My Favorite Movies

  1. flixsterman
  2. Randy

Some (not all) of my favorite films.

  flixsterman's Rating My Rating
Come and See (Idi i smotri) 1985,  Unrated)
Come and See (Idi i smotri)
I don't recall ever seeing a more powerful anti-war film. The transformation of Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko) from an innocent boy into a battle-hardened soldier is something that must be witnessed in order to be fully appreciated.
Akahige (Red Beard) 1965,  Unrated)
Akahige (Red Beard)
"The pain and loneliness of death frighten me. But Dr. Niide looks at it differently. He looks into their hearts as well as their bodies." Kurosawa does such a magnificent job of infusing the virtues of decency and humanity into the story that they almost become concrete, tangible characters. The fact that Red Beard is rarely, if ever, listed as one of Akira's cinematic milestones has me a little perplexed. Highly underrated.
Kumonosu J˘ (Throne of Blood) (Macbeth) 1957,  Unrated)
Kumonosu J˘ (Throne of Blood) (Macbeth)
Kurosawa's compelling "samurai" adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. This isn't just a typical retelling of the story or a film version of the stage play, this is much more of a character study with surprising depth and motivation. An epic film, in every sense of the word.
Talk to Her 2002,  R)
Talk to Her
Pedro Almodˇvar continues to confound and amaze me. He can take the most peculiar circumstances, the most perverse scenarios, and extract incredible, romantic love stories. I'm not certain how he does it, but after viewing several of his films I have formed a hypothesis: he views situations without prejudice. He ignores preconceived notions. Instead of focusing on the differences, Almodˇvar concentrates on the commonality, thus encouraging us (his audience) to see the world with an unjaundice eye. In the end, what might have appalled us is now cause for reflection, maybe even celebration.

