshank Redemption
Gone With the Wind

shiloh said...

Your Three Minutes Are Up
Sullivan's Travels
Kiss Me Deadly
Curse of the Deamon
Casablanca

Guilty Pleasures:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Caddyshack
Stripes
Animal House
The Blues Brothers

Movies w/commercials on cable ie channel changing stoppers ...

The Fugitive
Silence of the Lambs
The Great Escape
The Magnificent Seven
The Godfather

>

Honorable mention :D

The Gumball Rally
Donovan's Reef

AllieOop said...

Oops I did ten.

shiloh said...

Shawshank Redemption

Indeed, another channel changing stopper. :)

victoria said...

Bob, I always thought that Chaplin was too full of himself. Buster was pure, awesome and so talented. The General is just one of his greats. You want awesome too, watch, "Our Hospitality" Silent films are totally under appreciated. I took my first silent film class at the Art Institute in Chicago in 1968. I was 16, took the train from Lake Forest to Chicago every Saturday morning for 8 months. I saw it all, so impressed. It gave a 16 year-old perpetual "new girl" a friend and companionship during her senior year in high school. I will be forever grateful to Buster, Chester Conklin, Mack Sennett, Frances Marion (Screenwriter) and countless others who gave me hours of entertainment.


Vicki from Pasadena

I Callahan said...

The Cowboys

A very underappreciated John Wayne film. My favorite by him.

My list:
Dirty Harry
The Godfather
Goodfellas
Animal House
Pet Sematary

Bob Ellison said...

Every one of you who lists The Magnificent Seven must now go back and watch Seven Samurai before reporting back to class. Allocate 3.5 hours for it.

I Callahan said...

Oops I did ten.

You're officially kicked off the thread for rules violation...

:)

Anyway, is that why they call you AllieOop?

Paddy O said...

Also, The Castle--one of several hilariously quirky Australian movies.

The Farmer said...

His Girl Friday
Rio Bravo
Rear Window
The Godfather
Once Upon A Time In The West

AllieOop said...

I Callahan, probably;)

Chip S. said...

Lubitsch also should be mentioned in a thread like this.
Trouble in Paradise is probably my fave.

Already mentioned The General.

Three more?

Notorious
La Dolce Vita
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Thorley Winston said...

My top five

Star Wars (original trilogy)
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Pirates of the Caribbean (original trilogy)
Indian Jones (original trilogy)
The Care Bears Maul My Little Ponies (original trilogy)

shiloh said...

must now go back and watch

Actually, that's the problem w/movies nowadays ie nothing new under the sun, just recycled trash.

But it doesn't get any better than Steve McQueen riding shotgun on a hearse.

I Callahan said...

The Care Bears Maul My Little Ponies

A cult favorite...

ampersand said...

One,Two,Three

Journey to the Center of the Earth(1959)

North by Northwest

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

Jason and the Argonauts

Quaestor said...

The Drill SGT wrote:
Lieutenant John Chard: If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.

Are you sure that's the quote? Because if it is it implies that Chard didn't know what weapon his men were using. The men of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd/24th carried the Martini-Henry rifle, which chambers the Boxer-Henry cartridge, calibre .577/450, not .45

Tibore said...

Like Scott, I myself wonder at Citizen Kane. It feels like people are citing it as a requisite addition instead of as a personally honest one.

That I don't get. It'd be like people saying "broccoli" when asked about their favorite food. There's a difference between something being being "required" consumption and actually being a true favorite. One movie I enjoy the hell out of - Dark Star, by John Carpenter - is, objectively speaking, terrible. But the fun is in how terrible it is (look up the dialogue between one of the characters and the sentient nuclear bomb on board the spacecraft... some of the dumbest yet funniest dialogue I can imagine).

Sometimes, building a "favorites" list in anything is not the same as building a "best of" list. And movies are a great example of this. I think too many professional entertainers feel the need to cite from The Canon Of Famous And Monumental Cinema as their favorite flicks instead of what they truly enjoy and would watch over and over again. It reminds me of watching Martin Scorsese in an interview once: I was astounded by how much he knew about and what lengths he could discuss B movies with people. I sometimes wonder if his favorites reside among those B movies, rather than among the standard "Cinematic Canon" list of films.

EMD said...

These would also be up there for me:

The Philadelphia Story
The Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
His Girl Friday
Paths of Glory
The General (indeed)
City Lights (Chaplin was the better storyteller, but Keaton was far better at building the physical gags)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Caddyshack
Stripes
Animal House
The Blues Brothers


None of these should be deemed guilty pleasures as they are all wonderful comedies.

ndspinelli said...

I didn't see My Dinner W/ Andre on any list.

Unlike most people, I list my flicks on my blogger profile.

erictrimmer said...

Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Alien
The Elephant Man
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Pee Wee's Big Adventure is the only movie with a firm spot on that list. Any of the other four could be easily replaced by one of dozens of other films.

EMD said...

Like Scott, I myself wonder at Citizen Kane. It feels like people are citing it as a requisite addition instead of as a personally honest one.

It's a brilliant film that redefined how we see movies and how stories on film are told.

I think it's a great film and one I enjoy. I also enjoy Casablanca ... perhaps Casablanca is more watchable than CK.

I initially put it in my 5, but frankly I even enjoy watching The Philadelphia Story more than Kane, so I would bump Kane down a few notches.

The fatal flaw with CK is that no one heard him utter "Rosebud" unless the nurse coming in from the hall had bionic hearing.

Crunchy Frog said...

Can't go with just five:

Star Wars
Fight Club
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Pulp Fiction
Goodfellas
Reservoir Dogs (no love for RD?)
Blazing Saddles
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Aliens
Dirty Harry

Chip S. said...

When does the "Your list sucks!" phase of this thread start?

I mean, this is Althouse, and not Jonathan Turley's little oasis of civility.

Tibore said...

"EMD said...

It's a brilliant film that redefined how we see movies and how stories on film are told."


Oh yes. I've read and been personally told that before. And I don't disagree with the consensus that it's an important film in the history of cinema, nor that it's place in cinematic canon is well earned. All I'm saying is that I wonder if it's truly being cited by many as a personal favorite or not.

Frankly, it doesn't even make my own personal top 100 or even 1000 list, historical significance nonwithstanding. I definitely understand its place in history, it's just that the times I've watched it felt like the times I had to eat my veggies because they were good for me: I experienced no organic feeling of wonder or enjoyment while watching that film.

