The film world is mourning the death of critic/writer/TV personality Roger Ebert. He and his longtime friend/rival Gene Siskel are best known for giving the world the "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" system of rating movies.
Over the years, the film critic has compiled a list of the greatest films of all time.
Here they are below:
1. Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog)
2. Apocalypse Now (Coppola)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles)
4. La Dolce Vita (Fellini)
5. The General (Keaton)
6. Raging Bull (Scorsese)
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
8. Tokyo Story (Ozu)
9. The Tree of Life (Malick)
10. Vertigo (Hitchcock)
Ebert's most recent list from last year added Brad Pitt's "Tree of Life," removing Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Dekalog" from his previous 2002 list.
Click HERE to see what Ebert had to say about each one.
For the past couple days I've been telling you about some of my favorite albums, but today I take a short break from that, and in honor of Roger Ebert I'm going to talk about my favorite movies. This is actually a piece I wrote a few years ago about flicks I love, and still think it stands up today. I'll post a couple current thoughts at the end of it, but right now I take you back to 2009.....
For the past couple of days Wease and his partners have been discussing what their Top 5 or 10 movies are, so I decided to try and figure out mine.
This list could be 100 titles long and I still think I'd have a difficult time. After debating myself for way too long, studying my dvds and tapes, and trying to narrow my list down, here are the ten films I decided are my favorites at this very moment (and I know they might not be the "best" movies, just the ones I can watch over and over again, and always enjoy).
Plus I'm still gonna cheat and give some honorable mentions.
10. Fear of a Black Hat.... I love "This Is Spinal Tap" as much as the next movie/music fan, but I think this mockumentary following the up and down career of faux rappers NWH (Niggaz Wit Hats) is even funnier and on target. Much better than the similar Chris Rock feature "CB4"
9. Spellbound.... I'm talking about the spelling bee documentary, not the Alfred Hitchcock thriller (which is also an excellent movie). Laughs, tears, and edge of your seat tension are all here. There were times I laughed as hard as I do at The Simpsons, had a tear rolling down my cheek like when I first saw Brian's Song, and gripped the armrests of my chair the same way I do while watching Jack Bauer save the world on 24. Plus it gives me hope that there are smart kids out there capable of running the world when I grow old.
8. That Thing You Do.... Tom Hanks wrote, directed, and costarred in this charming musical comedy that charts the short career of a pre British Invasion rock and roll band in the early 60's. I guess it's just a (very) different spin on the same story as my number 10 movie, but equally enjoyable... plus Liv Tyler is extra cute as the group leaders girlfriend.
John Ditullio say The Wonders (the group in the movie) is based on a band from his hometown of Erie, PA., but I think they are just supposed to represent all the one hit wonders of the era like The Insiders (Time Won't Let Me), The Swinging Blue Jeans (Hippy Hippy Shake), Count Five (Psychotic Reaction), and many more.
7. Clerks 2... Kevin Smith is one of my three favorite writer/directors (The other two get their props later). Not everything he does is great, but I enjoy even his lesser efforts (Jersey Girl, Mallrats).
The original Clerks was his breakthrough, Chasing Amy is probably his best overall flick, and Dogma the most controversial, but this followup to his first hit is one of the rudest, crudest, most offensive movies I've ever seen. It also made me laugh so hard I thought my head was going to explode.
6. The Commitments.... I think there's some type of pattern here, and I seriously just realized it myself. Another movie that follows the career and breakup of a band... this time a group of kids in Ireland doing 60's soul music.
5. Sons Of The Desert.... I love all of the early film comedy pioneers (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, The Marx Bros., The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Our Gang) and they are all represented extensively in my film library, but this Laurel and Hardy masterpiece is the one I reach for instinctively when I need a good laugh. Stan and Ollie were comic geniuses, equally adept at physical and verbal humor... which is why they were able to make such a smooth transition to talkies when the silent film era ended.
The plot of another film I love humorously chronicles the difficulties of silent film actors trying to adapt to sound in movies... Singing In The Rain. I bet you've heard of this classic, but unless you've seen it you had no idea what it was about. I probably should've bumped one of my three films with the same plot for this one.
Holy crap... this Laurel and Hardy dvd is discontinued and selling used on Amazon for $90. It may be one of my ten favorite films, but if I can really get that much for this disc I can live with my VHS copy (or dvr it next time it shows on Turner Classic movies).
Martin Scorsese has made at least a dozen classic films during his career (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, The King Of Comedy, The Departed, The Aviator, After Hours, Mean Streets, The Last Temptation Of Christ, Gangs Of New York, etc..) but the one I chose for my list is...
4. The Last Waltz... Jesus, another movie about the breakup of a band... this time The Band.
Scorsese's chronicle of the last concert by The Band's original lineup is the greatest rock and roll film ever. Great music by the stars of the film and their legendary friends (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, etc...) combined with compelling interviews conducted by Scorsese himself (satirized by Rob Reiner in This Is Spinal Tap), plus beautiful direction and cinematography (compare this film to most other concert videos with the quick cut MTV style, and you'll see the difference).
There are a lot of awesome concert films, and in the future I should probably do a Top 10 list of those, but The Last Waltz will be number 1.
I should also do a list of underrated films... King Of Comedy and After Hours are two great Scorsese films that not enough people have seen.
3. Bringing Up Baby.... Romantic, slapstick, screwball comedy with Cary Grant as a forgetful zoologist and Katherine Hepburn as a wacky heiress with a pet leopard (Baby). This film was later remade with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal as "What's Up Doc"... banter and chemistry between Grant and Hepburn later remade by Bruce Willis and Cybil Shephard in "Moonlighting" (which would be in my "10 Favorite TV Shows Of All Time"... except season 4).
2. Do The Right Thing.... Spike Lee is my number 2 favorite writer/director. I love almost every movie he's made, but this is his best. Entertaining, provocative, troubling, funny, heartbreaking, and a dozen more adjectives aren't enough to describe my choice for number 2. which follows the day to day lives of the white owners of a pizza parlor in a black neighborhood, and the love/hate relationship with their customers.
As someone that grew up, and still lives in the inner city, I wonder if anyone in the suburbs (much less middle America) really get this movie. As a middle aged white guy do I really get it (even though I think I do)?
And now, the top of my list... Billy D'Ettorre's All Time Favorite Movie!!!
1. Beverly Hills Ninja... A comic tour de force starring Chris Farley as a.... nah, I just f***ing with you. This is one of the two movies so awful that I actually walked out of it half way through (the other being Waterworld). How bad is "Beverly Hills Ninja"? So bad that if they remade it today it would star both Adam Sandler AND Pauly Shore.
Now, for real, Billy D'Ettorre's All Time Favorite Movie!!!!
1. Pulp Fiction... I saw this at the theater 5 or 6 times, and have owned the VHS, Deluxe VHS, DVD, 2 Disc Collectors Edition DVD, and I'm sure there will eventually be more versions for me to buy.
Quentin Tarantino is the greatest moviemaker of my generation, and as much as I adore Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Death Proof, and the Kill Bill movies, this is the one he will never top. The perfect movie.
I feel bad leaving so many films I love off my list, from "Duck Soup" to "March Of The Penguins"... from "Go" to "Stop Making Sense"... from "Fear Strikes Out" to "The Empire Strikes Back".
Where's "American Beauty" and "MASH" and "Planet of the Apes" and "Animal House" and "The Wizard of Oz"?
If I wasn't so lazy I'd start the whole list over, but then I'd just feel bad about the movies I replaced.
Ya know what? You might not agree with what I wrote in 2009, but 4 years later I still think what I had to say was pretty awesome... and for me to say that about myself is pretty rare... everyone that knows me knows what a self loathing idiot I am.
I still love all 10 flicks, and agree with everything I said. Clerks 2 is still my favorite Kevin Smith movie, but hope he tops it with Clerks 3, which is in the works.
Django Unchained is close to being as good as Pulp Fiction, but I'm still giving the nod to PF.
Since I mentioned it, I recently watch Animal House, and I enjoyed it, but it didn't hold up as good for me.
I think it's funny how much I love superhero movies, but none get mentioned in my little essay. If I had to put one in the honorable mentions it might either be last years "The Avengers" or "Superman II" from the late 70's (Kneel Before Zod!!!). Batman is my favorite superhero, but because of that I think I always see flaws in those movies, and get too picky with them. The 1966 Batman feature film with Adam West and the four big badguys might be my favorite because it's so much fun. "Kick Ass" was pretty awesome, and can't wait for "Kick Ass 2". James Bond is also awesome, and "Goldfinger" was my 007 of choice, until I saw "Skyfall" last year... I left the theater absolutely exhilarated.
A couple more recent flicks I could put into the "favorite" catagory is "Jeff Who Lives At Home" with Jason Seigel, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon... A documentary about folk singer Phil Ochs, and the Glee concert movie. No I'm not kidding.
I still feel bad about leaving off a bunch of my favorites, and may have to remove "Fear Of A Black Hat" (even though I still love it) and replace it with.... replace it with what? I'm still battling in my head over the virtues of "Singing In The Rain", "M*A*S*H", "The Empire Strikes Back", and more. I'll choose M*A*S*H (for now). Or maybe "A Hard Day's Night" with The Beatles. How about "American Grafitti"? The original "Muppet Movie"?
Any thoughts or comments? Email email@example.com or tweet @RadioBillyD