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Brian’s “Hot 300” movie list

October 5th, 2010 · 55 Comments · Movies

 

This is an ever-evolving work-in-progress — last updated:  Oct 20th, 2021.

Every blue title is a link to the movie’s IMDb page — the industry-standard Internet Movie Database.

If this makes just one person see one great movie, it’ll be worth it.

 

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If you want you can click on any section title and it will take you to the start of that particular list.  😉

1. The Number-of-Times Watched Metric
2. Comedies
3. Dramas
4. Documentaries
5. Movies About Making Movies
6. Movies about Politics
7. Music Movies
8. Beat Generation Docs & Dramas
9. Trippy Movies
10. Disturbing Movies
11. Made-For-TV Exceptions
12. By Auteur 
13. 300 More Movies “On Deck” for Inclusion

 

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The Number-of-Times Watched Metric

Four or More Viewings and Honest Assessments

The concept here is not what a person would necessarily think are “the greatest movies ever made” but rather a list of the movies actually watched all the way thru a minimum of four times — which I later expanded the parameter to include three times.

Seeing a movie twice is very different than seeing it three or four or more times.  We all see lots of movies once, then maybe a second time to see if we “got it” or maybe passively with a friend — but it’s when you intentionally watch a movie for a third and especially a fourth time that the film crosses a line into a special category.

Some say there’s no point in watching a movie twice.  Or they’re too busy.  To that I say — can you only look at a great painting once?  Or listen to a great song or read a great book only once?

The only reason movies make this list is based on the number times watched — not whether I want to say I liked it or not, or recommend it, or think it’s one of the great films of all time.  Those are different lists — for critics and academics and film institutes and such.

This is an Actually Watched List.  And it’s a game you can play as you fill in your own puzzle — make your own movie of your life’s movies.  What you’ve watched, not what you should have watched, or fib or pretend that you’ve watched, or wished you’d watched more than once.  I wouldn’t put “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on a Greatest Films list, or even want to admit I’ve watched it three times — but I know I have.  And that’s part of the discovery of going down this path.

You must have physically — and joyously (theoretically) — sat thru the entire movie, not just done it in your head, and not just watched it once then seen snippets a few times.

If you can’t remember the movie in great detail, you probably didn’t see it 3 or 4 or more times.  You should be able to recount the plot, the arc, lots of key scenes, the actors, and parts of the dialog in detail.  The movie should give you chills or goosebumps, or make you laugh yourself silly, or cry at some point — and in the best cases, several of the above.

Do Not list movies you’ve only seen twice!  It’s very tempting to embellish your memory.  You have to really think about it to confirm you’ve actually seen the whole thing 3 (or 4) times.
You could have seen a movie once or twice and it really stuck with you, but those don’t count.  To update the Jacqueline Susann novel / Kirk Douglas movie — Twice Is Not Enough.
Also — it really doesn’t count if you started to watch it a second time but then didn’t see it all the way thru! — we’ve all got lots of those!
Also — it doesn’t count if you just want to see the movie a third time.  If you’d like, you can start a “seen twice and wanna see again” list for those movies — as I’ve done at the end of this page.

Also — don’t worry that some movies make it on the list only because your all-movie cable network happened to be playing them in heavy rotation for months.  I would never have seen the great Cage & Travolta performances in “Face/Off” if it wasn’t on some movie network when I was homebound for a spell.

You might catch a few minutes flippin the channels one day, and go, “Hmm, this is actually pretty good.”  Then you make a point to watch it from the beginning, and then it’s so good, you watch it again.  And then once you get the rhythms of it, the different subtexts, and subliminal themes, and subtleties of performances, you can really enjoy watching it a third time as an insider playing in the orchestra and riding the score, hitting the cymbal-crashing peaks, and rising to the top with the solos while simultaneously keeping the backbeat with the supporting melody-players.  Do you want to hear Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” only once in your life?  There are those great rare moments in art where it all comes together.  Nobody’s ever even heard of his “1811 Overture” because it probably sucked.

And films are even harder to create than a symphony.  There are so many variables that all have to come together, including the weather — see Lost In La Mancha or Heart of Darkness, A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, or meddling producers — see Hollywood Ending.

You remember the first time you saw a movie — the discovery, the unfolding, the first impressions.
And you know if you saw it a second time — when you knew what was happening and what was coming.
But once you watch a movie for a third time, it crosses over into a special realm.  You, by choice, relish in it, dance with it, become friends with it.  Or maybe you realize you’ve now seen it enough — but it’s still in that exclusive club of multi-hour rides you’ve chosen to take more than twice.
And you know you’ve seen a movie four times or more because you’ve almost memorized it, played right along with it, became one with it.  This is what we’re talkin’ about.  😉 

Then there’s the Watched-A-Ridiculous-Amount-of-Times List.  These are the movies that have really become a part of you.

Also — Screen Size Does Matter.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: “You can’t really say you’ve seen a movie unless you’ve seen it on the big screen.  That’s what they’re made for.”  And I still stand by that.  But for me — and most people — usually the repeat viewings occur on a TV at home.  And that’s okay.

Also — there are lots of great movies not on this list cuz I didn’t like them enough to watch them more than twice — and there’s lots I just haven’t seen four times but I want to — say, Dr. Strangelove, Spellbound or Touch of Evil.

Also — older movies obviously have an advantage since they’ve been able to play over and over again on TV or wherever for so much of your lifetime.  Or you’ve actually got them on VHS, DVD or Blu-ray.

A few movies will also make anyone’s list because they were an old girlfriend or boyfriend’s favorite.  That’s okay, too.  If you’ve seen it 4 times, you’ve seen it 4 times.

The most important thing is to be honest in putting movies on the list and not editing the truth.  It makes a more interesting, fun and accurate picture.  😉

It’s useful to make this list for yourself as you’ll discover directors you didn’t know you liked so much — then you can check out or reconsider their other films.

If I were to teach a film course, these movies would be the curriculum.
Or are recommended movies for friends to see.  If everyone shared their lists, you’d have a great source of movies to see for when you can’t think of one.
It should also have the “Oh, Yeah!” factor — when somebody reads down the list they suddenly remember a movie they always wanted to see, or saw once and always wanted to see again.
The idea is — every one of these movies has to be great or I wouldn’t have watched it three or four times.  If you had passed on the movie for some reason, my hope is that you’ll reconsider.

Note:  Movies below that have a few sentences of a “review” have, generally speaking, been seen since 2020 when this page/list really got formalized and structured.

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The Watched-A-Ridiculous-Amount-of-Times List

Woodstock
Festival Express
The Last Waltz
Pull My Daisy
Goodfellas
It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (as a kid)
Jesus Christ Superstar
The Sting
Don’t Look Back
Masked & Anonymous
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Shining
Rebel Without a Cause
A Hard Day’s Night
Fargo
Lucky Numbers
Star Wars  (as a kid)
‘Round Midnight
My Cousin Vinny
Groundhog Day
Forrest Gump
In The Heat Of The Night
Primary Colors
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Treasure of The Sierra Madre
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Fawlty Towers
The Civil War series  (PBS, Ken Burns)
N.Y., N.Y.  –  groundbreaking surreal capture of NYC circa 1957 by Francis Thompson – see below under Documentaries

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[format:   Title — year;  director;  writer (when notable);  some of the main actors;  notes.  (numbers of time seen.  “(4)” means “4 or more.”)]

Comedies   [91]

re: Comedies vs. Dramas categories — all comedies have a dramatic structure, and most dramas have some comedic relief.  When a film was a close call, I went with IMDb’s first categorization for it.  A handful of movies are listed here in both categories.

The Cocoanuts — 1929;  Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Margaret Dumont;  Florida real estate.  Based on the Brothers’ Broadway show.  First-ever use of overhead shot of dance choreography. B&W  (3)
Duck Soup — 1933;  Leo McCarey;  Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Margaret Dumont — Freedonia!  B&W  (4)
The Thin Man — 1934;  W.S. Van Dyke; written by Dashiell Hammett; William Powell & Myrna Loy; early classic climax scene with all suspects assembled in same room to reveal the murderer.  B&W  (3)
Arsenic and Old Lace — 1944;  Frank Capra;  Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre  B&W  (3)
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein — 1948;  Charles Barton;  Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney;  Tarantino cited this as an influence on how to blend genres;  Jerry Garcia’s favorite movie and inspired his lifelong involvement with film.  It was his first sense of the bizarre and that there were weird things in this world.  You can sure see where Mel Brooks took his Young Frankenstein cues from.  Funny script, and Lou at some of his best.  I laughed out loud a few times watching it in 2021.  Comically campy ’40s acting with comically low-budget sets.  B&W  (3)
Here’s a great clip of Garcia reflecting on it —

Beat The Devil — 1953;  John Huston;  screenplay credit to Truman Capote, but he bailed in the middle of the madness and Huston, Bogie, Lorie & others made it up on the fly after that;  Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones, Robert Morley.  I can’t believe these guys (Houston, Bogart, Jones) weren’t comedic actors & director. This is SO funny – if you look at it right.  Morley is Brilliant.  And the dialog is brilliant.  I would love to have this script.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  There’s also so many plot changes.  Great characterizations.  Jennifer Jones out-Marilyn’s Monroe in 1953, playing the most wonderfully dreamy and deluded blond.  The Talented Mr. Ripley is a kind of later version (although that’s really not a comedy).  B&W  (4)
Some Like It Hot — 1959;  written & directed by Billy Wilder;  Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon.  B&W  (3)

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World — 1963;  Stanley Kramer;  Buddy Hackett & Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman & Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters (his first movie), Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy (his 2nd last movie), Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Dick Shawn — and cameos or small parts by Jimmy Durante (his last film), Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny, “Rochester”, Buster Keaton, Peter Falk, Jim Backus, Norman Fell, William Demarest, Charles Lane, Andy Devine, ZaSu Pitts, the Three Stooges!  The all-star cameo-rich casting was first pioneered by 1956’s Around The World In 80 Days. It was filmed for Cinerama — those extra-wide, curved screens.  It was the first film ever shown at the legendary Cinerama Dome in LA.  The original Cinerama version ran 202 minutes.  The version most of us saw in regular theaters was cut down to 163 minutes — fully 30 minutes less!  The 3-disc Criterion Collection edition has both versions, the original painstakingly restored frame by frame from uncovered footage.  (4)
The Comedy of Terrors — 1963;  Jacques Tourneur;  Vincent Price (great), Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone.  Bizarre funny black comedy parody of the horror genre; very much like Young Frankenstein, or Beat The Devil.  Soundtrack funny, too.   (1)
The Pink Panther — 1963;  written & directed by Blake Edwards;  Peter Sellers, David Niven, a young Robert Wagner, and two Sophia Loren-like beauties Claudia Cardinale and Capucine; and GREAT music by Henry Mancini.  (3)
A Hard Day’s Night —  1964;  Richard Lester;  starring The Beatles, with Wilfred Brambell as the Grandfather foil.  Roger Ebert said in a 1994 documentary he’s “probably seen A Hard Day’s Night 25 times.”  I always saw this movie as sort of a pair with D.A. Pennebaker’s B&W Dylan portrait Don’t Look Back filmed the following year. Both Portraits of The Artist As A Young Man — and the two artists in this case would go on to rewrite global cultural history.  B&W  (4)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken — 1966;  Alan Rafkin;  Don Knotts!!  Dick Sargent.  Great comedy and performance by Don Knotts.  Classic supporting cast of ’60s staples — looks like it could be a Bewitched or Andy Griffith episode.  Don’t know any of their names — but recognize every one of their faces.  Great haunted house sets.  (4)
The Odd Couple — 1968;  Gene Saks;  Neil Simon;  Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon, John Fielder  (4)

M*A*S*H — 1970;  Robert Altman;  Ring Lardner Jr. screenplay (who hated all the improvisations and changes Altman made on the fly … and then happily accepted for the win for Best Screenplay Oscar);  Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Robert Duval, Sally Kellerman; and all in their first movies — Bud Cort, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson, John Schuck & Rene Auberjonois (who’s got more IMDb credits than anyone else in the movie!).  Renegade under-the-studio-radar filmmaking at its best.  Much of the cast came from a San Fransisco theater troupe.  Made on a shoestring $3.5 million budget – and came in under.  14 of the 30 speaking roles in the movie were by actors making their feature film debuts. They had a surgeon on set all shoot to make sure the operating rooms were accurate.  Deservedly highly-praised breakthrough movie for Altman.  Brilliant use of da Vinci’s Last Supper.  The lyrics to the Suicide is Painless song were written by Altman’s 14 year old son.  Altman said he got paid $70,000 for making the movie, and his son earned more than $1 million for co-writing the song.  🙂  (4)
The Out-of-Towners — 1970;  Arthur Hill;  Neil Simon wrote it;  Jack Lemmon & Sandy Dennis  (3) 
Harold and Maude — 1971;  Hal Ashby;  Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, music by Cat Stevens  (4)
Sleeper — 1973;  written & directed by Woody Allen;   Woody, Diane Keaton  (3)
Young Frankenstein — 1974;  Mel Brooks;  screenwriters Mel Brooks & Gene Wilder;  Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Peter Boyle  B&W  (4)
Phantom of the Paradise — 1974;  written & directed by Brian De Palma;  Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper  (3)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail — 1975;  Terry Gilliam;  written by all of Monty Python;  Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland, Neil Innis  (4)
The Sunshine Boys —  1975;  dir. Herb Ross;  funny Oscar-nominated screenplay by Neil Simon based his Broadway play;  Walter Matthau & George Burns (his first film in 36 years, won Best Actor Oscar), Richard Benjamin, and Howard Hesseman & F. Murray Abraham in bit parts;  best scenes are the two Sunshine Boys in Willy’s (Matthau’s) apt. where they rehearse and reminisce;  brilliant portrayal of aging entertainers and lifelong friends;  love the city vs. the country combative theme.  Somehow this movie always makes me feel good … about friends and life. color (with B&W opening) (4)
Annie Hall —  1977;  Woody Allen;  written by Woody Allen;  Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director & Screenplay for Woody, and Actress for Diane Keaton.   (4)
Animal House — 1978;  John Landis;  written by Harold Ramis;  John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce  (4)
Life of Brian — 1979;  Terry Jones;  written by and starring Monty Python: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin  (3)
Manhattan — 1979;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep  B&W  (3)

9 to 5 — 1980;  Colin Higgins;  Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman  (3)
The Blues Brothers — 1980;  John Landis;  written by Landis & Dan Aykroyd;  John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles  (4)
Caddyshack — 1980;  Harold Ramis;  written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis;  Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight  (3)
The Gods Must Be Crazy — 1980;  written & directed by Jamie Uys;  starring N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo  (4)
Where The Buffalo Roam — 1980;  Art Linson (his directorial debut);  based on the stories & life of Hunter Thompson;  Bill Murray, Peter Boyle as his lawyer, Bruno Kirby as the Rolling Stone editor (Jann Wenner), Rene Auberjonois as the Post reporter who gets dosed, Mark Metcalf, Danny Goldman, and Cork Hubbert who plays a bellboy in both this and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.  Neil Young sings the the title song — his first dramatic film credit — and can be seen in an early shot outside Jimmie’s bar lighting a cigarette with his producer David Briggs.  Hunter’s artist Ralph Steadman did the title art.  Murray & Thompson spent some time together at Hunter’s Aspen ranch before shooting.  Great cast and subject, and seemed cool when I was a teenager — but by 2021 it’s painfully simplistic, cartoonish, a caricature rather than a characterization, and B-movie bad.  (4)
Stripes — 1981;  Ivan Reitman;  Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, Nicholas Ray in last screen appearance cameo in final scene.   (3)
Tootsie — 1982;  Sydney Pollack;  Larry Gelbert story;  Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Geena Davis  (3)
Fast Times At Ridgemont High — 1982;  Amy Heckerling;  written by Cameron Crowe;  Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Ray Walston  (4)
Diner — 1982;  written & directed by Barry Levinson;  Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Daniel Stern, Ellen Barkin, Steve Guttenberg. The debut/break-out movie for everybody.  Levinson nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  Made in 1981 for $5 million (!)  (3)
Trading Places — 1983;  John Landis;  Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche  (4)
National Lampoon’s Vacation — 1983;  dir. Harold Ramis;  written by John Hughes;  Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quad, Imogene Coca  (4)
Spinal Tap — 1984;  Rob Reiner;  writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner;  starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Fred Willard, Bruno Kirby, Fran Drescher  (4)
Zelig 1983;  written & directed by and starring Woody Allen;  Mia Farrow;  Oscar nominated for Best Cinematography & Costume Design. Smart, interesting movie.  A mockumentary blending Woody into historic photographs & footage a la Forrest Gump ten years later.  Woody got New Yorker literati to appear talking about the fictional celebrity.  The footage of F. Scott Fitzgerald is only few seconds known to exist.  They have footage of the same block of Washington Square North (where I lived for 6 years) as Zelig’s Greenwich Village flat.  Just as “Rashomon” has become a noun meaning different points of view, “Zelig” is now used to refer to someone who is chameleon-like in any situation, and/or someone who knows everyone or has been everywhere.  both B&W & color  (seen once)
Ghostbusters — 1984;  Ivan Reitman;  written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis;  Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis  (4)
National Lampoon’s European Vacation — 1985;  dir. Amy Heckerling; written by John Hughes;  Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo  (4)
Desperately Seeking Susan — 1985;  Susan Seidelman;  Madonna, Rosanna Arquette, Aiden Quinn  (3)
Hannah and Her Sisters — 1986;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Max Von Sydow, Maureen O’Sullivan, Lewis Black, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, J.T. Walsh, Julie Kavner  (3)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — 1986;  written & directed by John Hughes;  Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones  (3)
Club Paradise — 1986;  Harold Ramis;  written by Harry Shearer, Harold Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray;  Robin Williams, Peter O’Toole, Rick Moranis & Eugene Levy {the two Barry’s}, Twiggy, Jimmy Cliff  (3)
Throw Mama From The Train — 1987;  dir. Danny DeVito;  starring DeVito & Billy Crystal;  with Branford Marsalis & Rob Reiner in great bit parts.  Although ostensibly about a Hitchcockian double-murder criss-cross, it’s a funny (and I think comically accurate) movie about writing and writers.  (4)
Raising Arizona — 1987;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Frances McDormand  (3)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles — 1987;  written & directed by John Hughes;  John Candy & Steve Martin  (3)
A Fish Called Wanda — 1988;  Charles Crichton;  John Cleese, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline.  Brilliant.  (4)
Beetlejuice — 1988;  Tim Burton;  Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett; Keaton’s only on screen 17 min., but with Burton’s permission, totally created the vibe of the movie, and is his favorite movie that he’s in.  (4)
Big Business — 1988;  Jim Abrahams;  Bette Midler & Lily Tomlin, Fred Ward.  Lots of it set in NYC, and really truly hilarious, but bad title.  Should have been called Twisted Sisters.  (4)
Funny Farm — 1988;  George Roy Hill;  Chevy Chase in a writer-in-the-country comedy.  (4)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — 1988;  Frank Oz;  Michael Caine, Steve Martin, Glenne Headly  (3)
When Harry Met Sally — 1989;  Rob Reiner;  written by Nora Ephron;  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby  (3)
The War of The Roses — 1989;  dir. Danny DeVito;  Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito  (4)

I Love You To Death — 1990;  Lawrence Kasdan; Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, William Hurt & Keanu Reeves  (3)
What About Bob? — 1991;  Frank Oz;  Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty  (4)
City Slickers — 1991;  Ron Underwood;  Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby, Daniel Stern, Jack Palance, Josh Mostel, David Paymer  (3)
My Cousin Vinny — 1992;  Jonathan Lynn;  Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Fred Gwynne  (4)
Bob Roberts — 1992;  written & directed by & starring Tim Robbins;  plus Gore Vidal, Ray Wise (the guy from Twin Peaks & Good Night, And Good Luck);  tons of cameos, including a very young Jack Black;  Robbins wrote and performed his own songs, but would not let a soundtrack be released cuz he knew the crazy right would take the satirical songs and make them their anthem.  Done in mock-documentary style.  This could almost be on the Most Disturbing List, and is particularly scary post Iraq War II.  (3)
Groundhog Day — 1993;  Harold Ramis;  Ramis also cowrote screenplay;  Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stanley Tobolowsky  (4)
Sleepless in Seattle — 1993;  written & directed by Nora Ephron;  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan  (3)
Mrs. Doubtfire — 1993;  Chris Columbus;  Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein  (3)
The Hudsucker Proxy — 1994;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh — all brilliant performances. Plus Charles Durning, Peter Gallagher, John Mahoney, Bill Cobbs, Steve Buscemi (playing a Beatnik cafe owner), John Goodman (announcer).  A masterpiece of a film.  Really funny.  Those Coen brothers are certainly visionaries and surrealists.  (4)
Waiting For Guffman — 1996;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest & Eugene Levy;  Guest, Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Larry Miller, Parker Posey, David Cross, Michael Hitchcock, Bob Balaban  (4)
The Birdcage — 1996;  Mike Nichols;  Elaine May screenplay;  Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman  (4)
Flirting With Disaster — 1996;  written & directed by David O. Russell;  Téa Leoni, Ben Stiller, Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal  (3)
Swingers — 1996;  Doug Liman;  written by & starring Jon Favreau;  Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Ron Livingston  (3)
Trees Lounge — 1996;  Steve Buscemi wrote, directed and stars;  Carol Kane, Anthony LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, John Ventimiglia  (3)
Clockwatchers — 1997;  Jill Sprecher;  the great script is written by Jill & her sister Karen who were temps in New York;  Toni Collette, Lisa Kudrow, Parker Posey, Alanna Ubach, Bob Balaban, Debra Jo Rupp, Jamie Kennedy, Paul Dooley, Stanley DeSantis, O-Lan Jones — great casting and performances.  Really funny movie about temping that came out the same year as my book about temping The Temp Survival Guide, and the CBS comedy Temporarily Yours (see Made-For-TV Exceptions section).  (3)
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion — 1997;  David Mirkin;  Mira Sorvino & Lisa Kudrow, with great bit parts by Janeane Garofalo & Alan Cumming  (3)
The Big Lebowski — 1998;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid  (4)
Pleasantville — 1998;  written & directed by Gary Ross;  Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels  (3)
Being John Malkovich — 1999;  Spike Jonze;  written by Charlie Kaufman; John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich, Catherine Keener  (3)
Analyze This — 1999;  Harold Ramis;  Billy Crystal & Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lisa Kudrow  (3)
Office Space — 1999;  written & directed by Mike Judge;  Ron Livingston, Jennifer Anniston, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, Diedrich Bader.  Judge did Beavis & Butthead – so it’s kind of that take on corporate life.  (3)
Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill — 1999;  Lawrence Jordan;  one-man show written by & starring Eddie Izzard  (4)

Best In Show — 2000;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest & Eugene Levy;  Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Ed Begley Jr., Stephen Miller, Jane Lynch, and my friend Fulvio Cecere in one scene!  (4)
— great oral history of Best in Show — https://www.theringer.com/movies/2020/9/29/21479754/best-in-show-oral-history
Meet The Parents — 2000;  Jay Roach;  Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Owen Wilson  (4)
Lucky Numbers —  2000;  Nora Ephron;  written by Adam Resnick (Death To Smoochy, SNL, Letterman, Larry Sanders Show);  John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Roth.  You can read my review of it here.  (4)
High Fidelity — 2000;  Stephen Frears;  John Cusack, Jack Black, Catherine Zeta Jones, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Lilli Taylor  (3)
Zoolander — 2001;  written & directed by Ben Stiller;  Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Jerry Stiller  (3)
The Curse of The Jade Scorpion — 2001;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody Allen, Helen Hunt  (4)
Haiku Tunnel — 2001;  written & directed by Jacob & Josh Kornbluth;  starring Jacob & Josh Kornbluth.  Very low budget indi film, but great – twisted & funny.  (3)
Hollywood Ending — 2002;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Téa Leoni, Treat Williams, George Hamilton, Debra Messing  (3)
Showtime — 2002;  Tom Dey;  Robert De Niro & Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, Alex Borstein  (3)
Luck — 2003;  Peter Wellington;  Luke Kirby, Sarah Polley;  Canadian movie about gambling at the Canada-Russia ’72 hockey summit.  (3)
Phil The Alien — 2004;  written & directed by Rob Stefaniuk;  Stefaniuk, Jason Jones, Nicole de Boer, Sean Cullen;  funny-cool Canadian comedy about an alien landing in and infiltrating backwoods Canada.  (3)
The Ladykillers — 2004;  written & directed by the Coen Brothers;  Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmens, Marlon Wayans  (4)
The Aristocrats — 2005;  Paul Provenza (and Penn Jillette);  featuring nearly every comedian you’ve ever heard of, but the key & funniest ones I remember are: Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Drew Carey, Sarah Silverman, Paul Reiser, George Carlin, Andy Dick, Martin Mull, Mario Cantone (as Liza Minelli), Kevin Pollak (as Christopher Walkin), Eric Meed the card trick guy, and South Park.  (4)
Wedding Crashers — 2005;  David Dobkin;  Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn, plus Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Jane Seymour, Isla Fisher, Bradley Cooper, Henry Gibson, Rebecca De Mornay  (3)
The 40-Year-Old Virgin — 2005;  cowritten & directed by Judd Apatow;  cowritten by & starring Steve Carell;  Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, Jane Lynch  (3)
Ted — 2012;  written, directed & voiced by Seth MacFarlane;  Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton  (3)

 

Dramas    [143]

The Wizard of Oz — 1939;  Victor Fleming;  Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan  B&W and color.  (4)
Citizen Kane —  1941;  Orson Welles;  screenwriters Orson Welles & Herman Mankiewicz;  Orson Welles, James Cotton, Agnes Moorehead  B&W  (3)
The Maltese Falcon — 1941;  John Huston’s directorial debut;  written by Dashiell Hammett & John Huston;  Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor (an early wild woman Prankster of Hollywood who was having an affair with director Huston during filming) and Sydney Greenstreet in his movie debut (and his only Oscar nomination).  John’s father Walter Huston makes an uncredited cameo as a good luck gesture towards his son’s debut.  Leonardo DiCaprio owns one of the three Maltese falcons used in the movie, the most recent one sold at auction for $4 million (from a movie with a total original budget of $300,000), and he brought it to the set of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood where it can be seen in the rare book store Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate) goes to buy Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  John Huston, Humphrey Bogart & Peter Lorre later made a Bizarroworld send-up of Maltese Falcon with Robert Morley in the Sydney Greenstreet role called Beat The Devil (also on this film page).  B&W  (3)
It’s A Wonderful Life — 1946;  Frank Capra;  James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Frank Albertson  B&W  (3)
Miracle on 34th Street — 1947;  George Seaton;  Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, young Natalie Wood  B&W  (3)
The Treasure of The Sierra Madre — 1948;  John Huston;  Huston and the mysterious B. Traven screenplay;  Huston’s father, Walter Huston, won Best Supporting Actor;  plus Huston won for both directing and screenplay
For me it was one of those movies I had to see more than once to appreciate.  I started watching it once or twice and found it REEEALLY boring — these old farts trudging around the desert and pawing in the dirt. Whoopy! was it actually filmed in slow motion?
Then . . . ah, Then . . . on the 2nd or 3rd try all the pieces came together and now i recognize its mastery and why it’s one of the greatest films ever made.  The original story, perhaps dating back to Chaucer, who could’ve picked it up from somebody else.  Maybe it’s a lost Homer epic.  The story is eternal.  Like “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — how greed can overpower an otherwise good man.  How some, in the face of wealth, become a-holes, and others always retain a clear vision of what’s important in life (Howard/Walter). which kind of person are you?  We all think, as Dobbs/Bogart did, that we would never become morally corrupted — yet we’ve seen in the real world (and as depicted in this movie) how that happens.
The arc of the Dobbs character is a classic in 2-hour cinema, and how Bogart portrays the transition from sanity and good-will into madness, greed & murder is up there with the greatest performances of any actor ever. the leprechaun magic of Walter Huston.  The authenticity of the location shooting, including all the extras and bit roles. the depth, detail and polish of the script. the torn, sweat-soaked costumes. the fabulous music that mutates as the characters do.
If it was a standard western or movie in general, it all would have taken place in the first town and been about how they exacted revenge from the unscrupulous businessman who rips them off — the workers against the corporation.
But then the characters are taken beyond that to where they form their own limited partnership — and how some people turn out to be good and some don’t.   It’s life.
If only we got to watch our own life movie several times until we got it.  But since we can’t, you have another shot at this movie.  It took my reincarnation as a viewer to finally get it right.
“It wouldn’t be that way with me. I swear it wouldn’t.  I’d take only what I set out to get.”
😉
Boy, would this be a great movie to see the alternate takes from!
And think how Walter Huston’s performance pushed Bogart.
Top 10 movie.  B&W  (4)

A Streetcar Named Desire —  1951;  Elia Kazan;  Tennessee Williams;  Marlon Brando, Vivian Lee, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden.  B&W  (4)
The Wild One — 1953;  Laslo Benedek;  Marlon Brando (riding his own Triumph motorcycle), Lee Marvin (as the leader of The Beetles!), Mary Murphy (who sorta tames Brando), and Alvy Moore who went on the play Hank Kimbell in Green Acres ITALICS (1965–71).  Brando wrote of this movie in his autobiography: “More than most parts I’ve played in the movies or onstage, I related to Johnny, and because of this, I believe I played him as more sensitive and sympathetic than the script envisioned. There’s a line in the picture where he snarls, ‘Nobody tells me what to do.’ That’s exactly how I’ve felt all my life.The most famous exchange in the movie, “What are you rebelling against?” — “What have you got?” was first spoken by a member of the real biker gang members they hired to play themselves, and then incorporated into the script. The boppin’ pre-rock ‘n’ roll jazz score was by Julliard-trained normally-classical composer Leith Stevens. B&W  (4)
Dial M For Murder1954;  Alfred Hitchcock;  from a great crime-mystery-thriller stage play (and screenplay) by Frederick Knott; gorgeous Grace Kelly (the first of 3 she made with Hitch), Ray Milland, Robert Cummings (as the American mystery writer), John Williams (as the inspector, reprising his Tony-winning Broadway performance of the role).  Originally filmed in 3D, hence some of the odd placement of props in the extreme foreground. (3)
Rear Window — 1954;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Jimmy Stewart & Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr.  B&W (4)
East of Eden — 1955;  Elia Kazan;  from John Steinbeck book;  James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives.  James Dean’s first movie — filmed in the summer of 1954 when he was 23, and the only one released while he was still alive.  Lots of location shooting in Salinas and Monterey, California.  Kazan’s first movie shot in color.  Steinbeck’s on the record liking the film, casting and performances.  When he visited the set and first met Dean, he exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, he IS Cal!”  With the unhappy dysfunctional family and struggling farm life story, this is my least favorite of Dean’s three pictures.  (3)
Rebel Without A Cause — 1955;  Nicholas Ray;  original story by Nicholas Ray;  James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Dennis Hopper  (4)
Giant — 1956;  George Stevens;  James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Dennis Hopper  (3)
Lust For Life — 1956;  Vincente Minelli, father of Liza; based on book by Irving Stone;  Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn  (4)
The Man Who Knew Too Much — 1956;  Alfred Hitchcock;  James Stewart & Doris Day. (4)
12 Angry Men — 1957;  Sidney Lumet;  Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, John Fielder, Jack Warden, E.G. Marshall, Ed Begley Sr., and a young Jack Klugman  (3)
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof —  1958;  Richard Brooks;  Tennessee Williams’ play;  Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson.  In the middle of filming, Liz Taylor’s husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash.  What an incredible performance she delivered in the middle of grief.  Including while playing a woman whose father-in-law, Big Daddy, was dying.  It’s all about the acting.  And sex.  (4)
North By Northwest — 1959;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Gary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau — GREAT script and cinematography – great Manhattan location shots circa 1958; great Mount Rushmore shots.  (4)
Pull My Daisy — 1959;  Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie;  written by Jack Kerouac;  Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, David Amram, Richard Bellamy  B&W  (4)

Psycho — 1960;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam  B&W  (4)
Swiss Family Robinson — 1960;  Ken Annakin;  John Mills, Dorothy McGuire  (4)
Dr. No — 1962;  Terence Young;  Sean Connery, Ursula Andress.  The first in the James Bond franchise.  (3)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — 1966;  Mike Nichols;  Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis.  The brilliant mesmerizing Shakespearian heavyweight rollercoaster based on Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning Best Play.  All his words of the play were the script, except for 2 lines, after the screenwriter who was paid and credited and delivered a disaster was still given writing credit.  Mike Nichols’ directorial debut. (!) Liz Taylor had never rehearsed for a film performance before in her life — until Mike Nichols made all four of them work it up for 3 solid weeks.  The four actors were all nominated for Oscars.  Liz & Sandy won, plus for Best Cinematography, Art Direction & Costumes.  This film drove a stake into the heart of film censorship and is kind of in a class of its own.  Or in whatever class is the top of all movies ever made.  B&W  (4)

George & Martha’s house on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Mass. (taken post-LCK, October, 2015) All the rest of the exteriors were also shot around the house on the campus.


In The Heat of The Night
— 1967;  Norman Jewison (Torontonian);  edited by Hal Ashby;  Sidney Pottier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Anthony James (creepy diner guy);  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Actor for Steiger, Screenplay, Editing and Sound.  “They call me Mr. Tibbs.”  This is such a masterpiece, but so many people don’t know it.  Just tonight I sent out an email to get people to catch the PBS airing of it, and a few did, but one write back asking me if this was a “cult classic”?!  🙂  I’ve watched it many times – and next time FULLY dig and study the ancillary music – it’s all Quincy Jones, and all the piano playing is Ray Charles.  Also listen for the diversity and both musical styles and instrumentation.  The music got nominated for a Grammy but crazilly not an Oscar.  This is an amazing movie for blind people.  It almost sounds as good at it looks.  (4)
In Cold Blood1967;  screenplay and directed by Richard Brooks;  based on the Truman Capote “fictional novel” / New Journalism book;  Robert Blake & Scott Wilson as the killers, John Forsythe as the detective, Jeff Corey.  No other “movie stars” were cast as director Brooks wanted it to seem like a real documentary;  most of the smaller roles were filled by Kansans.  An amazing movie, nominated for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematography (in part because of the rain on Blake’s face shot) and the super-cool Music by Quincy Jones (immediately following In The Heat of The Night, see above, {which also starred Scott Wilson, these being his first two movies}, and including a song partly played on bottles during the bottle collection scene).  Largely shot on location, including inside & outside the Clutter family’s actual home & farm, the courtroom where the trial took place (with six actual jurors playing jurors), the suit store where they passed a bad check using the very salesman they’d conned, the store where they bought the rope and tape, and the bus depot.  The two killers talk about the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre which a young Robert Blake was in as the young kid who sold Humphrey Bogart the winning lottery ticket.  It was killer Perry Smith’s favorite movie.  The first mainstream American movie to use the word “bullshit” on screen.  B&W  (seen once)
Bonnie and Clyde — 1967;  Arthur Penn;  Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway (both Oscar nominated), Estelle Parsons (won Best Supporting Actress), Michael J. Pollard (nominated for Best Supporting), Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder.  Spectacular filmmaking from a great Oscar nominated script.  Won for Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey).  Foundation film of the sexy “New Hollywood” antihero movies.  (4)
The Graduate — 1967;  Mike Nichols;  Buck Henry & Calder Willingham from a novel by Charles Webb;  Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, and Norman Fell, writer Buck Henry in a bit part.  (4)
Cool Hand Luke — 1967;  Stuart Rosenberg;  Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin  (3)
The Dirty Dozen — 1967;  Robert Aldrich;  Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Donald Sutherland, Trini Lopez  (3)
2001: A Space Odyssey — 1968;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick screenplay from Arthur C. Clarke novel;  Keir Dullea  (3)
The Planet of The Apes — 1968;  Franklin Shaffner;  screenplay cowritten by Rod Serling;  Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter, and some right-wing gun-pimping prick  (4)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — 1968;  Ken Hughes;  Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes  (4)
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid — 1969; George Roy Hill;  written by William Goldman;  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Jeff Corey, plus Cloris Leachman in a bit part, and Sam Elliott playin cards.  Originally planned as Steve McQueen & Paul Newman.  Shot in both sepia and color.  (4)
Midnight Cowboy — 1969;  John Schlesinger;  Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Brenda Vaccaro, Sylvia Miles;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Schlesinger, and Screenplay.  (3)
Easy Rider — 1969;  Dennis Hopper;  written by Hopper, Peter Fonda & Terry Southern;  starring Hopper & Fonda, early breakout role by Jack Nicholson, Karen Black  (3)

Airport — 1970;  George Seaton;  from Arthur Hailey novel;  Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Burt Lancaster, Jacqueline Bisset, Helen Hayes, Van Heflen (bomber), Maureen Stapleton  (4)
Little Big Man — 1970;  Arthur Penn;  Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam, William Hickey  (3)
The French Connection — 1971;  William Friedkin;  Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider & a buncha badguys.  Deservedly won Oscars for Best Picture, Director for Friedkin, Actor for Hackman, Screenplay, and Editing.  And the music by Don Ellis is great.  Poppy Doyle in the porkpie hat.  Shot almost entirely on locations in New York City circa 1970.  I love that there’s a street hockey game at night during the stakeout under the Brooklyn Bridge.  🙂  (4)
A Clockwork Orange — 1971;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick wrote screenplay from Anthony Burgess novel;  Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee  (3)
Happy Birthday Wanda June — 1971;  Mark Robson;  written by Kurt Vonnegut;   Rod Steiger, Susannah York, William Hickey;  Steiger & Hickey give amazing performances.  (4)
Cabaret — 1972;  Bob Fosse;  Liza Minelli, Joey Grey, Michael York  (4)
The Candidate — 1972;  Michael Ritchie;  Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Allan Garfield, Mike Barnicle, and a gorgeous Karen Carlson.  (4)
The Poseidon Adventure — 1972; Ronald Neame;  Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Jack Albertson  (4)
Deliverance — 1972;  John Boorman;  writer James Dickey;  Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox  (3)
Sleuth — 1972;  Joseph Mankiewicz;  written by Anthony Schaffer;  Lawrence Oliver, Michael Caine  (4)
The Sting — 1973;  George Roy Hill;  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, a riveting Robert Shaw, Charles Durning (who’s in six movies on this page!), Ray Walston, Eileen Brennon, Harold Gould;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Hill, and quite deservingly – Screenplay, Art Direction, Costumes (Edith Head), Editing and Music by Marvin Hamlisch (via Scott Joplin).  I’ve never forgotten watching live Liz Taylor’s announcement of it for Best Picture.  And upon 2020 reviewing – don’t miss the cars!  (4)
Paper Moon 1973;  Peter Bogdanovich;  Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman (in 2 brother roles), Burton Gilliam’s film debut, and Randy Quaid in a bit part.  Tatum won the Oscar, the youngest person ever in a competitive category.  Madeline Kahn was also nominated in the same category.  Also deservedly nominated for Best Screenplay.  Set in the depression, and filmed largely on locations in Missouri and Kansas.  Brilliant cinematography by Laszlo Kovaks.  Great film in every regard.  When this played in the Gimli Theater in the summer of 1973, I saw it on Friday night … and went back again Saturday.  B&W  (4)
Papillon — 1973;  dir. Franklin Schaffner;  Dustin Hoffman & Steve McQueen.  Only AA nomination was for music!?  (3)
Live and Let Die — 1973;  Guy Hamilton;  Roger Moore, Jane Seymour, Yaphet Kotto  (3)
American Graffiti — 1973;  George Lucas;  Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Wolfman Jack, Harrison Ford  (3)
The Paper Chase — 1973;  James Bridges;  Timothy Bottoms, John Houseman, Lindsay Wagner, Edward Hermann  (3)
The Towering Inferno — 1974;  John Guillermin, action sequences directed by Irwin Allen;  Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Blakely, Gregory Sierra (that lanky, balding Puerto Rican actor from Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues), and Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady). The pair of cinematographers, Fred Koenekamp & Joseph Biroc, won the Oscar, and they were pretty imaginative, thoughtful and versatile, but rewatching this for the first time since the mid-’70s, I sure liked this movie a lot more when I was 13. 🙂  Didn’t notice until viewing it again nearly 50 years later, but there are huge plot holes in that the fire that originally started could have been easily put out with the fire hoses on the floor; and then there were all these explosions in a basically empty office tower with nothing explodable in it.  It’s kind of a ridiculous, implausible, melodramatic and badly paced script.  There are 85 “Goofs” listed on its IMDb page.  How did we fall for this stuff? 🙂  All that said, there are a couple of real seat-of-your-pants suspenseful moments.  And, according to IMDb, it was the highest-grossing movie of 1974.  But no question — it’s a whole different movie to experience post the World Trade Centers on 9/11.  (4)
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest — 1975;  Miloš Foreman;  based on parts of the novel by Ken Kesey;  Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Scatman Crothers;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Miloš!, Actor for Jack, Actress for Louise Fletcher, and Screenplay.  (4)
Jaws — 1975;  Stephen Spielberg;  Peter Benchley novel & screenplay; Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Schnieder, Robert Shaw  (4)
Taxi Driver — 1976;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle.  One of the three movies Tarantino cites as his Best Three ever made (along with Howard Hawks Rio Bravo and De Palma’s Blow Out).   (3)
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Network — 1976;  Sidney Lumet;  written by Paddy Chayefsky (winning his third Best Screenplay Oscar);  Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway & Beatrice Straight all won Best Actor Oscars, but Finch died of a heart attack before receiving his for becoming Howard Beale. This and A Streetcar Named Desire are the only 2 films in history to win 3 acting Oscars (!) — and as of 2021 it’s the last film to receive 5 acting nominations.  Beatrice Straight’s 5 mins & 2 seconds of screen time is the shortest-ever Oscar-winning performance.  Plus: William Holden, Robert Duvall & Ned Beatty are all drop-dead brilliant.  Also Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Editing, and Holden & Beatty for Acting.  Aaron Sorkin has cited the script as a big influence on his screenwriting.  Love the name of the fictional network — UBS. 🙂  (3)
Star Wars1977;  George Lucas;  Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness  (4)
Kramer vs. Kramer1979;  screenplay & directed by Robert Benton;  Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Benton, Actor for Hoffman, Actress for Streep, and Screenplay.  (3)
Being There1979;  Hal Ashby;  novel & screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski;  Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden  (4)
Apocalypse Now1979;  directed and cowritten by Francis Ford Coppola;  Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duval, Dennis Hopper  (4)
Return of the Secaucus Seven1979;  written & directed by John Sayles;  John Sayles, David Strathairn, this movie is widely credited as the inspiration for The Big Chill, which many say was just a rip-off of this Sayles film.  (3)

The Shining — 1980;  Stanley Kubrick;  Stephen King book, Kubrick screenplay;  Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers  (4)
Heart Beat — 1980;  John Byrun;  based on a part of Carolyn Cassady’s autobiography Off The Road;  Nick Nolte as Neal, Sissy Spacek as Carolyn, John Heard as Jack, Ray Sharkey as the Allen-like character.  Carolyn called this movie “Heart Break” because she didn’t like the final product, but did like Sissy Spacek’s portrayal and as a person.  (3)
Carny — 1980;  written & directed by Robert Kaylor;  Jodie Foster, Gary Busey, Robbie Robertson  (3)
Raiders of the Lost Ark — 1981;  Steven Spielberg;  Harrison Ford, Karen Allen  (3)
On Golden Pond — 1981;  Mark Rydell;  Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman  (3)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial — 1982;  Steven Spielberg;  Henry Thomas (the kid), Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore  (3)
The World According to Garp — 1982;  George Roy Hill;  John Irving novel;  Robin Williams, Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Mary Beth Hurt, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn  (4)
Deathtrap — 1982;  Sidney Lumet;  Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon  (4)
The Big Chill — 1983;  Lawrence Kasdan;  Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Tilly, Mary Kay Place, Tom Berringer  (4)
Places In The Heart — 1984;  written & directed by Robert Benton;  Sally Field, John Malkovich, Ed Harris, Danny Glover, Lindsay Crouse, Amy Madigan  (3)
Paris, Texas — 1984;  Wim Wenders;  the idea came from Sam Shepard wanting to turn his book Motel Chronicles into a film – Shepard, Texas writer L.M. Kit Carson & Wenders all collaborated on the script; Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski. Perfect slide guitar soundtrack by Ry Cooder.  Great casting & performances, and some good cinematography, but kind of a sad & depressing movie.  (3)
Prizzi’s Honor — 1985;  John Huston;  Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, John Randolph, Angelica Huston (won best actress directed by her father, just as John had directed his father Walter to an Oscar in Treasure of the Sierra Madre), William Hickey’s brilliant performance  (3)
Back To The Future — 1985;  written & directed by Robert Zemeckis;  Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover  (4)
The Breakfast Club — 1985;  written & directed by John Hughes;  Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Michael Anthony Hall, Judd Nelson,  Ally Sheedy and Paul Gleason as the teacher, who spent time with Kerouac in Florida in the ’60s and tells a couple wonderful stories about it on the Extra disc in the 2012 Deluxe Edition of What Happened to Kerouac?  (see entry in Documentaries)  (3)
‘Round Midnight — 1986;  Bertrand Tavernier;  script cowritten by Tavernier;  Dexter Gordon, Francoise Cluzet, cameo by Martin Scorsese  (4)
Stand By Me — 1986;  Rob Reiner;  written by Stephen King;  Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Cory Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland  (3)
Matewan — 1987;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper stars – and it’s his first movie!  plus James Earl Jones, David Straithairn  (4)
Broadcast News — 1987;  written & directed by James Brooks;  William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter  (4)
Witches of Eastwick — 1987;  George Miller;  from John Updike book;  Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, Cher, Richard Jenkins  (4)
The Untouchables — 1987;  Brian de Palma;  screenplay David Mamet;  Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro  (4)
Throw Mama From The Train — 1987;  dir. Danny DeVito;  starring DeVito & Billy Crystal;  with Branford Marsalis & Rob Reiner in great bit parts.  Although ostensibly about a Hitchcockian double-murder criss-cross, it’s a funny (and I think comically accurate) movie about writing and writers.    (4)
Rain Man — 1988;  Barry Levinson;  Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, plus cool cameo by Levinson as the doctor;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Levinson, Actor for Hoffman, and Screenplay.  (3)
Mississippi Burning — 1988;  Alan Parker;  Gene Hackman, Willem Defoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, Stephen Tobolowsky  (3)
Midnight Run — 1988;  Martin Brest;  Robert De Niro & Charles Grodin  (3)
Dead Poets Society — 1989;  Peter Weir;  Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard  (4)

Goodfellas — 1990;  Martin Scorsese;  write Nicholas Pileggi;  Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino  (4)
Here’s the 3-minute tracking shot going into the Copacabana:


