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24 February 2012

What are your 5 favorite movies ever? I love so many movies it's hard for me to pick favorites, but when I get right down to it, I think these are my absolute faves:

1. Night Of The Hunter (1955) directed by Charles Laughton. Definitely my favorite film ever. It's so stylized, and so beautiful. There's a moment when a fisherman realizes that the weeds in the river are actually the hair of a woman (Shelly Winters) who's sitting in a Model T car on the bottom of the river, tied up and murdered by her new husband (Robert Mitchum), that remains the most amazing scene I've ever seen in a film. Ever.

2. Nashville (1975) directed by Robert Altman. When I first saw this film, I was blown away by how it felt like you had just walked into its world, with its characters all around you. You were right there in the middle of it, and you were just overhearing conversations- they weren't being delivered AT you. I didn't see this movie until the early 1990's, but having grown up in the era it depicts I recognized the feel of it, and it was exactly right. And seeing it as an adult, I could see it wasn't just about country music, it was Altman's critique of the nation as a whole, at that point in time. He nailed it.

3. Mulholland Dr. (2001) directed by David Lynch. One of the few Lynch films I got to see in a theater. My partner was beside himself at the end of it, not because he didn't understand it (which became kind of a meme at the time: OMG WTF is Mulholland Dr. about??) but because he DID understand it: the movie is a tragedy, and the heroine dies at the end. It's an incredibly sad movie, and much more straightforward than people make it out to be. A beautiful, beautiful vision of Hollywood as a black hole that sucks in innocent people and destroys them.

4. Harold and Maude (1971) directed by Hal Ashby. How can you not love a movie where creative modes of suicide become a running joke. This movie is all funerals, rebellion, and Cat Stevens songs. Also Ruth Gordon, who is amazing.

5. Brazil (1985) directed by Terry Gilliam. Even though I was a Monty Python fan, I wasn't prepared for this amazing, angry movie. It was a scream against the power structures that exist in our society... a frustration I still feel almost 30 years later. The movie is still fucking hilarious, though.
1. La Notte, because Mastrioanni and Monica Vitti and Jeanne Moreau are divine.

2. Apocalypse Now.

3. The Godfather.

4. Lost in Translation. (I seem to have a thing for Coppolas.)

5. Hiroshima Mon Amour. There's something so perfectly wonderfully hopelessly optimistic about it.
posted by occhiblu 24 February | 23:32
not in order.

1. The Graduate

2. Sunset Boulevard

3. The Lion in Winter

4. Fargo (although depending on my mood it could be substituted with any one of a few Coen bros films)

5. Heathers. Because it's so quotable.
posted by gaspode 24 February | 23:50
1. Taxi Driver. I fucking love this movie, and I'm old enough to remember that New York. You talkin' to me? (You must quote this line when this film is mentioned or receive a fine.)

2. Apocalypse Now. When I'm feeling dark and mildly murderous, Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now make a great double feature. They go great with tequila, too.

3. Midnight Cowboy. A heartbreaker, for sure. That scene where he sees all the other "cowboys" standing out on the street -- man, oh man.

4. Big Lebowski. I'm not all violence and despair, after all. Oh, wait... Well, not your standard violence and despair, anyway. There's something so hopeful about that movie.

5. True Romance. Best fucking badass scene ever, with Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. Not to mention the drug dealer/pimp (fuck, who plays him?). Awesome. And my favorite kind of sideways love story. Slater and Patricia Arquette are both gorgeous in it. I'd have fallen in love with him too, reading those comic books to her at the comic book store like that. Can you live with it? I find myself asking this question lately. (Bull Durham's really a close tie for this spot. And Star Trek IV, which I love, and Rocky, so good -- you're right, it's very hard to pick only five.)

(I also love Harold & Maude. I love showing it to my students and watching their reactions to Harold's "suicides." Many WTFs ensue. Sometimes I really like my job.)
posted by Pips 25 February | 00:13
Heathers. Because it's so quotable.

That one was so close to being in my list! I kind of obsessed over it for a little while.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 February | 00:14
I hate favourites lists as I have no ranked favourites of anything. I just have list of stuff I love. Today's top ten may not be tomorrow's top ten. My top 100 my change in rank by next week.

A couple of years back a pick your top fifteen movies thing went around on Facebook. Here is my list from then.

"in no particular order here are my 15 picks.

