Friday, March 2, 2012
Two Fistfuls of Favorites! (Matt’s Picks)
Brad and I have been talking a lot recently about or favorite movies of all time. For a long time I just said, “I don’t know.” But eventually, I had to at least pick a movie as my number 1. I felt pretty secure in picking Casablanca as my favorite film. I’ve loved it since I was about 10, I watch it a couple times a year, Bogart is probably my favorite actor of all time; so it was a safe pick. Now, everything else in my top ten seems to shift whenever I tell someone. So, I’m putting down my current list, to see if there’ll be any permanence to it.
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The grand traditions of movie serials and pulp adventure are given a lavish treatment in this homage to the old days of adventure. Harrison Ford is the very essence of cool. Karen Allen is super-cute and tough as nails. And dang, man. Nazis.
9. The Fountain: Love, loss, death and rebirth. Beautifully filmed and with an amazing score, this love story that transcends time and reality. It is simultaneously deeply sad and profoundly uplifting. “Death is the Road to Awe.”
8. Planet of the Apes: A planet where apes evolved from man?! A great space adventure turns into a rocking bit of social commentary as the dangers of unreasoned superstition come into conflict with facts and evidence. It’s still timely, more than 40 years later.
7. The English Patient: Sweeping in scope, with a heart wrenching sense of inevitability, it uses the backdrop of a world consumed in the flame of war to explore love both ugly and magical.
6. King Kong: The Beauty and the Beast plot archetype is one that has always struck a chord with me, and King Kong may be its most dramatic presentation. The beast is pure, lone (an aesthetic choice), and happy. Then he meets Beauty, moves heaven and Earth for her, endures countless indignities and cruelties for her, and is ultimately brought low. Been there.
5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: An amazing fusion of martial arts madness and Hong Kong melodrama, the movie brought together two great tastes and made them taste great together. A fantastic cast, stunning imagery, powerhouse action, and layered plots within plots. Grand movie making.
4. Commando: Like Casablanca, every line is a classic. Though not Arnold’s greatest film (that’s Conan the Barbarian), this film captures the essence of what made him great. Big, stupid, loud, bloody, funny, and just a heck of a joy to watch.
3. Lawrence of Arabia: “No prisoners! No prisoners!” One of the grandest epics of all time, it captures the aloof majesty of the madman, and the simple, deadly allure of the desert. The music is amazing, the visuals are breathtaking, and Lawrence is one of the most dynamic characters in film.
2. Big Trouble in Little China: Jack Burton and his Pork Chop Express roll into San Francisco’s Chinatown and all hell breaks loose. One of the funniest, coolest, craziest movies of all time, and possibly the movie I’ve watched more times than any other.
1. Casablanca: For all the reasons you’d think, and so much more.
(You can now see numbers 11-20 here).