Monday, November 14, 2005

Great Movies

Today I was idly thinking about creating a list of my favorite movies. I figure it would take weeks to really get it down the way I want it... what a waste of time. Instead, here's a list of great movies off the top of my head. If you haven't seen any of them, check em out. Depressing cast to them today, for obvious reasons.

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhall)
Dead Man (Johnny Depp)
Broken Flowers (Bill Murray)
Trainspotting (Ewan McGregor)
Legally Blonde (Reese Witherspoon)
Leaving Las Vegas (Nicholas Cage)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Johnny Depp)
Bamboozled (Damon Wayans)
The Hours (Meryl Streep)
Pi (the guy who did Pi)


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Sarachkah said...

None of these would make my list. But I love you anyway.

RBP said...

Dude, you totally left out Mystery Train, Jarmusch's best film.
I do like all the movies on your list and I'll just throw out a few:
Raising Arizona
Hudsucker Proxy
O' Brother Where Art Tho'
All by the Cohens brothers.
Punchdrunk Love
Natural Born Killers
Outlaw Josie Wales
Hunt For Red October
History of The World Part II
ah many more

Uncle Kevin said...

Sorry, some of us aren't this depressed. We're engineers instead:

The Wrath of Kahn

Wargames: "The only way to win, is not to play the game".

Julie said...

For a really depressing but beautiful movie, I recommend "House of Sand and Fog".

Adam P. Short said...


Haven't seen Mystery Train. Have to check it out. All the cohen movies on your list are good. My favorite was Hudsucker, until O Brother came along.

I found Mallrats disappointing. Punchdrunk Love was a big omission - loved it. NBK was extremely underrated - Stone's best that I've seen with the possible exception of FMJ. Outlaw Josie Wales is nearly perfect. Red October was pretty good; haven't seen History of the World or Patton.

uncle kevin:

Greatest moment in overacting history - "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!"

Wargames - it's actually "the only winning move is not to play." You and ethridge with your approximaquotes.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and I patented the approximaquote several years ago, so I'll be expecting a check shortly, Uncle K.

Darren Aronofsky is the guy who made Pi. His second film, Requiem for a Dream, puts me on the ground every time I see it. As does that shot around the crib of the baby in Trainspotting (directed by Danny Boyle, who also made 28 Days Later, a nice little neo-Zombie flick).

I love Mallrats, but I don't think I'd put it on any sort of list like this. It's funny as hell, but disastrously directed. And I'm one of Kevin Smith's biggest whores. Hell, I just bought the Extended Edition Mallrats DVD, which includes a new 20 minute opening. Which is HORRIBLE. I much prefer Chasing Amy or Dogma.

Cohen = Kickass. O' Brother is my fave, with Arizona and (surprisingly) Intolerable Cruelty following close behind.

Patton is a good film, but it shows its age. It's a 3 hour movie that includes multiple minute long shots of driving jeeps. Ick.

Going to have to disagree with the overacting moment, AP. I think Shatner gets it in Undiscovered Country with "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!" heh... but certainly, Original Series Star Trek owns the overacting genre. Though the "Noooooo!" at the end of Episode III was pretty suck too.

If FMJ means Full Metal Jacket, that's Kubrick. You're probably thinking Platoon. Both great. For Stone, I have a soft spot for Any Given Sunday - some great overacting/scenery chewing by Pacino, and a nice early look at Jamie Foxx's potential. Also, Wall Street.

Haven't seen a lot of Jarmusch, but I've got the Coffee and Cigaretts DVD sitting at home, waiting to be seen. That's the movie that made Jarmusch want to put Murray in Broken Flowers.

Anonymous, I've never heard of forex day trading, is that an indie? Maybe a Hong Kong import or something?

You know, I could write all day about movies, so maybe I'll just add a couple more to the list and move on.

A Few Good Men
Almost Famous
The Matrix

There's more, but it's been a long morning.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention my current favorite SciFi flick, Serenity. Because it is truly excellent.


Uncle Kevin said...

You realize yer a talkin' 'bout a guy that just won a Golden Globe for Best Actor donjaknow.

(And I googled the heck outta that quote. I didn't think it sounded right but it were everywhere).

Adam P. Short said...

Coffee and Cigarettes is actually pretty bad. It's worth watching in 15-minute chunks if you have nothing better to do, but there's not a lot there. Maybe interesting to film students, but as a casual viewer it's a snore.

The Bill Murray/Wu Tang sketch is really good, though.

If you're gonna mention overacting in Undiscovered Country you have to go with the "DON'T trust them. DON'T believe them" bit about the Klingons. Hacktacular.

The first Matrix movie was pretty great, but it's one I don't think to mention because it was so big. Almost Famous and A Few Good Men are just good. The only reason you or I or anybody likes Spaceballs is that we were kids when it came out. I call that the Breakfast Club effect. Spaceballs is actually a terrible movie (as is Breakfast Club and most of that Molly Ringwald garbage.)

Actually since we're talking Mel Brooks, I have to bring up Blazing Saddles, which to me is probably the greatest comedy that will ever be made. Surprised no one else mentioned it. Unrealistically funny and biting.