Confounding and amazing...
M 1931,  Unrated)
As a child of the 60's, I grew up knowing Peter Lorre as a spooky looking character actor with supporting roles in old classics like The Maltese Falcon and Arsenic and Old Lace. Although I enjoyed his performances I never fully appreciated his talent until I saw this 1931 Fritz Lang masterpiece. In it, Lorre plays a psychotic child murderer stalking a German city. Lorre's approach to the character is unusual in the sense that he himself is tormented by the unspeakable acts he commits. There is a tangible emanation of right and wrong, of good versus evil, that Lorre projects. I found myself fascinatingly disgusted (or disgustingly fascinated) by my empathy for his character.
The Children's Hour 1961,  G)
The Children's Hour
Director William Wyler is known for getting the best from his actors and The Children's Hour is certainly no exception. James Garner, Audrey Hepburn and (especially) Shirley MacLaine are at the top of their game. I don't know why this film doesn't get more press. Maybe the taboo nature of the material got it swept under the proverbial rug? It was certainly ahead of its time in terms of social statement and point-of-view. Or maybe it's just that schmucks like me don't shout its praises loudly enough. Whatever the reason, this is a film that should not be missed.
City of Life and Death 2010,  R)
City of Life and Death
Once in a great while a film comes along that is not only brilliant and artistic but meaningfully important. This is one of those films.
Leave Her to Heaven 1946,  Unrated)
Leave Her to Heaven
Gene Tierney's character gets my vote as the most cold-hearted, sociopathic, beautifully packaged villain to ever grace the silver screen. On a scale of pure evil she's right up there with Hannibal Lector and the shark from Jaws.
A Face in the Crowd 1957,  Unrated)
A Face in the Crowd
This one is disturbing for all the right reasons. Watching Andy Griffith play a money-grubbing, amoral, unlikeable bastard is like watching Mister Rogers play Hannibal Lector. After all, this is the same Andy that kept the streets of Mayberry safe for all those years and the same Andy that taught Opie how to fish and throw a curve ball. It's even more unnerving because Griffith does it so well.
To Kill A Mockingbird 1962,  Unrated)
To Kill A Mockingbird
Next to The Wizard of Oz, this is undoubtedly the most beloved film of my childhood. To Kill a Mockingbird introduced me to the concept of motion pictures as catalysts for change and social commentary. For this, I am forever grateful to Harper Lee and Robert Mulligan.
Das Boot (The Boat) 1981,  R)
Das Boot (The Boat)
Speaking as a submarine veteran of both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, this is by far the grittiest, most realistic sub movie I've ever seen. Technically and emotionally stunning.
The Bride of Frankenstein 1935,  Unrated)
Harold and Maude 1971,  PG)
Harold and Maude
"You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing... oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage."
Night of the Living Dead 1968,  R)
City Lights 1931,  G)
Animal Kingdom 2010,  R)
Animal Kingdom
Australian writer-director David Mich˘d's first feature-length film?! Are you kidding me?! Viscerally fantastic!
The Station Agent 2003,  R)
The Station Agent
This is one of those gems that few have seen and hardly anyone ever talks about. I liked this film the first time I saw it, loved it the second time, and now, after three viewings, I'm thinking about asking it to marry me.
Badlands 1973,  PG)
Terrence Malick has crafted two characters that treat robbery and murder as incidental mishaps and necessities. Martin Sheen's character is sociopathic and cold-blooded but yet still likeable. Sissy Spacek, as his young accomplice, is fully aware of his atrocities, yet she retains her innocent charm. This bizarre intermingling of murder and manners, of the brutal and the benign, is why Badlands is unnerving and unforgettable.
Psycho 1960,  R)
Rebecca 1940,  Unrated)
A Cinderella story that quickly turns into a nightmare. Directed by Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick [Gone with the Wind], two of the giants of the golden age of Hollywood. Often times a collaboration of two such egos would result in a competitive struggle that would damage the end product but here there's just the right amount of Hitchcock's noir-ish suspense and Selznick's Hollywood pizzazz to make the whole thing work. There's not one illogical or nonsensical twist or turn in the entire screenplay. I sat, eyes glued to the TV, for an hour and a half, anxiously waiting to see what was going to happen next. Absolutely incredible, top to bottom, side to side.
The Big Lebowski 1998,  R)
The Big Lebowski
When it comes to The Big Lebowski you won't find too many critics that ride the fence. In fact, cinemaphiles generally fall into one of three categories. Either (1) they love the film, (2) they haven't seen the film or (3) they just don't get it. Count me among those in group number one. The plot, like most Coen brothers' scripts, begins with a catalystic injustice (i.e. a case of mistaken identity) that starts a chain reaction of strange occurrences, eventually coming full circle to right a wrong. The plot is dark, hilarious and complex (hit the pause button if you get up to go pee). This is one of those rare movies that actually lives up to the hype.
Strangers on a Train 1951,  PG)
Strangers on a Train
Some of my favorite Hitchcock 'moments', especially the amusement park scenes. Hitch takes a merry-go-round (could there be anything more innocuous?) and makes it nightmarishly threatening. Brilliant.
Sunset Boulevard 1950,  Unrated)
Sunset Boulevard
One of the best film noir pictures ever made. Just look at the plethora of glowing reviews. Not much more can be said.


