Tag Archives: movies

11. American Beauty

Smiley Rating:

How are you?

In your best Tony-the-Tiger impression, you exclaim: “I’m grrrreat!”  And maybe you really are great, maybe you’re not, maybe you’re somewhere in between, or maybe you’re none of the above.  Either way, the answer to this question is basically your own personal commercial for how “normal” you are, even though you know you are anything but.  And it is this disciplined way of masking our genuine selves that American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999) is essentially about— how there is an “entire life behind things.”  All things.  Even dancing plastic bags.  And that there is no such thing as ordinary.  Everything, everything, everything… is far from ordinary.  Like you.  Like me.  Like life itself.

But because we are disciplined, structured, well-adjusted citizens, we instinctively give a politically correct answer.  Like, “I’m good.”  Or, “I’m okay.”  If you don’t give such an answer, you risk being fired, or sent to a mental hospital, or put on drugs, or yelled at, or questioned, or judged.  So, instead, we suppress our true feelings and go about our daily lives in a sedated manner, constantly enabling the forces behind the status quo, “masking our contempt for the assholes in charge.”  This anaesthetized way of life might be preferred for a complacent society, but the danger is, this kind of lifestyle will fester behind the white picket fences until it blows up and causes a mid-life crises.  Or divorce.  Or plastic surgery.  Or murder.

Which brings me to the most important, most haunting line of dialogue in American Beauty“Never underestimate the power of denial.”  This pointed warning is accentuated in all of the character’s, from Allison Janney’s devastating portrayal of a shell of a human to Kevin Spacey’s nuanced portrayal of a married man going through a mid-life crises.  From Annette Bening’s failing real estate agent to Chris Cooper’s homophobic colonel.  All are living in varying degrees of denial.  This heavy specter hangs over the entire film like the red motif that appears throughout, and lingers in the mind far after the conclusion due to the tragic climax.

Technically speaking, American Beauty masterfully walks the line between a biting, smart dark comedy and a phenomenally executed tragic melodrama.  This adroit combination led to five Academy Awards and a film that really struck a chord with the zeitgeist at the time.  And perhaps it struck such a chord with audiences because, in a way, the movie acts as a grand therapeutic session.  Along the way, as these deeply flawed characters hide themselves, reveal themselves, revolt, throw tantrums, breakdown and cry, we too go through a similar journey, and by the end we feel like we’ve gotten something off our own chests.  We feel relieved.  More importantly, we feel grateful for life.

Considering this, I can’t help but think that all of these characters could have been helped if they only had a therapist.  They just needed to talk to someone.  They just needed to be asked, “How are you?”


9. Amelie

Smiley Rating:

At the core of it’s beating red heart, Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) is a charmingly simple “boy meets girl” love story enveloped by a mesmerizing scavenger hunt full of deliciously small details.  Small, specific details like the puckering of fingers when in the bathtub too long.  Or clingy wet swim trunks.  Or delightful little details like removing dried glue from your finger.  Or skipping stones across the creek.  Amelie contains endless details like these that are so particular and full of life that they end up being the most universal moments of the entire film.

These unforgettable details ultimately create a colorful menagerie of indelible characters, all of which seem fully realized and perfectly aligned within the film’s sparkling daydream-like tone.  Most memorably, of course, is the titular character of Amelie herself, played by Audrey Tautou, who is so effin’ infectious she literally makes me want to the learn the entire French language if only so I’d be able to write this article in the movie’s native tongue.  Speaking of, there is a lot of dialogue and a lot of voiceover, which, if you’re NOT fluent in French, results in a lot of reading instead of watching.  This takes away from the impressive visual style and the kinetic energy given by the camera’s smooth moves, and because the cinematography is so strong, it may warrant repeat viewings.

With that said, just like Amelie herself, this movie is many things.  It’s smart, mysterious, simple, complex, cute, mischievous, funny, sad, lovely, dark, light, and most important of all, full of heart and a contagious do-good attitude.  All of which is enhanced by the movie’s central metaphor— Princess Dianna (takes place during the time of her death)— a powerful element that parallels not only the altruistic nature of Amelie, but also the spying, voyeuristic, reality TV, tabloid nature of our culture.  This kind of obsession over other people’s lives rather than their own, is Amelie’s most obvious character flaw, thus commenting on one of the underlying messages: you can only live life vicariously through others to a certain degree.  In other words, it’s fine to be inspired and influenced by people you admire, but at some point, you must take your life into your own hands.  You can’t just live life vicariously through the traveling Gnome.  No, you must travel the world yourself.  You can’t just live life vicariously through Princess Dianna.  No, you yourself must help others.

But there is an even more important message buried beneath the details of this endearing film.  That vital message is this: “In such a dead world, Amelie prefers to dream.”  This notion is especially important in today’s day and age, which is mired in downtrodden perspectives and economic turmoil, because no matter how awful or horrible the world may sometimes be, it’s your imagination and dreams that will set you free.  But be warned, because while we may be able to lose ourselves in the tiny, little details of life as well as our dreams (allowing us a reprieve from the cruelty of the real world), it’s even more important to apply those dreams to reality.  First you must dream.  Than you must do.

 


7. A History of Violence

Smiley Rating:

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) is akin to a screaming bullet tearing through flesh with the sole goal of revealing the mangled bloody mess that resides beneath it.  Or, to put in a slightly less graphic way, it’s about the various facades we as Americans put up in order to hide that in which we truly are.  And the implication in this movie is that what we truly are is violent (hence the title, A History of Violence).  Everything else is a façade to hide this.  Marriage.  Family.  Police protection.  Small-town niceties.  The “good-mornin’s” and the “how-ya-do’s?”  The white picket fences.  The slogans.  The entire “American Dream.”  All of it is a phony façade that hides and maintains our naturally violent selves.

