Friday, June 03, 2005

These are a few of my favorite things

Nell started me thinking about the whole top ten film list thing last week. And then Dan brought it up again. So I decided to say, what the heck, and offer my own list. So here goes: a list of my favorite movies...
  1. Rebel without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
  2. Casablanca (Michel Curtiz, 1942)
  3. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly, 1952)
  4. Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993)
  5. Heavenly Creatures (New Zealand, Peter Jackson, 1994)
  6. Airplane! (Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker, 1980)
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les parapluies de Cherbourg, France, Jacques Demy, 1964)
  8. American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999)
  9. Aventurera (Mexico, Alberto Gout, 1950)
  10. Talk to Her (Hable con ella, Spain, Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
  11. Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990)
  12. Speaking Parts (Canada, Atom Egoyan, 1989)
  13. Ashes from Paradise (Cenizas del paraíso, Argentina, Marcelo Piñeyro, 1997)
  14. The Freshman (Harold Lloyd, 1925)
  15. 8 ½ (Italy, Federico Fellini, 1963)
  16. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
  17. When the Cat’s Away (Chacun cherche son chat…, France, Cédric Klapisch, 1996)
  18. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
  19. The Young and the Damned (Los olvidados, Mexico, Luis Buñuel, 1950)
  20. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
  21. Gabbeh (Iran, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)
  22. The Hand in the Trap (La mano en la trampa, Argentina, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, 1961)
  23. Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)
  24. The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 1999)
  25. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)

I wouldn't hold me to this list; I'm undoubtedly forgetting a whole bunch. And note that these are favorites, for whatever reason, not necessarily the best. My list tomorrow might be very different. (I've done this very quickly.)

For what it's worth, I've always found that, like creative non-fiction, these lists tell more about the writers themselves than anything else. Personally, I'm a bit surprised that there are as many humorous flicks on here as there are weepies since I tend to think I like dramas more than comedies. And Nell's right -- stopping at a certain number is hard. (Dan wanted 10, I think, and I couldn't stop.)

So what do you think? What does this list tell you about me that you didn't know, or what does it confirm for you? And would you like to offer a list up yourself, so I can see what yours says about you?


Hikaru said...

it's interesting to note you list no asian films, and there are a lot of post-war era films, too. airplane was way too campy for me. that whole genre, like plan 9. even for dumb humor, i prefer dumb humor with likeable characters and a plot, like something about mary.

from your list, the movies i own are casablanca and american beauty.

off the top of my head, an eclectic sampling of 10 favs: fantasia, roman holiday, american beauty, hero, in the mood for love, moulin rouge, jacob's ladder, hiroshima mon amour, amadeus, love actually.

Middento said...

Well, I suppose that depends on how you define "Asia" -- isn't Iran part of Asia? In terms of the Far East, you're right, not one is listed there, although Kurosawa's Madadayo bubbled right under. I also am a fan of Wong Kaw-Wai (looking forward to 2046), but I honestly haven't seen enough of his work. (Obviously, my vocation predilects me toward Latin American stuff -- also bubbling right under this list was the Peruvian Bajo la piel...)

Emily said...

For what it's worth, here are 11 of my favorites:

1. Napoleon Dynamite
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
3. Happiness
4. The Royal Tenenbaums
5. Crash
6. Thirteen
7. Five Easy Pieces
8. Schizopolis
9. Love Liza
10. Arsenic and Old Lace
11. Wonder Boys

~Emily B

Anonymous said...

Jeff: I remember you citing Breaking the Waves as a favorite in 1999-2000 or so...did that change? I plan to check out some of the films on your list...thanks for posting! -- Gretchen

Hikaru said...

minor asia i guess technically, but most would refer it to as the middle east, ya? i don't think anyone ever refers to russian film as asian, though it most certainly from asia. though culturally, i would say aleut/inuit film (is there any?) is more asian in culture than russian, no?

i've watched a lot of wong kar wai b/c of ITMFL, and his earlier work doesn't really stand as tall. many typical gangster/action flicks with brooding protagonists. 2046 is a very strange sequel to ITMFL -- as though wong had to make a movie to show his mind changing with time. you can find a region free dvd 2046 with english subs in any chinatown, or online. i picked up one last december in l.a. for like $20. =D

Middento said...

Gretchen: Yes, I forgot BTW. Still an extremely powerful film, I would agree. I have no idea why I forgot it, haha. Then again, I also left off The Piano, which is a favorite.

Emily: Quite an interesting list, I must say! Though I'm raising an eyebrow at the plethora of new stuff and the lack of old. (Just raising an eyebrow -- not a critique, heh heh.)

Perc: I think 2046 is actually coming to US theaters this summer, so I may wait for it to see it on the big screen, just to see how his movies play on the big screen. And I would debate you on the "Asian-ness" of certain flicks. (I find a Russian film called Close to Eden very Asian, actually.) And of course Iran is the Middle East, but that's the problem with grouping culture by region over something even as arbitrary as nationality. (Via Benedict Anderson, I would actually argue for nationality having a place in cinematic identity, problematic as that is, over region.) Then again, I teach a course called "Cinemas of Latin America," which is highly problematic in just that regard.

Oh yeah, Gretchen: what's your 10? I'd be very curious to see yours...

Emily said...

Alright, alright... you're right. I just did my list off the top of my head... and I can't believe I forgot Last Temptation of Christ and Clockwork Orange, those definitely should be up there... but yes, I will admit, my list does reflect a sort of, oh what do I call it, "average viewer" quality that film snobs can easily sniff at (not that you are a film snob, but you know what I'm talking about). I do have a lot of films to watch. However, I am celebrating my freedom from college at the end of the month by hosting a 3 day, 12 movie film festival at my apartment that will probably be attended by no one but John and myself. At least I'll get to catch up on those films I should have seen by now.