Dances With Wolves —  1990;  dir. Kevin Costner;  Costner, Graham Greene, Fred “Red Crow” Westerman;  won Best Picture Oscar, Best Director for Costner, Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound, Editing & Music.  (3)
Ghost — 1990;  Jerry Zucker;  Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopie Goldberg  (4)
Pretty Woman — 1990;  Garry Marshall;  Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy  (3)
Vincent & Theo — 1990;  Robert Altman;  Tim Roth as Vincent Van Gogh (!) — the performance that Quentin Tarantino caught that led him to cast Tim in Reservoir Dogs and become one of his stable of actors.  Great biopic on Van Gogh & his brother by none other than Robert Altman!  Opens with footage of Christie’s historic 1987 auction when Van Gogh’s Sunflowers shattered the record for the most money ever paid for a work of art.  The movie was originally designed as a four hour mini-series for the BBC, then cut down to this 2 hour film.  (3)
Misery — 1990;  Rob Reiner;  from Stephen King book;  Kathy Bates & James Caan  (3)
Thelma & Louise — 1991;  Ridley Scott;  Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald (as Daryl), Stephen Tobolowsky  (4)
JFK — 1991;  written & directed by Oliver Stone;  cinematography by Robert Richardson – won Oscar for it;  Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner, Sally Kirkland  (3)
Glengarry Glen Ross — 1992;  James Foley;  David Mamet play & screenplay;  Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce  (4)
Dave —  1993;  Ivan Reitman;  Oscar-nominated screenplay by Gary Ross (who also wrote Big, Pleasantville & Seabiscuit);  Kevin Kline (boy, that guy is one helluvan actor), Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella (a perfectly despicable badguy), Kevin Dunn (as Press secretary), Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley (who doesn’t appear until an hour 20 into the movie), Laura Linney, Charles Grodin, Stephen Root, Anna Deavere Smith, Bonnie Hunt;  plus tons of cameos of entertainers and politicos playing themselves including — Tip O’Neill, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Howard Metzenbaum, Alan Simpson, Paul Simon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helen Thomas, Nina Totenberg, Sander Vanocur, Michael Kinsley, Jay Leno, Larry King, Ben Stein — and John McLaughlin, Eleanor Clift, Chris Matthews, Mort Kondracke & Freddie “The Beatle” Barnes in an improvised McLaughlin Group segment.  Absolutely great political comedy about a doppelgänger (Kline) for the president being enlisted to fill in for him.  Both Clinton & Obama loved this movie.  And so do I.  This is SUCH a great movie!  I actually got choked up several times, but then I’m a softy that way.  It’s a beautiful modern update on Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  (3)
Short Cuts1993;  Robert Altman;  based on stories by Raymond Carver;  Lily Tomlin & Tom Waits, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Chris Penn, Andie MacDowell & Bruce Davison, Julianne Moore & Matthew Modine, Fred Ward & Anne Archer, Tim Robbins & Madeleine Stowe, Francis McDormand & Peter Gallagher, Lili Taylor & Robert Downey Jr., Annie Ross & Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry, Huey Lewis, Jack Lemmon.  Music producer: Hal Willner.  Great filmmaking by Altman, of course, with an unbelievable cast, but there’s no real through-plot, or character development, or any character I particularly gave a shit about.  It’s just a montage of occasionally vaguely connected lives in and around LA.  I LOVED The Player (which preceded this) and correctly got nominated for Best Screenplay, which this correctly did not. I get that there’s great performances by a to-die-for cast — cuz they wanna work with Altman — but it’s like a 3-hour soap opera recap.  It’s maybe a good *idea* for a movie . . . but there’s too many storylines for any of them to be explored in depth … and the “short cuts” cause, at least this viewer, to not invest any emotion into any of these mostly duplicitous unethical heartless people.  (3)
Forrest Gump — 1994;  Robert Zemeckis;  Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, Sally Field’. won Best Picture Oscar, Best Director for Zemeckis, Best Actor for Hanks, Screenplay, Editing, Special Effects.  (4)
Pulp Fiction — 1994;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  John Travota, Samuel Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette  (3)
The Shawshank Redemption — 1994;  Frank Darabont;  Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton (bad guy warden)  (3)
Quiz Show — 1994;  dir. by Robert Redford;  John Turturro, Ralph Fiennes, Hank Azaria, David Paymer, Rob Morrow, and my friend Pat Russell in bit part as a reporter  (4)
The Mask — 1994;  Chuck Russell;  Jim Carrey, Camron Diaz (in her first movie), Peter Riegert, Richard Jeni  (4) 
Reality Bites — 1994;  Ben Stiller;  Ethan Hawk, Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn, Ben Stiller, Swoozie Kurtz  (3)
Casino — 1995;  Martin Scorsese;  book by Nicholas Pileggi, screenplay by Scorsese — the same duo who created Goodfellas;  cinematography by the great Robert Richardson – the first time he & Scorsese worked their magic together;  Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone (her sole Oscar nomination), Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Frank Vincent, Kevin Pollak, Alan King, L.Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Katie Scorsese (Marty’s mom), and a Steve Allen cameo.  A rare 3-hour movie.  The great Saul Bass did the exquisite title sequence.  And great sound editing.  And, boy, what a climax!  From story to script to casting to art direction to costuming to cinematography to editing to soundtrack — THIS is a masterpiece miracle that Iñárritu talks about when he says: “To make a film is easy.  To make a good film is war.  To make a great film is a miracle.”
Fargo — 1996;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  William H. Macy, Francis McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell  (4)
That Thing You Do! —  1996;  written & directed by Tom Hanks;  Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Hanks  (4)
Sling Blade — 1996;  written & directed by Billy Bob Thornton;  starring Thornton, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Dwight Yoakam  (4)
Jerry Maguire — 1996;  Cameron Crowe;  Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. (won Oscar for it), Renee Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jay Mohr  (3)
Titanic — 1997;  James Cameron;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Effects, Song & Score – 11 total!  (3)
Men In Black — 1997;  Barry Sonnenfeld;  Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Fiorentino, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub  (3)
Good Will Hunting — 1997;  Gus Van Sant;  written by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck;  Damon & Affleck, Robin Williams.  The last line of the credits reads: “In Memory of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs”  (3)
Jackie Brown — 1997;  Quentin Tarantino;  screenplay by Tarantino based on Elmore Leonard novel;  Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Chris Tucker, Michael Bowen.  His followup to Pulp Fiction. Great mature character drama.  Brilliant writing & filmmaking, as always. (3)
The Devil’s Advocate — 1997;  Taylor Hackford;  Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves, Jeffrey Jones  (4)
Breakdown — 1997;  Jonathon Mostow;  Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan  (4)
The Last Time I Committed Suicide — 1997;  Stephen Kay;  based on the then-only-surviving part of Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson letter” as printed in his book The First Third;  Thomas Jane as Neal, Keanu Reeves in a Kerouac-like role, Adrien Brody in a Ginsberg-like role, Claire Forlani as Joan Anderson, Gretchen Mol as Cherry Mary;  Carolyn Cassady & I agree this is the best Beat dramatization on film.  (4)
Face/Off — 1997;  John Woo;  John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, John Carroll Lynch (as the prison warden, was the husband in Fargo) and Harve Presnell (as the FBI, and was William H. Macy’s father-in-law in Fargo – made the year before this movie).  (3)
Donnie Brasco — 1997;  Mike Newell;  based on true memoir by FBI agent Joseph Pistone;  Al Pacino & Johnny Depp, with Anne Heche, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby.  Depp goes undercover in the NY mob in the ’70s.  (3)
Primary Colors — 1998;  Mike Nichols;  Joe Klein book, Elaine May screenplay;  John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates; about the Clintons in 1992.  (3)
The Talented Mr. Ripley — 1999;  written & directed by Anthony Minghella; to-die-for cast and everybody brings their A game — Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Rebhorn, Philip Baker Hall.  Shot entirely on location in Italy. (4)
Pushing Tin — 1999;  Mike Newell;  Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina Jolie, John Cusack. not to mention Cate Blanchett and Vicki “NewsRadio” Lewis — fantastic performances by all.  Plus a cameo by the great John Carroll Lynch (husband Norm in Fargo) as the scared Dr. Freeze.  (3)
The Haunting — 1999;  Jan de Bont;  Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor, Bruce Dern  (4)

Memento — 2000;  Chris Nolan;  screenplay by Nolan, from a short story by his younger brother Christopher;  Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantollano, Stanley Tobolowsky, Mark Boone Junior.  (4)
Almost Famous — 2000;  written & directed by Cameron Crowe;  Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Francis McDormand, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Zooey Deschanel  (3)
Cast Away — 2000;  Robert Zemeckis;  Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt.  Best plane crash scene I’ve ever seen on film.  (3)
Erin Brockovich — 2000;  Steven Soderbergh;  Julia Roberts (won Best Actress Oscar), Albert Finney (nominated and should have won for Best Supporting), Aaron Eckhart, Peter Coyote, Tracey Walker.  Also nominated for Best Picture, Director & Screenplay.  Nice cameo with the real Erin Brockovich as a waitress.  Brilliant music by Thomas Newman.  Shot largely on locations, including with a lot of extras who were actual plaintiffs in the case.  I’ve prolly watched this movie 15 times; absolutely love every minute and scene.  You won’t find me complementing hair stylists anywhere else on this page, but whoever did Julia Roberts’ for this movie deserved an Oscar.  🙂  (4)
Requiem for a Dream — 2000;  Darren Aronofsky;  Hubert Selby wrote; Jared Leno, Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn  (3)
28 Days — 2000;  Betty Thomas;  Sandra Bullock, Dominik West, Viggo Mortensen;  about rehab, really good; small role for Steve Buchemi.  (3)
Happy Accidents — 2000;  written & directed by Brad Anderson;  Vincent D’Onofrio, Marisa Tomei  (3)
Blow — 2001;  Ted Demme;  Johnny Depp, Jordi Molla, Penelope Cruz, Paul Reubens  (3)
Catch Me If You Can — 2002;  Steven Spielberg;  from Frank Abagnale book;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams  (3)
Masked & Anonymous — 2003;  Larry Charles;  written by Bob Dylan & Larry Charles;  Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Penelope Cruz, Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Ed Harris, Bruce Dern, Fred Ward, Cheech Marin, Val Kilmer  (4)
Owning Mahoney — 2003;  Richard Kwietniowski;  Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Hurt, Minnie Driver, Maury Chaykin.  Great movie based on a real story about a Canadian banker who embezzled money to feed a gambling addiction.  (3)
The Aviator — 2004;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson won the Oscar for his cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alex Baldwin, Alan Alda, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Edward Herrmann, Gwen Stefani.  Great biopic about Howard Hughes.  Cate Blanchett deservedly won Best Supporting Actress for her Katherine Hepburn; plus it won for cinematography, editing, art direction and costumes.  (3)
Secret Window — 2004;  David Koepp;  from a Stephen King novel;  Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello;  music Philip Glass.  (4)
Good Night, and Good Luck — 2005;  written & directed by George Clooney;  David Strathairn, Ray Wise, Jeff Daniels, George Clooney, Alex Borstein, Tate Donovan, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Frank Langella.  Brilliant docudrama about Edward R. Murrow, including the powerful use of archival footage of McCarthy & committee hearings within the new film.  B&W  (3)
Capote2005;  Bennett Miller (in his directorial debut);  Dan Futterman screenplay; Philip Seymour Hoffman (deservedly won his one Oscar for Best Actor, although as I’ve said, Hoffman coulda/shoulda won an Oscar for every single performance he ever delivered), Catherine Keener as Harper Lee, Capote’s friend since they were 5 years old (deservedly nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Bob Balaban as William Shawn (editor at the New Yorker), Chris Cooper as Detective Dewey, Bruce Greenwood as Capote’s life-partner Jack Dunphy, and the guy who plays the photographer Richard Avedon is the film’s cinematographer Adam Kimmel.  Film nominated for Best Picture, Director & Screenplay — although the director & Hoffman’s DVD commentary revealed a ton of the scenes were improvised.  Primarily about the In Cold Blood period — the 1966 book, which was one of the early landmarks of literary nonfiction / new journalism, which was also being simultaneously created in the mid-’60s by Hunter Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion & others.  Filmed largely in and around my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, including Stony Mountain Penitentiary (where they employed real guards in the roles) & the Legislative Building.  Director Miller, screenwriter Futterman & actor Hoffman all knew each other since they were 16.  The movie Capote is talking about in the early dinner scene with the detective (Chris Cooper) & his wife is Beat The Devil (1953, see in top list above).  The speech Capote quotes the prisoner as wanting to say is basically verbatim Marlon Brando’s acceptance speech for winning the Best Actor Oscar for On The Waterfront in 1955.  (3)
The Departed — 2006;  Martin Scorsese;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen;  Who Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay, and Editing, and Scorsese finally for Best Director  (4)
Death Proof — 2007;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell (in an unbelievable performance in basically her first movie, and she doesn’t appear until 65 minutes into it — yet steals the show), Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tracie Thoms, Eli Roth, Michael Parks, Tarantino as the bar owner, AMi the jukebox (Tarantino’s), and Sydney Tamila Poitier (Sidney’s daughter) as Jungle Julie with the incredible hair.  Tarantino built this movie around a desire to film a classic car chase scene … and having a stuntwoman who could be an engaging lead on camera.  It’s his attempt at doing the greatest car chase scene ever — and the climactic 20 minutes of the movie certainly put it in contention.  😉  He made a point to credit himself as the Director of Photography which is quite visible in the imaginative and brilliantly filmed climactic sequence.  Done as a homage to ’70s car chase movies, specifically Vanishing Point, including the cool music (by Jack Nitzsche) and physically scratching & damaging the print to make it look old.  Contains a signature Tarantino 8-minute continuous shot with the four girls at a round table in a diner a la Reservoir Dogs at the start of the second half.  After three viewings, I really like this least-seen lowest-rated QT film.  (3)
I’m Not There — co-written & directed by Todd Haynes;  with a mind-blowing cast! Cate Blanchett (absolutely unforgettably brilliant! and deservedly Oscar-nominated), Christian Bale, Health Ledger (his last film to be released in his lifetime), Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franken (the little Black boy), Julianne Moore (as the Joan Baez character), David Cross (as Allen Ginsberg), Ben Winshaw (B&W at the table), Richie Havens (!), Kim Gordon (!), Bruce Greenwood (as the Mr. Jones reporter), Michelle Williams (briefly as an Edie Sedgwick type), and Kris Kristofferson (narrator).  Brilliant cinematography by Edward Lachman.  Lee Ranaldo was one of the music supervisors (the Cate Blanchett electric section) — all with a succulent soaring sound — a surreal sonorous symphony of cinema.  A dancing Dylan delight of a drama.  Amazing flowing script, and snappily edited.  Watching again for first time in more than 10 years (in 2021) — and my f’n Gawd this is a *masterpiece* of a movie!  Sheesh.  Historic ’60s Greenwich Village footage merged into this brilliant 21st century interpretation.  There’s TONS of original Dylan recordings in the film — so he must’ve loved it or they couldn’t be using them.  Brilliant editing.  And casting.  Made for $20 million.  This is f’n *brilliant* masterpiece filmmaking.  Lots of original time-period quoting — merging with new stuff — much like Dylan’s songwriting.  He lifts original lines and puts them in a new context.  And this film does that as well.  (4)
You can read my review of it here
Charlie Wilson’s War — 2007;  Mike Nichols;  Aaron Sorkin;  Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Peter Gerety  (3)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall — 2008;  Nicholas Stoller;  Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Steve Landesberg (in his last film role)  (3)
Inglourious Basterds — 2009;  Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Rod Taylor, Mike Myers  (4)

The Social Network — 2010;  David Fincher;  brilliant and Oscar-winning screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (who also, effectively, co-directed);  Jesse Eisenberg Oscar-nominated as Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, and Sorkin with a nice cameo as an ad executive.  Brilliant casting all the way through.  Perfect original Oscar-winning piano-based music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross.  Also Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director & Cinematography.  The “twins” were done by computer superimposing the one actor’s face over the other’s to make them look identical.  David Fincher is one helluva filmmaker!  The 92-minute making-of doc on the 2-disc DVD release is by far the best making-of DVD doc I’ve ever seen.  And there’s TWO commentaries — both David Fincher & Aaron Sorkin.  (4)
Moneyball — 2011;  Bennett Miller; Aaron Sorkin co-wrote;  Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I’m not a baseball fan, but this character-rich real-story drama about a revolutionary process of putting together a winning team with a low budget is compelling from start to finish.  Nominated for Best Picture, Screenplay, Editing, and both Brad & Jonah’s Acting.  (3)
Django Unchained — 2012;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Bruce Dern, Michael Parks, and with tiny cameos as the trackers holding Kerry Washington, Michael Parks’ son James, Robert Carradine (younger brother of David), and his half-brother Michael Bowen, Zoe Bell, and Ted Neeley in the chair (Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – his first film appearance in 30 years).  Won Oscar for Best Screenplay, and Waltz for Best Actor.  Also nominated for Best Picture & Cinematography for Robert Richardson.  Tarantino wanted to make a classic Western – but with a black hero – because there are no Westerns that black people can watch with a brother to root for.  And all done with smatterings of humor.  Fantastic filmmaking, as always.  (3)
On The Road — 2012;  Walter Salles;  based on the novel by Jack Kerouac;  Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kristen Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Elizabeth Moss, Danny Morgan.  You can read about the London premiere here, the North American premiere in Toronto here, and the New York premiere here.  (4)
Kill Your Darlings — 2013;  John Krokidas;  screenplay Austin Dunn;  Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Cullum.  You can read my review from it’s premiere at TIFF in Toronto here.  (3)
Big Sur — 2013;  Michael Polish;  based on Jack Kerouac novel;  Jean-Marc Barr as Jack, Kate Bosworth as Billie, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady, Anthony Edwards as Ferlinghetti, Balthazar Getty as McClure.  Something like 80% of all the movie’s dialog is voiceover directly from Kerouac’s book.  (2)
The Wolf of Wall Street — 2013;  Martin Scorsese;  based on Jordan Belfort book;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner  (3) 
The Post — 2017;  Steven Spielberg;  Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, David Cross  (3)
Get Out — 2017;  written & directed by Jordan Peele;  Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root, Lil Ray Howery.  Deservedly won Best Screenplay.  (3)
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood — 2019;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margo Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch.  Every time I watch this – prolly 6 or 7 times by now – I think, “This is a brilliant masterpiece of filmmaking in every regard.”  Here’s a great documentary on the making of it.  (4)
Here’s the 4-minute continuous tracking shot from the middle of the movie — the confrontation/fight between Brad Pitt’s Cliff and the Bruce Lee character:

Documentaries  [46]

N.Y., N.Y. — 1957;  Francis Thompson;  a 15-minute revolutionary cinematic masterpiece that has been described as both Cubist and Dadaist.  A young D.A. Pennebaker (see next entry) was an assistant to the filmmaker in Manhattan on the project, and used his projector and phonograph playing Bartók to screen it for Aldous Huxley in Thompson’s apartment.  (4)
Don’t Look Back — 1967;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Donovan, Joan Baez, Alan Price, Bobby Neuwirth, Albert Grossman  B&W  (4)
’65 Revisited — 2007;  new version of Don’t Look Back made by Pennebaker of original footage outtakes not used in the original.  B&W  (1)
With Love from Truman1966;  Albert & David Maysles; 30-min. documentary / interview with Capote for the Newsweek cover story shortly after In Cold Blood came out and became a hit.  This is included on the Extras on the Criterion Collection version of In Cold Blood.  (seen twice)
Salesman — filmed in 1966, released in 1969;  Albert & David Maysles riveting masterpiece documentary about four door-to-door Bible salesmen. starts outside Boston (Webster, Mass), then they go down to Miami. first saw in Phyllis’s kitchen. seen twice.  What’s amazing is the complete breakdown of one of the salesmen.  REWATCH/LISTEN TO COMMENTARY — he explains HOW he makes his documentaries — empathy: from commentary: Albert Maysles became lifelong friends with Paul Brennan (the guy who lost it). David Maysles loved Arthur Miller plays, would see them multiple times. just the two of them, no assistant. David on sound (directional microphone, into a customized Nagra to record for 15 times at a time), Albert on camera (weighted 20 pounds; had early zoom lens). he says — took 30 years to get it on TV.  Shot 100 hours of film, boiled down to 90 min.!  Cost $200-300,000!!! for the processing of the film.  Plus the editor’s salary (the woman).  The 200th film added to my list!  B&W  (4)
Monterey Pop — 1968;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Mamas & Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Animals avec violin, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar.  The first rock festival movie that set the standard for all that followed.   (4)
The Grateful Dead aren’t in it — but a rippin 10-minute surreptitiously filmed Viola Lee Blues surfaced years later.  This is primo proto psychedelic Dead as it was being born.  This was the early song they used to create the canvas that became 30 years of Grateful Dead music and inspired an entire genre.  That Pennebaker’s team knew this was the song in the Dead’s set to capture is the same reason this movie is so gem-packed.

Woodstock — 1970;  Michael Wadleigh;  Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Crosby, Stills & Nash, 10 Years After, John Sebastian, Santana, Sly & The Family Stone  (4)
Medicine Ball Caravan — 1971;  Francois Reichenbach;  a French-made Warner Brothers financed documentary about a bus caravan that drove from San Francisco to D.C. in the summer of 1970.  Made in hopes of capitalizing on the Woodstock film popularity, but it already seemed like a cliche by its release in 1971.  Various live performances by Alice Cooper, B.B. King, Jesse Colin Young, Bonnie Bramlett, David Peel, Stoneground, Doug Kershaw.  Great detailed article about it here: https://rickouellettereelandrock.com/2013/03/03/the-strange-forgotten-saga-of-the-medicine-ball-caravan/comment-page-1/ (never seen)
The Last Waltz — 1978;  Martin Scorsese;  The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, the Staple Sisters  (4)
The Kids Are Alright — 1979;  written & directed by Jeff Stein;  starring The Who.  Great song-rich documentary of one of rock’s great quartets.  (3)

Lightning Over Water — 1980;  directed by and starring Wim Wenders and Nicholas Ray.  Ronee Blakley’s in it.  I saw at Papp’s Public Theater in the Village with Susan Ray.
What Happened to Kerouac? — 1986;  Richard Lerner & Lewis MacAdams;  Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, Jan Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Edie Kerouac, Michael McClure & others.  Probably the best Kerouac documentary.  Filmed largely at the 1982 Kerouac summit in Boulder, CO, that I attended and wrote an entire book about — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.  If you’re going to get this on DVD, be sure to get the 2012 2-disk re-release with all the extra footage.  I’ve watched the actor Paul Gleason’s mesmerizing recounting of knowing Jack in Florida about 10 times.  (4)
Sherman’s March — 1986;  Ross McElee;  quirky, engaging documentary ostensibly about tracing Sherman’s historic Civil War march to the sea, but evolves into the filmmaker exploring his past & present love life.  (2)
Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser — 1988;  Charlotte Zwerin;  produced by Clint Eastwood;  great documentary about Monk with tons of both live and off-stage archival footage.  The Don’t Look Back of Bebop.  B&W  (2)
The Beat Generation: An American Dream — 1988; Janet Foreman;  written by Janet & Regina Weinrich;  great documentary — with everybody in it — archival footage and interviews circa mid-1980s.  (4)

Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse — 1991;  written & directed by Fax Bahr & George Hickenlooper;  the Coppola family, various actors from Apocalypse Now!  (2)
The War Room — 1993;  D.A. Pennebaker & wife Chris Hegedus;  great documentary about the behind-the-scenes of Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign.  (3)
The Beatles Anthology — 1995;  ABC;  Bob Smeaton;  8 episode retrospective of the band’s career;  included two new songs, Free As A Bird and Real Love that had been unfinished demos from John that the band added music to.  (seen once — the one time it aired in America, late 1995)
Swear To Tell The Truth — 1998;  written & directed by Robert Weide;  great Lenny Bruce documentary  (3)
The Source: The Story of The Beats and The Beat Generation — 1999;  written & directed by Chuck Workman;  Johnny Depp reads Kerouac, Dennis Hopper reads Burroughs, John Turturro reads Allen, plus absolutely everybody’s interviewed in it.  (4)

Dogtown and Z-Boys — 2001;  dir: Stacy Peralta (the famous guy);  Jay Adams, Tony Alva; Craig Stecyk (original writer & photographer); narrator: Sean Penn;  memorizing “birth of skateboarding” documentary.  (4)
Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days — 2001;  amazing AMC (American Movie Classics) documentary with the 37 missing min. of last film Something’s Got To Give.  (2)
Bowling For Columbine — 2002;  documentary written & directed by Michael Moore; won Best Documentary Oscar.  (3)
The Kid Stays In The Picture — 2002;  Nanette Burstein & Brett Morgan; from Robert Evans book;  starring Robert Evans and half of Hollywood.
Lost In La Mancha — 2002;  great documentary on Terry Gilliam making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote;  with Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges  (3)
Festival Express — 2003;  Bob Smeaton;  The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, Flying Burrito Brothers, Ian & Sylvia, Delaney & Bonnie, Mashmekhan.  You can read my feature story about it here.  (4)
Los Angeles Plays Itself2003;  written & directed by Thom Anderson.  Highly recommended documentary about films shot in L.A., how the city’s portrayed, real sites versus the life incarnations, including architecture & interior design, and public transport & automobiles.  Nearly 3 hours of fantastic editing of film clips, weaving together hundreds of different movie snippets telling a riveting history of filmmaking with an L.A. location focus.  B&W and color  (seen once)
The Aristocrats — 2005;  Paul Provenza (and Penn Jillette);  featuring nearly every comedian you’ve ever heard of, but the key & funniest ones I remember are: Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Drew Carey, Sarah Silverman, Paul Reiser, George Carlin, Andy Dick, Martin Mull, Mario Cantone (as Liza Minelli), Kevin Pollak (as Christopher Walkin), Eric Meed the card trick guy, and South Park.  (4)
Grizzly Man — 2005;  Warner Herzog;  Timothy Treadwell  (1)
Shut Up and Sing — 2006;  Barbara Kopple;  Dixie Chicks tour documentary — mindblowingly great — it’s like Don’t Look Back in so many ways — London, controversy, news + backstage + stage + young performer(s) caught in a contemporary controversy . . . Rick Rubin scene in the middle is super insightful — core of the movie.  Plus they play an awesome version of Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi” at one of the climaxes of the movie.  Also, Toronto has a sweet and proud cameo.  (3)
The Gates — 2007;  Albert & David Maysles;  amazing doc about Christo’s “Gates” installation in Central Park.  (3)
Run Granny Run — 2007;  Mario Poras;  Indie documentary about 94 year old Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock’s run for the 2004 New Hampshire Senate seat  (3)
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson — 2008;  Alex Gibney;  Johnny Depp narrator;  great doc!  Lots about ’72.  (3)
One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur — 2009;  Curt Worden;  great documentary including interviews with Sam Shepard, Robert Hunter, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Carolyn & John Cassady, Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, David Amram, Sterling Lord, Joyce Johnson, John Tytell, Bill Morgan, Aram Saroyan, Jack Hirschman, Brenda Knight, Diamond Dave Whitaker, Lenny Kaye, Dar Williams, Donal Logue, Paul Marion;  music by Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard.  (3)

Good Ol’ Freda — 2013; Ryan White; great documentary about The Beatles’ fan club president, Freda Kelly, who was with them before Ringo Starr or Brian Epstein and until after their breakup. Contains tons of Beatles original songs, which is very rare for any film because they rarely authorize the usage. (seen once)
Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty — 2014;  Greg Olliver;  historic footage of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Son House, Willie Dixon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King and all the rest who created the music Johnny built upon;  plus contemporary masters like Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry and others explain how Johnny inspired their approach.  You can read my review about it here.  (seen once)
Altman2014;  Ron Mann;  spectacular Canadian-made 96-min. doc. by the great Ron Mann spanning the rebel film auteur’s complete life.  Loving, smart, honest & inspirational.  (seen once)
Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Gore  —  2015;  cowritten & directed by Robert Gordon;  besides the two heavyweights in the main bout, also features archival footage with Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Paul Newman, Noam Chomsky & Jon Stewart, and contemporary observations from Dick Cavett, Frank Rich, Christopher Hitchens & Andrew Sullivan.  John Lithgow (Vidal) and Kelsey Grammer (Buckley) voice readings by the headliners.  You can read my review of it here.  (seen once – at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto) 
The Wrecking Crew! — 2015;  written & directed by Denny Tedesco (son of one of founding Wrecking Crew members);  starring the original Crew musicians, plus Brian Wilson, Leon Russell, Frank Zappa, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Lou Adler and a host of others.  Great documentary about the historic L.A. musician collective that played the music on hundreds of hit songs you love.  You can read my review of it here.  (seen once)
Going Furthur — 2016;  Colby Tex O’Neill, Matt “Puds” Pidutti, Lindsay Kent;  Wavy Gravy, George Walker, Ken Babbs, Roy Sebern, Anonymous, Alex Grey, Zane Kesey, Sam Cutler, countless Merry Pranksters new and old, and a camei by Yours Unruly.  About the 2014 50th anniversary of the Pranksters’ bus trip across America and all the new next-gen Pranksters who rode along.  Here’s my full review of it.  (3)
Long Strange Trip – The Untold Story of The Grateful Dead — 2017;  Amir Bar-Lev;  starring the Dead and everyone in their circle;  four hours, in two parts, 14 years in the works;  streamed on Amazon Prime;  it opens and closes with Jack Kerouac (!);  here’s my detailed review from its Toronto Lightbox screening with the director.  (seen once)
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists — 2018;  directed by Jonathon Alter! (the political journalist) and John Block;  interviews with Colin Quinn, John Avlon, Mike Barnicle, Gail Collins, Mike Lupica, Robert Krulwich, Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine, Robert De Niro, Spike Lee, Tom Brokaw, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Garry Trudeau, Tony Bennett & many others, plus tons of archival footage.  Every one of those people is on the List of Heroes for this reporter. Riveting HBO documentary about the two quintessential pioneering New York reporters & columnists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill who were active during my decades in New York.  They were fantastically gifted writers — newspapermen men, specifically — carving out “New Journalism” the way Thompson, Wolfe & Mailer were with books.  And talk about on-the-scenesters — they were both standing with Bobby Kennedy the moment he was shot — and both of them jumped on and held down the assassin — and both of them wrote their accounts.  Footage of each of them typing reveals they were both one-finger typists!  The millions of words they each wrote and were read — were all typed by one finger on each hand!  (seen once)
Jane Fonda In Five Acts — 2018;  Susan Lacy;  fantastic doc;  I love her husbands — Roger Vadim a film director, Tom Haden an activist, and Ted Turner a media visionary.  Explores how she grew up without emotional connections/ intelligence, then learned it in her later years and reveals the story of how she found it.  She won two Academy Awards for Best Lead Actor — something only 20 others actors ever achieved.  “My hair needs its own agent.”  🙂  (seen once)
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese — 2019;  Netflix; Scorsese;  with Dylan, lots of Allen Ginsberg, plus Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Scarlet Rivera, Ronee Blakley, Ronnie Hawkins, David Mansfield, Hurricane Carter, Gordon Lightfoot, Patti Smith.  Scorsese used footage shot for Bob’s ill-fated Renaldo & Clara and made a highly watchable documentary of the coolest single tour that ever happened.  Lots of footage at Kerouac’s gravesite.  Downside: There is an annoying & unnecessary inclusion of a fictional filmmaker and fictional promoter and actress Sharon Stone telling fictional stories about attending the shows that detracts from an otherwise invaluable telling of a priceless moment in cultural history.   (seen twice)
Laurel Canyon — 2020;  photographers Henry Diltz & Nurit Wilde;  Alex Gibney a producer;  they used audio interviews over still pictures with (in order) the Byrds, Love, the Buffalo Springfield, the Turtles, the Doors, Zappa, Alice Cooper, the Monkees, the Mamas & the Papas, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, CSN, Elliot Roberts, Jackson Browne, Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Glenn Frey, David Geffen, Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, Steve Martin, Don Henley, Paul Barrere, Bill Payne, Sam Clayton, Lowell George, Little Feat, the Eagles, Russ Kunkel set to still photos of the time, plus some period TV appearances like American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan, The Monkees, Playboy After Hours, and footage from films Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, Festival Express and Riot on Sunset Strip.  Part 1 is basically the ’60s, part 2 the ’70s; each an hour & 20 mins.  (seen twice)
Jimmy Carter: Rock n Roll President — 2021;  CNN Films;  Mary Wharton; written by an MTV/VH1 guy I know, Bill Flanagan;  Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Chuck Leavell, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy Buffett, Rosanne Cash, Nile Rodgers, Larry Gatlin, Paul Simon, Bono, Jann Wenner, Andrew Young, Madeline Albright & others;  TONS of Dylan in the soundtrack! 
plus performance footage of Dylan, twice (Isle of Wight & the Christian tour), the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Mahalia Jackson, Bonnie Bramlett, tons of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Loretta Lynn, Dizzy Gillespie & Dexter Gordon, Dizzy & Jimmy Carter, Dizzy & Sarah Vaughan, Chick Corea, Bono with Nile Rodgers, Linda Ronstadt, the Charlie Daniels Band, and The Staple Singers during the closing credits;  cameo footage of Hunter Thompson, Andy Warhol, Whispering Bob Harris, Jerry Brown, Cher, John & Yoko, Paul Newman, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dolly Parton and Charles Mingus.  Great doc weaving together rock n roll and a President of the United States.  Lots of Dylan, Hunter Thompson, soul, jazz and gospel … as it should be.  😉  (seen twice)
Tripping The Niagara — 2021; John Morrison;  Canadian-made visual documentary using a bird’s-eye view flying from the mouth of Niagara River up to The Falls, including into towns along the way, and melding in historic black & white shots superimposed over present scenes.  Full fantastic doc is on YouTube.  (seen twice)
Here’s lotsa background on how it was made: https://www.trippingtheniagara.com/

Movies About Making Movies   [15]

Day For Night — 1973;  directed & screenplay by Francois Truffaut;  Jacqueline Bisset.  Truffaut’s movie about making movies.  (never seen)
The Big Picture — 1989;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest, Michael McKean & Michael Varhol;  Kevin Bacon, Michael McKean, J.T. Walsh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Teri Hatcher in her first movie  (4)
Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse — 1991;  written & directed by Fax Bahr & George Hickenlooper;  the Coppola family, various actors from Apocalypse Now!  (1)
The Player — 1992;  Robert Altman;  Michael Tolkin (novel & screenplay);  Tim Robbins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Fred Ward, Greta Scacchi, Cynthia Stevenson, Whoopi Goldberg, Dean Stockwell, Brion James, Lyle Lovett, Peter Gallagher, Sydney Pollack, Jeremy Piven, Gina Gershon, and a million cameos.  Gawd!  What a brilliant movie!  One of my favorites of all time.  Music by the great Thomas Newman.
This film has more Oscar-winning actors and actresses in the cast than any other movie in history.  (!)  Twelve:  Cher, James Coburn, Louise Fletcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Joel Grey, Anjelica Huston, Jack Lemmon, Marlee Matlin, Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Rod Steiger.
Thirteen, when you count Oscar winning Producer and Director Sydney Pollack, who also makes a cameo appearance.
Also includes fifteen other actors and actresses who received Oscar nominations: Karen Black, Dean Stockwell, Michael Tolkin, Gary Busey, Peter Falk, Teri Garr, Jeff Goldblum, Elliott Gould, Sally Kirkland, Buck Henry, Sally Kellerman, Burt Reynolds, Nick Nolte, Richard E. Grant and Lily Tomlin.  (4)
Here’s probably the greatest continuous tracking shot in film history — the 8-minute opening of this movie:
https://vimeo.com/75881931
Living in Oblivion — 1995;  written & directed by Tom DiCillo;  Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney, Peter Dinklage, and James Le Gros as the arrogant “star.” About low budget independent filmmaking in NYC — made by indi actors & crew.  Brilliantly written & executed.  Buscemi rules the roost.  And WHAT an opening!  Funny. Surreal.  Love it.  (4)
State & Main —  2000;  written & directed by David Mamet;  with an Unbelievable cast – the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy (and, boy, does he carry it), Alec Baldwin (as the naturally perfect movie star), Charles Durning, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Stiles, Rebecca Pidgeon, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Patti LuPone, Ricky Jay, Michael Higgins, Matt Malloy, a cameo by Jonathan Katz, plus a lot of locals and Mamet’s non-actor friends;  tasteful perfect music by Theodore Shapiro.  GAWD this is a masterpiece of a movie!  Sheesh!  Really Funny.  Personable.  Movie-making accurate.  America & Americana.  Masterful filmmaking.  Master-upon-master building on each other.  I watched this movie 10 times and see and love new stuff in it every time.  “It’s about purity.”  (4)
The Independent — 2000;  Jerry Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, a zillion cameos. funny. (1)
Hollywood Ending — 2002;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Téa Leoni, Treat Williams, George Hamilton, Debra Messing  (3)
The Kid Stays In The Picture — 2002;  Nanette Burstein & Brett Morgan; from Robert Evans book;  starring Robert Evans and half of Hollywood.  (1)
Lost In La Mancha — 2002;  great documentary on Terry Gilliam making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote;  with Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges  (3)
I Love Your Work — 2003;  Giovanni Ribisi, Joshua Jackson, Marisa Coughlin, Judy Greer, plus lots of cameos by Elvis Costello, Vince Vaughan, Jason Lee, Randall Batinkoff, Christina Ricci & others  (1)
For Your Consideration — 2006; Christopher Guest; written by Guest & Eugene Levy; starring Guest, Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Hitchcock, Jennifer Coolidge, Richard Kind, Sandra Oh, Don Lake, Ricky Gervais & Larry Miller.  Funny character-rich comedy about actors hoping to be nominated for an Academy Award.  The Guest & Levy commentary and outtake extras on the DVD are fantastic.  (3)
Tales From The Script2009;  Peter Hanson. Documentary about screenwriting.  Great!  Absolutely riveting.  But then I love anything about the writing process. 🙂  Nothing but writers telling stories about writing and filmmaking for nearly 2 hours!  Must-see for film fans, as far as I’m concerned.  Brilliantly made, IMO.  (seen once)
La La Land2016; written & directed by Damien Chazelle; Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling, with a great supporting role by John Legend; and small scene by J.K. Simmons.  Update on the classic Hollywood musicals, with a parallel story of an aspiring jazz musician.  Won Oscars for Emma Stone, Best Director, Cinematography, Music & Production Design.  (seen once)
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood — 2019;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margo Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch.  Every time I watch this – prolly 6 or 7 times by now – I think, “This is a brilliant masterpiece of filmmaking in every regard.”  Here’s a great documentary on the making of it.  (4)
Here’s the 4-minute continuous tracking shot from the middle of the movie — the confrontation/fight between Brad Pitt’s Cliff and the Bruce Lee character:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcsPAcLDBkc

 

Movies about Politics   [21]

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington — 1939;  Frank Capra;  Lewis Foster won Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story;  James Stewart & Jean Arthur; Claude Rains (as the morally corrupted & conflicted Senator) and Harry Carey (as the President of the Senate) were both nominated for Best Supporting Actors; plus Edward Arnold (as the evil bossman), Charles Lane, Thomas Mitchell.  Nominated 11 Oscars.  Of course I absolutely love this movie — including that there’s 96 Senators — cuz Hawaii & Alaska weren’t states yet.  It’s so interesting how the corrupt Jim Taylor criminal cabal echoes the corrupt trump cult.  Plus there’s a great love story that gets me every time.  The film was placed in preservation in the National Film Registry the first year of its existence.  B&W  (3)
State of The Union — 1948;  Frank Capra;  Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson.  A married industrialist (Spencer) runs for President.  B&W  (1)
The Candidate — 1972;  Michael Ritchie;  Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Allan Garfield  (4)
All The President’s Men — 1976;  Alan Pakula;  based on book by Woodward & Bernstein;  brilliant cinematography by Gordon Willis;  Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Ned Beatty, Stephen Collins, Meredith Baxter, Robert Walden.  87 mins in there’s an historic TV clip of the great Elizabeth Drew interviewing Nixon’s Attorney General.  Rewatching and being blown away by this film for the first time in decades during the lockdown summer of 2020 inspired my Film Studies deep-dive program.  Revisiting this movie is mind-blowing in how it reflects trump taking Nixon’s amoral authoritarian corruption to the stratosphere.  This authoritarian power grab is trumpism in its infancy.  Everything that Watergate and this movie foretold as an immanent danger to American democracy came to pass with the practiced evil of trump’s manipulative sociopathy.  Exactly what was stopped by the Washington Post is the evil that’s proliferating now when a criminal autocrat can manipulate the functions of government and media.  The 2-disc Special Edition has fantastic making-of documentaries, but the Robert Redford commentary is to-die-for.  He was the guy who first saw the story as being about Woodward & Bernstein, not the Watergate crime per se.  He contacted the two before they ever wrote the book, and said THIS was the story.  HOW they uncovered it.  Not the “it” — but the “how.”  Redford saw and pitched it as a real-life detective thriller … and every studio turned him down.  And the lone studio that was interested, Warner Brothers, wouldn’t make it unless he starred in it.  It was making The Candidate that led to Redford’s connections to political journalists.  It’s almost as amazing a story of how this film came to be created as the story itself.  And hearing Redford describe what was behind each scene and shot is a gift from beyond. Nobody was more involved in why this film exists than Robert Redford. It deservedly won Oscars for Best Screenplay, Art Direction and Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee, but what an historic mistake that this didn’t win Best Picture.  Mind you, it was up against Taxi Driver, Network, Bound For Glory and Rocky . . . and fucking Rocky won!  I love the Academy of filmmakers n all — but boy, do they get it wrong sometimes.  🙂  (4)
Bob Roberts — 1992;  written & directed by & starring Tim Robbins;  plus Gore Vidal, Ray Wise (the guy from Twin Peaks & Good Night, And Good Luck);  tons of cameos, including a very young Jack Black;  Robbins wrote and performed his own songs, but would not let a soundtrack be released cuz he knew the crazy right would take the satirical songs and make them their anthem.  Done in mock-documentary style.  This could almost be on the Most Disturbing List, and is particularly scary post Iraq War II.  (3)
The War Room — 1993;  D.A. Pennebaker & wife Chris Hegedus;  great documentary about the behind-the-scenes of Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign.  (3)
Nixon —  1995;  Oliver Stone;  Anthony Hopkins in title role, Joan Allen, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall, J.T. Walsh, Paul Sorvino, Mary Steenburgen, David Paymer, David Hyde Pierce  (1)
The American President — 1995;  Rob Reiner;  written by Aaron Sorkin; Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael J. Fox, Anna Deavere Smith, David Paymer;  a widowed sitting President runs for re-election while falling in love with an environmental lobbyist.  (1)
Wag The Dog — 1997;  Barry Levinson;  David Mamet screenplay; cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Denis Leary, Anne Heche, John Michael Higgins, Andrea Martin, Willie Nelson, William Macy, Woody Harrelson, Kristen Dunst, Craig T. Nelson, Pops Staples!, Harland Williams; music by Mark Knopfler.  Mamet – Levinson – De Niro – Hoffman – Robert Richardson filming — mind-blowingly BRILLIANT movie.  (4)
The Newsroom – “The Campaign” episode — 1997;  CBC;  written & directed by Ken Finkleman;  Finkleman, Peter Keleghan, Jeremy Holtz  (3)
Primary Colors — 1998;  Mike Nichols;  Joe Klein book, Elaine May screenplay;  John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates; about the Clintons in 1992.  (3)
Bulworth — 1998;  written & directed by Warren Beatty;  Beatty, Halle Berry, Oliver Platt, Don Cheadle, Jack Warden, Christine Baranski, Paul Sorvino, Laurie Metcalf, Norn Dunn, and Amiri Baraka (yes, the Beat poet!)   (3)
Man of The Year — 2006;  Barry Levinson;  Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black, Jeff Goldblum;  about a comedian who runs for president, and by a fluke, wins.  The comedian (Robin) says many lines similar to Obama.  This is made shortly after Obama’s speech at the DNC Convention in 2004.  (2)
Charlie Wilson’s War — 2007;  Mike Nichols;  Aaron Sorkin;  Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Peter Gerety  (3)
Run Granny Run — 2007;  Mario Poras;  Indie documentary about 94 year old Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock’s run for the 2004 New Hampshire Senate seat  (3)
Recount — 2008;  Jay Roach;  Kevin Spacey, John Hurt, Laura Dern, Bob Balaban, Denis Leary;  Ed Begley Jr.;  amazing HBO dramatization about the 2000 election recount in Florida.  (1)
Game Change — 2012;  Jay Roach;  Danny Strong screenplay from the Heilemann – Halperin book;  Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, Ed Harris as John McCain, Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt, Sarah Paulson as Nicole Wallace, plus Ron Livingston, Austin Penndleton.  HBO Film about the Palin pick and election in 2008.  Won Emmys for Best Movie, Director, Writing, Lead Actor, and Casting.  An accurate dramatization praised by Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace, who were both right in the middle of it.  (2)
Veep — HBO – TV exception for political cinema;  2012–2019 (65 episodes) – the second show I ever binge-watched, after Barry.  Casting: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (won the Best Actress Emmy SIX years in a row, and y’know, I kinda think she deserved every one of them), the great Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Tony Hale, Timothy Simons (as the bad guy/doofus Jonah), the always comedically odd Dan Bakkedahl, Randall Park; guest casting (in series appearance order): Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Foley, Alison Janney, Tracie Thoms (Death Proof), Diedrich Bader, Patton Oswald, Hugh Laurie, Martin Mull, John Slattery, Brian Doyle-Murray, Peter MacNicol, Amy Brenneman, Stephen Fry, Michael Hitchcock, Stephen Root, Adam Scott, John Carroll Lynch, Heidi Gardner, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Lennon & Michael McKean.  Pretty brilliant writing, — nominated for a half-dozen Emmys, and won a Peabody in 2017.  The great NY Times political & theater writer Frank Rich is one of the producers.  I liked the seasons more as each rolled out.  It’s a comedic West Wing, with an echo of classic office dramas with great ensemble casts like NewsRadio, 30 Rock and The Office.  Nowhere in the 65 episodes does anyone say the names of the two parties, so it’s kept intentionally nonpartisan.  But on the fictional election night, the “Veep” Selina Meyer (JL-D) wins the states Democrats would win.  One of the character’s favorite bands is the Grateful Dead.  And Alice Cooper gets a reference in season three. 🙂  There may have been a lull at some point but I laughed a lot in season 6, and season 7.  They created a great dumb-ass political character years before trump came on the scene – then could him as a parody.  Second Grateful Dead reference 11 mins into season 6 ep 8, Gary Cole (playing the smartest guy on the show) on phone corrects Dan Egan character about him saying on air that Bruce Hornsby was a member of the Grateful Dead correcting him that he was a touring member of the Dead but not a full member.  Then the Cole character has a ponytail in his final scene of the series.  Before I watched it, I was dubious about Louis-Dreyfus winning SIX Best Actress Emmys *in a row* for this — obviously an all-time record in TV history.  Then I saw the range of emotions — often with multiple layers of subtext — in just one episode, let alone across the course of a season: crying, laughing, duplicitous, charming, mean, dictatorial, Machiavellian, funny, hurt, arrogant, hyper, bedridden, angry, desperate, demeaning, heartless, power hungry, subservient, conniving, twitchy — there’s surely never been an actress in a comedy who’s had to convey so many states of mind and facets of a character.  And she delivers the coast-to-coast ranges flawlessly.  *Now* I understand the six wins in a row.  (binge-watched entire series March 2021)
A two-minute trailer of the complete series:


Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House
— 2017; screenplay & directed by Peter Landesman; based on Mark Felt’s book; produced by Jay Roach, Hollywood’s go-to political film director for the last 2 decades;  Liam Neeson (absolutely brilliantly as Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat”), Michael C. Hall (as John Dean), Diane Lane, Bruce Greenwood, Tom Goldwyn (the bad guy from Ghost), Tom Sizemore (!).  How did this not get more attention?!  This is All The President’s Men … but from the real Deep Throat’s perspective.  THIS is filmmaking! — cinematography, editing … and dramatization.  What a great script!  And all with a subtle, perfect music score.  Here’s the trailer.  (1)
Irresistible — 2020; Jon Stewart wrote & directed; Steve Carell, Chris Cooper, Topher Grace, Bill Irwin. A fictional account of a mayoral election in a small town in Wisconsin that becomes the focus of both major parties.  Good but not great.  (1)

Music Movies   [35]

A Hard Day’s Night —  1964;  Richard Lester;  starring The Beatles, with Wilfred Brambell as the Grandfather foil.  Roger Ebert said in a 1994 documentary he’s “probably seen A Hard Day’s Night 25 times.”  I always saw this movie as sort of a pair with D.A. Pennebaker’s B&W Dylan portrait Don’t Look Back filmed the following year. Both Portraits of The Artist As A Young Man — and the two artists in this case would go on to rewrite global cultural history.  B&W  (4)
Help! — 1965; Richard Lester (same as A Hard Day’s Night; starring The Beatles, and Victor Spinelli from Hard Day’s Night; road manager Mal Evans has a couple cameos as the swimmer looking for the White Cliffs of Dover; weird fuckin movie!!  I thought when it started with that Indian scene I put in the wrong movie.  😀  Prime-time Beatles, made just as they were moving into their master period beginning with Rubber Soul, with their hair just starting to get long.  Only time we ever see them wearing casual blue jeans!  Funny amalgam with the other big British export of the time — James Bond movies: the theme music is used once, and mimicked often — also echoing all the foreign locations … and enemies … and underground lairs … and nonstop action.  Even the bikini girls at the water’s edge a la Ursula in Dr. No.  It’s part slapstick comedy, but also foreshadows Magical Mystery Tour with the psychedelic outdoor performance scenes, and a little How I Won The War with the tanks and army getups.  Has a strange curling scene — a sport so unfamiliar to American audiences that many reviewers & viewers thought it was just another made-up fantasy in the film.  “Not a bit like Cagney.”  🙂  (seen twice)
Don’t Look Back — 1967;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Donovan, Joan Baez, Alan Price, Bobby Neuwirth, Albert Grossman  B&W  (4)
Monterey Pop — 1968;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Mamas & Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Animals avec violin, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar.  The first rock festival movie that set the standard for all that followed.   (4)
The Grateful Dead aren’t in it — but a rippin 10-minute surreptitiously filmed Viola Lee Blues surfaced years later.  This is primo proto psychedelic Dead as it was being born.  This was the early song they used to create the canvas that became 30 years of Grateful Dead music and inspired an entire genre.  That Pennebaker’s team knew this was the song in the Dead’s set to capture is the same reason this movie is so gem-packed. 
Jimi Plays Monterey — 1986;  D.A. Pennebaker’s revisit of the ’67 concert footage featuring all of Hendrix’s half-hour set.  (3)
Yellow Submarine — 1968;  George Dunning;  The Beatles’ voices  (4)

