This may be my favorite movie of all. Yes, it's very violent, but it really is an amazing love story starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette (later TV's "Medium") as a young couple who fall in love at first sight and then must battle a drug mafia on their way to happiness. The Quentin Tarantino script is over-the-top and constantly shocks the viewer as to what will happen next. The film is filled with wonderful performances by everyone, particularly actors who were not famous when the movie was made, who therefore have small parts, but who nevertheless create great scenes together. James Gandofini (later the lead in TV's "The Sopranos") is a hit man who first plays a scene with a spaced-out Brad Pitt (only his second movie, but he has super time playing this druggie) and then a spectacular one in which he corners Patricia Arquette in a motel room. Gary Oldman is a wigged-out drug dealer and Samuel L. Jackson is one of his victims in an early scene. Bronson Pinchot almost steals the show in a comic turn as a snotty Hollywood executive. And good fun is in store when Val Kilmer plays the ghost of Elvis! The ending is one of the most fantastic shootout sequences ever put on film. But the best segment of the movie is a single scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper in which they have a verbal interrogation battle that is an actor's tour-de-force, and, for all its terror, quite funny.
|Brad Pitt, high|
Someone once said that the goal of all entertainment is "surprise me." This movie does that, and if you can take the violence, I promise this is—as the title tells us—a true romance, well told.
2. THE COURT JESTER (1956)
3. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
4. GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)
|Let the Groundhog Drive|
5. THE LIVES OF OTHERS (2006)
a. Lust in the Dust (1984)—84 minutes of pure madness in the Old Wild West as Tab Hunter, Lainie Kazan, and the famous drag queen Divine skewer every cliché of that genre and have a rollicking time doing it. Not for children, but for adults with a broad sense of over-the-fence humor.
b. Life of Brian (1979)—the famous Monty Python movie creating a parallel version of the life of Christ that supposedly was going on in Israel at the same time, but in the usual Pythonic nutty fashion. Irreverent and blasphemous, sure, but funny as funny gets.
c. Galaxy Quest (1999)—Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman star as the washed-up actors who used to be on a "Star Trek" TV show but now only sign autographs for hyper-fans at conventions. Their pitiful lives change dramatically when aliens kidnap them for help in an intergalactic battle. Great fun.
a. Inherit the Wind (1960)—The famous 1925 Scopes trial brought to life in a fictional version, as the State of Tennessee bans the teaching of evolution in public schools, a teacher is prosecuted for doing this, and one of the greatest trials in American history occurs. Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly are superb in the lead roles. There is no finer production of this great work possible. Fascinating.
b. A History of Violence (2005)—Another contender for Best Picture, this movie rewards repeated viewings also. It's the tale of a violent man who changes his life, disguises his past, starts over, only to have the past catch up with him and his new family. Viggo Mortensen stars, but William Hurt steals the show at the end. He's only on for about fifteen minutes, but his turn as the hero's violent older brother earned him an Academy Award nomination. Warning: steamy sex and, as the title implies, much violence.
c. Brokeback Mountain (2005)—Though it makes my heart hurt to watch it, this haunting story of two gay men finding love in 1960 Wyoming is terrific. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal deliver stellar performances. The whole movie is beautifully filmed and acted, and should have won Best Picture, damn it.
Prophecy (1979)—One of the movies that's scared me most in my life. Director John Frankenheimer takes us to the Maine woods where an ecological disaster has created large monsters. The creatures terrify a doctor and his wife (Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire) in ways that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The scenes with the hunting dogs in the beginning, the terror of the tunnel under the Indian smokehouse, the camper trying to jump away in his sleeping bag, and other moments will stay with you a long time. Like being scared? This is the film. [Don't confuse this unknown beauty of a thriller with the 1995 movie of the same name.]
"The Best of My Library," August 27, 2010
"Some Cartoons I've Saved," October 20, 2010
"Doug's Favorite Jokes," November 13, 2010
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013