•Aguirre: The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo

These two count as one. I saw Aguirre in my mid teens and liked it. I searched out more info and become hooked on this oddly obsessive German director and an actor who may have been one of the greatest of all time or insane, or maybe a bit from column A and a bit from column B. Then I started reading the stories coming out of the jungle about Fitzcarraldo. WTF?

My relationship to this/these film(s) is so metatextual I can’t really be sure how much I like or dislike them/it as standalone works.

•Pan's Labyrinth

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books come to life. Sad. Gorgeous. Children cope with life no matter what.

•Children of Men

Dystopian art. Call the two long shots gimmicks if you want but they shook me like few things on film ever have. Is love enough? Where does she end up?

•All That Jazz

Bob Fosse looks back. Asshole? Sure. But like Picasso you have to watch. Roy Scheider is amazing. Speaks to my love of live theatre and obsession with artistic genius as madman. Sexy. George Benson, da da dunt, dunt…

•The Fourth Man

The genius and madness that is Paul Verhoeven.

•Cool Hand Luke

“"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha meets Southern Gothic meets Rebel Without A Cause. Paul Newman. Just try not to look at him. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: George Kennedy. Damn right!

“Small town, not much to do in the evening.”

•Wings of Desire

Audacious. Bruno Ganz is so sad. Solveig Dommartin. Who would not be obsessed? She died far too young. I don’t believe in angels but if I did they would be Peter Falk.

•The Great Gatsby

I had read most of Scott Fitzgerald’s output before I was in high school (just shut up.) Saw it at the age of 12. Jack McCoy was always Nick Carraway to me. The longing and the loss that permeates it… damn. I know all these folks. I am one of them.

•The Killer

If Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire had made movies about killers they would have looked like this. This Catholic story full of Catholic imagery always puts me in mind of the works of Leonard Cohen and Norman Mailer. Yes, I know they aren’t Catholics but both of them, in their younger years, wanted to be Irish Catholic poet/writers. Trust me on this.

Like Newman in Cool Hand just try to take your eyes off of Chow Yun Fat.

Best bromance ever.


Gena Rowlands, smart, sexy, tough dame in the movie and in real life. I was ready to duel with John Cassavetes. Sharon Stone can only wish.


Show me the magic! John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, and goats dancing to New York, New York AND Molly Ringworm was tolerable for once.

•Rosemary's Baby

Great horror and one of the best Manhattan movies ever as could only be done by the loving eye of a foreigner enamored.


Audacious. The sins of the fathers. Fortean. The Wise Up scene just blew me away. The best thing Tom Cruise ever did.

•My Favorite Year

Peter O'Toole is grand and beautifully dissolute. Joseph Bologna is the role model for Krusty the Clown. Mark Linn-Baker is nebbishly great and Jessica Harper is brainy and sexy (as always). A love song to live TV and old time movie stars.

•The Stunt Man

A harrowing comedic love song to the magic that is (was) movie making and what is (or was) the American Dream. Peter O'Toole is again casually great.

•Powwow Highway

Native American pride. Do you join the political system, take up arms, or follow a spiritual calling (‘”A rock in my boot! It’s a sign!”)? You can probably do without Gary Farmer’s ass but it’s a good tale. No pun intended.

Ok, maybe.


Billy Wilder directs Humphrey, Audrey, and Bill, in one of those bitter (sweet) stories he mastered like no other.

•Stepping Razor: Red X

Nicholas Campbell, a Toronto white boy, via Upper Canada College, makes the definitive film about the most charismatic man I ever met, reggae man Peter Tosh.

Ya mon.

•The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Pamela Franklin is scary/knowing/angry teen sexy. Robert Stephens is an aging badly/needy man child. Maggie Smith is a freaking force of nature. I sincerely hope the final Potter movie shows her leading a phalanx of marching school desks into battle.

If it does not; THERE WILL BE BLOOD!


•A Christmas Story

Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon as everyparents.

Your parents sucked. Their parents sucked. You sucked as a parent. Your kids will probably suck as parents.

It’s OK. We all muddle through little worse for ware.

Oh, and fuck you Little Orphan Annie!

•Donnie Darko

The last film my son Andrew and I watched before he died. We laughed a lot.

So yeah.


And I did not include Run Lola Run, Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Brazil, Sunset Boulevard, The Verdict, Shivers, Midnight Cowboy, Rude Boy...

