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Favorite movies

If you had to name your five favorite movies as of right now, what would they be? Let’s say you don’t have to put them in a particular order unless you want to.

Mine, unordered, would be as follows:

  • Scenes from a Marriage (Bergman)
  • Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)
  • 8 1/2 (Fellini)
  • Magnolia (PT Anderson)
  • Synecdoche, NY (Charlie Kaufman)

(Tomorrow, maybe they’ll be different.)


June 28, 2009 - Posted by | film


  1. War and peace (Russian), Tungalag Tamir, The 12th chairs ( with Andrei Mironov), O Brother where art though
    the fifth could be anything i’ve watched lately and liked

    Comment by read | June 28, 2009

  2. Excellent choices.

    1. Magnolia
    2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Moulin Rouge
    In America

    Comment by redison | June 28, 2009

  3. How can you even be thinking about movies at a time like this? Billy Mays died today! He was only fifty!

    BTW: any of his infomercials is beats the shit out of any movie listed above this comment. Especially “Moulin Rouge.” (Ewan MacGregor has been dead to me since 2001.)

    Comment by Craig | June 28, 2009

  4. The Mission, Dr. Strangelove, Amores Perros, The Fast Runner, Babette’s Feast. Oh Brother Where Art Thou is #6 or #7.

    Comment by old | June 28, 2009

  5. Decline of the American Empire, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Breathless, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Dr. Strangelove is also up there.

    Comment by hugh | June 28, 2009

  6. Is this THE most idle sport (making lists of favorite movies, favorite songs, favorite whatevers)? Or is this the MOST favorite sport? Or is this the most FAVORITE way to be idle? Or, the most idle SPORT? There, is that five?

    Comment by Lloyd Mintern | June 29, 2009

  7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sweet Smell of Success, His Girl Friday, Lawrence of Arabia … what the hell, Sexy Beast. But there’s 4 more above that could easily take one of those slots, and several more that are in my canon.

    Comment by Wrongshore | June 29, 2009

  8. * La double vie de Véronique (Kieslowski)
    * The Red Shoes (Powell)
    * Fitzcarraldo (Herzog)
    * Tystnaden (Bergman)
    * Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (Lang)

    Comment by Bryan Klausmeyer | June 29, 2009

  9. The Magnificent Ambersons
    My Brother’s Wedding
    The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
    The Asthenic Syndrome

    Sixth: The Phenix City Story

    Comment by burritoboy | June 29, 2009

  10. Bottle Rocket
    It’s a Wonderful Life
    Pulp Fiction
    The Princess Bride

    Comment by Chad | June 29, 2009

  11. Lloyd, It’s a way for me to take stock after a couple years of much broader movie watching and me to get some more movie recommendations.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 29, 2009

  12. I probably don’t watch enough movies. Also, my taste is atrocious and incoherent.

    That said…

    Happiness (Solondz)
    Husbands and Wives (Allen)
    Mysterious Skin (Araki)
    Polyester (Waters)
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Nimoy)

    Comment by toops | June 29, 2009

  13. Woman Under the Influence (Cassavettes)
    Teorema (Pasolini)
    Text of Light (Brakhage)
    Band of Outsiders (Godard)
    Raging Bull (Scorsese)

    Comment by dbarber | June 29, 2009

  14. The Thin Red Line (Malick)
    Mulholland Dr. (Lynch)
    Malcolm X (Lee)
    In the Mood for Love (Wong)
    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Park)

    Of course, tomorrow they may be different.

    Adam: you mean Royal Tenenbaums.

    Comment by Currence | June 29, 2009

  15. Thanks, fixed.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 29, 2009

  16. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Parajanov)
    Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carne)
    The Third Man (Reed)
    The Conversation (Coppola)
    La Grande Illusion (Renoir)

    Comment by grackle | June 29, 2009

  17. I should have had Dead Man (Jarmusch) in there.

    Comment by dbarber | June 29, 2009

  18. Holiday (Cukor)
    Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock)
    Merrily We Live (McLeod)
    The Awful Truth (McCarey)
    Limelight (Chaplin)

    I really want to say Casablanca as well, but I’ll omit it for now.

    Comment by Chris | June 29, 2009

  19. Belle de Jour (Brunuel
    Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Tanner)
    8 1/2 (Fellini)
    Trans Europe Express (Robbe Grillet)
    The Terminator (James Cameron)

    Comment by Lloyd Mintern | June 29, 2009

  20. Pulp fiction is good i recalled, others i’ve watched and didn’t marked them as that much faves, Casablanka excluded
    favourites are the movies which i can watch and rewatch and they are never getting boring
    should see Magnolia perhaps if this many 3 people like it
    or maybe i watched it before but don’t remember the title
    eternal sunshine (2) otoh was just plain boring that i didn’t watch it further 10 min maybe
    what i absolutely hate is that street car named desire

    Comment by read | June 29, 2009

  21. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Allen)
    The Holy Mountain (Jodorowksy)
    Inland Empire (Lynch) (No, really.)
    La dolce vita (Fellini)
    Fresh (Yakin)

    Comment by Will | June 29, 2009

  22. The Big Lebowski
    Royal Tenenbaums
    The Sacrifice (Offret) by Tarkovsky (go out and watch this immediately)
    Bad Boys II

    Comment by Hill | June 29, 2009

  23. Two-Lane Blacktop
    The Conversation
    Play Time

    The last two are just sort of filling things out because I’ve thought about/seen them recently. As perhaps is the first. Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like It Hot, Breathless, Eternal Sunshine, and Rushmore could occupy slots pretty easily.

    Comment by ben | June 29, 2009

  24. Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
    Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar Wai)
    Marie Antoinette (Sophia Coppola)
    The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy)
    West Side Story (Robert Wise)

    Comment by jms | June 29, 2009

  25. And any of the above could be switched out for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Royal Tenenbaums, but they’ve gotten plenty of love in this thread already.

