I’ve been mulling over this post for a few weeks, trying to think of what films I would populate my favorite movie list with. It is really hard. Not because there aren’t movies that I love so much, but because there are so many, it’s difficult to narrow down into a succinct list. Every movie added opens the door for another equally wonderful film. You want to make a well rounded list; not all of one genre, not all of one style or director.* Even more complicated is the definition of the word favorite. Should the list be examples of superb filmmaking or just the movies that you love more than any other? Like I said, it’s complicated. Nonetheless, I made a list, and I think it is a fairly accurate portrait of my taste. So here it is, in no particular order…**
Sense and Sensibility
I love everything about Sense and Sensibility and could watch it endlessly. It has the perfect combination of romance and heartbreak, stellar acting from some of the best British actors out there, plus beautiful set design and costumes. The story is gripping, even though it is historical. Watching this film makes me feel as if I know these characters and experience their trials right along with them.
Antichrist has the perfect balance of beauty and terror and for this I love it dearly. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are impeccable in this feature, in roles that are somewhat of a reversal from the typical. This film is magically shot, with just the right amount of mystery to make the horror work. It also has the ability to make you feel anxiety like no other film I’ve seen.
Shawn might think I’m a little nuts for how much I request to watch True Romance. It just never gets old to me. I know a lot of people have problems with it because of it’s relationship to Badlands, but it really doesn’t take away the fact that True Romance is an intriguing and entertaining movie. The characters range from bizarre to loveable and I enjoy how the story turns from typical romance to ridiculous action. Overall this movie is just fun to watch and I relish all it’s absurd little details.
I grew up watching Poltergeist so it is near and dear to my heart. It is one of those films that has had a lasting effect on my psyche (whether that’s a good thing, I’m not sure) and has molded my tastes as a horror lover. Poltergeist manages to be scary without being heavy handed. It is the simplicity of the haunting, along with the endearing and realistic characters, that makes it so frightening. I’m very worried about the fact that this film is being remade, and am really hoping for the best, rather than the worst.
Wild at Heart
I couldn’t have a complete list without including something from David Lynch, and Wild at Heart fits the bill. While I also have a strong affection for Blue Velvet, the combination of the intensely doomed romance, grotesque characters and strange circumstances in Wild at Heart wins my heart through and through. This is one of the cases where Nicolas Cage’s weirdness is perfect for the part, plus another (extra creepy) appearance by Willem Dafoe.
So there is my list, for now anyway. Five favorite films. I’m sure as soon as I hit publish I will think of one that I should have absolutely included. In fact, I’ve already thought of two honorable mentions that probably should have made it, (but I’m not going to add now): The Craft and All the Real Girls. Although they may or may not have been intentionally left off because I’m too embarrassed to have them on my favorite film list.
So, what are you favorite movies?
*In the process of writing this I’ve already discovered a problem with this list. While I’ve included films that I love, I am missing films representative of a few of my favorite directors, particularly Stanley Kubrick, the Coen Brothers and Roman Polanski. The simple thing to do would just be to add a film by each but I simply cannot choose. I can’t say that I love either The Shining or 2001 more than the other. Nor can I say that I love No Country for Old Men more than Fargo or Raising Arizona. I also cannot say that I love Rosemary’s Baby more than Chinatown. In fact, I love them all, and they should really have their own list in a way (which is what this is, sort of).
**Also I have not included films I’ve written about here before, specifically A Woman Under the Influence, which is just impecable. Also, I would like to include Oslo August 31st and Kill List, but as they are such new films, I feel that they need to settle in before becoming a part of this list, which is eternally subject to change.