MY 20 FAVORITE MOVIES

Hey there!  I think you can learn a lot about folks by what their favorite movies are.  I've come up with my Top 20 here, which for various reasons I think are just cool as hell.  I'm always interested in what your favorites are, too, so drop me a line with your picks!  I'd love to read them!


#20: JAWS (1975)

"The thing about a shark, it's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When it comes at you it doesn't seem to be livin'... until he bites you, and those black eyes roll over white." -Quint


It's simply one of the scariest monster movies of all time.  I still can't swim far from shore at the beach without wondering if there's a great white nearby ready to chomp me in half  (And believe me, these California Bay Area beaches have 'em!).  Once I saw a documentary about sharks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted by Jaws author Peter Benchley. He went on about how unfair it was that sharks got a bad rap as monsters and measures need to be taken to protect them. Too late, buddy, the damage is done. The thought of being in a cage with a great white swimming at me is more chilling than anything I can imagine. And the shark cage scenes in this film do not disappoint (In fact, some of them were filmed with a midget to make the shark look even more gigantic). The sequels are all shit, but the 1975 film still holds up well.  Robert Shaw's standout performance as Quint is a thing of beauty, and it's still the best thing Steven Spielberg has ever done.
 


#19: AKIRA (1988)

I've never been a giant fan of Anime (which I think translates from Japanese as Big-Eyed Tentacle Fucking Cartoons), but there's something so amazing about Akira that I can barely describe.  Forget that it's one of the best animated films ever made, it's simply one of the best movies.  There's not many cartoons that can transcend their medium and make you forget you're even watching one.  The motorcycle chases alone are worth the price of admission, but the fight scenes and a handful of others are among the most thrilling ever captured in a movie.  Not too long after I saw this film, I was having a yard sale with my roommates and was talked into smoking weed with a process called "sink loads".  This insane process involved lowering an empty bleach bottle with hole cut in the bottom into a bucket of water, while you burned a sticky bud in a bowl where the lid would be. As the smoke builds up, you keep pushing the bottle deeper into the water until you've got about 20 hits worth of pot in a very small space of air. After inhaling this unholy smoke, I instantly became psychic and could swear that I was just like Akira, reading every single persons mind at the yard sale. I had to hide upstairs with a pillow over my head to keep their thoughts out of my skull.  On July 19, a special edition DVD of the film will be released with a GOB of extra stuff for $29.90, that I'm chomping at the bit to get.   

 


#18: USED CARS (1980)

This 1980 film is a big guilty pleasure for me.  It's one of Kurt Russell's first adult comedies and he does a great job as Rudy Russo, who owns a crappy car lot, and has to compete against Jack Warden's nicer lot down the street.  They end up getting an edge by creating pirate broadcasts of super cheezy commercials that feature blowing up their competition cars, and screaming, "THAT'S TOO FUCKING HIGH!"   The cast is rich with TV character actors like Al "Grandpa Munster" Lewis, and even Lenny & Squiggy make an appearance.  One of my favorite underused character actors, Gerrit Graham, is great as Russell's partner. (You might remember Graham from the cult hit Terrorvision and as the title character in C.H.U.D. 2: Bud The Chud).  And there's gratuitous titty shots, so you can't go wrong with that.  


#17: TOMBSTONE (1993)

And while we're on the subject of Kurt Russell.  Damned if Tombstone doesn't feature the coolest Wyatt Earp ever.  Russell is a great western badass in this 1993 flick, but the standout performance belongs to Val Kilmer, who's Doc Holliday is easily his greatest screen role.  The dialogue is outstanding throughout with lines like this.

WYATT: You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?

COWBOY: Why, it's the drunk piano player. You're so drunk, you can't hit nothin'. In fact, you're probably seeing double.
DOC: I have two guns, one for each of ya.

WYATT: You gonna do somethin'? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?

JOHNNY RINGO:  My fight's not with you, Holliday.
DOC: I beg to differ, sir. We started a game we never got to finish. "Play For Blood" -- remember?
JOHNNY RINGO: Oh that. That was just foolin' about.
DOC:  I wasn't.

This was being produced at the same time as Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp, but it came out a few months earlier, beating it to the punch by a few months.  It might goof up some of the historical facts, but it's far more entertaining than Costner's plodding snore festival.  I so love this film that I named my son "Wyatt" from it, and even snuck in "Russell" as his middle name (telling my wife it was after my Great Grandpa, not Kurt of course...heh heh). 


