Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Favorite Movie Titles Blogathon: A to Z

Note: Just as a quick note, before I get into the blogathon post, I want to let everyone know that I plan to swing in sometime in the next several days and do an April recap. Just wanted people to know I haven't forgotten and that I will be getting to it. Now then....




WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE FOR EACH LETTER OF THE ALPHABET?

That's the idea behind the remarkable and uber talented Brittani Burnham of Rambling Film and her newest idea which fuels the blogathon that she's started. Submissions are due in by May 23 and if you're a film blogger who wants to take part in the fun, swing by her blog, giver her a follow, copy & paste the banner and get to it! Anyway, since I'm on hiatus, I figured I'd take a little extra time and put some extra thought into this and give my loyal followers a bit of fresh reading material. Here we go.

#: 12 ANGRY MEN (1957 - Sidney Lumet)
Other contenders: 21 Grams, 3-Iron
Was there really ever any other choice? I don't think so. 12 ANGRY MEN still stands as probably my favorite movie ever made and it's the movie I cite when asked what my favorite movie is.

A: THE APARTMENT (1960 - Billy Wilder)
Other contenders: Amores perros, Angels with Dirty Faces, Almost Famous
We haven't gotten around to talking about ALMOST FAMOUS yet around here, have we? We'll have to make some time for that one. Anyway, THE APARTMENT still stands as an all-time favorite and a very important film in bridging the gap between me and classic films. Prior to this one, I was a strict one for staying within my own lifetime.

B: BLUE VELVET (1986 - David Lynch)
Other contenders: Back to the Future, The Birds, The Breakfast Club, Buffalo '66, The Big Lebowski, Big Fish, Bringing Out the Dead, Bowling for Columbine
I'm trying to bring to mind both movies I've reviewed and movies I've never talked about here on the blog, when listing the "other contenders". Anyway, BLUE VELVET just really blew me away this last time I watched it. So dark, so evil, beautifully filmed, fantastic story, the scariest non-horror I've seen (that comes to mind), great cast. Just firing on all cylinders!

C: CONTEMPT (1963 - Jean-Luc Godard)
Other contenders: Clerks, Closer, Chungking Express, A Clockwork Orange, Cool Hand Luke, Carlito's Way, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, Crimes and Misdemeanors
Man, I know of more than a few people who just don't like Godard and I really don't have a steadfast opinion of him, but based solely on the merits of CONTEMPT, he's fantastic. I love this movie and it's easily the best C film that comes to mind.

D: DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954 - Alfred Hitchcock)
Other contenders: Dog Day Afternoon, Dear Diary, Drugstore Cowboy, Dogville
When I get to my OTHER LIST of 1,000 films, I'll be doing a full scale review for DIAL M FOR MURDER and I really can't wait to put my opinions down on paper, in full form. I'll never forget my first time watching this movie, sitting on the couch with my wife, in our first apartment - loving that moment when we both realized that the other was having just as good a time with it.

E: ELECTION (1999 - Alexander Payne)
Other contenders: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Escape from Alcatraz, Everyone Says I Love You, Eyes Wide Shut
Another one that I just really want to do a full scale review on and someday I will. You'd think that by loving ELECTION that'd mean that I was big into student politics, but no, I just think it's a brilliant film by a brilliant, up and coming (at the time) director. Say what you will, but with the exception of SIDEWAYS, Payne barely got better than this, despite awards ceremonies telling him differently (still have yet to see NEBRASKA - want to!).

F: FARGO (1996 - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Other contenders: Frenzy, A Fish Called Wanda, Funny Games (original), The Fabulous Baker Boys, Following, The Full Monty
My favorite Coen Brothers movie - I say that without too much hesitation. Of course, isn't it most people's favorite Coen? Just a beautiful, yet tragic film. Epic cinematography, stand-out/career defining performances from Macy, Buscemi and McDormand. Love this movie!

G: GROUNDHOG DAY (1993 - Harold Ramis)
Other contenders: Goodfellas, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Garden State, Greed, The Green Mile
Yes, I'm sorry by GROUNDHOG DAY beats out both GOODFELLAS and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY for best 'G'. Technically, it's probably not better than either of those films, but for my money, I think GROUNDHOG DAY is one of the best comedies ever. I could literally pop it in right now and watch it.

H: THE HOLE (LE TROU) (1960 - Jacques Becker)
Other contenders: Hannah and Her Sisters, Halloween (original), Heat, Hard Eight, Happy Together, High Fidelity
Damn, do I love THE HOLE! Okay, that came out wrong ;) All jokes aside, if you haven't seen this 1960 French classic, you are like totally missing out. It's the prison movie to end all prison movies, topping both THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ. Best. Prison Movie. Ever!

