Top 10s

Chuck Klosterman’s Top 10

Chuck Klosterman’s Top 10

Chuck Klosterman is the author of seven books (most recently, The Visible Man and Eating the Dinosaur) and serves as an accidental narrator of the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits. Of compiling this list, Klosterman says, “I tried to be as honest as possible, which makes my selections a little more obvious and predictable than I would have liked. But I suppose I am an obvious, predictable person.”

  • Slacker

    1.
    Slacker

    Richard Linklater

    I’m always hesitant to claim that any movie “changed my life,” but this one actually did. At the time I first saw it, I’d never considered the possibility of telling a story without narrative. It changed the way I thought about all art, and it made me want to be a weirder person.

  • This Is Spinal Tap

    2.
    This Is Spinal Tap

    Rob Reiner

    The most influential rock film ever made (A Hard Day’s Night is probably second). It’s more than thirty years old, but it’s still the default reference for every rock group with a sense of humor (even if none of the band members were alive when it was originally released). It somehow has more cultural sticking power than most of the music it satirizes. There’s never been a real documentary about a real band that captures the nature of heavy rock as deftly as this unreal documentary about a fake band.

  • F for Fake

    3.
    F for Fake

    Orson Welles

    I’m not even going to try and describe why I like this movie. It would take me 5,000 words and only make things worse.

  • Hoop Dreams

    4.
    Hoop Dreams

    Steve James

    The cinematic manifestation of sportswriting’s highest aspirations.

  • Kicking and Screaming

    5.
    Kicking and Screaming

    Noah Baumbach

    Be careful when discussing this film. If it randomly comes up in conversation, do not immediately start lecturing about how insightful it is in unspecific terms, because there’s a high likelihood the other person will think you’re actually referencing that movie where Will Ferrell coaches a soccer team. This will problematize the conversation in an interesting way, and you may be unfavorably compared to Armond White.

  • House of Games

    6.
    House of Games

    David Mamet

    I dig movies about con men, and I think it’s because I saw this in high school. It was bizarrely educational. I also love the way David Mamet makes characters talk; it is my sincere hope that Criterion eventually gets the rights to Glengarry Glen Ross and The Spanish Prisoner. I offer to write the liner notes for free.

  • Gimme Shelter

    7.
    Gimme Shelter

    David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin

    The footage in this film is difficult to forget, often for contradictory reasons.

  • Being John Malkovich

    8.
    Being John Malkovich

    Spike Jonze

    The fact that John Cusack climbing into someone else’s brain can be completely described in forty-five seconds of dialogue without ever seeming particularly implausible is a testament to how well this movie is written. It’s just a totally immersive experience.

  • The Last Days of Disco

    9.
    The Last Days of Disco

    Whit Stillman

    When I first saw this, in Akron, Ohio, I thought, That’s a good movie. I saw it again after I moved to New York. It obliterated my mind. These people still exist.

  • Rushmore

    10.
    Rushmore

    Wes Anderson

    It makes me feel great.