Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Greatest Movies of ALL TIME! EVER!

Editors Note... I started messing with my blog and I don't know what the hell is happening now. So, enjoy the chaos if you can. And I hope you can figure out how to leave comments like this better than I can. Because I'll be damned if I can figure it out.

My favorite movies of all time!

I hate this sort of thing, the idea of having a favorite movie is ridiculous to me. It’s a nebulous thing, sometimes I love this thing and other times I only like it. It’s always fluid, and I’ll forget how much I love a thing until a decade or two later when I see it again and I think, my god, I can’t believe I’ve lived without you for so long.

Or, whatever.

So I was writing over the weekend, I had intended on writing a third chapter in my WIP (for the third time, btw) and I decided to just have some background noise on while I worked. I wanted a movie I’ve seen a thousand times that I can just leave running and ignore. I usually write in silence, but again, I just wanted… something.

In doing so, I selected a much loved movie that I haven’t seen in about a year. I have probably seen it close to a dozen times, so even though it’s been a while, it’s not something that I’m likely to forget major portions of.

And from 60 seconds in I knew I was screwed. I put my laptop down and watched, riveted, just like I was the first time I’d seen that movie. When I breathed again and it was two hours later I thought I might as well just go ahead and make a list. My Favorite Movies of all Time.*

5: Dazed and Confused: I waffled between this one and School of Rock, but I went with this one because it reminded me so much of high school that I can’t help but get a little twinge in my belly every time I watch this. And yes, this one really is kind of like high school for me – even if it’s off by about a decade. I’ll let you decide which character I see as most like myself. Probably seen this one about 7 or 8 times.

4: The Abyss: I originally had some other Cameron movie here, but I decided that this is the one I like the best. It would be higher if the third act was as great as the first two, but as it stands I still can’t turn away any time it’s on. It’s aged very well in my opinion… and the deep sea is the creepiest place on earth. I’m tempted to go read Starfish again by Peter Watts after writing this. I’ve seen it about five times.

3: Zoolander: I don’t know why. It just is**. Seen it about 9 times.

2: Good Will Hunting: Look, this is pretty much the story of my life… except for the abuse, the super high IQ, the relationships, and the personalities. But aside from those things… oh, and the setting, and circumstances… it could have been a biography of my life.

Seriously, one my most loved movies of all time, and this is the one I put in the other day while I tried to write. Amazing flick. I never tire of it. I think I’ve seen this about a dozen times.

1. Contact: Based on the novel by Carl Sagan (which I’ve read a few times as well). One of those rare instances where the book, which was already pretty good, was improved on with the movie. There were aspects of the book I liked better, but Robert Zemeckis was genius in how he made some pretty heady material from the book compelling and emotionally gripping.  I also tip my hat to the effort that went into making this as scientifically accurate as was possible, especially considering the made up technology that emerges later in the tale.

I must have seen this more times than I can easily count. There was a time when I’d come home from work and just hit play on the DVD player and let it be on while I did whatever I was doing. It was awesome. I’d guess I’ve seen it close to 50 times, more than any other movie I’ve ever seen by a long shot***.

*Okay, look, I saw Starship Troopers and thought it was the greatest movie ever made. I saw it a second time and thought it sucked. I eventually came to the opinion that it just isn’t very good. A similar thing can be said for Independence Day, I loved it at first, and liked it less upon each viewing. I simply can’t watch it anymore. My point is that I can be overwhelmed by spectacle and it can cloud my judgment early on, so I really don’t know how I feel about a movie until about a year later and after at least two viewings. And the reverse is true too. When I first saw Contact I thought it was okay. That was a movie that I liked a bit MORE each time I saw it. Same can be said for Zoolander – which I initially thought was the stupidest movie ever made.

**Another point, comedies in general are weird, I might laugh like crazy the first time I see one, then hate it after (Borat, Ms. Doubtfire) or I might love it every time I see it (Dumb & Dumber, Groundhog Day). But like I mentioned in my above point, some movies grow on me after not liking them at first, comedies seem to be that way for me more than any other genre though. I hated Austin Powers, but grew to like those films, same for Hot Rod, Joe Dirt, whatever other widely panned movie that finds its way into my heart.

