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26 November 2001 @ 11:54 pm
Top Ten...  
A conversation in theater with a fellow student sparked the following question:

What are your ten favorite movies and why?

Well, I've decided to try and figure this one out. Mind you, they are only numbered in order to count, not given in order of preference. I can say these are my favorite movies, but I can't tell you which is my favorite of all.

1.</b> Chasing Amy. This is simply the best romantic movie of all time. Realistic, funny, touching and up-front, I could watch it a million times and still laugh and cry where I'm meant to. That's because it truly delivers emotion. The only thing missing is the sap and unconvincing dialogue, and that is not actually missed by anyone. Definitely Kevin Smith's best work.

I love you, I always will. Know that. But I'm not your fucking whore.

2. Fight Club. Original, powerful, and intriguing. Fight Club is a movie where, even if someone spoiled the twist for you, surprises you in the end. Some of the most interesting cinematography, too. Completely not the movie it was advertised to be, Fight Club is a refreshing punch in the face.

How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?

3. American Beauty. A film that deserved its Best Picture Oscar. Some of the most twisted but undeniably believable people ever on screen, and a movie where the last five minutes actually matter. It's just...wow.

And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.

4. A.I. A lot of people didn't like this movie. Those people just don't get it, obviously. I didn't even mind dealing with child actors in this one, it has such powerful messages. A movie that is about more than just a little robot boy. A stunningly poetic, yet cynical, film. If you didn't like it the first time, try it again...and this time, think.

My brain is falling out.

5. Dancer in the Dark. Bjork does more than sing in this film which manages to be a musical without truly being a musical. Rather, it was a great movie with amazing music in it. And it's all for a very good reason. Not a film to watch if you're not in the mood to be depressed, but if you're up for it, you will be thoroughly moved.

All walls are great if the roof doesn't fall.

6. Dark City. The forgotten favorite of 1998. This movie truly explores some very interesting ideas, and does it in an enchantingly dark way. Like a far more intelligent and in-depth Matrix, this film plays with its actors and its audience alike. Roger Ebert's choice for best film that year, and one of my all-time favorites as well.

But you wouldn't understand that, would you, Mr. Whatever-your-name-is.

7. Grave of the Fireflies. The most depressing film EVER made, and the only animated film on my list. Touching, delicate, powerful and heart-wrenching, this film about two children orphaned after WWII is one of the finest animated movies ever made. I recommend it not only to anime fans, but to anyone looking for a high caliber film with a few tears.

September 24, 1945. That is the day I died.

8. Casablanca. A classic for good reason. Sharp dialogue and a great concept pull this movie into my top ten. A close second for great romantic movie, but it has a wonderful, personal story of a world at war and true heroism interwoven to make it more than just romantic. There are so many quotable quotes from this movie because the lines are just THAT GOOD. If you haven't seen it, you really are missing out.

Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so.

9. Seven Samurai. You knew there had to be a Kurosawa film on the list. A fantastic film about war that doesn't glorify war, about samurai that doesn't glamorize an ideal, and about human nature without being pretencious. Find yourself a good translation (notably, the Criterion Collection's DVD) and be awed by Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune at their best.

You welcomed us as you would a plague. But when you heard the alarm, "Oh Samurai!" you turned to worship us.

10. A Hard Day's Night. The movie that proved musicians can in fact act. Hilarious, yet amazingly similar to a real "day in the life" of The Beatles, the most cynical of critics at the time couldn't help but admit it was a really good film. Hell, I've done research on the film and it's critical analysis, and the only thing one can find out there is positive things from both then and now. Musically and comidically, John, Paul, George and Ringo never miss a beat. A highly worthy film.

We know how to behave! We've had lessons.

Feel free to send in your submissions! I'd love to know what movies other people like and why, because, well, I'm just that sort of person.
Mood: dorkydorky
Music: The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night
phenyx on November 26th, 2001 09:49 pm (UTC)
Heh. I have some of those same movies on my favorites list, and ... the ones that aren't, I haven't seen yet. I also have the same problem... I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a "favorite movie", or even a top 3, because to put one movie in the top spot, you need to disqualify all the rest. Maybe I'll see if I can come up with my Personal Favorite Movies List. They won't all be Superb Citizen-Kane-like Examples of Cinematography, but they'll all have something to them that makes them stand out for me beyond the rest of the movies I've seen.