    If my list weren’t so self-conscious, it would probably include Tremors.

    Comment by jms | June 29, 2009

  26. Fuck yeah Tremors! Today, Once Upon A Time In America replaces Sexy Beast.

    Comment by Wrongshore | June 29, 2009

  27. Tremors is awesome.

    Comment by Hill | June 29, 2009

  28. I still need to see Once Upon a Time in the West. (I haven’t seen OUaTiAmerica but don’t feel as if I need to.)

    Comment by ben | June 29, 2009

  29. -th

    Comment by read | June 29, 2009

  30. I think you would appreciate and enjoy it. I love OUaTiW and The Good, the Bad & the Ugly — especially the essay on Clint Eastwood’s face contained in the latter — but Once Upon a Time in America is a beautiful and weird dream-work cum immigrant epic. Plus, Jewish gangsters!

    Comment by Wrongshore | June 29, 2009

  31. (unordered, and at-the-moment:)
    The Life Aquatic
    The Big Lebowski
    The Science of Sleep
    My Neighbor Totoro
    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Comment by stras jones | June 29, 2009

  32. The Big Lebowski was also funny, all that el duderino stuff and his friends, very moving, i just didn’t get the cowboy in the bowling place, he seemed like totally redundant

    Comment by read | June 29, 2009

  33. Here are five movies pulled at random from my five-star reviews at Netflix, and presented in no particular order:

    The Big Sleep
    Blast of Silence
    Battle of Algiers
    F is for Fake
    Life & Death of Colonel Blimp

    Comment by Brad Johnson | June 30, 2009

  34. And, what the hell:


    Comment by Brad Johnson | June 30, 2009

  35. Stras, have you seen Matt Zoller Seitz’s video essay on Wes Anderson? It’s what the internet is for, after porn.

    Comment by Wrongshore | June 30, 2009

  36. Not so much top films of all time, but ones worth adding to your queue:

    Lesson 21 by Alessandro Baricco (you should read his books too!)

    My Dinner with Andre / Vanya on 42nd St by Louis Malle

    Jonah who will be 25 … as referred to above

    Friends with money (yes it has Jennifer Aniston, but it’s a good quietly interesting film)

    Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants with Charlotte Gainsbourg

    Comment by Gabe | June 30, 2009

  37. I’m somewhat surprised to see stras-love for Wes Anderson, chronicler of the idle rich.

    Also, I love Rififi. Nice shot!

    Comment by ben | June 30, 2009

  38. Stras,

    Couldn’t you find movies more appropriate to your political opinions? I mean, I would have at least hoped to see at minimum a Fassbinder or Weissmuller from you, and ideally why not some Straub/Huillet or Joris Ivens or Dovzhenko or Pudovkin or Makavejev? I mean, Makavejev is great! Much funnier than Wes Anderson. (Also, Makavejev has many many more hawt nekkid women than Anderson, which also doesn’t hurt).

    Comment by burritoboy | June 30, 2009

  39. Specific Makavejev recs? You can make them based on humor or presence of naked hotties, as you like.

    Comment by ben | June 30, 2009

  40. Mysteries of the Orgasm … great stuff.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | June 30, 2009

  41. You’ll get both humor and nudity.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | June 30, 2009

  42. Sweet Movie’s good too. Lots of hotties in that one.

    Comment by burritoboy | June 30, 2009

  43. Great post/comment (well …). If I’d known there would be so little Scorsese, I’d most definitely have put Bringing Out the Dead, or my favorite even though it’s not classic Marty, The Aviator. A gaggle of Wes Anderson votes and just one for Scorsese? To date, I’ve always refrained from calling people indulgent navel gazers here when I disagree with them, because I thought it would be cartoonish.

    Comment by old | June 30, 2009

  44. So, the question now becomes what is Stras’ defense of his (her?) poor cinematic taste. I mean, Stras is very insistent that her opinions on politics are indisputably correct. But her (his?) aesthetic choices betray no impact of his (her?) politics. I mean, if you seriously believe that the US is collapsing……then The Life Aquatic is an idiotic movie, or at the least an incredibly trivial movie.

    Comment by burritoboy | July 1, 2009

  45. I’m having trouble deciding whether The Life Aquatic or Inland Empire is the less believable choice.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 1, 2009

  46. Note that I have no difficulty with The Life Aquatic as a movie (it’s not a movie I rate extremely highly myself, but it’s not a bad movie by any means), it’s that I’m noting what seems to me to be a political / aesthetic train-crash for someone holding Stras’ stated political opinions. Maybe I just don’t see the depths in Wes Anderson’s work.


    I’m not sure Scorsese’s backlist is aging as well as people once expected. For example, I’m not sure Mean Streets is as profound now as it was when most people couldn’t easily see Elaine May’s Mikey and Nickey or John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore doesn’t look so notable when you can see Barbara Loden’s Wanda. Taxi Driver is still a singular achievement, but………

    Comment by burritoboy | July 1, 2009

  47. Stras is a pessimist. The Life Aquatic is a deeply pessimistic movie.

    Comment by Wrongshore | July 1, 2009

  48. Compared to what is The Life Aquatic a deeply pessimistic movie? Compared to I Was Born, But…….? Compared to Kiss Me Deadly? Compared to Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion? Compared to Weekend? Compared to Berlin Alexanderplatz? Compared to Ace in the Hole? Compared to The Friends of Eddie Coyle? Compared to The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May’s version, of course)? Compared to, dare I say it, Citizen Kane?

    Comment by burritoboy | July 1, 2009

  49. Compared to Rushmore.

    Comment by ben | July 1, 2009

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