I got tagged on the 15 Films challenge. Consider yourself tagged, or don’t – I’m not fond of that part, and besides, this goes a zillion places.
But here, my top 15 favourite/personally influential films of all time – don’t consider these in order, or maybe do, if you want. I don’t. Also, I’m leaving out films I love in the ironic sense – the works of Ed Wood, Jr, the original Gamera trilogy, Robot Monster, Radar Secret Service, and so on.
1) Casablanca. How can it not be? It is a perfect film.
2) Brazil. Let’s take 1984 and h͖͓̙ạ̢̠͈̓ͪ͊l̏̏̋ͭ̊҉͕͙̮l̰̳̬̲̩̫͕̉u͔ͤ̒͒c̼̻̖͌̌ͪͅi͍̣͉̰̲̝͉͂͗̕ṋ͔̇͂ͫ̈͒̒̆͞o̰̺̲̟̭̺̬g͓̜̯̗̦̜ͅe͒҉n̠̫̦͕̝ͭͭ͘ṡ̩̺̒ͪ̂͊̀ͅ and see what happens. Answer: brilliance.
3) Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し). Transcendent in every way. For years, I was emotionally ready to dump everything and go work at Yubaba’s bath house if the opportunity arose. Magic lessons required, of course.
4) The Manchurian Candidate (1961). I would argue possibly the best cold war film, only matched by Doctor Strangelove. So paranoid, so relentless, so sad. Angela Lansbury is brilliant, perfect evil. I’d like to see her go up against Davros in Doctor Who. (Spoiler: she’d destroy him.)
5) O Brother Where Art Thou? If you don’t feel the gods intervening in the radio station, you aren’t reachable.
6) The Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson trilogy), because how do you even realise this? And yet, they did. Astounding.
7) Pacific Rim, because I have never walked out of a theatre in a daze like that before, with my brain still going, what the fuck did I just see and can I see it again?!
8) On the Beach, probably the third- or fourth-best cold war film. (See also the last great one: Threads (1984).) Why this and Manchurian Candidate and not Doctor Strangelove? To be honest, I can’t quite tell you why. Strangelove is fantastic. But I had the unfortunate confluence of seeing that and reading Fail Safe at about the same time, and the mix is… hilarious? But not intentionally. And why not Threads? Different era, different world, I guess. I dunno.
9) Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫). I will possibly never watch this film again, because the first time destroyed me. I think… this is where I learned to love a film about losing.
10) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. Welcome to my sense of humour. Population: me.
11) Captain Blood (1935). Welcome to my sense of adventure! Population me, and a bunch of pirates. “You speak treason!” “Fluently.”
12) The Lion in Winter. Welcome to my idea about family! Population me, and all my horrible memories. Made beautiful by tremendous acting and actual razor wit. And occasionally, actual razors. Ah, family.
13) The Monolith Monsters. If an alien invasion film could be a procedural, this would be it. A minor film, but Science! and Rationality!
14) The Maltese Falcon (1941, the one with Bogie, the one you know about). The perfect detective film. Often overlooked; Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer, the gunsel. A small part, but watch him barely control – barely control – his crazy rage. There’s one point in particular where he is so angry he can barely move. It’s great.
15) Lilo and Stitch. A film I did not expect out of Disney, a love song to Hawai’i, funny, smart, poignant.
That’s my list right now. It’d probably have different items on it if someone asked again later. What’s yours?
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