Incidentally, I watched Dark City for the first time this past weekend (along with Alien, also first time). Neat flick. I thought the bits with the Strangers got a bit cheezy in parts, but I'd give it a 4/5. There seems to be a lot of movies made on the "what if this world is fake" premise. In particular, Thirteenth Floor seemed to echo Dark City a *lot* in this aspect (the "the city has edges" thing), even though it went a different direction with the basis for the city or the mimes in bowler hats.
Not any Morepuck22 on November 26th, 2001 11:55 pm (UTC)
did I ever tell you how much I love you, all of those I've seen I loved, and most would be on mine, maybe not 7 samurai, definately number one for it's time, but . . . I don't know. however . .. American Beuty should be number one, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
antithesisdim on November 27th, 2001 10:07 am (UTC)
Excellent job, Mary Ellen. I'll admit I was one of those people who didn't like AI. Generally when I watch a movie for the first time, I don't really think about any of it...I just watch it intently trying not to miss anything. AI is a movie I prolly should've reserved judgement on until I had watched it a few times. I don't have that skill of getting everything on the first pass or any other single pass. On your recommendation (and Brandon's pointed insults) I'll rewatch it. =)
char-ka  : shock_rawhavva on November 27th, 2001 04:01 pm (UTC)
wow, i'm wasting time.
Hmmm. .. my list. (MEPK, your list ROCKS, btw)

1. "Elizabeth." My favorite movie of all time. Kate Blanchett is amazing, just amazing. Just... amazing. Cinematography, believable characters, an incredible love story. Gorgeous, powerful film.

2. "Quills." Yeah, I know Kate Winslet is in it, but she's a good actress. Titanic doesn't count. EVER. Anyway, Geoffrey Rush, second only to Alan Rickman on my I-want-to-have-your-baby list, plays an incredible Marquis de Saad... The story has tons of little laughable cruel twists, the design and camera angles are incredible... convincing and disturbing.

3. "Waking Life." Sorry, it just came out. Wait a while. I'm convinced this is one of the most pointed attempts to educate the masses I've ever seen. It's powerful. It's incredible visually. Every scene gets my jets revving.

4. "Dark City." It's not the deepest film ever. But it's really really cool, and always mildly thought provoking even though I've seen it about a million times.

5. "Altered States." William Hurt acting in an amazing mindfuck of a film. (This sort of ties with A.I.)

6. "2001: A Space Odyssey." This one just... IS. I don't need to explain this.

7. "The Shawshank Redemption." It's just SO GOOD.

8. "The Red Violin." Masterful. Amazing music. 5 different countries. Simply excellent. And EVEN Samuel L. Jackson.

9. "Sense and Sensibility." I usually abhor "chick flicks," but this one has some of the funniest, wittiest, and most heart wrenching characters and dialogue ever. Funny-- I really dislike the book. (And Alan Rickman! Sorry, couldn't help it.)

10. "The Never-Ending Story." This movie was amazing as a little kid-- and now that I can watch it with some insight, is even more stellar.
Mellen: Ecstatic Fayeabsentmammoth on November 27th, 2001 04:21 pm (UTC)
Re: wow, i'm wasting time.
Some good choices on your list! Elizabeth being of particular note...one that surely came close to being on my list. If I had categories, like, someone asked "What is the best (insert category)," Elizabeth would have won for historical fiction. The Kubrick film in that would have been Doctor Strangelove, for best political comedy/commentary. Film I enjoyed as a kid and like even better now, however, would have been Labrynth. I mean, David Bowie...DAVID BOWIE. You definately have a rockin' list. I'm sure the ones I haven't seen, however, need to be seen, so I shall. Thanks for playing ^_^
p.m./a.e.xoexohexox on November 28th, 2001 01:05 am (UTC)
Under normal circumstances, this is a question that i would usually be too lazy to answer. Seeing as how "normal" hasn't applied lately, I'm inspired to set my thoughts to text and deliniate a list of my own (the order in which the movies are listed carries no relevance):

Lola Rennent (Run Lola Run): A driving soundtrack of german techno and a protagonist whose unwillingness to accept fate twists reality around her earn this flick a spot on my top 10. Think of "Groundhog day" without the comedy aspect, 500% more intelligent, and in german.

"The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. Anything beyond that is pure speculation."

Fight Club: I really think you have to be a guy to truely appreciate this movie, in the same way you have to be a girl to fully appreciate anne rice's witch chronacles. This was one of those movies i could watch again and again, not because there is a great amount of minutae that can be easily missed, but because what the viewer gets out of the movie is based largely on how much they're willing to think about it, and I like that.