Like I said I can't pick a few favs.
posted by arse_hat 25 February | 00:27
I hate favourites lists

So do I, which is what makes them so compelling.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 February | 00:39
Okay, I get to add Fame (that dance audition, damn) and Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Bogie as bad guy), then, too. I have eclectic taste.
posted by Pips 25 February | 00:54
To me, 'favorite movies' means those I can watch repeatedly, not necessarily what I think are the best. Just as one example, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is easily better than two movies on my list, but I can only watch it so often before it gets stale.

Blade Runner, the perfect marriage of visuals and sound.

A Clockwork Orange, the interchangeability of plot and melody.

Excalibur, a royal mess of a movie that works despite its faults.

Hedwig & The Angry Inch, mainly for the same reasons others like This Is Spinal Tap.

Animal House, if I ever get stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, I would want it to be in that frat house.
posted by Ardiril 25 February | 01:02
"To me, 'favorite movies' means those I can watch repeatedly" That's my take.
posted by arse_hat 25 February | 01:09
Actually, I said Heathers bc of it being quotable but all of my top 5 movies are full of zingers. Which is a big reason I love them.
posted by gaspode 25 February | 01:09
An American In Paris
The African Queen
Field of Dreams
The Blues Brothers
posted by Kangaroo 25 February | 01:14
Oh, man... if repeatability is the criteria, let's see: (caution, shallowness ensues.)

1) City of Lost Children - Odd, beautiful, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Ron Perlman. That's enough.

2) Equilibrium - I don't know how to explain how it out-1984s 1984 with its predictable plot, but Christain Bale's woodenness is perfect, the settings are pretty, and it's really just a wonderfully done thing to me.

3) The Big Lebowski - Pips nailed it. I don't know, it's the Coen brothers without being too Coen brothers.

4) Ladrón que roba Ladrón - a self-aware heist movie that pulls off tribute and mocking to both heist movies and telenovelas. It might be fluff, but it charmed me.

5) The Twilight Samurai - as much as I love Kurosawa's films, this displaces them as far as the obligatory samurai movie listing goes.
posted by sysinfo 25 February | 01:28
1. Apocalypse Now (Redux!)

Seldom do I say the original was worse. The original was brilliant, but if you can't see the director's cut as better you are an idiot! Plus there are more boobs in "redux."

2. Donnie Darko

The original is better. In the director's cut he treats you like an idiot, but there are cool scenes not in the original. Worship one, admire the other. Then watch "Unbreakable." Great double feature!

3. Miller's Crossing/Usual Suspects

I could watch Gabriel Byrne do gay porn and be happy. If pressed Miller's Crossing is the better film. (Pro tip: No gay porn!)

4. Wizard of Oz.

I think Dorothy is hot and I am scared shitless by flying monkeys. (True! True! True! True! True! True! True!)

5. There's this other movie I like, but I can't tell you about it. The first rule of this movie is you can't talk about this movie or what it is about, but I can swallow two pints of blood before we need to discuss this. Marla Singer says hello!

Want to talk about it more I would love to break something pretty.

posted by cjorgensen 25 February | 02:06
The Graduate
Gods and Monsters
Secrets and Lies
The Manchurian Candidate
posted by brujita 25 February | 03:05
Using the repeatability factor makes it easier, but a shame, too, because it bumps off movies like Donnie Darko, Rachel Getting Married, and Lost in Translation that just whammed me the first time through.

1. Jaws. Three men on a boat. Robert Fucking Shaw. I do not find this movie scary at all, just tension filled.

2. Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman. Heat. Biblical.

Now this becomes more difficult.

3. Dirty Dancing. A good dance movie, filled with memorable small moments of humor and pathos. Tiny movie writ large.

Now this becomes much more difficult.

4. Bringing up Baby. It's just relentless. How can they top that? And then they do. Over and over and over. Grant & Hepburn.

5. Go. Very much of a time and place - it's the one what's his name did before or after Swingers. It is hysterical if you get it. Sarah Polley.

3, 4, and 5 I'm sure will change with time, mood, and new movies. I don't think 1 & 2 are dropping off the list ever.
posted by rainbaby 25 February | 06:44
Casablanca, Ingrid Bergman was never more noble or lovely when Humphrey Bogart tells her "that the problems of two little people don't compare to a hill of beans. There are so many quotable lines in the movie, especially "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Woody Allen''sLove and Death. I love Diane Keaton's speech when she explains why all objectivity is subjective.

