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with George

My Favorite 50 Films (With Pictures!)

50. East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955)

49. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

48. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)

47. Fearless (Peter Weir, 1993)

46. The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998)

45. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)

44. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)

43. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)

42. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

41. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962)

40. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

39. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

38. Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

37. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)

36. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

35. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

34. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

33. Fargo (Joel Coen, 1996)

32. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

31. Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)

30. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

29. Poetry (Chang-dong Lee, 2010/2011)

28. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

27. No Country for Old Men (Ethan and Joel Coen, 2007)

26. Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

25. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)

24. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

23. The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin, 1940)

22. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005/2006)

21. Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

20. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

19. All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976)

18. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

17. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

16. Kramer vs. Kramer (Robert Benton, 1979)

15. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

14. The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)

13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

12. Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)

11. Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953)

10. City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)

9. Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell, 2010)

8. Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)

7. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

6. A Christmas Story (Bob Clark, 1983)

5. A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964)

4. F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1973)

3. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

2. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

1. Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

Movie Confessions

Today, I take a quick second to update you all on my embarrassment level with a fun little post called Movie Confessions. Enjoy.

Which classic movie don’t you like/can’t enjoy and why?

Well, a few come to mind. The Graduate (1967) would be one. It loses a lot of stream after the big reveal. It was hard for me to understand Benjamin’s actions. I haven’t yet been a graduate, in his place. But I don’t particularly dislike the film, I just think it’s quite overrated, so it may not count.

I’m not a big fan of Being John Malkovich (1999). You can read why here. Also, I don’t think that’s a classic.

Which ten classic movies haven’t you seen yet?

Well, from the aforementioned “Top 10 Movies I’m Embarrassed I Haven’t Seen” post, I have since screened Drive, The Dark Knight, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Up in the Air, City Lights, and The Godfather. So, I’ll start with the remaining classics from that list, and add others it’s really time I see:

  1. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
  2. 8 1/2 (1963)
  3. Metropolis (1927)
  4. M (1931)
  5. Persona (1966)
  6. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  7. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  8. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975)
  9. Goodfellas (1990)
  10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

Have you ever sneaked into another movie at the cinema?

Never. I just don’t have the guts.

Which actor/actress do you think is overrated?

So many.

Katharine Hepburn got on my nerves a lot in Bringing Up Baby (1938).

But from today’s actors: Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes… I was genuinely rooting for them to drown in that hot tub/pool in Last Night (2011). And any other film they’re ever in, regardless of amount of water nearby.

I usually dislike Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey, but recent performances (The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) for Matt, Bernie (2012) for Jack but not Matt) have made me like them more.

And even with Brothers (2009), I’ve never been a big Tobey Maguire guy.

Emma Stone is great and all, but does she need to be in everything? Save some stuff for Jessica Chastain.

Jury’s still out on Christian Bale. I’m not really into Colin Farrell.

From which big director have you never seen any movie (and why)?

Oh, so many. I’m still starting out on my cinematic journey (or whatever). Fellini jumps to mind.

Which movie do you love, but is generally hated?

That’s a good question. I have a lot more films that most people love but I hate, but sure, I’ll play along. I like Glory Road (2006), but I don’t love it, and I don’t think it’s hated. Is Red State (2011) hated? I know one of my friends hates Beetle Juice (1988).

Have you ever been “one of those annoying people” at the cinema?

No. And I haven’t encountered that many, either. (Well… outside of family members.) I’m a good and lucky audience member.

Did you ever watch a movie, which you knew in advance would be bad, just because of a specific actor/actress was in it? Which one and why?

No, but if I ever did, I would do it for Charlize Theron. Or Audrey. Or Chaplin. But I don’t think he’s ever made a bad picture. For directors: Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, for sure. I’m working on seeing their entire filmography.

Did you ever not watch a specific movie because it had subtitles?

Actually, I choose to watch specific films later than I normally would if I don’t have the attention to commit to a subtitled film. Same with overly dramatic films. But I always get back to them. I love foreign films!

Are there any movies in your collection that you have had for more than five years and never watched?

Yes, but none of them purchased by me. I’ll get some films as gifts and let them sit there because I’m not really interested in them. There is one exception, though: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). I found the DVD of it hidden in the corner of my “collection” a few months ago. I didn’t even know I had it, but now I’ll watch it.

Which are the worst movies in your collection and why do you still own them?

I don’t think RV (2006) is a terrible film. Hear me out! Robin Williams isn’t that annoying. It doesn’t take any turn you wouldn’t expect it to. It just sits there and delivers poop jokes and Will Arnett.

Do you have any confessions about your movie watching setup at home?

No Bluray. (Is the ‘r’ capitalized? See, I don’t even know.) I didn’t know my TV was an HDTV, and I didn’t really know what Bluray was. Some films can be seen in HD on Netflix, so that’s fine. I don’t need to pamper myself too much. Eventually, I’ll get a Bluray, but that stuff is expensive. I buy VHS tapes at local shops or online just because they’re so much cheaper. I own a two-tape set of The Godfather (1972), as well as this huge Charlie Chaplin set.

Any other confessions you want to make?

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments, but I don’t think I have anything else.

Liebster Blog Award

Okay, so I’m doing this. And two people nominated me, so I’ll answer all 22 of their questions. Jenkakio and Cinematic.

1. Each person must post eleven things about themselves
2. Answer the eleven questions the person giving the award has set for you
3. Create eleven questions for the people you will be giving the award to
4. Choose eleven people to award and send them a link to your post
5. Go to their page and tell them
6. No tag backs

Here are my 11 facts:

  1. My favorite food is Chicken Quesadillas.
  2. But I love cheating on them with Italian food.
  3. I keep a spreadsheet of all the movies I’ve ever seen.
  4. I’m only 16 years old.
  5. I’m the editor-in-chief of my high school’s newspaper. And it’s damned decent.
  6. I drive a black 1997 Toyota RAV-4 L, and I don’t see what’s so L about it, but I love it anyway.
  7. I eat healthy. Hummus Popped Chips are a great alternative to nasty regular chips, and orange juice beats cola every day.
  8. I didn’t get Community at first.
  9. I will always defend and love Rihanna, even though I don’t really enjoy some of her recent music or find her particularly likable. It’s complicated.
  10. I once asked Santa Claus for a sister. But he “ran out of those.”
  11. I frequently yell at my TV. But only when politics are on.

Questions from Jenkakio, with answers below:

What’s your biggest accomplishment?

My #5 fact.

If you could go back to college again, what would you major in?  If you never been to college, what would you major in if you went?

Cinema and Media Studies. Or Film Studies. Or Journalism.

Who’s your favorite family member and why?

They’re all my favorite! But really, it’s my cat Amy. I named her after Amy Poehler.

What memory would you re-live again?

There are plenty and too many to think about. Gotta keep moving forward!

What’s the last thing you won?

First place in Texas for news writing or something.

What’s the best thing about the 90′s?

I was born. Or Pulp Fiction.

What the worst thing about the 90′s?

I don’t remember.

What TV commercial do you not like?

All of the Kit-Kat ones. They just don’t make that sound.

If you could be in any movie, which one would it be?

I wouldn’t want to be in any movie. I’d like to be on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, though.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

Not to brag, but I’m going to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji next summer. I’m so excited.

How did our blogs meet?

I really don’t know! How did they? For most people, it’s when I was Freshly Pressed (thanks again, WordPress), but I remember you from before. Also, did you like that terrible brag in the last sentence? I did.

Questions from Cinematic, with answers below:

1. What’s a movie that you think is terrible but you enjoy anyway?

RV, the Robin Williams vehicle. It was okay!

2. What movie received positive reviews but you don’t like?

Recently, Prometheus. But some people hated it, so maybe The Secret of Kells.

3. Is there a movie which you disliked the first time but liked later?

A lot of movies grow on me (Young Adult, recently), but only one comes to mind: Despicable Me.

4. If you can meet any director/actor/producer, who would it be?

Charlize Theron. Or Mike Leigh. Or Cristian Mungiu. Or Amy Poehler!

5. If you could change one award at the Oscars, which one would it be?

I’m sure some might say “give Citizen Kane the Oscar,” but I LOVE that it didn’t win. It was voted as the best film ever for… how many… 40 years? The Oscar is one award, and it means less than we think it means. I wouldn’t really change any awards. Even though I disagree most of their choices each year.

6. If there was one movie you could watch over and over for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Some Like it Hot, my favorite of all-time.

7. What film would you like to see a remake of?

I’d pick a good film, but I’m afraid a remake would ruin it. I’d pick a bad film, but I really don’t want to see that. And I’d pick a foreign film, but maybe we should learn to leave those alone.

8. Do you refuse to watch any movie from a certain actor or director just because you didn’t like one of their films?

Well, I dislike a bunch of actors, but if I become interested in a project, I’ll watch the final result.

9. Who is your favorite director?

Billy Wilder/Alfred Hitchcock. Among living/working: I don’t know. Maybe Woody Allen?

10. Which film do you wish had never been made?

Basically any of the crappy mainstream action films that open each weekend. Meanwhile, I have to drive 50 miles each way to see something good like Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, or The Master?

11. What is your favorite moment in any film?

The ends of Some Like it Hot and The Apartment.

My 11 questions

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. What is your grandfather’s middle name?
  3. Tell a funny travel story.
  4. Tell a sad travel story.
  5. What do you most want for your birthday/anniversary/religious or non-religious gift-giving holiday?
  6. Do you ever let your political views get in the way of friendships?
  7. Would you rather receive any property in any spot in the world for free but not be able to go out of a 100-mile radius OR be banned from living in any property for more than a month but have a 70% discount on hotels, airfare, and gas? (Yes, it’s complex, I know.)
  8. What is the first film you ever remember seeing?
  9. What is your least favorite color?
  10. What is on your keychain?
  11. Music or talk radio? Explain why, please.

