Monday, January 03, 2011


I've had some discussions with family recently about top-ten movie lists.  Since I haven't blogged much lately, and movie discussions are always good filler, I thought I'd weigh in.  So, Dad and brothers, here's my list.


This is a list of just nine films, and just the ones I could think of in a short period of time.  I could easily change my mind and add or subtract from it with more thought. 


These are in no particular order, except the first one, which is my favorite.


"Miller's Crossing": This is my favorite movie.  I generally enjoy all the Coen Brothers' movies, although there are a few from recent years that I haven't seen.  They are great craftsmen, and all aspects of their work seem so well-integrated into one another.  It all just hangs together so beautifully.  I think "Miller's Crossing" is a great example of this, with the added benefit of being psychologically hard to puzzle out.  I find the main character's goals and motivations obscure.  This, combined with great dialogue, tense action scenes, and lots of plot twists, makes it a movie that I can watch repeatedly.


"The Moderns": This late-'80s film about American expatriates living in Paris in the 1920s is weird, pretentious, and full of arts-related in-jokes and caricatures.  It's probably not a movie for everyone, but I like it a lot, perhaps moreso because few people have heard of it.


"Rear Window": I've always enjoyed watching Jimmy Steward, and Grace Kelly is great.  The premise is a lot fun, the characters are a lot of fun, and some of the scenes are nerve-wracking. I think this is just an all-around fun movie.


"Jaws":  My memory of the first time I saw this—Dad took Kevin and me to see it at the theater during a re-release sometime in the late Seventies—is sort of unpleasant.  It was summer, and I was in shorts and a tank top, and the air conditioned theater was freezing.  I was very uncomfortable to start with, so when helpless innocent people started being eaten by a shark onscreen, I was pretty miserable.  Somehow, though, this did not translate into a hatred of this movie.  The first portion of the film is pretty good, I guess; but what I really like is the latter portion with the three main characters on the fishing boat trying to find and kill the shark.  It's atmospheric, tense, perfectly paced, and packed full of great movie moments.


"Star Wars": I can't not include it.  "The Empire Strikes Back" is a superior movie, but I'll have to put in this first film because it struck such a cord.


"The Wizard of Oz": Until recently I wouldn't have thought to include this, but I think I must, again partly due to re-watch potential. I've seen this plenty of times, and I still feel like I could see it plenty more without being bored with it.


"The Haunting": This was remade recently, and the remake is awful (I haven't seen all of it, and I have no desire to.)  However, the original black-and-white film from the early Sixties has what I want in a horror film, namely creepiness that plays on one's imagination.  I like the very classic haunted house setting.  Yes, a lot of the movie is kind of corny, but it's worth it to me to sit through that for the good stuff.


"Lone Star": Another film I can watch repeatedly because of the complex way the characters all relate to one another.  I've watched it with friends who compared it to watching paint dry, but I think it's a great movie that gets better with repeat viewings.


"Monty Python and the Holy Grail":  Do I really think it's funny, or do I just think I think it's funny?  How funny would I find it if I saw it for the first time today?  I don't know, but I still think it's really funny.



I'm eager to hear your thoughts!