Woodstock — 1970;  Michael Wadleigh;  Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Crosby, Stills & Nash, 10 Years After, John Sebastian, Santana, Sly & The Family Stone  (4)
Let It Be1970;  Michael Lindsay-Hogg;  starring – The Beatles! plus Billy Preston, George Martin, Yoko Ono, Linda McCartney, Mal Evans & others.  The 81-minute doc about The Beatles near-final recording sessions and rooftop concert.  Actually won the Oscar for Best Original Song Score; Quincy Jones accepted on their behalf.  Shot for TV screen, not wide-screen film.  The first 20 minutes are at the Twickenham soundstage they thought would be a good idea, but it was cold (unheated) and impersonal, so they switched to the basement studio Magic Alex had started (but never finished) in the basement at Apple Corp at 3 Saville Row – where they then played on the roof.  A surprising amount of Ringo playing piano!  I don’t know why this movie is thought of as anything less than GREAT!  A lot of smiling faces and camaraderie.  A great Two Of Us.  And of course the climactic 20-min. 5-song rooftop concert — Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909, I Dig A Pony and Get Back a second time.  Alan Parsons manned the recording from the studio in the basement.  The movie shows what we could hear on the last 2 albums — how McCartney was really the driving force in the band at this point.  I’m sure looking forward to six hours of this coming from Peter Jackson in Nov. 2021.  Gawd — it’s so too bad they couldn’t have just taken a hiatus (like the Dead did in ’75) and reconvened when a year or three later.  (3)
Mad Dogs & Englishmen — 1971;  Pierre Adidge;  Joe Cocker, Leon Russell.  Cocker’s mad touring commune.  (seen once)
Cabaret — 1972;  Bob Fosse;  Liza Minelli, Joey Grey, Michael York  (4)
Jesus Christ Superstar — 1973;  Norman Jewison;  Ted Neelly, Yvonne Elliman, Josh Mostel (King Herod)  (4)
Phantom of the Paradise — 1974;  written & directed by Brian De Palma;  Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper  (3)
Tommy — 1975;  Ken Russell; written by Pete Townshend & The Who;  starring The Who, and Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton  (3)
The Grateful Dead Movie — 1977;  dir. Jerry Garcia;  starring the band and fans.  Albert Maysles was one of the cameramen.  (3)
The Last Waltz — 1978;  Martin Scorsese;  The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, the Staple Sisters  (4)
Hair — 1979;  Miloš Forman;  book/score by Gerome Ragni & James Rado;  Treat Williams, Beverly De Angelo, John Savage, Nicholas Ray cameo.  Lots of Central Park location shots;  Fantastic!  (4)
The Kids Are Alright — 1979;  written & directed by Jeff Stein;  starring The Who.  Great song-rich documentary of one of rock’s great quartets.  (3)

The Blues Brothers — 1980;  John Landis;  written by Landis & Dan Aykroyd;  John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles  (4)
One Trick Pony — 1980;  Robert Young;  written by & starring Paul Simon, with Blair Brown, Rip Torn, Lou Reed, Allan Garfield, Steve Gadd, Harry Shearer.  Great music biz movie about an aging rock star trying to keep both his relevance and his integrity.  Scenes were shot outside and inside the apartment building I lived in from 1981–1987 — 27 Washington Square North.  The Simon classic Late In The Evening (“I stepped outside to smoke myself a J”) was written for this movie.  (3)
Spinal Tap — 1984;  Rob Reiner;  writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner;  starring Guest, McKean, Shearer, Reiner, Fred Willard, Bruno Kirby, Fran Drescher  (4)
‘Round Midnight — 1986;  Bertrand Tavernier;  script cowritten by Tavernier;  Dexter Gordon, Francoise Cluzet, cameo by Martin Scorsese  (4)
That Thing You Do! —  1996;  written & directed by Tom Hanks;  Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Hanks  (4)

Masked & Anonymous — 2003;  Larry Charles;  written by Bob Dylan & Larry Charles;  Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Penelope Cruz, Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Ed Harris, Bruce Dern, Fred Ward, Cheech Marin, Val Kilmer  (4)
Festival Express — 2003;  Bob Smeaton;  The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, Flying Burrito Brothers, Ian & Sylvia, Delaney & Bonnie, Mashmekhan.  You can read my feature story about it here.  (4)
My Dinner with Jimi — 2003;  Bill Fishman.  Justin Henry (the Oscar-nominated kid in Kramer vs. Kramer) as Howard Kaylan;  George (Norm) Wendt as the band manager;  John Corbett as photographer Henry Diltz;  Taylor Negron as the psychiatrist;  Chris Ellis (the first band manager in That Thing You Do) as the sergeant.  Great dramatization of real events in the life of The Turtles/Flo & Eddie’s Howard Kaylan about their 1966/67 heyday including great period recreations (using both new and archival footage) of the L.A. and London music scenes, and meeting The Beatles, Doors, Zappa & Jimi Hendrix etc.  You can read my review here.  (3) 
Shut Up and Sing — 2006;  Barbara Kopple;  Dixie Chicks tour documentary — mindblowingly great — it’s like Don’t Look Back in so many ways — London, controversy, news + backstage + stage + young performer(s) caught in a contemporary controversy . . . Rick Rubin scene in the middle is super insightful — core of the movie.  Plus they play an awesome version of Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi” at one of the climaxes of the movie.  Also, Toronto has a sweet and proud cameo.  (3)
Shine A Light — 2008;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson headed up an all-star camera team including Oscar-winners Robert Elswit, John Toll and The Lord of the Rings‘ Andrew Lesnie, and soon-to-be 3-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki;  Rolling Stones concert film from the Beacon Theater in NYC, with guest performances by Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy, & Jack White.  You can read my review of it here.  (seen once)

LennoNYC — 2010 – part of PBS American Master series;  written & directed by Michael Epstein;  great 2-hour doc focusing on Lennon’s New York years, which was much of the last decade of his life;  covers the Bank Street and protest years, plus interviews with Elephant’s Memory band, plus Jack Douglas and the Double Fantasy players. Saw at Bloor Cinema, Nov 2010.  (3)
Vinyl — 2016 — HBO;  1 season, 10 episodes created by Martin Scorsese (also directed 2-hour pilot), Mick Jagger & Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire);  Bobby Cannavale (who’s fantastic), Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano, James Jagger (Mick & Jerry Hall’s son, and whose punk band also plays in it), Juno Temple.  Set in the New York music business in the 1970s. Incredible music choices all throughout (a la Scorsese).  They must have paid a fortune!  Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Elvis Presley & Hilly Kristal appear as characters.  A show that has multiple storylines that I like every one of.  GREAT filmmaking / cinematography / editing / storytelling.  It’s gotta be a next gen supervised Scorsese crew — cuz it seems like his filmmaking style.  This is the first show of the I’ve binge-watched that I would watch again.  That says a lot.  I wouldn’t need to / want to see Barry or Veep a second time.  (seen once)
Long Strange Trip – The Untold Story of The Grateful Dead — 2017;  Amir Bar-Lev;  starring the Dead and everyone in their circle;  four hours, in two parts, 14 years in the works;  streamed on Amazon Prime;  it opens and closes with Jack Kerouac (!);  here’s my detailed review from its Toronto Lightbox screening with the director;  (seen once)
John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky — 2018;  Michael Epstein (same guy who did the 2010 masterpiece LennoNYC);  great documentary about the 1971 recording of Lennon’s Imagine album at his Tittenhurst Park house, and their life in England and New York in general;  lots of previously never-scene footage of the time, plus new interviews with Yoko, Julian, Klaus Voormann, Jack Douglas, Jim Keltner, Alan White and a bunch of other cool people around at the time.  (seen once)
Quincy — 2018;  co-written and co-directed by his cool daughter Rashida Jones;  incredible documentary about the inimitable Quincy Jones.  Features footage & interviews with Ray Charles, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Aretha, Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Peggy Lipton, Colin Powell, Carlos Santana, Oprah, Stevie Wonder, Common and about a thousand other giants.  (seen once)
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese — 2019;  Netflix;  Scorsese;  with Dylan, lots of Allen Ginsberg, plus Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Scarlet Rivera, Ronee Blakley, Ronnie Hawkins, David Mansfield, Hurricane Carter, Gordon Lightfoot, Patti Smith.  Scorsese used footage shot for Bob’s ill-fated Renaldo & Clara and made a highly watchable documentary of the coolest single tour that ever happened.  Lots of footage at Kerouac’s gravesite.  Downside: There is an annoying & unnecessary inclusion of a fictional filmmaker and fictional promoter and actress Sharon Stone telling fictional stories about attending the shows that detracts from an otherwise invaluable telling of a priceless moment in cultural history.   (2)
Laurel Canyon — 2020;  photographers Henry Diltz & Nurit Wilde;  Alex Gibney a producer;  they used audio interviews over still pictures with (in order) the Byrds, Love, the Buffalo Springfield, the Turtles, the Doors, Zappa, Alice Cooper, the Monkees, the Mamas & the Papas, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, CSN, Elliot Roberts, Jackson Browne, Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Glenn Frey, David Geffen, Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, Steve Martin, Don Henley, Paul Barrere, Bill Payne, Sam Clayton, Lowell George, Little Feat, the Eagles, Russ Kunkel set to still photos of the time, plus some period TV appearances like American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan, The Monkees, Playboy After Hours, and footage from films Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, Festival Express and Riot on Sunset Strip.  Part 1 is basically the ’60s, part 2 the ’70s; each an hour & 20 mins.  (seen once)
The Beatles: Get Back — 2021;  Peter Jackson;  starring John, Paul, George & Ringo, and Billy Preston, George Martin, Yoko Ono, Linda McCartney, Mal Evans.  (to be released Aug 27, 2021)

 

Beat Generation Docs & Dramas   [10]

All the Beat Generation dramatizations over the decades can be read about in detail on my Beat Movie Guide page.

Pull My Daisy
— 1959;  Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie;  written by Jack Kerouac;  Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, David Amram, Richard Bellamy.  B&W (4)
Heart Beat — 1980;  John Byrun;  based on a part of Carolyn Cassady’s autobiography Off The Road;  Nick Nolte as Neal, Sissy Spacek as Carolyn, John Heard as Jack, Ray Sharkey as the Allen-like character.  Carolyn called this movie “Heart Break” because she didn’t like the final product, but did like Sissy Spacek’s portrayal and as a person.  (3)
What Happened to Kerouac? — 1986;  Richard Lerner & Lewis MacAdams;  Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, Jan Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Edie Kerouac, Michael McClure & others.  Probably the best Kerouac documentary.  Filmed largely at the 1982 Kerouac summit in Boulder, CO, that I attended and wrote an entire book about — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.  If you’re going to get this on DVD, be sure to get the 2012 2-disk re-release with all the extra footage.  (4)

The Last Time I Committed Suicide — 1997;  Stephen Kay;  based on the then-only-surviving part of Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson letter” as printed in his book The First Third;  Thomas Jane as Neal, Keanu Reeves in a Kerouac-like role, Adrien Brody in a Ginsberg-like role, Claire Forlani as Joan Anderson, Gretchen Mol as Cherry Mary;  Carolyn Cassady & I agree this is the best Beat dramatization on film.  (4)
The Source: The Story of The Beats and The Beat Generation — 1999;  written & directed by Chuck Workman;  Johnny Depp reads Kerouac, Dennis Hopper reads Burroughs, John Turturro reads Allen, plus absolutely everybody’s interviewed in it.  (4)

Beat Angel2004;  director, cinematographer & edited by Randy Allred;  written by Bruce Boyle, Frank Tabbita, Randy Allred & Vincent Balestri;  Vincent Balestri as the Jack character, Frank Tabbita as the foil.  The story was loosely based on Balestri’s one-man show Kerouac: The Essence of Jack that he had been performing live on stages since 1980.  A quirky, clever, kind of surreal, interesting, sometimes funny, well done, low budget indi movie about Jack Kerouac coming back to life for a night in 1999, inducing a cool minimalist jazz score.  All shot in funky locations, including some neat footage of Desolation Peak and the cabin.  (seen twice)
One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur — 2009;  Curt Worden;  great documentary including interviews with Sam Shepard, Robert Hunter, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Carolyn & John Cassady, Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, David Amram, Sterling Lord, Joyce Johnson, John Tytell, Bill Morgan, Aram Saroyan, Jack Hirschman, Brenda Knight, Diamond Dave Whitaker, Lenny Kaye, Dar Williams, Donal Logue, Paul Marion;  music by Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard.  (3)
On The Road — 2012;  Walter Salles;  based on the novel by Jack Kerouac;  Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kristen Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Elizabeth Moss, Danny Morgan.  You can read about the London premiere here, the North American premiere in Toronto here, and the New York premiere here.  (4)
Or the stories are also available in How The Beats Begat The Pranksters along with a whole bunch of other Beat tales and Adventures.

Kill Your Darlings — 2013;  John Krokidas;  screenplay Austin Dunn;  Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Cullum.  You can read my review from it’s premiere at TIFF in Toronto here.  (3)
Big Sur — 2013;  Michael Polish;  based on Jack Kerouac novel;  Jean-Marc Barr as Jack, Kate Bosworth as Billie, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady, Anthony Edwards as Ferlinghetti, Balthazar Getty as McClure.  Something like 80% of all the movie’s dialog is voiceover directly from Kerouac’s book.  (2)

Trippy Movies   [12]

The Wizard of Oz — 1939;  Victor Fleming;  Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan  B&W and color  (4)
N.Y., N.Y. — 1957;  Francis Thompson;  a super-surreal 15-minute revolutionary cinematic masterpiece that’s been described as both Cubist and Dadaist.  A young D.A. Pennebaker was an assistant to the filmmaker in Manhattan on the project, and used his projector and phonograph playing Bartók to screen it for Aldous Huxley in Thompson’s apartment.  (4)
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas — 1968;  Hy Averback;  screenplay partly by Paul Mazursky;  Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Joyce Van Patten (Dick’s sister), and introducing young Leigh Taylor-Young (who was married to Ryan O’Neal at the time).  A pretty wild 1968 drug movie.  A “square” 30-something guy falls in love with a young hippie and tries to become one.  Allen Ginsberg is mentioned in the first minute 🙂 and Peter Sellers ends up driving a beautiful wildly psychedelic painted (a la Ken Kesey’s bus) ’54 Ford Country Squire.  The title references Gertrude Stein’s life partner, Alice B. Toklas, who was the first to publish a “canibus” [sic] fudge recipe, which she actually got from Beat confrère Brion Gysin, and is a plot point in the movie.  The first act set-up is weak (script, pacing, staging) but it picks up once Sellers & company eat the brownies and the trip begins, and he starts to look positively Lennonesque with his glasses and hair.  It’s an interesting portrait of the 1967/68 hippie culture (as captured by Hollywood), with lots of L.A. location shooting, including Venice Beach.  (1)
Woodstock
— 1970;  Michael Wadleigh;  Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Crosby, Stills & Nash, 10 Years After, John Sebastian, Santana, Sly & The Family Stone  (4)
200 Motels — 1971; story, screenplay, music composer & conductor, starring and co-directed by Frank Zappa; Ringo Starr, Theodore Bikel, Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan) and prime-time Mothers of Invention, Keith Moon, Pamela Des Barres, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Shot on videotape over 5 days at Pinewood Studios in England – even though it’s set in a small fictional Southern town in the U.S. (3)
House1977;  Surreal Japanese teen adventure film.  Like an acid trip, says Marc Sherman to Ethan Hawke.  (never seen)
Time Bandits — 1981;  Terry Gilliam;  written by Gilliam & Michael Palin;  Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, John Cleese as Robin Hood, and Sir Ralph Richardson as God;  incredible sets / props / production design;  George Harrison was one of the producers and mortgaged his office building to get the film made, like he mortgaged his home to finance Monty Python’s Life of Brian two years earlier;  this ended up being one of the highest grossing films of the year;  the first in what Gilliam called his Trilogy of Imagination” soon to include Brazil (1985) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  (seen twice)
Brazil — 1985;  Terry Gilliam;  screenplay by Gilliam & Tom Stoppard;  Jonathan Pryce (who’s great!), Robert De Niro, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins, Katherine Helmond, Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm.  Wonderfully beautifully twisted 1984-ish vision — inspired in a general way by Orwell’s book.  Rightfully Oscar-nominated for its comically surreal Art Direction (Out of Africa won (?) ); and for Original Screenplay (Witness won).  It was too weird for me the first viewing, then I read a bunch about it, and watched it the second time decades later and was blown away by the vision & filmmaking.  Surreal filmmaking at its finest.  Terry Gilliam is one helluva filmmaker!  Gawd, he’s a weird guy!  🙂  The Salvador Dali of film.  See his listing in the Auteur section above.  The movie’s final cut and release is a somewhat legendary story in film history, how a honcho schmuck at Universal tried to completely recut it and Gilliam circumvented him.  There’s an entire book written about it.  The second in what Gilliam called his “Trilogy of Imagination” along with Time Bandits (1981) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  Both Frank Zappa and River Phoenix’s favorite movie.  “This has not been a recording.”  (seen twice)
The Lion King — 1994;  Disney / Pixar production;  voices by Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Cheech Marin;  beautiful animation.  (2)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — 1998;  Terry Gilliam, who also wrote the screenplay based on Hunter Thompson’s book;  brilliant combo performances by Johnny Depp & Benicio Del Toro; plus loaded with great cameos by (roughly in order of appearance) Tobey Maguire, Katherine Helmond, Penn Jillette, Cameron Diaz, Lyle Lovett, Flea, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Laraine Newman, Mark Harmon, Christopher Meloni, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Jeter, Larry Brandenburg, Ellen Barkin, the Grateful Dead in the Panhandle & Paul Krassner — who Gilliam said “It was very much a magnet, this project.  And a lot of people, the new kids on the block.  And then there was Ellen Barkin and Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton and Katherine Helmond — they all came in and worked for scale” — to be in Gilliam doing Thompson with Depp.  Plus the good Doctor himself makes an appearance during an hallucination in The Matrix.  Depp spent 4 months with Thompson in prep for the role, “I watched him like a hawk,” and Hunter leant Johnny & the production a bunch of his clothes, his actual I.D. you see in his wallet, and his original Red Shark convertible.  Great use of music throughout, but particularly Tom Jones in Las Vegas, the Airplane in S.F., and Bob Dylan On The Road.  Gilliam-surreal, occasionally funny — and definitely some of the best portrayals of being high on acid I’ve ever seen on the screen.  Made me wanna trip. 🙂  IMO, other than Holy Grail, this is Gilliam’s best film.  It holds together, and it doesn’t let up. 😉  Great making-of doc on the DVD.  (3)
Pleasantville“1998;  written & directed by Gary Ross;  Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels  (3)
Hugo2011;  Martin Scorsese;  John Logan screenplay, based on a brilliant Brian Selznick illustrated book;  Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen (to great comic relief), Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Michael Stuhlbarg – and the two great unknown kid actors, Asa Butterfield & Chloë Grace Moretz;  the Oscar-winning cinematography by Robert Richardson is to die for!  It also deservedly won for Best Art Direction, Visual Effects & Sound Editing;  and shoulda won in its nominations for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Costumes & Music!  James Cameron called this “a masterpiece” and it sure as puck is.  You don’t want to take your eyes off the screen for one split second.  THIS is why God invented filmmakers!  Second-by-second jaw-dropping.  Set in Paris in 1931.  It cost $150,000,000 to make!!  Originally released in theaters in 3D.  In a way, it’s kind of a twist on Oliver Twist.  And there’s some echoes of the magic and fantasy and children’s perspective of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (without the music).  It’s Martin Scorsese meets Terry Gilliam.  Again — one of these movies NOBODY recommended I see — and it’s absolutely mind-blowing.  I don’t think there’s any movie that I’ve never seen before in my year-long Film Studies program that blew me away like Hugo did.  I only sought it out because my favorite cinematographer Robert Richardson won an Oscar for it.  Dig this — Robert Richardson shot the great live Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon, Scorsese’s Shine A Light in 2008;  Inglourious Basterds in 2009;  Shutter Island in 2010;  Hugo in 2011;  then Django Unchained in 2012.  WTF?!  😮  That’s FIVE cinematic masterpieces in a row!!  Be completely undistracted and focused for the opening sequence.  Trust me. 😉  It actually includes a literal History of Film.  There’s a great Harold Lloyd clock scene tribute, and multiple Django Reinhardt homage cameos.  8 minutes in — James Joyce & Salvador Dali can briefly be seen at a table together as Hugo is being chased through the train station.  This is one of those movies you never forget the first time you saw it.  Ken Kesey would’ve loved this.  It’s a movie about meaning and purpose and dreams and destiny.
“We could get into trouble.”
“That’s how you know it’s an adventure.” 🙂 (seen twice)
Bonus Round: People who have seen the movie, or who are interested in how films are made, will enjoy this 2-minute view of Robert Richardson’s final 2-minute tracking shot. 

 

Disturbing Movies   [13]

Movies that were so effectively disturbing, I don’t want to see them again:

Rosemary’s Baby — 1968;  Roman Polanski;  Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes (Guy), Charles Grodin  (1)
10 Rillington Place — 1971;  Richard Fleischer;  Richard Attenborough, and an incredible John Hurt.  Dramatization of a real British serial killer circa 1953.  (2)
The Exorcist — 1973;  William Friedkin;  written by William Peter Blatty;  Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow  (1)
Midnight Express — 1978;  Alan Parker;  Oscar-nominated screenplay by Oliver Stone, based on book by Billy Hayes;  Brad Davis, John Hurt (Max), Randy Quaid  (2)
Schindler’s List — 1993;  Steven Spielberg;  Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley  (1)
Natural Born Killers — 1994;  Oliver Stone; original story (script) by Quentin Tarantino, later changed and he disowned the film;  Robert Richardson’s wild jaw-dropping cinematography;  Woody Harrelson & Juliette Lewis, with Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, and small parts by Steven Wright, Edie McClurg & O-Lan Jones.  The movie is the first half of an early “mini series” length script by Tarantino that also included True Romance.  Disturbing movie.  Not directed by Tarantino, but is sure Tarantinoesque – even more comically surreal at times, plus animation!  Gifted glorious filmmaking, but the subject matter is far from my go-to.  (2)
From Dusk Till Dawn — 1996;  Robert Rodriguez;  screenplay by Quentin Tarantino; George Clooney & Tarantino (in one very sick role), Harvey Keitel (holds the movie together), Juliette Lewis (rocks!), Selma Hayek (snake dance), Michael Parks, Cheech Marin (in three roles!), Danny Trejo, Fred Williamson. (seen twice, and reckon I’ll never watch again)
Grizzly Man — 2005;  Warner Herzog;  Timothy Treadwell  (1)
Harsh Times — 2005;  written & directed by David Ayer;  Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, J.K. Simmons   (1)
Babel — 2006; original script idea and directed by Alejandro Iñárritu; Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett.  Three separate stories on three different continents (Morocco, Japan, Mexico);  nominated for 7 Oscars but only Gustavo Santaolalla won for Best Original Score — the same guy who did the music for On The Road.  The title comes from there being at least 4 different languages spoken by the various characters.  Very disturbing.  Not my kind of movie.  (1)
No Country For Old Men — 2007;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Tess Harper, Woody Harrelson, Stephen Root.  SUCH a first-view movie; mesmerizing on first viewing; very so-so on second.  This movie is all “style” — there’s plot holes and bad scenes all thru this — no wonder the Coen’s were surprised they won Best Picture, and acted like they didn’t deserve it.  I can sure see why JB won best actor.  Riveting, memorable performance. But I needed closed-captions to understand what many of the others were saying.  It’s very disturbing, like Natural Born Killers.  (2)
Tusk — 2014;  written & directed by Kevin Smith;  Michael Parks, Justin Long, Johnny Depp.  About a guy who is kidnapped and turned into a walrus.  (seen once)
Joker — 2019;  directed & co-screenwritten by Todd Phillips;  Joaquin Phoenix (won Best Actor Oscar), Robert De Niro.  (seen once)

 

The Made-For-TV Exceptions   [28]

The Twilight Zone — 1959–1964;  created by and many episodes written by Rod Serling;  the Gold Standard for weirdness and alternative dramatic perspectives on television.  B&W
Route 66 — 1960–1964;  various directors;  Martin Milner & George Harris is a blatant unpaid rip-off of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.  with an Ivy League student joining with a street-wise guy raised on the wrong side of the tracks going on the road all over the country – three years after Jack’s book became a sensation and put the idea in everyone’s head.  On the plus side, it was almost all location shooting, so the series really captures a wide panorama of America at the start of the ’60s.  B&W
Magical Mystery Tour — 1967;  dir by George Harrison! and Bernard Knowles;  starring The Beatles.  Inspired by Ken Kesey’s magical mystery tour in a bus.  😉  (2)
The Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus — filmed in Dec. 1968;  BBC  (never aired);  Michael Lindsay-Hogg;  the classic live one-time-ever Lennon–Clapton–Richards–Mitch Mitchell Yer Blues;  plus great performances by (in order) Jethro Tull (the only existing footage with Tommy Iommi before he left to form Black Sabbath), arguably the best ’60s Who performance footage, a soulful Taj Mahal with Jesse Ed Davis on guitar, Marianne Faithful, John’s all-star band, Yoko with violin virtuoso Ivry Gitlis augmenting John’s band playing a blues jam, and The Stones in their Beggars Banquet moment for six songs, including a wild Sympathy of the Devil, and Brian Jones’ last performance with the band.  Finally released in 1996 on VHS; and in 2004 on DVD.  Michael Lindsay-Hogg also directed The Beatles’ videos for Hey Jude and Revolution, the Let It Be film they never wanted released and which Peter Jackson is remaking in 2021.  This is an overlooked capture of the birth of the magic of rock n roll art circa 1968.  Not to mention in the John–Mick clip showing how the bandleaders of the two biggest British bands were actually friends and not enemies like some press pimped.  😉    (3)

Liza with a ‘Z’ — Sept. 10, 1972;  NBC;  dir & choreographed by Bob Fosse; Liza Minnelli;  Marvin Hamlisch musical Director;  Phil Ramone engineer; won 4 Emmy’s, Best Single Program, Best Director, Best Choreography, Best Music;  shot live, one take.  (2)
Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story — 1972;  PBS;  written & directed by & starring Woody Allen; Diane Keaton, Louise Lasser, Conrad Bain;  funny 26-minute mockumentary skewering Republicans blending archival footage and real events with Woody being a fictional McCarthyite and goofball aide to Nixon.  It’s currently on YouTube here. (1)
Fawlty Towers — 1975 and 1979 (6 episodes in each year, 12 total);  BBC;  first 1975 six directed by John Howard Davies, second 1979 six directed by Bob Spiers;  written by John Cleese & Connie Booth;  Cleese (Basil), Connie (Polly), Prunella Scales (Sybil), Andrew Sachs (Manuel), Ballard Berkely (the Major).  You can read my primer on the show here.  (4)
The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash — 1978;  NBC special;  conceived, written, co-directed by & starring Eric Idle;  plus, in order of appearance, Neil Innes, Mick Jagger, Bill Murray, Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels, Dan Aykroyd, George Harrison, Michael Palin, Ronnie Wood, Bianca Jagger, John Belushi, Al Franken, Tom Davis, Gilda Radner.  Monty Python meets SNL in a Spinal Tap prequel.  Spoof of The Beatles incorporating ’60s period footage.  It started as a sketch on Eric Idle’s BBC2 show Rutland Weekend Television, then when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1976 it was incorporated into the show, which then birthed the NBC special.  (3)
True West —  1984;  PBS – American Playhouse;  Allan Goldstein;  Sam Shepard;  John Malkovich & Gary Sinise  (3)
Death of A Salesman — 1985;  CBS;  Victor Schlondorff; Arthur Miller; Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Kate Reid, Charles Durning  (3)
Seinfeld — 1989–1998;  created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld;  Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis–Dreyfus, Michael Richards  (watched every episode multiple times)

The Civil War — 1990;  PBS;  Ken Burns;  made by Florentine Films for WETA PBS in Washington, D.C.  (4)
Woodstock Diary — 1994;  3-part TV special about the ’69 concert by D.A. Pennebaker & wife Chris Hegedus;  features tons of performances and audience footage not in Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 Woodstock movie.  (1)
The Beatles Anthology — 1995;  ABC;  Bob Smeaton;  8 episode retrospective of the band’s career;  included two new songs, Free As A Bird and Real Love that had been unfinished demos from John that the band added music to.  (seen once — the one time it aired in America, late 1995)
NewsRadio — 1995–1999;  incredible cast – Phil Hartman, Stephen Root, Dave Foley, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis, Andy Dick.  (saw most episodes multiple times)
The Newsroom – “The Campaign” episode — 1997;  CBC;  written & directed by Ken Finkleman;  Finkleman, Peter Keleghan, Jeremy Holtz. (3)
Temporarily Yours — 1997;  CBS;  6-episode show about temping that came out at the same time as my book The Temp Survival Guide;  also at the same time as the movie Clockwatchers about temping (see entry under Comedies);  Debi Mazar (Goodfellas), Joanna Gleason (Winnipeg’s Monty Hall’s daughter), Seth Green (Chris on Family Guy) and Saverio Guerra (Mocha Joe on Curb Your Enthusiasm);  rewatched Dec. 2020: I actually laughed out loud multiple times in the first 3 episodes, then it died in episodes 4–6;  Lots of NYC location shots & scenes.  (3)
Family Guy — 1999–present;  Fox;  created & largely voiced by Seth MacFarlane;  Seth Green, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry, Patrick Warburton;  I love the artwork, and the music, every note of which is played by an orchestra in a conscious effort to pay musicians.

Curb Your Enthusiasm — 2000;  HBO;  Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, J.B. Smoove, Ted Danson, Bob Einstein, Shelley Berman.  I watched it from its first pilot before the series was even an idea.
Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days — 2001;  amazing AMC (American Movie Classics) documentary with the 37 missing minutes of last film Something’s Got To Give.  (2)
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan — 2005;  PBS American Masters;  Martin Scorsese;  masterful inclusive detailed documentary about Dylan, mostly covering 1961 to 1966, with lots of Ginsberg & Beats.  (1)
The Rocket (aka “Maurice Richard”) — 2005;  CBC;  dir. Charles Binamé;  Roy Dupuis;  This, along with Miracle may be the two best sports dramas.  (2)
Canada-Russia ’72 — 2006;  CBC;  featuring all unknowns except Gerry Dee as Wayne Cashman;  documentary style dramatization of the classic hockey series – unbelievably great.  (2)
The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth — 2016–;  Showtime;  John Heilleman, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon, with Jenn Palmieri added by season 5/6.  What a wild Fab Four they are!  Half-hour On The Road Gonzo style cable show covering the U.S. political world.  It’s a new documentary every week. I’ve known about The Circus since it first came on the air in 2016 – but never had the chance to see it until I got this free Showtime preview in early 2021.  And I’ll tell ya, I may very well end up paying for it just for this show!  It’s weekly — it’s political — and it’s New Journalism manifesting on television.  It’s Hunter’s renegadeness set on Jack’s Road Adventuring, with some Woodward & Bernstein massaging of sources. 😉  It’s the best political TV show ever, no question about it.  Better than any daily or weekly show on PBS, or any of the Sunday morning shows, or any single show on any of the cable news networks.  Plus!  The subtle dramatic music scoring is pitch perfect!  And the editing is brilliant.  And the storytelling – my gawd!  And they get it right – live – week after week.  (seen once)
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee — 2012–the present; Jerry Seinfeld created, produces & stars in. I’ve probably seen all 83 episodes over the years.
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese — 2019;  Netflix;  Scorsese;  with Dylan, lots of Allen Ginsberg, plus Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Scarlet Rivera, Ronee Blakley, Ronnie Hawkins, David Mansfield, Hurricane Carter, Gordon Lightfoot, Patti Smith.  Scorsese used footage shot for Bob’s ill-fated Renaldo & Clara and made a highly watchable documentary of the coolest single tour that ever happened.  Lots of footage at Kerouac’s gravesite.  Downside: There is an annoying & unnecessary inclusion of a fictional filmmaker and fictional promoter and actress Sharon Stone telling fictional stories about attending the shows that detracts from an otherwise invaluable telling of a priceless moment in cultural history.   (2)

The only shows I have binge-watched every episode — in order I saw them:  Barry (2018–19 – 16 episodes), Veep (2012–19 – 65), Vinyl (2016 – 10), Pretend It’s A City (2021 – 7).

377 different movies (and TV shows) so far.

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By Auteur  [57]

Top Filmmakers by Number of Films Watched/Reviewed  (5 or more)

Martin Scorsese — 14
Quentin Tarantino — 12
Woody Allen — 11
Sidney Lumet — 10

Alfred Hitchcock — 9
John Huston — 9

Robert Altman — 8
Mike Nichols — 8
Rob Reiner — 8

Coen brothers — 7
Terry Gilliam — 7
Jim Jarmusch — 7

D.A. Pennebaker — 7
John Sayles — 7
Steven Speilberg — 7

Stanley Kubrick — 6
Harold Ramis — 6
Jay Roach — 6

Francis Ford Coppola — 5
Blake Edwards — 5
Christopher Guest — 5
Elia Kazan — 5
Maysles brothers — 5
Nicholas Ray — 5
Billy Wilder — 5
Robert Zemenkis — 5

Woody Allen
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story — 1972;  PBS;  written & directed by & starring Woody Allen; Diane Keaton, Louise Lasser, Conrad Bain;  funny 26-minute mockumentary skewering Republicans blending archival footage and real events with Woody being a fictional McCarthyite and goofball aide to Nixon.  It’s currently on YouTube here. (1)
Sleeper — 1973;  written & directed by Woody Allen;   Woody, Diane Keaton (3)
Love and Death — 1975;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody & Diane Keaton.  David Stewart: This is a parody of Ingmar Bergman’s films.  It references at least 10 of his films but is mostly a spoof of Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal.  I recommend you watch those 2 before getting to Love and Death, just so that you get what they’re spoofing.  (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it)
Annie Hall —  1977;  Woody Allen;  written by Woody Allen;  Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director & Screenplay for Woody, and Actress for Diane Keaton.   (4)
Manhattan — 1979;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep.  B&W  (3)
Zelig — 1983;  written & directed by and starring Woody Allen;  Mia Farrow;  Oscar nominated for Best Cinematography & Costume Design. Smart, interesting movie.  A mockumentary blending Woody into historic photographs & footage a la Forrest Gump ten years later.  Woody got New Yorker literati to appear talking about the fictional celebrity.  The footage of F. Scott Fitzgerald is only few seconds known to exist.  They have footage of the same block of Washington Square North (where I lived for 6 years) as Zelig’s Greenwich Village flat.  Just as “Rashomon” has become a noun meaning different points of view, “Zelig” is now used to refer to someone who is chameleon-like in any situation, and/or someone who knows everyone or has been everywhere.  both B&W & color  (seen once)
Hannah and Her Sisters — 1986;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Max Von Sydow, Maureen O’Sullivan, Lewis Black, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, J.T. Walsh, Julie Kavner  (3)
The Curse of The Jade Scorpion — 2001;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody Allen, Helen Hunt  (4)
Hollywood Ending — 2002;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Téa Leoni, Treat Williams, George Hamilton, Debra Messing  (3)
Midnight In Paris — 2011;  written and directed by Woody Allen;  Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kurt Fuller.  (McAdams & Sheen were a couple during th.  time this movie was made) Owen Wilson slips through a time hole to Paris in the 1920s and hangs out with Hemingway (Corey Stoll, great), F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), T.S. Elliot, Man Ray, Luis Buñuel, Matisse, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker;  and then goes back to 1889 and meets Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin & Degas.  Woody deservedly won Best Screenplay (his most recent Oscar) — and was nominated for Picture and Direction.  Fantastic location shooting in Paris, and perfect music.  This guy is an insanely great filmmaker.  And it’s a movie about a writer!  Like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen was a master at capturing a woman’s face beautifully.  The idea for the film just started with the title.  Woody wanted to write a movie set in Paris.  He came up with the idea of “Midnight in Paris” cuz it sounded romantic and sort of the epitome / essence of the town.  Then he built the entire story from there.  (seen twice)
Blue Jasmine — 2013;  brilliant, deep, emotive Oscar-nominated Best Screenplay & directed by Woody Allen;  Cate Blanchett most deserved won Best Lead Actress Oscar, Sally Hawkins (nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Alex Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale (great), Andrew Dice Clay (who’s actually not a bad actor), Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K.  About a wealthy woman losing everything.  Inspired by blending Bernie Madoff’s wife with A Streetcar Named Desire.  Spectacularly perfect old jazz & blues music — as always, chosen by Woody.  Brilliant title once you’ve seen this absolutely great movie.  And great location shooting, as per Woody. 😉  (seen twice)

Robert Altman
“It’s all just one film to me.  Just different chapters.”
M*A*S*H — 1970;  Robert Altman;  Ring Lardner Jr. screenplay (who hated all the improvisations and changes Altman made on the fly … and then happily accepted for the win for Best Screenplay Oscar);  Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Robert Duval, Sally Kellerman; and all in their first movies — Bud Cort, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson, John Schuck & Rene Auberjonois (who’s got more IMDb credits than anyone else in the movie!).  Renegade under-the-studio-radar filmmaking at its best.  Much of the cast came from a San Fransisco theater troupe.  Made on a shoestring $3.5 million budget – and came in under.  14 of the 30 speaking roles in the movie were by actors making their feature film debuts. They had a surgeon on set all shoot to make sure the operating rooms were accurate.  Deservedly highly-praised breakthrough movie for Altman.  Brilliant use of da Vinci’s Last Supper.  The lyrics to the Suicide is Painless song were written by Altman’s 14 year old son.  Altman said he got paid $70,000 for making the movie, and his son earned more than $1 million for co-writing the song.  🙂  (4)
Brewster McCloud — 1970; Robert Altman; Doran William Cannon (who also wrote Skidoo); Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Stacy Keach, Shelley Duvall’s first film (and first of seven with Altman). (seen once)
Thieves Like Us — 1974;  Robert Altman;  Joan Tewksbury (Nashville) & Altman wrote screenplay based on Edward Anderson’s 1937 novel (you can read a great piece about the book and its connection to Bonnie & Clyde here);  Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Louise Fletcher, Tom Skerritt;  great crazy weird filmmaking and beautifully evocative cinematography;  but wasn’t a big fan overall.  Seemed a little plodding and the characters not really fleshed out.  See, also: Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night – both based on the same novel, but Nick’s is much more evocative & captivating, more of a tender appealing love story and not just bank robbers, much more believable screenwriting & acting, and much better pacing (editing), IMO.  (seen once)
California Split — 1974;  Robert Altman;  George Segal & Elliot Gould, Ann Prentiss, and Jeff Goldblum in a bit part.  A buddy picture set around poker & gambling.  Echoes of Owning Maloney.  (seen once)
Nashville — 1975;  Robert Altman (his first independent film with zero studio interference);  Joan Tewkesbury (here’s a great interview with her about how she wrote it);  unbelievable ensemble cast — Ronee Blakley (in fine voice in her film debut), Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie’s daughter, who’s hilarious & great), Shelly Duvall, Michael Murphy, Ned Beatty, Keith Carradine, Allen Garfield, Barbara Harris, Barbara Baxley, Cristina Raines, Keenan Wynn, Karen Black, Gwen Welles, Scott Glenn, a young Jeff Goldblum as the magician on the motorized tricycle who never speaks a word, cameos as themselves by Elliott Gould & Julie Christie (who just showed up unannounced and Altman threw them in as themselves), and a great violin-playing cameo by Vassar Clements.  Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Lily and Ronee for Best Supporting Actresses; Keith Carradine won for Best Original Song (I’m Easy).  Still holds the record for most Golden Globe nominations for a single film at 11.  Siskel & Ebert declared it the best movie of 1975.  All the musicians (almost all from Nashville) sing & perform live, and most were originals by the singers who sang them.  There was a solid 175-page script created by Altman and his Script Supervisor Joan Tewkesbury, based on the diary Altman instructed her to keep while staying in Nashville — but the actors improvised a lot of the actual dialog.  Great filmmaking, including the editing.  I literally laughed out loud several times watching it for the first time in 40 years in 2021.  Shot almost entirely in sequence. 2 hrs 40 mins.  (seen twice)
Vincent & Theo — 1990;  Robert Altman;  Tim Roth as Vincent Van Gogh (!) — great biopic on Van Gogh & his brother by none other than Robert Altman!  Opens with footage of Christie’s historic 1987 auction when Van Gogh’s Sunflowers shattered the record for the most money ever paid for a work of art.  The movie was originally designed as a four hour mini-series for the BBC, then cut down to this 2 hour film.  (3)
The Player — 1992;  Robert Altman;  Michael Tolkin (novel & screenplay);  Tim Robbins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Fred Ward, Greta Scacchi, Cynthia Stevenson, Whoopi Goldberg, Dean Stockwell, Brion James, Lyle Lovett, Peter Gallagher, Sydney Pollack, Jeremy Piven, Gina Gershon, and a million cameos.  Gawd!  What a brilliant movie!  One of my favorites of all time.  Music by the great Thomas Newman.
This film has more Oscar-winning actors and actresses in the cast than any other movie in history.  (!)  Twelve:  Cher, James Coburn, Louise Fletcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Joel Grey, Anjelica Huston, Jack Lemmon, Marlee Matlin, Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Rod Steiger.
Thirteen, when you count Oscar winning Producer and Director Sydney Pollack, who also makes a cameo appearance.
Also includes fifteen other actors and actresses who received Oscar nominations: Karen Black, Dean Stockwell, Michael Tolkin, Gary Busey, Peter Falk, Teri Garr, Jeff Goldblum, Elliott Gould, Sally Kirkland, Buck Henry, Sally Kellerman, Burt Reynolds, Nick Nolte, Richard E. Grant and Lily Tomlin.  (4)
Here’s probably the greatest continuous tracking shot in film history — the 8-minute opening of this movie:
https://vimeo.com/75881931
Short Cuts1993;  Robert Altman;  based on stories by Raymond Carver;  Lily Tomlin & Tom Waits, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Chris Penn, Andie MacDowell & Bruce Davison, Julianne Moore & Matthew Modine, Fred Ward & Anne Archer, Tim Robbins & Madeleine Stowe, Francis McDormand & Peter Gallagher, Lili Taylor & Robert Downey Jr., Annie Ross & Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry, Huey Lewis, Jack Lemmon.  Music producer: Hal Willner.  Great filmmaking by Altman, of course, with an unbelievable cast, but there’s no real through-plot, or character development, or any character I particularly gave a shit about.  It’s just a montage of occasionally vaguely connected lives in and around LA.  I LOVED The Player (which preceded this) and correctly got nominated for Best Screenplay, which this correctly did not. I get that there’s great performances by a to-die-for cast — cuz they wanna work with Altman — but it’s like a 3-hour soap opera recap.  It’s maybe a good *idea* for a movie . . . but there’s too many storylines for any of them to be explored in depth … and the “short cuts” cause, at least this viewer, to not invest any emotion into any of these mostly duplicitous unethical heartless people.  (3)

Hal Ashby
The great thing about film is, it really is the communal art.”
Harold and Maude — 1971;  Hal Ashby;  Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, music by Cat Stevens  (4)
The Last Detail — 1973;  Hal Ashby;  Robert Towne screenplay;  Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid  (never seen)
Shampoo — 1975;  Hal Ashby;  written by Robert Towne & Warren Beatty; Warren Beatty, Lee Grant (won Oscar for Best Supporting), Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, Carrie Fisher’s first movie, age 17, 2 years before Star Wars.  Set in L.A. in 1968, including a fantastic ’60s party scene with the kinda soundtrack from that era that readers of this site would love.  (seen once)
Being There — 1979;  Hal Ashby;  novel & screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski;  Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden  (4)

Peter Bogdanovich 
“Drama is easy.  Comedy is hard.”
The Last Picture Show — 1971;  directed & edited by Peter Bogdanovich;  screenplay by Larry McMurtry (from his book) & Bogdanovitch;  Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges (in his first big movie role), Cybill Shepherd (her film debut), Cloris Leachman (won Best Supporting Actress), Ben Johnson (won Best Supporting Actor; with less than 10 mins screen time, it’s the shortest on-screen performance ever to win an Oscar), Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennon, Clu Gilager, and also the film debuts of Randy Quaid & Sam Bottoms (Timothy’s little brother, playing his younger brother).  Set in 1951/52; filmed almost entirely on location in Archer City, Texas, where Larry McMurtry grew up and was writing about.  All the music is diegetic, meaning the characters are hearing it and it comes from a source on screen such as a radio, jukebox, record player, musicians or such.  Great use of shadows and light throughout by master cinematographer Robert Surtees.  But kind of a depressing movie.  B&W  (seen twice)
Paper Moon — 1973;  Peter Bogdanovich;  Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman (in 2 brother roles), Burton Gilliam’s film debut, and Randy Quaid in a bit part.  Tatum won the Oscar, the youngest person ever in a competitive category.  Madeline Kahn was also nominated in the same category.  Also deservedly nominated for Best Screenplay.  Set in the depression, and filmed largely on locations in Missouri and Kansas.  Brilliant cinematography by Laszlo Kovaks.  Great film in every regard.  When this played in the Gimli Theater in the summer of 1973, I saw it on Friday night … and went back again Saturday.  B&W  (4)

Richard Brooks
Directing is only writing with a camera.”
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof —  1958;  Richard Brooks;  Tennessee Williams’ play;  Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson.  In the middle of filming, Liz Taylor’s husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash. What an incredible performance she delivered in the middle of grief. Including while playing a woman whose father-in-law, Big Daddy, was dying. It’s all about the acting.  And sex.  (4)
Sweet Bird of Youth — 1962;  Richard Brooks;  screenplay by Brooks from a Tennessee Williams play;  Paul Newman, Geraldine Page (who was nominated for a Tony for this on Broadway and also for Best Supporting Actress Oscar), Rip Torn, Madeline Sherwood, all four main actors reprising their Broadway roles as directed by Elia Kazan, plus Ed Begley Sr. (won Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Mildred Dunnock, Dub Taylor, Corey Allen.  Page & Torn married the year after making the movie.  About a gigolo (an often shirtless Paul Newman) and a sorta Norma Desmond-like late-career actress in a typical Tennessee Williams southern patriarchy. Nice highway location shooting in first 10 mins. Includes pot, hash and bennies in a 1962 movie. (seen once)
Lord Jim — 1965;  Richard Brooks;  from Joseph Conrad novel;  Peter O’Toole, James Mason  (never seen)
In Cold Blood — 1967;  screenplay and directed by Richard Brooks;  based on the Truman Capote “fictional novel” / New Journalism book;  Robert Blake & Scott Wilson as the killers, John Forsythe as the detective, Jeff Corey.  No other “movie stars” were cast as director Brooks wanted it to seem like a real documentary;  most of the smaller roles were filled by Kansans.  An amazing movie, nominated for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematography (in part because of the rain on Blake’s face shot) and the super-cool Music by Quincy Jones (immediately following In The Heat of The Night, see above, {which also starred Scott Wilson, these being his first two movies}, and including a song partly played on bottles during the bottle collection scene).  Largely shot on location, including inside & outside the Clutter family’s actual home & farm, the courtroom where the trial took place (with six actual jurors playing jurors), the suit store where they passed a bad check using the very salesman they’d conned, the store where they bought the rope and tape, and the bus depot.  The two killers talk about the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre which a young Robert Blake was in as the young kid who sold Humphrey Bogart the winning lottery ticket.  It was killer Perry Smith’s favorite movie.  The first mainstream American movie to use the word “bullshit” on screen.  B&W  (seen once)

Tim Burton
“When I was growing up, Dr. Seuss was really my favorite. There was something about the lyrical nature and the simplicity of his work that really hit me.”
Beetlejuice — 1988;  Tim Burton;  Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett; Keaton’s only on screen 17 min., but with Burton’s permission, totally created the vibe of the movie, and is his favorite movie that he’s in.  (4)
Big Fish — 2003; Tim Burton; Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Loudon Wainwright, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito.  Surreal fantasy about relationship between father and son.  I sure find Burton and Terry Gilliam interchangeably weird.  (seen once)
Big Eyes2014;  Tim Burton;  Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz;  great dramatization about artist Margaret Keane who did the widely reproduced “big eyes” paintings and how her husband tried to take credit for them;  set largely in and around San Francisco in the late ’50s and early ’60s.  (seen once)