Let us digress for a moment and delve into the rarely discussed realm of the subtext, the underbelly if you will, of this iconic American classic. There are certain realities concerning Sunset Boulevard that are inescapable. One of the more evident ones is the non-platonic relationship between 50-something Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and 30-something Joe Gillis (William Holden). To get the full effect of the circumstance one must, if only for a moment, visualize the two of them together... mono a mono. Personally, every time I try to wrap my brain around that I throw up a little in my mouth. My twisted imagination conjures up a Harold-n-Maude(ish) image. I know what you're thinking. It is an unsettling mental visage that no one (except of course ME) would ever dwell on. Still, its a crucial concept that must be grasped if you're to immerse yourself in the ambiance of the picture and fully appreciate its geriatric sexuality.
Double Indemnity 1944,  Unrated)
Double Indemnity
Not all monsters are grotesque and ugly, sometimes they are as beautiful and breathtaking as Barbara Stanwyck. Considered by many to be the best and most influential film noir ever made, Double Indemnity has become the standard by which all others are judged. For my money, from the cast and direction to the cinematography and scripting, it's a near perfect film. Definitely one of my all-time top 20 movies.
Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong deng long gao gao gua) 1991,  PG)
Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong deng long gao gao gua)
Picture this: 1920-something China. A rich man has four wives. Each wife has her own house. Each house is connected by a common courtyard. Every night the four wives stand by their door to see which house will get the red lantern. The house with the red lantern gets to 'host' the husband for the night. The wife with the red lantern also gets to decide what's for dinner, has general control of the combined households and, most importantly, gets a foot massage. Throw four women together in vicious competition for a foot massage and you've got the makings of top-notch drama. Five stars.
The Red Shoes 1948,  R)
The Red Shoes
Powell and Pressburger's spectacle of color, choreography and catastrophe makes Black Swan look like an ugly duckling.
Dead Man 1995,  R)
Meet Me In St. Louis 1944,  G)
The Room 2003,  R)
The Room
Billed as a 'dark comedy', I feel relatively safe in saying that the laughs are purely unintentional. The true value of this 'film' is that it gets steadily worse as it goes along, which actually makes it better. *Ed Wood would be so proud! **UPDATE: Four viewings so far (and counting!) I love Rocky Horror and Plan 9 and believe me, this is 100 times funnier! Find it, rent it, buy it, borrow it, whatever - just SEE IT!
The Lady Eve 1941,  Unrated)
The Lady Eve
Barbara Stanwyck exudes enough sexuality to spark a fence post. I don't think I've ever seen a film with such perfect casting. Hilarious and brilliant.
Winter's Bone 2010,  R)
Winter's Bone
A masterful interweaving of hillbilly hierarchy and the plague of meth. This is the culture of the Ozarks, accurate and honest and unapologetic.
Metropolis 1927,  PG-13)
Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria) 1957,  Unrated)
Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria)
Fellini puts the loveable Giulietta Masina through yet another tragic set of circumstances. Here she's a prostitute who dreams of finding her one true love, even though her heart is repeatedly broken by a series of men with ill intentions. Masina's irrepressible impish charm compels you to root for her, but her characters always seemed destined for disappointment. Come on Federico, give the gal a break! (Where the hell is Frank Capra when you need him? lol)
Dead of Night 1945,  R)
Dead of Night
Precursor to later episodic horror (i.e. TV's Night Gallery and The Twilight Zone). Five house guests recount their nightmares to each other with each one a little more sinister than the last. A spine-tingling horror classic that scared me as a child and still today creeps me out.
Jaws 1975,  PG)
Great Expectations 1946,  Unrated)
Great Expectations
The absolute BEST adaptation of Charles Dickens ever put on film.
Jason and the Argonauts 1963,  G)
King Kong 1933,  Unrated)
This Is Spinal Tap 1984,  R)
Patton 1970,  PG)
George C. Scott's signature performance in the role he was born to play. Few actors ever become so strongly identified with one character. It's a safe guess that, in America's collective memory, Scott is more Patton than Patton himself. Completely iconic.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1974,  PG)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978,  PG)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
One of the very, very few remakes that rival the original production. A good film in it's own right but still falls a little short of the 1956 classic.

