Well, since I did My Favorite Lefty Films (below), I figured I'd do the Yahoo Movies to See Before You Die, which inspired the former list. They claim that they selected these movies for their "historical importance" and "cultural impact" as well as picking "the most thrilling, most dramatic, scariest, and funniest movies of all time." So, please don't hate on me for their selections. I'm just telling you whether I saw the movie or not and what I thought. What a way to spend a hazy, lazy April Fools Day, eh?
(Author's Note: To get the full effect of my laziness, please listen to Xavier Cugat while perusing this list. A good mambo never killed anyone--though a bad merengue can call for hip surgery.)
12 Angry Men (1957)
You know, when my wife and I first saw this, we said, "Oh, if only jury deliberations were actually like this." Funny thing was, when I was actually called on a jury (for a drug trial, no less), it was like 12 Angry Men. There are several reasons I love director Sidney Lumet. This flick's one of them.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
There are several reasons I love director Stanley Kubrick. I still can't figure out if this is one of them. I do like this film, but I don't know if it's because I'm supposed to like it or if I actually find it good. I'll always love the HAL part of the movie. The beginning with the monkeys still gives me flashbacks to when I was a bookkeeper at a collection agency.
The 400 Blows (1959)
I've always been meaning to see this Truffaut classic. But, since I saw Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows and loved it, I'll be one of those pretentious haters, and say, "Well, it's no Elevator to the Gallows."
8 ½ (1963)
After suffering through La Dolce Vita, I was so pissed off that Fellini's considered a "master," I have refused to see anything else of his. Yall can tell me what this one's like.
The African Queen (1952)
Who? Nefertiti? Ann Nzinga? Nope, sorry, missed this one. I like Hepburn and Bogart. I'm sure I'll actually see this one before I die. See, the list works.
I still find Sigourney Weaver in her underwear is one of the most horrifying scenes in cinematic history. You may not remember, but her ass was so flat in this movie, she was actually showing plumber's crack in this scene. Other than that, I love Alien. Apparently so does Hollywood, since 90% of all SF movies since (no matter the topic) breaks down to become Alien in the end.
All About Eve (1950)
Growing up, I never did quite understand the whole Bette Davis thing. But watching this, you definitely get it. Damn, they could really be vicious back in the day. It still amazes me how clever so many of these old-timey movies were. We could use some of that today.
Annie Hall (1977)
No shame in my game (though a lot in his), I am an unabashed Woody Allen addict. This, of course, is my favorite Woody. I can watch Annie Hall all day long.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
When my mom was doing the whole single-parent-full-time-worker-night-school-student thing, she used to take me to some of her college courses at Pitt. Her Movie Appreciation course was my favorite. As a 10-year-old, I saw a whole bunch of movies I wouldn't have been allowed to see otherwise. This is one of them. As a genuine reflection of the war experience, Apocalypse Now strikes me as a pure piece of pretentious bullshit, but as a pure piece of pretentious bullshit, Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece.
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
See My Favorite Lefty Films below.
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Yeah, this bad boy is a masterpiece. Yeah, it helped break the oppressive Hays Code. But, seriously, this movie still holds up. Especially in these trying economic times, one can relate to a father struggling to provide for his family.
Blade Runner (1982)
With this and Alien Ridley Scott was the man. I took my wife to see the director's cut at one of those movie theater/pub joints, and, at the last moment when you get that all-important clue that tells you for sure that Deckard's a Replicant, the waiter gave me my bill. Bastard.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
I could go on and on about Blazing Saddles. Ask my wife, I can pretty much quote the entire movie verbatim. I might even be able to write the script for you and hardly miss a line. This is my favorite comedy of all time. I'm an absolute nut over this. White guys have Caddy Shack. I've got this. "They said you was hung." "And they was right."
Blow Up (1966)
I think I tried to watch this once in high school.
Blue Velvet (1986)
I think I actually liked this movie in high school. I pretty much hate David Lynch with every fiber of my being. So, I doubt if I'll ever revisit this one to see what I saw in it.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
I love the Serge Gainsbourg/Brigitte Bardo song. I love the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway movie. How could you hate on either one? And damn do they get lit up in the end. That is straight-up gangsta. Oh yeah, right. I guess that makes sense.