I: THE ICE STORM (1997 - Ang Lee)
Other contenders: It Happened One Night, It's a Gift, Insomnia (Nolan), Inglourious Basterds
I came that close (holding index finger and thumb incredibly close to each other) to picking IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, but THE ICE STORM is more up my alley. I love drear and gloom and that's what THE ICE STORM is. Damn, Ang Lee is one versatile mofo isn't he?

J: JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES (1975 - Chantal Akerman)
Other contenders: Jaws, Juliet of the Spirits, Jackie Brown, Juno
JUNO and JACKIE BROWN = two more movies that need their own, full length reviews. Really, I'm doing this more for the "other contenders" than I am for the actual pick. JEANNE DIELMAN... is really good. Be patient and reap the benefits. Technically, JAWS is probably the better film, but I'm more of a JEANNE DIELMAN.... kinda guy.

K: KNIFE IN THE WATER (1962 - Roman Polanski)
Other contenders: Kramer vs. Kramer, The King of Comedy, The Killing, Kill Bill (whole thing), Knocked Up
Oh, who hasn't seen this movie? I bet it's a lot of you. If you haven't, it's pretty easily Polanski's best, just edging out ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE PIANIST. A great little jazzy score coupled with brilliant story and lots of tension make this one an easy thumbs up. It's on the next LIST, so we'll get to it eventually.

L: THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001, 2002, 2003 - Peter Jackson)
Other contenders: Little Miss Sunshine, The Last Battle, Last Life in the Universe, Life Is Beautiful, Lost In Translation, Love Liza
Realize that the other contenders list is just REALLY REALLY good movies that could also be the best for that letter. There are plenty of other exceptional films that just aren't as good as the ones I've listed (i.e. for this letter, LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, LIVING IN OBLIVION, A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG, etc.). Anyway, I can't not go with THE LORD OF THE RINGS. It may be cliche to love it - then I'm a cliche bastard, because I do love this trilogy.

M: MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (1993 - Woody Allen)
Other contenders: Match Point, Manhattan, Marnie, Memento, Midnight Cowboy, Modern Times, Moonstruck, Mighty Aphrodite, Misery, Mulholland Dr., Monster's Ball, Mystic River
I had to go with my personal choice, as opposed to more technically sufficient choices like MIDNIGHT COWBOY, MANHATTAN or MEMENTO. I really don't know why this one strikes such a chord with me, but I LOVE me some MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY. Probably because it's the film that really introduced me to Woody Allen.

N: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007 - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Other contenders: the only other one I can think of would be National Lampoon's Vacation and technically that's just called "Vacation". Someone make a good 'N' movie, NOW!
Ummm so yeah, it's just that there really wasn't anything else to pick. Not that I'm just settling for NO COUNTRY... as it would be a good choice, even if there were hundreds of other good contenders. Seriously, Javier Bardem's character in this gives me nightmares and as I write this, I realize that he would have been a GREAT choice for the Great Villain Blogathon!

O: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968 - Sergio Leone)
Other contenders: Once Upon a Time in America, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Odd Couple, Open Water
Regulars know how batshit crazy I went whenever I first saw this, coming directly to the blog to spill my guts about how I'd just discovered the greatness that is Sergio Leone. Other, more diverse movie goers had discovered him years prior, but here I was, late to the party as usual!

P: PULP FICTION (1994 - Quentin Tarantino)
Other contenders: Punch Drunk Love, The Piano
My old answer whenever I was asked about my favorite film ever was PULP FICTION, so it goes here easy. Also, not a lot of competition in the 'P' category. Is there anyone who doesn't love this movie? Okay, I guess there probably is, but I'm not one of them. COOL THAT BITCH OUT!

Q: THE QUEEN (2006 - Stephen Frears)
Other contenders: (none)
Only THE QUEEN by default because I couldn't think of another 'Q' film. Seriously though, THE QUEEN wasn't that bad. A knockout performance from Helen Mirren, making the world realize who she was, decades after her career began. When you can revitalize your career that drastically, at that stage, you know you've done something stellar. A solid 6.5 - 7/10

R: REAR WINDOW (1954 - Alfred Hitchcock)
Other contenders: Raging Bull, Rain Man, Reservoir Dogs, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rocky
I should be ashamed of myself for 1) not including ROCKY in the TOP 20 list that it would've been eligible for (not even a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod) and 2) for not placing REAR WINDOW in the #1 spot of it's respective TOP 20 list. But yeah, easily REAR WINDOW as the best 'R'.

S: SIDEWAYS (2004 - Alexander Payne)
Other contenders: Se7en, The Shawshank Redemption, Shaun of the Dead, The Silence of the Lambs, Stranger Than Paradise, Scenes from a Marriage, Signs, Sleuth
Easy to call the best 'S' SIDEWAYS but just look at how many other great contenders there are. Seriously though, I need to do a proper review for SIGNS and include it as a SINS OF OMISSION post...love that movie.