#16: DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)

Mookie: You know, fuck you and fuck Frank Sinatra.
Pino: Fuck you too and fuck Michael Jackson.

This movie showed that Spike Lee had the potential to be one of the all time great filmmakers, however with subsequent trash released since then, it appears he shot his wad. But what a great wad it is. Do The Right Thing has everything going right for it. I especially love how Lee shows how hot it is on this fateful day. From the DJ (played by Sam Jackson) telling folks with Jheri Curl to watch out or their hair will turn into a helmet, to the kids playing with a fire hydrant and flooding a man's car with it, to an ice cube drizzling over Rosie Perez's perfect breasts, it all builds to a blazing climax that really taps in to a lot of the inner-city rage years before Rodney King even bought his Hyundai. My love of hip-hop was born from this film, watching Perez dance to Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" while wearing boxing gloves in the opening sequence. It left me hungry for more. Which led me to listen to more PE, who's lyrics led me to check out Louis Farrakhan speaking in Oakland (I think I was one of 7 white guys out of about 8,000 people in attendance). Do The Right Thing reminds me of a time when hip hop was a legitimate form of expression, before it Puff Daddy and their ilk turned it into mumbling on top of hit songs from the 70s. The cast is amazing from top to bottom. With Ossie Davis, Robin Harris, Danny Aiello, and John Turturro as amazing standouts. John Savage, who plays Col. Lydecker on TV's Dark Angel has a small fun "blink and you'll miss it" as the guy who accidentally walks his bike over Buggin' Out's new shoes. 


#15: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985)

Burt: I thought you said that if we destroyed the brain, it would die.
Frank: It worked in the movie!
Burt Well it ain't working now Frank.
Freddy: You mean the movie lied?

I'm sure I'll get flamed for blasphemizing the Romero mythos like this, but I think Return of The Living Dead is the best zombie film ever made. In fact as the quote above suggests, ROTLD throws every traditional zombie out the window on it's ass. Instead of slow plodding brain dead sleepwalkers that can be killed with a shot to the head, you've got wisecracking turbocharged freaks that still flop around screaming for human brains, even after they're chopped into 100 pieces. These zombies are so clever, that when they run out of victims, they use the cops' radios to send for more officers. The movie's tag line, "The Dead Are Back, And They're Ready to Party" says is it all.  The punk rock characters and attitude in the film are a kick, as well, as the dialogue below shows. 

Trash: Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying? You know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die?
Spider: I try not too think about dying too much.
Trash: Mm. Well for me, the worst way would be for a bunch of old men to get around me, and start biting and eating me alive.
Spider: I see.
Trash: First, they would tear off my clothes...
Chuck: Hey, somebody get some light over here, Trash is taking off her clothes again.

And boy does Trash get naked. In fact, her screen-time nudity was so extended that they had to use a special flesh colored rubber patch to cover her naughty bits up to avoid an X-Rating. Sadly, the film is long out of print, and is quite a good find if you see it on video somewhere. Apparently the soundtrack (which is full of some great punk rock music) made the right pretty hard to resecure for re-releases (which is what kept Heavy Metal off of video for so many years). My favorite scene in the film features this scary-ass "Tar Zombie" that's been locked in a steel drum full of chemicals forever walking through a door screaming, "BRAINS....MORE BRAINS!", right before his head gets knocked off in one strong swing with a baseball bat. I still can't figure out how they did it.


#14: SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975)

After directing some outstanding Pam Grier films like Coffy and Foxy Brown, Jack Hill brought out on of the best exploitation films I've ever seen with Switchblade Sisters. The title and poster say it all. Quentin Tarantino has rereleased the video on his Rolling Thunder imprint, and the DVD full of cool stuff, including a fun audio commentary with QT and hill. Great cheezy 70s outfits, and action sequences that include a hilarious shootout in a roller rink make this movie a special treasure. According to the IMDB, "when Hill was interviewed at the 1996 re-release of the film, pointed out that it did have some authenticity - he interviewed girl gang members and rewrote the script. "But the idea of doing a realistic movie about street gangs with beautiful blondes in hot pants was preposterous, so we tried to make it a wacky fantasy." If you like Women in Prison style films, you can't go wrong with this gem. As an X-E aside, Robbie Lee, who plays the gorgeously cleavage-freckled leader of the gang, went on to do the voice of Q*bert's girlfriend in the short-lived Saturday morning cartoon, as well as several characters in Rainbow Brite. Late comic legend Lenny Bruce's daughter, Kitty, plays a donut eating fat girl named "Donut" in this gem as well. You also might notice Don Stark, who plays the big afro'd dad married to Tanya Roberts in That 70s Show, too. This film is clearly the most star-studded career launching pad since Meatballs 2.