Yet, I'm completely able to connect to other films far better than I can with Citizen Kane. Gone With The Wind, for example, is one that speaks to me far more personally and engages me far more completely. Ditto Buster Keaton's The General, a film from much earlier in Hollywood's history. If we need another example of this from artistic genres other than film: I'm continually told that Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is an important opera to watch, but to me, it's a blowhard of a piece that's guaranteed to cure insomnia. I'd rather refer an opera virgin to Puccini's Tosca, which I feel is a thousand times more accessible in addition to being a ton more enjoyable without sacrificing the true operatic experience. Painting? I go right by the Van Gogh's and make a beeline for the Chagall's whenever I can.

But in neither case would I ever deny the importance either Figaro or any of Van Gogh's works. It's just that none reside among my personal favorites.

And that's ultimately what I meant when I posted. I honestly wonder how many of those questioned honestly hold Citizen Kane as one of their favorite movies. I, too would include it on a list of important ones. But favorite? That list is different. And that's ultimately my point.

bgates said...

The Palm Beach Story, Hail the Conquering Hero, The Great McGinty, and Sullivan's Travels.
One, Two, Three.
The Buccanneer (Frederic March version).
Singing in the Rain.
The Princess Bride.

I've seen The Seven Samurai and I enjoy The Magnificent Seven more, despite recognizing Kurosawa's movie is somehow better.

I'm less moved by complaints about remakes since I learned that The Maltese Falcon was one.

Tibore said...

"EMD said...
I also enjoy Casablanca ... perhaps Casablanca is more watchable than CK."


That's definitely my opinion as well. I loved the hell out of Casablanca.

-----

Here's an interesting digression; I'm reminded of it by folks invoking Citizen Kane and therefore bringing Orsen Wells to mind. Wells was in the movie The Third Man. I watched that film once, and the utterly strange thing is that I can't figure out whether I liked the movie or not.

And that's the dilemna: I simply don't know. I didn't dislike it - it kept me engaged at the time - but none of it stuck with me the way other films have that I enjoyed. And that's also the part that confuses me: How can a person not know whether he likes something or not? Before Third Man, I would've been incredulous at the notion. But after seeing it... it's like I can't make up my mind about it.

I guess one could make an argument that if I can't decide, then I obviously didn't like it, it's just that I didn't dislike it either. But that sort of conclusion doesn't really do any justice to the fact that my mind's not settled on the matter, and feels like it's tottering on a fulcrum ready to tip to one side or the other depending on some new info, or my developing some new metric to measure it by. It's a weird feeling, but it's an honest one. And it's strange how something measured via a sense of aesthetics can live in that no-man's land between like and dislike in the way that Third Man does. But it does. And that's just a weird thing for me to contemplate.

Wally Kalbacken said...

Bullitt
Days of Heaven
HEAT
Godfather (I & II)
Fargo

john said...

Ran
A Matter of Life and Death
Tree of Life
Slumdog Millionaire
Godfather

Freeman Hunt said...

Excited to see Blow-Up on others' lists. Hated it while it was playing but couldn't stop discussing it for days, and it turned into a favorite.

Cedarford said...

Exceptionally hard to create a 5 Best movies list because it is like trying to winnow down baseball and football players, with certain roles ..into a 5 best.
You tend to get a list of 5 QBs and no other great player, or 4 sluggers and one pitcher with no shortstops, or catchers.

Movies target certain demos - so you can perhaps make lists of best-done comedies, dramas, silents, mysteries, campy innovative art flicks, shorts, sci-fi, melodramas, documentaries - but throw then all together and you tend to have all "prestigious dramas" emerge as winners by default, just like 5 Quarterbacks would top "Best football players evah!".

Some movies further go into tastes...where to some "Its a Wonderful Life" touched them to their core, while to others it is just a warm old Jimmy Stewart movie..and not as good as 12 other flicks of his.

To me, just with memorable dramas that took my breath away and which have been seen many times:

Rashomon
Godfather Part II
Laurence of Arabia
Dr Zhivago
7 Samurai

Col Mustard said...

? "I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature."

? "Oh this young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him, well, I guess that's more than most 21-year-olds can handle... Ogie Oglethorpe!"

? "All right men... we're going. But I want you to remember who you are. You are the 10th Light Horse! Men from Western Australia. Don't forget it. Good luck."

? "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

? "TOGA! TOGA!"

Palladian said...

I need to add 10 more. Some of these are already on other people's lists.

Duck Soup

Angels With Dirty Faces

Touch Of Evil

The Exterminating Angel

Eraserhead

Silence Of The Lambs

Metropolis

High And Low

Grey Gardens

The Garden

AllieOop said...

Oh shoot, I forgot all about Forrest Gump, he's taking The Terminator's place in my list.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ran
Ikiru
Rashomon
Citizen Kane
The Trial

(I know, boring, only two people. What can I say? I think others are excellent but none so much as those.)

The Drill SGT said...

The men of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd/24th carried the Martini-Henry rifle, which chambers the Boxer-Henry cartridge, calibre .577/450, not .45

the quote text is from imdb, but that's how I remember it

john said...

Let me rework this:

A Matter of Life and Death
Tree of Life
Its a Wonderful Life
Best Years of Our Lives
A Life of My Choice

Themes are important in my life.

Freeman Hunt said...

Film is so wonderful. It's just wonderful.

Look at all the excellent films mentioned. How can a heart not sing?

Freeman Hunt said...

There should be another thread where people can name their top five large format art books. I need to buy some, and I don't know what to get.

32.and.Stewart said...

The Searchers
Lawrence of Arabia
How Green is My Valley
Unforgiven
Goodfellas

Chip S. said...

Oh shoot, I forgot all about Forrest Gump, he's taking The Terminator's place in my list.

Ah hell, Allie. You already went to 10; why not go up to 11?

AllieOop said...

No Chip, I follow the rules, loosely.

EMD said...

Film is so wonderful. It's just wonderful.

Look at all the excellent films mentioned. How can a heart not sing?


Yeah, I could talk about this stuff all day.

prairie wind said...

After reading all the lists (so far) I now have a list of movies I need to watch again because they are just that terrific:

Philadelphia Story
Incredibles
The Searchers
Raiders of the Lost Arc
The Elephant Man
Aliens
Das Boot
MAD MAX (nobody else yet?)
Rear Window
High Noon

Saw Forest Gump once, don't need to see it again. There is just something about Tom Hanks pretending to be slow that is like fingers on a chalkboard for me. I understand I'm the only one.

prairie wind said...

Raiders of the Lost Arc...a great welding movie.

EMD said...

I think Tibore is on to something about people using CK to garner some sort of history cred or something.

I know I personally like the film, so that's why it's up there. But to many people, it's a testimony to their AFI-ness or something.