Singin in the Rain for the sheer exuberance of Donald O'Cooner's dance "Make 'Em Laugh" The great dances between the three stars in Good Morning" Kelly's unforgettable ballet with Cyd Charrise and his solo masterpiece "Singing in The Rain."

Midnight in Paris. I love the opening montage which is a homage to Paris from morning to night and the first scene in which we see humans is on the bridge in Giverney and the last scene is the bridge on the River Seine which symbolizes that Gil has had an epiphany and realizes the difference between fantasy and reality. Also, all the writers and painters who are depicted in the movie are my favorite artists.

I also love Franco Zefferelli's version of Romeo and Juliet and his production of La Traviata.
posted by Macduff 25 February | 07:02
Hmmmm. Yeah, I think the only way I can come up with only 5 is to use the repeatability factor. These are all movies I watch over and over and over again.

1. His Girl Friday. Cary Grant was one of the funniest, hottest people ever to walk the earth. This just happens to be my personal favorite of his. My sister and I constantly quote it.

2. Double Indemnity. Fred MacMurray trashes his life for Barbara Stanwyck and a few bucks. With great speeches by Edward G. Robinson. You will start to talk funny after you see this movie.

3. The Godfather, and also Part II (I tend to watch them together and so think of them as one movie). I think it's amazing to have made a movie chock-full of bad guys who are nonetheless extremely likeable. They're thugs and murderers! And yet you find yourself wanting them to be happy . . . .

4. Big Trouble in Little China. Funniest goddamn thing I've ever seen -- Kurt Russell as a clueless jackass caught up in Chinese mysticism. "Are you crazy? Is that your problem?" Very few people involved in my life have escaped being made to watch this movie.

5. 1776. How do you musicalize colonial history? This is how. The events and frustrations leading up to the birth of the U.S., with a sneak peek at the Civil War that will come. Stirring numbers, terrific speeches, and dirty jokes -- what more could I want?
posted by JanetLand 25 February | 07:56
My "will watch anytime" list in no particular order:

Fifth Element
Little Shop of Horrors
Princess Bride

And Robin Hood: Men in Tights is #5.0005
posted by bluesapphires 25 February | 08:44
So many of these I haven't even seen! I can never remember which my favorites are normally, but
All That Jazz needs to be mentioned a second time.
Barton Fink needs to show up at least once. And I have a thing for Pulp Fiction Some Almodovar movie needs to be listed, not sure which. And for reasons you might need to be a member of my family to appreciate,The Squid and the Whale.
posted by Obscure Reference 25 February | 09:05
fuck, who plays him?

Gary Oldman. He's been pretty fantastic in a number of roles, and he's usually chewing the scenery, but in this case it really, really works. I mean, basically, the character he's playing is playing an absurd character.

I think that's an underrated movie. Maybe it's because people don't like Tony Scott. But his direction is sort of like Oldman's works in this context very well. I think his Hollywood instincts make the twee quirkiness of Tarantino's script better, not worse. I think that Arquette would have been great whoever directed, but I think that Slater would have been terrible had Tarantino directed it.

And I think the film is significant, specifically the scene between Arquette and Gandolfini, as the moment when it truly became acceptable for women to be graphically and realistically violent in mainstream film. I think some people interpreted the horrifying brutalization of her character by Gandolfini's character to be misogynist. But it wasn't, it was necessary that she be realistically beaten, as she had to have been being someone that small by someone that large and experienced in brutality, and yet have her spirit unbroken, but still be afraid, and badly hurt, and then, at the end, deeply and truly enraged as she without hesitation uses the shotgun first to shoot him in the head at point-blank, then to repeatedly beat him with it while she screams her rage.

But, anyway:

Drexl Spivey: He must have thought it was white boy day. It ain't white boy day, is it?
Marty: No man, It ain't white boy day.
posted by kmellis 25 February | 10:45
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. To eveything you've said on True Romance. And I also think the writer/director combo enhanced the final film. I love Tarantino's other films, too, but there's a subtle touch in a wildly unsubtle movie that really works here. Most of Pulp Fiction works great on this level, too, minus the cleaner scenes, IMHO. But in True Romance you have such a love for the characters. Beautifully done all around. (Jon also loves Drexl, as well as Brad Pitt's character -- he's always quoting the cleaning products speech.)

