The Current -

Troy Miller’s Top10

Troy Miller is a director and producer whose credits include the hit television comedies Mr. Show, Arrested Development, The Office, Flight of the Conchords, and Parks and Recreation. He says, “I selected the films below almost entirely for my own entertainment value and not in any order of preference. A film scholar I am not; a lover of all things film I shall always be.”

Jul 30, 2015
  • 1

    Paths of Glory

    Stanley Kubrick

    Before Full Metal Jacket, before Dr. Strangelove, there was Paths of Glory. Kubrick’s fluid camera choices in the battle scenes really show his evolution toward the incredible Steadicam work he would later originate on The Shining.

  • 2

    Seconds

    John Frankenheimer

    Frankenheimer and DP James Wong Howe’s aggressive camera work put me right into the paranoia of the “reborns.” Fifteen years after this was made, I worked on a Frankenheimer production and would literally hide in the shadows watching how he directed actors and blocked a scene—he was remarkable.

  • 3

    The Killers

    Don Siegel

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Don Siegel and, as is likely obvious from this list, ’60s action films. Throw Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson in and it’s hard to beat. It’s the second film made of Hemingway’s book and is pulp fun.

  • 4

    Faces

    John Cassavetes

    Drama John Cassavetes style—aggressive and docu-cool. Handheld and shot in black and white (by Haskell Wexler), it had a great impact on the audience, and on me and my windup Bolex as I tried to figure out how to shoot a scene. Great storytelling.

  • 5

    Seven Samurai

    Akira Kurosawa

    Kurosawa and film history. After seeing The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges’s U.S. remake), I was introduced to this, and it became my first awareness of world cinema. A must-see for film lovers, Kurosawa at his best.

  • 6

    This Is Spinal Tap

    Rob Reiner

    This film is hilarious. One of the best comedies ever made. Works on so many levels of story, improv, farce and using film style to set-up a joke. Rob Reiner put together a comedy dream team.

  • 7

    The Bank Dick

    Edward Cline

    The Bank Dick doesn’t have much of a plot but is packed with great comic scenes, like a prewar sketch show. Before Jackie Gleason and John Belushi, there was W. C. Fields.

  • 8

    It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

    Stanley Kramer

    Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Milton Berle! I don’t think I have ever used the term madcap, but it’s suitable here. Stanley Kramer’s crazy comedy/adventure has great action and standout performances from many of the top comics of the ’60s. A groovy ride, and in 70 mm, yet.

  • 9

    Traffic

    Steven Soderbergh

    Steven Soderbergh’s film inspired by the UK miniseries. One of my favorite filmmakers, and this is one of many of his that I just love. From his big-budget studio films to the smaller art films, he always finds such a unique way to tell a story. And he knows how to hold a camera!

  • 10

    Repo Man

    Alex Cox

    I grew up in L.A. in the ’80s, and drove a Chevy Malibu—so this film spoke to me. Emilio as Otto and Harry Dean Stanton as Bud in the best kind of supernatural buddy comedy whodunit—in an Alex Cox rock-and-roll world!