Tuesday, July 17, 2007

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things


Yesterday while I was writing on CATHERINE AND CO., a film that I admitted wasn't very good, the thought crossed my mind as to why I was writing about it instead of a great film I love like THE GODFATHER. I suppose it mainly has to do with the fact that I was probably the only person on the planet writing on CATHERINE AND CO. yesterday while I am willing to bet that there were probably many writing on an undeniably great film like THE GODFATHER. It did dawn on me though that while I have written on many films I do love here, I have ignored many that are among my actual favorite films.
There are a couple of reasons for this I think. One is that some of my favorite films have been covered so much elsewhere that I am not sure what I can bring to the table on them. I mean what could I possibly say about films I love like CITIZEN KANE or THE EXORCIST that hasn't been said a thousand times before when I could be talking about a Jean Rollin film that hopefully some readers don't know about? The other and more prevalent reason that I haven't talked about many of my favorite films is that many of them are just too personal for me. I would have difficulty explaining why I love Mike Figgis' LEAVING LAS VEGAS so much without disclosing perhaps some aspects about myself that I am not willing to share here. My all time favorite films are movies that I think are great as films but also speak to me in ways that few others do.
So I thought I would make a little post just briefly highlighting ten films that I consider among my most treasured that I may, or may not, cover on here in the future. I love all the following films like thay are family, they all have managed to speak to me about my life, dreams, beliefs, passions, failings and most importantly spirit and I never tire of them. I may not ever write on them in detail here but I wouldn't give anything in the world for them.
So here are ten of my favorites in alphabetical order:

BETTY BLUE (1986): Even though I named the blog after another Jean-Jacques Beineix film, this one is my favorite. To this day I don't know quite what it is that moves me so much about this film but 20 years after I first saw it, it continues to weave a very strong and intense spell on me.

LA BELLE NOISEUSE (1991): Jacques Rivette is the secret weapon of the French New Wave and this remarkable film is among his greatest works. It is one of the most penetrating looks at the process of creating art ever filmed and features Emmanuelle Beart giving one of the great performances in modern cinema.

LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972): This film has such an impact on me that I can't even come up with a simple two sentence description...all I can think of is...Brando, Bertolucci, Leaud, Schneider, Paris, 1972.

LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995): This film means more to me than any other. I went through a rough period about ten years ago when it felt like this film was the only thing that kept me afloat. I can't say any more about it.

MAGNOLIA (1999): I think Paul Thomas Anderson is the best American writer and director to come out since this seventies and as much as I love his other films this is the one that hits me emotionally like a truck every time I watch it. Just thinking about the last shot of Melora Walters reminds me that hope is the last thing that the world can strip away.

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976): I could have chosen any Roeg film from this period as I think he is the most underrated and important visionary in all of cinema. This one seems like a logical choice to me though because of Bowie but I could have easily put DON'T LOOK NOW, WALKABOUT or BAD TIMING on here.

MS 45 (1981): Zoe Lund was an astonishing artist and with my main man Abel Ferrara fashioned one of the great American films with this just his second feature. It was a toss up between this and BAD LIEUTENANT, but since I have actually written already on the latter I chose this one.

RED (1994): I love this film so much that I actually feel indebted to Krzystof Kieslowski and Irene Jacob. If any director and actress ever truly shared something spiritual with an audience it was these two.

ROCKY (1976): Sylvester Stallone's film and character probably shaped my childhood more than any other. This work is still among the most inspirational works of art I have ever seen and one of the only films honored as 'Best Picture' that truly deserved it. The monologue he delivers to Talia Shire the night before the fight is probably my favorite in screen history.

TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (1971): Truffaut's most underrated film and the best work that Jean-Pierre Leaud ever delivered to my eyes. I find this film insanely moving and so much better than the more well known JULES AND JIM.

There are many others ranging from Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE to Godard's SLOW MOTION to Jodie Foster's LITTLE MAN TATE to any number of seventies masterpieces from the great American directors of that period, and it pains me that I don't have any horror films on the list but these are ten that continue to speak to me in the deepest of ways. I intentionally left out PARIS TEXAS which would have been on the list because I will be covering it over at Nostalgia Kinky very soon. I am trying to get away from lists but I wanted to pay a small tribute to a group of films that I might not be able to focus on here...to paraphrase one of my favorite Lou Reed songs, all of these films have gotten me through the darkest of nights and I have no doubt they will continue to do so in the future.

9 comments:

Cinebeats said...

You have terrific wide reaching tastes Jeremy! I've been thinking so much about movie lists lately... it's making me nuts. I thought about making my own Top 100 Movies list recently and realized it would be impossible for me to do because I like too many films. I think I may try making a Top 250, much like my own "IMDb.com Top 250" sometime. That I probably could do and Betty Blue, Paris Texas and Last Tango would be on my own list as well. Lots of Roeg's films would make my list as well, including the ones you mentioned and his co-effort Peformance. He's one of my favorite filmmakers.