Man, I may have to watch this later. I haven't seen it in awhile. It was my absolute favorite for years and remains in my top five for repeatability and quality.
posted by Pips 25 February | 13:24
O Brother Where Art Thou
Pee Wee's Big Adventure
It's a Wonderful Life
Annie Hall
posted by Miko 25 February | 15:21
A lot --- and I mean a lot --- of y'all's picks could go in my top five, and if I were spitballing a list from scratch, I'd be turning over a dozen of the titles above and wondering which ones to pick.

But according to Flickchart, my top five movies are:
1. The Maltese Falcon
2. Citizen Kane
3. The Third Man
4. Casablanca
5. Mulholland Dr.

which sounds about right. It's hard not to include Brazil or Fargo, but this is how I ranked 'em, which feels pretty accurate to me. Both of those are in my top ten, but they juuuuust miss the top five.

Though clearly something is wonky, because when I logged into Flickchart for the first time in ages, it had Black Swan as my #1 movie, which... um, NO. I can't imagine how that happened.
posted by Elsa 25 February | 16:02
Other than Rocky Horror, the movie I have seen the most is Beetlejuice because Jesse loved that movie when he was a kid. If not for burning out on that, it would probably be on my list.
posted by Ardiril 25 February | 16:40
Local Hero - because anyone in that movie could be the hero.
Jason Bourne movies - speedy, tense
Apollo 13 - it was so much simpler in the 70's.

And a bunch of others that tied the last one: The Man Who Wasn't There, Amelie, Bend it like Beckham, Let It Be, Troy, That Thing You Do, My Cousin Vinny....
posted by chewatadistance 25 February | 16:52
OMG way too hard but I will try. I LOVE Pan's Labrynth but will not include it because it is so horrible and I couldn't watch it too much.

No order:
1. My Favorite Year (I was pretty thrilled to see this already mentioned). Lawrence of Arabia should go on my list but won't and I am cheating by mentioned it here with the other Peter O'Toole. :D
2. My Neighbor Totoro. Wall-E almost makes the cut but the second half is not as sublime as the first, so top 10 yes, top 5 no.
3. Princess Bride. Have watched it too many times and sometimes skip the reruns these days, but I can't not include this damn movie.
4. The Philadelphia Story (1940) Hepburn, Grant, Stewart: 'nuff said.
5. Serenity. Not a "Great" film but I just love the franchise terribly. (Apologies to some for this Whedon-cliche)

Honorable mentions: Wall-E, Lawrence of Arabia, Moonstruck, Spirited Away, Singin' in the Rain, Adaptation, Nightmare Before Christmas, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Fifth Element, The Godfather, Lion in Winter (ok gonna stop randomly here).
(I always love this poll.)
posted by Glinn 25 February | 17:08
3. Mulholland Dr. (2001) directed by David Lynch. One of the few Lynch films I got to see in a theater.

Oh, I am so envious of this. I remember seeing Rear Window in a theater (about 10 years ago) and experiencing it as a completely different film than the one I'd seen on TV.
posted by Elsa 25 February | 17:09
Oh, I am so envious of this.

You young'uns. I saw Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and Mullholland Dr. in the theater.

I find it almost impossible to come up with favorite lists anymore. It's weird--I used to be pretty sure about these things. Now, I'm wracked with indecision.

At the moment, the best I can do, not in order, is:

A Clockwork Orange
Mulholland Dr.
The Third Man

and then also House of Games, Being John Malkovich, Fargo, Lola rennt in there somewhere, too.
posted by kmellis 25 February | 17:22
I, too, saw some of Lynch's earlier films in theaters. Blue Velvet came out when I was 17, and I convinced my boyfriend that we should make the hour-long drive to see it... and then continue to do that every weekend during its brief run as the midnight movie.

But there are all kinds of ways of seeing. I'm sure that 43-year-old Elsa sees a movie differently than 17-year-old Elsa did. And Mulholland Dr. is by far my favorite of his films; to see it in a theater, immersed in dark and a giant wall of images, seems like an impossible luxury.
posted by Elsa 25 February | 17:37
Wild At Heart in a theatre was a powerful experience. The sound system was cranked and those crushing guitar chords during the opening scene on the court steps evoked a feeling that few films have managed since. Blue Velvet in a theatre had its own unique qualities as well, especially Lynch's unexpected and total disregard for Rosellini's integrity as the actress behind the character.
posted by Ardiril 25 February | 17:58
Today in no particular order:

Cuckoo's Nest
The Lives of Others

It could easily change tomorrow. My favorites in a lot of things are ephemeral. I do not know what that says about me.
posted by danf 25 February | 19:02
1. Tangled. Yes, the Disney animated movie. I can't get enough of it right now. The facial expressions on the characters kill me.