Didn't Richard Gere try to rip this movie off in the '80s? I think I saw the rip-off.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Since I can't whistle for shit, I've always been hostile against this movie. I've always been meaning to see this one, but the closest I've ever gotten was A Bridge Too Far.
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
I fell madly in love with The Philadelphia Story (one of my favorite comedies) and immediately went out and rented Bringing Up Baby. I still like this one, but I was really disappointed. Just a case of bad timing, I guess.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
OK, what the hell was up with "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"? I mean, I love B.J. Thomas as much as the next guy, but, damn, that song sticks out like a sore thumb. The shoot-out in The Wild Bunch is a hell of a lot better, but I still like this one. Redford's a stiff as always, but Paul Newman was the man.
I think it's actually illegal to say anything disparaging about this movie. So yeah, I loved it. I betcha Sam was still wondering what the hell he was doing in that part of Africa and was probably sweatin' his ass off wondering if the Nazis were going to off his black ass. If you ask me, he should've cold-cocked both Rick and Laszlo and gotten on that plane with Ilsa. Hmm ... I smell sequel!
Yeah, I like Chinatown--just not as much as I'm told I'm supposed to. If it had ended differently--like if that girl had ended up being Faye Dunaway's third cousin-twice removed--I bet folks would've remembered this one as the snooze fest it sometimes is.
Citizen Kane (1941)
What kind of asshole would I be if I didn't say this was THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME?!!! Well, it's no Plan 9 from Outer Space, but I guess Orson Welles deserves his props for this one. Though I think it would've been more believable if Rosebud would've turned out to have been a hooker who gave him the clap during the Spanish-American War than what it had actually turned out to have been.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
I will always be indebted to this movie for introducing me to Ziyi Zhang. Our love still grows stronger by the day.
Die Hard (1988)
When thinking about this movie, I try to always block out the ridiculous sequels. I also try to block out the fact that people have been outrunning explosions ever since this movie was released. But yeah, this was fun. I'm sure Alan Rickman will probably go down as one of the best movie villains for this bad boy--oh yeah, and that Robin Hood joint he did with Kevin Costner. Ha!
Do the Right Thing (1989)
See Lefty Films again.
Double Indemnity (1944)
By their very nature, film noir flicks are misogynist. I'm not going to say that's what makes them entertaining, but you gotta wonder. Since Fred McMurray's the star of this one, you've got to constantly fight humming the theme to My Three Sons, but it's worth it. This is a gem.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Lefty Films, yall.
Duck Soup (1933)
I approach Groucho and his brothers like I do their distant cousin, Karl: I hope I'll understand them when I get older.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Even as a 12-year-old, there was something about E.T. that really pissed me off. I've refused to see it ever since, and I wouldn't be caught dead with some Reese's Pieces!
Enter the Dragon (1973)
Come on, people. Is there a black man alive raised on Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater who does not love, adore, indeed, worship Enter the Dragon? I really and truly believe that Brutha Bruce is the reason Black Muslims started calling themselves "Asiatic".
The Exorcist (1973)
Aw, Linda Blair had me at "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell." What a darling.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Is there a Gen Xer alive who does not love this movie? Besides, everybody who was nobody in the '80s was in this one with Uncle Martin thrown in for good measure.
The French Connection (1971)
This movie's like those mixed tapes we used to make: totally diminished by constant copying. This was the first movie that had the gritty city landscape, the cop of dubious morality, the hair-raising car chase. All of these things have been copied so often they're ingrained in our cultural cerebellum. When you finally see The French Connection you wonder what the big deal was. But it's still entertaining enough.
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, Part II
The Bomb! Part II
Quick Question: Is there a single movie where John Cazale (Fredo) doesn't get punked?
I don't care who you put in the role, I can't stand Bond. My Dad tried patriotism once: "But, son, James Bond was conceived in Jamaica." And I was like, "So was I. What's your point?" I give them props for getting Octopussy past the censors, but Quantum of Solace sounds like it was pulled straight out the thesaurus.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)
I've always wondered how Sergio Leone broke it to Eli Wallach that he was neither "The Good" nor "The Bad." I hope he didn't tell him he was born to play this role.
I've never quite understood the big deal behind this one. And this movie paved the way for Casino, and I can never forgive it for that.
