I always feel guilt over watching the same movies time and time again. It’s not unlike living in a city like Philadelphia, a city with great food in my five-mile-radius, and eating at the same restaurants all the time. It’s lazy and unadventurous. So I ask myself why I do it? I suppose the main source is my father who, when he didn’t know how to parent, would show us movies. Then I guess that leads us to, why did he do it? They weren’t didactic necessarily, I think he just thought that we would be all the better for having seen them. And I believe he also thought that if he didn’t show us, no one else would. Or at the very least we might never see them.
When it comes down to it, I ascribe very heavily to what I’m sure many would consider a pretentious ideology: I don’t spend my time heavily discussing things that are generally enjoyed. Does Radiohead really need another fan? Do I really need to badger someone about not seeing Citizen Kane? I once saw a terrible commercial for Wheat Thins and thought: “Is anyone unclear on the concept of Wheat Thins? Is this really a good use of Wheat Thin’s money?” It’s not that I don’t like or even love some of these products, it just seems like my time could be better spent helping elsewhere, rooting for those things that maybe you’ve heard of but never prioritized seeing/reading/etc.
But this is no selfless act. I take complete pleasure in introducing people to things that enrich or provide happiness. Another trait brought on by my father I’d wager. So here is a list of movies that I love. They are all movies that I think the world at large will enjoy/find interesting/learn something from/ or will even walk away, improved. It is in no way comprehensive. The movies range from goofy 80’s horror (Reanimator) to the modern avant garde (Holy Motors). As I grow increasingly concerned about “old” movies becoming obsolete to a younger audience, the list focuses primarily on films of the past. They are by no means films that you haven’t heard of but simply an attempt to make sense of a cacophony of unknown titles.
So, currently, here are 20 movies I’d recommend to anyone, but particularly people my own age who might not otherwise see them. In alphabetical order:
1) All About Eve – Joseph L. Mankiewicz
2) The Black Stallion – Carroll Ballard
3) Bringing Up Baby – Howard Hawks
4) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Julian Schnabel
5) Eyes without a Face – Georges Franju
6) High and Low – Akira Kurosawa
7) Holy Motors – Leos Carax
8) In the Mood for Love – Wong Kar-wai
9) Irma Vep – Olivier Assayas
10) Jules and Jim – François Truffaut
11) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – Tony Richardson
12) Loves of a Blonde – Miloš Forman
13) M – Fritz Lang
14) The Player – Robert Altman
15) Reanimator – Stuart Gordon
16) Rififi – Jules Dassin
17) The Rules of the Game – Jean Renoir
18) Strangers on a Train – Alfred Hitchcock
19) The Sweet Smell of Success – Alexander Mackendrick
20) Umberto D – Vittorio De Sica