John's Top 10

by huskerdude

Created 07/16/12

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I'm just some guy. This is my list.

  • I saw this when it was originally released in the theater, and it blew my 15-year-old mind. I'd never seen anything like it at the time, and I'm not sure I have since. One of those rare films that becomes more relevant as time goes on.

  • One of many films on this list that make me cry. I'm probably the least sentimental person on the planet, but this one avoids easy sentimentality and arrives at its pathos through a character study. Don't know much about Italian neorealism beyond this and Umberto D., but really, what else do you need to know?

  • Another weeper. I like Kurosawa's epics of feudal Japan, but this one, set in the modern day, speaks more to the essence of being human in the 20th century. Like The Wire, it's about the failure of institutions to meet people's basic needs. A great one.

  • The first real "independent" film I remember seeing (I checked it out because of Joe Strummer's involvement). It opened me up to different ways of pacing in film, and was the first time I remember noticing cinematography. Great performances all around, and the story is told almost as if it's a dream.

  • I was wary of this film at first - Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in a '50s movie? I figured it would be fairly cheesy. Jesus, was I wrong. One of the darkest movies ever - Jim Thompson could have written the screenplay. Considered noir despite the lack of a murder mystery, and it is: One big negative view of humanity put on film.

  • I was 17 when this came out, so I was the target audience. Almost went with Dazed and Confused here, but this one's more in line with my sensibilities.

  • Great cinematography, and I had no idea at any point where the plot was going to end up, which was a good thing. The first Blu-Ray I ever bought.

  • The precursor to every modern suspense thriller, and better than almost all of them. Plus, being French, you get some Existential philosophy thrown in with your action. Flies by despite its length.

  • Tati built a friggin' city for this movie (which bankrupted him), which tells you the insane attention to detail on display. What little dialogue there is is irrelevant - it's all about the choreography and the sets. You'll ask yourself over and over "How did he do that?" And the answer will never be "Special effects". Jaw-dropping meticulousness that couldn't work in any other medium.

  • Film_544w_head_w160

    6. (tie)

    Bob Rafelson

    Basically made for no one - the arty hipsters it was aimed at hated the band, and the teenyboppers the TV show appealed to would have been appalled by its depressing themes - so it had a sense of absolute freedom. Great music, too. And how did a film that constantly repeated the famous footage of the Vietnamese POW being shot in the head get a G rating?

  • Possibly even weirder than the films it's tied with, and nothing else Soderbergh has done will prepare you for this. Definitely not for everyone - most likely only for a handful of people. But if you're one of them (you'll know within minutes), it's hilarious and painful.

  • Both films are subtle yet epic examinations of youth that are actually about much more than they seem to be on the surface. Thought about them for days after seeing them.

  • The culmination of everything Lynch has been trying to say throughout his career, and the best-looking movie he's ever made.

  • Kind of a mash-up of Lynch and Head, but from a '70s Japanese horror angle.

  • Film_654w_repoman_w160

    9. (tie)
    Repo Man

    Alex Cox

    In a weird way, all could qualify as modern noir, with varying degrees of dedication to the form and intelligibility. Each distinctly brilliant.

  • As Orson Welles famously remarked, "It could make a stone cry." You can't believe it's actually going to be taken to its logical conclusion, and then it is. One of the only times I was hoping they'd go with a Hollywood ending.

  • Ozu's version of the story, and just as affecting.

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