It's nice to see Singing in the Rain on so many lists. Released over a half a century ago, it still is so ... contemporary in its devices.

For anyone interested, It's Always Fair Weather is a great underrated Gene Kelly musical. It's a strangely cynical piece for 1955. Directed by the great Stanley Donen.

Chip S. said...

AllieOop said...

I follow the rules, loosely.

Rules? There are no rules.

It's not like Rotten Tomatoes asked anybody here for a list.

It's spontaneous order.

AllieOop said...

Chip, I was just pranking you.

Chip S. said...

It's a strangely cynical piece for 1955. Directed by the great Stanley Donen.

Haven't seen it, but I've seen his Two for the Road, which is hard to categorize, except to say sort of a touchingly cyncial rom com.

EMD said...

Other awesome, view-worthy movies:


Days of Wine and Roses (preferred over The Lost Weekend)
Time Bandits
Brazil
Watership Down
Inherit the Wind
Bunny Lake is Missing
The Warriors
Network
Chinatown
Arsenic and Old Lace
Tootsie
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Cinema Paradiso
The Big Lebowski
Hope and Glory
City of God
The Black Robe
The Lives of Others
Raising Arizona
Mulan (underrated)
The Tender Trap (Just for David Wayne and Celeste Holm)
Attack the Block
The Road Warrior (better than Mad Max, IMHO)
Ed Wood
High and Low
District 9
Steamboat Bill Jr.
Throne of Blood
It Happened One Night
Victor Victoria
All of Me
Bicycle Thieves
Clueless

Bob Ellison said...

My movie impediment is like most persons': I tend to dislike movies that have zero likeable or admirable characters.

However, High Plains Drifter is great.

Palladian said...

I understand I'm the only one.

No, you're not the only one. I'd call "Forrest Gump" a hateful piece of tripe, but I like tripe, so I won't.

AllieOop said...

EMD, forgot about The Black Robe, excellently gruesome! That reminds me, I forgot Apocalypto on my list.

Quaestor said...

The Drill SGT wrote:
[The] quote text is from imdb, but that's how I remember it.

Your memory is accurate. I just watched the last 20 minutes of the film and Stanley Baker as Lt. Chard says exactly the line you have quoted. This can only be goof that got by the editors. (All films on historical subjects have them, it seems.)

There was a sub-calibre version of that rifle, a sort of Mini-Martini, which was used to teach musketry to cadets and public school boys. I don't know the calibre of that weapon though .45 seems plausible.

Here's a very brief list of films I've enjoyed that haven't yet been mentioned by others here:

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
The Haunting (1963)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Red Tent (1969)

Personally I never attempted to list the films I admire as there are so many of them, and to select a from them a "ten best" seems to me to a fatuous exercise. Clearly some movies are better than others, but to rank "Gone With the Wind" above "The Godfather" (or below, for that matter) implies an apples to oranges comparison which must be ultimately invalid. A more fair comparison would be between two films from the same material, i.e. an original and its remake being the ideal case.

It is indeed surprising how many great films have been remade and how different these remade films are from their parents. Except for The Red Tent all of my list have been remade or are themselves a remake. If you want to really appreciate the difference between great film making and run-of-the-mill dreck, compare any of these films to their counterparts.

yashu said...

If you like this kind of thing and want more of it, the mother of all film lists is the Sight & Sound Top Ten-- polling film critics and (more recently) directors every 10 years (we're due for the results of 2012 polling this year).

The lists are framed as "greatest of all time" rather than "favorite," but they're often quirky and personal nevertheless. Makes for fascinating browsing (if you're into this kind of thing).

Favorite 5? I can't, don't ask me to! OK let me think about it. Maybe I'll winnow (or impulsively plump for) a handful by the wee hours. Or not.

Darcy said...

What?! No Independence Day??

Pfft.

Nice lists.

ndspinelli said...

I'm amazed edutcher didn't list My Dinner w/ Andre. Oh, and ChipS, YOUR LIST SUCKS DONKEY DICK.

When we lived in Chicago my bride and I loved to listen to Jimmy Piersall's call in show. Being certifiably crazy, he would sometimes forget to put on the delay. Here's what we heard:

Jimmy: WE HAVE BOB FROM THE SOUTHSIDE..WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND, BOB.

Bob: JIMMY, YOU SUCK DONKEY DICK!

Jimmy: THANKS, BOB[laughing his ass off].

ndspinelli said...

Darcy, Independence Day is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Chip S. said...

Some dago you are, spinelli, dissing Fellini like that.

I'll bet you were a big Matt Helm fan back in the day.

Beach Brutus said...

Fifteen or twenty of my top five have already been mentioned but I want to add:

The Natural
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Cinderella Man
Penny Serenade
Fort Apache

Quaestor said...

Answers to Col. Mustard's quiz:

1) Dr. Strangelove (1964)
2) Slap Shot (1977)
3) The Lighthorsemen (1987)
4) Casablanca (1942)
5) Animal House (1978)

AllieOop said...

Darcy, Independance Day was excellent, I love the part in which the hippie stripper is on the roof with the sign, WELCOME.....

Reminds me of War of the Worlds.

Palladian said...

Ok, I'll add 10 films that I consider flawed masterpieces and/or good entertainment:

Brazil
Blue Velvet
Eyes Wide Shut
Zabriskie Point
Teorema
The Exorcist
My Own Private Idaho
Tenebre
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Manhattan Murder Mystery

chickelit said...

The Blue Max
Repo Man
Crumb
Dazed and Confused
Cold Comfort Farm

runner's up:

Gran Torino
Taking Chance
The Red Baron
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

__________
wv = "nadster"
Isn't that code for Borgnine?

The Drill SGT said...

The martini was chambered for 45 but wiki says not till 1884 as I recall from a read earlier today

Quaestor said...

Allie Oop wrote:
Reminds me of War of the Worlds.

This association ought to be used as a reliable test for brain death. If "Independence Day" fails to remind one of "War of the Worlds" then the plug should be immediately pulled.

Rusty said...

The Maltese Falcon

Groundhog Day

A Touch of Evil

The City of Lost Children

Monte Walsh(either version)

Darcy said...

@Nick and Allie
Hehehe. Yeah. I love the whole stupid thing. Jeff Goldblum is the hottest nerd ever in it.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, I truly am a disgrace as the only Fellini film I've ever seen is Amacord, which I liked. I need to get up to speed w/ Fellini.

AllieOop said...

Yes, yes Quastor, whatever. I simply wanted to give it an honorable mention, relax.

Quaestor said...

The martini was chambered for 45 but wiki says not till 1884 as I recall from a read earlier today

Perhaps this was due to the introduction of smokeless powder. Can you imagine firing a modern .577 calibre weapon from the shoulder?

