Douglas Warshaw sent me this list some time ago... I was just cleaning my inbox and couldn't figure out what to do with it, and I think its really best suited out in the open, b/c its such a well thought out list.
Charlie ... was reading your blog ... and thought I'd send you the below. It's a list I made up last year for a friend's son who was going off to college (hence, some of the notes specific regarding on what date a film should be ideally be seen :)
By the author of The Manchurian Candidate and Prizzi's Honor, a dark satire
on the Kennedy assassination ...probably the best movie you've never heard of.
Ed Norton's breakout role -- and he's surrounded by a great cast, including
the incomparable Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, John Mahoney, Adre
Braugher, Alfre Woodard and Richard Gere -- a terrific, underrated movie
(probably because its dumb-ass title has zero to do with the plot!).
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Sean Connery and Michael Caine...about as good as a Kipling tale -- or a movie
for that matter -- can get.
*THE LAST DETAIL
One of a line of truly great, cynical American movies of the late 60s and 70s. The kind of flick that makes you realize how far from great today's
films are. Jack Nicholson in one of his greatest roles.
BONNIE & CLYDE
Changed American filmmaking, our sense of violence, our sense of celebrity -- and even effected American fashion. Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and young Gene Hackman (in his breakout role).
Paddy Chayefsky's amazing black satire of the TV business -- that today seems less a satire than an on-the-mark prediction. Another of the great, cynical American movies of the late 60s and 70s.
The single blackest film I've ever seen. Another gem by Chayefsky.
Regarded by many as one of the very best scripts in the history of film. Roman Polanski at is best, and Jack Nicholson, again, at the top of his game.
*THE MALTESE FALCON
"A man can have many sons, but there's only one Maltese Falcon."
The most perfectly cast film ever. (From a great Hammett novel.) Another John Huston gem.
THE BIG SLEEP
What the Falcon is to Hammett, the Big Sleep is to Chandler. Bogart and Bacall, 'nuff said.
Another great script. And, of course, Rolo Tomasi.
WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION
Billy Wilder meets Agatha Christie. This one gets lost in the shuffle of great old films, but a true gem.
*THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Best script of the past 10 years.
*THE GODFATHER (I & II)
Forget Paul Hamm... The IOC should make Kevin Costner walk over to Scorsese's house and hand him the two Oscars Costner stole in 1990 (for Best Director & Best Picture, for that abomination, "Dances with Wolves").
Regarded by many as the best film of the 80s.
Jack at his best, yet again. (The World Series scene is one of the greatest ever -- hell, the whole movie is one of the greatest ever.) And to think it only took a decade for Kirk Douglas to find a producer (his son) willing to make it.
Based on a true story of the one honest cop in all of New York in the 1970s.
Another of the truly great, cynical American movies of the late 60s and 70s.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
I cry just thinking about it. (See it with a date, and show her your sensitive side.)
Tough to find a smarter, funnier, more enjoyable film. The sort of film you quote from once a week. The sort of film that has about a dozen GREAT scenes (including the greatest quiz ever.)
The first of Levinson's Baltimore films.
The second of Levinson's Baltimore films.
Not Diner, but pretty terrific.
Another great script. And another great ensemble acting job (featuring Paul Dooley, one of my very favorite character actors: "Refund! Refund!") Another gem.
Simply the finest American film ever made. To be quoted from at least once a day.
I dare you to find a funnier picture.
Another film you'll quote from for the rest of your life.
LOST IN AMERICA
Albert Brooks' best film. Funny and mean.
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER
Ben Stiller, Tea Leone, George Segal and Mary Tyler Moore in a another cruely funny (David O'Russell) film.
MY COUSIN VINNY
Another comic gem.
Right up there with The Usual Suspects, in terms of script, and great direction to boot.
I LOVE this film -- its energy, its wit, its grit, its script, its
filmmaking, its humor.
Another great drug film. Starring Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch (with one of the all-time laments: "You won't fuck me and I always have to drive.")
Eddie Murphy's breakout film. And still his best.
David O. Russell's brutally funny, smart, quirky film about US Soldiers in post-war Iraq on a quest to find a chunk of Sadam's hidden treasure.
George Clooney & Ice Cube have never been better together!
My guess is you've seen it. And best not seen on a small screen. But I couldn't stop myself from typing it on this list. (Falls apart at the end,
but well worth the trip up the river.)
Brilliant courtroom drama that takes place during the Boar War. Small picture, big issues.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
One of the all-time great films. But best seen on a BIG screen.
THE RIGHT STUFF
Perhaps APOLLO 13 is better ... but this is bigger ... and translates the remarkable reportage of Tom Wolfe to the big screen perfectly.
ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN
Just a great movie. And every frame of it is true.
NORTH DALLAS FORTY
One of the all-time sports films. Dark as hell. But funny as hell. And on the mark: This really is what pro sports was like in the 70s/80s. (From a
terrific novel by former Dallas Cowboy, Pete Gent.)
