Few American filmmakers have fused laughter and pathos as effortlessly and effectively as James L. Brooks has over the course of his illustrious career, which stretches back to the 1960s. Whether he’s mining the complexities of romance and rivalry in the workplace (in Broadcast News) or plumbing the depths of a mother and daughter’s bond (in Terms of Endearment), the Oscar-winning writer-director brings his characters to life with sharp dialogue and immaculate pacing unmistakably influenced by the golden age of screwball. It’s fitting, then, that the first movie he chose during a trip to our closet a while back was Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve, one of the crown jewels of classic Hollywood comedy. His taste for visionary funnymen shines through in a few other selections, including Albert Brooks’s Lost in America (in which he makes a brief cameo), but he also shares his reverence for an indie maverick whose rhythms are much looser and more jagged than his own: John Cassavetes. Check out the above video for Brooks’s insights on the films he chose during his visit!