Frank Capra
“Scriptwriting is the toughest part of the whole racket… the least understood and the least noticed.”
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington — 1939;  Frank Capra;  Lewis Foster won Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story;  James Stewart & Jean Arthur; Claude Rains (as the morally corrupted & conflicted Senator) and Harry Carey (as the President of the Senate) were both nominated for Best Supporting Actors; plus Edward Arnold (as the evil bossman), Charles Lane, Thomas Mitchell.  Nominated 11 Oscars.  Of course I absolutely love this movie — including that there’s 96 Senators — cuz Hawaii & Alaska weren’t states yet.  It’s so interesting how the corrupt Jim Taylor criminal cabal echoes the corrupt trump cult.  Plus there’s a great love story that gets me every time.  The film was placed in preservation in the National Film Registry the first year of its existence.  B&W  (3)
Arsenic and Old Lace — 1944;  Frank Capra;  Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre  B&W  (3)
It’s A Wonderful Life — 1946;  Frank Capra;  James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Frank Albertson  B&W  (3)
State of The Union — 1948;  Frank Capra;  Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson.  A married industrialist (Spencer) runs for President.  B&W  (1)

Charlie Chaplin
“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.”
The Gold Rush — 1925;  written, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin  B&W  (seen once) 
City Lights — 1931;  written, scored, produced, edited, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin.  Chaplin’s favorite of all his films; he developed it for 3 years.  He kept it a silent picture had become the norm.  He brought Albert Einstein to the L.A. premiere, and George Bernard Shaw to the London.   The highest-grossing film of 1931 in the U.S.  B&W   (seen once)
Modern Times — 1936;  produced, written, edited, scored and directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin;  Paulette Goddard.  The final major American film to use silent conventions like title cards – and Chaplin performing in pantomime.  The last title card ever to appear (thus the end of the silent era) was the Little Tramp saying “Buck up – never say die. We’ll get along!”  Although, Chaplin’s voice is heard on film for the first time — singing a nonsense lyric song in faux Italian.  Contains the assembly line scene that clearly spawned Lucy’s classic bit.  Great choreography and physical comedy by Chaplin.  Fred Astaire must’ve loved this guy.  Sort of – Orwell’s 1984 on film.  This could almost be listed under “Trippy Movies” … but those sorta need to be in color.  🙂  B&W  (seen once)

Limelight — 1953; written, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin – plus he wrote all the music and won the Best Oscar for it; Claire Bloom as the muse, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton, Norman Lloyd, and Chaplin’s son Sydney; Chaplin’s last American-made movie. Really good. About the hope and love and art and the meaning of life. Also about an aging clown facing the end of his career. B&W (seen once)

Joel & Ethan Coen
“We tend to do period stuff because it helps make it one step removed from boring everyday reality.”
Raising Arizona — 1987;  written & directed by the Joel & Ethan Coen;  Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Frances McDormand  (3)
The Hudsucker Proxy — 1994;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh — all brilliant performances. Plus Charles Durning, Peter Gallagher, John Mahoney, Bill Cobbs, Steve Buscemi (playing a Beatnik cafe owner), John Goodman (announcer).  A masterpiece of a film.  Really funny.  Those Coen brothers are certainly visionaries and surrealists.  (4)
The Big Lebowski — 1998;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid  (4)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? — 2000;  written & directed by the Coen Brothers (based on Homer’s The Odyssey);  George Clooney (great!), John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Stephen Root! (playing a blind guy, like in Get Out), Charles Durning, Michael Badalucco as George not Baby Face Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Daniel von Bargen (Kruger on Seinfeld).  Roger Deakins Oscar nominated for cinematography; T Bone Burnett’s music supervision garnered the soundtrack album winning the Grammy for Best Album of The Year (!) and Best Soundtrack; great script, typical surreal twisted Coen brothers “comedy.”  (seen once)
The Ladykillers — 2004;  written & directed by the Coen Brothers;  Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmens, Marlon Wayans  (4)
Fargo — 1996;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  William H. Macy, Francis McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell  (4)
No Country For Old Men — 2007;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Tess Harper, Woody Harrelson, Stephen Root.  SUCH a first-view movie; mesmerizing on first viewing; very so-so on second.  This movie is all “style” — there’s plot holes and bad scenes all thru this — no wonder the Coen’s were surprised they won Best Picture, and acted like they didn’t deserve it.  I can sure see why JB won best actor.  Riveting, memorable performance. But I needed closed-captions to understand what many of the others were saying.  It’s very disturbing, like Natural Born Killers.  (2)

Francis Ford Coppola
I believe that filmmaking – as, probably, is everything – is a game you should play with all your cards, and all your dice, and whatever else you’ve got.  So, each time I make a movie, I give it everything I have.  I think everyone should, and I think everyone should do everything they do that way.”
The Godfather — 1972;  directed and co-screenwritten by Francis Ford Coppola;  from Mario Puzo book;  Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda, Diane Keaton, John Cazale.  Won Best Picture, Screenplay and Actor for Brando.  Seen parts of many times, have real trouble sitting through the whole thing.  (seen once)
Apocalypse Now — 1979;  directed and cowritten by Francis Ford Coppola;  Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duval, Dennis Hopper  (4)
Rumble Fish — 1983;  Francis Ford Coppola;  Mickey Rourke (great), Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Tom Waits, Nicholas Cage.  Ethan Hawke said in the Criterion closet that Matt Dillon delivers the greatest performance by a juvenile in the history of film.  (never seen) 
The Cotton Club — 1984;  Francis Ford Coppola;  Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, Fred Gwynne, and Bill Graham in a bit part.  (seen twice) 
Tucker: The Man and His Dream — 1988; Francis Ford Coppola;  Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau — great movie about re-life Preston Tucker the car inventor.  (seen twice) 

Danny DeVito
It’s fun to be on the edge.  I think you do your best work when you take chances, when you’re not safe, when you’re not in the middle of the road.”
Throw Mama From The Train — 1987;  dir. Danny DeVito;  starring DeVito & Billy Crystal;  with Branford Marsalis & Rob Reiner in great bit parts.  Although ostensibly about a Hitchcockian double-murder criss-cross, it’s a funny (and I think comically accurate) movie about writing and writers.  (4)
The War of The Roses — 1989;  dir. Danny DeVito;  Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito  (4)

Clint Eastwood
“Everybody accuses me of moving fast when I direct a picture.  I don’t move fast, but I just keep moving.”
Bird — 1988;  dir. Clint Eastwood;  Forest Whitaker as Bird — extraordinary Charlie Parker bio-pic  (seen twice)
Mystic River — 2003;  Clint Eastwood;  from Dennis Lehane novel, who also write Shutter Island; Sean Penn, Tim Robbins – both won Oscars for roles – Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney;  nominated for Best Picture, Director & Screenplay.  (seen twice)
Sully — 2016;  Clint Eastwood;  based on Chesley Sullenberger’s book;  Tom Hanks as Sully, Aaron Eckhart as the copilot, Laura Linney, Michael Rapaport, Katie Couric.  Great movie about the landing of the plane on the Hudson River in January 2009.  Very positive New York story with lots of location shots.  Really well crafted script.  (seen twice)
Richard Jewell – 2019; Clint Eastwood; Paul Walter Hauser (great as the titular character), Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates (as the mother, nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Jon Hamm (FBI agent), Olivia Wilde (reporter).  Pretty riveting filmmaking & script & casting. Laughed out loud 3 times and cried once. (seen once)

Blake Edwards
“In the States, there is a kind of spoon-full-of-sugar mentality.  People go to be entertained.”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s — 1961;  Blake Edwards;  from Truman Capote novel;  Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam.  Marilyn Monroe was offered the role of Holly Golightly, but her acting coach Lee Strasberg said playing a call-girl would be bad for her career so she turned it down.  Henri Mancini & Johnny Mercer won the Oscar for Best Score and Original Song.  Hepburn & the screenplay were also nominated.  (seen twice)
Days of Wine and Roses — 1962;  Blake Edwards;  Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford, Jack Klugman, Jack Albertson.  About alcoholism – a promotion man & young wife in San Francisco.  S.A. Griffin recommendation.  B&W  (never seen)
The Pink Panther — 1963;  written & directed by Blake Edwards;  Peter Sellers, David Niven, a young Robert Wagner, and two Sophia Loren-like beauties Claudia Cardinale and Capucine; and GREAT music by Henry Mancini.  (3)
The Party — 1968;  screenplay & directed by Blake Edwards;  Peter Sellers, The Love Boat’s Gavin MacLeod in a small role, and classic ’60s/’70s Tonight Show / Johnny Carson blond Carol Wayne, and TV staple Steve Franken as the drunken waiter;  Henri Mancini music.  The Pink Panther director, star & composer reunited for this crazy ’60s party movie.  Sellars, playing an Indian actor, has very few lines.  It’s a Chaplinesque masterclass in physical comedy.  Filmed in Los Angeles in the summer of 1967 – so it’s prime time psychedelic ’60s, including a closet full of pot-smoking musicians.  Fantastic futuristic high-tech “sixties” home built as a set.  Largely improvised from a 50-page outline and filmed in sequence.  (seen twice)
Switch — 1991;  written & directed by Blake Edwards;  Ellen Barkin & Jimmy Smits in the leads, plus JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Roberts, Catherine Keener.  Bizarre but effective comedy/fantasy about a sexist guy being reincarnated as a woman.  (seen once)

Nora Ephron
I don’t care who you are.  When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you’re also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.”
Heartburn — 1986;  Mike Nichols;  from novel & screenplay by Nora Ephron;  Meryl Streep (as Nora), Jack Nicholson (as her husband Carl Bernstein), plus Jeff Daniels, Maureen Stapleton, Stockard Channing, Catherine O’Hara, Miloš Forman.  The great Nora Ephron’s firsthand account her marriage and breakup with the legendary Watergate reporter.  And with Mike Nichols directing a Nora Ephron script starring Nicholson & Streep . . . that is one Fab Four!  (seen twice)
When Harry Met Sally — 1989;  Rob Reiner;  written by Nora Ephron;  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby  (3)
Sleepless in Seattle — 1993;  written & directed by Nora Ephron;  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan  (3)
Lucky Numbers —  2000;  Nora Ephron;  written by Adam Resnick (Death To Smoochy, SNL, Letterman, Larry Sanders Show);  John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Roth.  You can read my review of it here.  (4)

David Fincher
“In film, we sculpt time, we sculpt behavior and we sculpt light.  I think intelligence is totally subjective; it’s like sexiness.  Everything seems really simple on paper until you take a camera out of the box.  A movie is made for an audience and a film is made for both the audience and the film-makers.”
Zodiac — 2007;  David Fincher;  Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, John Carroll Lynch;   LOVED it. totally surprised — I’m not a serial killer movie fan at all — other than Scorsese there’s not many movies with much killing on my list.  There’s not much in this either, but again, it’s just not a movie i would normally watch — but, like many a great movie, I discovered it cuz it was on regular rotation on the movie network. first of all, I LOVE Jack Gyllenhaal, AND his sister Maggie!
I love how it’s set in a newspaper newsroom, and how the JG character is a lowly guy with ideas.
Also — Robert Downey Jr. is his typical great self.
And just his whole pursuit of how he tries to track the killer down is a well-told story.
Plus I love that it’s a period piece set in the 70s and also set in and around SF, one of my very favorite cities.
Also — Great Casting — all the secondary / supporting roles are just perfectly cast. (another big thing I appreciate in films)  (seen twice)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — 2008;  David Fincher (made in between his two other masterpieces, Zodiac and The Social Network);  screenplay by Eric Roth (same guy who wrote Forrest Gump);  based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story;  Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Mahershala Ali, Tilda Swinton.  Won Oscars for Best Art Direction, Visual Effects & Makeup, and nominated for 10 others, including Brad, Fincher, Screenplay & Cinematography.  Lots of location shooting in New Orleans.  Commonalities noticed with Forrest Gump: A life-story arc … theme of eternal love … incorporating real historic events into a fictional story … groundbreaking visual effects … … both with one of America’s greatest leading actors … both nominated for exactly 13 Academy Awards … and both by the same screenwriter … who in both cases was adapting an existing work.  S.A. Griffin said of this: “One of the films I can never stop watching!!”  (seen once)
The Social Network — 2010;  David Fincher;  brilliant and Oscar-winning screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (who also, effectively, co-directed);  Jesse Eisenberg Oscar-nominated as Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, and Sorkin with a nice cameo as an ad executive.  Brilliant casting all the way through.  Perfect original Oscar-winning piano-based music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross.  Also Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director & Cinematography.  The “twins” were done by computer superimposing the one actor’s face over the other’s to make them look identical.  David Fincher is one helluva filmmaker!  The 92-minute making-of doc on the 2-disc DVD release is by far the best making-of DVD doc I’ve ever seen.  And there’s TWO commentaries — both David Fincher & Aaron Sorkin.  (4)
Mank — 2020; David Fincher;  Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz, should have won Best Actor Oscar; Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davis;  about Hollywood in the 1930s, alcoholism, and the writing of Citizen Kane; really liked it B&W.  (seen once)

Miloš Forman
“I know this sounds so little, and not serious enough, but I believe that I have to have fun.  We all have to have fun – me, the actors, the cameraman, everybody should feel as if we are making a home movie, because that is the only way to open the film to a certain kind of lightness.”
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest — 1975;  Miloš Foreman;  based on parts of the novel by Ken Kesey;  Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Scatman Crothers;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Miloš!, Actor for Jack, Actress for Louise Fletcher, and Screenplay.  (4)
Hair — 1979;  Miloš Forman;  book/score by Gerome Ragni & James Rado;  Treat Williams, Beverly De Angelo, John Savage, Nicholas Ray cameo.  Lots of Central Park location shots;  Fantastic!  (4)
Amadeus — 1984;  Miloš Forman;  Tom Hulce as Mozart, F. Murray Abraham as Salieri  (seen twice)

Bob Fosse
“I drink too much, I smoke too much, I take pills too much, I work too much, I girl around too much, I everything too much.”
Cabaret — 1972;  Bob Fosse;  Liza Minelli, Joey Grey, Michael York  (4)
Liza with a ‘Z’ — Sept. 10, 1972;  NBC;  dir & choreographed by Bob Fosse; Liza Minnelli;  Marvin Hamlisch musical Director;  Phil Ramone engineer; won 4 Emmy’s, Best Single Program, Best Director, Best Choreography, Best Music;  shot live, one take.  (2)
Lenny — 1974;  Bob Fosse;  Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine — docudrama on Lenny Bruce  B&W  (seen once)
All That Jazz — 1979;  co-written and directed by Bob Fosse (telling his own sordid life story);  Roy Scheider in the Fosse character, Jessica Lange, Ben Vereen.  Won Oscars for Beat Art Direction, Editing, Costumes & Music; nominated for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Actor (Scheider).  (seen once)
Star 80 — 1983;  directed and co-screenwritten by Bob Fosse (his last project);  Mariel Hemingway (granddaughter of Ernest) and Eric Roberts, plus Cliff Robertson (as Hugh Hefner), and Carroll Baker.  Based on the true story of the murder of Canadian Playboy model and Playmate-of-the-Year Dorothy Stratten.  Could almost be on the Disturbing Movies list because of Eric Roberts’ performance, which Hefner said was “right on the money.”  (seen twice)

Terry Gilliam
If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.”
Monty Python and the Holy Grail — 1975;  Terry Gilliam;  written by all of Monty Python;  Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland, Neil Innis  (4)
Time Bandits — 1981;  Terry Gilliam;  written by Gilliam & Michael Palin;  Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, John Cleese as Robin Hood, and Sir Ralph Richardson as God;  incredible sets / props / production design;  George Harrison was one of the producers and mortgaged his office building to get the film made, like he mortgaged his home to finance Monty Python’s Life of Brian two years earlier;  this ended up being one of the highest grossing films of the year;  the first in what Gilliam called his Trilogy of Imagination” soon to include Brazil (1985) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  (seen twice)
Brazil — 1985;  Terry Gilliam;  screenplay by Gilliam & Tom Stoppard;  Jonathan Pryce (who’s great!), Robert De Niro, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins, Katherine Helmond, Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm.  Wonderfully beautifully twisted 1984-ish vision — inspired in a general way by Orwell’s book.  Rightfully Oscar-nominated for its comically surreal Art Direction (Out of Africa won (?) ); and for Original Screenplay (Witness won).  It was too weird for me the first viewing, then I read a bunch about it, and watched it the second time decades later and was blown away by the vision & filmmaking.  Surreal filmmaking at its finest.  Terry Gilliam is one helluva filmmaker!  Gawd, he’s a weird guy!  🙂  The Salvador Dali of film.  See his listing in the Auteur section above.  The movie’s final cut and release is a somewhat legendary story in film history, how a honcho schmuck at Universal tried to completely recut it and Gilliam circumvented him.  There’s an entire book written about it.  The second in what Gilliam called his “Trilogy of Imagination” along with Time Bandits (1981) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  Both Frank Zappa and River Phoenix’s favorite movie.  “This has not been a recording.”  (seen twice)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen — 1988;  cowritten & directed by Terry Gilliam;  John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Jonathan Pryce, Uma Thurman.  The third in what Gilliam called his “Trilogy of Imagination” along with Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985).   (seen once)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — 1998;  Terry Gilliam, who also wrote the screenplay based on Hunter Thompson’s book;  brilliant combo performances by Johnny Depp & Benicio Del Toro; plus loaded with great cameos by (roughly in order of appearance) Tobey Maguire, Katherine Helmond, Penn Jillette, Cameron Diaz, Lyle Lovett, Flea, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Laraine Newman, Mark Harmon, Christopher Meloni, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Jeter, Larry Brandenburg, Ellen Barkin, the Grateful Dead in the Panhandle & Paul Krassner — who Gilliam said “It was very much a magnet, this project.  And a lot of people, the new kids on the block.  And then there was Ellen Barkin and Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton and Katherine Helmond — they all came in and worked for scale” — to be in Gilliam doing Thompson with Depp.  Plus the good Doctor himself makes an appearance during an hallucination in The Matrix.  Depp spent 4 months with Thompson in prep for the role, “I watched him like a hawk,” and Hunter leant Johnny & the production a bunch of his clothes, his actual I.D. you see in his wallet, and his original Red Shark convertible.  Great use of music throughout, but particularly Tom Jones in Las Vegas, the Airplane in S.F., and Bob Dylan On The Road.  Gilliam-surreal, occasionally funny — and definitely some of the best portrayals of being high on acid I’ve ever seen on the screen.  Made me wanna trip. 🙂  IMO, other than Holy Grail, this is Gilliam’s best film.  It holds together, and it doesn’t let up. 😉  Great making-of doc on the DVD.  (3)
Lost In La Mancha — 2002;  great documentary on Terry Gilliam making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote;  with Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges  (3)
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote — 2018; written and directed by Terry Gilliam; Adam Driver as Toby/Sancho Panza, a wild Jonathan Pryce as Don Quixote, Stellan Skarsgård, Jordi Mollà.  Surreal comedic update on Don Quixote.  Gilliam’s finally-completed movie that he’s been working on since 1989, a production so famously beset with disasters there was a whole film about it not being a film, Lost in La Mancha, much like Heart of Darkness was made about Apocalypse Now.  Beautiful location shooting among ancient ruins in Spain and Portugal.  (1)

Christopher Guest
“In real life, people fumble their words.  They repeat themselves and stare blankly off into space and don’t listen properly to what other people are saying.  I find that kind of speech fascinating but screenwriters never write dialogue like that because it doesn’t look good on the page.”
Spinal Tap — 1984;  Rob Reiner;  writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner;  starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Fred Willard, Bruno Kirby, Fran Drescher  (4)
The Big Picture — 1989;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest, Michael McKean & Michael Varhol;  Kevin Bacon, Michael McKean, J.T. Walsh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Teri Hatcher in her first movie  (4)
Waiting For Guffman — 1996;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest & Eugene Levy;  Guest, Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Larry Miller, Parker Posey, David Cross, Michael Hitchcock, Bob Balaban  (4)
Best In Show — 2000;  Christopher Guest;  written by Guest & Eugene Levy;  Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Ed Begley Jr., Stephen Miller, Jane Lynch, and my friend Fulvio Cecere in one scene!  (4)
For Your Consideration — 2006; Christopher Guest; written by Guest & Eugene Levy; starring Guest, Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Hitchcock, Jennifer Coolidge, Richard Kind, Sandra Oh, Don Lake, Ricky Gervais & Larry Miller.  Funny character-rich comedy about actors hoping to be nominated for an Academy Award.  The Guest & Levy commentary and outtake extras on the DVD are fantastic.  (3)

George Roy Hill
Lately it’s come around so that the director is more of a star than he was in the past, but I’ve never wanted that.  I feel that I can accomplish more if I have a low profile.”
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid — 1969;  George Roy Hill;  written by William Goldman;  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Jeff Corey, plus Cloris Leachman in a bit part, and Sam Elliott playin cards.  Originally planned as Steve McQueen & Paul Newman.  Shot in both sepia and color.  (4)
The Sting — 1973;  George Roy Hill;  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, a riveting Robert Shaw, Charles Durning (who’s in six movies on this page!), Ray Walston, Eileen Brennon, Harold Gould;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Hill, and quite deservingly – Screenplay, Art Direction, Costumes (Edith Head), Editing and Music by Marvin Hamlisch (via Scott Joplin).  I’ve never forgotten watching live Liz Taylor’s announcement of it for Best Picture.  And upon 2020 reviewing – don’t miss the cars!  (4)
The World According to Garp — 1982;  George Roy Hill;  John Irving novel;  Robin Williams, Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Mary Beth Hurt, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn  (4)
Funny Farm — 1988;  George Roy Hill;  Chevy Chase in a writer-in-the-country comedy.  (4)

Alfred Hitchcock
“When we tell a story in cinema we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise.  I always try to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between.”
Saboteur — 1942;  Albert Hitchcock; screenplay co-writer Dorothy Parker;  Robert Cummings; Priscilla, Otto Kruger.  Nice location shooting around Rockefeller Center, inside Radio City, and on Liberty Island circa 1942.  Classic climax at the top of the Statue of Liberty.  (seen twice)
Spellbound — 1945;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Ben Hecht screenplay;  Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman.  Hitchcock’s use of Salvador Dali’s work in sets for the dream sequence.  B&W  (seen once) 

Rope
1948;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Jimmy Stewart, Farley Granger.  Inspired by the 1924 Leopold & Loeb murder.  Hitchcock’s first color movie.  Only 10 different shots in the whole movie, each running 5 to 10 minutes in a single unbroken shot.  One of the five “lost Hitchcocks” (along with Vertigo, Rear Window, Man Who Knew Too Much, Trouble with Harry) that were finally rereleased in 1984 — and I saw this in a theater in Greenwich Village with my Dad during his only visit ever to NYC (for my NYU graduation).  (seen twice)
Dial M For Murder1954;  Alfred Hitchcock;  from a great crime-mystery-thriller stage play (and screenplay) by Frederick Knott; gorgeous Grace Kelly (the first of 3 she made with Hitch), Ray Milland, Robert Cummings (as the American mystery writer), John Williams (as the inspector, reprising his Tony-winning Broadway performance of the role).  Originally filmed in 3D, hence some of the odd placement of props in the extreme foreground. (3)
Rear Window — 1954;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Jimmy Stewart & Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr  B&W  (4)
The Man Who Knew Too Much — 1956;  Alfred Hitchcock;  James Stewart & Doris Day.  B&W (4)
North By Northwest — 1959;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Gary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau — GREAT script and cinematography – great Manhattan location shots circa 1958; great Mount Rushmore shots.  (4)
Psycho — 1960;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam.  B&W (4)
Frenzy — 1972;  Alfred Hitchcock;  great script by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Murder on the Orient Express) from an Arthur Le Bern novel;  Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Anna Massey, Jean Marsh, Bernard Cribbins (Fawlty Towers), Clive Swift (Keeping Up Appearances).  I’d read about it and watched a “making of” doc and figured I didn’t really wanna see it — including after not loving 1976’s Family Plot.  But I kinda really like this.  Seems like classic suspenseful Hitchcock including tinges of macabre humor — ‘cept set wonderfully in Swinging London circa 1971 (complete with all British accents).  Maybe it’s about a serial rapist/murderer, but it’s a good Hitchcockian wrong-man-accused thriller.   Basically, his last great movie after Psycho/Marnie.  He made ample use of the liberalized restrictions on showing a woman’s breast, which resulted in his only “R” rated picture.  And once again, just as in almost every movie he ever made, there’s a very cool use of … stairs.  Hitchcock is the cinematic M.C. Escher of stairs.  Here’s a great mini essay about his use of stairs, including a great 6-minute video montage. https://sites.middlebury.edu/videographiccourse/2017/12/04/alfred-hitchcocks-39-stairs/  (seen once)

John Huston
“I don’t try to guess what a million people will like.  It’s hard enough to know what I like.”
The Maltese Falcon — 1941;  John Huston’s directorial debut;  written by Dashiell Hammett & John Huston;  Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor (an early wild woman Prankster of Hollywood who was having an affair with director Huston during filming) and Sydney Greenstreet in his movie debut (and his only Oscar nomination).  John’s father Walter Huston makes an uncredited cameo as a good luck gesture towards his son’s debut.  Leonardo DiCaprio owns one of the three Maltese falcons used in the movie, the most recent one sold at auction for $4 million (from a movie with a total original budget of $300,000), and he brought it to the set of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood where it can be seen in the rare book store Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate) goes to buy Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  John Huston, Humphrey Bogart & Peter Lorre later made a Bizarroworld send-up of Maltese Falcon with Robert Morley in the Sydney Greenstreet role called Beat The Devil (also on this film page).  B&W  (3)
The Treasure of The Sierra Madre — 1948;  John Huston;  Huston and the mysterious B. Traven screenplay;  Huston’s father, Walter Huston, won Best Supporting Actor;  plus Huston won for both directing and screenplay.  For me it was one of those movies I had to see more than once to appreciate.  I started watching it once or twice and found it REEEALLY boring — these old farts trudging around the desert and pawing in the dirt. Whoopy! was it actually filmed in slow motion?
Then . . . ah, Then . . . on the 2nd or 3rd try all the pieces came together and now i recognize its mastery and why it’s one of the greatest films ever made.  The original story, perhaps dating back to Chaucer, who could’ve picked it up from somebody else.  Maybe it’s a lost Homer epic.  The story is eternal.  Like “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — how greed can overpower an otherwise good man.  How some, in the face of wealth, become a-holes, and others always retain a clear vision of what’s important in life (Howard/Walter). which kind of person are you?  We all think, as Dobbs/Bogart did, that we would never become morally corrupted — yet we’ve seen in the real world (and as depicted in this movie) how that happens.  The arc of the Dobbs character is a classic in 2-hour cinema, and how Bogart portrays the transition from sanity and good-will into madness, greed & murder is up there with the greatest performances of any actor ever. the leprechaun magic of Walter Huston.  The authenticity of the location shooting, including all the extras and bit roles. the depth, detail and polish of the script. the torn, sweat-soaked costumes. the fabulous music that mutates as the characters do.
If it was a standard western or movie in general, it all would have taken place in the first town and been about how they exacted revenge from the unscrupulous businessman who rips them off — the workers against the corporation.  But then the characters are taken beyond that to where they form their own limited partnership — and how some people turn out to be good and some don’t.   It’s life.  If only we got to watch our own life movie several times until we got it.  But since we can’t, you have another shot at this movie.  It took my reincarnation as a viewer to finally get it right.  “It wouldn’t be that way with me. I swear it wouldn’t.  I’d take only what I set out to get.”  😉  Boy, would this be a great movie to see the alternate takes from!  And think how Walter Huston’s performance pushed Bogart.  Top 10 movie.  B&W  (4)
Key Largo — 1948;  John Huston;  screenplay cowritten by Huston & Richard Brooks, based on Maxwell Anderson’s popular Broadway play, which ran at the Ethel Barrymore theater, named for the sister of Lionel;  Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Marc Lawrence, and Claire Trevor as the rambunctious drunk who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  Robinson plays a gangster (modeled on Al Capone & Lucky Luciano) who takes the owners and guests of a Key Largo hotel hostage during a hurricane.  Bogart & Bacall’s 4th and final picture together, and the fifth and final collaboration for Bogart & Robinson.  Huston was forced to film it on sets on the Warner Brothers’ lot after going so over budget filming The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in Mexico the year before.  Classic old film drama from a stage play.  B&W  (seen twice)
The Asphalt Jungle — 1950;  directed & cowritten by John Huston;  Sterling Hayden, Sam Jaffe, James Whitmore, John McIntire, 23-year-old Marilyn Monroe in her small but breakout role, and also Jack Warden’s first film.  Nominated for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Sam Jaffe for Supporting Actor.  Film Noir heist drama set in Cincinnati, with some cool location shooting there circa 1949. Helluva script and cinematography.  A movie about vice.  Capraesque ending.  Love John Huston – but boy he sure sometimes makes weird, verging on surreal, movies. 🙂  B&W  (seen once)
The African Queen — 1951;  John Huston;  Humphrey Bogart & Katherine Hepburn  B&W  (seen once)
Beat The Devil — 1953;  John Huston;  screenplay credit to Truman Capote, but he bailed in the middle of the madness and Huston, Bogie, Lorie & others made it up on the fly after that;  Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones, Robert Morley.
I can’t believe these guys (Houston, Bogart, Jones) weren’t comedic actors & director. This is SO funny – if you look at it right.  Morley is Brilliant.  And the dialog is brilliant.  I would love to have this script.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  There’s also so many plot changes.  Great characterizations.  Jennifer Jones out-Marilyn’s Monroe in 1953, playing the most wonderfully dreamy and deluded blond.  The Talented Mr. Ripley is a kind of later version (although that’s really not a comedy).  B&W  (4)
The Misfits — 1961;  John Huston;  written by Arthur Miller (with screenwriting help from John Huston);  breathlessly beautiful Marilyn Monroe, Clark “the King” Gable, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter with a fairly major role, Eli Wallach (Marylin recommended her New York acting school friend for the part).  Helluva cast!  Marylin, Monty, Eli & Kevin McCarthy were all Method actors from the Actor’s Studio in New York.  Eli reminds of Joe Pesci and feels like a Scorsese troupe member.  Amazingly, the film was not nominated for a single Oscar!  Monroe & Miller were married at the time, but broke up during the course of the movie, in part because she didn’t like the character he wrote for her (lost, needy, the focus of all men’s attention), and felt he was using private elements of her life against her.  Both Monroe & Gable’s last movie.  A famously problematic production with Monroe & Miller’s marriage falling apart; Monroe & Clift’s pill & alcohol problems; Monroe arriving late on set every day (due to both pills & booze, and hating the character she was playing) and then having to go into detox for 2 weeks which shut down production; director Huston’s nightly gambling addiction (in legal gambling Reno) and his heavy-handed multi-take directing style; Arthur Miller rewriting scenes nightly; and 100 degree Nevada temperatures on many shooting days.  Marilyn did a topless bedroom scene (at her insistence), but it would’ve been a distraction in the storyline, and been the first nude scene in an American major motion picture, and thus never made it in the final cut.  When filming was finished and just days before his death, Gable told the producer that along with Gone With The Wind he now had two pictures he was proud of.  He told Arthur Miller at an early rough-cut screening, “This is the best picture I have made, and it’s the only time I’ve been able to act.”  The last play Arthur Miller ever wrote, “Finishing the Picture” was about the making of this movie.  I loved this movie watching it for only the second time (and *really* only the first time) in July 2021.  Great filmmaking (cinematography, pacing, casting, writing, editing, location choices, art direction, costumes, music) by Huston.
And p.s. — There was always a connection between Jack Kerouac and Marylin Monroe — ’50s mega-stars, meteoric fame, inspiration to the young, personified their moment in time, addiction, tragic lives.
Marilyn delivers a line (written by Arthur Miller) that sounds like something Jack would say: “We’re all dying, aren’t we?  All the husbands and all the wives.  Every minute.  And we’re not teaching each other what we really know, are we?”
As Jack phrased it in Visions of Cody — “I’m writing this book because we’re all going to die. In the loneliness of my life, my father dead, my brother dead, my mother faraway, my sister and my wife far away, nothing here but my own tragic hands that once were guarded by a world, a sweet attention, that now are left to guide and disappear their own way into the common dark of all our death, sleeping in my raw bed, alone and stupid.”  (seen twice)
Prizzi’s Honor — 1985;  John Huston;  Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, John Randolph, Angelica Huston (won best actress directed by her father, just as John had directed his father Walter to an Oscar in Treasure of the Sierra Madre), William Hickey’s brilliant performance  (3)
The Dead1987;  John Huston (the last of the 47 movies he directed);  based on James Joyce’s short story in Dubliners, screenplay by Huston’s son Tony, who was nominated for an Oscar;  starring Anjelica Huston and a bunch of unknowns.  Moody atmospheric drama set around a family dinner in snowy Dublin, January 1904.  (seen once)

Alejandro Iñárritu
“To make a film is easy.  To make a good film is war.  To make a great film is a miracle.”
Babel — 2006; original script idea and directed by Alejandro Iñárritu; Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett.  Three separate stories on three different continents (Morocco, Japan, Mexico);  nominated for 7 Oscars but only Gustavo Santaolalla won for Best Original Score — the same guy who did the music for On The Road.  The title comes from there being at least 4 different languages spoken by the various characters.  Very disturbing.  Not my kind of movie.  (1)
The Revenant2015;  directed and co-written by Alejandro Iñárritu;  Emmanuel Lubezki won Oscar for Best Cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy.  Won Best Director, Cinematography, and Leonardo’s first Oscar after 4 nominations.  (seen once)
Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)2014;  written & directed by Alejandro Iñárritu;  Emmanuel Lubezki won Oscar for Best Cinematography;  Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifinakis, Naomi Watts.  Fantastic.  Deservedly won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Cinematography.  All shot in long takes, only 16 visible cuts in the whole movie.  (seen once)

Jim Jarmush
“Life has no plot.  Why must films or fiction?”
Permanent Vacation1980;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch (his first movie);  Chris Parker, John Lurie; move about a guy who goes on an Adventure in Manhattan and meets all kinds of strange people in 1980 — the year I moved to the city;  pretty low budget and dark;  didn’t like it at all, not recommended.  (seen once)
Stranger Than Paradise1984;  co-written & directed by Jim Jarmusch (his second film);  co-written by & starring John Lurie (who also did the excellent atmospheric largely cello music);  the great character actor Richard Edson’s first film.  The 90-minute movie is done in only 67 (mostly static) shots; the average film has around 1,200 different shots.  The camera pans maybe six times (by my count) in the entire movie.  The static shots are prolly the most interesting thing about it.  Jarmusch won the Golden Camera at Cannes in 1984 awarded for the best debut feature at the festival.  Won Special Jury Recognition at Sundance in 1985.  Inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2002.  2-disc release as part of the Criterion Collection in 2007.  Very “independent” film — and very New York — the early ’80s when I first moved there.  Screamin Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You is a reoccurring song.  From IMDb: “Director Jim Jarmusch was dismayed to discover all the money he paid for the rights to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You went to the record company, with nothing going to Hawkins himself.  When the film earned a profit, Jarmusch took it upon himself to track down Hawkins (who was living in a trailer park, at the time) and give him some money.  It was the beginning of a friendship between the two which lasted until Hawkins’ death.  According to Jarmusch, Hawkins continuously promised to pay him back, despite Jarmursch’s insistence that the money was a gift.”  I know you’re supposed to love Jarmusch, but other than Paterson I don’t really love his films.  B&W  (seen once)
Down By Law — 1986;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Ellen Barkin, Rockets Redglare.  Imaginative original story & a well-crafted script, with three very different well-drawn characters.  Great cinematography by Robby Müller (who Jarmusch long wanted to work with).  Songs by Tom Waits (from Rain Dogs), and atmospheric music by John Lurie.  Shot entirely on location in Louisiana.  Jarmusch’s follow-up to his highly-acclaimed Stranger Than Paradise.  He could now get a top cinematographer and name actors.  A pretty good movie.  B&W  (seen once)
Mystery Train — 1989;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Steve Buscemi, Joe Strummer (in a rare dramatic role), Tom Noonan, Screamin Jay Hawkins. Three different stories in adjacent rooms on the same night at the same hotel.  Some common things like a gunshot and the songs Domino by Roy Orbison & Blue Moon of Kentucky by Elvis is heard in all three.  Screamin’ Jay ties the three stories together as the hotel desk clerk.  Gubba recommendation.  Kind of interesting film of three interconnected stories & characters. Filmed entirely on location in Memphis, TN.  (seen once)
Dead Man —  1995;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Johnny Depp (who’s great playing a character named William Blake – some of whose lines are quoted in the movie), Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover (in one scene in the beginning), the great John Hurt, Robert Mitchum (in his final film performance), Lance Henriksen, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Jared Harris, Alfred Molina, plus a barely recognizable Steve Buscemi cameo.  Fantastic music improvised by Neil Young on various instruments while watching the final cut.  $9 million budget.  Part of the Criterion Collection.  Finally some great art direction, cinematography (by Robby Müller, who Jim said in a Strangers interview he dreamed of working with one day) and costumes in a Jarmusch film.  Unquestionably his most interesting (and occasionally funny) script, too.  It’s certainly the best cast he ever worked with, and is the best of Jarmusch’s many B&W films.  Filmed entirely on locations in Oregon, Washington, Arizona & Nevada.  This would be one of the few movies that would be classified as a Western that I liked.  It’s almost Tarantinoesque in some of its graphic violence and the dead body count.  Very Native-American with characters, dialog and plot.  The words spoken in Native tongues are intentionally not captioned, and include some inside jokes for those who do speak the language.  Jarmusch is sure into the fade-to-black between scenes routine.  This is one Jim Jarmusch movie I didn’t want to end. 😉  Michael Omar’s quality recommendation.  B&W  (seen once)
Coffee & Cigarettes2003;  written & directed Jim Jarmush;  Steven Wright & Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett (in two roles playing off each other!), Jack White & Meg White, Alfred Molina & Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, Taylor Mead.  11 vignettes set around coffee and cigarettes.  B&W  (seen twice)
Paterson — 2016;  great script written by & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Adam Driver plays a bus Driver named Paterson living in Paterson.  About a poet — like two of Paterson New Jersey’s most famous sons, Allen Ginsberg & William Carlos Williams.  Shot entirely on locations in Paterson & Great Falls, Queens & Yonkers.  Adam Driver actually trained for and got his bus driver’s license just before filming began.  He wanted to be able to be on “auto pilot” while driving the bus.  It also meant that the film could feature more authentic footage opening up the possibilities for a greater variety of camera shots.  He was taught over a period of three months in Queens, passing the test one week before filming began.  It’s nice to see a movie about a married couple who love each other – something that’s oddly rare in films.  Very atmospheric film, with nice use of mirrors, reflections and windows.  Beat cousin poet Ron Padgett writes most of the poems.  I love this couple, and since movies usually have bad things happen, I was praying the whole time that nothing would to these two.  It’s a very gentle, kind movie about love and poetry. 
(seen once)

Norman Jewison
“I’m just a storyteller.”
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming — 1966;  Norman Jewison;  Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel, and Alan Arkin in his first movie.  Comedy about a stranded Russian submarine off the coast of New England.  (never seen)
In The Heat of The Night
— 1967;  Norman Jewison (Torontonian);  edited by Hal Ashby;  Sidney Pottier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Anthony James (creepy diner guy);  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Actor for Steiger, Screenplay, Editing and Sound.  “They call me Mr. Tibbs.”  This is such a masterpiece, but so many people don’t know it.  Just tonight I sent out an email to get people to catch the PBS airing of it, and a few did, but one write back asking me if this was a “cult classic”?!  🙂  I’ve watched it many times – and next time FULLY dig and study the ancillary music – it’s all Quincy Jones, and all the piano playing is Ray Charles.  Also listen for the diversity and both musical styles and instrumentation.  The music got nominated for a Grammy but crazilly not an Oscar.
This is an amazing movie for blind people.  It almost sounds as good at it looks.  (4)
Jesus Christ Superstar — 1973;  Norman Jewison;  Ted Neelly, Yvonne Elliman, Josh Mostel (King Herod)  (4)

Elia Kazan
“The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don’t dare reveal.”
A Streetcar Named Desire —  1951;  Elia Kazan;  Tennessee Williams;  Marlon Brando, Vivian Lee, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden  B&W  (4)
On The Waterfront — 1954;  Elia Kazan – he claimed it was his justification for giving names to the McCarthy hearings – (Kazan being in the Brando & Malden roles);  Marlon Brando (his first Oscar), Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, both Eva Marie Saint & Martin Balsam’s first movie, and Fred Gwynne in an uncredited union mob role.   Won best picture, director, actor (Brando), screenplay, cinematography; and Leonard Bernstein nominated for the music.  B&W  (seen twice)
East of Eden — 1955;  Elia Kazan;  from John Steinbeck book;  James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives.  James Dean’s first movie — filmed in the summer of 1954 when he was 23, and the only one released while he was still alive.  Lots of location shooting in Salinas and Monterey, California.  Kazan’s first movie shot in color.  Steinbeck’s on the record liking the film, casting and performances.  When he visited the set and first met Dean, he exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, he IS Cal!”  With the unhappy dysfunctional family and struggling farm life story, this is my least favorite of Dean’s three pictures.  (3)
A Face in The Crowd — 1957;  Elia Kazan;  Budd Schulberg story & screenplay;  Andy Griffith’s first movie, Lee Remick’s first movie, Patricia Neal, Walter Watthau.  The story of how fame goes to a weak person’s head and how they manipulate it.  Prescient portrait of trump.  B&W  (seen twice)
Splendor in the Grass — 1961;  Elia Kazan;  Natalie Wood, Pat Hingle, Barbara Loden (who Kazan later married), and the film debuts of Warren Beatty, Sandy Dennis & Phyllis Diller;  music by David Amram; won Best Screenplay Oscar, and Natalie was nominated for Best Actress.  The limp Pat Hingle walks with was real: he had fallen down an elevator shaft and broke multiple bones shortly before filming began.  I found it unreal; teenagers who love each other, but for the first half Natalie doesn’t want to have sex with Warren Beatty, and for the second half he doesn’t want to have sex with her.  (seen once)

Stanley Kramer
“I don’t make films to stir the world.  I am not conscious of a responsibility to society or even to my own social consciousness when I make a film.  My motivation can be as simple as saying, gee, this would make an exciting picture.”
The Defiant Ones — 1958;  Stanley Kramer;  Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis (his one & only Oscar nomination), plus Theodore Bikel, Lon Chaney, Claude Akins, and Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s last film.  Great movie about a black guy and a white guy who escape jail and are shackled together. Won Best Screenplay & Cinematography;  nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actors, including Poitier being the first Black man ever nominated.  A pretty good movie (for the time) about race relations and equality.  All the music is diegetic, meaning the characters are hearing it and it comes from a source on screen such as a radio, jukebox, record player, musicians or such.  B&W (seen once)
It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World — 1963;  Stanley Kramer;  Buddy Hackett & Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman & Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters (his first movie), Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy (his 2nd last movie), Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Dick Shawn — and cameos or small parts by Jimmy Durante (his last film), Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny, “Rochester”, Buster Keaton, Peter Falk, Jim Backus, Norman Fell, William Demarest, Charles Lane, Andy Devine, ZaSu Pitts, the Three Stooges!  The all-star cameo-rich casting was first pioneered by 1956’s Around The World In 80 Days. It was filmed for Cinerama — those extra-wide, curved screens.  It was the first film ever shown at the legendary Cinerama Dome in LA.  The original Cinerama version ran 202 minutes.  The version most of us saw in regular theaters was cut down to 163 minutes — fully 30 minutes less!  The 3-disc Criterion Collection edition has both versions, the original painstakingly restored frame by frame from uncovered footage.  (4)

Stanley Kubrick 
However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Lolita — 1961;  Stanley Kubrick;  Vladimir Nabokov wrote screenplay based on his novel;  James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon, Peter Sellers.  B&W  (seen once)
Dr. Strangelove — 1964; Stanley Kubrick; Peter Sellers — 3 roles., George C Scott  B&W  (seen twice)
2001: A Space Odyssey — 1968;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick screenplay from Arthur C. Clarke novel;  Keir Dullea  (3)
A Clockwork Orange — 1971;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick wrote screenplay from Anthony Burgess novel;  Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee  (3)
Barry Lyndon — 1975;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick screenplay from the Thackeray novel;  Ryan O’Neal, Marissa Berenson, Patrick Magee.  Won Oscars for Best Cinematography, Art Direction & Costumes.  Set in 1700s England.  (never seen)
The Shining — 1980;  Stanley Kubrick;  Stephen King book, Kubrick screenplay;  Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers  (4)

John Landis 
“A movie has a life of its own.  A movie goes out there, and it exists, and it continues.”
Animal House — 1978;  John Landis;  written by Harold Ramis;  John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce  (4)
The Blues Brothers — 1980;  John Landis;  written by Landis & Dan Aykroyd;  John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles  (4)
Trading Places — 1983;  John Landis;  Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche  (4)

Barry Levinson  
“You need to be open and explore while heading where you want to go.  You can never be too in love with your own ideas.  If you can remember every idea that is yours in a script, as opposed to someone else’s, then something is wrong.”
Diner — 1982;  written & directed by Barry Levinson;  Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Daniel Stern, Ellen Barkin, Steve Guttenberg. The debut/break-out movie for everybody.  Levinson nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  Made in 1981 for $5 million (!)  (3)
Good Morning Vietnam — 1987;  Barry Levinson;  Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J.T. Walsh, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl  (seen twice)
Rain Man — 1988;  Barry Levinson;  Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, plus cool cameo by Levinson as the doctor;  won Best Picture Oscar, plus Best Director for Levinson, Actor for Hoffman, and Screenplay.  (3)
Wag The Dog — 1997;  Barry Levinson;  David Mamet screenplay;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Denis Leary, Anne Heche, John Michael Higgins, Andrea Martin, Willie Nelson, William Macy, Woody Harrelson, Kristen Dunst, Craig T. Nelson, Pops Staples!, Harland Williams; music by Mark Knopfler.  Mamet – Levinson – De Niro – Hoffman – Robert Richardson filming — mind-blowingly BRILLIANT movie.  (4)

George Lucas 
“Having a really good understanding of history, literature, psychology, sciences – is very, very important to actually being able to make movies.”
American Graffiti — 1973;  George Lucas;  Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Wolfman Jack, Harrison Ford  (3)
Star Wars — 1977;  George Lucas;  Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness  (4)

Sidney Lumet 
12 Angry Men — 1957;  Sidney Lumet;  Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, John Fielder, Jack Warden, E.G. Marshall, Ed Begley Sr., and a young Jack Klugman  B&W  (3)
A View From The Bridge — 1961;  Sidney Lumet;  Arthur Miller’s one act play – his response to Kazan’s On The Waterfront;  Maureen Stapleton  B&W  (never seen)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night — 1962;  Sidney Lumet;  Eugene O’Neill play;  Ralph Richardson, Katherine Hepburn, Jason Robards  B&W  (seen once)
Serpico — 1973;  Sidney Lumet;  from Peter Maas book;  Al Pacino. (seen twice)
Murder on the Orient Express — 1974;  Sidney Lumet;  from Agatha Christie novel; with a to-die-for cast — Albert Finney as Poirot (brilliant, Oscar-nominated for Best Lead Actor;  Agatha Christie said he was the closest portrayal of any of her characters in any movie), Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Anthony Perkins, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Jacqueline Bisset & Michael York, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman (won Best Supporting Actress Oscar);  Oscar-nominated for Best Screenplay, Cinematography, Costumes & Music;  Bergman’s Oscar was for her interrogation scene, all shot in one 5-minute continuous take.  (seen twice)
Dog Day Afternoon — 1975;  Sidney Lumet;  Al Pacino, John Cazale  (seen twice)
Network — 1976;  Sidney Lumet;  written by Paddy Chayefsky (winning his third Best Screenplay Oscar);  Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway & Beatrice Straight all won Best Actor Oscars, but Finch died of a heart attack before receiving his for becoming Howard Beale. This and A Streetcar Named Desire are the only 2 films in history to win 3 acting Oscars (!) — and as of 2021 it’s the last film to receive 5 acting nominations.  Beatrice Straight’s 5 mins & 2 seconds of screen time is the shortest-ever Oscar-winning performance.  Plus: William Holden, Robert Duvall & Ned Beatty are all drop-dead brilliant.  Also Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Editing, and Holden & Beatty for Acting.  Aaron Sorkin has cited the script as a big influence on his screenwriting.  Love the name of the fictional network — UBS. 🙂  (3)
Deathtrap — 1982;  Sidney Lumet;  Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon  (4)
The Verdict — 1982;  Sidney Lumet;  David Mamet screenplay;  Paul Newman brilliant performance.  James Mason, Jack Warden.  (seen twice)
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead — 2007;  Sidney Lumet; Philip Seymour Hoffman (supposedly one of his great performances), Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney  (never seen)

David Mamet — writer & director
The Verdict — 1982;  Sidney Lumet;  David Mamet screenplay;  Paul Newman brilliant performance.  James Mason.  (seen twice)
The Untouchables — 1987;  Brian de Palma;  screenplay David Mamet;  Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro  (4)
Glengarry Glen Ross — 1992;  James Foley;  David Mamet play & screenplay;  Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce  (4)
Wag The Dog — 1997;  Barry Levinson;  David Mamet screenplay; cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Denis Leary, Anne Heche, John Michael Higgins, Andrea Martin, Willie Nelson, William Macy, Woody Harrelson, Kristen Dunst, Craig T. Nelson, Pops Staples!, Harland Williams; music by Mark Knopfler.  Mamet – Levinson – De Niro – Hoffman – Robert Richardson filming — mind-blowingly BRILLIANT movie.  (4)
State & Main —  2000;  written & directed by David Mamet;  with an Unbelievable cast – the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy (and, boy, does he carry it), Alec Baldwin (as the naturally perfect movie star), Charles Durning, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Stiles, Rebecca Pidgeon, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Patti LuPone, Ricky Jay, Michael Higgins, Matt Malloy, a cameo by Jonathan Katz, plus a lot of locals and Mamet’s non-actor friends;  tasteful perfect music by Theodore Shapiro.  GAWD this is a masterpiece of a movie!  Sheesh!  Really Funny.  Personable.  Movie-making accurate.  America & Americana.  Masterful filmmaking.  Master-upon-master building on each other.  I watched this movie 10 times and see and love new stuff in it every time.  “It’s about purity.”  (4)

Albert & David Maysles
The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit — 1991;  the Maysles brothers documentary about The Beatles’ first visit to America for The Ed Sullivan Show and capturing Beatlemania — immediately preceding the band shooting A Hard Day’s Night . . . about Beatlemania.  B&W  (seen once)
With Love from Truman — 1966;  Albert & David Maysles; 30-min. documentary / interview with Capote for the Newsweek cover story shortly after In Cold Blood came out and became a hit.  This is included on the Extras on the Criterion Collection version of In Cold Blood.  (seen twice)
Salesman — filmed in 1966, released in 1969;  Albert & David Maysles riveting masterpiece documentary about four door-to-door Bible salesmen. starts outside Boston (Webster, Mass), then they go down to Miami. first saw in Phyllis’s kitchen. seen twice.  What’s amazing is the complete breakdown of one of the salesmen.  REWATCH/LISTEN TO COMMENTARY — he explains HOW he makes his documentaries — empathy: from commentary: Albert Maysles became lifelong friends with Paul Brennan (the guy who lost it). David Maysles loved Arthur Miller plays, would see them multiple times. just the two of them, no assistant. David on sound (directional microphone, into a customized Nagra to record for 15 times at a time), Albert on camera (weighted 20 pounds; had early zoom lens). he says — took 30 years to get it on TV.  Shot 100 hours of film, boiled down to 90 min.!  Cost $200-300,000!!! for the processing of the film.  Plus the editor’s salary (the woman).  The 200th film added to my list!  B&W  (4)
Grey Gardens — 1975;  the Maysles brothers;  great documentary about eccentric Long Island mother & daughter Edith Bouvier Beale and “Little Edith.”  An unnecessary dramatization of the documentary was made by HBO in 2009 starting Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore.  (seen twice)
The Gates — 2007;  Albert & David Maysles;  amazing doc about Christo’s “Gates” installation in Central Park.  (3)

Sam Mendes

American Beauty — 1999;  Sam Mendes;  great script by Alan Ball;  Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Sivari, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher, Scott Bakula.  The faces of mid-life crisis and teenage desolation in suburbia.  Won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Lead Actor for Spacey.  Music by Thomas Newman (who did Erin Brockovich, which this really sounds like).  (seen twice)
The Road to Perdition — 2002;  Sam Mendes (his first movie after winning Best Director and Best Picture for American Beauty);  Tom Hanks, Paul Newman (his last film appearance, nominated for an Oscar), a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig (as the sick psycho killer), Jude Law (against type as the pale bad-guy evil assassin), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci.  Beautiful filmmaking.  Nominated for six AAs, won for Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall), and Thomas Newman nominated for his haunting music, as well as deservedly the spot-on Art Direction.  (seen once)
Spectre
— 2015;  Sam Mendes;  don’t care for the trite predictable silly stereoBond script, but masterful cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema;  Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz as the evil mastermind, Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as the Bond girl;  fantastic opening tracking shot thru an amazingly staged & costumed Day of The Dead in Mexico City;  first Bond movie I’ve seen since the ’70s;  I like Daniel Craig as 007 — wouldn’t have watched this is not for his great performance in Knives Out;  exquisite exotic location shooting, as is Bond stock-in-trade, in a half-dozen different countries;  plus incredible sets;  and sound editing;  and art direction;  and great music by the brilliant Thomas Newman (who’s now my favorite film composer);  incredible filmmaking but not a great film (never care about any character, and you know how it’s gonna end);  $245,000,000 budget!  (seen once)

Mike Nichols 
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — 1966;  Mike Nichols;  Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis.  The brilliant mesmerizing Shakespearian heavyweight rollercoaster based on Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning Best Play.  All his words of the play were the script, except for 2 lines, after the screenwriter who was paid and credited and delivered a disaster was still given writing credit.  Mike Nichols’ directorial debut. (!) Liz Taylor had never rehearsed for a film performance before in her life — until Mike Nichols made all four of them work it up for 3 solid weeks.  The four actors were all nominated for Oscars.  Liz & Sandy won, plus for Best Cinematography, Art Direction & Costumes.  This film drove a stake into the heart of film censorship and is kind of in a class of its own.  Or in whatever class is the top of all movies ever made.  B&W  (4)
The Graduate — 1967;  Mike Nichols;  Buck Henry & Calder Willingham from a novel by Charles Webb;  Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, and Norman Fell writer Buck Henry in a bit part.  (4)
Catch 22 — 1970;  Mike Nichols;  from Joseph Heller book, screenplay by Buck Henry;  Alan Arkin, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Martin Balsam, Jack Gifford, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Martin Sheen, Orson Welles, Bob Balaban, Norman Fell  (seen once)
Heartburn — 1986;  Mike Nichols;  from novel & screenplay by Nora Ephron;  Meryl Streep (as Nora), Jack Nicholson (as her husband Carl Bernstein), plus Jeff Daniels, Maureen Stapleton, Stockard Channing, Catherine O’Hara, Miloš Forman.  The great Nora Ephron’s firsthand account her marriage and breakup with the legendary Watergate reporter.  And with Mike Nichols directing a Nora Ephron script starring Nicholson & Streep . . . that is one Fab Four!  (seen twice)
Postcards From The Edge —  1990;  Mike Nichols;  Carrie Fisher wrote book & screenplay;  Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid;  about drugs, acting & rock n roll.  (seen once)
The Birdcage — 1996;  Mike Nichols;  Elaine May screenplay; 
Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman  (4)
Primary Colors — 1998;  Mike Nichols;  Joe Klein book, Elaine May screenplay;  John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates; about the Clintons in 1992.  (3)
Charlie Wilson’s War — 2007;  Mike Nichols;  Aaron Sorkin;  Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Peter Gerety  (3)

Christopher Nolan
Memento — 2000;  Chris Nolan;  screenplay by Nolan, from a short story by his younger brother Christopher;  Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantollano, Stanley Tobolowsky, Mark Boone Junior.  (4)
Inception — 2010;  written & directed by Christopher Nolan;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Lucas Haas, Tom Hardy.  Amazing effects, and interesting concepts, but hard to follow and ultimately meaningless and unrewarding. (seen once)

Frank Oz
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — 1988;  Frank Oz;  Michael Caine, Steve Martin, Glenne Headly  (3)
What About Bob? — 1991;  Frank Oz;  Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty  (4)

Alan Pakula
Klute — 1971;  Alan Pakula;  Jane Fonda (deservedly won Best Lead Actress Oscar) and Donald Sutherland, Roy Scheider with a bit part, and a pre-Edith Jean Stapleton in a tiny part; great script nominated for Best Screenplay;  Jane Fonda’s New York apartment was an elaborate set that she could actually live during filming.  (seen once)

All The President’s Men — 1976;  Alan Pakula;  based on book by Woodward & Bernstein;  brilliant cinematography by Gordon Willis;  Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Ned Beatty, Stephen Collins, Meredith Baxter, Robert Walden.  87 mins in there’s an historic TV clip of the great Elizabeth Drew interviewing Nixon’s Attorney General.  Rewatching and being blown away by this film for the first time in decades during the lockdown summer of 2020 inspired my Film Studies deep-dive program.  Revisiting this movie is mind-blowing in how it reflects trump taking Nixon’s amoral authoritarian corruption to the stratosphere.  This authoritarian power grab is trumpism in its infancy.  Everything that Watergate and this movie foretold as an immanent danger to American democracy came to pass with the practiced evil of trump’s manipulative sociopathy.  Exactly what was stopped by the Washington Post is the evil that’s proliferating now when a criminal autocrat can manipulate the functions of government and media.  The 2-disc Special Edition has fantastic making-of documentaries, but the Robert Redford commentary is to-die-for.  He was the guy who first saw the story as being about Woodward & Bernstein, not the Watergate crime per se.  He contacted the two before they ever wrote the book, and said THIS was the story.  HOW they uncovered it.  Not the “it” — but the “how.”  Redford saw and pitched it as a real-life detective thriller … and every studio turned him down.  And the lone studio that was interested, Warner Brothers, wouldn’t make it unless he starred in it.  It was making The Candidate that led to Redford’s connections to political journalists.  It’s almost as amazing a story of how this film came to be created as the story itself.  And hearing Redford describe what was behind each scene and shot is a gift from beyond. Nobody was more involved in why this film exists than Robert Redford. It deservedly won Oscars for Best Screenplay, Art Direction and Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee, but what an historic mistake that this didn’t win Best Picture.  Mind you, it was up against Taxi Driver, Network, Bound For Glory and Rocky . . . and fucking Rocky won!  I love the Academy of filmmakers n all — but boy, do they get it wrong sometimes.  🙂  (4)

Arthur Penn 
Bonnie and Clyde — 1967;  Arthur Penn;  Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway (both Oscar nominated), Estelle Parsons (won Best Supporting Actress), Michael J. Pollard (nominated for Best Supporting), Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder.  Spectacular filmmaking from a great Oscar nominated script.  Won for Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey).  Foundation film of the sexy “New Hollywood” antihero movies.  (4)
Little Big Man — 1970;  Arthur Penn;  Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam, William Hickey  (3)

D.A. Pennebaker 
Don’t Look Back — 1967;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Donovan, Joan Baez, Alan Price, Bobby Neuwirth, Albert Grossman  B&W  (4)
’65 Revisited — 2007;  new version of Don’t Look Back made by Pennebaker of original footage outtakes not used in the original.  B&W (1)
Monterey Pop — 1968;  D.A. Pennebaker;  Mamas & Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Animals avec violin, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar.  The first rock festival movie that set the standard for all that followed.   (4)
Sweet Toronto — 1971;  D.A. Pennebaker;  documentary of the Toronto Rock n Roll Revival concert in 1969 featuring John Lennon’s first solo gig, along with Chcuk Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley  (seen twice)
Jimi Plays Monterey — 1986;  D.A. Pennebaker’s revisit of the ’67 concert footage featuring all of Hendrix’s half-hour set.  (3)
The War Room — 1993;  D.A. Pennebaker & wife Chris Hegedus;  great documentary about the behind-the-scenes of Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign.  (3)
Woodstock Diary — 1994;  3-part TV special about the ’69 concert by D.A. Pennebaker & wife Chris Hegedus;  features tons of performances and audience footage not in Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 Woodstock movie.  (1)

Roman Polanski
Rosemary’s Baby — 1968;  Roman Polanski;  Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes (Guy), Charles Grodin  (seen once)
Chinatown — 1974;  Roman Polanski;  Robert Towne won the Best Screenplay Oscar from his own original story, and this script is now taught in every screenwriting course (Polanski also sculpted a lot of it, uncredited);  Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston (the king of original Film Noir), John Hillerman, Burt Young, James Hong (the maitre d’ in the famous Seinfeld “Chinese Restaurant” episode), and Roman Polanski with a cameo as the man with the knife. Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Lead Actor (Nicholson) & Actress (Dunaway), Art Direction, Costumes & more – but only Towne won — it was Coppola & Godfather II‘s big year.  Polanski’s last film made in America.  Filmed on locations all over Los Angeles.  Jack Nicholson is in every scene of the movie (ie; the story’s all seen thru his eyes).  Set in 1937.  Seabiscuit makes a newspaper cameo at the start of the 3rd scene.  Great score composed by Jerry Goldsmith in 11 days (the same number of days it took me to write The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac 🙂 ).   It’s kind of weird seeing a classic Film Noir in color.  “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”  Polanski wrote that line.  All that going for it, I don’t really like this movie as much as everybody else seems to.  (seen once)

Harold Ramis
Animal House — 1978;  John Landis;  written by Harold Ramis;  John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce  (4)
Caddyshack — 1980;  Harold Ramis;  written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis;  Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight  (3)
National Lampoon’s Vacation — 1983;  dir. Harold Ramis;  written by John Hughes;  Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quad, Imogene Coca  (4)
Club Paradise — 1986;  Harold Ramis;  written by Harry Shearer, Harold Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray;  Robin Williams, Peter O’Toole, Rick Moranis & Eugene Levy {the two Barry’s}, Twiggy, Jimmy Cliff  (3)
Groundhog Day — 1993;  Harold Ramis;  Ramis also cowrote screenplay;  Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stanley Tobolowsky  (4)
Analyze This — 1999;  Harold Ramis;  Billy Crystal & Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lisa Kudrow  (3)

Nicholas Ray
They Live By Night1948;  Nicholas Ray;  produced by John Houseman;  adapted for the screen by Ray from a 1937 novel Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson (you can read a great piece about the book and its connection to Bonnie & Clyde here);  Farley Granger & Cathy O’Donnell, plus Jay C. Flippen, Will Wright.  The first film Ray made, but the third to be released.  The opening sequence (and several other spots) features some of the first helicopter-shot action sequences on film.  Theme of a sympathetic young couple on the run from the law, a sub-genre that later included Bonnie & Clyde and Badlands.  Altman made a version of the same novel (and keeping its name) in 1974, Thieves Like Us.  Truffaut thinks this is Ray’s best film, and both Godard & Scorsese are huge fans of it.  B&W  (seen once)
In A Lonely Place1950;  Nicholas Ray;  Humphrey Bogart & Gloria Graham.  Murder mystery love affair set in L.A.  The movie was a big influence on Curtis Hanson for his L.A. Confidential.  B&W  (seen once)
Rebel Without A Cause1955;  Nicholas Ray;  original story by Nicholas Ray;  James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Dennis Hopper  (4)
We Can’t Go Home Again1973 (there was an updated version in 1976, but the one you want to see is the 2011 restored/reconstructed version);  written (including with his wife Susan Ray), directed by & starring Nicholas Ray — his revealing, honest, weird, wild, experimental, simultaneous-multi-image (superimpositions) documentary/fiction blend film about the counterculture and filmmaking with his film students as subjects.  Shot on Super 8, 16mm, 35mm & a video synthesizer (donated by Nam June Paik).  It’s an absolutely insane movie, but I did find it can’t-turn-away riveting. It’s very fast-paced, and surreal, and — you have NO IDEA what’s going to happen next.  I saw it once 30 years ago, and realized when I watched it a second time in 2021 that I never forgot a lot of the scenes.  This is the craziest movie in the world that I LOVE.  This movie is not Titanic. 🙂  Scorsese, Godard & Truffaut think Nick Ray’s brilliant – and I do, too.  (seen twice)
Lightning Over Water1980;  directed by and starring Wim Wenders and Nicholas Ray.  Ronee Blakley’s in it.  I saw at Papp’s Public Theater in the Village with Susan Ray.

Rob Reiner 
Spinal Tap — 1984;  Rob Reiner;  writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner;  starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Fred Willard, Bruno Kirby, Fran Drescher  (4)
Stand By Me — 1986;  Rob Reiner;  written by Stephen King;  Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Cory Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland  (3)
When Harry Met Sally — 1989;  Rob Reiner;  written by Nora Ephron;  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby  (3)
Misery — 1990;  Rob Reiner;  from Stephen King book;  Kathy Bates & James Caan  (3)
A Few Good Men — 1992;  Rob Reiner;  original play & brilliant script (his first) by Aaron Sorkin (inspired by true story of a Code Red at Guantanamo);  the great Robert Richardson as cinematographer; Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Bacon, J.T. Walsh, Kiefer Sutherland, Christopher Guest, Cuba Gooding Jr., and an Aaron Sorkin cameo.  I’m not really a fan of courtroom dramas – but this one’s riveting.  A to-die-for cast working for one of the best directors in the game using one of the best storyteller’s words.  A modern classic for good reason.  (seen once)
The American President — 1995;  Rob Reiner;  written by Aaron Sorkin; Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael J. Fox, Anna Deavere Smith, David Paymer;  a widowed sitting President runs for re-election while falling in love with an environmental lobbyist.  (1)
The Bucket List2007;  Rob Reiner;  great “meaning-of-life” script by Justin Zackham;  Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman, plus Sean Hays, Rob Morrow (playing a doctor like he did on Northern Exposure).  Two guys with terminal diseases decide to and do all the things they always wanted to.  Working with Jack Nicholson was on Morgan Freeman’s bucket list. 🙂  John Mayer wrote the beautiful song “Say” for the movie.  “Say what you need to say.”  (seen once)
Shock and Awe — 2017;  Rob Reiner;  Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Rob Reiner, Jessica Biel, Mila Jovovich, Richard Schiff.  About the the Knight-Ridder newspapers and lies & coverup of WMDs in Iraq.  (seen half of once, looks great)

Ivan Reitman
Stripes — 1981;  Ivan Reitman;  Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, Nicholas Ray in last screen appearance cameo in final scene.   (3)

Ghostbusters — 1984;  Ivan Reitman;  written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis;  Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis  (4)
Dave —  1993;  Ivan Reitman;  Oscar-nominated screenplay by Gary Ross (who also wrote Big, Pleasantville & Seabiscuit);  Kevin Kline (boy, that guy is one helluvan actor), Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella (a perfectly despicable badguy), Kevin Dunn (as Press secretary), Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley (who doesn’t appear until an hour 20 into the movie), Laura Linney, Charles Grodin, Stephen Root, Anna Deavere Smith, Bonnie Hunt;  plus tons of cameos of entertainers and politicos playing themselves including — Tip O’Neill, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Howard Metzenbaum, Alan Simpson, Paul Simon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helen Thomas, Nina Totenberg, Sander Vanocur, Michael Kinsley, Jay Leno, Larry King, Ben Stein — and John McLaughlin, Eleanor Clift, Chris Matthews, Mort Kondracke & Freddie “The Beatle” Barnes in an improvised McLaughlin Group segment.  Absolutely great political comedy about a doppelgänger (Kline) for the president being enlisted to fill in for him.  Both Clinton & Obama loved this movie.  And so do I.  This is SUCH a great movie!  I actually got choked up several times, but then I’m a softy that way.  It’s a beautiful modern update on Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  (3)

Jay Roach 
Mystery Alaska — 1999;  Jay Roach;  Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Michael McKean, Burt Reynolds, Phil Esposito, Mike Myers, Terry David Mulligan, Little Richard, Mary McCormick.  Funny hockey movie.  (seen once)
Meet The Parents — 2000;  Jay Roach;  Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Owen Wilson  (4)
Recount — 2008;  Jay Roach;  Kevin Spacey, John Hurt, Laura Dern, Bob Balaban, Denis Leary;  Ed Begley Jr.;  amazing HBO dramatization about the 2000 election recount in Florida.  (seen once)
Game Change — 2012;  Jay Roach;  Danny Strong screenplay from the Heilemann – Halperin book;  Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, Ed Harris as John McCain, Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt, Sarah Paulson as Nicole Wallace, plus Ron Livingston, Austin Penndleton.  HBO Film about the Palin pick and election in 2008.  Won Emmys for Best Movie, Director, Writing, Lead Actor, and Casting.  An accurate dramatization praised by Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace, who were both right in the middle of it.  (seen once)
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House — 2017; screenplay & directed by Peter Landesman; based on Mark Felt’s book; produced by Jay Roach, Hollywood’s go-to political film director for the last two decades;  Liam Neeson (absolutely brilliantly as Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat”), Michael C. Hall (as John Dean), Diane Lane, Bruce Greenwood, Tom Goldwyn (the bad guy from Ghost), Tom Sizemore (!).  How did this not get more attention?!  This is All The President’s Men … but from the real Deep Throat’s perspective.  THIS is filmmaking! — cinematography, editing … and dramatization.  What a great script!  And all with a subtle, perfect music score.  Here’s the trailer.  (seen once)
Bombshell — 2019;  Jay Roach;  Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, John Lithgow as Roger Ailes, Richard Kind as Rudy Giuliani, Allison Janney as Susan Estrich, Malcolm McDowell as Rupert Murdoch, Stephen Root as one of the lawyers, and Kate McKinnon & Margot Robbie as composite characters created for the narrative through-line.  Theron & Robbie were nominated for Oscars, and the makeup & prosthetics were so good creating the likenesses that it *won* for the Oscar.  It’s from an original script by Charles Randolph, who won for writing The Big Short, and directed by Jay Roach who did all the Austin Powers and Meet The Parents/Fockers movies before switching to the political world doing Recount about the 2000 election, then Game Change about 2008, and now this about politics in 2016.  He also did a comedy called The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.  Roach’s wife is Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles who does a very cool, haunting vocal soundtrack.  Megyn Kelly watched it with four other people depicted in the movie and thought it was so important she made a half-hour show about it to her YouTube channel.  (seen once)

Gene Saks
Barefoot In The Park — 1967;  Gene Saks;  screenplay & play by Neil Simon;  Robert Redford (reprising his role from the hit Broadway production directed by Mike Nichols, and his first movie to be a box office hit), Jane Fonda – the third of five movies the two would star in – plus Charles Boyer, and Mildred Natwick (also reprising her role from the Broadway stage, and nominated for Best Supporting Actress);  comedy set in and with tons of location shooting in Greenwich Village. (never seen)
The Odd Couple — 1968;  Gene Saks;  Neil Simon;  Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon, John Fielder  (4)
Cactus Flower — 1969;  Gene Saks;  from Abe Burrows’ Broadway stage play;  Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman (her first shooting in America since the 1940s) [Lauren Bacall had been playing the role on Broadway for two years when film was made & was pissed she didn’t get the movie], Goldie Hawn (won Oscar in her first role), Jack Weston, Vito Scotti;  Quincy Jones does great sixties music.  Sarah Vaughan sings the closing song.  Tons of great location shooting in Greenwich Village and Midtown Manhattan circa 1969.  (seen twice)

Walter Salles
Central Station — 1998;  Walter Salles;  touching movie about search for parental and spiritual heritage; all filmed on location in Brazil.  Also effectively a “road” like Motorcycle Diaries and On The Road.  (seen twice)
The Motorcycle Diaries — 2004;  Walter Salles;  Jose Rivera’s screenplay based on Che Guevara’s book;  the “road” movie that caused Roman Coppola to bring Walter Salles in to direct Kerouac’s On The Road, who then brought the screenwriter to the project.  (seen once)
On The Road — 2012;  Walter Salles;  based on the novel by Jack Kerouac;  Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kristen Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Elizabeth Moss, Danny Morgan.  You can read about the London premiere here, the North American premiere in Toronto here, and the New York premiere here.  (4)

John Sayles 
Return of the Secaucus Seven — 1979;  written & directed by John Sayles;  John Sayles, David Strathairn, this movie is widely credited as the inspiration for The Big Chill, which many say was just a rip-off of this Sayles film.  (3)
The Brother From Another Planet — 1984;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Joe Morton as the “Brother”  (seen once)
Matewan — 1987;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper stars – and it’s his first movie!  plus James Earl Jones, David Straithairn  (4)
Eight Men Out — 1988;  written & directed by John Sayles;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  John Cusack, Bill Irwin, John Mahoney, David Strathairn, Charlie Sheen.  Dramatization of “the Black Sox” baseball scandal of 1919.  (seen twice)
City of Hope — 1991;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Angela Bassett  (never seen)
The Secret of Roan Inish — 1994;  written & directed by John Sayles – about myths and reality blending – set in Ireland.  (never seen)
Silver City — 2004;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss, Mary Kay Place.  About politics.  (never seen) 

Martin Scorsese 
Mean Streets — 1973;  directed and screenplay co-written by Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro & Harvey Keitel, plus Richard Romanus, David Proval, and a little cameo by David & Robert Carradine.  Scorsese’s first film that was all his — and was based on his own experiences growing up in Little Italy.  He & De Niro would go on to make 9 films together.  Precursor to Goodfellas, The Sopranos et al.  (seen once)
Taxi Driver — 1976;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle.  One of the three movies Tarantino cites as his Best Three ever made (along with Howard Hawks Rio Bravo and De Palma’s Blow Out).   (3)
The Last Waltz — 1978;  Martin Scorsese;  The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, the Staple Sisters  (4)
After Hours — 1985;  Martin Scorsese;  Griffin Dunne, Roseanna Arquette, Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara  (seen twice)
Goodfellas — 1990;  Martin Scorsese;  write Nicholas Pileggi;  Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino  (4)
Here’s the 3-minute tracking shot going into the Copacabana:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rX_vDVdmYA
Casino — 1995;  Martin Scorsese;  book by Nicholas Pileggi, screenplay by Scorsese — the same duo who created Goodfellas;  cinematography by the great Robert Richardson – the first time he & Scorsese worked their magic together;  Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone (her sole Oscar nomination), Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Frank Vincent, Kevin Pollak, Alan King, L.Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Katie Scorsese (Marty’s mom), and a Steve Allen cameo.  A rare 3-hour movie.  The great Saul Bass did the exquisite title sequence.  And great sound editing.  And, boy, what a climax!  From story to script to casting to art direction to costuming to cinematography to editing to soundtrack — THIS is a masterpiece miracle that Iñárritu talks about when he says: “To make a film is easy.  To make a good film is war.  To make a great film is a miracle.”

The Aviator — 2004;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson won the Oscar for cinematography; ;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alex Baldwin, Alan Alda, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Edward Herrmann, Gwen Stefani.  Great biopic about Howard Hughes.  Cate Blanchett deservedly won Best Supporting Actress for her Katherine Hepburn; plus it won for cinematography, editing, art direction and costumes.  (3)
The Departed — 2006;  Martin Scorsese;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen;  Who Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay, and Editing, and Scorsese finally for Best Director  (4)
Shine A Light — 2008;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson headed up an all-star camera team including Oscar-winners Robert Elswit, John Toll and The Lord of the Rings‘ Andrew Lesnie, and soon-to-be 3-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki;  Rolling Stones concert film from the Beacon Theater in NYC, with guest performances by Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy, & Jack White.  You can read my review of it here.  (seen once)
Shutter Island — 2010;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson cinematography;  from novel by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote Mystic River);  Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, John Carroll Lynch  (seen twice)
Hugo — 2011;  Martin Scorsese;  John Logan screenplay, based on a brilliant Brian Selznick illustrated book;  Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen (to great comic relief), Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Michael Stuhlbarg – and the two great unknown kid actors, Asa Butterfield & Chloë Grace Moretz;  the Oscar-winning cinematography by Robert Richardson is to die for!  It also deservedly won for Best Art Direction, Visual Effects & Sound Editing;  and shoulda won in its nominations for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Costumes & Music!  James Cameron called this “a masterpiece” and it sure as puck is.  You don’t want to take your eyes off the screen for one split second.  THIS is why God invented filmmakers!  Second-by-second jaw-dropping.  Set in Paris in 1931.  It cost $150,000,000 to make!!  Originally released in theaters in 3D.  In a way, it’s kind of a twist on Oliver Twist.  And there’s some echoes of the magic and fantasy and children’s perspective of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (without the music).  It’s Martin Scorsese meets Terry Gilliam.  Again — one of these movies NOBODY recommended I see — and it’s absolutely mind-blowing.  I don’t think there’s any movie that I’ve never seen before in my year-long Film Studies program that blew me away like Hugo did.  I only sought it out because my favorite cinematographer Robert Richardson won an Oscar for it.  Dig this — Robert Richardson shot the great live Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon, Scorsese’s Shine A Light in 2008;  Inglourious Basterds in 2009;  Shutter Island in 2010;  Hugo in 2011;  then Django Unchained in 2012.  WTF?!  😮  That’s FIVE cinematic masterpieces in a row!!  Be completely undistracted and focused for the opening sequence.  Trust me. 😉  It actually includes a literal History of Film.  There’s a great Harold Lloyd clock scene tribute, and multiple Django Reinhardt homage cameos.  8 minutes in — James Joyce & Salvador Dali can briefly be seen at a table together as Hugo is being chased through the train station.  This is one of those movies you never forget the first time you saw it.  Ken Kesey would’ve loved this.  It’s a movie about meaning and purpose and dreams and destiny.
“We could get into trouble.”
“That’s how you know it’s an adventure.” 🙂  (seen twice)
The Wolf of Wall Street — 2013;  Martin Scorsese;  based on Jordan Belfort book;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner  (3)
The Irishman — 2019;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin (from Winnipeg!), Sebastian Maniscalco, Steven Van Zandt, and comedian Jim Norton as Don Rickles (telling jokes Rickles actually told at the real event);  famous for its pioneering (and effective) digital de-aging technology for actor’s faces;  nominated for 10 Oscars – won zero;  Scorsese’s career-spanning editor Thelma Schoonmaker became oldest person ever nominated for a Best Editing Oscar at age 80;  the 9th film for Scorsese & De Niro (and the first since Casino in 1995!), but the first for Scorsese & Pacino;  Pacino & De Niro have been briefly in scenes together on film twice before – but nothing remotely like their extended back-&-forths here;  the 7th pairing of De Niro and Pesci, the first since The Good Shepherd in 2006;  at 3½ hours it’s the longest movie of Scorsese’s career, and the 106-day shooting schedule also the longest;  the first time both Pacino & Keitel and Pacino & Pesci appeared together on screen;  Joe Pesci’s last film, and had to be pleaded out of retirement;  the film was in development for over 10 years;  no Hollywood studio was willing to finance it, so Netflix finally did;  a wonderful fictional story based around real historical people & events;  almost immediately became a coveted Criterion Collection release.  This may be long, but my gawd, Scorsese is one helluva filmmaker!  (seen once)
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese — 2019;  Netflix;  Scorsese;  with Dylan, lots of Allen Ginsberg, plus Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Scarlet Rivera, Ronee Blakley, Ronnie Hawkins, David Mansfield, Hurricane Carter, Gordon Lightfoot, Patti Smith.  Scorsese used footage shot for Bob’s ill-fated Renaldo & Clara and made a highly watchable documentary of the coolest single tour that ever happened.  Lots of footage at Kerouac’s gravesite.  Downside: There is an annoying & unnecessary inclusion of a fictional filmmaker and fictional promoter and actress Sharon Stone telling fictional stories about attending the shows that detracts from an otherwise invaluable telling of a priceless moment in cultural history.   (2)

Steven Spielberg 
Jaws — 1975;  Stephen Spielberg;  Peter Benchley novel & screenplay; Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Schnieder, Robert Shaw  (4)
Raiders of the Lost Ark — 1981;  Steven Spielberg;  Harrison Ford, Karen Allen  (3)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial — 1982;  Steven Spielberg;  Henry Thomas (the kid), Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore  (3)
Hook — 1991;  Steven Spielberg;  from J.M. Barrie’s book;  Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins.  Incredible sets! (appropriately nominated for an Academy Award)   (seen twice)
Schindler’s List — 1993;  Steven Spielberg;  Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley  B&W and color  (1)
Catch Me If You Can — 2002;  Steven Spielberg;  from Frank Abagnale book;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams  (3)
The Post — 2017;  Steven Spielberg;  Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, David Cross  (3)

Quentin Tarantino 
“I treat actors like stars, and stars like actors.”
Reservoir Dogs — 1992;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney  (seen twice)
True Romance — 1993;  Tony Scott (Ridley Scott’s brother);  killer script by Quentin Tarantino;  with an mind-blowing cast — Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman (MAN is this guy one helluvan actor!), Christopher Walken (devastating), James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport (who I’ve loved in every role I’ve ever seen him in), Brad Pitt, Bronson Pinchot, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Saul Rubinek, Samuel Jackson (for one minute), Val Kilmer (as the largely unseen “Elvis” mentor), and Jack Black for a few seconds as the movie theater usher with the dog.  Brad Pitt created the whole stoner on the couch character which was not on the page in the script, improvising a lot of his lines you hear.  Fantastic music by the great Hans Zimmer.  Incredible Tarantinoesque film.  The pacing, the editing, the framing including the closeup choices, the casting including giving actors’ the leeway to improvise, the character introductions, the use of music, the graphic seat-of-your-pants scenes of violence, the underbelly-of-life realism, the use of humor in a bloody psychotic murder movie, the empathetic portrayal of people who kill other people, the obvious love of cars including the inordinate usage of scenes with dialog delivered in moving vehicles, effectively telling multiple storylines that all come together in the end . . . it’s uncanny and a glorious synergy we’re all that better for that these two filmmakers merged into one here.  This was written as part of his Natural Born Killers script; after the Hollywood writer wrote the glitzy script about Mickey & Mallory (in NBK) and they tried to track him down, this is the next script he wrote – about being stalked by psychotic killers.  Absolute must-see for any Tarantino fan.  (seen twice)
Pulp Fiction — 1994;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  John Travota, Samuel Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette  (3)
Four Rooms — 1995;  Four young master auteurs who all write & direct their own movies (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Alexandre Rockwell & Allison Anders) tell four different stories all set in the same formerly upscale Hollywood hotel on New Year’s Eve, with bellhop Tim Roth as the thru-line character (and he positively slays, starring in four different movies in one).  It doesn’t jump around between the four stories like some movies do that tell multiple stories.  Each is a self-contained short film.  The way the four directors’ visions and style harmonize together is really something.  Featuring Antonio Banderas, Lili Taylor, Ione Skye (Donovan’s daughter), Madonna, Jennifer Beals & David Proval, Marisa Tomei & Kathy Griffin, Salma Hayek dancing on TV, producer Lawrence Bender, Bruce Willis (whose name doesn’t appear in credits because he violated SAG by appearing for free as a favor to Tarantino) plus oodles of others.  Fantastic 6-minute unbroken single-camera take by Tarantino opening his segment.  The great animator Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, etc.) did the opening animation as a homage to The Pink Panther’s opening.  Five of Tarantino’s old friends from the Video Archives store days are in the Marisa Tomei / Kathy Griffin transition scene.  Wonderfully surreal playful crazy funny movie … with a to-die-for cast. (seen once — although the final 25-minute Tarantino segment I had caught on TV back in the ’90s and it was the first time I’d ever been exposed to a Q production).  Great line: “I’m not a frog, and you’re not a bunny — so let’s not jump ahead.” 🙂  (seen once)
Jackie Brown1997;  Quentin Tarantino;  screenplay by Tarantino based on Elmore Leonard novel;  Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Chris Tucker, Michael Bowen.  His followup to Pulp Fiction. Great mature character drama.  Brilliant writing & filmmaking, as always. (3)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 — 2003;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Uma Thurman (with Zoë Bell as her stunt double), David Carradine (voice only), Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Michael Parks.  Q’s homage to the martial arts / kung-fu movies of the ’70s.  The Kill Bills are definitely my least favorite Tatantino films.  (seen once) 
Kill Bill Vol. 2 — 2004;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Parks.  (seen once)
Death Proof — 2007;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell (in an unbelievable performance in basically her first movie, and she doesn’t appear until 65 minutes into it — yet steals the show), Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tracie Thoms, Eli Roth, Michael Parks, Tarantino as the bar owner, AMi the jukebox (Tarantino’s), and Sydney Tamila Poitier (Sidney’s daughter) as Jungle Julie with the incredible hair.  Tarantino built this movie around a desire to film a classic car chase scene … and having a stuntwoman who could be an engaging lead on camera.  It’s his attempt at doing the greatest car chase scene ever — and the climactic 20 minutes of the movie certainly put it in contention.  😉  He made a point to credit himself as the Director of Photography which is quite visible in the imaginative and brilliantly filmed climactic sequence.  Done as a homage to ’70s car chase movies, specifically Vanishing Point, including the cool music (by Jack Nitzsche) and physically scratching & damaging the print to make it look old.  Contains a signature Tarantino 8-minute continuous shot with the four girls at a round table in a diner a la Reservoir Dogs at the start of the second half.  After three viewings, I really like this least-seen lowest-rated QT film.  (3)
Inglourious Basterds — 2009;  Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Rod Taylor, Mike Myers  (4)
Django Unchained — 2012;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Bruce Dern, Michael Parks, and with tiny cameos as the trackers holding Kerry Washington, Michael Parks’ son James, Robert Carradine (younger brother of David), and his half-brother Michael Bowen, Zoe Bell, and Ted Neeley in the chair (Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – his first film appearance in 30 years).  Won Oscar for Best Screenplay, and Waltz for Best Actor.  Also nominated for Best Picture & Cinematography for Robert Richardson.  Tarantino wanted to make a classic Western – but with a black hero – because there are no Westerns that black people can watch with a brother to root for.  And all done with smatterings of humor.  Fantastic filmmaking, as always.  (3)
The Hateful Eight — 2015; written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell.  Ennio Morricone won Best Music Oscar.  Eight people trapped in a cabin in the woods in winter.  Along the Kill Bill movies, my least favorite Tarantino film.  (seen once)
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood — 2019;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margo Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch.  Every time I watch this – prolly 6 or 7 times by now – I think, “This is a brilliant masterpiece of filmmaking in every regard.”  Here’s a great documentary on the making of it.  (4)
Here’s the 4-minute continuous tracking shot from the middle of the movie — the confrontation/fight between Brad Pitt’s Cliff and the Bruce Lee character:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcsPAcLDBkc

Gus Van Sant 
My Own Private Idaho — 1991;  written & directed by Gus Van Sant;  River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves  (never seen)
Good Will Hunting — 1997;  Gus Van Sant;  written by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck;  Damon & Affleck, Robin Williams.  The last line of the credits reads: “In Memory of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs”  (3)
Milk — 2008;  Gus Van Sant;  Sean Penn (won Best Actor Oscar), James Franco, Josh Brolin (as the bad-guy shooter), Emile Hirsch, Victor Garber. Great movie.  Lots of San Francisco location shooting and recreation of the ’70s.  Won Best Original Screenplay Oscar.  (seen twice)

Orson Welles 
Citizen Kane —  1941;  Orson Welles;  screenwriters Orson Welles & Herman Mankiewicz;  Orson Welles, James Cotton, Agnes Moorehead  B&W  (3)
Macbeth — 1948;  directed by and starring Orson Welles  B&W  (seen twice)
Touch of Evil — 1958;  written & directed by Orson Welles;  Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and a very weird Dennis Weaver.  Music by Henry Mancini.  Opens with famous 3½ minute crane / tracking shot; then a second 10-minute single continuous shot with 14 actors during the claustrophobic interrogation scene in the shoe clerk’s apartment a half-hour into the movie.  Everything except for apartment scene was shot on locations in Venice, California.  B&W  (seen twice)
The Trial — 1962;  Orson Welles;  from the Franz Kafka novel;  Anthony Perkins (who’s great!)  B&W  (seen once)

Billy Wilder
Double Indemnity — 1944;  Billy Wilder;  screenplay by Wilder & Raymond Chandler;  Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson.  Considered by many the definitive Film Noir example.   B&W  (seen once)
Sunset Blvd.
— 1950;  Billy Wilder;  Gloria Swanson & William Holden  B&W  (seen twice)
The Seven Year Itch — 1955;  screenplay co-written & directed by Billy Wilder;  based on a long-running Broadway play by George Axelrod; Marylin Monroe, Tom Ewell (reprising his role on Broadway);  some great Manhattan location shooting besides Marilyn at the Flatiron subway grate, including the original Penn Station;  maybe known to history, but it’s a painfully bad lowest-common-denominator melodrama.  (seen once)
Some Like It Hot — 1959;  written & directed by Billy Wilder;  Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon.  B&W  (3)
The Fortune Cookie — 1966;  directed and co-written by Billy Wilder; Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau’s first picture of 12 they’d make together, plus film debut bit part by William Christopher (Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H), and a young Keith Jackson as the football announcer; Matthau won Best Supporting, plus nominated for Best Screenplay, Cinematography & Art Direction.  (seen once)

Robert Zemeckis 
Romancing The Stone — 1984;  Robert Zemeckis;  Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito  (seen twice)
Back To The Future — 1985;  written & directed by Robert Zemeckis;  Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover  (4)
Forrest Gump — 1994;  Robert Zemeckis;  Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, Sally Field’. won Best Picture Oscar, Best Director for Zemeckis, Best Actor for Hanks, Screenplay, Editing, Special Effects.  (4)
Contact — 1996;  Robert Zemeckis;  Jodie Foster, John Hurt, Matthew McConaughey  (seen twice)
Cast Away — 2000;  Robert Zemeckis;  Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt.  Best plane crash scene I’ve ever seen on film.  (3)

.

On deck for “Auteur” status —

Jim Abrahams — Big Business
Mel Brooks — Young Frankenstein
Larry Charles — Masked & Anonymous, Seinfelds & Curbs
Victor Fleming — The Wizard of Oz
William Friedkin — The French Connection, The Exorcist, To Live and Die in L.A.
Taylor Hackford — The Devil’s Advocate, Ray 
Tom Hanks — That Thing You Do!
Amy Heckerling — Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Lawrence Kasdan — The Big Chill, I Love You to Death
Richard Lester — A Hard Day’s Night, Help!
Bennett Miller — Capote, Moneyball
Vincente Minnelli, father of Liza — Lust For Life
Anthony Minghella — The Talented Mr. Ripley
Ronald Neame — The Poseidon Adventure
Sydney Pollack — Tootsie, Absence of Malice, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
Gary Ross — Pleasantville, Seabisquit
Franklin Schaffner — The Planet of The Apes, Papillion
Ridley Scott — Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner
George Seaton — Airport (1970)
Bob Smeaton — Festival Express, The Beatles Anthology
Oliver Stone — JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, Midnight Express script
Bertrand Tavernier — Round Midnight
Michael Wadleigh — Woodstock
Peter Weir — Dead Poets Society


Here’s a fantastic list of the best directors, with links up the wazoo:

https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/best-movie-directors-of-all-time/

 

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“I’ve seen this movie before …”

 

Movies I want to see again — or for the first time:
These movies are NOT listed in the “Hot 300” above because I haven’t watched them all the way through three times or more — but here’s some “in waiting” titles that may soon get bumped up.