T: TAXI DRIVER (1976 - Martin Scorsese)
Other contenders: Talk to Her, Toy Story, Trainspotting
Not really good enough to include as an "other contender", but how awesome is TREMORS? Anyway, I love love TAXI DRIVER and it's a movie I recall fondly as one that helped to shape my current cinematic brain. One that I like more and more each time I see it too.

U: THE UNKNOWN (1927 - Tod Browning)
Other contenders: (none)
Not a lot of 'U' movies to pick from, but THE UNKNOWN kicks ass, so this isn't a desperation pick or anything. Seriously, if you've seen Browning's more popular FREAKS, I can assure you that this is yards better!

V: THE VANISHING (1988 - George Sluizer)
Other contenders: (none) 
I kind of want to put V FOR VENDETTA into that "other contenders" section, but it's been way too long since I've seen it to call it something I'd like that much. Anyway, THE VANISHING is really great - it's French though, so it almost has to be at least good. Miles better than the later Jeff Bridges/Keifer Sutherland remake.

W: THE WRESTLER (2008 - Darren Aronofsky)
Other contenders: The Wages of Fear, The Wheel (La roue), Woman in the Dunes, White Heat, The Wicker Man, The Wrong Man, Walk the Line, The Weather Man, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Well, THE WRESTLER is one that kind of holds a special place for me and when I get the chance to do my proper review, I'll explain why. As it is though, it's easily the best of the lot here. Aronofsky's best too, but again, only because of the special qualities that this film brings to the table - on a personal level.

X: X-MEN (2000 - Bryan Singer)
Other contenders: (none)
This is a desperation pick, but I DID grow up on comic books and have a brother who's gaga for them, so it's another one that kind of holds a special place. Do you know how awesome it would've been if this had come out when I was a kid? I still remember watching this for the first time and seeing characters that I'd read about for my entire youth come to life. Good fun!

Y: YI YI (2000 - Edward Yang) 
Other contenders: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Really the only logical choice, because YOU WILL MEET.... just isn't better than YI YI, plain & simple. Still though, YI YI will provide you with some amazing cinematography and a great story to boot.

Z: ZERO KELVIN (1995 - Hans Petter Moland)
Other contenders: Zabriskie Point, Zodiac
Loved LOVED ZERO KELVIN, but the other two are fine films too. Seriously, KELVIN was one of the first foreign films (not from France) that I really took to, from THE BOOK. Great stuff all around...

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Well there you have it. I probably put a lot more time into it than was intended, but I had fun raking through each level of the alphabet to come up with twenty-six movies. Each of the twenty-six I chose have some significance in my own cinematic journey. I hope you'll decide to play along too and by clicking the banner at the the tippy top of the page, you'll be redirected to Brittani Burnham's blog and the rules of the project, so you can join in on the fun as well. Thanks to Brittani for continuing to make the world of blogging a fun and exciting one!

At this point, I'm tinkering with the idea of creating my own blogathon here in the coming months, perhaps turning the annual FRIGHTFEST thing into one. What's everyone think?

Anyway, I'll probably still be away for another month or so, but have hopes of popping in with a SINS OF OMISSION post here and there, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, have fun perusing the archives! I think you'll find plenty of reading material to keep you busy. Remember, I still check daily to approve comments, so don't be shy!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @adduvall1984

May 13, 2014  5:26pm

12 comments:

  1. Great post! Thank you so much for participating. I love how you included other contenders as well.

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  2. Thanks Brittani! Had a blast with this!

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  3. Very interesting list! So many great movies (except the Vanishing, bleh) and I liked how you included others as well. It's really hard to pick just one movie for a list like this.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Lindsey! Sorry you didn't like The Vanishing...

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  4. Great post, I love your choices. Some of these I've never heard of, which is always a treat.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope I've given you some new ideas for your watchlist.

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  5. Definitely some good ones here. 12 Angry Men is of course a classic, along with Blue Velvet, Pulp Fiction, and Taxi Driver. One or two that I'll have to say I disagree with (I'm one of those people who can't seem to see the appeal of Godard, for instance).

    I think I might have considered No Country For Old Men as a possible contender on my entry, along with North By Northwest, but then I found the title of Naked Lunch and had to go with that one. V For Vendetta was another one I considered before I settled on Videodrome.

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    1. I'm not a huge Godard fan either, but I think Contempt is pretty flawless, for my money.

      I just can't get into David Cronenberg's stuff either, but to each their own and I thank you immensely for stopping by!!

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  6. Awesome post! I learned a lot here. :D Taxi Driver was really enlightening fot me, too!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Glad you the post was enlightening.

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  7. What a great list! We had loads of fun doing this Blogathon. I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much we love your blog! We run a film/tv blog ourselves and we've added 1001 Movie Man to our Blog Roll, hope that's okay!
    - Allie from Flick Chicks
    http://flick-chicks.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Hey, thanks a lot! I'll be sure to add your blog to my BlogRoll too! Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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