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The top 100 things I love about film


Take off that dark helmet and see if you agree with Aaron...

Rick Moranis in 'Spaceballs'

This was tougher to write than my previous ultra-subjective list, detailing what I love about TV. Since there’s incalculably more hours of television floating about in the ether, the nature of film’s relative brevity makes offering sweeping and categorical opinions more daunting, as the subjects of the opinions themselves are usually held to a higher standard than their sprawling little brother. Movies generally come in smaller, easier-to-digest, two-hour bursts, which makes their analysis simultaneously more and less difficult.

On one hand, when you watch a movie, it ends and you can process it; an episode of TV, on the other, almost invariably leads into another and another and so on. Discussions of television can become odd beasts when generalizations and recommendations of shows come fast and furious only to realize that when you say someone ought to watch The Wire what you’re really suggesting is they watch about thirty movie-lengths of show. Suggesting they screen Heat or The French Connection feels much more like you’ve done them a favor, no matter the purported quality of the show.

Much as I may love a good TV series, my loyalties really lie in movies. It’s precisely the self-contained qualities of it that interest me - there’s no “down the road,” no “next episode” to further develop things; you get your two (or so) hours and that’s it. Whatever you’re trying to say as an artist, a propagandist or a salesman (and arguments can be made to the similarity between the three), the comparative difficulty of cramming it all in and marshalling the efforts of dozens and sometimes hundreds of artists, workers and craftsmen to that end is staggering. My hat goes off to film on a whole and these hundred points and aspects in particular.

100. Trailers

99. The comic book framing of Hulk’s editing.

98. Early nineties Afrocentrism.

97. George Clooney’s absurdly nineties tattoo in From Dusk til Dawn.

96. Christopher Walken has predicated a prolific forty-year career on playing... Christopher Walken.

I've seen you masturbate, and you're good. (Walken)

95. I can never, nor will I probably ever, hear the 20th Century Fox fanfare without thinking about Star Wars.

94. Binary Sunset

93. John Williams

92. Highlander’s soundtrack

91. “Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks!”

Michael Bolton in Office Space (1999)

90. “You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”

89. Ben Kingsley’s frightening turn in Sexy Beast.

88. Spaceballs: the Flamethrower!

Use the Schwartz.

87. Coincidentally, I own more movies featuring John Hurt than any other actor.

86. The only really good thing that happens to Dante, all day, is finding that quarter in the coin return of the newspaper machine.

85. Just about everything in Coming to America.

84. The prologue to The Lord of the Rings.

83. Frank Drebin’s tear-away suit in The Naked Gun.

82. Nightbreed’s unfulfilled ambition to be the Star Wars of monster movies.


81. “Well, they can’t all be winners.”

80. When sequels are better than the originals.

79. Reading Star Trek II as a WWII submarine movie.

78. Reading Star Trek (2009) as the best Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi.

77. Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited.

76. The Criterion Collection... somehow includes RoboCop.

75. “C’mon Sal, Tigers are playin... tonight! I never miss a game.”

74. This guy grew up to win two Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar.


73. “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”

72. Star Wars was shaping up to be an unmitigated disaster until Marcia Lucas got into the editing bay.

71. The energy of Trainspotting.

70. I don’t think I’ve seen a Danny Boyle movie I didn’t like.

69. People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos; that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

68. Dimension wouldn’t let Alex Proyas shoot The Crow in black-and-white, so he simply made it with as little color as possible.

The Crow

67. David Fincher

66. The dinner scene in Psycho.

65. Hitchcock blondes

64. Unruly audience members put in their place.

63. Stan Winston and Rick Baker.

62. The American Werewolf in London was basically a hand puppet.

61. Good werewolf movies.

Furs a jolly good fellow

60. The wacky mish-mash of genres represented in Brotherhood of the Wolf.

59. Universal horror.

58. “It was bullshit! ALL OF IT! The cabinet minister - you got us in here to do your dirty work!”

57. Outdoor screenings... when the weather’s nice.

56. All my film classes in college.

55. Well-rehearsed sword fights by actors who are obviously well-practiced.

54. “Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!”

The nanny in The Omen

53. That one jump-scare from The Exorcist III; yeah, you know the one.

52. Viggo Mortensen as the best screen Satan of all-time.

51. The Balrog of Moria’s threat display.


50. “Take him to Detroit!”

49. Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris

Bruce Lee Vs. Chuck Norris

48. Bloodsport - you can stop making shitty Street Fighter and Tekken adaptations, guys; you were beaten to the “every martial art in one place” punch a while back.

47. The Fall was shot over a period of four years in twenty countries.

46. I spent ten years hunting down a copy of Begotten.

45. Sound design in The Exorcist.

44. Max von Sydow’s old-age make-up in The Exorcist did a pretty good job guessing what he’d eventually look like.


43. Gary Oldman almost never uses his real voice... or face.

42. Michael Sheen repeatedly playing Tony Blair.

41. “Oh, and Senator... love your suit!”

40. As far as I’m concerned, via Breathless, Godard invented modern film.

39. The directors of the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) were film critics first.

38. The directors of the American New Wave (New Hollywood) were film students first.

37. The directors of the Second American New Wave (The Indie Era) worked in video stores first. (See what I did there?)

36. The original poster for Queen Margot.

Queen Margot

35. The fake trailers from Grindhouse.

34. Catholic High School Girls in Trouble - never before has the beauty of the sexual act been so crassly exploited!


33. Brad Pitt’s slightly cock-eyed contacts in Interview with the Vampire.

Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire

32. Kubrick had to get special lenses to film Barry Lyndon... from NASA.

31. I know it was made for TV, but George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol is damn near perfect.

George C. Scott as Scrooge

30. Guillermo del Toro’s continued reliance on and envelope-pushing of animatronics and prosthetics in an era of completely CG characters.

Del Toro and friend

29. Orlok’s straight-backed rise from the coffin.

28. “My name... is Horace!”

27. “This is God.”


26. The Caine/Hackman Theory.

25. “I’ll see you in hell, William Munny” (long beat) “Yeah...” ::BOOM::

24. The “What If? / Domino” sequence from V for Vendetta

23. Color in Hero.

Color in Hero

22. The art direction of Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge!

21. Through undignified exposure, the men of The Full Monty regain their dignity.

20. “Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

19. The origin of Dr. Manhattan.

18. "The only thing I need to do is stay black and die."

Morgan Freeman

17. The amount of effort I put into seeing Chasing Amy four times in an art-house theatre twenty-seven miles from my home at seventeen with no driver’s license.

16. Renting The Exorcist and Full Metal Jacket twice a week my senior year of high school and memorizing them with my best friend.

15. Restaurant / movie theatres.

14. Seeing flicks in an otherwise empty theatre.

13. Seeing horror movies in a packed theatre.

12. The opening sequence of The Hunger.

11. The beauty of The Road’s destruction.

10. Ghost-Mima skipping on streetlights in Perfect Blue.

9. “During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!”


8. When Jesse sees Celine for the first time in almost a decade.

7. Spanish language tracks on shitty, pretty movies.

6. This shot. They use a long lens zoomed all the way in while making Mark Hamill crouch as Vader and Luke move towards the camera. By not moving the camera as the two approach, Vader grows larger and stronger within the frame while Luke becomes even smaller and weaker by comparison.

Vader and Luke fight

5. Tim Curry in Clue.

4. John Hurt, Tim Roth and Brian Cox stealing Rob Roy right out from under Liam Neeson.

Rob Roy (1995)

3. The interrogation scene in L.A. Confidential.

2. The credit sequence of Se7en.

1. Small films primarily comprised of two people talking.


...and ten things I could do without:

- Having the theme from Bloodsport stuck in my head.
- Peter Stormare
- Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim was fun, though).
- Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter all together.
- CG blood.
- CG sets.

George Lucas changes his approach

- Speed ramping.
- Fake film grain.
- Modern fight scenes.
- Feeling like I’ve been ripped off because Black Swan’s body-horror elements all turned out to be in her head.

Once again, I’ve taken a page out of John’s book over at The Droid You’re Looking For, only this time much more directly. I dropped him a line back when I wrote the TV list, asking if he had any ill feelings towards me for it, but since I never heard back, I just assume he either doesn’t care or my message got lost in space and time. His original list can still be found here.


The top 100 things I love about TV

Lists at Shadowlocked


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