Sullivan’s Travels1941;  written & directed Preston Sturges;  Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake.  Rich movie producer goes on the road and live the life of a hobo to understand life better.  B&W  (seen twice)
Casablanca1942;  Michael Curtiz;  Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorrie, Dooley Wilson (Sam).  Won Best Picture, Director & Screenplay Oscars.  “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”  “Here’s lookin at you, kid.”  “We’ll always have Paris.”  B&W  (seen twice)
Saboteur1942;  Albert Hitchcock; screenplay co-writer Dorothy Parker;  Robert Cummings; Priscilla, Otto Kruger.  Nice location shooting around Rockefeller Center, inside Radio City, and on Liberty Island circa 1942.  Classic climax at the top of the Statue of Liberty.  (seen twice)
Key Largo1948;  John Huston;  screenplay cowritten by Huston & Richard Brooks, based on Maxwell Anderson’s popular Broadway play, which ran at the Ethel Barrymore theater, named for the sister of Lionel;  Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Marc Lawrence, and Claire Trevor as the rambunctious drunk who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  Robinson plays a gangster (modeled on Al Capone & Lucky Luciano) who takes the owners and guests of a Key Largo hotel hostage during a hurricane.  Bogart & Bacall’s 4th and final picture together, and the fifth and final collaboration for Bogart & Robinson.  Huston was forced to film it on sets on the Warner Brothers’ lot after going so over budget filming The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in Mexico the year before.  Classic old film drama from a stage play.  B&W  (seen twice)
The Naked City1948;  Jules Dassin;  Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff;  New York producer Mark Hellinger’s love letter to New York (plus he’s the narrator), but he died shortly after filming was completed;  a fundamental concept of the film was to shoot it entirely on location in New York City (at over 100 external locations) in 1947, the same year Kerouac & the early Beats were experiencing and capturing the city;  the streets were not blocked off for filming, and the “extras” are actual New Yorkers just going about their business;  tells the story of a single murder investigation;  the acting is mostly painfully amateur and the dialog isn’t exactly Mamet, but it makes up for it all the authentic location shooting in the city;  the studio (Universal) almost scraped the movie, having no idea how to market it and assumed it would be a commercial flop, but the late producer’s family reminded them they were contractually obligated to release it, then it became an unexpected hit with audiences;  won Oscars for both Cinematography & Editing;  one of the first films to include technical (non-acting) credits at the end;  spawned a TV series by the same name that ran for 5 years (1958–1963).  B&W  (seen twice)
Macbeth1948;  directed by and starring Orson Welles  B&W  (seen twice)
Rope1948;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Jimmy Stewart, Farley Granger.  Inspired by the 1924 Leopold & Loeb murder.  Hitchcock’s first color movie.  Only 10 different shots in the whole movie, each running 5 to 10 minutes in a single unbroken shot.  One of the five “lost Hitchcocks” (along with Vertigo, Rear Window, Man Who Knew Too Much, Trouble with Harry) that were finally rereleased in 1984 — and I saw this in a theater in Greenwich Village with my Dad during his only visit ever to NYC (for my NYU graduation).  (seen twice)

Sunset Blvd.1950;  Billy Wilder;  Gloria Swanson & William Holden  B&W  (seen twice)
Harvey1950; Henry Koster;  Jimmy Stewart’s classic twisted comedy.  I actually saw it on the stage in London in the early ’70s with Jimmy Stewart – and he got a standing ovation.  🙂  B&W  (seen twice) 
Strangers on a Train1951;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Farley Granger, Robert Walker.  Origin of the “criss-cross” murder referenced in countless movies and TV shows.   B&W  (seen twice)
On The Waterfront1954;  Elia Kazan – he claimed it was his justification for giving names to the McCarthy hearings – (Kazan being in the Brando & Malden roles);  Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, both Eva Marie Saint & Martin Balsam’s first movie, and Fred Gwynne in an uncredited union mob role.   Won best picture, director, actor (Brando), screenplay, cinematography; and Leonard Bernstein nominated for the music.  B&W  (seen twice)
To Catch a Thief1955;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Grace Kelly, Cary Grant. (seen twice)
Marty1955;  Delbert Mann;  Paddy Chayefsky story & screenplay;  Ernest Borgnine & Betsy Blair;  won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Lead Actor (Borgnine, very deservedly);  also won the Palme d’Or in Cannes;  first movie to win Best Picture that was produced by an actor (Burt Lancaster);  to get away from typical Hollywood movie star love stories, Chayefsky set out to write “the most ordinary love story in the world,” and have it star non-stars, and he succeeded most beautifully;  tons of location shooting in the Bronx circa 1954;  was first staged as TV play for the Philco Television Playhouse in 1953.  Marty is also a part of the Quiz Show movie and real TV game show scandal in 1956.  Herb Stempel had been the 6-week reigning champion when he was told to get a question wrong and lose.  The question was “What movie won the Beat Picture Oscar for 1955?”  This particularly bothered Stempel because Marty was a movie celebrating a non-glamorous everyman man like himself.  He was particularly hurt, because Marty “was one of my favorite pictures of all time,” he said later.  B&W  (seen twice)
Around The World in 80 Days1956;  Michael Anderson;  based on Jules Verne’s 1872 adventure novel;  David Niven, Robert Morley, Shirley MacLaine, Trevor Howard, and cameos by Noel Coward, John Gielgud, Charles Boyer, Cesar Romero, Peter Lorre, George Raft, Red Skelton, Marlene Dietrich, John Carradine, Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, John Mills and Cantinflas as Passeprtout;  the film’s credited with creating the idea of “cameos” in movies; won Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing & Music.  Great Michael Todd production with incredible cinematography shot on beautiful locations all around the world.  (seen twice)
A Face in The Crowd1957;  Elia Kazan;  Budd Schulberg story & screenplay;  Andy Griffith’s first movie, Lee Remick’s first movie, Patricia Neal, Walter Watthau.  The story of how fame goes to a weak person’s head and how they manipulate it.  Prescient portrait of trump.  B&W  (seen twice)
Touch of Evil1958;  written & directed by Orson Welles;  Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and a very weird Dennis Weaver.  Music by Henry Mancini.  Opens with famous 3½ minute crane / tracking shot; then a second 10-minute single continuous shot with 14 actors during the claustrophobic interrogation scene in the shoe clerk’s apartment a half-hour into the movie.  Everything except for that apartment scene was shot on locations in Venice, California.  B&W  (seen twice)

Ocean’s 111960;  Lewis Milestone;  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Cesar Romero  (seen  twice)
The Misfits1961;  John Huston;  written by Arthur Miller (with screenwriting help from John Huston);  breathlessly beautiful Marilyn Monroe, Clark “the King” Gable, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter with a fairly major role, Eli Wallach (Marylin recommended her New York acting school friend for the part).  Helluva cast!  Marylin, Monty, Eli & Kevin McCarthy were all Method actors from the Actor’s Studio in New York.  Eli reminds of Joe Pesci and feels like a Scorsese troupe member.  Amazingly, the film was not nominated for a single Oscar!  Monroe & Miller were married at the time, but broke up during the course of the movie, in part because she didn’t like the character he wrote for her (lost, needy, the focus of all men’s attention), and felt he was using private elements of her life against her.  Both Monroe & Gable’s last movie.  A famously problematic production with Monroe & Miller’s marriage falling apart; Monroe & Clift’s pill & alcohol problems; Monroe arriving late on set every day (due to both pills & booze, and hating the character she was playing) and then having to go into detox for 2 weeks which shut down production; director Huston’s nightly gambling addiction (in legal gambling Reno) and his heavy-handed multi-take directing style; Arthur Miller rewriting scenes nightly; and 100 degree Nevada temperatures on many shooting days.  Marilyn did a topless bedroom scene (at her insistence), but it would’ve been a distraction in the storyline, and been the first nude scene in an American major motion picture, and thus never made it in the final cut.  When filming was finished and just days before his death, Gable told the producer that along with Gone With The Wind he now had two pictures he was proud of.  He told Arthur Miller at an early rough-cut screening, “This is the best picture I have made, and it’s the only time I’ve been able to act.”  The last play Arthur Miller ever wrote, “Finishing the Picture” was about the making of this movie.  I loved this movie watching it for only the second time (and *really* only the first time) in July 2021.  Great filmmaking (cinematography, pacing, casting, writing, editing, location choices, art direction, costumes, music) by Huston.
And p.s. — There was always a connection between Jack Kerouac and Marylin Monroe — ’50s mega-stars, meteoric fame, inspiration to the young, personified their moment in time, addiction, tragic lives.
Marilyn delivers a line (written by Arthur Miller) that sounds like something Jack would say: “We’re all dying, aren’t we?  All the husbands and all the wives.  Every minute.  And we’re not teaching each other what we really know, are we?”
As Jack phrased it in Visions of Cody — “I’m writing this book because we’re all going to die. In the loneliness of my life, my father dead, my brother dead, my mother faraway, my sister and my wife far away, nothing here but my own tragic hands that once were guarded by a world, a sweet attention, that now are left to guide and disappear their own way into the common dark of all our death, sleeping in my raw bed, alone and stupid.”  (seen twice)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s1961;  Blake Edwards;  from Truman Capote novel;  Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam.  Marilyn Monroe was offered the role of Holly Golightly, but her acting coach Lee Strasberg said playing a call-girl would be bad for her career so she turned it down.  Henri Mancini & Johnny Mercer won the Oscar for Best Score and Original Song.  Hepburn & the screenplay were also nominated.  (seen twice)
West Side Story1961;  Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise;  Robbins wrote the play;  Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn, and the rest largely forever unknowns  (seen twice)
The Great Escape
1963;  John Sturges;  the Steve McQueen classic, also with James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, David McCallum, and a young Charles Bronson.  The movie makes a a great cameo in Tarantino’s masterpiece Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.   Personally, I don’t think this stands the test of time.  It’s almost comically fanciful … while purporting to be accurate.  You can sure see how Hogan’s Heroes was born two years later.  🙂  (seen twice)
Dr. Strangelove1964; Stanley Kubrick; Peter Sellers — 3 roles., George C Scott  B&W  (seen twice)
Bullitt1968;  Peter Yates;  Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Norman Fell, Don Gordon, Simon Oakland.  Shot almost entirely on location in San Francisco in 1968. Painfully cliched — stone-faced bad-guys, straight-laced police chief, corrupt politician, cool renegade cop saves the day — but a genre-defining streets of San Francisco car chase, and a 23-year-old Jacqueline Bisset.  (seen twice)
The Party1968;  screenplay & directed by Blake Edwards;  Peter Sellers, The Love Boat’s Gavin MacLeod in a small role, and classic ’60s/’70s Tonight Show / Johnny Carson blond Carol Wayne, and TV staple Steve Franken as the drunken waiter;  Henri Mancini music.  The Pink Panther director, star & composer reunited for this crazy ’60s party movie.  Sellars, playing an Indian actor, has very few lines.  It’s a Chaplinesque masterclass in physical comedy.  Filmed in Los Angeles in the summer of 1967 – so it’s prime time psychedelic ’60s, including a closet full of pot-smoking musicians.  Fantastic futuristic high-tech “sixties” home built as a set.  Largely improvised from a 50-page outline and filmed in sequence.  (seen twice)
The Magic Christian — 1969;  Joseph McGrath;  novel & screenplay by Terry Southern, with assists by McGrath, Peter Sellers, John Cleese & Graham Chapman;  Peter Sellers, Ringo Star, with bit parts by Raquel Welch, Spike Milligan, Richard Attenborough, Roman Polanski, John Cleese & Yul Brynner.  The theme song, Come And Get It, was written by Paul McCartney especially for the film, and recorded by British band Badfinger, who were the first band signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records, and the song became a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.  (seen twice)
Cactus Flower1969;  Gene Saks;  from Abe Burrows’ Broadway stage play;  Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman (her first shooting in America since the 1940s) [Lauren Bacall had been playing the role on Broadway for two years when film was made & was pissed she didn’t get the movie], Goldie Hawn (won Oscar in her first role), Jack Weston, Vito Scotti;  Quincy Jones does great sixties music.  Sarah Vaughan sings the closing song.  Tons of great location shooting in Greenwich Village and Midtown Manhattan circa 1969.  (seen twice)
Five Easy Pieces1970;  written & directed by Bob Rafelson;  Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Fannie Flagg  (seen twice)
Sweet Toronto1971;  D.A. Pennebaker;  documentary of the Toronto Rock n Roll Revival concert in 1969 featuring John Lennon’s first solo gig, along with Chcuk Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley  (seen twice)
Sometimes A Great Notion1971;  Paul Newman;  based on the Ken Kesey novel;  Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazan, Richard Jaeckel.  Made 4 years before One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  Opens with a gorgeous Oregon coast helicopter shot.  Filmed at a beautiful all-wood house on the side of a lake.  Opening & closing song (All His Children, music by Henry Mancini and sung by Charlie Pride) nominated for Oscar, along with Richard Jaeckel for Best Supporting Actor.  At about 1:06 when Newman & Remick are in the town, you can see a brown ’49 Hudson like Cassady bought and famously drove in On The Road, and the one used in the movie is now sitting in The Beat Museum.  Painful for me to watch with all the logging and anti-“socialism” stuff.  (seen twice)
The Last Picture Show — 1971;  directed & edited by Peter Bogdanovich;  screenplay by Larry McMurtry (from his book) & Bogdanovitch;  Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges (in his first big movie role), Cybill Shepherd (her film debut), Cloris Leachman (won Best Supporting Actress), Ben Johnson (won Best Supporting Actor; with less than 10 mins screen time, it’s the shortest on-screen performance ever to win an Oscar), Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennon, Clu Gilager, and also the film debuts of Randy Quaid & Sam Bottoms (Timothy’s little brother, playing his younger brother).  Set in 1951/52; filmed almost entirely on location in Archer City, Texas, where Larry McMurtry grew up and was writing about.  All the music is diegetic, meaning the characters are hearing it and it comes from a source on screen such as a radio, jukebox, record player, musicians or such.  Great use of shadows and light throughout by master cinematographer Robert Surtees.  But kind of a depressing movie.  B&W  (seen twice)
Fillmore (aka The Last Days of The Fillmore) — 1972;  great documentary about the last week of shows at the Fillmore West, featuring the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs  (seen twice)
Serpico1973;  Sidney Lumet;  from Peter Maas book;  Al Pacino. (seen twice)
We Can’t Go Home Again1973 (there was an updated version in 1976, but the one you want to see is the 2011 restored/reconstructed version);  written (including with his wife Susan Ray), directed by & starring Nicholas Ray — his revealing, honest, weird, wild, experimental, simultaneous-multi-image (superimpositions) documentary/fiction blend film about the counterculture and filmmaking with his film students as subjects.  Shot on Super 8, 16mm, 35mm & a video synthesizer (donated by Nam June Paik).  It’s an absolutely insane movie, but I did find it can’t-turn-away riveting. It’s very fast-paced, and surreal, and — you have NO IDEA what’s going to happen next.  I saw it once 30 years ago, and realized when I watched it a second time in 2021 that I never forgot a lot of the scenes.  This is the craziest movie in the world that I LOVE.  This movie is not Titanic. 🙂  Scorsese, Godard & Truffaut think Nick Ray’s brilliant – and I do, too.  (seen twice)
Harry and Tonto1974;  cowritten & directed by Paul Mazursky;  Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Philip Burns, Herbert Berghof (my next door neighbor on Washington Square North), Josh Mostel (son of Zero; King Harrod in Jesus Christ Superstar), Chief Dan George, Larry Hagman.  Carney won Best Actor Oscar (at age 55) over Nicholson in Chinatown and Hoffman as Lenny Bruce.  Bill Conti music.  A great “on the road” movie.  Shot entirely on locations including in Manhattan, on the road, Chicago, Arizona, Las Vegas, L.A., Venice Beach in 1973.  (seen twice)
Murder on the Orient Express1974;  Sidney Lumet;  from Agatha Christie novel; with a to-die-for cast — Albert Finney as Poirot (brilliant, Oscar-nominated for Best Lead Actor;  Agatha Christie said he was the closest portrayal of any of her characters in any movie), Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Anthony Perkins, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Jacqueline Bisset & Michael York, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman (won Best Supporting Actress Oscar);  Oscar-nominated for Best Screenplay, Cinematography, Costumes & Music;  Bergman’s Oscar was for her interrogation scene, all shot in one 5-minute continuous take.  (seen twice)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three1974;  Joseph Sargent;  Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam  (seen twice)
Nashville1975;  Robert Altman (his first independent film with zero studio interference);  Joan Tewkesbury (here’s a great interview with her about how she wrote it);  unbelievable ensemble cast — Ronee Blakley (in fine voice in her film debut), Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie’s daughter, who’s hilarious & great), Shelly Duvall, Michael Murphy, Ned Beatty, Keith Carradine, Allen Garfield, Barbara Harris, Barbara Baxley, Cristina Raines, Keenan Wynn, Karen Black, Gwen Welles, Scott Glenn, a young Jeff Goldblum as the magician on the motorized tricycle who never speaks a word, cameos as themselves by Elliott Gould & Julie Christie (who just showed up unannounced and Altman threw them in as themselves), and a great violin-playing cameo by Vassar Clements.  Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Lily and Ronee for Best Supporting Actresses; Keith Carradine won for Best Original Song (I’m Easy).  Still holds the record for most Golden Globe nominations for a single film at 11.  Siskel & Ebert declared it the best movie of 1975.  All the musicians (almost all from Nashville) sing & perform live, and most were originals by the singers who sang them.  There was a solid 175-page script created by Altman and his Script Supervisor Joan Tewkesbury, based on the diary Altman instructed her to keep while staying in Nashville — but the actors improvised a lot of the actual dialog.  Great filmmaking, including the editing.  I literally laughed out loud several times watching it for the first time in 40 years in 2021.  Shot almost entirely in sequence. 2 hrs 40 mins.  (seen twice)
Dog Day Afternoon1975;  Sidney Lumet;  Al Pacino, John Cazale  (seen twice)
Grey Gardens1975;  the Maysles brothers;  great documentary about eccentric Long Island mother & daughter Edith Bouvier Beale and “Little Edith.”  An unnecessary dramatization of the documentary was made by HBO in 2009 starting Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore.  (seen twice)
Oh, God!  — 1977;  Carl Reiner;  George Burns & John Denver, Teri Garr, Paul Sorvino  (seen twice) 
Slap Shot1977;  George Roy Hill;  Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean.  The classic hockey movie.  (seen twice) 
Up In Smoke1978;  Lou Adler & Tommy Chong;  Cheech & Chong classic  (seen twice)
The China Syndrome1979;  James Bridges;  Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas  (seen twice)

On Golden Pond1981;  Mark Rydell;  Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman  (seen twice)
Time Bandits1981;  Terry Gilliam;  written by Gilliam & Michael Palin;  Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, John Cleese as Robin Hood, and Sir Ralph Richardson as God;  incredible sets / props / production design;  George Harrison was one of the producers and mortgaged his office building to get the film made, like he mortgaged his home to finance Monty Python’s Life of Brian two years earlier;  this ended up being one of the highest grossing films of the year;  the first in what Gilliam called his Trilogy of Imagination” soon to include Brazil (1985) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  (seen twice)
Pink Floyd: The Wall1982;  Alan Parker;  Bob Geldof in lead role (seen twice)
The Verdict1982;  Sidney Lumet;  David Mamet screenplay;  Paul Newman brilliant performance.  James Mason.  (seen twice)
Star 801983;  directed and co-screenwritten by Bob Fosse (his last project);  Mariel Hemingway (granddaughter of Ernest) and Eric Roberts, plus Cliff Robertson (as Hugh Hefner), and Carroll Baker.  Based on the true story of the murder of Canadian Playboy model and Playmate-of-the-Year Dorothy Stratten.  Could almost be on the Disturbing Movies list because of Eric Roberts’ performance, which Hefner said was “right on the money.”  (seen twice)
Amadeus 1984;  Miloš Forman;  Tom Hulce as Mozart, F. Murray Abraham as Salieri  (seen twice) 
Stop Making Sense1984;  Jonathan Demme;  Talking Heads, saw it when it first came out at the 8th Street Playhouse.  (seen twice) 
The Cotton Club1984;  Francis Ford Coppola;  Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins, Fred Gwynne, and Bill Graham in a bit part.  (seen twice) 
The Killing Fields1984;  Roland Jaffe;  Sam Waterson, John Malkovich, Haing S. Ngor  (seen twice) 
Romancing The Stone1984;  Robert Zemeckis;  Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito  (seen twice)
Brazil 1985;  Terry Gilliam;  screenplay by Gilliam & Tom Stoppard;  Jonathan Pryce (who’s great!), Robert De Niro, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins, Katherine Helmond, Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm.  Wonderfully beautifully twisted 1984-ish vision — inspired in a general way by Orwell’s book.  Rightfully Oscar-nominated for its comically surreal Art Direction (Out of Africa won (?) ); and for Original Screenplay (Witness won).  It was too weird for me the first viewing, then I read a bunch about it, and watched it the second time decades later and was blown away by the vision & filmmaking.  Surreal filmmaking at its finest.  Terry Gilliam is one helluva filmmaker!  Gawd, he’s a weird guy!  🙂  The Salvador Dali of film.  See his listing in the Auteur section above.  The movie’s final cut and release is a somewhat legendary story in film history, how a honcho schmuck at Universal tried to completely recut it and Gilliam circumvented him.  There’s an entire book written about it.  The second in what Gilliam called his “Trilogy of Imagination” along with Time Bandits (1981) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  Both Frank Zappa and River Phoenix’s favorite movie.  “This has not been a recording.”  (seen twice)
After Hours1985;  Martin Scorsese;  Griffin Dunne, Roseanna Arquette, Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara  (seen twice)
Heartburn1986;  Mike Nichols;  from novel & screenplay by Nora Ephron;  Meryl Streep (as Nora), Jack Nicholson (as Bernstein), plus Jeff Daniels, Maureen Stapleton, Stockard Channing, Catherine O’Hara, Miloš Forman.  The great Nora Ephron’s firsthand account her marriage and breakup with the legendary Watergate reporter.  (seen twice)
Crocodile Dundee1986;  Peter Faiman;  Paul Hogan.  Lots of great NYC location shooting.  (seen twice) 
Swimming to Cambodia 1987;  Jonathan Demme;  Spalding Grey’s one-man show.  (seen twice) 
Good Morning Vietnam1987;  Barry Levinson;  Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J.T. Walsh, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl  (seen twice)
Fatal Attraction1987;  Adrian Lynn;  Michael Douglas, Glenn Close  (seen twice)
Bird 1988;  dir. Clint Eastwood;  Forest Whitaker as Bird — extraordinary Charlie Parker bio-pic  (seen twice)
Eight Men Out1988;  written & directed by John Sayles;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  John Cusack, Bill Irwin, John Mahoney, David Strathairn, Charlie Sheen.  Dramatization of “the Black Sox” baseball scandal of 1919.  (seen twice)
Tucker: The Man and His Dream — 1988; Francis Ford Coppola;  Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau — great movie about re-life Preston Tucker the car inventor.  (seen twice)

Wild at Heart1990;  David Lynch;  Barry Gifford novel;  Nicholas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe  (seen twice)
Barton Fink1991;  written & directed by the Coen brothers; John Turturro, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi.  About writers and ethics.  (seen twice) 
Hook1991;  Steven Spielberg;  from J.M. Barrie’s book;  Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins.  Incredible sets! (appropriately nominated for an Academy Award)   (seen twice)
The Fisher King1991;  Terry Gilliam;  Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges (seen twice – hard to get through)
Reservoir Dogs1992;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney  (seen twice)
Chaplin1992;  Richard Attenborough;  from Charlie Chaplin’s book;  Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie’s daughter, Eugene O’Neill’s granddaughter), Dan Aykroyd, Hevin Kline, Marisa Tomei, Penelope Ann Miller.  Downey, Set Design & Music all got Oscar nominations.  (seen twice)
True Romance — 1993;  Tony Scott (Ridley Scott’s brother);  killer script by Quentin Tarantino;  with an mind-blowing cast — Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman (MAN is this guy one helluvan actor!), Christopher Walken (devastating), James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport (who I’ve loved in every role I’ve ever seen him in), Brad Pitt, Bronson Pinchot, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Saul Rubinek, Samuel Jackson (for one minute), Val Kilmer (as the largely unseen “Elvis” mentor), and Jack Black for a few seconds as the movie theater usher with the dog.  Brad Pitt created the whole stoner on the couch character which was not on the page in the script, improvising a lot of his lines you hear.  Fantastic music by the great Hans Zimmer.  Incredible Tarantinoesque film.  The pacing, the editing, the framing including the closeup choices, the casting including giving actors’ the leeway to improvise, the character introductions, the use of music, the graphic seat-of-your-pants scenes of violence, the underbelly-of-life realism, the use of humor in a bloody psychotic murder movie, the empathetic portrayal of people who kill other people, the obvious love of cars including the inordinate usage of scenes with dialog delivered in moving vehicles, effectively telling multiple storylines that all come together in the end . . . it’s uncanny and a glorious synergy we’re all that better for that these two filmmakers merged into one here.  This was written as part of his Natural Born Killers script; after the Hollywood writer wrote the glitzy script about Mickey & Mallory (in NBK) and they tried to track him down, this is the next script he wrote – about being stalked by psychotic killers.  Absolute must-see for any Tarantino fan.  (seen twice)
Much Ado About Nothing1993;  directed by & starring Kenneth Branagh; with Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale (in her first movie), Robert Sean Leonard, Michael Keaton (who’s really funny), Keanu Reeves.  One of the highest-grossing of the over 400 adaptations of Shakespeare’s works for the screen — and probably my favorite.  (seen twice)
The Cable Guy1996;  Ben Stiller;  Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick  (seen twice)
Contact1996;  Robert Zemeckis;  Jodie Foster, John Hurt, Matthew McConaughey  (seen twice)
L.A. Confidential1997;  screenplay & directed by Curtis Hanson;  from James Ellroy novel; Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, David Strathairn, James Cromwell, Ron Rifkin, Simon Baker, Matt McCoy.  The script won Best Screenplay, and Basinger Best Supporting Actress, plus it was nominated for Best Picture, and Curtis Hanson Best Director, plus Cinematography, Art Direction, Score and others.  Great cast and story.  Lots of Los Angeles shooting locations.  Modern Noir thriller about organized crime and corrupt cops.  Major movie!  (seen twice)
Central Station — 1998;  Walter Salles;  touching movie about search for parental and spiritual heritage; all filmed on location in Brazil.  Also effectively a “road” like Motorcycle Diaries and On The Road.  (seen twice) 
Shakespeare In Love1998;  John Madden;  Tom Stoppard;  Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare, Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth  (seen twice)
American Beauty1999;  Sam Mendes;  great script by Alan Ball;  Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Sivari, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher, Scott Bakula.  The faces of mid-life crisis and teenage desolation in suburbia.  Won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Lead Actor for Spacey.  Music by Thomas Newman (who did Erin Brockovich, which this really sounds like).  (seen twice)

Pay It Forward — 2000;  Mimi Leder;  Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment, Jay Mohr, Jon Bon Jovi.  An ancient concept and old old expression that became part of our general vernacular because of this cool film.  (seen twice)
The Beach2000;  Danny Boyle;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swenson (seen twice)
Adaptation2002;  Spike Jonze;  Charlie Kaufman’s great screenplay;  Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting), Tilda Swinton  (seen twice)
Laurel Canyon2002;  written & directed by Lisa Cholodenko;  Kate Beckinsale, Frances McDormand.  “inspired by” Joni Mitchell.  (seen twice)
Mystic River2003;  Clint Eastwood;  from Dennis Lehane novel, who also write Shutter Island; Sean Penn, Tim Robbins – both won Oscars for roles – Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney;  nominated for Best Picture, Director & Screenplay.  (seen twice)
Seabiscuit — 2003;  screenplay & directed by Gary Ross;  Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire (also an executive producer), William H. Macy, Elizabeth Banks.  Randy Newman wrote the exquisitely diverse & perfect music. Great filmmaking … cinematography … editing.  Nominated for all those and a total 7 Oscars.  Uplifting story about underdogs, second chances and perseverance. David McCullough (Ken Burns’ guy) adds a pitch-perfect narration setting the film in historical perspective. Gary Ross & Tobey Maguire’s second collaboration, immediately following Ross’s  directorial debut with Pleasantville, and he wrote the screenplay with Tobey in mind. He also wrote William Macy’s radio announcer character for him. (seen twice)

Coffee & Cigarettes
2003;  written & directed Jim Jarmush;  Steven Wright & Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett (in two roles playing off each other!), Jack White & Meg White, Alfred Molina & Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, Taylor Mead.  11 vignettes set around coffee and cigarettes.  B&W  (seen twice)
Prey For Rock n Roll2003;  Alex Steyermark;  written by former L.A. rocker Cheri Lovedog;  Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo — very authentic tale of low level rock band.  (seen twice)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy 2004;  cowritten & directed by Adam McKay;  cowritten & starring Will Farrell;  Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Chris Parnell, Fred Willard. (seen twice)
Miracle2004;  Gavin O’Connor;  Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks;  dramatization of U.S. hockey team’s upset of Russia and winning Gold Medal in 1980 Olympics.  (seen twice)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby2006;  Adam McKay;  Will Ferrell, John C. Riley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams  (seen twice)
A Prairie Home Companion — 2006;  Robert Altman;  Garrison Keillor; boring, even though it’s Altman and a great cast  (seen twice)
Hot Fuzz2007;  Edgar Wright (who I just discovered watching this, is a fan-fuckin-tastic filmmaker!);  brilliant funny script written by Wright and star Simon Pegg;  with a great Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, small cameos by Steve Coogan & Bill Nighy, and an uncredited & masked Cate Blanchett as Pegg’s girlfriend, and director Peter Jackson as the Santa Claus who stabs Pegg’s hand.  Great comedy about cops in England.  I laughed out loud about 15 times.  Tons of great location shooting.  Everything about this film is brilliantly done.  Story, script, casting, cinematography, editing, sound editing, locations.  And it’s funny. 😉  There’s a TON of homages and references to other movies.  No wonder Tarantino is friends with this guy.  😉  (seen twice)
Sicko2007;  Michael Moore — fantastic doc about healthcare.  (seen twice)
Zodiac — 2007;  David Fincher;  Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, John Carroll Lynch;   LOVED it. totally surprised — I’m not a serial killer movie fan at all — other than Scorsese there’s not many movies with much killing on my list.  There’s not much in this either, but again, it’s just not a movie i would normally watch — but, like many a great movie, I discovered it cuz it was on regular rotation on the movie network. first of all, I LOVE Jack Gyllenhaal, AND his sister Maggie!
I love how it’s set in a newspaper newsroom, and how the JG character is a lowly guy with ideas.
Also — Robert Downey Jr. is his typical great self.
And just his whole pursuit of how he tries to track the killer down is a well-told story.
Plus I love that it’s a period piece set in the 70s and also set in and around SF, one of my very favorite cities.
Also — Great Casting — all the secondary / supporting roles are just perfectly cast. (another big thing I appreciate in films)  (seen twice)
Blood Diamond — 2008;  Edward Zwick;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly  (seen twice)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona2008;  Woody Allen;   Scarlett Johannson, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem.  All filmed on location in Spain.  (seen twice)
Milk2008;  Gus Van Sant;  Sean Penn (won Best Actor Oscar), James Franco, Josh Brolin (as the bad-guy shooter), Emile Hirsch, Victor Garber. Great movie.  Lots of San Francisco location shooting and recreation of the ’70s.  Won Best Original Screenplay Oscar.  (seen twice)
Burn After Reading2008;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, J.K. Simmons.  Typically wonderfully twisted, funny, quirky, weird, brilliant Coen brothers — set in Washington.  Great score / use of music to accent.  (seen twice)
Tropic Thunder2008;  written & directed by and starring Ben Stiller;  Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise (who’s hysterically, historically funny in a small supporting role), Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Steve Coogan.  Funny movie!  (seen twice)
I Love You, Man2009;  written & directed by John Hamburg;  Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, with Jamie Pressly, Jon Favreau, Jane Curtin, J.K. Simmons.  Great buddy bro film, with authentic definitive performances by Rudd and Segel.  (seen twice)

Shutter Island2010;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert Richardson cinematography;  from novel by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote Mystic River);  Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, John Carroll Lynch  (seen twice)
Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place2011;  Alex Gibney & Alison Ellwood;  narrated by Stanley Tucci;  original ’64 Furthur Bus footage mixed with modern recreations.  (seen twice – once at TIFF and once with Carolyn Cassady at her house)
Midnight In Paris2011;  written and directed by Woody Allen;  Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kurt Fuller.  Owen Wilson slips through a time hole to Paris in the 1920s and hangs out with Hemingway (Corey Stoll, great), F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), T.S. Elliot, Man Ray, Luis Buñuel, Matisse, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker;  and then goes back to 1889 and meets Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin & Degas.  Woody deservedly won Best Screenplay (his most recent Oscar) — and was nominated for Picture and Direction.  Fantastic location shooting in Paris, and perfect music.  This guy is an insanely great filmmaker.  And it’s a movie about a writer!  Like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen was a master at capturing a woman’s face beautifully.  The idea for the film just started with the title.  Woody wanted to write a movie set in Paris.  He came up with the idea of “Midnight in Paris” cuz it sounded romantic and sort of the epitome / essence of the town.  Then he built the entire story from there.  (seen twice)
21 Jump Street2012;  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller;  from an original story by Jonah Hill; Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Rob Riggle, Chris Parnell, Nick Offerman, Ellie Kemper, with a cameo by Johnny Depp (from the original series).  Great cast, all playing deadpan comedy to the hilt.  I’ve watched it twice, and it IS funny and well written.  Great and funny drug trip sequence.  (seen twice)
Silver Linings Playbook2012;  written & directed by David O. Russell;  Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro  (seen twice)
Blue Jasmine — 2013;  brilliant, deep, emotive Oscar-nominated Best Screenplay & directed by Woody Allen;  Cate Blanchett most deserved won Best Lead Actress Oscar, Sally Hawkins (nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Alex Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale (great), Andrew Dice Clay (who’s actually not a bad actor), Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K.  About a wealthy woman losing everything.  Inspired by blending Bernie Madoff’s wife with A Streetcar Named Desire.  Spectacularly perfect old jazz & blues music — as always, chosen by Woody.  Brilliant title once you’ve seen this absolutely great movie.  And great location shooting, as per Woody. 😉  (seen twice)
This Is The End2013;  written & directed by Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg;  James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Channing Tatum and a TON of cameos. A feast of L.A. party people — with a heavy dose of Canadians.  All-star surreal BizarroWorld end-of-the-world comedy.  Insane shit . . . that was one of the biggest-grossing movies of 2013. Entirely set in L.A., but entirely filmed in New Orleans.  James Franco’s house (where most of the action takes place) is a set built for the movie.  The only film combo featuring the top three “stoner” actors all riffing off each other — Cheech & Chong + 1 — James Franco, Seth Rogan (who co-wrote & co-directed) & Jonah Hill.  Then add to that, Danny McBride who the cast all said was the funniest guy on set.  Then put it all on top of a kind-of Orwellian / H.G. Wells script.  (seen twice)
A Million Ways To Die In The West2014;  written & directed by Seth MacFarlane;  with Seth, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris  (seen twice)
The Imitation Game2014;  Morton Tyldum;  Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly.  Brilliant writing (won Best Screenplay) about the real-life British math genius who cracked the Germans’ secret communication code.  Cumberbatch is absolutely riveting.  (seen twice)
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead2015;  Chevy Chase, Judd Apatow, Tony Hendra, Michael O’Donoghue, Ivan Reitman, John Landis, plus everyone you ever heard of who worked for National Lampoon, which this a great documentary about.  (seen twice) 
Sully2016;  Clint Eastwood;  based on Chesley Sullenberger’s book;  Tom Hanks as Sully, Aaron Eckhart as the copilot, Laura Linney, Michael Rapaport, Katie Couric.  Great movie about the landing of the plane on the Hudson River in January 2009.  Very positive New York story with lots of location shots.  Really well crafted script.  (seen twice)
Loving Vincent — 2017;  written & directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Walchman;  filmed with actors portraying characters from Van Gogh paintings, then each of the film’s 65,000 frames were hand painted over in oil in Vincent’s style making it the world’s first fully painted animated feature.  You can read my review here.  (seen twice – at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto with Sky & George Walker, and at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac where I introduced it)
Knives Out2019; written & directed by Rian Johnson; Daniel Craig (playing a very deep colorful private investigator), Christopher Plummer (his second last movie after 60 years of making them, playing an old man about to die!), Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Frank Oz (the actor/director, Yoda and Muppet pioneer), Emmet Walsh (replacing Ricky Jay who died just before the film went to production) and a great not-too-well-known 30-year-old Cuban actress named Ana de Armas.  Great filmmaking!  I literally got goosebumps – more than once.  What A Script!  No wonder it was nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar.  And What A House that it’s set in and around!  Theme: be a good person.  Bonus points for the killer soundtrack including Animal Zoo by Spirit in the background then to prominence in big scene, plus Roxy Music, Gordon Lightfoot & the Rolling Stones.  Rian the writer/director said in the commentary all the names of the family members/couples are ’70s rock stars: Joni Mitchell & Neil Young, Richard & Linda Thompson, Walt & Donna are Walter Becker & Donald Fagen (Steely Dan).  I like this guy.  🙂  (seen twice)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 2020;  George C. Wolfe; based on August Wilson play;  Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Chadwick Boseman – both deservedly nominated for Best Actor/Actress.  IMHO, shoulda swept the 2021 Oscars instead of Nomadland.  (seen twice)

SEEN  ONCE

The Gold Rush — 1925;  written, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin  B&W  (seen once) 
City Lights — 1931;  written, scored, produced, edited, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin.  Chaplin’s favorite of all his films; he developed it for 3 years.  He kept it a silent picture had become the norm.  He brought Albert Einstein to the L.A. premiere, and George Bernard Shaw to the London.   The highest-grossing film of 1931 in the U.S.  B&W   (seen once)
Modern Times — 1936;  produced, written, edited, scored and directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin;  Paulette Goddard.  The final major American film to use silent conventions like title cards – and Chaplin performing in pantomime.  The last title card ever to appear (thus the end of the silent era) was the Little Tramp saying “Buck up – never say die. We’ll get along!”  Although, Chaplin’s voice is heard on film for the first time — singing a nonsense lyric song in faux Italian.  Contains the assembly line scene that clearly spawned Lucy’s classic bit.  Great choreography and physical comedy by Chaplin.  Fred Astaire must’ve loved this guy.  Sort of – Orwell’s 1984 on film.  This could almost be listed under “Trippy Movies” … but those sorta need to be in color.  🙂  B&W  (seen once)
Double Indemnity1944;  Billy Wilder;  screenplay by Wilder & Raymond Chandler;  Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson.  Considered by many the definitive Film Noir example.   B&W  (seen once)
Spellbound1945;  Alfred Hitchcock;  Ben Hecht screenplay;  Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman.  Hitchcock’s use of Salvador Dali’s work in sets for the dream sequence.  B&W  (seen once) 
Notorious1946;  Alfred Hitchcock; Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains  B&W  (seen once)
The Bicycle Thief (aka Bicycle Thieves) — 1948;  Vittorio De Sica;  from a Luigi Bartolini novel; the actors were all amateurs, chosen intentionally;  frequently cited on Best Films Ever Made lists – including those by filmmakers;  all shot on location in Rome.  B&W  (seen once)
The Red Shoes1948; Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger; based on Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale; Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring.  A movie about the conflict between love between two people and the creation of great art.  A show production movie set around a ballet.  Incredible sets & art direction (won Oscar), and lots of beautiful location shooting around England, France and Monaco.  One of Scorsese’s favorite movies – influenced his own editing & cinematography.  (seen once)
They Live By Night — 1948;  Nicholas Ray;  produced by John Houseman;  adapted for the screen by Ray from a 1937 novel by Edward Anderson (you can read a great piece about the book and its connection to Bonnie & Clyde here)
;  Farley Granger & Cathy O’Donnell, plus Jay C. Flippen, Will Wright.  The first film Ray made, but the third to be released.  The opening sequence (and several other spots) features some of the first helicopter-shot action sequences on film.  Theme of a sympathetic young couple on the run from the law, a sub-genre that later included Bonnie & Clyde and Badlands.  Altman made a version of the same novel (and keeping its name) in 1974, Thieves Like Us.  Truffaut thinks this is Ray’s best film, and both Godard & Scorsese are huge fans of it.  B&W  (seen once)

Every Girl Should Be Married1948;  Don Hartman;  Gary Grant & Betsy Drake (in her film debut) as the romantic leads when they were courting in real life and married shortly after the movie came out, plus a young Eddie Albert.  Howard Hughes had just taken over RKO Pictures and got very involved in the production including casting Drake and allowing Grant to unofficially direct her scenes and re-write the script to put the focus on her.  It became RKO’s biggest-grossing film of 1949.  B&W  (seen once)
The Asphalt Jungle1950;  directed & cowritten by John Huston;  Sterling Hayden, Sam Jaffe, James Whitmore, John McIntire, 23-year-old Marilyn Monroe in her small but breakout role, and also Jack Warden’s first film.  Nominated for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Sam Jaffe for Supporting Actor.  Film Noir heist drama set in Cincinnati, with some cool location shooting there circa 1949. Helluva script and cinematography.  A movie about vice.  Capraesque ending.  Love John Huston – but boy he sure sometimes makes weird, verging on surreal, movies. 🙂  B&W  (seen once)
All About Eve1950;  written & directed by Joseph Mankiewicz;  Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders.  Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Costumes (Edith Head).  B&W  (seen once)
In A Lonely Place1950;  Nicholas Ray;  Humphrey Bogart & Gloria Graham.  Murder mystery love affair set in L.A.  The movie was a big influence on Curtis Hanson for his L.A. Confidential.  B&W  (seen once)
Rashomon — 1950;  screenplay & directed by Akira Kurosawa.  The same event as seen from from different perspectives.  Credited as being the film that caused the Academy to create a Best Foreign Film category. Japanese film with subtitles. I know this is considered a classic, but I found it boring, painful sexist, and the melodramatic acting like by actors who failed out of first year acting class. B&W  (seen once)
The African Queen1951;  John Huston;  Humphrey Bogart & Katherine Hepburn  B&W  (seen once)
Limelight — 1953; written, directed by & starring Charlie Chaplin – plus he wrote all the music and won the Best Oscar for it; Claire Bloom as the muse, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton, Norman Lloyd, and Chaplin’s son Sydney; Chaplin’s last American-made movie. Really good. About the hope and love and art and the meaning of life. Also about an aging clown facing the end of his career. B&W (seen once)
The Seven Year Itch — 1955;  screenplay co-written & directed by Billy Wilder;  based on a long-running Broadway play by George Axelrod;  Marylin Monroe, Tom Ewell (reprising his role on Broadway);  some great Manhattan location shooting besides Marilyn at the Flatiron subway grate, including the original Penn Station;  maybe known to history, but it’s a painfully bad lowest-common-denominator melodrama.  (seen once)
The Three Faces of Eve — 1957;  written & directed by Nunnally Johnson;  Joanne Woodward – won Best Actress for portrayal of woman with multiple personality disorder.  B&W  (seen once)
The Defiant Ones 1958;  Stanley Kramer;  Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis (his one & only Oscar nomination), plus Theodore Bikel, Lon Chaney, Claude Akins, and Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s last film.  Great movie about a black guy and a white guy who escape jail and are shackled together. Won Best Screenplay & Cinematography;  nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actors, including Poitier being the first Black man ever nominated.  A pretty good movie (for the time) about race relations and equality.  All the music is diegetic, meaning the characters are hearing it and it comes from a source on screen such as a radio, jukebox, record player, musicians or such.  B&W  (seen once)
The Long, Hot Summer —1958;  Martin Ritt;  from the William Faulkner novel;  Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles, a mesmerizing Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, Anthony Franciosa, Richard Anderson.  Sort of a different version of the Southern Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, which came out the same year, and both with Paul Newman battling with Big Daddy (Burl Ives & Orson Welles). Newman & Woodward got married a month after shooting.  Filmed entirely on location in Louisiana in 1957.  Great music by master composer Alex North.  (seen once)
Suddenly Last Summer1959;  Joseph Mankiewicz;  Gore Vidal screenplay from a Tennessee Williams play;  Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Katherine Hepburn.  Liz, Kate & Art Direction all nominated for Oscars.  B&W  (seen once)

Breathless1960; written & directed by Jean-Luc Godard (his first feature);  Francois Truffaut wrote the first treatment of the story that became the film;  Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo.  The beginning of the French New Wave.  Made on such a small budget ($90,000!), dolly shots were done by the cameraman being pushed in a wheelchair;  no makeup was used because they couldn’t afford to reapply it every day;  it was entirely shot using natural light because they couldn’t afford lights;  there were no shooting permits, so all the great Paris & elsewhere location shooting was done on the fly – you see lots of people on the street looking at the actors and film crew going by, and it’s before roads had traffic lanes or traffic lights;  they didn’t have microphones or synch equipment, so all the dialog was recorded later by the actors.  The jazzy cool music surrounding the dialog is great.  Inspired by a true story of a petty criminal who stole a car to go visit his mother and accidentally killed a cop.  The short men’s ties are unintentionally hilarious throughout.  But I just don’t deal well with movies that are entirely subtitled.  RashomonParasite … I don’t like having to read a book while I’m trying to watch a movie.  Jean Seberg’s a real dish, and it’s interesting/good filmmaking, but I didn’t really care for the characters or the story or the movie.  I have no patience for or desire to watch sexist asshole male characters.  I was just counting the minutes and praying it would end.  B&W  (seen once)
BUtterfield 81960;  Daniel Mann;  Elizabeth Taylor (mesmerizing & luminous), Laurence Harvey, Eddie Fisher (Liz’s husband at the time).  Taylor’s first Oscar (she won again later for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), and she was vocal the whole rest of her life how much she hated this movie.  (Her and Eddie Fisher called it “Butterball 4”.)  It was done as a contractual obligation to MGM.  The voting Academy was making up for not giving it to her for Cat On A Hot Tin Roof; plus she’d been sick and voters thought she might die or never act again, so she was stuck with this Oscar for playing a promiscuous drinker in a maudlin melodrama.  B&W  (seen once)
Lolita — 1961;  Stanley Kubrick;  Vladimir Nabokov wrote screenplay based on his novel;  James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon, Peter Sellers.  B&W  (seen once)
Splendor in the Grass1961;  Elia Kazan;  Natalie Wood, Pat Hingle, Barbara Loden (who Kazan later married), and the film debuts of Warren Beatty, Sandy Dennis & Phyllis Diller;  music by David Amram; won Best Screenplay Oscar, and Natalie was nominated for Best Actress.  The limp Pat Hingle walks with was real: he had fallen down an elevator shaft and broke multiple bones shortly before filming began.  I found it unreal; teenagers who love each other, but for the first half Natalie doesn’t want to have sex with Warren Beatty, and for the second half he doesn’t want to have sex with her.  (seen once)
The Hustler1961;  Robert Rossen; Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Vincent Gardenia, Michael Constantine, Murray Hamilton, with a wee cameo by Jake LaMotta as a bartender.  Won Oscars for Best Cinematography & Art Direction; nominated for Best Picture, Direction & Screenplay, plus for Newman, Gleason & George C. Scott’s acting.  B&W  (seen once)
One-Eyed Jacks — 1961;  directed by & starring Marlon Brando;  Karl Malden, Slim Pickens;  revenge Western set largely in Monterey, California;  filming lasted 7 months (Dec. ’58 – June ’59);  Brando’s original cut was 4 hours & 42 mins long;  Rod Serling & Sam Peckinpah worked on the script;  Stanley Kubrick was set to direct, but dropped out 2 weeks before shooting began, and Brando then took over.  (seen once)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night — 1962;  Sidney Lumet;  Eugene O’Neill play;  Ralph Richardson, Katherine Hepburn, Jason Robards.  B&W  (seen once)

The Manchurian Candidate — 1962;  John Frankenheimer;  Richard Condon novel;  Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Lawrence Harvey, Janet Leigh;  music by David Amram.  B&W  (seen once)
Sweet Bird of Youth — 1962;  Richard Brooks;  screenplay by Brooks from a Tennessee Williams play;  Paul Newman, Geraldine Page (who was nominated for a Tony for this on Broadway and also for Best Supporting Actress Oscar), Rip Torn, Madeline Sherwood, all four main actors reprising their Broadway roles as directed by Elia Kazan, plus Ed Begley Sr. (won Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Mildred Dunnock, Dub Taylor, Corey Allen.  Page & Torn married the year after making the movie.  About a gigolo (an often shirtless Paul Newman) and a sorta Norma Desmond-like late-career actress in a typical Tennessee Williams southern patriarchy. Nice highway location shooting in first 10 mins. Includes pot, hash and bennies in a 1962 movie. (seen once)

The Trial — 1962;  Orson Welles;  from the Franz Kafka novel;  Anthony Perkins (who’s great!)  B&W  (seen once)
Sunday In New York1963;  Peter Tewksbury;  Norman Krasna first wrote the Broadway play then the screenplay, and boy is it fantastic writing;  Jane Fonda & Cliff Robertson as brother & sister, Rod Taylor as the love interest, Robert Culp, Mia Farrow, Jim Backus;  great jazzy swing music by Peter Nero who has a great cameo leading the band in the nightclub (sounds like the Johnny Carson theme-song);  great filmmaking;  tons of Manhattan / Central Park location shooting circa 1963 including a great New York apartment as the main set;  how NYC looked just before the ’64 World’s Fair Kesey & the Bus went to – and local buses play a big role in the movie;  funny great movie and terrific warm positive love story.  (seen once)
Paris When it Sizzles — 1964;  Richard Quine;  Audrey Hepburn, William Holden — pretty surreal and comedic!  about a screenwriter and his girl — “the screenplay within the screenplay.”  (seen once)
Cat Ballou1965;  Elliot Silverstein;  Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin playing twin brothers (for which he won the Best Lead Actor Oscar, his only nomination or win, in one of his only comedic roles), a singing Nat King Cole (who died of lung cancer before the movie could even be released), Jay C. Flippen;  nominated for Best Screenplay, Editing, Score and Original Song.  A goofy campy comedy send-up of Westerns.  Marvin’s over-the-top comic performance was very much his own creation, initially going against the director’s direction.  But he was making the crew laugh with every take, and when the producer visited the set early on and saw what was happening he told the director to let Marvin take it where he wanted.  It includes a little Butch Cassidy and the Hole In The Wall Gang.  A precursor to both Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and Blazing Saddles.  Includes some nice location shooting in Colorado.  “What’s wrong with my eyes?”  “They’re bloodshot.”  “You oughta see them from my side.”  🙂  (seen once)
How To Steal a Million1966;  William Wyler; Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach.  Fun 1960s art theft caper film.  Great chemistry between Hepburn & O’Toole; getting to work with him was why she took the role.  Lots of location shooting in Paris and various places in France.  (seen once)
The Fortune Cookie1966;  directed and co-written by Billy Wilder; Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau’s first picture of 12 they’d make together, plus film debut bit part by William Christopher (Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H), and a young Keith Jackson as the football announcer; Matthau won Best Supporting, plus nominated for Best Screenplay, Cinematography & Art Direction.  (seen once)
Head — 1968;  Bob Rafelson;  screenplay by Rafelson & Jack Nicholson;  starring The Monkees, plus Victor Mature & Annette Funicello, with cameos by Frank Zappa, Dennis Hopper, Nicholson, and Teri Garr in a bit part.  (seen once)
Skidoo — 1968;  Otto Preminger;  Doran William Cannon (who also wrote Altman’s Brewster McCloud);  Rob Reiner was one of several script doctors who worked on the script but was uncredited;  Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx as God (in his final film appearance), Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Peter Lawford, Mickey Rooney, George Raft, Slim Pickens, Harry Nilsson, Austin Pendleton, Michael Constantine;  and Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin & Caesar Romero who were all starring in the Batman TV show at the time, as well as director Otto Preminger who appeared in two episodes as the villain Mr. Freeze; plus Tom Law (from the Hog Farm, the Woodstock movie, and Lisa Law’s husband) handing the mayor a joint in the courtroom scene, whose brother John Philip Law was a working actor with 85 credits and is the lead male hippie in the movie.  Music by Harry Nilsson.  Infamous psychedelic all-star comedy with a depiction of multiple acid trips.  Groucho took acid with Paul Krassner to prepare for the film; and Preminger was inspired to make the film after taken acid a few times himself.  Filmed in San Francisco.  (seen once)