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip S. said...

spinelli, a word of advice: don't start with Satyricon.

Darcy said...

It would be torture for me to come up with a top five, but I see many on the lists here that I nodded my head to. Really, really enjoyed reading the lists.

AllieOop said...

Darcy, Jeff Goldblum was HOT in The Fly, until he started growing those nasty spikey hairs on his back.

Chip S. said...

AllieOop said...

...he was HOT in The Fly...

There you go again, abusing the comments section with cheap innuendo.

erictrimmer said...

I'll toss these on Palladian's pile of flawed masterpieces:

Monkeybone
UHF
Rumble in the Bronx
Gentlemen Broncos
Be Kind Rewind

Saint Croix said...

My two favorite movies are both Bogart flicks. Nobody has said The Maltese Falcon! It's awesome. Although not as emotionally satisfying as Caseablanca, in my opinion the finest film ever made.

I also love Godard's love letter to America (and Bogart!), his first film, Breathless. Godard hates his own film now, like he hates America now, but it's so, so cool. Possibly the greatest score ever.

And I love musicals. Lots of props here for Singin' in the Rain, which is amazing. But almost as good is an earlier Kelly film (also directed by Stanley Donen), On the Town.

My review of that film...

On the Town (1949) Four years after World War II, all the men are back and ready to get it on. What we call the baby boom! I love pre-feminist movies about human sexuality. On the Town is a movie about three sailors who are in New York, trying to meet girls. And they are singing and dancing. It is a happy, fun, amazing movie. I am so living in the wrong era. This is healthy sexuality. This movie can't exist in our era, because in our era aggression is bad.

On the Town is a movie about sex, getting it on with your sexual opposite, like a caveman. Woo-hoo! Being open to love and feeling it. It's a passionate movie, an aggressive movie, a romantic movie. It's a movie for young men feeling their oats. This film is pre-feminist and unapologetically shows sexual pursuit as a good thing. Man's aggressive chase after woman is seen as happy and fun and normal. If you're not chasing after a woman, she's gonna chase after you.

Once feminism hit, with its war on masculinity and its policing of sexuality, art followed orders or rebelled. Our musicals became gay or girly. Screwball comedies became talky chick flicks. And there was a massive, unspoken revolt by men from music and dance in film. What do we watch? Violent movies. Taxi Driver or Kill Bill. Unhealthy, aggressive, homicidally violent movies. The attempt to neuter men has made our art more violent. On the Town is from a happier time.

On the Town is a musical, but it's not a chick flick. It's aggressive and fun. And why not? Dancers are amazing athletes. Capturing Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire on film is a miracle, like seeing Jackie Chan in his prime, or Buster Keaton. You have to train for years and years to get your body to be so good at something. So don't put lame ass John Travolta or Burt Reynolds or Dolly Parton or Olivia Newton-John out there and pretend like you've made some amazing musical. Just cause you're dancing doesn't mean you rock.

What's awesome about this movie is the innocence of it, how nice its assumptions are. Now, 1949 was a pretty cynical year. You know it had to be, four years after the atom bomb and the Holocaust. Sometimes you throw art out there to show what life can be. What it should be. And On the Town is like that. Fun and happy and cool. My vote for the happiest movie ever made.

Penny said...

SHREK!

*waves at Tank*

AllieOop said...

Sorry, it just happens naturally;)

Penny said...

Not a big fan of musicals...except for the ones I really loved.

The Sound of Music
West Side Story
Cabaret

Not a big fan of documentaries either...except for one.

The Last Waltz

Killer music between The Band and all their special guests doing it up for their final concert at Winterland. And did I mention Robbie Robertson?

chickelit said...

Saint Croix immortalized: Although not as emotionally satisfying as Caseablanca,...

I prefer white cheese too. I hate when they put orange dye in it.

chickelit said...

Penny said...
Not a big fan of musicals...except for the ones I really loved.

The all time best (kids) musical is....


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Chip S. said...

I thought it was 24 bottles of Mexican beer.

AllieOop said...

Chickie, as far as kids musicals, Mary Poppins.

Hey no one mentioned The Wizard of Oz. I remember when it came on TV as a yearly special on every Easter Sunday.

chickelit said...

AllieOop said...
Chickie, as far as kids musicals, Mary Poppins.

Great roles by van Dyke and Julie Andrews, but..."Mary Poppins" was too Disney. "Chitty" was twisted just right--especially the last half.

tiger said...

The Simpsons are in Japan:

Marge: Oh, Homer! You liked 'Roshomon.'

Homer: That's not how I remember it.


Comedy gold!

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't see how someone could dislike Citizen Kane. There's nothing not to like about it. It's entertaining, it's beautiful, it's deep, it's exciting, it's artistically brilliant, it's funny, it's tragic, and it's especially rewatchable.

Col Mustard said...

Good but for #3, Quaestor. The quote was from the horrific ending of "Gallipoli" (1981).

Penny said...

Wizard of Oz is my all time fav, Allie.

And chicklit, never saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Probably because I couldn't imagine Rob Petrie in the lead role.

Saint Croix said...

Oops, Questor already said Maltese Falcon What a great movie. And I was happily surprised to see One, Two, Three get some props on this board. Greatest anti-Communist movie ever!

Billy Wilder, in fact, was our great anti-Communist artist. He also wrote the screenplay to our other awesome anti-Communist movie, Ninotchka. 10 years before Orwell wrote Animal Farm, Wilder and Lubitsch were skewering the Commies. Hysterical and brilliant.

I also think Wilder's Sabrina, which rivals Casablanca for most romantic movie ever made, is also a sneaky attack on Marxist theory. He makes the superficial Marxist cartoons (the rich playboy, the callous millionaire, and the chauffeur's daughter) and he humanizes everybody. We ought to air drop Sabrina into Cuba.

Freeman Hunt said...

Favorites for young children:
The Red Balloon
Kiki's Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
Singin' in the Rain
Safety Last

LarsPorsena said...

Breaker Morant
Shall We Dance (Japanese version)
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Grand Illusion
Casino

chickelit said...

Probably because I couldn't imagine Rob Petrie in the lead role.

Could you image Benny Hill as a toymaker? link

Saint Croix said...

Saint Croix immortalized: Although not as emotionally satisfying as Caseablanca,...

I hope I spelled it right in the book!

There's a tribe out in Africa that intentionally puts mistakes into their art so as not to offend God.

On a blog, though, it's just a fuck-up.

Howard said...