2. Secondhand Lions. Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Haley Joel Osment in, what to me at least, was an underappreciated movie.

3. SpaceBalls. Or a number of Mel Brooks movies (Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights etc.)

4. Clue. It's so old, I have it on VHS, but I love that movie.

5. Murphy's Romance. Again, old movie, but the budding love between Sally Field and James Garner keeps me entranced every time.

5 1/2. Anna and the King. Or the original The King and I with Yul Brenner. The original is classic (plus I was lucky enough to see it on Broadway, with Yul Brenner in the lead role just months before his death). The Jodie Foster version charms on a different level.

6. The Last Samurai. I am just not a Tom Cruise fan, but this movie leaves me speechless each time I see it. I had to throw this one in.
posted by redvixen 25 February | 19:06
When I was 18, a friend's mom took us to see A Clockwork Orange, before it was actually released, at Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood. She was a psychology prof at Cal State Northridge, and the producers gave out passes to people like that, I guess, to get feedback or to create buzz.

My friend and I had never heard of the movie, had no idea what it was going to be about, so you can imagine the effect it had on us!
posted by danf 25 February | 19:28
Lists are really hard for me. I'm going to do two of them.

Regular fantastic-movie list: Nashville, Manchurian Candidate, Casablanca, Rear Window, Pulp Fiction.

Idiosyncratic sentimental list: High Fidelity, The Commitments, Gregory's Girl, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Diner

Actually, that's three, because here's a list of things I can't believe I left out: Night on Earth, Next Stop Greenwich Village, The Last Wave, Big Lebowski, My Life as a Dog.

I'd better post this right now before I start adding and replacing things.
posted by tangerine 25 February | 21:52
Original Star Wars (trilogy)--duh

Singing in the Rain--love Gene Kelley, and the dancing

The Sound of Music--love Christopher Plummer, and the music and dancing

Remains of the Day--one of only a handful of times where I felt physical pain while watching a movie

Schindler's List--in addition to the amazing plot, the soundtrack by Itzhak Perlman is incredible too
posted by Melismata 25 February | 22:02
hmmmmmm so many movies mentioned above that I love, including Heathers, (which I just on TV last week). I'll try and think of some that haven't been mentioned yet.

Withnail & I - talk about a quotable movie. I can't even count the number of times I've watched it

Tempest - a lousy trailer and so many people I know HATE this movie, yet its one of those movies that I have to watch whenever it comes on

All That Jazz - Its Bob Fosse, c'mon

Amelie - just a few notes from the soundtrack and I'm taken to another time and place

Down By Law - Jim Jarmusch at his finest and I'm always surprised that it was John Lurie who scored the film

these are by no means my 5 favourite films, just 5 I have to wacth or PVR whenever I notice them coming on
posted by rollick 25 February | 22:10
Oh! The Goodbye Girl, at least top ten.
posted by Glinn 25 February | 22:45
2. Donnie Darko

The original is better. In the director's cut he treats you like an idiot

YES. I adore Donnie Darko, and I'm a fan of both Southland Tales and The Box. (Judging from the critical reception, I may be the only person in the world who likes The Box, but I do. A lot.) Richard Kelly is a fascinating director because he has certain obsessions and a lot of flair, but he doesn't seem to understand his own strengths, nor does he really get how to use them. He should be like David Lynch, just doing what he's awesome at and waiting for the world to catch up, but instead he seems to be way too influenced by his Hollywood friends who don't understand the weird, scary heart of his art.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 February | 23:14
SO late to the game, but I'll just avoid duplicating the picks on others' lists, and you can just guess at what I would've picked if it hadn't been pre-picked... (warning: everything here is between 1960 and 1980)

1) "The President's Analyst"... you probably never heard of it, so let me explain. Ultimate '60s satire, making fun of... well, almost everything: psychotherapy, Washington DC, hippies, 'The Silent Majority', spies (LOTS of spies - and in a genius move, star James Coburn was NOT one but Godfrey Cambridge WAS) and (spoiler) The Telephone Company, complete with a piece of sci-fi tech that will probably become reality in a few years and a warning DON'T LET IT.

