Chuck Klosterman’s Top 10

Chuck Klosterman’s Top10

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.”

May 16, 2012
  • 1

    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.

  • 2

    Rob Reiner

    This Is Spinal Tap

    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.

  • 3

    Orson Welles

    F for Fake

    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.

  • 4

    Steve James

    Hoop Dreams

    The cinematic manifestation of sportswriting’s highest aspirations.

  • 5

    Noah Baumbach

    Kicking and Screaming

    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.

  • 6

    David Mamet

    House of Games

    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.

  • 7

    David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin

    Gimme Shelter

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

  • 8

    Spike Jonze

    Being John Malkovich

    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.

  • 9

    Whit Stillman

    The Last Days of Disco

    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.

  • 10

    Wes Anderson


    It makes me feel great.