The Graduate (1967)
Hey, weren't Ann Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman the same age in this movie? Wasn't Ann Bancroft hot as hell? And isn't "Plastics" still funny as all get-out?
Grand Illusion (1938)
I know I'm gonna get my Movie Pass revoked, but I haven't seen Grand Illusion, yet. Sorry.
Groundhog Day (1993)
I know you're not going to believe this, but I've never actually seen Groundhog Day all the way through. Unfortunately (and this isn't meant to be a joke), when I do catch it, I always catch the same scenes over and over again.
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
Remember what Public Enemy says about Elvis and John Wayne in "Fight the Power"? I pretty much feel the same way about the Beatles.
In the Mood For Love (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are hysterical. I wonder, if they remade this movie today, what Colbert would have to flash in order to get the car to stop. I mean, she had a mighty nice calf, but I just don't think it would cut it nowadays.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
"Yeah, I hate It's a Wonderful Life. I hate Jimmy Stewart. I hate Donna Reed. I hate apple pie, puppy dogs, the American flag, God, and my own mother!"
Anyone who would dare say this deserves to be burned at the stake!
Even with decades of copy cats, Jaws is still a great-ass movie.
King Kong (1933)
The story of my people. Stolen from Africa, enslaved, forced to entertain whitey and make him money, and as soon as you fall for the white woman, the police shoot your unarmed, monkey ass in New York City. Ain't that about a bitch?!
The Lady Eve (1941)
Haven't seen this one.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
I just want to thank T.E. Lawrence for leaving us with a legacy of colonialist bullshit and the war we're still fighting to this day. Way to go, hoss! Also, you gotta love my Mexican brother, Anthony Quinn. Here, he plays an Arab. He's also played Native American, Greek, and Ethiopian. Here's to Old School Racial Ambiguity! You know Vin Diesel's still jealous.
The Lord of the Rings (2001,2002,2003)
Honestly, I only liked the second one (though I do give Peter Jackson props for avoiding the apocalyptic race war that was in the books). However, someone who shall remain nameless was in love with this git for all three movies.
This movie started my love affair with Peter Lorre. Even the subtitle-averse would love this one.
One of my mom's Movie Appreciation flicks. This movie marked the first time I saw a nude woman on film. What up, Sally Kellerman? Other than that, I was confused because it was nothing like the TV show at all. This is probably one of the only Altman films I actually like.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bogart, Greenstreet, Lorre directed by Huston based on Hammett. Is there anything about this movie that ain't cool?
The Matrix (1999)
I was only but so impressed when it was fresh, and I doubt this bad boy ages well.
Modern Times (1936)
You know, I was just typing how I hadn't seen this one. But now I realize that I have. I guess I need to see it again, though. I'll get back to you. In the meantime, go watch The Great Dictator.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
I've been terrified of bunnies ever since.
National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
Yeah, I've never quite understood the big deal behind this one. I'll take your suggestions.
This is another Lefty Film. My favorite, in fact.
It's on The List. My wife can tell you, the only thing longer than our Netflix Queue is The List.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Kazan was a rat-fink bastard! Aside from that and that old-timey rape/"love" scene, this is a really good movie.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Graduation summer I was over a friend's house, getting ready to go out. While we waited for more of our friends to get to the house, we started killing time by watching Cuckoo's. We had been pumped to go out. But as the movie wore on and more and more people arrived and then sat down, we all found we couldn't pull ourselves from the movie. As the movie went on, we found ourselves more and more depressed. By the time the damned thing ended, we felt more like shooting ourselves in the head than flying all around town in search of a good time. The resulting depression was worth it, though.
Paths of Glory (1958)
You guessed it, Lefty Film.
Princess Mononoke (1999)
Another one I have no clue about. I guess I'm a flag-waving troglodyte if ever there was one. Crank up the Lee Greenwood!!!
Being a Slasher Film Baby, how terrifying could I have ever found Psycho? I respect it, though.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Back during the Pulp Fiction furor, a white friend of mine asked me one night, while drinking, if I thought Quentin Tarantino were a racist. I thanked him because I'd thought I'd been going crazy because the racial aspects of the film were driving me crazy and yet nobody, at the time, had mentioned it. Other white people started eavesdropping and soon joined the conversation and, before I knew it, I was "Little Big Horned" by a bunch of angry white people calling me a "racist." It was a pretty crappy night, but it sparked my first foray into cultural criticism with a piece called "Art and Pulp Fiction" (I wish it were still on the internet, but I couldn't find it). At the time, I did like this movie but I hated the fact that Q-Dog took every opportunity to demean black men in his movie (from "Dead nigger storage" to Ving Rhames' being cuckolded and sodomized by white guys--only to be saved by the White Messiah, Bruce Willis). Nowadays, though, I just wish Tarantino would go away. I find his stuff pretty boring.
