No movie is more Fellini than this tale of a film director in crisis. It’s all here: crazy characters, an ever-roaming camera, a great score by Nino Rota, and of course . . . Marcello.
All That Jazz
Bob Fosse’s long, dark look in the mirror is a perfect bookend to 8½. Roy Scheider gives the performance of his career and an all-new meaning to the phrase “It’s showtime, folks!” This came out the year I graduated from high school, and it literally changed my life.
The soundtrack alone is enough to put this on my top ten list, but honestly, the real thrill here is watching Bill Murray transmogrify into . . . Bill Murray.
Still the finest film ever made about cooking and what it means to be a cook.
Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room.” Enough said.
I still don’t know what the hell Lynch made that baby out of.
The Great Beauty
I want to be Toni Servillo when I grow up.
Witness the Coens becoming the Coens, in the good old days when Barry Sonnenfeld was still their DP. And, oh my . . . Frances McDormand with that “I haven’t done nothing funny.”
Sure, Seven Samurai is the best known of Kurosawa’s canon, but I say Yojimbo takes the cake because it’s got one thing that Samurai doesn’t: a sense of humor. It’s also Toshiro Mifune’s best outing, bar none.
The Third Man
Carol Reed’s black-and-white tale of postwar Vienna is a perfect storm of dialogue, music, photography, and production design. Although the most celebrated moment is the reveal of Welles and that sly smile, for me the moment that makes the film is the final shot when Alida Valli just walks right by Joseph Cotten. Damn.
Georgia Hubley’s Top 10
Georgia Hubley is one of the founding members of the Hoboken, New Jersey, band Yo La Tengo, whose The Sounds of Science, a score to eight Jean Painlevé shorts, is available on Criterion’s DVD set Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé.
Al Reinert’s Top 10
Writes Al Reinert, director of For All Mankind: “Having your film in the Criterion Collection is like marrying your daughter into an old distinguished family that intimidates and humbles you. She might feel at home there, but I am inclined to stand…
Megan Abbott’s Top 10
Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of seven novels, including Dare Me and The Fever. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.