I'll try to add some favorites not listed

Blood Simple and Millers Crossing by the Cohen Brothers

The Salton Sea and Wonderland staring Val Kilmer

Tampopo: a Japanese Comedy staring the Japanese "John Wayne"

The American Friend by Wim Wenders Staring Bruno Ganz (the star of Hitler re-mix) and Dennis Hopper as Patricia Highsmith's Ripley

It's a Mad Mad Mad World (guilty pleasure)

The Killing by Kubrick is the best arty 1950's Noir B-Movie.

As Good as it Gets is the best chick flick that a guy can like brimming with the best one-liners from Jack Nicholson

Coriolanus by Ralph Fiennes Origional Bard verse in a modern setting. The most moving scenes were without any dialog. Love it or hate it.

Diva a 1981 French high intensity thriller

Saint Croix said...

And it's kind of arrogant to think that you need to intentionally put mistakes into your art because you are scared you might accidentally reach perfection. I am confident that all of my art is humble enough as it is.

Saint Croix said...

Marx Brothers need to get some props!

A Day at the Races (1937) Marx brothers are insane, a force of chaos. The brothers Marx are like a riff on Marxism, always giving the upper crust a black eye. It's class warfare and it's so damn funny. Margaret Dumont is amazing. What a foil. Like Wodehouse, the Marx brothers attack the upper classes (here, the medical profession) with working class gusto, while acknowledging that the working class is just as bad as the upper class. "We're greedy and mean, too, just not as good at it as you upper class people." Yeah yeah, Margaret Dumont puts on airs, but she's almost always nicer than Groucho. The Marx brothers are so brutally honest. Their films almost always feature a hilarious attack on the upper class, variously defined. They attack the rich, the pompous, the elites, the arty-farts, the intellectuals, anybody who is smug and superior. And yet the Marx brothers zing themselves just as much, if not more. They never fall into the ideological trap of failing to see their own capacity for evil.

Did the Marx brothers ever win an Oscar? What, are you kidding? Oscars are voted upon by elites in the art world. And elites are always just like Margaret Dumont.

Freeman Hunt said...

Comedies:
Ninotchka
Bottle Rocket
His Girl Friday
The Kid Brother
The Apartment

Palladian said...

There's a tribe out in Africa that intentionally puts mistakes into their art so as not to offend God.

I intentionally put perfection in my art so as not to offend God with mistakes.

Palladian said...

Marx Brothers need to get some props!

I put "Duck Soup" on one of my lists! Better yet, you can watch the whole movie through my link up there!

AllieOop said...

Two of my favorite WW2 older films, Three Came Home, with Claudette Colbert and A Town Like Alice, both dealing with civilian POWs in Japanese camps.

Saint Croix said...

An Autumn Afternoon (1962) Ozu is amazing. He was doing films about nothing before Seinfeld was born. Okay, it's not about nothing, it's about a daughter getting married and leaving her father. But it's a low-key drama, quiet, unobtrusive, humble, pitch perfect. What's amazing about Ozu is he takes these real life conflicts, these small moments that occur in just about everybody's life, and he makes them interesting. What helps Ozu too I think are his actors, who, like Hitchcock's, underplay everything, they hide their emotion. It's also fascinating to see characters avoiding conflict, by refusing to answer a question, they'll grunt or something. So much is going on underneath in an Ozu movie. He's got no car chases, no deaths, no violence, no sex. Should be boring and it's just brilliant. This is his last film, in my opinion his greatest, but you can't go too wrong with any Ozu, really. And damn this film is beautiful. It’s so gorgeous.

Saint Croix said...

Star Wars (1977) What impresses about George Lucas is the size of his ambition. He creates an entire universe with startling detail. Think of how much exposition this requires. And yet he rarely bores us. For instance, this is not a Judeo-Christian universe, at least not explicitly. Yet Lucas pays homage to religion by creating a new one, "the force," and he gives the followers of this religion the power to do miracles. And they can go over to the dark side. And there's technology and androids and an evil empire with its war machine. I think this is what really blows us away with Star Wars, the way Lucas is playing god. Like we all do when we are children.

Artists often play god. Artists re-arrange reality. "It's like this" or "it should be like this." But most artists base their art in existing reality, twisting it a bit to suit their narrative. Here Lucas creates a reality from the ground up. Oh sure, he steals shots from Hawks and stories from Kurosawa. His universe is a familiar one, sure. It reminds us of stories and myths and realities in our world. But it also seems new and different. The vastness of his vision is what impresses us. It is why some people would watch this movie over and over, to make sure they haven't missed anything, to figure it all out.

Many of the things I normally look for in art are missing in Star Wars. It is, in many ways, a childish and silly fantasy. It was my favorite movie when I was nine. Adults tend to scoff at Star Wars, like they scoff at any fantasy that children create. It's not realistic. The dialog is often stilted and the characters are two-dimensional. Yeah, okay. Adults suck. Star Wars is frickin' cool, man. I do not have to tell you this, you know it already. I am confirming what you know to be true.

Yes, Star Wars is shallow and two-dimensional. Who cares? John Williams' score carries us past all of that. If I was making a Star Wars pie chart, I think I would give John Williams 33% credit. It's an epic score for the most epic film ever made. Star Wars is a massive creation that takes us beyond our world, and does it better than anybody before or since. Let God scoff at Star Wars. The rest of us really ought to be kinda impressed. Nice job on the universe creation, George.

And I'm not calling it A New Hope, and you can’t make me. And Han shot first. Quit screwing around with the universe you created, ya moron. It's over. You did it. Rest.

victoria said...

I agree with Freeman Hunt, 5 is such a paltry number of films to love. i would have to identify directors or actors and what films of theirs i liked.

My husband and I saw Summertime on Saturday night on TCM. Even he, macho dude that he is, liked it. Makes me cry everytime i see it.

Mr Smith goes to Washington
The Men (Awesome)
How the West was Won
The Searchers
Rebel without a Cause
Cash McCall
Inside Daisy Clover(favorite Natalie Wood movie)
Shampoo
The Sting
Slumdog Millionaire

Could go on for days.

Film is a passion, a calling


Vicki from Pasadena

Saint Croix said...

The Graduate (1967) Hoffman's performance is pitch perfect. It's underplayed, his character is a guy who doesn't know what to feel, or how to feel, so he's expressionless throughout the movie. I've got one word for you. One word. Are you ready? Plastics.

What are you doing, Benjamin? I'm just drifting. Here in the pool.

The writing is amazing!

The movie also uses symbolism in a wonderful way. Mrs. Robinson, for example, is always wearing animal prints, like she's going to eat him up. Hoffman is constantly filmed looking through water, drowning in water. His parents buy him scuba gear, force him to wear it, and then when he tries to come up for air, his father puts his foot on his head and kicks him back down into the pool.

