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Name: Mike
Age: 25

Top Ten Movies:
o1. Dial M for Murder, 1954, Hitchcock (director)
o2. Murder by Death, 1976, Robert Moore (director)
o3. Fight Club, 1999, Chuck Palahniuk (novel)
o4. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, 1998, Guy Ritchie (writer/director)
o5. History of the World Part I, 1981, Mel Brooks (writer/director)
o6. A Christmas Story, 1983, Jean Shepherd (novel)
o7. The Time Machine, 196o, H.G. Wells (novel)
o8. Legally Blonde, 2oo1, Amanda Brown (novel)
o9. The Wizard of Oz, 1939, L. Frank Baum (novel)
1o. Memento, 2ooo, Jonathan Nolan (short story)

Optional Recommendations: (Current theatrical releases only)
o1. Juno, 2oo7, Diablo Cody (writer)
o2. Lions for Lambs, 2oo7, Robert Redford (director)


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
I can't quite place it, but
There's something about this list that's really rubbing me the wrong way. There seems to be no consistency overall, and while I know that different people have different tastes, I can't fathom someone placing "Legally Blond" on a top ten (if only because it wouldn't occur to me to do so. Keep in mind, that my list was chock full of deadly serious fare (for the most part, "Harmonies" is a comedy, and "Sleeping Beauty is a family film), so take that with a grain of salt and not as actual criticism.

There are certainly some good films on this list, and certainly some films I liked before I was exposed more to world cinema and lesser known works.

Three questions, then, I guess.

First, what are your top five documentaries?

Second, why did you list the director for some films, the source material for others, and only the scriptwriter for Juno?

Third, how are you tonight? How are things with you?
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:56 am (UTC)
Re: I can't quite place it, but
Each of these movies means something to me, besides being a good film. I could have listed the best made films, but I decided on the top 10 movies that are not only good but mean something to me. Dial M for Murder while being an awesome movie, was the the first Hitchcock flick I was exposed to. My mom and I would stay up late and watch them on TCM. I've really come to admire Hitchcock, and that movie signifies his style, my love of his movies, and my connection to my mom.

On the flip side you have Legally Blonde. When I was in my freshman year of college we lost our cable. We were stealing it from the neighbors, and *poof* one day it was gone. Well, we only had a VHS player, and a few movie (Legally Blonde, Rat Race, and the Scream Trilogy). I would watch them in rotation over and over and over again. I've probably seen Legally Blonde 40 times or more. It always makes me smile, it's so colorful and happy. Reese Witherspoon IS Elle. She does a fabulous job, and I just get the warm fuzzies watching it. - - - Which I still do sometimes.

Maxed Out, 2006
Helvetica, 2007
Who the Fuck Is Jackson Pollock?, 2006
Super Size Me, 2004

I don't watch a ton of Documentaries, so I'm only listing 4. I could probably list another, but I don't think there are any other top contenders that I've seen and/or think are worth of listing. I watch a lot of Discovery/History Channel, but those don't count as films. /shrug/ Maxed Out is made of so much awesome. I cried, a lot. And I don't usually cry at movies in general. I could relate to the problems of ever increasing debt, and seeing the people being destroyed by it was heart wrenching. Helvetica I only recently watched. I love graphic making, and I make icons for livejournal. It was really neat to see the history of something that we take for granted.

I listed what I thought brought the most to the movie for me out of the production (excluding actors). Was it the writing, directing, story, whatever. I could have listed everyone, but that's what the IMDB link is there for.

I'm doing well! We went grocery shopping so we have new food in the house to snack on, and have plans for dinners. I spent an hour or so doing some photography for an internet group on Flickr. The theme was "Guilt" I took a shot of a Monopoly board, and someone in Jail :)
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
Re: I can't quite place it, but
Aside from your explanation of Legally Blond, that's not really an answer. How do you feel the documentaries carry on any sort of thematic continuity in your original list? Surely you could've written more about the four you listed?

It's good that you like movies, but isn't there something that made you put them on your top ten? Sure Fincher and Hitchcock are excellent directors, but how do you think their styles aided the movies? Like I said, it's good that you liked them, but can you make a bigger case for them?

How can you not have seen more documentaries that you liked? That answer implies to me that you haven't seen that many documentaries. I'll recommend five for you that you should be able to find at the local Blockbuster: "The Agronomist," "Paradise Lost", "Bus 174," "Capturing the Friedmans," and "After Innocence."

Anyway, believe it or not, I don't dislike like your list. I don't think it's possible to dislike a list since taste is such a personal thing (and beyond impeachment really), but it, like your answers, is leaving me cold at the moment. Now, I know I posed a lot of questions, but I'm really more trying to start a conversation than anything else.