#13: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)

"To a new world of gods and monsters!" -Dr. Pretorius

Though the first Frankenstein film is clearly a thing of beauty, I've always enjoyed The Bride of Frankenstein (one of the first and best sequels in film history), to be far superior. Several scenes from Mary Shelly's novel like the befriending by the Blind Man, and of course the creation of his mate are all here. Boris Karloff's performance adds new layers to the monster, making him both sad and scary all at once. When you consider that he broke his legs during the production, but continued one with metal braces on his legs, it's an even more amazing performance. Elsa Lanchester is equally remarkable as The Monster's bride, with her freaky hairdo, and frightening scream. The monster even gets philosophical at the end, pulling a big switch on the wall to collapse the castle after saying, "We...Belong...Dead!" (Of course, as Roger Ebert pointed out on a TV show a long time ago, why anyone would have a switch that would collapse the building on top of you is a pretty weird thing). Another damn good Frankenstein film that's worth checking out if you can find it is the made for TV Frankenstein: The True Story, which is about the most faithful version of Shelly's tale out there. But ignore the crap remake starring DeNiro, and the horrible Sting/Jennifer Beals The Bride at all costs.


#12: FIGHT CLUB (1999)

"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?" -Tyler Durden

Who knew David Fincher would turn out to be such an incredible director.  After bringing a visually amazing style to Madonna videos, his first film, Aliens 3 did little to impress.  But with a follow up one two punch of Seven and Fight Club, he showed he's one of the best things going on.  Fight Club is deceiving film in every sense.  Marketed as a flick featuring urban gladiators who love to beat the shit out of each other in organized fights, the film has some of the most biting social commentary and bizarre head games I've seen.  Just take a look at some of these awesome quotes from the film.

"Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is a spiritual war. Our depression is our lives."

"We are a generation of men raised by women. I'm beginning to wonder if another woman is what we really need." 

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."

"We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that social emasculation this everyman is created."

"You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." 

"Losing all hope is freedom."

Powerful stuff for sure.  I used to get my ass kicked in all the fights I had growing up, but there's a primal thrill to the fight that this film explores beautifully.  Brad Pitt really emerges as a great "Man's Man" actor in Fight Club, transcending the pretty boy Dicaprioesque trappings of many male actors, and becoming something uniquely cool.  And Norton's everyman performance, especially dealing with his corporate hell and pitchfork jabbings are fun as well.  A scene where he beats himself up in his manager's office to make it look like he was attacked is hilarious.  

The 2 Disc DVD package for Fight Club is one the better uses of the medium I've seen.  From the box, to the book it comes with, to the TONS of extra footage and notes within, you'll hardly find time to experience it all.  Look for a teaser trailer blooper where Pitt tells you not to smoke, then reminds you that you can drink your own pee.
 


#11: MULAN (1999)

Mulan is my favorite Disney film, as well as my favorite movie to watch with my daughter, Sierra.  It's beautifully animated, and the voice cast featuring Ming Na Wen, George Takei, and many others is a treat as well.  For some odd reason, even Eddie Murphy as the streetwise dragon Mu-Shu is forgivable.  Though much of this is your standard Disney fare, it's nice to see a female lead character break the mold of the poor little girl who gets saved from a dangerous situation and ends up marrying a handsome prince.  As The Emperor says about Mulan, "You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty."  In fact, as Mulan has both a Mother AND Father who for some un-Disney reason remain ALIVE at the end of the film, it's a very different Disney film indeed.  There's an amazing battle scene with hundreds of horses running down a snowy hill that are soon overtaken by a fantastic avalanche, but the part that really does it for me every time is the final moment when Mulan's father, Fa Zhou, tells her, "The greatest gift and honor is having you as a daughter."  Chokes me up just thinking about it.  This film was eventually released in China long after the US release, which was daring considering how it questioned the traditional roles of females in Chinese society, but it's box office failure there was due instead to the massive movie piracy which had copies of the film on video months before.
 


