Okay…I was watching Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” today and was amazed at how spectacularly awful it was! That got me to thinking about what I think makes a movie “good.” And THAT got me to thinking about which films I’ve seen that are “good!” Which brings us to my list of 25 of my favorite films (in the order I thought of them:)
1) Party Monster (2003) When I first saw this film, my head almost exploded from the overload of drugs in excess, fabulousness in excess and EXCESS in excess! Based on James St. James’s novel of the same name, this film tells the true story of the glitter and ketamine-fueled rampage that was the Club Kid era of late-eighties-early nineties New York City nightlife. The costumes are insane, the soundtrack is fierce and we get to look at Wilson Cruz (as Club Kid /drug dealer Angel Melendez,) you know, until the hammer falls.
2) The Rules of Attraction (2002) Based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho) this film made an impression on me for a few reasons. Director Roger Avery’s slick style of interweaving the stories of the various characters draws you in before the opening credits are even halfway through. Despite the fact that James Van der Beek is present, the acting in this film is pretty decent and captures the flavor of Easton Ellis’ writing style. The character of cheeky, sarcastic, bisexual Paul reminds me of myself at that age (that’s either good or bad…not sure!)
3) Labyrinth (1986) So many things to love about this movie! Jim Henson’s genius, David Bowie (and his disturbing bulge) and, of course, Jennifer Connelly, with her fine self! Seriously, this is the film that introduced me to her gorgeous hotness! Oh yeah, and she’s a wonderful actress…even as a whiny, spoiled suburban chick who reads too many fairy tales.
4) The Neverending Story (1984) I’ve literally seen this movie over fifty times! The story of a wussy kid named Bastian Balthazar Bux (his parents obviously didn’t love him) who basically robs a bookstore then ditches school (while still IN school, go figure. And how many schools have attics, anyway?!) to read his stolen book, “The Neverending Story.” In the magical world of Fantasia, Atreyu is the most badass kid ever. In our world, Atreyu is a horrible band…unfair!
5) Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005) I love witty dialogue. I love Robert Downey, Jr. WIN!!! I didn’t even make it through the opening credits before this film had me cracking up. And I don’t LOL IRL that often (don’t judge me.)
6) Singin’ In The Rain (1952) I have often credited Gene Kelley as being “The Coolest White Man To EVER Walk The Planet.” This wonderful film is proof! Almost every musical number is a highlight. Especially Donald O’Connor’s brilliant “Make ‘Em Laugh.”
7) Repulsion (1965) Say What you will about Roman Polanski, the man made some brilliant films (except The Ninth Gate, yuck/yawn.) This subtle yet creepy tale of a young woman’s descent into madness unnerved me more than a little bit.
8 ) Alice In Wonderland (1951) Make no mistake, the story of Alice in Wonderland is a crazy, dark, twisted head trip. Of course, THAT’S why I love it so! As much as I hate on Disney, the evil empire, their particular brand of technicolor insanity is my favorite incarnation of the story. Even if there is no Johnny Depp.
9) Kill Bill (2003) Quentin Tarantino directed it? Check. Uma Thurman being a badass? Check. Lucy Liu and Vivica Fox where we can see them…AND they’re also badasses? Check and check. I’m counting both volumes of Kill Bill as one film because it simply should be that way. I’ve never been able to sit through one and then not immediately watch the other, no matter which one I watch first!
10) The Matrix (1999) Okay, I just counted Kill Bill as one film. The Matrix Trilogy, however is broken up on this list because one of the three (aka the only one not listed here) should NEVER have happened! That being said, The Wachowski Brothers (they were both boys then) really put their FOOT in this movie…that’s a good thing, btw. The sublime mixture of sci-fi action and postmodern theory alongside the game-changing special effect technology made The Matrix an unparalleled phenomenon. And the wardrobe? YUM!