People in the 60's liked The Graduate because it was about rebellion, and growing up, and wanting to feel real emotion. Coming of age stories are timeless, though. Everybody has to go through this stuff.

Mrs. Robinson, we never talk. Can we talk? Can we have a conversation? What do you want to talk about, Benjamin? I don't know. Art.

You're not one of those outside agitators, are you?

And the cinematography is amazing, the things Nichols did with his camera. Pulling the camera away from Benjamin as he was running towards the camera. Having Mrs. Robinson in focus in the background, and then switching the focus to Benjamin in the foreground.

Simon and Garfunkel all over the soundtrack. The lyrics to Mrs. Robinson.

Anne Bancroft, naked in Benjamin's room, but we only see bits and pieces of her, like Picasso.

The expression on Benjamin's face at the end of the movie. A blank expression. What do I feel now? Classic.

Benjamin swinging a cross at everybody in the church, and then locking the doors of the church with a cross.

Hoffman wearing sunglasses. Hoffman in a suit. Hoffman trying to conduct an adult affair. I've got it. I've got my toothbrush. It's right here in my pocket.

Jump cut from diving in the pool to diving on Mrs. Robinson. Jump cut from Mrs. Robinson talking to Benjamin's mom talking.

He calls her "Mrs. Robinson" the whole movie. He's so respectful. It's so non-intimate. This movie is so amazing.

Palladian said...

The Killing by Kubrick is the best arty 1950's Noir B-Movie.

Absolutely!

I actually refrained from putting all of Kubrick's films in my lists of favorites, though they all belong there... even "Eyes Wide Shut" and "Lolita". Hell, even "Spartacus"!

PaddyO remarked earlier: What's interesting is how people determine their lists. Professionals tend to look for tradecraft.

I think that's quite true. I've been making films and videos since I was 10 years old; I'm currently remastering and recutting my first digital short video, made in 1999. When I think about my favorite films, I realize that they're almost always things that astound me technically. When I watch movies I watch the lighting and the film stock and I try to pick out lenses and I think about framing and focus and pacing and sound editing and blocking. Truly great films give me endless pleasure on this level and I have little respect or use for most films that don't seem like they were thoroughly considered pieces of craft. As a painter, I look at paintings the same way.

And because I'm a visual artist, I most appreciate films that tell their stories through images. I look for masterful compositions and considered coloration and/or tonal values.

I also have little use for so-called naturalism; when I see a film I want to see a work of art, something that is larger and greater than Nature. I look for the same thing in actors. This is why a movie like Citizen Kane, or an actor like Cagney, or a technician like Kubrick are considered immortally great.

Saint Croix said...

After the Thin Man (1936) There are a lot of great party scenes in movies. The Party is one massive party scene. Breakfast at Tiffany's has a great party scene. Animal House, of course. But of all the parties in all the movies, the party I would most want to crash is this party here. Light, frothy fun, and a great murder mystery that includes Jimmy Stewart as one of the suspects. Nice ending, too. All the Thin Man movies are cool fun, but this is where you want to start, right here. Skip the first one, you can always circle around. Start here! All the Thin Man movies rock. If you don't like this you won't like anything.

Saint Croix said...

Bringing Up Baby (1938) One problem in appreciating a comedy like this is you have to approach it with the right mindset. 20 years ago, I would have insisted that Animal House is a much funnier movie. But once you understand the conventions of the 1930's and 40's--particularly how people dealt with issues of sex (specifically, how they repressed their sexual desires)--the screwball comedies of that era are hysterical. Repression screws you up, man. That's why they're screwballs. To get the humor requires a level of maturity and knowledge that most teenagers simply don't possess. Sexual repression is something adults do. Kids are like, "hey, want to see my ass?"

Animal House is like your crazy id battling against the superego of Dean Wormer. Bringing Up Baby is the exact same conflict, except it's all bottled up in the character of Cary Grant. This woman is driving him crazy. She's stalking him, she's ruining his career and his wedding. She's trashing his life. And he's so polite and chivalrous about the whole thing. And his id is screaming, "let me out! let me out! I want to strangle her or have sex with her or both, anything, I'm going crazy all bottled up in here." So Grant is starting to stutter. This battle, this little war between his id and his repression of his basest desires, this is what makes Bringing Up Baby the epitome of the screwball, and a brilliant film. When I was young I didn't laugh at this. Now it puts me in stitches. It's funnier every time I watch it. Hawks is a genius.

AllieOop said...

Natalie Wood was excellent in Splendor in the Grass. Another great film, IMO.

Saint Croix said...

Sanjuro (1962) I go back and forth in my head on which Kurosawa film is his masterpiece. Probably this one. It's his most lyrical samurai flick, and his funniest. Mifune is the mad bomb. He's loud, aggressive, boisterous and rude. Kills ten people all by himself. He's like the epitome of male aggression. And then you contrast him with the two women in the film, who are gentle, passive, quiet and nice. Even when they are fleeing to save their lives, they refuse to be anything but gentle, passive, quiet and nice. And it completely disarms Mifune. He doesn't know what to say to them.

Japan fascinates because it's one of the most aggressive societies on the earth, and at the same time it is the most respectful of all the feminine virtues. I don't think I've ever seen a movie where the differences between our two sexes are so vast. It's beautiful, really. And our code is water lilies floating down the stream.

Rliyen said...

My favorite 5:

Blade Runner 92% (1982)
Empire Strikes Back 97% (1980)
Ten to Chi to (Heaven & Earth) --(1990)
Raiders of the Lost Ark 94% (1981)
Kwaidan (Ghost Stories) 81% (1964)

Freeman Hunt said...

I forgot about This Is Spinal Tap. That would knock Bottle Rocket off of my comedies list.

Penny said...

Chicklit, I can only imagine Benny Hill selling big girl toys made in China on the internet.

PatCA said...

Mine are always changing but...

The Godfather
Gone With the Wind
Bye Bye Birdie
Open Water
Heavenly Creatures

Sean Thornton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Thornton said...

A very quick take in no particular order, I could revise it endlessly:

What About Bob?
The Quiet Man
Tunes Of Glory
The Ladykillers (Original Ealing Studios version from 1955)
The Pink Panther (the series, really. Don't think the first was the best)

lohwoman said...

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
Persuasion (1995).
Seven Men from Now (1956).
Nobody's Fool (1994).
The Music Man (1962).

lohwoman said...

I was too brief.
Brief Encounter (1945).

sydney said...

