Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My 100 Favorite Films of All Time...this week

You know. Because, why not?

Across the Universe (2007) - Gorgeous and under appreciated. Loved Julie Taymor's visual style.

Addams Family Values (1993) - Best Thanksgiving movie ever. Christina Ricci and Joan Cusack were awards worthy here, as was the wonderful Anjelica Huston.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) - Favorite Oscar moment was when this won for Best Costume. Terrence Stamp deserved a nomination as well.

Alien (1979) & Aliens (1986) - Two very different movies. One a Gothic haunted house thriller, the other a blockbuster. Both with SIGOURNEY!!

All About Eve (1950) - One of the most quotable films ever.

American Beauty (1999) - Gets a lot of flack, and yes, it's dated, but I still absolutely love it. Annette Bening is fantastic here.

Antonia's Line (1996) - A Dutch "feminist fairytale." 

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - Last year's little indie that could. So magical, and with one of my favorite music scores of the year.

Beauty & The Beast (1991) - Disney's masterpiece.

Big Fish (2003) - Subdued Tim Burton film about fathers and sons. The ending tears me up every time.

The Birdcage (1996) - Vibrant and fun, I enjoyed this better than the French version. Is that blasphemy? The entire cast is wonderful and I quote it all the time. Dianne Wiest: "I don't even know who you are anymore!"

Black Narcissus (1947) - Fantastic crazy nun movie with Deborah Kerr. Kathleen Byron also stars as one of my favorite screen villains ever, Sister Ruth.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) - The one that started all the "Paranormal Activity" type films. That last scene still gives me the shivers. It did more so when the film was released and I lived in a 100 year old house in the woods.

Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Beautiful, touching film that should have won Best Picture, but we won't get into that again.

Cabaret (1972) - My favorite musical. Dark and creepy and some killer songs. The Godfather won Best Picture that year. Blech.

Children of Men (2006) - Violent and depressing film that I was surprised I liked so much.

Cloud Atlas (2012) - This would be in my Top 10 of all time. A very spiritual experience. A lot of people don't like or get this film. Did it help that I'd read the book? Maybe. Did it mean more to me because of my life/death experiences these past 10 years? Very possibly. In ten years this film, like Blade Runner, will be seen as something very important and special.

Clue (1985) - Goofy fun. Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, and Madeline Kahn are the highlights. The Crack Crew and I tried to intro Teej to this, but he hated it. Whatever. He likes Transformers.

The Color Purple (1985) - No film has made me weep like a baby more. Margaret Avery should have won Supporting Actress.

Contact (1997) - The scene near the end with Jodie Foster on the beach...oy! So beautiful.

Cookie's Fortune (1998) - Robert Altman's comedy about a small town suicide and cover-up, with a marvelous Glenn Close as the frenetic woman who will do anything to save her family's name and Julianne Moore as her simple-minded younger sister.

Coraline (2009) - My favorite animated film. Beautifully realized adaptation of Neil Gaiman's story about a girl who finds a creepy alternate reality.

Dangerous Liaisons (1988) - Glenn Close should have won the Oscar for this. Duplicity in pre-Revolutionary France.

Dead Poets Society (1989) - Such a nostalgic-looking film. Sure, we've seen the story before in countless teacher movies, but this i one of the few that actually touched me. Plus, it's resemblance to my favorite book, A Separate Peace, doesn't hurt.

Death Becomes Her (1992) - "I can see right THROUGH YOOOUUU." Meryl Streep is a brilliant comedian. 

Diabolique (1955) - Said to be the only screenplay Hitchcock ever regretted not filming. The bath tub scene in this classic French film starring Vera Clouzot and Simone Signoret rivals anything in today's horror genre.

Dolores Claiborne (1995) - Kathy Bates is brilliant here, as is Judy Parfitt, in an adaptation of a great Stephen King book.

Edward Scissorhands (1990) - Still my favorite Tim Burton movie, and Johnny Depp's best performance.

Enchanted April (1992) - Do I love this movie? Well, I wrote an updated take on the story, Another Enchanted April. So, yeah. I kinda like it. ;-) Charming and lovely and on my "watch when I miss Italy" film list.