Raging Bull (1980)
I often think that whenever people wax poetic about Goodfellas, I think they're just rhapsodizing about the glorious afterglow one receives after watching Raging Bull. But that's just me.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Oh yeah, this one's still fun.
Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
Hm, each night having to choose which of your three wives you're gonna get a li'l nooky from ... You know, one night in Paris, I spent the night with six Swedish nurses. Sounds great, doesn't it? Sounds like the night you've always dreamed of, eh? Well, I slept on the floor. And they slept in their bunk beds. Some things just always sound better than they turn out to be in real life.
There are few things better in this world than Toshiro Mifune being directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Rear Window (1954)
Ya know, I think Hitchcock is pretty cool, but I know Jimmy Stewart is God. I love all their movies together.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
I love "Rebel without a Pause." I'm guessin' they ain't related. After watching Celluloid Closet, I've been meaning to watch this. I just haven't gotten around to it, yet.
If you can overlook the constant desire to put the uppity nigra (Muhammad Ali) in his place and can try to forget all the reactionary, racist bullshit sequels that followed, you can really get into Rocky. Instead of basking in American triumphalism, this one is about a working class slob who wins just by showing up. I like that message. I would've liked it more if Apollo Creed just woulda whupped his ass and called it a day, but that was before Denzel and Will Smith. Sly wouldn't have a shot in hell nowadays. Where's Gerry Cooney when you need him?
Roman Holiday (1953)
Sorry. I got nothing here.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
I think that Steven Spielberg's probably the best action director of all-time. But anytime he deals with adult themes, I find his movies at best annoying and, oftentimes, infuriating. I mean, in Amistad, why the hell did that one Muslim slave become a Christian just because he liked the pictures in the Bible?! Anyway, Saving Private Ryan is a great example. Those battle scenes are absolutely amazing. But, when they start expounding on the "hell of war," you feel like ABC made a WWII after-school special. I mean, the plot was so fucking stupid, throughout the entire movie, the characters are complaining about how fucking stupid the plot is. They should've just cobbled a bunch of old Sgt. Rocks together and called it a day. It would've been cool to see Tom Hanks shoot down a Stuka.
Schindler's List (1993)
Personally, I've grown sick of Nazis, World WWII, and Holocaust films. I realize it was the last good war and that the Germans were pure evil, but enough is enough. I mean, more Nazis have died in Hollywood than in the African and European theaters combined. I liked Schindler's all right, and Spielberg got megaprops for the flick. But, when Roberto Benigni can win Oscars for making a slapstick Holocaust romp ("Zyklon B! The New Laughing Gas!"), how hard can it be?
The Searchers (1956)
If I had a dollar for every white film connoisseur who ever praised The Searchers, I could fucking bail out AIG (throw in Birth of a Nation and I'd rescue Detroit, too). Now, I'll give it to the Duke on this one. John Wayne comes dangerously close to acting in The Searchers. He plays a cowboy whose daughter (Natalie Wood) is kidnapped by a band of Indians and who's hellbent and determined to find his girl. As the movie progresses, you start to realize that his determination is actually racism; that he's obsessed with the idea that his precious, little white daughter has been turned out by the red man and that she's whiling away the time, sucking on his teepee; and that when he says "save" he actually means to blast his girl between the eyes. Now, the logical conclusion is that this obsessed racist is going to blow his daughter away for defiling the white race no matter what she says. The Hollywood conclusion goes something like this:
Duke: "Did you ...?"
Nat: "Ewww ... Daddy ... with them ... gross!"
Duke: "Aw shucks, pilgrimess, I guess I was bein' right silly."
Nat: "You sure were, Dad."
Hugs, smiles, fade to crap.