THE FUNNIEST sports film ever made.
Probably the most entertaining sports film ever made. And probably the best baseball film ever made. (And Costas agrees :)
*CHARIOTS OF FIRE
The Olympics before NBC, Bob Costas, or even Roone Arlidge.
"True story* of two Brits competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics: One a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice."
*(Actually, some of the facts are conveniently moved around :)
Won the Gold medal for Best Picture in 1981 ...and unlike Paul Hamm's, no one argued about it.
*COOL HAND LUKE
How many hard-boiled eggs can you eat? George Kennedy (later of Naked Gun side-kick "fame") gets the Oscar, but Paul Newman owns the film.
Man, Jackie Gleason was just a great film actor. And Paul Newman is just... Paul Newman.
*THE COLOR OF MONEY
How many Scorsese films (and Paul Newman film) can I put on this list--and the guy's never one the Oscar!!!--dunno', but no way this sequel to "The Hustler" gets left off.
GOING PLACES ("Les Valseuses")
A great date film -- but has to be the right girl -- and its subtitled, so see it on a big screen if you can. But you probably can't, which is why I'm putting it on this list (whereas I've left off a lot of other great films like "The 400 Blows," which you'll be able to catch on campus).
Aimless criminals, and aimless sex. But blisteringly funny. Starring a very young Gerard Depardieu -- and featuring the legendary Jeanne Moreau, of "Jules and Jim" fame -- and a very young Isabelle Huppert.
George Lucas's breakout film about his home town. No special effects -- just a great young cast: Harrison Ford, Richard Dryfuss, Ron Howard! ...and a brief but memorable appearance by the then unknown Suzanne Summers.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Lost all the hoopla over John Travolta, and disco fever, and the Bee Gees, is the fact that this is a great (small) authentic film.
* THE GRADUATE
My guess is they'll show it Freshman week. If they don't, save it for a date. (Just don't make it a date with one of your friend's mothers.)
MORGAN: A Suitable Case for Treatment
One to watch on a date...or with a group in the mood to see a very offbeat film...that's one of the best of the British comedies of the mid-60s.
I love this film.
And Vanessa Redgrave, despite her politics, just may be the most beautiful woman ever to walk the earth. And in this film, she certainly makes you understand why, "Morgan is sad today."
You must remember this... Maybe the ultimate date film. (Ideally the third date.) Hell, maybe the ultimate film.
*THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
For a long time this remarkable film of war veterans coming home after WWII held the record for most Oscars, and deservedly so.
I cry just thinking about it. (Another one to see with a date, to show her your sensitive side.)
* IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
One of Capra's classics. And another great date film.
(Don't get fooled into thinking this is some “Miracle on 34th Street” Christmas Holiday see-it-on-TV film. This is one remarkable movie. And Jimmy Stewart gives one of the great performances ever caught on celluloid. It's why Tom Hanks--only at his
best---gets compared to Jimmy Stewart.)
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
Maybe the greatest (and. smartest) "screw-ball" comedy ever made: Katherine
Hepburn, jimmy Stewart and cary grant. And, yes, she is "yar."
Another date flick.
* DESIGN FOR LIVING
Gary Cooper and Fredric March both living -- and sleeping with! -- Miriam
Hopkins. (With the magical Edward Everett Horton--the voice of Bullwinkle's
"Fractured Fairy Tales"--as the cuckolded husband.)
This film almost single-handedly brought about the Hayes/Hollywood
Production Code, which took the sex out of American movies for about three
(My favorite shot is when Hopkins falls back on the couch, and the sex--in
the form of dust--just rises all around her.)
You won't believe someone made this film 70 years ago. It's brilliant, and maybe Lubitch's best -- and that's saying something.
Another great date film.
OKAY... i can't help myself... here are the films that you MUST see when they play on campus... all but the last four are great date films :)
* GRANDE ILLUSION (anybody who really knows film has this in their top 10 -- Renoir's greatest)
RULES OF THE GAME (another gem by Renoir)
400 BLOWS (possibly Truffaut's greatest)
CITY LIGHTS (Chaplin's greatest)
* MY LIFE AS A DOG
NINOTCHKA (another Lubitch masterpiece -- it'll make you realize what all the fuss about Garbo was about)
* CITIZEN KANE (basically the mount Olympus of films)
KIND HEARTS & CORONETS
BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID
HEAVEN CAN WAIT
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (one of the 20 most influential films of all times)
HAROLD & MAUDE ("offbeat" doesn't do it justice)
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
* Clockwork Orange
* Dr. Strangelove
Henry V (both Olivier's and Branagh's versions)
The Blue Angel
Destry Rides Again
Goodbye Mr. Chips
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(Gary Grant, Ingred Bergman and Claude Raines in my favorite Hitchcock film)
From Russia with Love
Five Easy Pieces