Gone With the Wind
Master and Commander
Sunrise, a Song of Two Humans
She Knows Where She's Going
Les Miserables (Raymond Bernard's 1930's version)

Two more I would view repeatedly:
The King of Kings (1927 version)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Leslie Howard version)

Deb said...

Lars and the real girl
Transsiberian
The Birds
To Kill a Mockingbird
Auntie Mame
The Exorcist
Local Hero
I Know Where I'm Going
Notorious
Philadelphia Story

bagoh20 said...

Your list sucks, and you don't know squat about cinema.

Oh you know damned well I'm talking to you, and you know I'm right.

bagoh20 said...

The Color Purple - especially that part where Oprah gets her ass kicked, by a bunch of Democrats.

sydney said...

Oops. It is I Know Where I'm Going, not She/She's.

A couple of others:
This Happy Breed
The Bicycle Thief- first time I saw it was on DVD and didn't know how to turn on subtitles. Watched it all in Italian, which I do not know or understand at all, and yet I still understood the movie. Beautiful.

Chubfuddler said...

Many of my friends show a similar guarded coolness towards Citizen Kane -- and it may be a difficult film to love -- but whenever I see it, I ask if there was ever any other film of similar scope, inventiveness and assuredness directed by a 25 or 26 year old? Not urging people to change their hearts and minds, just saying that it's a pretty jaw-dropping achievement.

All About Eve
The Lady Eve
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
The Magnificent Ambersons
Laura

Crunchy Frog said...

Star Wars
Fight Club
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Pulp Fiction
Goodfellas
Reservoir Dogs (no love for RD?)
Blazing Saddles
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Aliens
Dirty Harry


Crap. Shoulda added these:

The Terminator
Full Metal Jacket
Bullitt
Animal House
An American Werewolf in London
Re-Animator
Return of the Living Dead
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The Godfather
Robocop

Bob Ellison said...

Your list of musicals sucks unless it starts with 1776.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Eight I think are great film making:

My Neighbor Totoro
Seven Samurai
Apollo 13
Groundhog Day
High Plains Drifter
Out of Africa
Rashomon
Roman Holiday

Eight other pleasures:

Aliens
Bound
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh)
Tremors
Bull Durham
Persuasion (Root & Hinds)
Pauline at the Beach
Get Shorty

AllieOop said...

Most definitely yes on Out of Africa, the cinematography and soundtrack, magnificent! That reminds me I should've put The English Patient in my top five.

MadisonMan said...

A Hard day's Night might make my list too.

sydney said...

I can't stop thinking of movies I love:

Henry V (Laurence Olivier)
The Emperor's New Clothes
The Woman in the Moon
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Up
J'Accuse
Of Gods and Men
Monsieur Vincent
The Twilight Samurai

And by the way, why is it I can't find these movies recommended by others on Netflix? It used to be such a reliable source.

phx said...

In no particular order:

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Apocalypse Now
Rear Window
Seven Samurai
The Golf Specialist (W.C.Fields)

And ask me again in five minutes.

Chubfuddler said...

Sorry, even though it doubles my Barbara Stanwyck quota, I've decided to swap out "The Magnificent Ambersons" for "Double Indemnity" (and a player to be named later).

Saint Croix said...

It's funny how you feel like you know a culture by looking at their art. For instance, in Japanese films you often see suicide as a topic, while in France you often see adultery come up. German films in the 20's were nightmarish and traumatic. American films (at least in the golden era) are fun, optimistic, and happy. Anyway, here's my list of some of the best films from around the world.

Top 10 USA

Casablanca (1942)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
A Day at the Races (1937)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Notorious (1946)
His Girl Friday (1940)
On the Town (1949)
Shall We Dance (1937)
After the Thin Man (1936)
Sabrina (1954)

Top 10 France

Breathless (1960)
Three Colors: Red (1994)
The 400 Blows (1959)
Band of Outsiders (1964)
Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962)
Forbidden Games (1952)
La Jetee (1962)
Le Million (1931)
M. Hulot's Holiday (1968)

Top 10 UK

A Hard Day's NIght (1964)
The Knack...and How To Get It (1965)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Snatch (2000)
Pride and Prejudice (2006)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
The Avengers episode -- "The Cybernauts" (1965)
The Avengers episode -- "Death at Bargain Prices (1965)
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Top 10 Japan

An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
Sanjuro (1962)
Rashomon (1950)
Early Summer (1951)
Branded to Kill (1967)
Youth of the Beast (1963)
Manji (1964)
Hara-kiri (1962)
A Snake in June (2002)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Top 10 Hong Kong

Needing You (2000)
Chungking Express (1994)
In the Mood For Love (2000)
Summer Holiday (2000)
Days of Being Wild (1990)
Jackie Chan's First Strike (1996)
A Love For All Seasons (2003)
Love on a Diet (2001)
Operation Condor (1991)
Rumble in the Bronx (1994)

Top 10 Germany

1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1973)
Spies (1928)
The Oyster Princess (1919)
Metropolis (1926)
Nosferatu (1922)
Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1932)
Olympia (1936)
Pandora's Box (1928)

Top 10 Italy

La Dolce Vita (1960)
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1962)
Blow-Up (1966)
The 10th Victim (1965)
Battle of Algiers (1965)
8 1/2 (1963)
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)
Umberto D (1955)
The Monster (1994)
Life is Beautiful (1997)

Tibore said...

"Rliyen said...

Ten to Chi to (Heaven & Earth) --(1990)"


Somebody said Ten to Chi to!!! My God, there've been days I wondered if anyone else even knew about that movie...

Excellent film in that it shows the depth that cultural differences and presumptions can be. While there's not really a "good guy" in the traditional Joseph Campbell "Hero" archetype, the one who is closest to being the protagonist and therefore the "good guy" is the one who wore black, took hostages - a mother and young child at that! - and allowed them to be executed. It's just that, in the context of the values of the film, his motives were more noble and high minded. And he suffered guilt about the necessity to make hard decisions as a leader. That's what made him heroic in that film's narrative.

Big difference, yeah? Most American flicks would've been far, far different.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that one mentioned. While hardly a rare or obscure film, it does seem to get overlooked in the Samurai Films genre. I realize that the niche is dominated by Kurosawa films, but there are others that are pretty good, and this is one of them. It may not make my personal Top Five, but it's definitely among the top 20 somewhere.

As a side note: That climactic battle scene was every big as grand as Braveheart's was, but far more stylized and way prettier. It gave an even better sense of grandeur than the modern yardstick for epic battle scenes (Two Towers and The Return Of The King in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and did it without any of the advanatages CGI would've provided. Just a hell-ton of horses and what felt like thousands (but in reality couldn't have been more than several hundred) extras. I really dig that film.