Anonymous said...

john turner said...

emily sucked me into this ballsac of a thing, our "favorite movies", so here goes, in no order:

8 1/2
citizen kane
el mariachi
annie hall
the silence
napoleon dynamite
wonder boys
night of the living dead
herbie goes to monte carlo
last temptation of christ

although herbie is pretty high on the list

Nell Minow said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nell Minow said...

With the caveat that I don't believe in lists -- it's as silly to have a list of your top 10 favorite movies as it is to have your top 10 favorite people. But this is the list I did for Slate and it holds up pretty well as representative of the kinds of movies I like best, which tend to have great dialogue and happy endings. After the top three, though, there's a certain amount of "okay, I have room for just one Marx brothers movie, just one Disney animation classic, just one Hitchcock, just one Astaire-Rogers," etc.

Here's what I wrote in Slate, responding to David Edelstein's guesses about what would be on my list:

Okay, here's my list of favorites (not best ever, just the ones I love most, and I'm limiting it to American movies). Your guesses were very accurate, though you neglected my all-time favorite director, Billy Wilder, and another of my favorites, Preston Sturges. It's not a coincidence that both of them wrote what they directed. Besides, I am a sucker for snappy comebacks (which is why you are such fun to write with). I have a weakness for happy endings. And I should tell you that when I was pregnant with my son, the doctor said the baby would recognize my voice after he was born, from hearing it in utero. My husband replied, "In that case, he'll recognize Cary Grant's voice, too, because she watches a lot of movies." Okay, some women crave pickles. For me, it was Cary. Except for #1, these are in no particular order.

1. The Philadelphia Story
2. To Have and Have Not
3. His Girl Friday
4. Duck Soup
5. I Love You Again
6. Singin' in the Rain
7. Ball of Fire
8. Ninotchka
9. To Be or Not To Be
10. To Kill a Mockingbird
11. The Wizard of Oz
12. The Adventures of Robin Hood
13. Follow the Fleet
14. To Catch a Thief
15. Some Like it Hot
16. Godfather I/II
17. Pinocchio
18. The General
19. Sullivan's Travels
20. The Lady Eve

Anonymous said...

So hard to stop at ten. Already I am missing so many (My Beautiful Laundrette, Tampopo...). Oh well, in alphabetical order:
Animal House
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
Citizen Kane
Desk Set
Godfather I
Harold and Maude
Life is Beautiful
Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy (cheat -- I'm counting that as one!) Cheat again...I put 11. *sigh*

-- Gretchen

J.J. said...

I am depressed that two people named Napoleon Dynamite among their favorites -- and one of them at No. 1. I realize that opinions are opinions, but I can't help but feel sorry for them, and anyone else who was duped by that 80-minute torture session.

Mrs. Non-Gorilla said...

let's see, if i define my favorite movies as ones i can see over and over and over again, they would have to be:

1. the terminator (1984). probably the best time-travel sci-fi flick ever made, with a nearly perfect explanation. great love story, too. provoked a decades-long fascination with michael biehn. my hands down, all-time favorite movie. the movies that follow are in no particular order.

M (1931). peter lorre in front of a knife store. 'nuff said.
yojimbo (1961). those shoulders! that humor!
the great escape (1963). the first steve mcqueen movie i ever saw, but donald pleasance played my favorite character.
das kabinett des doktor caligari (1920). stunning set design. great story. an insane asylum!
sid & nancy (1986). first gary oldman movie i ever saw. the trashcans-falling-from heaven scene one of the best kisses in cinema. bo-ring sid-ney!
the fifth element (1997). auto-washer. chi-ken. milla in strategically-placed gaultier surgical bandages. bruce willis at his best romantic lead since moonlighting.
warlock (1989). julian sands and richard e. grant in the same movie. nails in the side of a barn. lori singer in peril. yay!
night on earth (1991). one of jarmusch's more watchable movies, and winona ryder isn't too annoying in her vignette. lacking the cool of mystery train, but with better pacing.
the deer hunter (1978). yes, i think christopher walken is sexy. yes, i'm a very strange girl.
blade runner (1982). actually, the director's cut, without the stupid narration and hokey happy ending. great atmosphere, and it set the standard for the futuristic dystopia of countless sci-fi flicks to follow.

Anonymous said...

Wizard of Oz
Gone With the Wind
The Horse's Mouth
2001 A Space Odyssey
The Sheltering Sky
Dangerous Liaisons
Hideous Kinky
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Patty K's list

carlos po said...

This is my fourth attempt at a similar list in the last month and the first "succesful" one. Problem is, I don't think of my favorites (in most cases) in terms of a single film unit, a single movie --I think of scenes, I think of characters, I think of shots and in many cases I think of actors or directors that bleed across films and form some unstable mass of celluloid. Dangerous territory, I know. But c'mon. The endless murder scene in the otherwise mediocre and horrendously cast(Sundance Kid with Mary Poppins?) Torn Curtain kicks the crap out of entire regional canons. Orson Welles in Touch of Evil. The opening sequence of Blue. Humphrey Bogart. Groucho Marx. Ninon Sevilla. Woody Allen. Gene Kelly. Fosse. But that's another list.

I'll stick to the rules. Sort of. Twelve is a nicer number: Casablanca, Nights of Cabiria, Gilda, It's a Wonderful Life, Amores perros, Requiem for a Dream, American Beauty, Unbreakable, Hable con ella/Todo sobre mi madre (I count them as one), After Hours, The Good the Bad & the Ugly, Pulp Fiction.

I need more comedy in my life...