Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Context would be nice, wouldn't it? (10-6)

Cameron Cook = Age 4
     A few readers have asked me to provide context to what my favorite movies are. Apparently my opinion cannot be trusted unless my favorite films have been listed and talked about. I suppose that's fair. So what I'm going to do is split up my top ten favorite movies into two posts, speaking briefly about each film and why I love it so much.
     I would like to hear what some of your favorites are in the comments section. That way we can all get to know each other a little bit better. Now wouldn't that be somethin'?

     So lets get right down to it.

10. Back to the Future

     Back to the Future is one of those rare movies that has grown up with me. I first saw it when I was around six or seven years old; McDonalds was selling the movie with happy meals for some strange reason. My mom wouldn't let me watch it so of course I immediately found a way to watch it without her knowing.
    And boy am I glad that I did.
    When I was young I liked anything with gadgets, adventure, and funny cool guys. This movie has it all. I have owned the trilogy on VHS, DVD (twice), and Blu-ray, and I'm sure I will own it on whatever medium is coming next year. While I love the entire trilogy, I feel that they are just additions to the first film instead of films in their own right, so in that way I just call them all Back to the Future without any installment in mind. I even love the ride. The video of the film's ride at universal studios is a special feature on the Blu-ray, and I have watched it over ten times.
     Between Michael J. Fox's wormy characterization of Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd's spidery characterization of Doc Brown, Robert Zemeckis is at his special effects/comedy/adventure blending best. But I have a feeling that all of you have seen this one before.

View the trailer here; it's pretty ridiculous.

9. 25th Hour

     Changing directions from funny adventure comedy to whatever you call this, 25th Hour is Spike Lee's love letter to post-9/11 New York, and it's tough love.
     Chronicling Monty Brogan's (Edward Norton) last day before a seven year stint in prison for drugs, 25th Hour begins as a small, character driven drama and slowly escalates to a critique of New York City in the wake of 9/11, and eventually the entire country. Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Jacob Elinsky, a high school teacher with a crush on one of his students (Anna Paquin) is not only sympathetic, but it's downright heartbreaking.
    Even Barry Pepper is good in this movie. And that gets its own paragraph.
    25th Hour is one of those rare movies that sheds light on a totally different world than I am used to and somehow draws me in and makes me sympathize like I've known the characters for years. Between the excellent writing of David Benioff and the powerful direction of Spike Lee, I suggest giving this movie a try.

View the trailer here

8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

     I don't know what to say about this movie that hasn't been said already. Every scene is funny, creative, interesting, intelligent, wonderful. The acting is great, the direction is great, the music is great, the concept is hilarious. I love everything about this movie and I can quote any line of it at any time of day. This is most definitely my favorite Wes Anderson movie and I think it will always hold a special place in my heart. You know, in a David Bowie in Portuguese kind of way.
    And Willem Dafoe.

View the trailer here

7. Raiders of the Lost Ark 

     Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those movies that just inexplicably works. It embraces every single movie cliche (Including an extremely literal Deus Ex Machina) and somehow comes out on top. It has action, comedy, adventure, and a little thing called timelessness. I have loved this movie for going on two decades, and I'm going to love it until I die.
     I hope that on my deathbed I can watch this movie before I go out, because this is by far the most fun movie on my list. Most of you know this movie all too well, so I'm not going into too much detail here.
    And Harrison Ford!

View the trailer here

6. Nashville 

     Robert Altman's magnum opus, I say. Nashville brings together over 20 characters from all different classes, races, and backgrounds with only one thing in common: the need to be famous in the world of country music.
     Over the course of three days, these characters' lives intersect and break apart as a political fundraiser run by country music stars grows near. There's Barbara Jean(Ronee Blakly), the now-adult child star with a heart of gold; Tom Frank(Keith Carridine), the country-rock star in love with a married mother of two(Lily Tomlin); and there's the Tricycle Man (Jeff Goldblum) who never speaks with words, only magic tricks.
    Mix those things together and you get  beautiful, tragic scenes like this, but there are also completely hilarious scenes involving the perfectly toupeed Henry Gibson. I would go so far as to say that Nashville is the quintessential American movie for people who want to know about our culture.
Fun Fact: All of the music in the film is recorded live, none of it was pre-recorded.

View the trailer here, although I warn you, it's just a scene from the movie that was used as a reel.


1 comment:

  1. Great Cameron,I got on a role reading,and didn't even realize I had just continued to read and started and finished your piece on torture porn. I thought it was included in this post- I just didn't pay attention to the date. I really got alot more out of that blog post the second time through- It really is an interesting concept- though I can say I wont be listening in on the genre any time soon :)

    I like the span of films you've posted up on your top 10 so far- I look forward to the rest.