My Life as a Dog
Alec Guiness said this was the greatest film ever made in his autobiography My Name Escapes Me, so I rented it and I’ve cried pretty much every day since, just thinking about it. Alec Guiness was not wrong on this one. The film is so wonderfully Scandinavian. Like a trip to Ikea . . . that makes you cry. My Life as a Dog will stay with you forever. —TL
Brazil coming out when I was fifteen was like a perfect storm. I had grown up on Monty Python, and loved Gilliam—and then this massive film blew my brains out all over my Milk Duds at the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Chicago. I saw it twice the week it came out. I didn’t know about all the studio drama surrounding it— like Terry Gilliam taking out ads in Variety to get the film released—until years later. This is probably the most quoted film in my family. “Trouble with your ducts?” “Salt?” and “They don’t fix themselves, sir!” are all still in heavy rotation in my daily conversation. —TL
The Ice Storm
One of the most gloriously depressing films ever made, an awkward tribute to the dysfunctional family in seventies America. And the wallpaper in many scenes is a tacky sort of perfection. So if you’re in a mood to get pretty bummed out, and look at some really authentic wallpaper, look no further. This film is like getting punched in the stomach with a rotary phone. —TL
This Is Spinal Tap
The funniest film that ever will be made. It invented an entire genre. It’s impossible for me to quantify the impact this film had on my sense of humor. When I meet young people who have not seen this film, I am at first dismayed and then overjoyed for them, because I know they get to experience the thrill of the “this one goes to eleven” speech for the very first time. This film is a master class in deadpan comedy. —TL
This is a perfect comedy. Walter Matthau in the James Bond role versus Ned Beatty as head of the CIA. With Glenda Jackson, Herbert Lom as the head of the KGB, and Sam Waterston as “the new kid.” If more studio people saw Hopscotch, they would let old people be in more movies. —RBG
A film as depressing as it is inspiring. Heartbreaking, thoughtful, fascinating. Bitter and sweet, cool and creepy. It kinda makes you want to become an artist, and kinda makes you want to slit your wrists. It washes over you—leaving you really wanting to take a shower and wash it off. —RBG
Kevin Macdonald’s Top 10
Kevin Macdonald is the grandson of the filmmaker Emeric Pressburger. Macdonald’s directorial credits include 2000's Academy Award–winning One Day in September, about the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and 2003's Touching…
Pawel Pawlikowski’s Top 10
The Oscar-winning director of Ida and Cold War walks through key periods in his life that have been shaped by his favorite films, including masterpieces by Godard, Malick, and Tarkovsky.
Alison Maclean’s Top 10
Canadian-born director Alison Maclean’s films include Jesus’ Son (1999) and the newly released The Rehearsal, an official selection of Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival.