The Movie List

Below is a disheveled, stream-of-consciousness list of movies that occur to me as falling into one of three categories:

  • Fun to watch; the kind of movie that’s on basic cable on a rainy Sunday and you just can’t not watch it (Raiders of the Lost ArkThe Hunt For Red October)
  • Classics; films that really everyone on the planet should see (Godfather 1 & 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Wrath of Khan). These are sometimes good films and sometimes just cultural milestones. Star Wars isn’t on this list because everyone HAS seen it, but it would fit here (and be the only Lucas film on the list; well, that and The Empire Strikes Back).
  • Gems; these are films that most people haven’t seen that aren’t classics or cultural milestones but are so amazing that I can’t help myself from telling friends to stop what they are doing and watch them. Dancer in the DarkKiss Kiss Bang BangI Heart HuckabeesBrick, etc.

The genres here range all over the place, but you’ll note that there aren’t a lot of comedies, mostly because they don’t hold up. I also don’t tend to include seriously dramatic films (like, anything by Wong Kar-wai or Lars von Trier – except Dancer in the Dark). Those are films that are just downers, the kind of films I can’t bring myself to ever watch twice. Here I’m thinking of something like Requiem for a Dream. An uplifting film that was not.

This is my “you can’t go wrong” list. Some are kids movies (the Pixar films, The Secret of Nimh) but they are all suitable for adult viewing. Most are NOT suitable for children. If there’s something on this list you haven’t seen, and I find out, I’ll wear you down until you watch the damn thing.

I’m adding to this list as I think of things, which means that there’s certainly something that should be on this list that isn’t. If you think of something, add a comment, but don’t be hurt if I don’t add your suggestion to the list. There are doubtless things here that you wouldn’t include and your idea of a great movie or film might not be mine. The comments section is a great way for you to share what’s your favorites even if I don’t agree.

note: At the top of my list I’ve grouped things by favorite directors, writers, actors, mostly because it helped me think of films in bunches. There’s a lot of overlap though, for example, Redford and Newman are in several things together, in which case I just picked one. They are in absolutely no order whatsoever.

So. What did I miss?

Based on comments and whatnot, here’s my to-watch list:

10 thoughts on “The Movie List

  1. Allen:
    Love and Death

    Spanish Prisoner
    Red Belt

    A Clockwork Orange

    Noah Baumbach:
    Kicking and Screaming
    Mr. Jealousy

    High Fidelity
    Igby Goes Down

    • I need to see Love and Death. I’ve seen Spanish Prisoner and Heist and felt they were ok but not spectacular. Maybe I need to see them again.

      I think most of Kubrick’s work is brilliant, but most of his work is not on my “You HAVE to see this film” list. A Clockwork Orange is a milestone; the kind of movie that has no peer, but I don’t think it really fits in with my list. There are a lot of movies that fit that description; amazing films that I just don’t want to see again.

      I hadn’t heard of the Baumbach films, on my list!

      High Fidelity, that’s a good one. I think I skipped it because the book was so much better. I’ll add it though, it belongs.

      I need to watch Fletch again. Does it hold up?

  2. Heathers, Deadman, Seven Samurai (and all the other Kurosawa films), crouching tiger, hidden dragon… wait, you seem to be missing all the great japanese films, Gojira? We can loan them to you 🙂
    Otherwise, that is one good list!!

    • Dead Man and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon are on my list. As for Kurosawa, his films are great (Ran is one of my faves more-so than Seven Samurai, which is great, too, of course), but if I were hosting a movie night for friends it wouldn’t really be on my list. It’s the kind of stuff I watched in college to broaden my aesthetic appreciation of things, but I can’t remember the last time I sat through an entire Kurosawa film. And Gojira is one of those things that I love the fact that it exists, but can’t say that I want to see it again or even nag my friends who haven’t seen it to watch it…

      Good call on Heathers though. Adding it now.

  3. I’m compiling a list at the moment, which will be posted in due course. In the meantime, however, I’m gonna argue vehemently against Fincher’s “Dragon Tattoo”. SUCH a disappointment, and there are many more people who are probably less likely to have seen the original Swedish film(s) which are far superior. (Plus, I’d imagine that your target audience is mostly USian, so exposure to more foreign films is a good thing.)

  4. I’m a big fan of that wave of Mexican directors that broke out in the last decade… Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu (among others). Many of their films you’ve listed (Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth). But a really awesome one not on here is Y Tu Mama Tambien by Cuaron. It’s really great. And give it up for Hellboy, too.

    • Hellboy is going on the list. Y Tu Mama Tambien has been on my to-watch list ever since it came out and has just never made it to the top. Guess I need to change that. One rule of my list is that it has to be films I’ve actually seen, so I’ll get on it.

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