That's an interesting idea for guilt. I need to do some shopping myself. I constantly lament the lack of food in my apartment, but then my job feeds me usually one meal a day which, most of the time, is enough to keep me through the next day. Sometimes though, I just want a snack. Of course we have none, and I'm not hungry enough to actually go out and buy something.

I have to admit, I'm totally a sweet snacker, though salt has it's place. You?
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
Re: I can't quite place it, but
How do you feel the documentaries carry on any sort of thematic continuity in your original list?
They don't. I don't generally go after documentaries. And you're right, I haven't seen many (or remember seeing many).

I did add all your rec's to my netflix queue :)


Sweet + Salt = Love
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
I can't overlook the excellent answers to the questions you gave below, and you seem genuinely inquisitive. I'd feel terrible if I projected the (unreachable) standards I hold myself to onto you.

Thanks for the prompt answers. :-)
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
Re: I can't quite place it, but
There is no rule in this community that people's lists have to have any kind of thematic continuity.
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
I know.
I was just posing a few questions that came to mind.
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
You've got a really diverse list going here! I wonder if you could talk for a little bit about "Fight Club" and "Memento" specifically-- do you see any thematic similarities between the two films, and if so, what? How do you think they succeeded as adaptations of their source material?
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
Fight Club & Memento both movies revolve around characters that are coming to terms with their reality. I see this theme roughly in The Matrix which didn't make the cut. Each character is trying and fighting to find something. It about how they deal with it, what keeps them sane (or the illusion of sanity)? Both movies have social commentary around corporations and how they treat people as numbers, and not people.

I wish I could speak on the second part of the question, but alas I haven't read the novel or short story. I just don't read enough books. The novel for Fight Club has in fact been on my to-do list ever since I watched the movie. However times keep moving, and things get pushed to the bottom of the stack (hello! Harry Potter! lol)

If you have a different question or follow up I'd be more than happy :)
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC)
This is like me; I totally fail when it comes to reading anything.
Jan. 26th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
That's all I wanted to know! Thanks (and I would recommend picking up Fight Club one of these days-- it's very different from the film, but equally good, which you don't get to say too often)!
Jan. 26th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes
The interesting thing for me is that the film version of Fight Club is the closest thing I've seen to evoking the feeling that Ballard's novel, Crash has, whereas the film of Ballard's Crash doesn't do it at all.
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Hi Mike!

You have a lot of comedies on your list, so I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about why comedy is important to you?
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:25 am (UTC)
Warm Fuzzies. It's all about the warm fuzzies. I love a good drama or tragedy, but I can never go back to watch it again. Comedy sticks with me, and I can watch them over and over. They fill me with happiness when I escape into them. And I do use movies as an escape. When I'm down a good comedy with brighten my day.
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC)
Would you mind answering this with more specifics? If you need something more specific to answer, what elements of a comedy tend to do it for you? The purpose of the questions is to show that you want to discuss movies and a lot of their different merits, and this isn't quite enough to go on for that!
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Of all the different types of comedy I lean towards parody, satire, observational, and commentary. Some comedians that I enjoy are Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Phillip DeFranco, Lewis Black, among others. I've never enjoyed excess amounts of physical comedy because generally there is no thought process involved. How people can watch and enjoy Jackass I'll never know.

Murder by Death is a whodunit spoof. It is so insanely serious that you can't help but die of laughter. For those of you that haven't seen it - it's similar to Clue, but IMO much better. The butler is blind, the cook a deaf mute, everyone is a stereotype, yet everyone is seriously committed to solving the crime. It isn't a movie filled with physical comedy, though it's in there. It's all about the observation and complete absurdity of the situation.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is simply a laugh out loud film. Fast paced and serious. A completely absurd story line, and a roller coaster of connections. What is so amazing is the complete seriousness of the crime and drama whist being an observational comedy. Characters say what you are thinking, and "it's all completely chicken soup."

History of the World: Part I's commentary on the history of human evolution is amazing. Again, all the characters are seriously deluded in their own reality. Mel Brooks is a mastermind.

Allusion is a huge part of these comedies as well. I love when you can find tidbits of things that no everyone will see. For example in the French Revolution portion of History of the World: "Don't get saucy with me, Bernaise." Now, unless you knew that a Bernaise is a french sauce you wouldn't think much else of this line. [Bernaise sauce is a sauce like Hollandaise sauce, and is an emulsion of clarified butter and egg yolk with the distinct flavoring of tarragon, shallots, and chervil.] In Ancient Rome there is a blind beggar wandering around yelling "Give to Oedipus! Give to Oedipus!" You've got to know who Oedipus is to get the joke.