Catch 221970;  Mike Nichols;  from Joseph Heller book, screenplay by Buck Henry;  Alan Arkin, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Martin Balsam, Jack Gifford, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Martin Sheen, Orson Welles, Bob Balaban, Norman Fell  (seen once)
Two-Lane Blacktop — 1971;  Monte Hellman;  James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates, pixieish Laurie Bird (her first of only 3 films), and Harry Dean Stanton for a couple minutes as one of the hitchhikers.  Both Taylor & Wilson’s only film roles.  A road movie — a bizarre race across the southern U.S. from West to East – California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina.  Filmed entirely on locations On The Road, Aug–Oct 1970.  Like The Defiant Ones and The Last Picture Show — all diegetic music, including Kristofferson’s Me & Bobby McGee.  No one in film wore makeup.  The ending came to director Hellman in a dream.  Same 1955 Chevrolet that Harrison Ford drove in American Graffiti.  By 1983, 3 of the 4 leads were all dead, except James Taylor.
A testimonial of 16 reasons why he loves this movie by the great writer/director Richard Linklater:
(1) Because it’s the purest American road movie ever. (2) Because it’s like a drive-in movie directed by a French new wave director. (3) Because the only thing that can get between a boy and his car obsession is a girl, and Laurie Bird perfectly messes up the oneness between the Driver, the Mechanic, and their car. (4) Because Dennis Wilson gives the greatest performance ever . . . by a drummer. (5) Because James Taylor seems like a refugee from a Robert Bresson movie, and has the chiseled looks of Artaud from Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. (6) Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates. (7) Because there’s a continuing controversy over who is the actual lead in this movie. There are different camps. Some say it’s the ’55 Chevy, some say it’s the GTO. But I’m Goat man, I have a GTO-’68. (8) Because it has the most purely cinematic ending in film history. (9) Because it’s like a western. The guys are like old-time gunfighters, ready to outdraw the quickest gun in town. And they don’t talk about the old flames they’ve had, but rather old cars they’ve had. (10) Because Warren Oates has a different cashmere sweater for every occasion. And of course the wet bar in the trunk. (11) Because unlike other films of the era, with the designer alienation of the drug culture and the war protesters, this movie is about the alienation of everybody else, like Robert Frank’s The Americans come alive. (12) Because Warren Oates, as GTO, orders a hamburger and an Alka-Seltzer and says things like “Everything is going too fast and not fast enough.” (13) Because it’s both the last film of the sixties-even though it came out in ’71-and also the first film of the seventies. You know, that great era of “How the hell did they ever get that film made at a studio?/Hollywood would never do that today” type of films. (14) Because engines have never sounded better in a movie. (15) Because these two young men on their trip to nowhere don’t really know how to talk. The Driver doesn’t really converse when he’s behind the wheel, and the Mechanic doesn’t really talk when he’s working on the car. So this is primarily a visual, atmospheric experience. To watch this movie correctly is to become absorbed into it. (16) And, above all else, because Two-Lane Blacktop goes all the way with its idea. And that’s a rare thing in this world: a completely honest movie.
(seen once)
Vanishing Point — 1971;  Richard Sarafian;  Barry Newman (Petrocelli), Cleavon Little, and the always creepy Anthony James as one of the hitchhikers.  Great road movie.  The inspiration for Tarantino’s Death Proof, down to the use of a white 1970 Challenger.  Plus a thousand other filmmakers & scholars have cited it.  INCREDIBLE soundtrack — including lotsa drums, bluegrass, and an on-screen appearance by Delaney & Bonnie!  Boy, would Neal Cassady have ever loved this movie! 🙂  It must’ve been quite the experience in 1971-72 seeing this on the big screen!  Beautiful landscape scenery — and seat-of-your-pants car chases!  But don’t love the ending.  (seen once)
Klute — 1971;  Alan Pakula;  Jane Fonda (deservedly won Best Lead Actress Oscar) and Donald Sutherland, Roy Scheider with a bit part, and a pre-Edith Jean Stapleton in a tiny part; great script nominated for Best Screenplay;  Jane Fonda’s New York apartment was an elaborate set that she could actually live during filming.  (seen once)
The Godfather1972;  directed and co-screenwritten by Francis Ford Coppola;  from Mario Puzo book;  Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda, Diane Keaton, John Cazale.  Won Best Picture, Screenplay and Actor for Brando.  Seen parts of many times, have real trouble sitting through the whole thing.  (seen once)
Frenzy1972;  Alfred Hitchcock;  great script by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Murder on the Orient Express) from an Arthur Le Bern novel;  Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Anna Massey, Jean Marsh, Bernard Cribbins (Fawlty Towers), Clive Swift (Keeping Up Appearances).  I’d read about it and watched a “making of” doc and figured I didn’t really wanna see it — including after not loving 1976’s Family Plot.  But I kinda really like this.  Seems like classic suspenseful Hitchcock including tinges of macabre humor — ‘cept set wonderfully in Swinging London circa 1971 (complete with all British accents).  Maybe it’s about a serial rapist/murderer, but it’s a good Hitchcockian wrong-man-accused thriller.   Basically, his last great movie after Psycho/Marnie.  He made ample use of the liberalized restrictions on showing a woman’s breast, which resulted in his only “R” rated picture.  And once again, just as in almost every movie he ever made, there’s a very cool use of … stairs.  Hitchcock is the cinematic M.C. Escher of stairs.  Here’s a great mini essay about his use of stairs, including a great 6-minute video montage. https://sites.middlebury.edu/videographiccourse/2017/12/04/alfred-hitchcocks-39-stairs/  (seen once)
The Harder They Come1972;  written & directed by Perry Henzell;  starring Jimmy Cliff as a young Jamaican trying to make it in the music business.  (seen once)
Mean Streets1973;  directed and screenplay co-written by Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro & Harvey Keitel, plus Richard Romanus, David Proval, and a little cameo by David & Robert Carradine.  Scorsese’s first film that was all his — and was based on his own experiences growing up in Little Italy.  He & De Niro would go on to make 9 films together.  Precursor to Goodfellas, The Sopranos et al.  (seen once)
Badlands1973;  written & directed by Terence Malick;  Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates.  Malick’s first movie.  Based on the a real-life sociopath who had a 14-year-old girlfriend and who killed ten people in eight days in 1958.  The pair were also the inspiration for the Tarantino-penned Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers.  Sissy met and soon married the Art Director Jack Fisk, who later was the Production Designer on Heart Beat, based on Carolyn Cassady’s book, whom Sissy played (and her & Carolyn became friends).  (seen once)
California Split — 1974;  Robert Altman;  George Segal & Elliot Gould, Ann Prentiss, and Jeff Goldblum in a bit part.  A buddy picture set around poker & gambling.  Echoes of Owning Maloney.  (seen once)
Chinatown — 1974;  Roman Polanski;  Robert Towne won the Best Screenplay Oscar from his own original story, and this script is now taught in every screenwriting course (Polanski also sculpted a lot of it, uncredited);  Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston (the king of original Film Noir), John Hillerman, Burt Young, James Hong (the maitre d’ in the famous Seinfeld “Chinese Restaurant” episode), and Roman Polanski with a cameo as the man with the knife. Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Lead Actor (Nicholson) & Actress (Dunaway), Art Direction, Costumes & more – but only Towne won — it was Coppola & Godfather II‘s big year.  Polanski’s last film made in America.  Filmed on locations all over Los Angeles.  Jack Nicholson is in every scene of the movie (ie; the story’s all seen thru his eyes).  Set in 1937.  Seabiscuit makes a newspaper cameo at the start of the 3rd scene.  Great score composed by Jerry Goldsmith in 11 days (the same number of days it took me to write The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac 🙂 ).   It’s kind of weird seeing a classic Film Noir in color.  “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”  Polanski wrote that line.  All that going for it, I don’t really like this movie as much as everybody else seems to.  (seen once)
Lenny — 1974;  Bob Fosse;  Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine — docudrama on Lenny Bruce  B&W  (seen once)
Thieves Like Us1974;  Robert Altman;  Joan Tewksbury (Nashville) & Altman wrote screenplay based on Edward Anderson’s 1937 novel (you can read a great piece about the book and its connection to Bonnie & Clyde here);  Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Louise Fletcher, Tom Skerritt;  great crazy weird filmmaking and beautifully evocative cinematography;  but wasn’t a big fan overall.  Seemed a little plodding and the characters not really fleshed out.  See, also: Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night – both based on the same novel, but Nick’s is much more evocative & captivating, more of a tender appealing love story and not just bank robbers, much more believable screenwriting & acting, and much better pacing (editing), IMO.  (seen once)
The Passenger1975;  Michelangelo Antonioni;  Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider.  Walter Salles’s pick as one of the great movies of all time; caused me to see it as part of his film festival at the Waverly Theater when On The Road premiered in New York.  (seen once)
Shampoo1975;  Hal Ashby;  written by Robert Towne & Warren Beatty; Warren Beatty, Lee Grant (won Oscar for Best Supporting), Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, Carrie Fisher’s first movie, age 17, 2 years before Star Wars.  Set in L.A. in 1968, including a fantastic ’60s party scene with the kinda soundtrack from that era that readers of this site would love.  (seen once)
The Front
 — 1976;  Martin Ritt;  written by Walter Bernstein – who were both blacklisted by the McCarthy witch-hunt in the 1950s, the subject of the movie, and his great script was nominated for Best Screenplay (but lost to Paddy Chayefsky for Network);  starring Woody Allen (in his first dramatic role he didn’t write), plus Zero Mostel (who’s wholly engaging in his final film appearance before his untimely aneurysm death at 62), Herschel Bernardi, Lloyd Gough & Joshua Shelley, all of whom had been blacklisted, and Michael Murphy & Danny Aiello.  Movie posters featured text that read: “What if there were a list?  A list that said: Our finest actors weren’t allowed to act. Our best writers weren’t allowed to write. Our funniest comedians weren’t allowed to make us laugh. What would it be like if there were such a list? It would be like America in 1953.” (which is the year the film is most vividly set in).  The Catskills scenes were shot at Brown’s Hotel including Zero Mostel performing in its Jerry Lewis Theater Club room.  Powerful film.  color (with a B&W opening)  (seen once)
The Rose1979;  Mark Rydell;  Bette Midler.  Sorta kinda quasi bio-pic of Janis Joplin.  (seen once)
All That Jazz 1979;  co-written and directed by Bob Fosse (telling his own sordid life story);  Roy Scheider in the Fosse character, Jessica Lange, Ben Vereen.  Won Oscars for Beat Art Direction, Editing, Costumes & Music; nominated for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography & Actor (Scheider).  (seen once) 

Permanent Vacation — 1980;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch (his first movie);  Chris Parker, John Lurie; move about a guy who goes on an Adventure in Manhattan and meets all kinds of strange people in 1980 — the year I moved to the city;  pretty low budget and dark;  didn’t like it at all, not recommended.  (seen once)
Reds1981;  written & directed by Warren Beatty;  Beatty as John Reed, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Jerzy Kosinski, Edward Hermann, Paul Sorvino, Maureen Stapleton   (seen once)
Blow Out1981;  Brian De Palma;  John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz.  One of the three movies Tarantino cites as his Best Three ever made (along with Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo).  (seen once)
Absence of Malice1981;  Sydney Pollack; Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban, Wilfred Brimley.  (seen once)
Blade Runner1982;  Ridley Scott; from a Philip K. Dick novel;  Harrison Ford, Edward James Olson, Brion James, Joanna Cassidy, Daryl Hannah, M. Emmet Walsh, James Hong.  Not my kinda movie.  (seen once)
The Dresser — 1983;  Peter Yates;  Ronald Harwood wrote the screenplay based on his own successful play; Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay (both brilliant performances, both nominated for Best Lead Actor) also nominated for Best Picture, Director & Screenplay.  A movie about the theater.  About an old actor losing his mind and his loyal dresser to trying to save him.  Tons of location shooting in England.  Great movie.  (seen once)
The Right Stuff — 1983;  screenplay & directed by Philip Kaufman; from the Tom Wolfe book;  one helluva cast!  a young, nearly ’70s Sam Shepard (Oscar-nominated as Chuck Yeager), Scott Glenn (as Alan Shepard), Ed Harris (as John Glenn), Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Levon Helm, Harry Shearer & Jeff Goldblum, Lance Henriksen, David Clennon, Veronica Cartwright, and the great Chuck Yeager in a couple of cameos.  Great filmmaking.  Won the Oscar for Best Editing, Effects, Bill Conti’s Score, and Sound; and deservedly nominated for Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction & Supporting Actor (Sam).  A rare over-3-hour movie!  And a very weird yet smart & dramatic film.  (seen once)
Stranger Than Paradise — 1984;  co-written & directed by Jim Jarmusch (his second film);  co-written by & starring John Lurie (who also did the excellent atmospheric largely cello music);  the great character actor Richard Edson’s first film.  The 90-minute movie is done in only 67 (mostly static) shots; the average film has around 1,200 different shots.  The camera pans maybe six times (by my count) in the entire movie.  The static shots are prolly the most interesting thing about it.  Jarmusch won the Golden Camera at Cannes in 1984 awarded for the best debut feature at the festival.  Won Special Jury Recognition at Sundance in 1985.  Inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2002.  2-disc release as part of the Criterion Collection in 2007.  Very “independent” film — and very New York — the early ’80s when I first moved there.  Screamin Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You is a reoccurring song.  From IMDb: “Director Jim Jarmusch was dismayed to discover all the money he paid for the rights to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’I Put a Spell on You went to the record company, with nothing going to Hawkins himself.  When the film earned a profit, Jarmusch took it upon himself to track down Hawkins (who was living in a trailer park, at the time) and give him some money.  It was the beginning of a friendship between the two which lasted until Hawkins’ death.  According to Jarmusch, Hawkins continuously promised to pay him back, despite Jarmursch’s insistence that the money was a gift.”  I know you’re supposed to love Jarmusch, but other than I don’t really love his films.  B&W  (seen once)

The Brother From Another Planet1984;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Joe Morton as the “Brother”  (seen once)
Down By Law
1986;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Ellen Barkin, Rockets Redglare.  Imaginative original story & a well-crafted script, with three very different well-drawn characters.  Great cinematography by Robby Müller (who Jarmusch long wanted to work with).  Songs by Tom Waits (from Rain Dogs), and atmospheric music by John Lurie.  Shot entirely on location in Louisiana.  Jarmusch’s follow-up to his highly-acclaimed Stranger Than Paradise.  He could now get a top cinematographer and name actors.  A pretty good movie.  B&W  (seen once)
The Dead — 1987;  John Huston (the last of the 47 movies he directed);  based on James Joyce’s short story in Dubliners, screenplay by Huston’s son Tony, who was nominated for an Oscar;  starring Anjelica Huston and a bunch of unknowns.  Moody atmospheric drama set around a family dinner in snowy Dublin, January 1904.  (seen once)
Hearts of Fire1987;  Richard Marquand;  screenplay Joe Eszterhas;  Bob Dylan plays a once-huge rock star struggling with decline.  Great role and performance by Fiona.  Ian Drury and Richie Havens have bit parts.  (seen once) 
The Last Temptation of Christ1988;  Martin Scorsese;  Willem Dafoe as Jesus, Harvey Keitel as Judas.  Great hallucination scene at the climax.  (seen once)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen1988;  cowritten & directed by Terry Gilliam;  John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Jonathan Pryce, Uma Thurman.  The third in what Gilliam called his “Trilogy of Imagination” along with Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985).   (seen once)
Mystery Train — 1989;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Steve Buscemi, Joe Strummer (in a rare dramatic role), Tom Noonan, Screamin Jay Hawkins. Three different stories in adjacent rooms on the same night at the same hotel.  Some common things like a gunshot and the songs Domino by Roy Orbison & Blue Moon of Kentucky by Elvis is heard in all three.  Screamin’ Jay ties the three stories together as the hotel desk clerk.  Gubba recommendation.  Kind of interesting film of three interconnected stories & characters. Filmed entirely on location in Memphis, TN.  (seen once)

Awakenings1990;  Penny Marshall;  from Oliver Sacks books;  Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Julie Kavner, John Heard, Judith Malina, Anne Meara  (seen once)
Postcards From The Edge —  1990;  Mike Nichols;  Carrie Fisher wrote book & screenplay;  Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid;  about drugs, acting & rock n roll.  (seen once)
The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit1991;  the Maysles brothers documentary about The Beatles’ first visit to America for The Ed Sullivan Show and capturing Beatlemania — immediately preceding the band shooting A Hard Day’s Night . . . about Beatlemania.  B&W  (seen once)
Switch1991;  written & directed by Blake Edwards;  Ellen Barkin & Jimmy Smits in the leads, plus JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Roberts, Catherine Keener.  Bizarre but effective comedy/fantasy about a sexist guy being reincarnated as a woman.  (seen once)
Once Around —  1991;  Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Danny Aiello, — funny wild bizarre family comedy  (seen once – would love to see again)
A Few Good Men — 1992;  Rob Reiner;  original play & brilliant script (his first) by Aaron Sorkin (inspired by true story of a Code Red at Guantanamo);  the great Robert Richardson as cinematographer; Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Bacon, J.T. Walsh, Kiefer Sutherland, Christopher Guest, Cuba Gooding Jr., and an Aaron Sorkin cameo.  I’m not really a fan of courtroom dramas – but this one’s riveting.  A to-die-for cast working for one of the best directors in the game using one of the best storyteller’s words.  A modern classic for good reason.  (seen once)
Gettysburg — 1993;  co-written & directed by Ron Maxwell;  Tom Berenger as Confederate General Longstreet, Jeff Daniels plays Union Lieut. Col. Joshua Chamberlain, Martin Sheen who was a last-minute replacement for Gen. Lee, Sam Elliott plays Union Gen. Buford, Kevin Conway, William Morgan Sheppard, and even Ken Burns has a little cameo.  4½ hours long!  Originally undertaken as a mini-series on TNT before it was morphed into a theatrical release.  Much of it shot on the actual battlefield at Gettysburg and its environs.  They employed over 5,000 Civil War reenactors who all had their own uniforms and weapons.  This movie would never exist if not for Ken Burns. 😉  From IMDb: “The film’s U.S. television debut on TNT in June 1994 attracted the largest viewership ever for a movie broadcast on basic cable. More than 23 million people watched all or part of the two-night broadcast.”  And: “During the Atlanta premiere, Martin Sheen was increasingly annoyed by an audience member seated behind him who offered a running commentary of the film’s characters, and what was about to happen. When the lights came on for intermission, Sheen turned to confront the person and realized it was former President Jimmy Carter.”  Sometimes simplistically corny, but overall a pretty reality-based script, and it has some nice staging & production, and some nice moments, but this is clearly a TV production and not on a major-motion-picture level.  I suppose this is well made — but I’ll never watch these 4½ hours again.  Pickett’s Charge is really well depicted – but it’s so f’n sad.  (seen once)
Philadelphia1993; Jonathan Demme; Tom Hanks (won Best Actor Oscar, his first of two in a row, winning for Forrest Gump the next year), Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas, Joanne Woodward, Bradley Whitford, Anna Deavere Smith, Mary Steenburgen, Roger Corman, Daniel von Bargen. Both Bruce Springteen & Neil Young wrote new original songs for the movie, both were nominated for an Oscar, Springsteen won.  Heavy, powerful, moving film. (seen once)
Dead Man —  1995;  written & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Johnny Depp (who’s great playing a character named William Blake – some of whose lines are quoted in the movie), Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover (in one scene in the beginning), the great John Hurt, Robert Mitchum (in his final film performance), Lance Henriksen, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Jared Harris, Alfred Molina, plus a barely recognizable Steve Buscemi cameo.  Fantastic music improvised by Neil Young on various instruments while watching the final cut.  $9 million budget.  Part of the Criterion Collection.  Finally some great art direction, cinematography (by Robby Müller, who Jim said in a Strangers interview he dreamed of working with one day) and costumes in a Jarmusch film.  Unquestionably his most interesting (and occasionally funny) script, too.  It’s certainly the best cast he ever worked with, and is the best of Jarmusch’s many B&W films.  Filmed entirely on locations in Oregon, Washington, Arizona & Nevada.  This would be one of the few movies that would be classified as a Western that I liked.  It’s almost Tarantinoesque in some of its graphic violence and the dead body count.  Very Native-American with characters, dialog and plot.  The words spoken in Native tongues are intentionally not captioned, and include some inside jokes for those who do speak the language.  Jarmusch is sure into the fade-to-black between scenes routine.  This is one Jim Jarmusch movie I didn’t want to end. 😉  Michael Omar’s quality recommendation.  B&W  (seen once)

Four Rooms1995;  Four young master auteurs who all write & direct their own movies (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Alexandre Rockwell & Allison Anders) tell four different stories all set in the same formerly upscale Hollywood hotel on New Year’s Eve, with bellhop Tim Roth as the thru-line character (and he positively slays, starring in four different movies in one).  It doesn’t jump around between the four stories like some movies do that tell multiple stories.  Each is a self-contained short film.  The way the four directors’ visions and style harmonize together is really something.  Featuring Antonio Banderas, Lili Taylor, Ione Skye (Donovan’s daughter), Madonna, Jennifer Beals & David Proval, Marisa Tomei & Kathy Griffin, Salma Hayek dancing on TV, producer Lawrence Bender, Bruce Willis (whose name doesn’t appear in credits because he violated SAG by appearing for free as a favor to Tarantino) plus oodles of others.  Fantastic 6-minute unbroken single-camera take by Tarantino opening his segment.  The great animator Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, etc.) did the opening animation as a homage to The Pink Panther’s opening.  Five of Tarantino’s old friends from the Video Archives store days are in the Marisa Tomei / Kathy Griffin transition scene.  Wonderfully surreal playful crazy funny movie … with a to-die-for cast. (seen once — although the final 25-minute Tarantino segment I had caught on TV back in the ’90s and it was the first time I’d ever been exposed to a Q production).  Great line: “I’m not a frog, and you’re not a bunny — so let’s not jump ahead.” 🙂  (seen once)
The Shining1997;  Mick Garris;  based on Stephen King book;  Steven Weber, Rebecca De Mornay, Melvin Van Peebles, Elliott Gould.  TV movie  — really scary, actually better than Kubrick’s in both my opinion and Stephen King’s.  (seen once)
Rounders1998;  John Dahl;  Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol, John Malkovich, John Turturro;  great movie about the addiction of gambling and the thrill of the con.  (seen once)
Mystery Alaska1999;  Jay Roach;  Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Michael McKean, Burt Reynolds, Phil Esposito, Mike Myers, Terry David Mulligan, Little Richard, Mary McCormick.  Funny hockey movie.  (seen once)
Drop Dead Gorgeous — 1999;  Michael Patrick Jann;  Kristen Dunst, Alison Janney, Denise Richards, Ellen Barkin, Kirstie Alley, Nora Dunn;  Twisted dark comedy; pretty dumb, but some surprising spitter lines! Prairie Home Companion & Fargo meets Spinal Tap fake documentary.  (seen once)

O Brother, Where Art Thou?2000;  written & directed by the Coen Brothers (based on Homer’s The Odyssey);  George Clooney (great!), John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Stephen Root! (playing a blind guy, like in Get Out), Charles Durning, Michael Badalucco as George not Baby Face Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Daniel von Bargen (Kruger on Seinfeld).  Roger Deakins Oscar nominated for cinematography; T Bone Burnett’s music supervision garnered the soundtrack album winning the Grammy for Best Album of The Year (!) and Best Soundtrack; great script, typical surreal twisted Coen brothers “comedy.”  (seen once)
Thirteen Days2000;  Ronald Donaldson;  Kevin Costner, great historical political drama about the Cuban Missile Crisis;  parts of the script were taken from transcripts of Oval Office conversations.  Great portrayal of the two Kennedy brothers.  (seen once)
Chelsea Walls2001;  Ethan Hawke;  swirling surreal collage of a movie, from a stage play by Nicole Burdette;  killer cast: Kris Kristofferson, Tuesday Weld (her last movie), Vincent D’Onofrio, Steve Zahn, Robert Sean Leonard (the tragic hero of Dead Poets Society), Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Frank Whaley (the “big brain” shot by Travolta & Jackson at the beginning of Pulp Fiction), Natasha Richardson (Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter), Jimmy Scott (the singer, who sings John Lennon’s Jealous Guy on stage in the basement bar with a jazz band), Richard Linklater (the director), and Issac Hayes uncredited in an elevator;  Rimbaud & Dylan Thomas poems read periodically;  cool haunting music by Jeff Tweedy.  Filmed entirely on location at the Chelsea Hotel in New York.  (seen once)
The Road to Perdition2002;  Sam Mendes (his first movie after winning Best Director and Best Picture for American Beauty);  Tom Hanks, Paul Newman (his last film appearance, nominated for an Oscar), a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig (as the sick psycho killer), Jude Law (against type as the pale bad-guy evil assassin), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci.  Beautiful filmmaking.  Nominated for six AAs, won for Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall), and Thomas Newman nominated for his haunting music, as well as deservedly the spot-on Art Direction.  (seen once)
Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour2002;  written & directed by Maureen Maldaur;  Tommy & Dick Smothers, Steve Martin, Mason Williams, Rob Reiner, Bob Einstein, David Halberstam, Ken Kragen, David Steinberg, plus all sorts of archival footage.  (seen once)
Big Fish2003;  Tim Burton;  Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Loudon Wainwright, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito.  Surreal fantasy about relationship between father and son.  I sure find Burton and Terry Gilliam interchangeably weird.  (seen once)
Kill Bill Vol. 12003;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Uma Thurman (with Zoë Bell as her stunt double), David Carradine (voice only), Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Michael Parks.  Q’s homage to the martial arts / kung-fu movies of the ’70s.  The Kill Bills are definitely my least favorite Tatantino films.  (seen once) 
Kill Bill Vol. 22004;  written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Parks.  (seen once)
The Motorcycle Diaries2004;  Walter Salles;  Jose Rivera’s screenplay based on Che Guevara’s book;  the “road” movie that caused Roman Coppola to bring Walter Salles in to direct Kerouac’s On The Road, who then brought the screenwriter to the project.  (seen once)
Ray2004; Taylor Hackford; Jamie Foxx (won Best Actor Oscar), Regina King, Kerry Washington, Terrence Howard, and Richard Schiff as Jerry Wexler.  Beautiful, vividly realistic Ray Charles biopic.  (seen once)
Eulogy2004;   written & directed by Michael Clancy;  Zooey Deschanel, Hank Azaria, Ray Romano, Debra Winger, Piper Laurie, Glenne Headly; really funny, absolutely great black-comedy about family funeral.  (seen once) 
The Brothers Grimm2005;  Terry Gilliam;  Matt Damon, Heath Ledger. AMAZING – another Gilliam masterpiece.  Gorgeous Lena Headley, like a young Jacqueline Bisset — also about writing!  The sets are to die for (as usual in Gilliam movies) and it’s about forests (where I like to spend my days!) “You’re my brother.  I want you to believe in me.”  Jacob Grimm Ghostbusters from the 1800s.  (seen once)
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit — 2005;   (seen once)
Little Children2006;  written & directed by Todd Field;  Kate Winslett, Jane Adams, Jennifer Connely, Patrick Watson — amazing, powerful, stayed with me — Jane Adams character, and the haters.  (since once)
The Bucket List2007;  Rob Reiner;  great “meaning-of-life” script by Justin Zackham;  Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman, plus Sean Hays, Rob Morrow (playing a doctor like he did on Northern Exposure).  Two guys with terminal diseases decide to and do all the things they always wanted to.  Working with Jack Nicholson was on Morgan Freeman’s bucket list. 🙂  John Mayer wrote the beautiful song “Say” for the movie.  “Say what you need to say.”  (seen once)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button2008;  David Fincher (made in between his two other masterpieces, Zodiac and The Social Network);  screenplay by Eric Roth (same guy who wrote Forrest Gump);  based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story;  Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Mahershala Ali, Tilda Swinton.  Won Oscars for Best Art Direction, Visual Effects & Makeup, and nominated for 10 others, including Brad, Fincher, Screenplay & Cinematography.  Lots of location shooting in New Orleans.  Commonalities noticed with Forrest Gump: A life-story arc … theme of eternal love … incorporating real historic events into a fictional story … groundbreaking visual effects … … both with one of America’s greatest leading actors … both nominated for exactly 13 Academy Awards … and both by the same screenwriter … who in both cases was adapting an existing work.  S.A. Griffin said of this: “One of the films I can never stop watching!!”  (seen once)
Man on Wire2008;  James Marsh;  great documentary with tons of archival footage of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between World Trade Center buildings.  (seen once)
Pirate Radio2009;  written & directed by Richard Curtis;  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Sturridge, Rhys Darby;  based on ships that used to float in international waters off the U.K. coast in the 1960s and broadcast cool music that the BBC didn’t.  (seen once)

Inception2010;  written & directed by Christopher Nolan;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Lucas Haas, Tom Hardy.  Amazing effects, and interesting concepts, but hard to follow and ultimately meaningless and unrewarding. (seen once)
The Help2011;  screenplay & directed by Tate Taylor;  from a Kathryn Stockett novel – Tate & Kathryn were childhood friends in Jackson, Mississippi;  Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, Mary Steenburgen.  There’s seven Oscar-winning actresses!  Set in the racist domestic help world in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963.  Very effective & powerful movie, but for this sensitive soul, it was very difficult to watch.  (seen once)
The Master — 2012;  written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson;  Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams – all 3 nominated for Oscars – plus Rami Malek, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons.  Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman & Joaquin Phoenix chew up the scenery together is worth the price of admission.  Talk about two Masters!  Maybe I’m imagining things, but there sure seems to be a connection between Joaquin’s character here and his Joker.  And boy, Paul Thomas Anderson is one weird auteur.  (seen once)
August: Osage County — 2013;  John Wells;  Tracy Letts (who’s a guy, and an Okie) wrote the screenplay from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play – and holy shit is it brilliant! WHAT a great drama this is! HOW did this not get nominated for Best Screenplay?!?! – it’s sure the reason for this top-line cast! Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts (both Oscar-nominated for their performances – [Cate Blanchett won for Blue Jasmine]), Sam Shepard (as Meryl’s husband), Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin.  And WHAT an ensemble performance this is!  Both Sky & Katelynn highly recommend.  And boy, were they right!  This movie’s a fucking masterpiece drama of family madness.  I can’t believe it was written by a man!  Besides everything else, I love seeing former “sex symbol” Julia Roberts as a middle-aged woman.  I love seeing women dominate their world when they no longer have 20-something skin. 😉  Boy, I sure wanna get the DVD and see all the background Extras of how this came to be.  It opens with Sam Shepard quoting T.S. Elliot — and it’s pretty easy to get looped in from there. 🙂  Shot entirely on location in Oklahoma.  This is writing and acting and editing and pacing and filmmaking at its best.  And the music’s written by the same cool Argentinian cat who did Walter Salles’s Motorcycle Diaries and then On The Road, Gustavo Santaolalla.  (seen once)
20 Feet from Stardom2013;  Morgan Neville;  Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, Sheryl Crow.  Won Oscar for Best Documentary. (seen once)
Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)2014;  written & directed by Alejandro Iñárritu;  Emmanuel Lubezki won Oscar for Best Cinematography;  Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifinakis, Naomi Watts.  Fantastic.  Deservedly won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Cinematography.  All shot in long takes, only 16 visible cuts in the whole movie.  (seen once)
Big Eyes2014;  Tim Burton;  Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz;  great dramatization about artist Margaret Keane who did the widely reproduced “big eyes” paintings and how her husband tried to take credit for them;  set largely in and around San Francisco in the late ’50s and early ’60s.  (seen once) 
Predestination2014;  written & directed by the Spierig brothers;  Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor, Sarah Snook.  Ethan Hawke & time travel – what’s not to love? Kerouac mentioned in the buying a Royal typewriter scene.  With all the crazy plot twists, this is definitely a “see more than once” movie.  (seen once)
Spectre2015;  Sam Mendes;  don’t care for the trite predictable silly stereoBond script, but masterful cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema;  Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz as the evil mastermind, Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as the Bond girl;  fantastic opening tracking shot thru an amazingly staged & costumed Day of The Dead in Mexico City;  first Bond movie I’ve seen since the ’70s;  I like Daniel Craig as 007 — wouldn’t have watched this is not for his great performance in Knives Out;  exquisite exotic location shooting, as is Bond stock-in-trade, in a half-dozen different countries;  plus incredible sets;  and sound editing;  and art direction;  and great music by the brilliant Thomas Newman (who’s now my favorite film composer);  incredible filmmaking but not a great film (never care about any character, and you know how it’s gonna end);  $245,000,000 budget!  (seen once)
Spotlight2015; co-written and directed by Tom McCarthy; Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci; won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, with nominations for Ruffalo, McAdams, Director & Editing.  Based on the true story of how Boston Globe reporters uncovered systemic sexual abuse coverups by the Catholic church.  (seen once)
The Revenant2015;  directed and co-written by Alejandro Iñárritu;  Emmanuel Lubezki won Oscar for Best Cinematography;  Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy.  Won Best Director, Cinematography, and Leonardo’s first Oscar after 4 nominations.  (seen once)
The Hateful Eight2015; written & directed by Quentin Tarantino;  Robert Richardson Oscar nominated for his cinematography;  cinematography by Robert Richardson;  Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell.  Ennio Morricone won Best Music Oscar.  Eight people trapped in a cabin in the woods in winter.  Along the Kill Bill movies, my least favorite Tarantino film.  (seen once)
Paterson2016;  great script written by & directed by Jim Jarmusch;  Adam Driver plays a bus Driver named Paterson living in Paterson.  About a poet — like two of Paterson New Jersey’s most famous sons, Allen Ginsberg & William Carlos Williams.  Shot entirely on locations in Paterson & Great Falls, Queens & Yonkers.  Adam Driver actually trained for and got his bus driver’s license just before filming began. He wanted to be able to be on “auto pilot” while driving the bus.  It also meant that the film could feature more authentic footage opening up the possibilities for a greater variety of camera shots.  He was taught over a period of three months in Queens, passing the test one week before filming began.  It’s nice to see a movie about a married couple who love each other – something that’s oddly rare in films.  Very atmospheric film, with nice use of mirrors, reflections and windows.  Beat cousin poet Ron Padgett writes most of the poems.  I love this couple, and since movies usually have bad things happen, I was praying the whole time that nothing would to these two.  It’s a very gentle, kind movie about love and poetry.  (seen once)
A Walk In The Woods2015;  Ken Wapitis;  Nick Nolte & Robert Redford — “Neal Cassady & The Sundance Kid” 🙂  plus bit parts by Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal & Mary Steenburgen.  A Comedy Adventure!  What could be better?! 🙂  Based on a real story — about two middle-aged men who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Redford had it in development for over ten years, originally in hopes of doing one last picture with Paul Newman, but he got sick and died before the film got green-lit.  The real guys were in their 40s when they did it … Redford and Nolte were in their 70s when they filmed it.  A couple of grizzled old warriors hit the trail.  I love this movie!  (seen once)
Bohemian Rhapsody2018;  Bryan Singer;  Rami Malek (won Best Actor Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury), Mike Myers;  I don’t even like Queen, and this was GREAT!  (seen once)
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote2018; written and directed by Terry Gilliam; Adam Driver as Toby/Sancho Panza, a wild Jonathan Pryce as Don Quixote, Stellan Skarsgård, Jordi Mollà.  Surreal comedic update on Don Quixote.  Gilliam’s finally-completed movie that he’s been working on since 1989, a production so famously beset with disasters there was a whole film about it not being a film, Lost in La Mancha, much like Heart of Darkness was made about Apocalypse Now.  Beautiful location shooting among ancient ruins in Spain and Portugal.  (seen once)
A Futile and Stupid Gesture2018;  David Wain;  Will Forte as Doug Kenney, Martin Mull as an old Doug Kenney, Thomas Lennon as Michael O’Donoghue, Joel McHale as Chevy Chase. Great Netflix docudrama about comedy giant Douglas Kenney and National Lampoon / Animal House.  Basically a dramatization of the documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead.  I liked it.  Really well made.  Great casting.  Great story.  Great movie.  (seen once)
Stan & Ollie2018;  Jon Baird;  Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy — perfect casting, both really great, plus Danny Huston as the manipulative Hal Roach.  Funny & heartwarming docudrama written in the style of Laurel & Hardy about their late-career comeback that turned into their swan song.  A beautiful bittersweet movie about the love between two old friends.  Filmed on locations all over the U.K.  (seen once)
Bombshell — 2019;  Jay Roach;  Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, John Lithgow as Roger Ailes, Richard Kind as Rudy Giuliani, Allison Janney as Susan Estrich, Malcolm McDowell as Rupert Murdoch, Stephen Root as one of the lawyers, and Kate McKinnon & Margot Robbie as composite characters created for the narrative through-line.  Theron & Robbie were nominated for Oscars, and the makeup & prosthetics were so good creating the likenesses that it *won* for the Oscar.  It’s from an original script by Charles Randolph, who won for writing The Big Short, and directed by Jay Roach who did all the Austin Powers and Meet The Parents/Fockers movies before switching to the political world doing Recount about the 2000 election, then Game Change about 2008, and now this about politics in 2016.  He also did a comedy called The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.  Roach’s wife is Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles who does a very cool, haunting vocal soundtrack.  Megyn Kelly watched it with four other people depicted in the movie and thought it was so important she made a half-hour show about it to her YouTube channel.  (seen once)
Richard Jewell  — 2019;  Clint Eastwood;  Paul Walter Hauser (great as the titular character), Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates (as the mother, nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Jon Hamm (FBI agent), Olivia Wilde (reporter).  Pretty riveting filmmaking & script & casting.  Laughed out loud 3 times and cried once.  (seen once)
Ford v Ferrari2019; James Mangold;  Matt Damon & Christian Bale; nominated for best picture & 3 others; great filmmaking;  Boy, would Neal Cassady have ever liked this picture!  Definite edge-of-your-seatness at times.  (seen once)
The Irishman2019;  Martin Scorsese;  Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin (from Winnipeg!), Sebastian Maniscalco, Steven Van Zandt, and comedian Jim Norton as Don Rickles (telling jokes Rickles actually told at the real event);  famous for its pioneering (and effective) digital de-aging technology for actor’s faces;  nominated for 10 Oscars – won zero;  Scorsese’s career-spanning editor Thelma Schoonmaker became oldest person ever nominated for a Best Editing Oscar at age 80;  the 9th film for Scorsese & De Niro (and the first since Casino in 1995!), but the first for Scorsese & Pacino;  Pacino & De Niro have been briefly in scenes together on film twice before – but nothing remotely like their extended back-&-forths here;  the 7th pairing of De Niro and Pesci, the first since The Good Shepherd in 2006;  at 3½ hours it’s the longest movie of Scorsese’s career, and the 106-day shooting schedule also the longest;  the first time both Pacino & Keitel and Pacino & Pesci appeared together on screen;  Joe Pesci’s last film, and had to be pleaded out of retirement;  the film was in development for over 10 years;  no Hollywood studio was willing to finance it, so Netflix finally did;  a wonderful fictional story based around real historical people & events;  almost immediately became a coveted Criterion Collection release.  This may be long, but my gawd, Scorsese is one helluva filmmaker!  (seen once)

Mank2020; David Fincher;  Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz, should have won Best Actor Oscar; Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davis;  about Hollywood in the 1930s, alcoholism, and the writing of Citizen Kane; really liked it B&W.  (seen once)

NEED TO SEE:

Hell’s Angels1930;  Howard Hughes;  Jean Harlow (first film); the plane movie that cost a TON ($4 million) — as seen in The Aviator; being 1930, it’s a Pre-Production Code film; biggest box office movie of 1930; used 70+ planes for dogfight sequences; only surviving color footage of Jean Harlow; 250 feet of film shot for every one foot in final film; first filmed as a silent, then re-filmed with sound equipment; Hughes had every frame of some prints hand colored, all versions thought lost until one found in John Wayne’s vault 10 years after he died, prompting a restored rerelease.  (never seen)
His Girl Friday1940 — Howard Hawks;  Ben Hecht;  Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy;  Recommended by John Sayles for it’s great writing and being funny. “One of the tightest comedies I’ve ever seen.”  7.9 rating on imdb.  B&W  (never seen)
Now, Voyager — 1942;  Bette Davis is great; movie is very inspirational.  B&W  (never seen)
The Outlaw1943;  Howard Hughes;  Jane Russell (first film), Walter Huston as Doc Holliday, Ben Johnson, Thomas Mitchell;  faced major censorship problems with new Production Code.  (never seen)
Shadow of a Doubt1943;  Hitchcock;  screenplay by Thornton Wilder; Joseph Cotton   B&W  (never seen)
The Naughty Nineties1945;  Bud Abbott & Lou Costello — the classic and best version of their “Who’s on first?” routine.  B&W  (never seen)
The Big Sleep1946;  Howard Hawks;  screenplay by William Faulkner from Raymond Chandler novel;  Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall became a couple and got married 3 months after shooting.   B&W  (never seen)
The Boy With Green Hair1948;  Joseph Losey;  Dean Stockwell in title role, Pat O’Brien, Robert Ryan, Barbara Hale;  changed ruth weiss’s life (and why her hair was forever died), and is a favorite of Fran Lebowitz’s.  (never seen)
Anna Karenina1948;  Julien Duvivier;  Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson  B&W  (never seen)

A Place In The Sun1951;  George Stevens; from Theodore Dreiser novel;  Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, Raymond Burr.  Won Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Music, Costume Design Oscars.  (never seen)
For Here To Eternity1953;  Fred Zinnemann;  Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Warden  (never seen)
Shane1953;  George Stevens;  Alan LaddJean Arthur, Van Heflin  (never seen) 
The High and The Mighty1954;  William Wellman;  John Wayne, Robert Stack.  Considered the greatest plane rescue movie in history.  (never seen) 
The Crucible1957;  Raymond Rouleau;  written by Arthur Miller & Jean-Paul Satre!;  Arthur Miller’s reaction to Kazan testifying before McCarthy hearings;  Yves Montand’s John Proctor character as Arthur Miller — final speech.  B&W  (never seen – because Arthur Miller blocked its distribution his entire life.  Finally released in 2016.)
Wild Strawberries1957;  written & directed by Ingmar Bergman;  a man reflects on his life.  B&W  (never seen)
Shadows — 1958; written & directed by John Cassavetes — his first movie.  B&W  (never seen)
Rio Bravo1959;  Howard Hawks;  John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennon.  One of the three movies Tarantino cites as his Best Three ever made (along with Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and De Palma’s Blow Out).  (never seen)

A View From The Bridge1961;  Sidney Lumet;  Arthur Miller’s one act play – his response to Kazan’s On The Waterfront;  Maureen Stapleton  B&W  (never seen)
Days of Wine and Roses1962;  Blake Edwards;  Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford, Jack Klugman, Jack Albertson.  About alcoholism – a promotion man & young wife in San Francisco.  S.A. Griffin recommendation.  B&W  (never seen)

The World’s Greatest Sinner1962;  written, directed by & starring Timothy Carey;  one of those “greatest bad movies” a la Plan 9 From Outer Space or The Room that subsequently became something of a cult classic; 22-year-old Frank Zappa composed the score;  recommended by S.A. Griffin.  (never seen)
1963;  Frederico Fellini;  Marcello Mastroianni.  Recommended by everybody.  B&W  (never seen)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars1964;  Byron Haskin;  astronaut on Mars with a monkey.   (never seen)
Seven Days In May1964;  John Frankenheimer;  Rod Serlind screenplay;  Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredick March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brian (Oscar nominated), Martin Balsam, Richard Anderson. Important political drama I need to see.
The Endless Summer1965;  written & directed by Bruce Brown;  documentary about surfers and California, cited by D.A. Pennebaker as his inspiration to accept the offer for film Monterey Pop.  (never seen)
Lord Jim1965;  Richard Brooks;  from Joseph Conrad novel;  Peter O’Toole, James Mason  (never seen)
The Loved One1965;  Tony Richardson;  Terry Southern screenplay based on Evelyn Waugh novel;  Robert Morse, Jonathon Winters, Rod Steiger, Milton Berle, James Coburn, John Gielgud, Roddy McDowell, Liberace, Robert Morley.  Recommended by Dean Soto.  B&W  (never seen)
A Man For All Seasons1966;  Fred Zinnemann;  Paul Scofield as Thomas More, Robert Shaw as Henry VIII, Orson Welles, John Hurt, Susannah York.  The story of Thomas More who stood up to Henry VIII.  Won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Costumes and Lead Actor.  (never seen)
Blow Up1966;  written & directed by Michelangelo Antonioni;  David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles;  Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page Yardbirds scene;  captures London in 1965/66 just as the Swinging Sixties is birthing.  (never seen)
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming1966;  Norman Jewison;  Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel, and Alan Arkin in his first movie.  Comedy about a stranded Russian submarine off the coast of New England.  (never seen)
Valley of The Dolls1967;  Mark Robson;  from Jacqueline Susann novel;  Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, Lee Grant  (never seen)
How I Won The War1967;  Richard Lester;  John Lennon’s one-off sojourn into non-Beatles film;  he’s only on-screen for 10 minutes.  (never seen)
Riot On Sunset Strip1967;  Arthur Dreifuss;  Aldo Ray;  dramatization of the real riot on Sunset Strip outside Pandora’s Box in November 1966, which was also the inspiration for Stephen Stills’ song For What It’s Worth.  Apparently this was a very low budget, quickie exploitation movie that’s so bad it’s camp.  Filmed and released just 4 months after the riots themselves.  Includes comical Hollywood attempt at depicting people tripping on acid.  (recommended by Richard M, never seen)
Barefoot In The Park
1967;  Gene Saks;  screenplay & play by Neil Simon;  Robert Redford (reprising his role from the hit Broadway production directed by Mike Nichols, and his first movie to be a box office hit), Jane Fonda – the third of five movies the two would star in – plus Charles Boyer, and Mildred Natwick (also reprising her role from the Broadway stage, and nominated for Best Supporting Actress);  comedy set in and with tons of location shooting in Greenwich Village. (never seen)
The Love-Ins1967;  written & directed by Arthur Dreifuss;  Richard Todd, James MacArthur, Susan Oliver (my sister’s name!).  Hippie exploitation film about a college professor who becomes a “guru” to hippies in San Francisco.  (Richard M recommendation, never seen)
The Trip1967;  Roger Corman;  script by Jack Nicholson;  Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Susan Strasberg, Bruce Dern. Nicholson, Fonda & Hopper all took acid together to “prepare” for the movie.  Corman also tripped separately.  Nicholson wrote the part Dern plays for himself, but Corman recast him.  Gram Parsons is singing in the band near the beginning of the film; however the band’s country-rock sound wasn’t what Corman wanted, so The Electric Flag’s music was edited in.  The film was considered so pro-LSD that it was banned in the U.K. until 2004.  (Richard M & others recommendation, never seen)
Two For the Road1967;  Stanley Donan;  Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney.  Nominated for Best Screenplay.  Very on the road.  Never seen.  Gubba recommendation.
Candy1968;  Christian Marquand;  Buck Henry screenplay from a Terry Southern novel;  Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, John Huston, Walter Matthau, Ringo Starr, Charles Aznavour, Anita Pallenberg, plus Judith Malina & Julian Beck in bit parts.  Story about a high school girl meeting colorful characters in search of the meaning of life.  (never seen, recommended by S.A. Griffin)
Wild In The Streets1968;  Barry Shear;  Shelley Winters, Hal Holbrook, Richard Pryer, Ed Begley Sr.  The film takes place from 1958 to 1969, with a plot about lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 (or 15).  Part of the rash of “Teens-Ploitation,” movies of the era.  (Wiz recommendation, never seen)
Psych-Out1968;  Richard Rush;  Jack Nicholson, Susan Strasberg, Dean Stockwell, Bruce Dern, The Strawberry Alarm Clock.  Basic low-budget hippie exploitation film set in Haight-Ashbury.  Dick Clark’s first film production.  You want to see the 101-minute version released in 2015.  Dick Clark cut the original down to 82 minutes.  (recommended by Richard M, never seen)
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?1969;  Sydney Pollack;  Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Suzannah York, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern, Al Lewis  (never seen)

Zabriskie Point1970;  Michaelangelo Antonioni;  Hippie love story. Sam Shepard wrote Rod Taylor’s dialog.  All shot on locations in Death Valley, Carefree, Arizona, Mojave Desert and the like.  Soundtrack by Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, John Fahey, Youngbloods, David Lindley’s Kaleidoscope, plus an original Jerry Garcia composition & solo performance for the love scene.  (never seen.  Levi Asher, Bill Hodgson, Dick van Wyck & others strongly recommend)
Alex In Wonderland1970;  written & directed by Paul Mazursky; Donald Sutherland, Ellen Burstyn, Meg Mazursky (Paul’s daughter).  About a hot-shot hippie filmmaker who’s trying to decide between making a movie for art or for big money, and as he travels around he has fantasy visions of movie scenes playing out in his real life.  (recommended by Judith, never seen)
Brewster McCloud1970;  Robert Altman;  Doran William Cannon (who also wrote Skidoo);  Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Stacy Keach, Shelley Duvall’s first film (and first of seven with Altman).  (seen once)
Husbands1970;  written & directed by John Cassavetes;  Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, & Cassavetes.  (never seen)
The Hired Hand1971;  directed by & starring Peter Fonda;  Warren Oates;  low budget independent film, Fonda’s first following Easy Rider, and the first of 3 movies he would direct.  Hodgson recommendation. (never seen)
The Getaway1972;  Sam Peckinpah;  written by Walter Hill;  Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens.  (never seen)
The Heartbreak Kid1972; Elaine May; screenplay by Neil Simon, from Bruce Jay Friedman book; Charles Grodin, Cybil Shepherd, Eddie Arnold;  recommended by Nathan Lane in the Criterion closet.  (never seen)
Pat Garett & Billy the Kid1973;  Sam Peckinpah;  Bob Dylan’s first dramatic turn – as Alias, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Jason Robards  (never seen) 
Soylent Green1973;  Richard Fleischer;  Edward G. Robinson, Joseph Cotton, Charlton Heston, Dick Van Patten, Chuck Conners.  Numerous people have recommended it and referenced it.  (never seen)
The Last Detail1973;  Hal Ashby;  Robert Towne screenplay;  Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid  (never seen)
The Last of Sheila1973;  Herbert Ross;  screenplay by Stephen Sondheim & Anthony Perkins;  Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, Raquel Welch;  recommended by Rian Johnson (Knives Out).  (never seen)
The Great Gatsby1974;  Jack Clayton;  Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Bruce Dern;  music by Nelson Riddle.  (never seen)
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz1974;  Ted Kotcheff;  Mordecai Richler novel & screenplay;  Richard Dreyfuss, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid (never seen)
A Woman Under The Influence1974;  written & directed by John Cassavetes;  Gina Rowlands, Peter Falk.  8.2 on imdb rating.  (never seen)
Love and Death1975;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody & Diane Keaton.  David Stewart says: This is parody of Ingmar Bergman’s films.  It references at least 10 of his films but is mostly a spoof of Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal.  I recommend you watch those 2 before getting to Love and Death, just so that you get what they’re spoofing.  (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it)
Barry Lyndon1975;  Stanley Kubrick;  Kubrick screenplay from the Thackeray novel;  Ryan O’Neal, Marissa Berenson, Patrick Magee.  Won Oscars for Best Cinematography, Art Direction & Costumes.  Set in 1700s England.  (never seen)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village — 1976;  written & directed by Paul Mazursky;  Lenny Baker, Shelley Winters, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum;  tons of ’70s location shooting in the Village.  (never seen) Julia — 1977;  Fred Zinnemann;  based on Lillian Hellman story;  Jane Fonda as Hellman, Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett, Vanessa Redgrave as Julia, Maximilian Schell, Hal Holbrook, Meryl Streep  (never seen)
Mikey and Nicky1976;  written & directed by Elaine May; Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, William Hickey.  Recommended by Nathan Lane in the Criterion closet.  (never seen)
Saturday Night Fever1977;  John Badham;  John Travolta.  (never seen – but I did see the Broadway musical of the same name in 1998)
Heaven Can Wait1978;  co-directed by Warren Beatty & Buck Henry;  cowritten by Warren Beatty & Elaine May;  Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry,  Vincent Gardinia.  Not to be confused with Heaven’s Gate.  (never seen)
Days of Heaven1978;  written & directed by Terence Malick;  Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard.  Not to be confused with Heaven’s Gate or Heaven Can Wait!  (never seen)
Who’ll Stop The Rain1978;  Karel Reisz;  from the Robert Stone novel about a Vietnam vet who gets conned into a drug deal that goes bad;  Nick Nolte, Tuesday Weld, Michael Moriarty, Ray Sharkey.  S.A. Griffin recommendation.  (never seen)
The In-Laws1979;  Arthur Hiller;  Peter Falk, Alan Arkin.  “This still holds up.  One of the funniest movies ever made.” Nathan Lane  (never seen)

Heaven’s Gate1980;  Michael Cimino;  Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt.  Legendary disaster of filmmaking – went many times over budget and time.  Cut he submitted to United Artists was over 5 hours!  It basically bankrupted the film company.  Cimino was given carte blanche because Deer Hunter had won Best Picture in 1978.  (never seen)
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball1982;  filmed benefit concert for Amnesty International with Monty Python, Billy Connolly, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Donovan, Sting  (never seen) 
Rumble Fish1983;  Francis Ford Coppola;  Mickey Rourke (great), Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Tom Waits, Nicholas Cage.  Ethan Hawke said in the Criterion closet that Matt Dillon delivers the greatest performance by a juvenile in the history of film.  (never seen) 
An Evening With Robin Williams1983;  live at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco  (never seen – but the whole show is on YouTube)
Body Double1984;  written & directed by Brian De Palma;  Melanie Griffith;  peeping tom / murder movie.  (never seen)
To Live and Die in L.A.1985;  written & directed by William Friedkin;  Willem Dafoe, John Turturro, Dean Stockwell  (never seen) 
Crossroads1986;  Ralph Macchino;  a riff on the Robert Johnson legend.  (never seen)
Ishtar1987;  written & directed by Elaine May;  Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Charles Grodin, Carol Kane.  It’s supposed to be terrible, but I need to see it to see if that’s so, and why.  (never seen)
Barfly1987;  Barbet Schroeder;  novel & screenplay by Charles Bukowski;  Mickey Rourke & Faye Dunaway  (never seen)
Hollywood Shuffle1987;  written, directed & starring Robert Townsend – about a black actor trying to make it in Hollywood  (never seen)
Haunted Summer1988;  Ivan Passer;  about Lord Byron, Mary Shelley & Percy Shelley in the summer of 1816 when Mary wrote Frankenstein;  with Laura Dern, Eric Stoltz  (never seen)
The Fabulous Baker Boys1989;  written & directed by Steve Kloves;  Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges.  Two brothers as musicians, who then hook up with a singer.  (never seen — supposed to be good)
Glory1989;  Edward Zwick;  Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman.  Walter R – “May be the best Civili War movie I’ve ever seen.”  (never seen)

Jacob’s Ladder1990;  Adrian Lyne;  Tim Robbins, Danny Aiello.  Supposedly it contains LSD-like cinematic recreations.  (never seen)
Miller’s Crossing1990;  written & directed by the Coen brothers;  Gabriel Byrne, Marci Gay Harden, Albert Finney, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi  (never seen)
The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe1991;  John Bailey;  written by Lily’s comedic and life partner Jane Wagner;  filmed version of Lily Tomlin’s one-woman Broadway show.  (never seen) 
City of Hope1991;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Angela Bassett  (never seen)
My Own Private Idaho1991;  written & directed by Gus Van Sant;  River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves  (never seen)
Roadside Prophets1992;  written & directed by Abbe Wool;  David Carradine, John Cusack, Adam Horvitz from the Beasty Boys, with bit parts by Timothy Leary, Don Cheadle, Stephen Tobolowsky.  Recommended by Gubba Topham.  (never seen)
Sommersby1993;  Jon Amiel;  Jodie Foster & Richard Gere – story a Civil War veteran returning home, but he might be an imposter – an update on a real story that happened in France in 1560 involving a man named Martin Guerre.  (never seen)
Mad Dog and Glory1993;  John McNaughton;  Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, Uma Thurman – whadda cast!  (never seen)
The Secret of Roan Inish1994;  written & directed by John Sayles – about myths and reality blending – set in Ireland.  (never seen)
Ready to Wear1994;  written & directed by Robert Altman;  Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Kim Bassinger, Marcello Mastrioianni, Rupert Everett, Lili Taylor, Tim Robbins, Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Lyle Lovett, Tracey Ullman.  Fashion business comedy.  (never seen)
Crumb1994;  documentary on artist Robert Crumb  (never seen) 
Apollo 131995;  Ron Howard;  Jim Lovell book;  Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris  (never seen)
12 Monkeys1995;  Terry Gilliam;  Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe.  I heard Brad Pitt is great in this.  (never seen) 
Smoke1995;  Wayne Wang;  book by Paul Auster;  Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Forest Whitaker.  Jerry Garcia Band did two songs for the soundtrack.  (never seen – heard it’s good – Megan & others keep quoting it)
Georgia1995;  musician / family conflict drama with Jennifer Jason Leigh  (never seen)
Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead1995;  Gary Fleder;  Andy Garcia, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lloyd, Treat Williams, William Forsythe, Jack Warden, Steve Buscemi.  Pulp Fiction-like. Slang-based vocabulary.  (never seen – recommended by Gubba & David Stewart)
Kingpin1996;  Farrelly brothers comedy about bowling;  with Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Bill Murray, Chris Elliott  (never seen)
Boogie Nights1997;  written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson;  Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Joanna Gleason  (never seen)
Deconstructing Harry1997;  written & directed by Woody Allen;  Woody, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobey Maguire.  About an author mixing up his books and real life.  (never seen)
Out of Sight1998;  Steven Soderbergh;  from an Elmore Leonard novel;  George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Keaton, Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, Albert Brooks — what a cast!!  (never seen) 
Cookie’s Fortune1999;  Robert Altman;  Glenn Close, Julianna Moore, Liv Tyler, Ned Beatty, Lyle Lovett  (never seen)

Steal This Movie2000;  docudrama with Vincent D’Onofrio as Abbie Hoffman, Janeane Garofalo as his wife Anita, Kevin Pollak as his lawyer Gerry Lefcourt, Tom Hayden & Jane Fonda’s son Troy as Tom Hayden, Kevin Corrigan as Jerry Rubin, and a young Michael Cera at Abbie’s son America.  (S.A. Griffin recommended, never seen)
I Am Sam2001;  written & directed by Jessie Nelson;  Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning;  brilliant Oscar-nominated performance by Penn.  (only seen parts of)
The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring2001;  Peter Jackson;  based on the Tolkien novel;  Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee  (never seen) 
The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers2002;  Peter Jackson;  based on the Tolkien novel;  Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Christopher Lee, Sean Astin  (never seen)
The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King2003;  Peter Jackson;  based on the Tolkien novel;  Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin  (never seen)
Russian Ark2002; Aleksandr Sokurov; entire 99 min. film done in one continuous shot; filmed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the final film is the fourth take, the first three having different technical breakdowns; 4,500 people participated both in front and behind camera, including 867 actors, three orchestras, and 22 assistant directors. (never seen)
Silver City2004;  written & directed by John Sayles;  Chris Cooper, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss, Mary Kay Place.  About politics.  (never seen) 
Factotum2005;  Bent Hamer;  from Bukowski novel;  Matt Dillon portraying Bukowski, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens  (never seen – heard it’s good)
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead2007;  Sidney Lumet; Philip Seymour Hoffman (supposedly one of his great performances), Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney  (never seen)
Reign Over Me2007; written & directed by Mike Binder;  Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Donald Sutherland.  Lots of NYC location shooting.  (never seen) (Sky recommendation)
Shrink2009;  Jonas Pete; Kevin Spacey.  Comedy about an L.A. celebrity psychiatrist who goes off the rails.  (never seen, Hodgson recommendation)

127 Hours2010;  screenplay & directed by Danny Boyle;  James Franco.  Dramatization of Aron Ralston’s real story of getting by a rock while hiking.  Nominated for six Oscars.  (never seen)
The Artist2011;  Best Picture Oscar (over Hugo and Midnight In Paris) plus Best Director, Lead Actor, Costumes & Music.  (never seen)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World2012:  written & directed by Lorene Scataria;  Steve Carell, Keira Knightley.  As an astroid heads for Earth, Carell takes a road trip to find his high school sweetheart.  Recommended by Albert.  (never seen)
Muscle Shoals2013;  Greg Camalier;  Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Jimmy Cliff, Jimmy Johnson, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Gregg Allman, Donna Godchaux, Bono, Alicia Keys.  Documentary about the legendary Alabama recording studio.  (never seen)
Victoria2015;  Sebastian Schipper (plus story);  a 2-hour 18-minute drama filmed in one continuous shot.  (recommended by Mandrake, never seen)
Shock and Awe2017;  Rob Reiner;  Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Rob Reiner, Jessica Biel, Mila Jovovich, Richard Schiff.  About the the Knight-Ridder newspapers and lies & coverup of WMDs in Iraq.  (seen half of once, looks great)

 

Lenny Bruce Performance Film — 1965 (late-career “routine” but mostly a broken down rant)
Ruby in Paradise — 1993;  Ashley Judd (seen once)
This Film Is Not Yet Rated — 2006;  dir. Kirby Dick;  doc about film ratings. (seen once)
Coney Island — Ric Burns doc (60 min)  (Joey recommendation)
The Donar Party — Ric Burns (Joey recommendation)
National Treasure — 2004;  partially about the Templars (Dunc loves it) (have on VHS)
Withnail & I — 1987; British comedy, set in 1969 (Cutts recommendation)
Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers — 2006;  Robert Greenwald (doc)
I Know I’m Not Alone — 2005;  Michael Franti – goes to Baghdad and Gaza, funny guerilla doc.  Albert recommendation
These Girls — 2005;  written & directed by John Hazlett;  comedy – 3 girls, the dude in town (seen twice — have on tape)
Blades of Glory — comedy about figure skating, Will Farrell
Monty Python episode — “The Visitors” party-crashing scene
Kinky Friedman: Live from Austin, Texas — 1975;  PBS Austin City Limits — never aired, released 2007
The Battle of San Pedro — documentary — 1944-ish – dir. John Huston
Let’s All Hate Toronto — 2007;  doc 75 min. by Albert Nerenberg and Rob Spence – very funny, very well done doc. (seen a few minutes of it — seems Great)

(373 entries)

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There might be some others, but the only “Westerns” I can think of that I’ve ever enjoyed are (in order of release):

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Dead Man
Django Unchained
A Million Ways To Die In The West

 

Brian’s Top Dozen Movies:
(movies that are essentially perfect — every shot, every word, every scene, roughly speaking)

Rear Window
Treasure of The Sierra Madre
In The Heat of The Night

Woodstock
Goodfellas
The Sting

Fargo
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Forrest Gump

Matewan
‘Round Midnight
It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

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Movies — from above list that you’ve seen 4 or more times but don’t really plan to / need to see again:  
— which also means, to some extent, that you don’t really recommend the film to others.
except – if somebody’s never seen one of these movies, they should.
every one of these movies should be seen once, if you’ve never seen it.
Star Wars
Happy Birthday, Wanda June
Wizard of Oz
Planet of the Apes
Back to the Future
The Poseidon Adventure
Phantom of the Paradise

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Some Favorite Scenes Ever in Films:

Marisa Tomei on the stand in My Cousin Vinny
William Hickey’s cookie scene in Prizzi’s Honor
Pottier & Steiger’s first scene in In The Heat of the Night
the final Jordi Molla – Johnny Depp confrontation in Blow
Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas – dinner party Bacarat story scene

Favorite / Unforgettable — greatest? Acting Performances Ever:
— in order I thought of them.

Joe Pesci in Goodfellas
William Hickey in Happy Birthday Wanda June
Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade
Bill Murray & Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob?
William Macy in Fargo
Ruth Gordon in Harold & Maude
Mia Farrow in Rosemarie’s Baby
Brad Davis in Midnight Express
John Travolta in Lucky Numbers
Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
Dexter Gordon in Round Midnight
Gene Hackman in The French Connection
Nathan Lane in The Birdcage
J.T. Walsh in anything — Breakdown, The Big Picture, Sling Blade, Good Morning Vietnam, A Few Good Men, Pleasantville, Nixon.
Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor in Virginia Woolf
Dustin Hoffman in Papilion
David Strathairn in Good Night and Good Luck
Ray Wise in Good Night and Good Luck
Cate Blanchett as Kate Hepburn in Aviator

==============================================

Best overall ensemble of actors in one film:

Talented Mr. Ripley
Lucky Numbers
++Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
That Thing You Do
Spinal Tap
A Hard Day’s Night
Throw Mama From the Train
Beetlejuice
Duck Soup
Mad Mad Mad Mad World
Midnight Express
Glengarry Glen Ross

Lesser known Character actors that rock:
Jane Adams
J.T. Walsh
William Hickey
Warren Oates

The Cinematic Sorcerer’s Society

People who’ve recommended movies and enhanced my understanding of same:
Mandrake Bronder, Fulvio Cecere, S.A. Griffin, Bill Hodgson, Sky Lyons, Richard Modiano, Ken Morris, Walter Raubicheck, Al Robinson, Dean Solo, Carl Spiby, Frank Tabbita, Dale “Gubba” Topham and the Wizard of Wonder.

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I see life as theater, as a movie, and all my books reflect that.  I paint movies with words.  Oh — and pictures.  Lots and lots of photos.  😉

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac” is a real-life opus about going on the road and “following your dreams to the living rooms of your heroes” set around “the Woodstock of the Beats” — the largest gathering of Beat writers & characters that ever happened.

Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy” is a series of similar cinematic tales from the political world spanning 1980 to 2020.

Holy Cats!  Dream-Catching at Woodstock” is a real-life Adventure Tale is about sneaking in and living backstage at Woodstock ’94 — the only Woodstock since the original that worked.

Or here’s a whole collection of Adventure Tales going “On The Road with Cassadys” including sneaking up to the Hollywood sign with John Allen (named by his dad Neal for his best pals Kerouac & Ginsburg). 

Or in “How The Beats Begat The Pranksters” you can read real-life Adventure Tales about attending the London, Toronto and New York premieres of the cinematic portrayal of Kerouac’s classic On The Road.

Or here’s an overview of all the Beat movie dramatizations ever filmed.

You can find all the stories & reviews of movies under the Category “Movies” at the top of this page, or follow the link here.

Or here’s a 2021 riff on some key elements to great filmmaking like casting, location shooting and diegetic music.

Or here’s a whole collection of various videos (mostly live performances) or short “movies” by or about yours unruly over the decades.

Like, here’s one about going to the premiere of On The Road in London England . . . 

Or here’s one about Neal Cassady’s son and myself at a screening of a Kerouac doc where we saw our mutual friend (and Jack’s) on screen . . . 

Or here’s a series of graphic character sketches set to music by jazz legend David Amram who scored films like The Manchurian Candidate, Splendor In The Grass and the Beat masterpiece Pull My Daisy . . . 

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by Brian Hassett            karmacoupon@gmail.com                    brianhassett.com

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/

 

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55 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paula // Oct 6, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    A personal comment on “Soylent Green”. I very often think of Edward G. Robinson in this film (his last) when I’m shopping for produce. Fresh strawberries are one of my life-long favorite foods and buy them so seldom anymore (like maybe once every few years, if I’m lucky) that I ALWAYS think of him when I do.
    I didn’t catch “Out of the Past” on your list but maybe missed it. I just finally saw that (twice) a few years ago and thought it was a real “Wow!!”
    I’ll try to come up with any that I can recommend that aren’t on your list, when I can go through it again.
    Paula

  • 2 Alex Nantes // Oct 10, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    You are the King of Lists! 🙂

    Love your one from earlier about Famous People without Kids!

    Write on!

  • 3 Brian // Oct 11, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Thanks! You mean this one?

    https://brianhassett.com//2010/06/people-who-dont-have-kids/

    Yeah, I love it, too. 😉

  • 4 Jennifer Knox // Nov 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Amazing list! Amazing movies!

  • 5 Ben Kleiman // Mar 23, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Love your “Four or More” system! Funny. But perfect. And perfectly true.

    Great suggestions and great page, Brian.

  • 6 Sarah Cattell // Aug 12, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks for the tips! Now we got a bunch of new ones to order.

  • 7 Larry Shaw // May 7, 2020 at 1:22 PM

    I didn’t see any Terrence Malick films on your lists, Brian. Not a fan? At least three of his films are on my all time top 25 list: Days of Heaven, Badlands, and The Tree of Life.

  • 8 Brian // May 7, 2020 at 1:45 PM

    Ya’know . . . never really been. Maybe it’s my loss . . . but I also don’t love Wes Anderson or David Lynch or lotsa directors others think are great.

    I’d like to see Badlands again. Maybe I’d change my mind. 🙂

    Also — film watching can be so subjective to *the moment* — where your head was at as you experienced it.

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep my eyes out. 😉

  • 9 Mark Fisher // Nov 10, 2020 at 11:03 AM

    Also The Note!
    Not one bad frame on the reel.

  • 10 Karen Nelson Mangold // Nov 28, 2020 at 9:58 AM

    We do movie marathons now and again. We have a lot of them organized by director; Quentin marathons are always a fun one, all the Kill Bills, The Coen brothers, Woody (I know he’s got some creeper vibes but I can watch Woody movies all day long because he grasps human nature well). I also love musical movies and did a day of them a couple weeks ago; Hair, West Side Story, Into the Woods, rounded out by The Producers.
    I don’t watch TV at all but I sure can get lost in cinema.

  • 11 Mark Fisher // Nov 28, 2020 at 10:05 AM

    Check out The Criterion Channel.
    It’s a streaming service like Netflix and Prime Video.

    Channel.https://www.criterionchannel.com/

  • 12 Brian // Nov 28, 2020 at 10:28 AM

    Thanks for that, Mark. I love everything about Criterion. It looks like you can get a 2-week free trial. Hmmmm . . .

  • 13 Mark Fisher // Nov 28, 2020 at 10:54 AM

    Here is my list fitting your theme —

    The Magnificent Seven

    Ben Hur original version

    Goodfellas

    My Cousin Vinny

    Cape Fear (both versions)

    To Kill A Mockingbird

    The Absent Minded Professor

    The Killer Elite

    It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

    Goldfinger

    Festival Express

    Bringing Up Baby

    Alien

    Aliens

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    A Clockwork Orange

    A Bridge Too Far

    The Longest Day

    Woodstock

    The Big Sleep original

    Lord of the Rings trilogy

    Reds

    Das Boot

    Psycho

    The Birds

    The Mission

    Taxi Driver

    The Last Waltz

    Mad Dogs and Englishmen (my favorite concert film)

    Lonesome Dove

    Catch-22 original

    The Wanderers

    The Haunting of Hill House

    Predator

    True Romance

    The Bourne Identity

    Terminator

    West Side Story

  • 14 Richard Modiano // Nov 28, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    My peak movie going year was 1976 when I saw 278 movies PROJECTED (this was before home video). But then, I worked as a projectionist at NYU.
    I’ve kept an annual list of movies I’ve seen since 1970 and only include projected movies (8mm, super8mm, 35mm, 70mm.)

  • 15 Brian // Nov 28, 2020 at 12:23 PM

    Wow — That’s SO cool, Richard, about the list of projected movies since 1970!! That must be so rewarding to review every now & again.

    Were you screening those films at the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium in the Loeb Student Center at NYU? That was where I produced the concerts for 4 years (’80 – ’84). Great room.

  • 16 Richard Modiano // Nov 28, 2020 at 12:58 PM

    Brian — that’s right, from 1974-1978.

  • 17 Tammi Butler // Nov 28, 2020 at 4:08 PM

    Brian DePalma: Blowout, Dressed to Kill, Body Double. They’re from the 80s, but if you missed them, you really need to watch them.

  • 18 Al Robinson // Nov 28, 2020 at 7:11 PM

    A top ten list of films is a very personal subjective thing, all great films and your top 200 is pretty spot on but, there are few more I’d like to suggest for view if you find the time.
    You like Cary Grant check out Hitchcock’s Notorious. Still don’t know how he made such a great postwar film in 1946.

    Blazing Saddles – a writing team that included Mel Brooks & Richard Pryor.

    Down By Law- Jim Jarmusch & Tom Waits.

    Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing – the 30 yr-old BLM movie & his Summer of Sam – NYC 1977. Great scene in front of CBGB’s.

    Anything by Pedro Almadovar but especially Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down- good to watch with someone you’re romantically involved or interested in.
    Peckinpaugh’s The Wild Bunch- influenced Tarantino.

    And Stop Making Sense should be in the Music Movies.

    I thoroughly enjoyed going through your 200.

  • 19 Al Robinson // Nov 28, 2020 at 7:21 PM

    BTW — Abbot & Costello Meets Frankenstein was the first film where Jerry Garcia realized there was weirdness in the world. I think he did an introduction of it for one of the cable networks
    Supposedly, Jerry’s favorite film was a Polish film called the Saragossa Manuscript. It was restored by Coppola & Scorcese.

  • 20 Brian // Nov 28, 2020 at 8:16 PM

    Thanks, Al! I’ve seen most of those, but they didn’t make my Seen 3 or 4 Times list.
    Loved Notorious, though. That would be great to have on a special 2-disk re-release.

    I’d like to see Stop Making Sense again. It totally blew me away in the theater on 8th Street in 1984.

  • 21 Larry Shaw // Nov 28, 2020 at 10:19 PM

    Movies that I really like, I’ll watch over and over and always get something new from them: Paris Texas, Days of Heaven, Tree of Life, First Reformed, Doubt, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, The Graduate, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Unforgiven, Diner, The Last Picture Show, etc. I love books and movies and wish I had started a journal decades ago. But I didn’t, much to my chagrin.

  • 22 Gubba Topham // Nov 29, 2020 at 12:29 AM

    Whoa! I’m a fool for rabbit holes, but this is one I could disappear in forever! So many great movies!
    I think The Blues Brothers tops my list for multiple watches (got to be up around 30!) But then come two that didn’t make your list, “Viva Las Vegas” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.” Both of these were watched in obsession with grandchildren! … as was “Yellow Submarine” and “The Aristocats” (Disney).

    A little ditty called “Roadside Prophets” is pretty high on my multi list starring David Carradine & John Cusack, with a cameo from Timothy Leary!

  • 23 Brian // Nov 29, 2020 at 1:15 AM

    Cool, Gubbs! I knew you’d like this. I’d love to have a week-long film festival with you — where we trade-off curation with each film.
    “Viva Las Vegas”! I can’t believe it. I JUST finished Ann-Margret’s autobiography. I had no idea she & Elvis became a couple for about a year! Whadda duo!!

    Cool we both have Yellow Submarine on our many-times-watched list.

    And funny about The Aristocats. I’ve seen that many times on the used DVD shelves — and every time, I reach for it with eager anticipation . . . and it’s always the Disney cartoon.

    Just yesterday, I saw it written on a DVD spine again, and as my eyes zeroed in, I saw a picture of a dog. “Oh damn.” But pulled it out anyway — and there was my long-sought-after comedy gem! All the way in gentile Oakville.

  • 24 Gubba Topham // Nov 29, 2020 at 2:11 AM

    Four music docs or concerts on my multi:

    Atlantic Records – The House That Ahmet Built
    Respect Yourself – The STAX Story
    Muscle Shoals
    The Tami Show

    Festival Express and The Last Waltz are also
    multiples of mine but I am almost embarrassed
    to say I have never watched Woodstock right
    through, although I have a copy on my shelf!

  • 25 Bunny Hudson // Nov 29, 2020 at 10:40 AM

    You really covered most of mine. To add a few more, some of my favs watched multiple times —

    Like Water For Chocolate (foreign)
    Wait Until Dark (Audrey Hepburn)
    To Wong Fu
    Labyrinth
    Marnie (Tippi Hedren)
    I Sent a Letter to My Love (Simone Signoret)
    Madam Rosa (Simone Signoret)
    Imitation of Life (3 versions)
    A Star is Born (Streisand version)
    Toys (Robin Williams) love love love this movie.

    There’s many more, but these are a few I didn’t see on yours.
    Thanks for all this!

  • 26 Eric Douglas Augustsen Mani // Nov 29, 2020 at 11:49 AM

    Oh brother we have viewed an unprecedented amount of flicks too. You mentioned a few we haven’t seen yet.
    The new Zappa Doc is what I’m in — patiently awaiting.
    Hang in there brother.

  • 27 Jeff Zitrain // Nov 29, 2020 at 2:52 PM

    Super interesting, Brian!
    Unless I missed it on your list, I have to recommend Life of fricking BRIAN. One of the masterpieces of Western Civilization.

    I once did a list of top 10 all-time films with accompanying haiku. You might enjoy:

    https://jeffzittrain.com/FilmHaiku.htm

  • 28 Brian // Nov 29, 2020 at 3:47 PM

    Great idea and execution, Jeff! Taking one of the longest form art forms . . . and recreating it in the shortest art form! I love it. And great choices, too.

    And THANKS for the Life of Brian reminder! I only saw that for the third time in the last year or two, so it can now join the club. 😉

  • 29 Wendy Turkington // Nov 29, 2020 at 3:59 PM

    I love movies and have watched most of the ones you listed. For years when I was younger and childless I made it a mission to see every Oscar nominated movie. Then the kids, job, and adult life came along so I couldn’t do that, but my kids did allow me to see great kids’ movies like Lion King and Princess Bride. Now all three of my grown kids love movies and it’s given us many hours of great discussions and competitive jousts over who knows more than whom. We one time, on the way home from a relative’s Christmas dinner in a blizzard, occupied three hours by naming two actors in a movie, then taking the 2nd one, adding another and naming that movie.

    The movies also, like books, give you insight into other lives, and empathy and understanding for people.

  • 30 Brian // Nov 29, 2020 at 5:11 PM

    Wendy — What a cool thing to watch every nominated movie! You shoulda been a voting member!
    And how super-cool that your kids grew up to be movie lovers.

    And yeah — great observation about the insights into our fellow humans. And I like how it’s always a collaborative endeavor from the writers to the director to the actors to all of the production design filling out the picture, to the mood of the lighting, and pacing of the editing in the storytelling — it’s SUCH a collaborative art — the polar opposite of the solitary author or painter in a room.

  • 31 Rob Fitch // Nov 29, 2020 at 8:17 PM

    My M.O. for movies I want to see is more often than not I’ll see a great performance of a given actor, then try to seek out everything they ever did. When I had cable (TCM) and they’d do 24 hours spotlighting a single actor I’d DVR the whole run of those I really dug. I can more easily list fav performers than movies but in that I get to see a whole lot of very good films. The vast majority of my interest is pre-1960 though.

  • 32 Dick van Wyck // Nov 29, 2020 at 9:51 PM

    Perhaps Antonioni with his 3 late 60s and early 70s films would be of interest to you: Blow Up (1966) re Carnaby Street/London; Zabriskie Point (1970) re L.A. and the desert, with Grateful Dead & Pink Floyd on the soundtrack; and The Passenger starring a young Jack Nicholson — all in colour and in English. Best, though, is BUNUEL, all his films, most in black & white, but reveling in surrealism.

  • 33 Brian // Nov 29, 2020 at 11:21 PM

    Thanks for the tips, Dick! I saw Blow Up & Zabriski long ago, but probably need to again.
    I just put all four on my to-watch list.
    Glad they’re in English . . . and you know me & Surrealism are first cousins.

  • 34 Kerry Dowd // Nov 30, 2020 at 10:07 AM

    Some additions I think are missing — Deer Hunter, Platoon, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Usual Suspects, Postcards from the Edge, Blue Velvet, Brian’s Song, The Sound of Music, Sophie’s Choice, Traffic, Awakenings, Patch Adams, Good morning, Vietnam!, Hook, Sleepers, Marvin’s Room . . .

  • 35 Elizabeth Sutherland // Dec 1, 2020 at 12:27 PM

    I hate to seem to bragadoucious, but I have seen almost all on ur list. But not surprising considering my professions, my ex’s profession and my present guy’s former profession. Even Maddie did a cinema studies course @ uni.

    I agree w your complaint about other language films. I was dragged by classmates & friends to so many foreign films in 80’s & 90’s but I really don’t like subtitles any more. Rather watch a dubbed version.

    One to add-anything by Akira Kurosawa (7 Samurai or Ran)
    I have a shitload of musicals on DVD you’re welcome to borrow.

  • 36 Brian // Dec 1, 2020 at 3:09 PM

    Elizabeth — we gotta do a Family Film Fest.
    Either you come here or I go there.
    I pick, then you pick, and we blow each other’s minds. 🙂

  • 37 Drew Seip // Dec 26, 2020 at 8:04 PM

    I think you should add to your need-to-see list Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon – one of the most beautiful and engaging movies ever made IMO. It’s a visual masterpiece and won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. You could take almost any frame of this movie and it could be a classic painting. Total period piece – all night scenes filmed with candlelight. A Kubrick masterpiece!

  • 38 Brian // Dec 26, 2020 at 8:39 PM

    Wow! Well, with *that* recommendation, how can I not want to see it? 😉
    Heard good things — but thanks for adding to it. 😉

  • 39 Krista Greenberg Swisher // Dec 26, 2020 at 9:44 PM

    Oh golly … where to even start … I have memorized ‘Blazing Saddles.’ … ‘Young Frankenstein’ is up there, too. … ‘Duck Soup,’ ‘Network,’ ‘The Hours,’ both ‘Deadpool’s, all the Indiana Jones movies, the ORIGINAL ‘Star Wars’ trilogy … give me time; I’ll come up with more! 🙂

  • 40 Steve Holzer // Dec 27, 2020 at 11:49 AM

    IMO, The Player is the premier film about the film business. Day for Night 2nd — a 1973 François Truffaut film starring Jacqueline Bisset. 8 IMDB rating. Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
    Burden of Dreams about the making of Fitzcarraldo is also great.

  • 41 Steve Holzer // Dec 29, 2020 at 11:56 AM

    Here’s my Top 100 —

    A Streetcar Named Desire 20
    Ace in the Hole 80
    African Queen, The 20
    Airplane 30
    All About Eve 10
    Amelie 30
    American Beauty 80
    Animal House 50
    Anne of Green Gables 40
    Annie Hall 10
    Arsenic and Old Lace 70
    Being John Malkovich 100
    Being There 30
    Blazing Saddles 40
    Bridge on the River Kwai 70
    Caine Mutiny, The 60
    Casablanca 20
    China Syndrome 70
    Chinatown 30
    Citizen Kane 30
    Clerks 80
    Clockwork Orange, A 10
    Conversation, The 90
    Diva 70
    Dog Day Afternoon 20
    Double Indemnity 20
    Dr. Strangelove 30
    Election 100
    Face in the Crowd, A 40
    Fargo 90
    Fight Club 50
    Five Easy Pieces 80
    Forrest Gump 80
    Ghostbusters 60
    Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The 100
    Godfather, The 20
    Godfather, The II 50
    Graduate, The 40
    Hannah & Her Sisters 70
    Harold and Maude 10
    Incredibles, The 90
    Inherit the Wind 10
    It’s A Wonderful Life 30
    Jean de Florette 60
    Key Largo 80
    La Dolce Vita 60
    Laura 90
    Life of Brian, The 30
    Lives of Others, The 70
    Love and Death 10
    Maltese Falcon, The 30
    Man Who Wasn’t There, The 100
    Manhattan 30
    Manon of the Spring 60
    Matrix, The 100
    Midnight Cowboy 70
    Monty Python & the Holy Grail 50
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 40
    Mulholland Drive 60
    My Dinner With Andre 60
    My Left Foot 80
    My Life as a Dog 10
    Network 20
    No Name on the Bullet 60
    North By Northwest 70
    On Golden Pond 50
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 10
    Persona 40
    Play It Again Sam 70
    Pleasantville 90
    Psycho 80
    Pulp Fiction 20
    Raiders of the Lost Ark 80
    Rashomon 50
    Requiem For a Dream 90
    Return of the Pink Panther 80
    Romancing the Stone 60
    Rules of the Game, The 90
    Ruthless People 70
    Seven Beauties 100
    Seven Samurai, The 90
    Shane 100
    Shawshank Redemption 50
    Sleeper 40
    Sleuth 60
    Sunset Blvd. 10
    Swept Away 70
    Taxi Driver 20
    Terminator, The 100
    Terminator, The II: Judgment Day 100
    To Kill a Mockingbird 40
    Tootsie 50
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre 50
    Twelve Angry Men 10
    Usual Suspects, The 100
    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 20
    Wild Bunch, The 40
    Wild Strawberries 40
    Witness For the Prosecution 50
    World According to Garp, The 50

  • 42 Steve Holzer // Dec 29, 2020 at 12:22 PM

    My Disturbing films:
    Clockwork Orange, SeVen, Silence of the Lambs, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Repulsion (French), Psycho, 12 Years a Slave, Requiem for a Dream, The Snake Pit, Breaking the Waves, The Shining, Wait Until Dark, The Manchurian Candidate (original), The Pawnbroker, Images, Seconds, In Cold Blood, Badlands, Deliverance, The Wicker Man, Joker, Raging Bull, The Piano, Dead Man Walking, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, Trainspotting, American History X, Dogville, The Cell, Oldboy (Korean), Amores Perros, Hotel Rwanda, Blue Ruin, Blue Velvet

  • 43 Dev Britto // Dec 30, 2020 at 1:02 PM

    I’ve watched Highway 61 three or four times … a little Can-con eh?

  • 44 Mandrake Bronder // Dec 31, 2020 at 10:05 AM

    Deb and I have consulted this list a few times! Very useful. Thank you!

  • 45 Brian // Dec 31, 2020 at 2:07 PM

    Thanks, Mandrake — That’s great to hear you’re using and enjoying it. ❤
    Have a happy hippie one on the homefront!

  • 46 Scott Collins // Dec 31, 2020 at 3:31 PM

    Great List. The only surprise is the ones you haven’t seen or seen enough. Now, Voyager and Casablanca and African Queen should all be on the short list for this stay-at-home season on the bench.
    I love the write up on Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

  • 47 Brian // Dec 31, 2020 at 5:13 PM

    Thanks, Scott! And yeah … part of the fun is the honesty in admitting the classics you’ve never (or rarely) seen. And then getting tips from people (like yourself). I just pulled Casablanca off the shelf.

    Oh and glad you liked the little write-up on Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Now that I’ve got the basic page built, I can start adding in more mini reviews and cool background and such. I reckon I’ll be adding to this for the rest of time. 🙂

  • 48 S.A. Griffin // Jan 14, 2021 at 2:32 PM

    Interesting. I’ve seen 99 per cent of this list. You’ve got a few on there that I am pleased to see, including Phantom of the Paradise, which I have seen umpteen times!

    Surprised not to see more noirs on there, or some other classic genre films.

    Off the top, you should see these as well:

    Asphalt Jungle
    Night and the City
    Gun Crazy (original)
    Narrow Margin (original)
    Compulsion
    The Seduction of Mimi
    Babette’s Feast
    Big Night
    Man Bites Dog

    And When I Die, I Won’t I Won’t Stay Dead, incredible documentary about Bob Kaufman, here’s the link, a Beat Generation ESSENTIAL!!
    https://www.kanopy.com/product/and-when-i-die-i-wont-stay-dead

    If (Malcolm McDowell)
    O, Lucky Man (Malcolm McDowell)

    Let It Ride (I’m in about the first ten minutes… but that is not why I am listing this one, this really is one of the greatest track movies of all time)

    It’s Always Fair Weather
    Singin’ In the Rain
    El Dorado
    The Quiet Man
    Long Voyage Home
    The Searchers
    She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
    The Westerner
    Sergeant York
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (original)
    Meet John Doe
    Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry
    Sugarland Express
    I Was a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
    The Life of Emile Zola
    Angel on My Shoulder
    Here Comes Mr. Jordan (original)
    The Invisible Man (original)
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show
    Brewster McCloud
    King of Comedy
    Sunrise (1927 masterpiece silent film)
    Woman in the Moon (silent film, considered the first of the sci-fi genre)
    Quadrophenia
    Born Yesterday
    Bells Are Ringing
    The Magnificent Ambersons
    Nosferatu (original)
    Terror of Tiny Town (serious all midget western)
    Freaks (directed by Todd Browning, you must see this!!!)
    Dracula (also Todd Browning)
    Frankenstein (Boris Karloff)
    Hud (the third of Newman’s triumvirate of films from the early 60s he should have won the Academy Award for… Melvyn Douglas won, so did Patricia O’Neal)
    Tender Mercies
    The Apostle
    THX 1138
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Sweet Bird of Youth
    Jailhouse Rock
    Failsafe
    Lolita (original)
    Cinderella Liberty
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    Babe
    It Happened One Night
    Man With the Golden Arm
    A Christmas Story (1983)
    Saving Private Ryan
    Minority Report
    A.I.
    1917
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    The Shape of Water
    Of Mice and Men (both versions, but the original is the best)
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Bullitt
    Tom Horn
    Duel in the Sun
    Ruggles of Red Gap (Charles Laughton)
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton)
    Night of the Hunter (only film directed by Charles Laughton)
    Henry VIII (Charles Laugton)
    A Place in the Sun
    The Misfits

    Documentaries:
    Burden of Dreams
    Hoop Dreams
    The Social Dilemma
    The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing
    Speilberg
    Elvis: That’s the Way it Was
    Elvis Comeback Special (TV, 1968… seminal moment)
    Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii (1973, first ever special broadcast live around the world via satellite)

    Okay, that’s plenty enough for now as I could go on, and on, and on… 😉 But really, any of these films you should see, and it is quite a dynamic for you.

    Much love,
    Surge Antibody

  • 49 Brian // Jan 14, 2021 at 4:11 PM

    Holy heck, S.A.!!! Whadda list! Looks like I’ve got some work to do! Sheesh!

    Thank you!

    You should be teaching this stuff. 🙂

    I just watched “Marty” (1955) and Silver Screen Classics. 😉

  • 50 S.A. Griffin // Jan 15, 2021 at 3:57 PM

    Marty is a great film, the one that won Borgnine his Oscar.

    Honestly, my list could go on and on and on…
    I have been obsessed with film my entire life. Not just professionally, but personally. Film was my great escape as a child. My grandmother would give me 50 cents, which was enough to see a double feature and get some popcorn and a soda.

    Another silent film you should catch is Joan of Arc, it is one of the greatest films ever made!!

    Just about everything and anything by Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, the Coen Bros, David Fincher, Woody Allen, Richard Fliescher, Sidney Lumet…

    Others I didn’t notice on your list —
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button!!! One of the films I can never stop watching!!

    Moneyball
    An American in Paris
    California Split
    Freebie and the Bean
    Rollerball (the original)
    Zardoz
    The Man Who Would be King … my mind races with the hundreds, thousands of titles …

    Remains of the Day
    Bridge Over the River Kwai
    Empire of the Sun
    The Wrestler
    Factotum
    Thief (with James Caan and Willie Nelson. this film also marks the real first time that a rock band, Tangerine Dream, created an entire soundtrack)
    Hoppity Goes to Town (or Mr. Bug Goes to Town, animated feature with music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Frank Loesser and animation by Dave Fleischer, Max Fleischer’s brother (Popeye, Betty Boop). His nephew, Richard Fleischer was one of the greatest directors of all time, directed The Narrow Margin (one of the GREATEST noirs of all time).

    Compulsion, Soylent Green, Fantastic Voyage, Conan the Destroyer, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Dr. Dolittle — directed by Richard Fleischer, whom I knew casually for many years, was a really, really great guy, wrote one of the very greatest books on filmmaking, Just Tell Me When to Cry, my signed copy is part of my UCLA archive)

    Who’ll Stop the Rain
    Dark City
    Napoleon Dynamite
    Blue Velvet
    Earaserhead
    The Elephant Man
    Elephant — by Gus Van Sant, amazing, amazing documentary style film about two students who go on a killing spree at their high school.
    The Lion in Winter
    Beckett
    The Longest Yard (Burt Reynolds)
    The Shootist (Wayne’s last film)
    Bad Day at Black Rock
    The Grapes of Wrath
    My Darling Clementine
    Red River
    Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (both Frederick March and Spencer Tracy’s versions)
    Inherit the Wind
    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Tracy’s last film)
    Leaving Las Vegas
    Ryan’s Daughter
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Out of Africa
    The Devil Wears Prada
    Brokeback Mountain
    Red Badge of Courage
    Sophie’s Choice
    The Deer Hunter

    the director’s cut of Heaven’s Gate
    the director’s cut of Once Upon a Time in America
    Report to the Commissioner
    Silence (Scorsese’s recent masterpiece)
    Hurt Locker
    All Quiet on the Western Front (Lew Ayers)
    Johnny Belinda
    I Know Where I’m Going (starring the great Wendy Hiller)
    Defending Your Life
    Gummo
    The Room
    Cross Creek
    Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (one of my all time favorite WORST films ever, written by Roger Ebert)

    The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasus
    The Bad Seed (original)
    Logan’s Run
    The Great Santini
    Starman
    The Landlord (one of Beau Bridges first, if not his first)
    Rancho Deluxe (one of the great detective/comedy/western/absurdist films ever, one of Jeff Bridges first)
    Tron (original)
    Spirited Away (masterpiece anime feature)
    Winter’s Bone
    Alakazam the Great (animated feature with Jonathan Winters, Frankie Avalon and Sterling Holloway (he’s one of the greatest character actors of all time, famous for being the voice of Winnie the Pooh)…

    Anyway, way too many to continue riffing here, but you get the picture!

    The top of my list of all time greatest bad movies would be The World’s Greatest Sinner (which is also just one of my favorite all time flicks), and Skidoo, directed by Otto Preminger who also directed the musical Carmen, which you can add.
    Skidoo is absolutely terrible, and purportedly, and quite possibly a ’60s period piece made on acid with an all star cast.

    I Love You Alice B. Toklas, another amazing period piece starring Peter Sellers, that is rumored to have the influence of real pot brownies during the party scene.
    Barbarella!!!! Another classic freak show.
    Cinderfella
    The Nutty Professor (both versions)
    Dolemite (Eddie Murphy was robbed)
    Malcolm X
    Welcome to the Dollhouse . . .

    … shit, need to stop or I won’t!!!

  • 51 Brian // Jan 16, 2021 at 8:59 AM

    Lovin these additions and suggestions bubbling up from your deep well of cinematic joy and knowledge, me brutha!
    There’s a lot of helpful surprises on there — films I’d written off or never considered — so thanks for shining the light from your reel cool corner. 😉

  • 52 S.A. Griffin // Jan 18, 2021 at 9:02 AM

    Other directors whose work I will always watch include John Ford, Terry Gilliam, Sam Peckinpah and Ida Lupino, a maverick and one of my all time favorite actresses as well. She directed film and lots of TV.

    There’s such an endless list of greats.
    The Searchers (which I’ve seen countless times) was on earlier tonight, a film that should have won Wayne the Oscar.

    Another “children’s” film you should catch, an atomic age musical fantasy “dream” a la Wizard of Oz with sets by Dr. Seuss, also a film I will never tire of watching is The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T! Don’t miss it!!!

    And if you’ve never seen it, queue up Out of the Past, “Build my gallows high, baby.” Arguably the greatest noir of all time. Arguable because there are so many in the top tier and they are all unique. However it is hard to top Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas and Jane Greer with the amazing Jacques Tourneur at the helm, another of my all time favorite directors!!

  • 53 Nicole Rust // May 19, 2021 at 3:43 PM

    There were so many movies on your list that I both loved and wanted to watch!! If you’re looking for a female perspective feel free to get in touch. This is a great list and I know you must have spent a lot of time on it. It’s really a groovy thing Man!!

  • 54 Carl Spiby // Jul 26, 2021 at 7:02 AM

    Class taste. What a list! Especially delighted you mention Trees Lounge, In Cold Blood (that soundtrack!). Paper Moon is a favourite as is Paris, Texas (tho sometimes I feel I prefer Wenders’ Alice in the Cities, perhaps PT wins on the Ry Cooder soundtrack), Living in Oblivion, Brazil and Time Bandits, Jarmusch and so many more.

    No snobbery too. Great. Rebel Without a Cause is often shrugged at, but I love it, and have ever since I first saw it on a hot afternoon during the summer school break, aged about 14. Perfect rites of passage moment.

    Haven’t seen it in years, but ‘Round Midnight basically helped cement jazz. I was about 16 and had one cassette tape of Charlie Parker and that was it. That movie helped massively, as did Eastwood’s remarkable Bird.

    Here’s what I think might be missing (although it’s your list, so technically can’t be missing) — the Europeans (Kieslowski, Ingmar Bergman. I see Wild Strawberries is on your list. I like that but my fave by far is Winter Light – it’s the only movie I see about doubt and guilt that makes me feel the same way I think Kerouac felt at time, even if his life saw him Catholic-Buddha-Catholic unsettled angel of guilt, longing for peace and acceptance (in my reading), lost in the loss of his father, Gerard and Sebastian. More new wave esp. Truffaut’s 400 Blows, Southern Comfort.

    I have a strange soft spot (guilty pleasure) for 1969 (Winona Ryder, Sutherland & Robert Downey Jr), Factotum, Threads.

    I like Antonelli’s film on Kerouac, Ghost World, Barton Fink (this is easily my favourite Coen Brothers movie and I see it’s on yr bubbling under list waiting for 3rd viewing), THX 1138, Drugstore Cowboy, Lost in Translation, Birdy – just off the top of my head.

    My all time favourite movie and a documentary (albeit a poetic one at that) is about a teacher in rural France: Etre et Avoir.

    Jacob’s Ladder improves every half decade that I watch it, and it always surprises me for that fact.

    As for the greatest Beat movies that aren’t Beat movies: The Outsiders, Kelly Reichardt’s movies are the perfect Beat movies to me – she is the Snyder-mind Dharma Bum slacker of Old Joy (I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, it just improves on each watch and is like reading) River of Grass is good too. Can’t seem to get Wendy & Lucy here in the UK for some reason, and I’ve yet to watch her westerns (that aren’t really westerns).

    And Wes Anderson’s movies – especially Rushmore and Bottle Rocket although he’s beginning to remake the same chase movie over and over these days. His version of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox is actually better than the book (rare that happens) and, imho, the best children’s movie ever made.

    Then, finally for now I have to recommend two movies that are both sincere to the great novels and are great movies: The Music of Chance (Paul Auster) and The Man Who Fell To Earth – the best movie about boredom and ennui ever!

    What did Carolyn think of Magic Trip as you watched it together? I think it captured what I read and understand about Neal, and it seemed both sympathetic and tragic even, but managed to put across that feeling, I think, of him being difficult for most people.

  • 55 Brian // Jul 26, 2021 at 9:05 AM

    Wow! Spectacular recommendations! Thanks, Carl!
    A well-trained cinematic eye.
    This is one of the great things this page has spawned — other people chiming in with gems they’ve found.

    And as you noticed, I’ve got the “Need to See” list at the end where I can add in hot tips.

    And you also noticed correctly that I’m a little light on the foreign directors. My mistake thus far.

    I never really spent a concerted time on film in my life cuz I was always too busy living and adventuring and such … and living in Manhattan for 30 years, it was more of a priority of mine to catch live shows — music & theater — rather than sit in a movie theater or in front of a TV.

    But once this lockdown pandemic hit, it seemed like this was the perfect time to start my Film Studies program.

    Also, I bought this Chromecast device that allows me to “cast” anything I can stream on my laptop onto my 40-inch flatscreen — and just about every movie ever made is loaded up to some website somewhere.

    ====================

    re: Carolyn and Magic Trip — she did think it was a really well made movie, and there was lots of footage she (and I) had never seen, but it’s not a happy image of the husband she loved. He’s taking a lot of speed and babbling, and they’re acting like clowns a lot of the time. She loved the man who had a steady job and played with their kids and was a voracious reader with an incredible memory for detail and a great conversationalist who was always learning and exploring new subjects — none of which is present in that movie, sadly.

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