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One of my favorite aspects about reading this site is seeing the Top Ten lists of some of my favorite media personalities. Here is mine. There are so many I wish I could include. No Criterion Top Ten List is ever a bad list.
This is my favorite film of all time, because it accurately reflects my views of the world. The system is bonkers, but there is no one to blame. We all take part for going with it. I don't know how many times I've seen this film, or how many times I asked for a 27b-6 whenever I want to express frustration with the bureaucracy.
"Film about film" is a cliche amongst directors, but Fellini does something more here. This is probably the greatest "fictional autobiography" of any medium. Also, that brothel scene is always great.
Is it just me, or was Cronenberg talking as much about the inevitable rise of the internet when he made this film? Watching this film about television addiction makes it easy to understand how people can play World of Warcraft until they die. Also, great special effects from a time before CGI ruined everything.
It's like taking a trip through Europe without ever leaving the living room. What's better is that it also captures the uncertainty that surrounded the world after World War II. The world finally came together - only to continue its fight against forces as old as humanity. And Orson Welles gives one of my favorite performances of all time. Really, truly fantastic.
I don't know why, but the more I watch it, the more I like it. There is a fine line between art and insanity, and Crumb has balancing on it for most of his career. Seeing himself open up and admit to his demons was very surprising, and very encouraging. Who knows how many this film has ended up saving, or how many artists it has created?
I know I'm far too dependent on English language films for this list. I'll take this time to apologize for it, but how could I leave The Man Who Fell to Earth off? It's one of the last great A-list sci-fi films. The Man Who Fell to Earth actually explores what makes us human and what is out there in the vast universe. Nowadays, it's all bug eyed monsters and light sabers. I feel we've lost something. And I just flat out like David Bowie; too bad we never got that soundtrack.
See? I'm culturally aware. This film has one of my favorite third acts of all time, and one of Peter Lorre's best performances. It is also creepy in how it predicts the rise of fascism in Germany. After all, a group of people were willing to commit a murder that was "in the public interest." Start down that line of thought and the goose steps are never that far behind. It is also an amazing noir that influenced practically every single Hollywood film of the forties.
I remember when I first saw this on TCM. It was the first silent film I ever watched. Well, the first MOSTLY silent film I ever watched. That opened up a new world right there. And this film is like a great symphony. Not a note is out of place, and every single moment, every single choice that Chaplin made, is the correct one. It always makes me laugh, and I can't imagine any changes that could be made to it.
I miss Robert Altman. He was the only director who could ever make a tapestry of a place and time - and make it seem natural rather than like a Herculean task. "Nashville" was great at capturing the Post Watergate world, and every memory I have of the early nineties (when I was about the kid's age in the film) looks like "Short Cuts." Imagine another director doing that today and succeeding. And the first person who says "Paul Haggis" gets punched.
Yea, it's a B-grade ghost story. But it's also an undeniably creepy one, that actually builds up the horror rather than depending on "gotcha" moments. I kind of wish Criterion would release more cult oddities like this, like they used to. They were just as influential as any art film.