Mel Brooks is also king of the pun. and "It's good to be the King."
MV: "Don't you know your right flank from your left flank?"
CM: "I'm sorry sir, I flunked flank."
MV: "You flunked flank? Get the flunk out of here!"
C: "The Christians are so poor..."
S: "How poor are they? "
C: "They are so poor... That they only have one God. "
C: "But we Romans are rich. We've got a lot of gods. We've got a god for everything. The only thing we don't have a god for is premature ejaculation... but I hear that's coming quickly."

It takes thought to catch the allusion or pun (not always a lot of thought, but at least a little none-the-less). Physical comedy is, to me, a sad state of affair. It's pathetic. That isn't to say I'm not a huge Schadenfreudeist when the timing is right. It is generally all about intelligence and commentary for me.

Legally Blonde, History of the World: Part I, A Christmas Story, and Memento, all have some sense of social commentary. As of course do Fight Club and The Time Machine. It's about freedom of speech and thought. Just because you are pretty, and rich, and blonde doesn't mean you are stupid. Society tells you that you are stupid. What are your values? Do they match the values I as a director/writer are showing you? Think for yourself. And create your own opinion.

edited for typos

Edited at 2008-01-24 07:00 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
And that went well above and beyond the sort of answer I was looking for. Thanks so much!

So, not big on physical comedy? I find that there tends to be, well, very little physical comedy in the world today in general, and most people's minds immediately jump to Jim Carrey. I think we're starting to get better, more intelligent physical comedians (and I find I like Jim Carrey better in more serious roles) in people like Jack Black and Sascha Baron Cohen (although I wasn't fond of the Borat movie, I thought he was brilliant in Sweeney Todd). Old physical comedians like Cary Grant I love, I think some of the lacking in physical comedy has to do with the way it's been used in recent decades.
Jan. 24th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
I'd like you to select any of the movies on your list (although, I'd prefer one that you haven't yet discussed in the above questions) and explain why it's worth watching, by touching on at least three different elements of the film.

Thanks. :)
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
The Time Machine is another movie that ties me back to my parents. I hadn't thought this hard when making my list - I just went with my gut. However, now that I'm dissecting my choices, I sense a very distinct theme. The Time Machine (1960) is my dad's favorite movie of all time. It just beat out Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Wizard of Oz.

1) A true humanist movie, The Time Machine explores a world that could be. What is the meaning of human? What is life? I felt George's desire to explore the unexplored. As well as his dream to define the 4th dimension. His dreams are infectious.

2) The stops that he makes on his way into the future show what the human race is going to do to itself if it stays on the path it has made for itself. World War and practical extinction of the human race. Enslaved by Morlocks (a cannibalistic race).

Visions of the future in 1960 vs. 2008 I don't think the path that we are on is any better.

3) While the effects in the movie are very primitive by today's standard you hardly notice. The story and directing really do wonders. You mind can completely escape into the movie. I don't like it when it's so completely obvious that you are watching a movie. I love the escape factor.
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
The Wizard of Oz is a movie that's always underwhelmed me, and I've never heard a very good description of why someone likes it. So could you talk about choosing it, a little?

I'm not criticizing your choice or anything - I'm just curious about your connection to the film.
Jan. 30th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
First - I apologize for the tardiness of my response. The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) were the two competing kids movies in my household. Oz was my dad's favorite, and Willy Wonka my mom's. And the best part was that my dad hated Willy Wonka, and mom hated Oz. LOL.

The Wizard of Oz to me was introduced to me much younger, and it was tradition as I was growing up to watch it at least once every year. My dad was much more of a kid than my mom. Mom's overall movie taste got me introduced to Hitchcock's films and other grown-up movies.

It, The Wizard of Oz, always took my breath away as a kid, the desolate black & white view of Kansas moving in to the bright amazing color of Oz. When I became older I could fully understand the making of the movie, the difficulty to make it and the amazement seen by audiences at the time of release. It is a quintessential story of good vs. evil. I was taken into a dream and given hopes and dreams that there IS something over the rainbow.

Watching it now I am transported back to a time when my dad and I would spend time together doing nothing. When life's weight hadn't quite hit me full force. It's a classic movie, and it's full of the warm fuzzies, and just enough corniness to make you smile.
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
That's a very...personal response to the movie. Nothing wrong with that, but could you elaborate on the more objective response you have to it?
Feb. 4th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
Could you clarify your request? I mainly have an emotional personal response to movies. Are you looking for a blow by blow, or a review of the story, special effect, acting?

Jan. 27th, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
You talked briefly above about why you like A Christmas Story, but do you think you go into a bit more detail as to why you chose it for your top ten? Are there any films on your list you grappled with switching for another? I ask simply because I know I had a bit of trouble narrowing it down.
Feb. 7th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the delay! Since a week has passed & you have more that 75% 'yes' votes, I would like to welcome you to cineholics.

You may now ask challenge questions, vote on applications, and post your own entries.

Thank you for applying!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Feb. 7th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Stamped!
Thank you :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )