(or on Itunes)
So anyway, I was listening to their own Top Ten episode (them doing their own versions of the famous Sight and Sound list) and I was inspired to just put together my own list of the greatest films ever as I see it. Now this isn't my top 10 favorite films exactly (thought many favorites are in there), but more a guide to 10 films that I both love and think are absolutely great cinema. It was (as with most lists) a fun exercise to try to put together this group and keep it a little varied but still true to me and what I like. Hopefully you enjoy it!
1. RIO BRAVO (1959; Howard Hawks)
Hawks is a top 5 (maybe top 3) director for me easy. His films are a glorious mix of pathos and entertainment. I credit him for making me a fan of John Wayne, who until I was in college, I didn't get the love of at all. Then I saw RED RIVER, THE SEARCHERS and RIO BRAVO and it all made sense. The Duke, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson and Walter Brennan are all spectacular. A long movie that doesn't feel long because it's so good.
2. IT'S A GIFT (1934; Norman Z. MacLeod)
3. THE APARTMENT (1960; Billy Wilder)
There is a scene in this film where the dramatic crux comes from a simple compact makeup mirror. It is devastating and so powerful and one of my favorite moments in movies.
4. THE LONG GOODBYE (1973; Robert Altman)
I have a lot of love for Altman and his films. A man with so many interesting and fantastic features to his credit is hard not to put in my absolute top tier as directors go. This particular film has taken years to grow on me to the point that I love it quite completely now. From Gould's depiction of a very perfectly skewed Philip Marlowe, to the supporting cast, to the way that the musical theme is weaved throughout the film so exquisitely, it's just a perfectly fascinating revisionist detective film.
5. DUCK SOUP (1933; Leo McCarey)
Sublime. Contains many many of the greatest comic routines ever put to celluloid. The Marx Brothers' best and that's saying something.
(HORSE FEATHERS is my next favorite after this).
6. THE CONVERSATION (1974; Francis Ford Coppola)
This movie is the pinnacle of Coppola's creative power as far as I'm concerned. A perfect melding of his own sensibilities, mixed with European influences (most notably Antonioni and his film BLOW UP, which this movie trumps) and an outstanding performance from Gene Hackman.
7. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943; Michael Powell, Emmeric Pressburger)
Amazing and sprawling story of love, friendship and war from two of the greatest storytellers known to cinema. The Criterion Blu-ray is an absolute MUST-own.
8. LATE SPRING (1949; Yasujuro Ozu)
Once you start watching Ozu films, you will not be able to stop. You will also notice some similarities in terms of the plots of a lot of them, but what's interesting is that none of them are exactly alike despite their similarities. This one is the most powerful and moving for me personally, even more than the much-revered TOKYO STORY (which is really just brutal to watch really). I am sure that the fact that I have a little girl and this movie is focused on the relationship between and man and his daughter has a lot to do with it hitting me just right the way it does.
9. TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971; Monte Hellman)
Hellman has been called "The American Antonioni" and this movie is a prime example of why. Cinematic, existential and containing of Warren Oates.
10. OVER THE EDGE (1979; Jonathan Kaplan)
This film is like a much grittier exploitation version of Truffaut's SMALL CHANGE. This is kind of fitting considering Jonathan Kaplan's roots as a filmmaker. It really is from the kids point of view which is part of what makes it so great. Another part is the cast of young and some non or inexperienced actors in the kid roles really gives it a remarkable and unique flavor. The lead actor, Michael Kramer, didn't do too much else, but he certainly made a great showing here. Oh and another thing that makes this movie memorable is its fantastic soundtrack consisting of songs from Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Ramones and more.