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My Top Ten

by John Espinoza

Created 07/17/12

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"There are too many to choose from!"
"They are all my favorite!"
We've heard them all say it before, those lucky and famous enough for Criterion to ask to contribute a Top Ten list. I've always wonder what I would choose, if I had to choose? What more, I always wondered what dear film I would leave out? More so, how would I choose? Since this is the Criterion Collection, I decided to use two pieces of criteria to help whittle down my Top Ten. The first criterion was that I had to have watched the film more than once. The second criterion was that I was had to be excited enough about the film to screen it for someone else, or at least rave enough about the film to make someone else watch it. Considering these two criteria, here is my Top Ten Criterion films.

  • When I watched this film for the first time on the big screen, I was 10 and considering being police officer as a vocation, like most boys do at this age. That idea blew apart right at the moment Alex Murphy's hand did. I left the movie theater haunted by this movie, and I still am. As I grew older and more educated, I kept returning to this film, and getting more and more meaning out of this multi-layered dystopian satire about consumer culture, the industrial-military-complex, and the perils of a privatized police force. When my brothers and I get together, I pop in this family favorite.

  • The first time I watched THE KILLING was at the defunct Fox Theater in downtown Riverside, California. The Fox re-opened just to screen this Kubrick gem over one weekend and as far as I knew, the Fox never opened to play anything again. That in itself speaks about the authority of the film. This happened circa 1997 while Quentin Tarantino and his 1995 PULP FICTION still reigned the 90s. Once THE KILLING began to unravel its shuffled narrative which was decades ahead of its time I realized that King Tarantino bowed to a different king. Flash forward six years later to David Fincher's PANIC ROOM when I witnessed another auteur genuflect. THE KILLING is the apex of Kubrick's noir period and the apotheosis of the film noir style. For sure it has left an indelible mark on our modern crime films like fingerprints at the scene of a crime.

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