2009 Marathon Awards

Today, I’ll be naming a few bests from my/our festival of 2009 films. I didn’t get around to seeing all of them (Precious, Avatar, and Sin Nombre are among my regrets), but you get what you get and you can’t throw a fit. At least according to my kindergarten teacher.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Up in the Air
Runners-up: An EducationBrothersIn the Loop

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Inglourious Basterds
Runners-up: The Hurt LockerMary and MaxA Serious ManSomers Town

Best Editing

Winner: Inglorious Bastards
Runners-up: The Hurt Locker, Star Trek

Best Cinematography

Winner: Inglorious Bastards
Runners-up: Everlasting Moments, The Hurt Locker, Police, Adj., A Serious Man

Best Ensemble Cast

Winner: Up in the Air
Runners-up: Inglourious BasterdsIn the LoopA Serious Man

Best Animated Film

Winner: Mary and Max
Runners-up: Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsA Town Called PanicUp

Best Documentary

Winner: Mine
Runners-up: The Band That Wouldn’t Die, Objectified

Best Foreign Film

Winner: Everlasting Moments
Runners-up: Police, Adj.A Town Called Panic

Best Director

Winner: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Runners-up: Jan Troell, Everlasting Moments; Ramin Bahrani, Goodbye Solo; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; The Coen Brothers, A Serious Man

Best Performance by a Female in a Supporting Role

1. Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds

2. Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

3. Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

4. Taylor Geare/Bailee Madison, Brothers

5. Emily Mortimer, City Island

Best Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role

1. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

2. Peter Capaldi, In the Loop

3. Red West, Goodbye Solo

4. Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker

5. Denis Menochet, Inglourious Basterds

Best Performance by a Female in a Leading Role

1. Maria Heiskanen, Everlasting Moments

2. Carey Mulligan, An Education

3. Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank

4. Natalie Portman, Brothers

5. Ellie Kendrick, The Diary of Anne Frank

Best Performance by a Male in a Leading Role

1. Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

2. Dragos Bucur, Police, Adj.

3. Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

4. Souleymane Sy Savane, Goodbye Solo

5. George Clooney, Up in the Air

Best Film of 2009

10. Goodbye Solo

9. Up

8. Objectified

7. Mary and Max

6. Mine

5. A Serious Man

4. Up in the Air

3. Everlasting Moments

2. Inglourious Basterds

1. The Hurt Locker

The scene from The Hurt Locker that decided my mind on what the best film of 2009 was.

‘Tape’ and the juvenile human male friendship

Today, I’m back. I’ll get to the 2009 stuff I left soon, but I’ve got a review/discussion to share with you first.

We’ve all had friends like the three characters in Tape. Especially us males.

They’re somewhat despicable, but have some perceived redeem-ability… until they go too far.

Vince (Ethan Hawke) and Jon (Robert Sean Leonard) are old best pals from high school. They’ve kept in touch, for the most part, but since their days in school, they’re taken two markedly different paths. Vince is a drug-dealing volunteer fire-fighter, and Jon is a filmmaker. It’s the eve of Jon’s first film’s debut at the Lansing Film Festival that they meet at Vince’s motel room in town.

Tape (2001), directed by Richard Linklater (most recently of Bernie), is based on a one-act play. This is, in fact, a one-act film. As a whole, the film is theatrical in nature, but the most glaring thing that’s a bit quirky about the film is the shooting style. Its subtle voyeurism takes some getting used to, and the back and forth conversation movements aren’t something that multiplex patrons (such as me) are exposed to often.

I had friends like Vince and Jon, who had a certain view of the male friendship. Had. Vince, especially, thinks it’s okay to violate trust and just generally be mean to his friends. This may be fine with people who can take it, but Jon doesn’t seem to be one of those people, so he just throws the hate (real or brotherly) back at Vince. I wonder how much these two best friends really love each other, and I’m sure they wonder (and therefore test) the same thing themselves.

It is an interesting film, but the conversations Vince, Jon, and Amy (Uma Thurman) have are as useless as the ones I’m sure they had in high school. In fact, they really haven’t changed since then at all and, unfortunately, that’s not a compelling enough idea to drive a film. It has some moments of insight on human nature and power (notice that someone is always controlling the conversation, usually causing another character to feel bad or scared about what will happen next), but it’s hard to enjoy a movie with such immature and, as I mentioned, despicable characters.


Hey guys! Sorry I disappeared for a few weeks. School got started up again and I think I forgot how little time I have for myself during these months.

So I’m going to still try to see all of the films from 2009 I can before announcing my favorites, but I won’t be able to write up a review for very many of them. I’ll try my hardest, though.

In the meantime, I’ll give you something else. I was twice nominated for the Liebster Award, so I’ll post that when I’m done with it.