Our fathers are our models for god. If our father bails on us, what does that tell us about god?

Snatch: I didn't realize how much I actually liked this movie until I read a review of it on metaphilms.com. The movie was always stuck in the back of my mind for -some reason-, and reading the review made me mentally go "oh yeah, thats why I liked this movie". This movie manages to be funny and disturbing at the same time, noble and degenerate, a silly/serious presentation of an idea so rediculous that it's solemn.

"You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity."

The Big Lebowski: This movie is just too wierd for most people. This movie is a reminder to me that some ideas are so bizzare that they can only be communicated to another person in the form of a bizarre movie like this one. I like the idea that "The Dude" represents the person who sums up our time and culture perfectly. Boundlessly intelligent, but infinately lazy.

?Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

American Beauty: Saying that you like this movie is like saying you like the song "Street Spirit" by radiohead. Puppies, wagging our tails on the way to be put to sleep. I like this movie because it conveys a level of horror and depravity that exceed man's ability to rationalize or manage it. Unlike "street spirit", the movie does offer some comfort and solace by the end, but to me, this was only thrown in at the end to prevent movie patrons from killing themselves immediately after the movie. I sometimes think this movie paralells "Fight Club" somewhat in theme, but instead taking place in a soul-destroying suburb instead of a dynamic city.

"My job requires mostly masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that less closely resembles Hell."

The Crow: Alright, alright. Despite the legions of socially inept and inarticulate worshippers of this movie and the unforgivably bad sequals, i still think this is a terrific movie. It had style, it had dramatic emotional impact, it had (in my opinion) memorable cinematography.

"I have something to give you. I don't want it anymore. Thirty hours of pain all at once, all for you."

Being John Malkovich: I don't want to explain too much about this movie, i think it should be seen without any expectations of it. I was able to identify with the character of craig, and someimes i feel i've suffered a similar fate, even if symbolically...Rather than go into any detail, i'll leave you with the terrific quote from the movie:

Hot lesbian witches! It's fucking genius!

p.m./a.e.xoexohexox on November 28th, 2001 01:05 am (UTC)
Johnny Mnemonic: This isn't on the list particularly for it's own merit, but because I think it has value in that there was -no way- it could have been successful, but it came out anyway, and I enjoyed it. Hopefully we'll see more movie adaptations of william gibson novels in the future, maybe after I chlorinate the gene pool a little...Anyhow, cyberpunk is a stigmatized subgenra -within- a notoriously unpopular genre to begin with, so i was impressed that it was pulled off. Any movie with hank rollins in it has gotta be good anyway, it's a rule (yes, i realize "lost highway" isnt on this list. thats because it gives me a headache). I think this movie offered us something a little different, a twist of lemon in what would otherwise have been a dull action movie.

"Listen. You listen to me. You see that city over there? THAT'S where I'm supposed to be. Not down here with the dogs and the garbage and the fuckin' last months newspaper blowing back and forth. I've had it with them, I've had it with you, I've had it with all this -- I want ROOM SERVICE! I want the club sandwich. I want the cold Mexican beer. I want a ten-thousand dollar-a-night hooker!! I want my shirts laundered like they do at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo."

Leon (or, "The Professional"): ah, one of the few movies to bring tears to my eyes. An incredible movie, where the hero is a hitman for the italian mafia, and the villain is a DEA agent (played by GARY OLDMAN no less!). This movie has some of the most stylish action sequences i've ever seen in it (without falling under the baliwick of jon woo et. al. pistol ballet or matrix-esque special effects). It really is a beutiful movie, people usually don't understand why i get all emotional about it, but then, neither do I.

"Let me guess...Chinese? Thai? I've got it...Italian...Now..tell me everything you know about italian food, and don't forget the chef who cooked it up for you."

I don't know how many that is, but im tired, and probably making less and less sense as I go
Mellen: Sexy Fayeabsentmammoth on November 28th, 2001 01:31 am (UTC)
You made it to nine...
And I like what you've got. I also really like that you played in kind and gave quotes, definate respect points there.

The Street Spirit reference is well given and well recieved.

And I was WAITING for someone to say The Big Lebowski ^_^ I think that's another movie you need to be a man to appreciate or something...I enjoyed it to an extent, but I do not know a single guy who dislikes it.

Being John Malcovich would make my top twenty, but it got nudged out of the top ten by just enough.

I still have to see Run, Lola, Run. I've been meaning to watch it for some time now.

Great list. Thanks again ^_^