#10: GLENGARRY GLENROSS (1992)

I spent about a year telemarketing for credit cards and long distance companies, and it was the biggest hell of my life.  Glengarry GlenRoss captures the misery of life as a salesmen far better than any other film.  If you've seen Boiler Room or The Big Kahuna and enjoyed them, you're doing yourself a tremendous disservice by not checking out this one. You get Pacino, Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey!  The David Mamet script is dead on.  If you've ever been in any kind of sales environment, you have to see it.  Check out this awesome dialogue:

"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anybody want to see second prize? [Holds up prize.] Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

"Your name is "your wanting," and you can't play the man's game, you can't close them, and then tell your wife your troubles. 'Cause only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted. Got that, you fuckin' faggots?"

"That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy, I don't give a shit. Good father, fuck you! Go home and play with your kids! You wanna work here, close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?"

"These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold; you do not get these. Because to give them to you would be throwing them away."

"A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing."

Man, I heard this kind of shit non stop when I was a telemarketer.  Can you believe I was given a Salesman of The Week Award AND put on written warning for not making sales goal IN THE SAME FUCKING DAY before? You can see why this movie hits so hard for me.  


#9: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)

"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."

Sure, it's set in a jail, but The Shawshank Redemption is about friendship.  It's also one of those rare films based on a Stephen King story (Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption) that's better than its source material.  Frank Darabont's script is a great salute to doing something for your fellow man, and how the human spirit can be free even if he's locked up in jail.  Persistence, and standing up for what you believe in are represented beautifully here through the performances of Tim Robbins and especially Morgan Freeman.  If your spirit doesn't get lifted just a tiny bit at this end of this film, you're an alien.  Stephen King's original story, from the book Different Seasons, it's very good, but it takes all the surprise out of Andy Duphrene's prison escape, by taking you along every inch of the way.  In the film version, it's almost as much of a surprise to the viewer, as it is to the warden.  And what an escape it is.  Not only does he get out in an incredibly creative fashion, but he manages to set up himself up quite nicely once he's out.  

The IMDB has a hilarious tidbit about meddling during the film's production. "The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals monitored the filming of scenes involving Brooks' crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the ASPCA objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed."  Good lord.  These folks couldn't care less about a stuntman falling off a roof, but God forbid a maggot gets killed.

Red: I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.


#8: THE EXORCIST (1973)

"I'm telling you that that... THING upstairs isn't my daughter. Now I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there's nothing wrong with my daughter except in her mind. YOU TELL ME YOU KNOW FOR A FACT THAT AN EXORCISM WOULDN'T DO ANY GOOD! YOU TELL ME THAT!"

To me, there's no scarier film than The Exorcist.  I saw this when I was 9, on HBO, and just 30 minutes in to it, I was shuddering in front of the TV with the most intense fear I ever felt.  I didn't sleep for 2 straight days, certain that the devil was going to possess me.  My dad go so pissed off at me since I kept them up at night that he banned me from watching scary movies again for nearly a year.  I still remember him saying, "You're not even going to see Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein!"   I saw it again, when i was 18, and it still scared me.  I saw it again just last year, and guess what?

This film broke so many boundaries and crossed so many lines of blasphemy, it's STILL shocking and offensive by today's standards.  How anyone can watch that scene where Reagan is plunging a crucifix into her bloody crotch without cringing away is beyond me.

Regan: Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it!

Regan: Your mother sucks cocks in Hell, Karras

Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato was originally offered the role of Reagan in the film, but her mother thought it was a bad idea (though she ended up with a small part in Exorcist 2: The Heretic, anyway).  But Linda Blair nailed it.  You have to admire how she went from sweet little girl, to evil personified with such fervor.


#7: ROCKY III (1982)

Interviewer: What's your prediction for the fight?
Clubber Lang: My prediction?
PAIN!

Oh man.  Rocky vs. Mr. T is about as good as it gets for movie action.  Apollo Creed was a great opponent for Balboa in the first 2 films, but T's performance as Clubber Lang is just plain scary.  In fact, the movie features T's first utterance of a phrase made famous later in his career:

Interviewer: Do you hate Rocky?
Clubber Lang: No, I don't hate Balboa. I pity the fool.