*** I really wish I knew how to make that little cross thing instead of three asterisks. Regardless, the clear number 2 on the ‘most watched’ list for me would Rocky III, which played at the $.99 theater near my house back in the summer of ’82 (I think). I had a huge change collection and I robbed it daily to go see Rocky beat up on Clubber Lang… I even read the Rocky III NOVEL. When it came on VHS later I must have rented it with enough regularity to put my total views into the upper 20’s at least. For anyone interested in a list of my most viewed movies, here it is (and man, how awesome would it be to have a footnote to my footnotes, that would be meta-awesome):

Contact  - 50 ish
Rocky III – 30 ish
Star Wars – 15 to 20 ish
The Empire Strikes Back - 15 to 20 ish
Star Trek IV – 15 ish
Raiders of the Lost Ark – 15 ish
Zoolander, Star Trek: First Contact, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Goonies, The Terminator, T2 – all somewhere between 10 and 15 times a piece.
Blade – 10 ish – it was the first DVD I ever purchased and was the only thing I had for a few weeks before I got my second DVD, which was Star Trek: First Contact.

I’m 40 years old. Don’t judge me for wasting my life. And also, I love the idea that I’d have more words in my footnotes than in my actual post. I love footnotes, love them. I’m thinking one day that my post will just be a single asterisk, then everything else will just be the footnote for the asterisk. Now THAT would be awesome.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dude, should've saved this for my Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest in March!
Good on you for naming the Abyss. That's a favorite of mine as well.
Contact had some good lines in it.
Hope you find a blog layout you like. I follow a couple others with this layout and it's... different.

Tonja said...

Wow. It is chaos. Kind of a fun surprise.

I wanted to love Contact and Zoolander and the Abyss - they all disappointed me. Good for us writers that different people love different things.

Jo said...

I was going to say the same Alex. I saw Contact and found it a tad disappointing. I liked Jodie Foster in it. I liked Close Encounters of the Third Kind better. Several of your choices are movies I enjoyed, but don't want to see more than once or possibly twice.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Contact is a great movie. Zoolander is just hilarious, a comedic classic. My fave movie is The Untouchables. Watch it any chance I get.

Andrew Leon said...

Okay, well, I'm just going to "reply" to Alex' comment, because it won't scroll down enough to let me make my own comment.
I still haven't seen Dazed and Confused, and, although I like all of the other movies, none of them are what I'd consider a "favorite," which is actually not a thing I'm in favor of. Favorites, that is.
I like Good Will Hunting more for the fact that Affleck and Damon wrote it than I do for the movie itself. Dead Poets' is better and all of that.
But I'll save my movies for the blogfest. If I can work them out.

Briane P said...

I will reply to Andrew and Alex.

You read the Rocky III NOVEL? You are a man of letters. And Roman numerals.

This is a seriously eclectic (i.e., weird) list of favorite movies. I feel like I got a glimpse into your psyche here, and honestly I'm a little freaked out. It's like when you suddenly turn to someone in a coffeeshop and say "I robbed that bank, man" only it's not like that at all. I don't know why I said that.


Sorry. I've been working really hard this morning.

As for the actual movies: Never saw "Dazed & Confused," and I remember seeing "Contact" and not being very impressed. I did like "The Abyss" but enough to list it as an all time favorite? Hm. No. And now I can't remember the other two on your list.

Oh, yeah: Zoolander and Good Will Hunting. (I scrolled up). Remember when Minnie Driver was hot?

I can't decide if she still is. I went and Google Imaged her and I'm not sure nowadays she's still hot. She was then, though, and I also liked that movie.

Zoolander was okay. I like all of those stupid comedies: Dodgeball, Joe Dirt, etc. They're awesome to just put on for a while and remember laughing at.

AND and and: You put on background noise, too! I thought only I did that.

Great post. Great new blog design. I feel renewed for having come here.

Briane P said...

I also figured out how to comment. If you hover near the top left of your blog you can change the views to "classic" or "flipcard" or whatnot. I remember trying out the dynamic views on my blog. I liked them but my advertisers did not, and since I am ruled by the dollars I chase, I ended my experiment with dynamism.

Trisha F said...

I'm doing the same thing - can't find the bottom of the page to add a comment that stands on its own, so this shall be nested! :P

Some great movies listed here - I too love GOOD WILL HUNTING, in fact I bought it on DVD and watch it now & then. Have never seen ZOOLANDER but I love Stiller so I totally should. I think I saw DAZED & CONFUSED once but need to revisit!

Donna Hole said...

Good Will Hunting and Contact are two of my favs too. I'm always trying to write with 'background noise" movies I've seen so often I can recite them, and I always get caught up in watching them.

I have to stick to wordless music for writing noise.


Cindy said...

I see your blog is back to normal. Well, I can't say any of these are my favorite, but they are very good.

Brinda said...

Zoolander is one of my all-time favorites. I quote lines from it and hope the recipient has a freakin' clue that I'm not crazy--only quoting. I've see all the others as well. Good picks.