I think I need to go dig up my copy of it now. Haven't watched it in years.

Quaestor said...

chickelit wrote:
The Blue Max

A generally fine film, though flawed in many respects, not least for George Peppard's rather wooden and extremely unsympathetic anti-hero, Leutnant Bruno Stachel. The story's fundamental conflict involves working-class Stachel's struggle for acceptance and recognition among the aristocratic officers of Jasta (Fighter Squadron) 11. The problem is the historical situation was quite different. Certainly there were many elite regiments whose officers were exclusively aristocrats, and at least one, the Death's Head Hussars, required patents of nobility to join even as a lowly trooper, but by 1916 the attrition among of young men among the upper classes was so high and the need for qualified officers so acute that the German army became a functioning meritocracy.

In the Luftstreitkräfte this was particularly true. In fact among the great German aces -- Max Immmelmann, Oswald Boelcke, Werner Voss, Ernst Udet, Fritz Rumey, etc -- only two, Manfred von Richthofen and his brother Lothar, were members of the titled nobilty. The rest were decidedly of the middling sort. One, Max Ritter von Müller, was an apprenticed to a locksmith pre-war. A real Bruno Stachel would have known this and would have realized his background was no handicap. The truth is Bruno Stachel was despised by his fellow fliers because he was a despicable human being, not because he was the son of a hotel porter. Not much of a hero. So when he dies it mostly a relief rather than a tragedy.

The score, however, was first-rate in my book. That Goldsmith missed an Oscar nomination for this gem is inexplicable. Please give it a listen if you have a few minutes.

Tibore said...

"Chubfuddler said...
Many of my friends show a similar guarded coolness towards Citizen Kane -- and it may be a difficult film to love -- but whenever I see it, I ask if there was ever any other film of similar scope, inventiveness and assuredness directed by a 25 or 26 year old? Not urging people to change their hearts and minds, just saying that it's a pretty jaw-dropping achievement."


Yeah. This is exactly what I mean when I talk about that film. It's importance and innovation is impossible to deny, and I wouldn't dream of taking away from that. Like I said, the movie earns its spot in Hollywood history without a doubt. But again, even with all that said, how many people actually love it? How many people take joy at and look forward to rewatching it? I'm not saying people who feel that way don't exist, it's just that I don't know that the number is truly as large as self reporting makes it out to be. Like EMD said: It seems to be a sort of street - or in this case, cinematic appreciation - cred thing to cite that film.

Don't get me wrong, folks. I'm not trying to denigrate the film. It needs to be understood for the accomplishments it achieved. It's just that, at the same time, I cannot add it to my personal favorites list. There are so many films I enjoy that I admit are less important, less well executed, have far lesser scope and far worse scripts. But those films actually, truly capture me and entertain me better. I simply feel that I'd be lying to shower personal praise on that film when I really have nothing but detached, intellectual understanding of its importance.

So in short, I'm not saying it's overrated. Rather, it's simply not universal. It's like appreciating perfection in an ungodly beautiful model or actress, but still choosing to celebrate life with someone more approachable and down to earth. The intellectual understanding of the high level is not the same as aesthetic stimulation, and I simply refuse to pretend it is for me. In rock, it'd be the same issue between Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen (perfection in execution as opposed to joyous celebration). In books, the difference between Eco's Foucault's Pendulum and... well, anything else. I don't want to diminish things by simply saying "People have different tastes and opinions" because that's so damn glib; saying that feels like feelgoodism, liberalistic, emptyheaded "Kumbaya" superficialism, and does an injustice to the reasons people disagree about art. Yet, at the same time, I'm forced to admit to it's essential accuracy, even if I complain about it's lack of depth. People do have different tastes, but that diversity is not some stupid "I'm Okay, You're Okay" airheadedness. Rather, it's a developed aesthetic based on rational interpretation of emotional and visceral reactions to the art. The differences have meaning and an actual measure of profundity, and the judgements passed do so as well.

So, I can definitely appreciate as well as honestly respect where EDH and Chubfuddler come from in citing the film. But at the same time, I simply can't add it to my list of favorites. Again: For me, it's the broccoli of cinema. It's good for me and must be eaten at times, but it doesn't light me up like triple-chocolate ice cream does. Only one of those are my favorites.

chickelit said...

Nice synopsis of The Blue Max, Queastor. Here's the original trailer link.

I don't recall seeing Peppard as wooden, though Ursula Undress may have had the effect of making him so. :)

Quaestor said...

Looking back I see many, many excellent nominations. What's striking thought that two of the more honored films (thirteen Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay) have not been listed. Therefore I'll list them:

A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Patton (1970)

Popville said...

> Which name did you impulsively click on first?

Again, the same director as my previous Althouse comment (re: Gatsby): Whit Stillman. Some great picks too.

Palladian said...

But again, even with all that said, how many people actually love it? How many people take joy at and look forward to rewatching it?

Who knows and who cares? I love it and I've watched it many, many times. For me, as I wrote upthread, the sheer technical brilliance of it, the fearlessness, the visual beauty, the perfect casting— all of these qualities are exhilarating, engrossing and endlessly rewarding. On top of all of that, it's actually entertaining; people who don't care about the technical or aesthetic aspects of film at all easily become wrapped up in it.

You can argue (and I would) about the merits of Bergman's Cries And Whispers, but you also have to concede that it's beyond the grasp or taste of a significant number of people. Anyone can watch and enjoy Kane. Calling one film the "greatest movie ever made" is a ridiculous conceit that interests me not at all. But Kane is certainly of the highest order of cinematic achievement.

Saint Croix said...

Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles' first film, and his best. It's a diatribe against capitalism, and is a little silly in places. Did they sell the kid to the bank? I think they sold him to the bank. It's a big movie, ambitious, pretentious, and highly original. Toland's cinematography is breathtaking, and the use of sound sets the standard. Also the acting is phenomenal. Orson has an undeniable screen presence. And he was unafraid to take risks. For instance, he often did odd or unusual things with his camera. This film is filled with "look at me!" shots. It's a visually fascinating film--it doesn't look like any film from the classic era--and it's an influential film. Welles did a lot of close-ups, and often put his camera extremely low, giving the characters (and the film) a giant quality. This is visually exciting and cool, but it also has a tendency to fracture the narrative and take us out of the movie. Welles violates many of the cardinal rules of filmmaking, rules designed to engage the audience emotionally with the story. His cinematic style leaves us in the audience feeling a little cold toward the characters, who aren't particularly likable anyway. It's a negative film about humanity, really, and a sad film. And yet you don't cry for any of these characters. It's a brilliant and cold work of art.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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