You've reminded me that I really need to make the time to watch Krysztoff Kieszlowski's colors trilogy. I've been meaning to for years now but I just keep putting it off. I think in the back of mind I know it will be an emotionally draining experience probably from all I've read about it so I tend to put off watching it and that's just silly of me.

Cinebeats said...

I also wanted to mention that I love Truffaut's Two English Girls as well, but Jules and Jim has a soft spot in my heart. I love the fact that the love triangle in Jules and Jim is about two boys and one girl which is such a rare thing in film as well as books, etc. I love how it taps into the complex emotional and sexual nature of women.

Two English Girls is probably a more mature film made from a more experienced director, but my heart belongs to Jules and Jim, probably due to the fact that I saw it first and I'm a lady myself. Both films are very special though!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks for the nice comments Kimberly. The main problem with lists for me is that I always forget something and regret it later...I am bit obsessive compulsive I think and would want to keep going back and changing it...that said I would love to see your list of top 100 movies (I can promise yours would be more valuable than that recent bloody AFI list).
I love Roeg so much...I should have mentioned "Performance" but I have a tendency to think of Cammell more in relation to that one...
I can't recommend the Three Colors trilogy enough...Blue and Red are especially fantastic but all three are incredible...
I don't know what it is about "Jules and Jim". Truffaut is my favorite director but I have never been able to warm up to it. It is one of his only films that doesn't nail me emotionally...it really frustrates me that I can't get captured by it...I am glad to hear that you like "Two English Girls" as well though, that seems to be one that is always overlooked...
anyway, thanks for the awesome comments...I would be fascinated to see one of your lists you are thinking on...all the best.

Cinebeats said...

Coming back for more chatter...

It's interesting reading what you have to say about Jules and Jim. It's hard to explain why we have connections to various films and directors, when some stuff just doesn’t resonate with us.

To be honest, I haven’t been able to connect with Abel Ferrara's work and I feel like I'm missing something since I know he has a lot of fans and many people who's opinions I respect (like yourself) seem to love his work so much.

I still need to see Magnolia as well, but I haven't been as touched by Anderson's work as you have.

I also respect how you talk about why you love Leaving Las Vegas and yet, it's hard to talk about due to the fact that you might be disclosing too much of yourself. I totally respect that since I feel the same way about Betty Blue, as well as other films and I prefer to be rather reserved about myself as well.

Anyway, great post and I enjoy the discussion it's created. I don't know if you read Neil's (Bleeding Tree blog) recent post about film lists but it's been a topic all over film blogs lately it seems. I kind of put my foot in my mouth but sometimes you've just got to. I really wish you could edit commenst on blogs and fix typos, badly expressed thoughts, etc. ;)

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks again Kimberly,
Ferrara is definately someone who divides people...I highly recommend Brad Steven's book "Abel Ferrara The Moral Vision" as one of the best books I have ever read on a director. It's a fascinating read whether you are a fan or not...He's a hard guy to pin down but Steven's does a remarkable job...I should point out the thing I like best about MS 45 is Zoe Lund, I think she is really unforgettable in that role and she was a really brilliant artist in her own right.
PT Anderson is another guy who seems to divide people but I highly recommend "Magnolia"...I would most curious to hear your thoughts on it...there is just something about his films that really get me...
Yea, talking about "Leaving Las Vegas" would be a bit like posting journal pages here so that probably won't happen anytime soon. The most I can say is that it is a film that really means a lot me and helped me through a rough time...
I'll have to check out that discussion at The Bleeding Tree. I wouldn't worry about anything you might have said, I know I have done the same thing but it's not worth stressing over. That's actually the reason I stopped posting on message boards and just read them now...
thanks again for the continuing comments. I wasn't sure if this post would attract any, so these have been great...

Rogue Spy 007 said...

Great blog. I've seen most of those films. I enjoyed all of them I've seen. I'll have to check out those I haven't. I've often thought of doing Top lists myself. I'm not sure how I would rank certain films. I really wanted to make a mention of the colors trilogy by Krysztoff Kieszlowski. "Red" is an excellent movie. Irene Jacob is so beautiful in it. I'm torn though between "Red" and "Blue" though. I can't decide which one of those two I like the best. I do want to watch all of them again. The one movie on this list that I really want to see that I haven't seen in "Two English Girls." Never had a chance to see it, but I've wanted to. This blog reminded me of that. Fantastic list.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith,
It is a hard call between "Red" and "Blue" but I think ultimately I go with "Red" because of how it makes me feel...Binoche in "Blue" is majestic though...
Hope you "Two English Girls" if you get a chance to check it out...as always thanks for the comments...

Rogue Spy 007 said...

"Red" is probably the better film of those two to me. I think what keeps "Blue" in the running is Juliette Binoche. She's always been my favorite French actress. I adore her. She's beautiful and talented.

Jeremy Richey said...

Binoche is just about my favorite French actress too and I think, along with Adjani, just about the best actress the very rich French film community ever produced...Julie in Blue is one of her great performances