The fight scenes in Rocky III are phenomenal, and far more exciting than most real boxing matches (of course, it's a movie, they should be).  But Rocky III has much more going for it.  You get the death of Rocky's trainer Mickey, a great performance by Burt Young, and a new theme song "Eye Of The Tiger" that manages to be more inspiring than "Gonna Fly Now".  As an added treat you get Hulk Hogan as "Thunderlips: The Ultimate Male",  a pro-wrestler who fights Rocky in a charity match. 

Thunderlips: To all my love slaves out there: Thunderlips is here. In the flesh, baby. The ultimate male versus... the ultimate meatball. Ha, ha, ha.

It's a shame that Hogan didn't ever use the Thunderlips character again, cause it was pretty damn good.  Far better than his bad guy "Hollywood Hogan" persona, that's for sure.
 


#6: KING KONG (1933)

"Don't be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of chrome steel." -Carl Denham

Though America has a rich history of monster movies, nearly all the great film creatures are based on literature and legends from other countries.  Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, and their ilk were all from "The Old Country".  Leave it to us big clumsy Americans to create a savage giant gorilla to call our own.  King Kong is a uniquely cool fim, that almost 70 years later (shit, hard to believe this is that old) is STILL the best single monster movie ever made.  Attempts to remake the film in various forms have failed miserably through those subsequent years.  Through Son of Kong, King Kong vs. Godzilla, the god awful Dino DeLaurentis 1976 remake, and even a goofy cartoon ("10 Times As Big as a Man!"), nothing's even come close.  Stop motion animation was all they had back then, and though it has it's flaws and looks a bit shaky (notice his fur ruffling about for no reason as the animators were constantly reposing him), he still looks damn cool, even by today's standards.  When you realize that a small 18 inch model was used for nearly all of Kong's scenes, it's even more impressive.  Sadly, only a metal skeleton of it still exists. 

King Kong was something truly unique in 1933.  It scared the crap out of it's first audiences.  According to the IMDB, "This original version was released four times between 1933 and 1952, and each release saw the cutting of additional scenes. Though many of the outtakes - including the censored sequence in which Kong peels off Fay Wray's clothes - were restored in 1971, one cut scene has never been found. It is the clip in which Kong shakes four sailors off a log bridge, causing them to fall into a ravine where they are eaten alive by giant spiders. When the movie - with spider sequence intact - was previewed in San Bernardino, Calif., in late January, 1933, members of the audience screamed and either left the theatre or talked about the grisly sequence throughout the remainder of the film. Said the film's producer, Merian C. Cooper, "It stopped the picture cold, so the next day back at the studio, I took it out myself"."

As an aside, can you believe that Kong's leading lady, Fay Wray is STILL ALIVE?  Yep, this September 13, she'll turn...get this...96!  She doesn't want her address to get out, but you can still admire this work of one of Hollywood's first Scream Queens at THE FAY WRAY PAGES.

 
#5: KANSAS CITY BOMBER (1972)

OK, I won't lie here, Kansas City Bomber starring Raquel Welch is just pure eye candy.  Watching her wear a skin tight roller derby outfit while pulling other women's hair out just does it for me, I suppose.  This is Welch in her prime, and she's never looked better than she does here.  Aside from drooling over Welch, it's a pretty fun look at the classic world of Roller Derby.  There was a time in America when it was more popular than wrestling.  Look for a very young Jodie Foster in a bit part here, but you're gonna have to find it on TV at some ungodly hour, 'cause the video has been mysteriously out of print forever.  If you ever come across a blank videotape that just happens to have this taped on it, I'd be your slave for life.


#4: PULP FICTION (1994)

"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?" -Jules

Quentin Tarantino solidified himself as "The Man" when he followed up Reservoir Dogs with Pulp Fiction.  Such refreshing film when it came out in 1994 with it's inspired casting, awesome direction, and bizarre flow of continuity, it inspired numerous copycat movies and reintroduced the Maverick Director that actors would kill to work with that hadn't been seen in Hollywood since Sam Peckinpah died.  I love this movie so much I have "PULPFIC" as my license plate.  (Now don't go making up stories that I hit your parked car now!")

But, as is the case with most of the films on my list, it's THE SCRIPT that I love more than anything else about Pulp Fiction.  Like Jules' angry Bible Speech:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Or Christopher Walken's insane monologue about what a certain watch went through:

Captain Koons: The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He'd be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.

To crazy discussions about what they call Big Macs in Amsterdam, and why Jules don't eat swine:

Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfuckers. Pig sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got enough sense to disregard its own feces.
Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eat their own feces.
Jules: I don't eat dog either.
Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, it'd cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
Jules: Well we gotta be talkin' about one charmin' motherfuckin' pig. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'?