Seven Samurai (1954)
What I said about Rashomon times ... uh, seven.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
My wife loves this movie. So I love this movie (that's how I came to be able to quote Dirty Dancing verbatim -- yeah, I'm gonna pay for that one). But seriously, I like it. The Catholic in me always quibbles that this movie isn't about redemption at all, but hey, when was the last time I've been to mass?
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I have never understood the big deal about this movie. But I haven't found Anthony Hopkins scary since he stopped his ventriloquist dummy to stop killing folks in Magic.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
I think there may be about five or six musicals that I've ever liked. Singin' in the Rain is definitely one of them. I think it's all because of "Make 'em Laugh," I'm not sure, but I do find this one a lot of fun.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
You know, I've actually never seen Snow White. Does that make me racist?
Then I guess I shouldn't mention that there are only two "black" movies in this whole, damned list. Whatever happened to Affirmative Action?
Hey! This sudden realization calls for a P.E. moment:
Some Like It Hot (1959)
For years I avoided this movie, determined that it was going to suck. It's actually a lot of fun. Of course, Jack Lemmon was most definitely the man during this period. If you don't believe me, check out The Apartment.
The Sound of Music (1965)
I hate to admit it, but this is one of the other musicals that I like. If you're seriously questioning my masculinity by now, the others are Camelot and Damn Yankees (see, knighthood and baseball, I'm still a man).
Star Wars (1977)
I can't believe I spent some twenty years loving this franchise. It was when Lucas reissued those new, digitally-remastered "director's cuts" back in '97 that I realized that Star Wars actually sucked. It was a rough epiphany to digest. I went on a bender, abandoned my family, and went on a two-year bender. Only the love of a good woman made me realize that life was still worth living, it was OK to hate Star Wars, and that love was all that mattered. When the prequel trilogy came out, I felt secure in my newfound hatred.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
I challenge each and every one of you to point out one thing wrong with this movie. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Someone must've been smoking crack on this choice. I'm no pacifist, but even I couldn't swallow the bullshit moral they tacked onto this piece of cow piss. I mean, "If a killer cyborg can learn the value of human life, why can't we humans?" I'm sorry, didn't the Schwartze spend the entire film mutilating people with high-powered automatic fire. Sure, he didn't kill them, but he permanently maimed them. Is that really what we want to teach the kiddies?
The Third Man (1949)
My second favorite stiffy, Joseph Cotten, in my second favorite Joseph Cotten movie. (God bless him, but the man never did try; in Gaslight he plays a Scotland Yard investigator who sounds like he's straight outta Peoria, Wales--and the man was actually from Virginia) A great tale of moral ambiguity in our post-WWII world. And wasn't Orson Welles cool as hell?
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Lick me love pump, Stonehenge, "But this goes to 11." God, I love this movie, and I pretty much hate the music they parody. Go figure.
I still find it hard to believe that I liked this movie. Of course, I saw it before the hype machine went off its nut. As I've said before, that makes all the difference.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Never saw it, never read it. Tell me, what did I miss?
Toy Story (1995)
I wonder why this one made the list. I mean, it was cute, and all, but it's no Fritz the Cat--at least not the version I saw.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Yeah, this was dope, wasn't it?
"I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of parents!"
Oh, wait, that Mel Brooks' High Anxiety. Well, you have Hitchcock and Stewart and that new camera technique Hitchcock invented for the flick. I'd rather watch Rope, but this is still cool. I'm sure they exist, but I can't think of a Jimmy Stewart clunker.
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Well, shit, I already told you I loved Annie Hall, wasn't this the sequel?
Wild Strawberries (1957)
Hey! I saw The Seventh Seal and I have a tattoo of Max von Sydow on my ass. What more do you want from me?
No, I haven't seen this one.
Wings of Desire (1988)
Yeah, I tried watching this movie once with a ... friend. I got a bit distracted. Did Peter Falk get the girl in the end?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
"Can you feel a brand new day?!"
Yeah, I like both versions.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Why don't I remember this movie? My boy, Dabalou, once told me he forgets movies he doesn't like. I've worked long and hard over the years to acquire this skill. I wonder if that's why I don't remember this one. Sometimes, just looking at Almodóvar pisses me off.
The World of Apu (1959)
I'ma plead troglodyte on this one. I don't even think I've ever heard of this one--though I'm pretty sure I've been told to check out Satyajit Ray movies before.