Holy shit… has it been almost 10 months since I did a Top Nine list? Well ok then… it’s time I did another one. Let’s Go To The Movies.
As with listing my favorite albums, there have been so many movies that I like that have been made, trying to narrow them down to just nine is extremely difficult, but I’ll give it my best shot.
- True Romance 
If you’ve never seen this movie, and you like Tarantino movies, then rent it, buy it, borrow it – get a copy. It stars Christian Slater as Clarence, a Sonny Chiba fan trying to enjoy a movie marathon, when Alabama (Patricia Arquette) walks in and garners his attention. Before long, Clarence has involved himself into a mix of drugs, hookers, a restless pimp and a Hollywood crowd that change his life. The cast is stellar and full of stars like Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken and Gary Oldman. I actually like this Quentin Tarantino story better than the one he did for “Pulp Fiction,” [I felt Pulp Fiction was better directed – see below]. One viewing and you’ll may add this to your list of favorites, too.
- Good Will Hunting 
A genius-level janitor working at MIT finds time to solve math problems in his “spare time.” As the clues unravel his identity, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) gets befriended by one of the psych professors (Robin Williams) who tries to delve deep into what drives this kid to be both intelligent and awkward. First-time Oscar winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon knocked this Gus Van Sant-directed film out of the park. It was an instant favorite and has one of my favorite ending lines of dialogue in any film – “That son of a bitch, he stole my line”
- Almost Famous 
Cameron Crowe is one of my favorite directors [as you will find out later in the list]. The story is based on Crowe’s rise up through the ranks as the youngest writer for Rolling Stone magazine and his life on the road with Rock N’ Roll. Kate Hudson as Penny Lane helps make this story come to life as a kid who wants to write gets his wish. The starring cast is incredible (Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman) and makes this movie shine that much more. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and if you’ve seen it, you will know why.
- Rear Window 
Alfred Hitchcock latched onto James Stewart and held on to him. This movie has suspense on so many different levels, it puts any slasher and gore film to shame. The story of L.B. Jefferies, who breaks his leg, uses a pair of binoculars and a window to the apartment complex he lived in, paints a picture of thrill, intrigue, curiosity and murder. To film pretty much the entire movie from one room and one location, and have it turn out as a masterpiece of cinema, speaks volumes about Mr. Hitchcock’s genius. Special nods to Raymond Burr and Grace Kelly for their supporting roles.
- Say Anything 
John Cuscak is one of my favorite actors, and not just because I look like him [no really, check out this photo from Say Anything] but because he’s just so versatile. This 1989 movie directed by Cameron Crowe [I’m not done yet…] is one of the greatest high school romantic comedies made. Cuscak stars as Lloyd Dobbler, a love-stricken teen with an interest in not only the girl of his dreams (played by Ione Skye), but in kickboxing (“sport of the future”) and making an impact in society. It’s not a chick flick, but it is a movie that tells a love story in a different light. It worked for me.
- Back To The Future 
Most people think this trilogy of movies was directed by Steven Spielberg [they were directed by Robert Zemeckis], but it was Spielberg’s money that helped kick this story out of the gate. Starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly [yes, people did call me “McFly” soon after the movie made it big], a teen who knew a scientist that created a time machine. With a rushed situation early in the morning, Marty ends up in the time machine [disguised as a DeLorean] and going back in time instead of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). And although some people may think this story isn’t all that, it scores big points for me. So much of a fan that I am of these movies, I try to watch the first movie on October 25, which is the day that Marty went back in time to 1955. Yeah, that’s geeky, but no apologies.
- Pulp Fiction 
The first time I saw this movie, it struck me as something completely different. I had already seen “Reservoir Dogs” and liked “True Romance” [see above] and thought that Quentin Tarantino was making a huge impact into making movies. But it was the story of Vincent and Jules and the endless stream of clever dialogue that made this movie one of my all-time favorites to watch. It not only reinvigorated John Travolta’s career, but it propelled Tarantino’s movie style of comedic violence and blaxploitation into the mainstream, winning him and co-writer Roger Avary Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Love him or hate him, you have to admit Tarantino is one talented filmmaker.
- The Apartment 
Billy Wilder and a great cast made this Oscar winning movie a hit with me. C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has always had an eye for Fran Kubelik (Shirley McClaine). He’s married mind you, and is trying to show he’s got the goods at work. Drama ensues and Miss Kubelik finds herself at Mr. Baxter’s apartment. Covering up and trying to reduce the attention, C.C. finds ways to make it look like everything is normal. But in the end, this romantic story shows that love can be quirky. This was Billy Wilder’s last great film, which also cast Fred MacMurry and Ray Walston in supporting roles.
- Jerry Maguire 
I can see some of your jaws dropping as you end up here, wondering why a film like Jerry Maguire is my all-time favorite movie. And to some of you, jaws drop even further when you know that I’m not that fond of the current incarnations of both Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger. But as you read above at some of my top films, you’ll see that I’m a romantic at heart and given the right flow and chemistry, a romantic comedy with a twist is something that works for me, multiple times. Again, Cameron Crowe’s story about a sports agent who finds love and a conscience seals the deal for me. Sure, this movie is loaded with cliché’s and famous movie phrases (“Show Me The Money!”, “You had me at hello”), but the way it’s put together and told, it’s just a masterful piece of filmmaking history.
More Movies To Love
Ok, so now you’ve digested the list, placed your jaws back into place and want to tell me how good (or bad) my list is. Comment away. Tell me your favorite movie. State your case to me about why I need to add and/or remove any off the above list. I’ll try to compile the rest of the list (the top #10 through #25 films) soon so you can see that I do have more of diversity than comedic violence and romantic comedies.