E.T. (1982) - The first film I absolutely obsessed over after viewing. I still can't have Reese's Pieces without thinking of it.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Kate Winslet's best performance in the best film of 2004. This is one Jim Carrey vehicle I did like.

Evita (1996) - Madonna should have been Oscar nominated. Just sayin'.

The Fall (2006) - Incredible piece of gorgeousness starring another incredible piece of gorgeousness, Lee Pace, and the scene-stealing Catinca Untaru. Tarsem Singh needs to get back to making films like this majestic wonder. 

Far From Heaven (2002) - As much as I loved Nicole Kidman in The Hours, the Oscar should have gone to Julianne Moore in this ode to Douglas Sirk about a repressed 50s housewife. One of the great film performances ever.

Field of Dreams (1989) - Capra-esque father/son film that still gives me the warm fuzzies.

The Fountain (2006) - There are folk who hate this movie starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz with an unhealthy passion, but I find it dazzling and extremely profound.

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) - So touching and nostalgic, with a beautiful Thomas Newman score.

Galaxy Quest (1999) - Hilarious homage to Star Trek that beams me right up. Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, and Sam Rockwell are especially good.

Gosford Park (2001) - A murder mystery comedy with so many great actors. Maggie Smith is fantastic, and Helen Mirren is absolute perfection.

Grey Gardens (1976) - Work of art documentary. Mesmerizing to watch Big Edie and her daughter living in a run-down mansion. "Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono, so we had quite a fight."

The Hanging Garden (1997) - Thom Fitzgerald's surreal, award-winning masterpiece about family secrets and mistakes. I love symbolism in film.

The Haunting (1963) - The classic with Julie Harris. The remake with Lily Taylor (though I love her) is terrible. There is a scene in this original version involving a door that is scarier than any special effects driven film of today. Tj and I watched this the other night as part of our summer film festival and he loved it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) - This film grew on me. Goofy and near perfect. So long and thanks for all the fish.

The Hours (2002) - Another Michael Cunningham adaptation, A Home At the End of the World, nearly made this list as well. This is the one, though, that tears at my heart. Every scene is so well-done, and Ed Harris' final scene is his best work.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) - I prefer this Bette Davis to the one in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Very creepy film. Plus, a wonderful supporting turn by Agnes Moorehead, and an evil Olivia deHavilland (who nearly made my list again with the fantastic Lady in a Cage).

Insidious (2010) - Freaking scary. The Others is still my favorite ghost story, but this is right up there. You'll never listen to "Tip-toe Through the Tulips" the same way again. The seance scene is terrifying.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) - Best vampire film ever. Kirsten Dunst steals the film as Claudia. She would have been Oscar nominated if Anna Paquin hadn't won the year before. One little girl being nominated every few years seems to be an Academy rule.

The Joy Luck Club (1993) - One of the most moving mother/daughter films made in years. The ending will have you in tears and Tsai Chin is marvelous as a domineering traditional mom.

The Lion in Winter (1968) - Katharine Hepburn's best performance and one of the best performances in all of film history, as Eleanor of Aquitaine. "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?"

Little Women (1994) - Best adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic, with another gorgeous score by Thomas Newman.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) & The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - Best film trilogy ever, and a great start to a new one. Peter Jackson blew it out of the water in 01 (btw, I'm still baffled as to how "May it Be" was beat in the Best Song category by that awful song from Monsters Inc), and in 03 Return of the King became the first fantasy film in history to win Best Picture. These films have a deeper spiritual meaning for me as well. And Cate Blanchett.

Love Actually (2003) - Favorite Christmas film with a stellar cast, including the great Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, and Emma Thompson. 

Magnolia (1999) - Another astonishing piece of work by P.T. Anderson. Great performances all around, falling frogs, an Aimee Mann sing-along, and Julianne Moore's awesome pharmacy freak-out scene. How does she not have an Oscar yet?

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) - Such a sweet, endearing film, with a lovely Judy Garland performance and the ONLY version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that makes me all wispy.

