So I am cheating like everyone else and making “two” lists, one with a theme and one with overall favorites. And by favorites, I mean that, I am in no way postulating these are the greatest films ever made, leave those lists to the snotheads over at AFI. These are simply movies I love, ones that made me stop and think for a moment, ones that I couldn’t get out of my head for weeks for whichever reason.
“Regular” Top Ten:
1. Marie Antoinette: (2006, dir. Sofia Coppola) I don’t care what you think of Sofia Coppola; she got it right with this one. It is the first portrayal of royalty in which the fact that they were young and clueless is made apparent. Also I will add that I know just enough history to appreciate her telling of this story, but not so much that I was disappointed. And the music is perfect.
2. The Departed: (2006, dir. Martin Scorsese) It’s just awesome. Amazing performances by all- even Mark Wahlberg.
3. State and Main: (2000, dir. David Mamet) Movie crew descends on small town.
4. Saved!: (2004, dir. Brian Dannelly) Teenage pregnancy in conservative Christian high school. It is BJ (before Juno).
5. The Royal Tenenbaums: (2001, dir. Wes Anderson) I don’t care what you think of Wes Anderson now, Royal Tenenbaum saved his family from a sinking ship and it was perfect.
6. Hudsucker Proxy: (1994, dir. Joel Coen) For the kids. I hear this is the great divider in Cohen Brother
movies. I fall on the pro-side.
7. Michael Clayton: (2007, dir. Joel Gilroy) Flawed lawyer, corporate scandal and Tom Wilkinson’s
monologue at the beginning. Tilda Swinton’s performance is stellar.
8. Sneakers:(1992, dir. Phil Alden Robinson) Dan Aykroyd, Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and Ben Kinsley.
9. I’ve Loved For You So Long: (2008, dir. Philippe Claudel) French. A woman goes to live with her sister after being released from prison for murder.
10. LA Story: (1991, dir. Mick Jackson) This list would not be complete without Steve Martin- yes I know he happens to appear in some terrible movies but this isn’t one of them. Also as a child of the 90’s growing up in L.A. it has a special resonance.
Honorable Mentions: Volver, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Eurotrip
Movies about Love that Don’t Suck:
There hasn’t been much mention about movies focused on relationships I’m going to go ahead and be gender biased and say it’s because these lists are all by dudes. To help fill the gap here are my top movies about relationships.
(Editor's Note: These lists are mostly by dudes but not all. There are some chicks among these lists, and will be more, though one or two of them seem to have dude-ish tastes in movies. More chicks were offered, but they politely declined - unlike men who've one and all either been eager to contribute or ignored my requests.)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:(2004, dir. Michel Gondry) Ever since this one came out there has been someone in your life where you ask yourself, “Would I be better off if I just never remembered them?”
Timer: (2009, dir. Jac Schaeffer)The ability to have a timer installed tells each individual the exact day they
will meet their soul mate- havoc ensues.
Wristcutters: A Love Story: (2006, dir. Goran Dukic) ... because sometimes you find love in purgatory, and sometimes purgatory looks exactly like the desert between Phoenix and L.A. and sometimes Tom Waitts hangs out there.
Moonstruck:(1987, dir. Norman Jewison) This movie is an amazing conundrum- great performances by Cher and Nicholas Cage (one of those two wrongs make a right situations) and wonderful family interactions. Plus Opera.
Mostly Martha: (2001, dir. Sandra Nettlebeck) German. An uptight chef gets custody of her niece after the sudden death of her sister - not to be confused with the fluff of the American remake “No Reservations”
High Fidelity: (1999, dir. Stephen Frears) Music. Love. If you never made a mix tape before this movie, you certainly did afterwards. Also Jack Black before he got obnoxious.
The Last Mistress: (2007, dir. Catherine Breillat) Obsessive Love in France made by French people.