2) "Silent Running"... another obscure one, directed by one of the people responsible for the special effects of "2001: A Space Odyssey" (a near miss for this list). A sci-fi eco-dystopian story with awe-inspiring visuals, scenery-chewer Bruce Dern giving a surprisingly low-key performance and cute robots that inspired Lucas for R2D2. Co-written by Michael Cimino before "Deer Hunter" and Stephen Bochco before "Hill Street Blues" (Say WHAT?) Plus a beautiful soundtrack written by the creator of PDQ Bach (WHAAAT?)

3) "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World"... the original EPIC farce (please pardon it for the thousands of inferior copies since), with a truly all-star all-skilled-comedian cast, but the highlights for me were Dick Shawn as a '60s hipster/beach bum playing off Ethel Merman as his mother, a young Jonathan Winters physically destroying a gas station (you had to be there) and Jimmy Durante's absurdly-drawn-out-for-laughs death scene. Even Spencer Tracy was funny! (Personal note: the first movie my parents allowed 8-year-old me to go out to the theater to see alone.)

4) "The Producers" (the original)... Mel Brooks at his best, before he started leaning on familiar movie tropes. Zero Mostel at his most bombastic, Gene Wilder at his mousiest, and Dick Shawn (again), and it really was better seeing "Springtime for Hitler" as the ONLY musical number. "The Twelve Chairs" was nearly as good, with special credit for its Russian folk-style theme song "Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst". (Brooks is a musical genius)

5) "Fatso"... One more obscurity, with Anne Bancroft proving she could direct and Dom DeLuise proving he could act! About a life-long fat kid in a crazy Italian family (Anne pleasantly surprises when she channels her own Italian background), it's comedy as rich as an overstuffed pizza, romance so sweet it'll give you diabeeteez and drama as serious as a heart attack (spoiler). When I saw "Moonstruck", I thought 'Why couldn't this be more like Fatso?' Seriously.

Bonus: My all-time favorite Movies Made for Television...
"Duel": when "Movie of the Week" was a new thing, somebody bought the rights to a short story by Richard Matheson (many classic Twilight Zones and the 'I Am Legend' book that Will Smith ruined) about a driver sharing an isolated road with a monster truck with a monster driver, and let a guy who had directed a couple Columbos have at it. Some kid named Spielberg. Honestly, I haven't enjoyed any of his subsequent work more than this. Dennis Weaver with a California accent was believable as the driver dealing with the unbelievable (and a radio guy I worked for was "DJ Voice on Car Radio", which was how I became aware of it).
"The Lathe of Heaven" (the ORIGINAL 1980 version, made for PBS): An earth-bound sci-fi story by Ursula K. LeGuin about alternate realities and an unassuming man who is apparently making them change by dreaming about them. A great performance by you've-seen-him-somewhere actor Kevin Conway as a psychotherapist who realizes what his anxiety-struck patient is doing to the universe... and decides to capitalize on it. And oh yeah, an alien invasion... of turtles (nobody said the dreaming guy was normal).
posted by oneswellfoop 25 February | 23:46
I love Silent Running and Fatso. Duel is the best Spielberg movie ever. Terror on a very low budget.
posted by arse_hat 26 February | 00:02
"The President's Analyst"... you probably never heard of it, so let me explain.

Oh, some of us know it well. And love it. Should be much more widely known and appreciated.

I watched Silent Running when it aired as a Sunday Night Movie on television sometime around 1973. I remember this extremely well because I was heartbroken and inconsolable at the end. I was eight or nine.
posted by kmellis 26 February | 00:11
BTW, kmellis- good to see you again, man!
posted by BoringPostcards 26 February | 00:14
posted by kmellis 26 February | 00:48
Oh yeah, Silent Running was great. I think I saw that exact same Sunday Night Movie broadcast.
posted by JanetLand 26 February | 07:49
1. Harold and Maude

2. The Fugitive (dunno why. Just love it.)

3. All of LOTR

4. Terminator 1 and 2

5. Casablanca

There are a bunch more, but when alone at home and sick, chances are good one of these will go into the DVD player.
posted by bearwife 26 February | 16:10
Theory of mind || What is it like to be part of a "fandom"?