I love that Tarantino has been careful and selective with his post Pulp Fiction work.  He knew what a magical thing he created with this movie, and was respectful to not try and duplicate it immediately.  His patience with the wonderful follow up Jackie Brown paid off (critically, if not financially).  

I can't wait for what's next.

 


#3: EDWARD PENISHANDS (1990)

Though Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands was a remarkably original and sweet Modern Frankenstein tale that has charmed many, few folks have seen the pornographic remake, Edward Penishands, which is considered by some to be the superior film of the two.  While Johnny Depp portrays the lead character as a misunderstood misfit who has scissors for hands, newcomer Sikki Nixx used a slightly different approach, by having freakish giant cocks on the ends of his arms.  I'm no porn addict, but I do especially enjoy watching a video of a woman performing oral sex.  Edward Penishands is especially rewarding as he has not one, not two, but THREE dicks that are fucked and sucked so much in this movie, he's like a one man orgy!  Jeanna Fine is particularly good as the female lead, because she's mostly naked and has sex like crazy throughout.  Sometimes she spreads  open and lets Edward service her with his penis hands, while other times she simply chooses to suck on them.  She's obviously got it rough, as every other woman in the world has only 1 penis on their male partner to service, that she's able to make Edward happy with all 3 of them is an impressive feat indeed.  

In all seriousness, this is truly a jaw droppingl bizarre film that you should check out if you can.  There's a hilarious parody of the scene from Burton's version where Edward is carving ice sculptures while Winona Ryder twirls in slow motion with snowflakes falling on her face.  But you'll have to use your imagination to figure out what I'm talking about. 


#2: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP (1982)

Another film about writing.  I loved the John Irving book, and the film, which gave Robin Williams his first serious role, to show the world he was so much more than Popeye and Mork.  Too bad he fucked it up by too many playing misunderstood wacky man-childs in most of his subsequent work.  Some of the film, especially a sub-plot about a group of women who cut out their tongues in honor of an abused girl who met the same fate from an attacker, is a bit heavy handed, but it's a sweet tale about creativity, marriage, parenting, life, death, and forgiveness.  When I saw this with my Mom I was only 13, but I knew right away that when I had kids, I wanted to be the kind of father that Garp was in this movie.  Wrestling with your kids in costumes, and chasing assholes down the street who drive by too fast, are things I find myself doing now.  (The latter is bound to get me shot, too, I fear . . . I better start keeping it cool!)


#1: BARFLY (1987)

Wanda: I hate people.
Henry: I don't. I just like it better when they're not around.

If you've never heard of the writer Charles Bukowski, then shame on you!  He's written some of my favorite books (Ham on Rye, Factotum, Post Office, and Women to name a few), and the screenplay for Barfly.  I'm so in awe of this film that I'm afraid to write much about it, for fear that I don't do it justice.  Mickey Rourke has the role he was born to play as the brilliant alcoholic bar-brawling poet who gets in the most co-dependent relationship ever, with the neurotic (and luckily alcoholic) Wanda played by Faye Dunaway.  Frank Stallone even gives an inspired performance as Eddie, the bartender who's sick of Henry's shit.

Henry: Some people never go crazy. What miserable lives they must lead.

Henry Chinaski: That's it.
Wanda Wilcox: That's what?
Henry Chinaski: I'm broke. Can't buy another drink.
Wanda Wilcox: You mean you don't have any money?
Henry Chinaski: No money, no job, no rent. Hey, I'm back to normal.

Eddie: All you gotta do is beg for a little mercy.
Henry: Quittin' to you would be like swallowin' piss for eternity.

Henry: Some guys really know how to get the women.
Jim: Now, you don't know how?
Henry: Hey, I can get one for ten minutes. That's my limit.

Old Fart: Now look. Twenty bucks for that kind of head is outrageous.
Grandma Moses: I did ya good, old fart. I did ya good. I oughta bit your champagne cork off.
Old Fart: I'm givin' ya fifteen bucks.
Grandma Moses: Twenty bucks. Nobody in this neighborhood can swallow paste like I can.

Tully: Why don't you stop drinking? Anybody can be a drunk.
Henry: Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.

Bukowski's script manages to make excessive drinking and fighting in the alleys both tragic and romantic at the same time, years before Fight Club had a go of it.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com