*NOTE: Several terrific scenes worth noting, including an homage to the original (with Kevin McCarthy) and a 'swinging' priest cameo that looks suspiciously like Robert Duvall.
The Searchers 1956,  PG)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956,  PG)
The Great Santini 1979,  PG)
The Great Santini
Underrated classic. Robert Duvall at his best.
The Godfather 1972,  R)
The Godfather, Part II 1974,  R)
The Godfather, Part II
"I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"
The Wizard of Oz 1939,  G)
GoodFellas 1990,  R)
Cidade de Deus (City of God) 2002,  R)
Cidade de Deus (City of God)
I was absolutely engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The only knock on this film is that it most likely put a dent in Brazil's tourist trade. Simply outstanding cinema.
The Elephant Man 1980,  PG)
Little Big Man 1970,  PG-13)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948,  Unrated)
The Last Man on Earth 1964,  Unrated)
The Last Man on Earth
Groundbreaking horror that opened the door for films like Night of the Living Dead.
Ju Dou 1990,  PG-13)
Ju Dou
A tragic love story set against the colorful backdrop of a Chinese dye mill. The fantastic cinematography makes Ju-Dou a treat for the eyes even though the story is heartbreaking and sad. Highly recommended!
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976,  PG)
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Arguably Eastwood's most underrated western. Had it been made at the end of his career, as was Unforgiven, I dare say that THIS might be the film everyone talks about.
Suspiria 1977,  R)
If it is true that Hitchcock's Psycho would have been less effective if it had been filmed in color then the opposite could be said for Dario Argento's Suspiria. It is the abnormally bright hues, especially the reds, that help give the entire picture a surreal sort of feel and atmosphere. Released in 1977, it has lost some of its initial shock value. In fact, modern "gore-mongers" who enjoy graphic offerings like Saw and Hostel will no doubt find the violence soft-core and perhaps even a little comical. Still, Suspiria is an important, if not timeless, genre classic.
Jeremiah Johnson 1972,  PG)
Jeremiah Johnson
High on my list of the best westerns ever made!!
Diabolique (Les Diaboliques) 1954,  Unrated)
Diabolique (Les Diaboliques)
I have to say I saw the ending coming but only because wonderful movies such as this have influenced so many films since. Clouzot seems to know what creeps us all out and uses that to full effect in this film. This is one for every thriller/horror fan's 'must-see' list.
Bad Company 1972,  PG)
Bad Company
I first saw this one in 1972 and enjoyed it very much. Now, some 36 years later, I can honestly say that it's stood the test of time. It's a film that's shot mostly, if not entirely, on location so it never has that "studio" feel about it. It's gritty, it's unpolished, and it's wonderfully understated. You don't have to like westerns in order to enjoy and appreciate this one.
Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) 1951,  Unrated)
Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
A stark, unflinching portrayal of rouge journalism and how one man's ambition can overtake and smother ethics and decency. A box office flop when it was released in 1951, this may well be Kirk Douglas at his absolute best.

Director/Writer/Producer Billy Wilder sends his main character, newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum (Douglas), down a hole, literally as well as figuratively, and presents a tale that is wonderful, brutal, dark and unapologetic. A must-see film.
Me and You and Everyone We Know 2004,  R)
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Quirky, energetic and out-there. I absolutely loved it!
Smoke Signals 1998,  PG-13)
Smoke Signals
I recently finished reading Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and felt compelled to revisit Smoke Signals for about the 8th or 9th time. I love this film a little more every time I view it, which is easy to do considering that the first time I saw it I just wasn't that impressed. I had felt that, in their quest to have the first "All Indian" movie, they had sacrificed a little quality and technical expertise. Maybe I still feel that's true but it's not something I notice much any more. Now I find myself engrossed in the rich characters, especially Arnold (Evan Adams). Arnold is a misfit and yet he might be the most 'indian' character in the entire ensemble. He's bright, he's introspective, and he's terribly, terribly honest. Even when he's embellishing stories he is still exposing truths. Much like it's screenwriter, Smoke Signals is deceptively deep, intelligent and philosophical even if it's not perfectly crafted. .
Ponyo 2008,  G)
Beautiful, imaginative and utterly adorable.

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  1. movieguyryan
    movieguyryan posted 4 years ago

    one of the best favorites list i have ever seen.

  2. caitlinreid
    caitlinreid posted 4 years ago

    great list, so extensive, and great classic hollywood fare!

  3. jimbotender
    jimbotender posted 3 years ago

    There's a new page for Apocalypse Now: Redux, you can remove the oldie one in your favorites list here ;)
    I too admire the Redux as well as the original. I need to catch up on a few left like Dead of Night, The Bad Sleep Well, The Asphalt Jungle.