11) The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Okay, this is a controversial choice. I personally feel that “Reloaded” is the best of the trilogy. The philosophy is deeper, the fights are more fierce, the wardrobe is hotter, there’s no happy ending (my favorite part of the second installment of any trilogy)…and Jada Pinkett Smith is doing things. Frankly you could put her in front of the camera reading the phone book and I’ll watch it wide-eyed and drooling. And here, she’s wearing leather and kicking ass…HELLO?!
12) 28 Days Later (2002) Having grown up with gory ass horror movies, it takes a lot to actually scare me. But director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) definitely managed to unnerve the bejeezus out of me! The tension slowly builds until I wanted to scream, if not from fright, just as a release! Not to mention, this was an interesting take on the zombie genre…and we get to see Cillian Murphy! 🙂
13) Pulp Fiction (1994) I had no idea what a Quentin Tarantino was when I went and saw this awesome piece of cinema. I was just going to check out Sammy L. and see what John Travolta had been up to! Well, after much great vengeance and furious anger I am SUCH a fan!
14) Rear Window (1954) This is one of, if not my favorite of the Hitchock films. First off, it introduced me to the gloriousness that was Grace Kelley (sigh.) Also, Hitchcock’s expert use of dramatic tension almost puts you in that wheelchair with ol’ Jimmy!
15) American Beauty (1999) “Look Closer” was this film’s tagline. An appropriate one, too, because every single one of the characters in this film has some drama in their closet (in their closet…see what I did there?) Most of the main characters superficially have no redeeming qualities…but yet we love them so!!!
16) Aliens (1986) The original “Alien” from 1979 is lauded as a film classic, and rightfully so. But of all the films in the “Alien” saga, this is definitely my favorite! The scope is bigger, we get to see more of the awesome Xenomorphs (the aliens, y’all…keep up!) and Sigourney Weaver is more baddassier than ever!!!
17) The Shining (1980) Okay, yes, director Stanley Kubrick took Stephen King’s novel, looked at it once then tossed it over his shoulder saying “Meh! I got the gist.” I don’t care! This. Movie. Scared. The. SHIT. Out. Of. Me!!! It’s so good, I’ve read the book several times, loved it and STILL adore this film!!! Although I still don’t get the ending.
18) Requiem For A Dream (2000) Director Darren Aronofsky is known for making edgy, thought-provoking, sometimes downright confusing and wierd films (Pi, Inception.) With the exception of “The Fountain” I love them all. But this shit right here, nigga? Some of the most disturbing imagery, coolest camera shots, the most AWESOME score, the amazing Ellen Burstyn, proof that Marlon Wayans CAN act…and of course, Jennifer Connelly’s fine self. What’s NOT to love?!
22) The Princess Bride (1987) I love this movie so much! It’s witty. It’s a true swashbuckler flick. It’s so utterly quotable (“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya…) And it’s got Cary Elwes’s fine ass…literally (I mean, we don’t see it, but it’s there!)
23) School Daze (1988) My first Spike Lee film. It’s subject matter (the tension among Black people over skin tone and its perceived value) is an issue that hits very close to home even now. It also gave us a glimpse at the future casts of “A Different World” AND “Martin!” DAAAAAAYYYYUUUMMMM!!!!!!
24) Bamboozled (2000) Another Spike Lee film. This might actually be my favorite of his. His sendup of minstrelsy and blackface was hilarious and brilliant. It’s got hoofin’ by Savion Glover, mugging by Tommy Davidson, Damon Wayans being subtle (who knew?)…aaaand Jada Pinkett Smith doing things…again, what’s not to love?!
25) 25th Hour (2002) Yes, ANOTHER Spike Lee Joint, what of it?! This one is also brilliant. The story of a popular drug dealer (played by the fantastic Edward Norton) on his last night of freedom before he goes to prison. This was a good one because it proved what we as his fans already knew: Spike is a great storyteller! Plus, it’s got Rosario Dawson and her FOINE self!
*NOTE* I know I left out some awesome films. This was not meant to be a comprehensive list of any kind. These are NOT my 25 Favorites, they are 25 OF my favorites. There’s plenty more that I adore. Feel free to comment and add on to the list…but don’t forget your fave scene!