Mommie Dearest (1981) - What? I love this movie and I don't care who knows it. Faye Dunaway is brilliant and terrifying as Joan Crawford. Who knows if it's an accurate portrayal, but for sheer quotability and awesomtacity, it gets major points. "Christina! Bring me the ax!"

Moulin Rouge (2001) - The film that brought back the movie musical. I remember watching this movie in the theater and feeling like I was on speed or going crazy. Nicole Kidman is beautiful here, as is Ewan MacGregor. And Jim Broadbent is great. Tj and I sang along to every song a few weeks ago while watching it...drunk. You should hear him sing "Like a Virgin."

Murder By Death (1976) - Ten years before Clue, there was this murder mystery send-up (also starring Eileen Brennan). Not much of a plot but the joy of the film is seeing all these great actors interact. Maggie Smith is priceless: "That's tacky. That's really tacky."

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - Classic adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's most celebrated books, with an all-star cast including Albert Finney's Poirot, Ingrid Bergman's Oscar-winning monologue, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, and Rachel Roberts.

My Own Private Idaho (1991) - I was already deeply in love with River Phoenix by the time this film about hustling came out. He should have received his second Oscar nomination for this.

Ordinary People (1980) - Dated, yes, but still very powerful. I love the book by Judith Guest as well. Mary Tyler Moore is awesome as a terrible mother, and Timothy Hutton and Donald Sutherland are both very touching.

Orlando (1993) - Unique adaptation of Virginia Woolf's story about a person who lives 500 years, first as a man then as a woman, starring the magnificently androgynous Tilda Swinton in the lead, and with Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth I.

The Others (2001) - My favorite ghost story and Nicole Kidman's best. I think she's even better here than in Moulin Rouge from the same year. Fionnula Flanagan is excellent as the enigmatic housemaid.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - Up there with Lord of the Rings as a modern fantasy masterpiece. Dark and nightmarish, this is no Wizard of Oz.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) - Maria Falconetti's performance, cited by many to be the greatest in film history, is impressive because she takes you through Joan's harrowing experience and last days without saying a word. This is a silent film.

The Piano (1993) - As I've stated before, I love symbolism and Jane Campion's masterwork is rife with them. Holly Hunter and the very young Anna Paquin both won Oscars.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) - Subtle and creepy. A group of girls from a boarding school go missing while on a picnic and are never found. Rachel Roberts is so good as the repressed head mistress.

Pleasantville (1998) - One of the most overlooked films of its year. Beautiful, charming, and quite profound. Joan Allen should have been nominated for an Oscar for playing the June Cleever character who has a sexual awakening in the bath tub.

Postcards from the Edge (1990) - Meryl Streep is hilarious here, and Shirley MacLaine is perfect, both basically playing fictionalized versions of author Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds.

The Princess Bride (1987) - I heard they were going to remake this fractured fairytale. Inconceivable!!

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - The first and the best of the Indy films (though I do love Last Crusade). Indy never found a female counterpart as awesome as Marion Ravenwood. Karen Allen was also the best thing about the Crystal Skull.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - Ultimate Halloween treat. Tim Curry in one of cinema's most recognizable roles. Every song is a sing-along. When I first saw this I thought for certain Little Nell and Cyndi Lauper were the same person.

A Room with a View (1986) - Ah, Italy. And Maggie Smith. And Judi Dench. And Helena Bonham Carter. 

Rosemary's Baby (1968) - "This is really happening!" Terrifying, and recently spoofed in This Is The End. Ruth Gordon is fantastic.

The Royal Tennenbaums (2001) - I'm a Wes Anderson fan, so I love everything he does, but this is my favorite.

Serial Mom (1994) - Kathleen Turner is a riot as John Waters' serial killer mom. "Isn't this 4215 Pussy Way?"

Sextette (1977) - Worst film ever made? That's ridiculous! This is great fun! Be sure to have a few drinks while watching an 80 year old Mae West play the type of roles she made famous in the early 1930s, complete with her trademark innuendos. "Oh, the British are coming!" This is a favorite of Tj's and mine.

Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Why this film is constantly dumped on I'll never understand. It's witty, romantic, and very smart. And it TOTALLY deserved the Best Picture Oscar it won.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Such a creepy movie. Perfectly cast. Anthony Hopkins is only in the film for 16 minutes but his presence is felt throughout. Jodie Foster has never been better in a role I hear was originally offered to Michelle Pfieffer.

Six Degrees of Separation (1993) - Stockard Channing blows me away, especially in her last scene where she gives one hell of a monologue. This is her only Oscar-nominated performance, believe it or not. I'm inclined to think she should have won.

The Sixth Sense (1999) - "I see dead people." One of the few horror films to be nominated for Best Picture. Toni Colette is perfect as Haley Joel Osment's mother. The scene with the two of them in the car at the end is the best scene in the whole movie.

Some Like It Hot (1959) - One of the greatest comedies ever made with one of the greatest final lines of a film.

Stand By Me (1986) - Where my crush on River Phoenix began. Such a nostalgic piece of art, I was surprised that it was a Stephen King short story.

Star Trek: First Contact (1996) - The best of the original Trek films, in my opinion. It feels different than the others. More urgent. Almost horror. Patrick Stewart and Alfre Woodard are great, as is Alice Krige as the evil, sexy borg queen.

Star Wars episodes IV, V, VI (1977, 1980, 1983) - The first three released had such an impact on me that I imagined a fantasy world surrounding the Star Wars universe in the woods around our house. And little gay Eric so wanted to be Princess Leia in her metal bikini.

Strangers in Good Company (1991) - A film about a group of elderly women on a trip whose bus breaks down in the middle of the Canadian wilderness and they spend the next two hours talking. No plot. But it's absolutely charming, touching, and fascinating.

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) - Great adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel, with Matt Damon perfect as the famous psychopath, Jude Law impeccable as the snob Dickie Greenleaf, and Cate Blanchett stealing the few scenes she has as an oblivious possible future victim.

Tea With Mussolini (1999) - Cher, Lily Tomlin, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, AND Maggie Smith. I think I'm the only one who even remembers this film. Smith is at her crabby best here. And there's a scene with Judi Dench and a dog that breaks my heart.

Terms of Endearment (1983) - The ultimate 5-hankie mother/daughter movie. Shirley MacLaine finally won her Oscar for this. Sidenote: How awesome is it that Larry McMurtry, the author of this novel, also wrote Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and the screenplay to Brokeback Mountain. Talk about a renaissance man.

Thelma & Louise (1991) - One of the greatest road trip films. The ending is legendary.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) - I can watch this film over and over. Again, my love for Italy may have something to do with that. Diane Lane is wonderful here.

V for Vendetta (2005) - I'm not usually a fan of graphic novel adaptations, but this one is so visually stunning and has such a strong point I loved it.

What Dreams May Come (1998) - A lot of people compare my book Woke Up in a Strange Place to this beautiful movie, and I take that as a compliment. I loved see Star Trek: TNG's Rosalind Chao in a small part.

When Ocean Meets Sky (2003) - Documentary about Fire Island that's both entertaining and very touching.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009) - Why wasn't this a bigger hit?! Maybe it was the dark tone. A perfect adaptation of the children's book.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) - Jessica Rabbit. My one and only female crush.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - Elizabeth Taylor is so damn good in this film. At the time this was revolutionary filmmaking.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) - Well, I mean, c'mon. You knew it was gonna be here, right?

The Women (1939) - Rosalind Russel and Joan Crawford are my favorites in this catty play. What a bitchfest. "Jungle Red!"

Wonderboys (2000) - Overlooked film about a writer and those crazy bastards in his orbit.

Young Frankenstein (1974) - My favorite Mel Brooks movie. A perfect comedy. Madeline Kahn shows her comedic genius once again.


  1. Great list! I've seen 75 of them. Of the 25 I haven't seen, 12 of them are already on my list. So I'm just going to go ahead and put the other 13 on my list as well. Great to see Wonderboys and Death Becomes Her on someone's list