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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

25 Essential Films

There's a meme on Letterboxed of listing one's 25 essential films. I quickly made a list of about 100 films I wouldn't mind seeing yet again, then saw themes emerging and edited accordingly. These are stylish, violent, darkly humorous, a bit crazy, unpredictable, original and visually arresting.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) **1/2
The ultimate Vincent Price mad scientist movie.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) ***1/2
Cary Grant's sweet elderly aunts are poisoning men and burying them in the basement.

Boondock Saints (1999)**1/2
Hoods seem to live charmed lives. Best scene: Billy Connolly's one man army.

Bullet in the Head (1990) ***
John Woo's masterpiece. The title is very apt.

Cool Hand Luke (1967) ***1/2
Prisoner refuses to play by anyone's rules or accept defeat.

Cul-de-Sac (1966) ***
Polanski film about crime gone wrong. His second best (after Knife in the Water)

Diggstown (1992) ***
Conman vs conman in wager about one man boxing ten in a row.

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) **
I'm the only supporter of this wicked film about a Minnesota beauty pageant.

Electra Glide in Blue (1973) ***
Endless twists in this story of a cop wanting to be a detective.

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987) **1/2
Plotless cartoonish mayhem.

Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! (1966) ***
Russ Meyer's only great movie.

Picture's worth 1000 words.
 Fitzcarraldo (1982) ***
To bring Caruso to the Amazon, you need to build an opera house, which means supplies, which means carrying a boat over a mountain...

Funny Bones (1995) ***
Examination of what it takes to be funny. A Jerry Lewis film you will actually like.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000) ***
Lesser Jarmusch, but his most watchable.

High School Confidential! (1958) **
Film starts with Jerry Lee Lewis banging a piano on a truck and just keeps picking up steam.

The Killers (1946) **1/2
The only good thing Ronald Reagan did. Lee Marvin's last line is perfection. Based on a Hemingway story.

The Magnificent Seven (1960) ***
Cowboy remake of The Seven Samurai, eliminating subtlety and nuance, but more watchable at half the length.

Nurse Betty (2000) ***
A film where you just know everything has to fall apart eventually and you can't stop watching.

Raising Arizona (1987) ***
Coen brothers do a pure comedy and it works beautifully.

Re-Animator (1985) ***
The only H.P. Lovecraft story filmed that you should see.

Repo Man (1984) ***
Every time I see it, I see something new and then someone says something like "Did you notice the air fresheners?" and I have to see it again.

Shogun Assassin (1980) ***
The 17 Baby Cart at the River Styx films got edited to 90 minutes (and 105 killings).

The Stunt Man (1980) ***1/2
Film about filmmaking, where nothing's what it seems.

The Wages of Fear  (1953) ****
Men try to make a quick buck by hauling trucks full of nitroglycerin over bad roads.

Wise Blood (1979) ***
Flannery O'Connor's book makes for a chilling film.


Dan Williams said...
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Londell said...

I only knew four of there and saw three of the four.