I actually just blanked on the Kubrick thing. I would not put Platoon in the same class as FMJ. Full Metal Jacket is a masterpiece. Platoon is just a good war movie. The two do go well together, though, as sort of a point-counterpoint about individuality and soldiering. So yeah, I'd say then that Natural Born Killers is clearly Stone's best movie.

Requiem was a good idea, but ultimately left me disappointed. The first third of the movie was superb, and the final sequence was the most intense thing I've ever watched. The problem was that he stuck the middle third in there just to set up the final sequence, and most of it was totally implausible.

Three heroin addicts in New York with plenty of money, but to get smack they have to drive to Miami or participate in some creepy public sex act? That makes no sense. Have you ever heard anyone say "hey, New York's a great town, but if you've got a pocket full of cash and you're looking to buy heroin, you're shit out of luck.

I'll bet a lot of money nobody's ever said that.

One final thing on Kubrick - I saw Eyes Wide Shut in theatres and hated it, but I've since watched it a couple more times and I sort of see what they were getting at with that one. Interesting idea, just didn't work for me on an entertainment level.

Anonymous said...

The man dares to trash John Hughes. Yeah, alright, I was really disappointed when I watched Weird Science a while back. But Sixteen Candles was on this weekend actually, and it still holds up. I also happened to see some of Can't Buy Me Love, which is a strange contrast to Patrick Dempsey's current gig on Grey's Anatomy. But now we are moving well away from the topic of great movies.

I can't let this one go though. Almost Famous is brilliant. By far, my favorite Cameron Crowe flick. And I'm really talking about Untitled, the much longer cut that came out on DVD. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Yeah, Eyes Wide Shut has an absolutely fascinating and utterly horrifying underpining that just underscores the brilliance of Kubrick. Unfortunately, it's not entertaining at all and that caused a lot of people to dismiss it out of hand. Plus, sometimes you just don't want to think about stuff like that.

Good call on Blazing Saddles, but I don't know, Spaceballs still has its moments.

I've got a feeling that this new 9/11 feature Stone is shooting right now might be a grand slam. Gut instinct. It's been a while since I've seen NBK, I should go back and check it out. I remember two very specific things: Rodney Dangerfield as the f'ed up father and "Look bitch, you knew I was a snake." (fairly sure that's not an approximaquote)


RBP said...

Yes Kubrick is a genius. Dr. Strangelove - brilliant. FMJ - perfect.
I still have a soft spot for John Hughes and The Breakfast Club for my money Ferris Beuller is still his best.
I had a breakfast club moment in college when I made a bunch of friends come over to watch Xanadu, with Olivia Newton John. Yeah, it sucks. But when I was ten, it was super cool.

Adam P. Short said...

If John Hughes had stopped directing after Planes Trains and Automobiles I think I would be willing to give the rest of his work the benefit of the doubt. However, Curly Sue and Uncle Buck caused a reevaluation for me. Now when I watch even the good stuff I see that shallow schlockiness bleeding through. John Hughes is an above-average director who made a couple of really good movies. That's the highest praise I've got for the man.

I didn't see the long cut of Almost Famous. However, anyone who thinks that some movie other than Say Anything is the best Cameron Crowe movie, I can hardly even get my mind around it to argue with you. There is no possible way to be more wrong about something than that. Say Anything practically destroyed the romantic comedy genre. It crated an aura of greatness for John Cusack that has lasted until the present day (some 15 years later), even though he never really did anything since then that's even close to great.

The snake quote is right on, and actually strangely enough that was the piece of the "message" of that movie (if you want to call it that) that most of the detractors never understood. They thought it was a story about the media rewarding killers, but really it was a movie about honesty.

Anyway, this may already be too long for a comment.

Adam P. Short said...

Oh and Dr. Strangelove is the greatest movie ever made.

Anonymous said...

Say Anything... is a great movie and I don't have anything bad to say about Lloyd Dobler. AF is better. Minority opinion, sure, but I'll stand by it. There's some flat notes in SA that the later film doesn't have. But for pure pop culture iconism, of course Say Anything... wins hands down. Peter Gabriel and a boombox...

Strangelove is Good Times. One of many, many things I love about Stanley K. is how he treated the widescreen/fullscreen issue. He shot almost every movie he made in a manner such that it could be viewed widescreen or fullscreen, and the frame would contain more information on the sides or on the top and bottom, depending upon how you are viewing it. No black bars, for Kubrick flicks, just watch them in 4:3 on the TV, or 1:85 in the theater. Slightly different movies on the same 35mm cell.


heatkernel said...

Here are a few I would suggest, perhaps somewhat off the beaten path,

Battleship Potemkin, Ivan the Terrible, by Eisenstein

Grand Illusion, by Renoir

Ma Nuit Chez Maud, by Rohmer

Stray Dog, Rashomon, Ikiru, Ran, by Kurosawa

Suna no onna (Woman in the Dunes), by Teshigahara

Two Daughters, The World of Apu, by Satyagit Ray.

Cries and Whispers, by Bergman.

Oh, and of course, Dr. Strangelove, if the above leave you in need of comic relief.

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