This serious proposition is captured in the riveting opening scene, which, if for no other reason, I’d like to point out because I really like opening scenes.  I have a “thing” for them, you might say.  And just like any other opening scene that’s worth it’s salt, this one is a microcosm of the entire movie.  First, we see an image of the outside of a building.  Bricks.  Siding.  A closed door (doorways are an important visual rhyme throughout).  In short, we see a façade.  The next image we see is two ominous looking men emerge from the inside of this building, exposing themselves to the light of day.  And finally, the scene concludes with a sudden act of needless gun violence performed by one of the men.  Façade + Exposure = Violence.

So goes the rest of A History of Violence, a suspenseful drama that is at times intense, at times funny, at times shocking, at times explosively violent, and even at times sexy.  It’s technically taut.  The performances are memorable.  And the sound design is impeccable.  The aftereffect is a disturbing movie that mostly examines the gap between the façade’s it’s characters raise, and the truths that lie beneath them.  For example, there’s a scene late in the movie where the father tells his son, “We don’t solve problems by hitting people.”  The son responds by making a mean wisecrack, and then, SMACK!  Father hits son.  Like a child first realizing his parents are actually people too, this surprising moment acts as an obvious demonstration of the gap between façade and truth.  The contradiction between saying and doing.

These themes are articulated in many of the filmmaker’s choices, including, but not limited to, the style of acting.  It’s not quite melodrama, but it’s definitely not realism either.  The performances exist somewhere between these two poles, creating a sort of half-real world, which is a perfect tone to comment on the façade vs. natural elements.  Adding yet another layer to this is the hometown in which Viggo Mortensen’s character is originally from.  That choice is specifically Philadelphia.  I mention this, because it could’ve realistically been any other city.  New York. Chicago.  Miami.  Los Angeles.  Any big city where we could imagine a mob syndicate being located.  But the choice is Philadelphia, and this, of course, speaks to the themes of façade vs. truth in a very sardonic way.  On the surface— on the façade— we know Philadelphia as “the City of Brotherly Love.”  Sounds great.  But underneath that, we know that Philadelphia is one of the most violent cities in the world.

And what I’m left with in the end is an unanswerable question that Cronenberg poses with this movie.  That is, are we naturalized to be violent, or is violence natural?  If you’re an optimist you might say we are naturalized.  That, however difficult it may be, violence is escapable and avoidable.  On the other hand, you may say that violence is indeed natural, and indeed inescapable.  That we’re just born bad.  Maybe so.  But regardless of what your answer may be, one can’t deny that we tend to sweep these nasty things under the rug and out of sight behind an artificial façade, in a desperate attempt to pretend they don’t exist.  This, perhaps, is more dangerous than what actually lies beneath.


3. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Smiley Rating:

 

First, there is blackness.  Gradually, what sounds like an orchestra harmonizing, grows in intensity until it finally climaxes…  And then back to a calm.  Blackness…  I mention this moment, this overture to 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968), because it’s actually the first scene of the film, which in theory, should be one of the most important scenes of all.  And perhaps it’s simply meant to establish the mood of the film.  But maybe it’s more.  Maybe it represents the great void, the pre-let-their-be-light moment.  Maybe it represents our first contact with what will be known as the monolith.  Maybe it represents both.

What follows (after the opening credits) is an establishing shot of outer space, in particular, the sun, the moon, and the planet Earth (scored brilliantly to Richard Strauss’ Thus Spake Zarathustra).  This is an “establishing shot,” and just as all other “establishing shots” in this film, it’s more of an epic balletic sequence, than it is anything else.

The controversial preamble, entitled “the dawn of man,” comes next.  Here, Kubrick paints a desolate planet Earth.  It’s harsh.  It’s cold.  It’s unforgiving.  We’re introduced to what appear to be pre-human animals, Neanderthal-like creatures, and we watch them go about their daily routine, which consists mostly of angry grunting.  In other words, they are animals the way all other animals are, which, in Kubrick’s world tend to be desperate and brutal.

This all changes, however, when a strange monolith, alien-like structure appears seemingly from out of nowhere.  This inexplicable structure causes the Neanderthal’s to go wild, the way a dog might go wild in the presence of a vacuum cleaner.  This marks an important evolutionary step forward, toward dominance, which is demonstrated in one of the most memorable transitions of all time— when the Neanderthal tosses the bone through the air and we jump forward many thousands of years, and we match-cut the “bone” to what is now a “spaceship” flying through space.  This pithy transition does not neglect all the time between the scenes, but includes it.  The match-cut not only incorporates the bone and the ship, but comments on every step in between, from the agricultural revolution, to the scientific revolution, to the industrial revolution, and onward.

So, at this point, we’re twenty-five-some-odd minutes into 2001: A Space Odyssey, ten thousand years of human existence has been covered, and there hasn’t been a single word of dialogue.  What follows is another lucid, balletic type sequence that consists mostly of awe-inspiring establishing shots of really cool spaceships— spaceships flying, opening, closing, landing, etc.  In a regular movie, these establishing details would take just a few seconds of screen time, and then we’d cut to an expository dialogue scene between a couple of actors.  But with Kubrick, he deliberately dedicates an extreme amount of time to these sequences, to these technological marvels, more so than he dedicates to any human.  This, I believe, is because in this movie tools and technology are vastly more important than the humans, or at the very least, operate at a similar level.

Around this point in the film, we have our first dialogue scenes between modern day humans.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to gather much from these conversations because the traffic outside my window is too loud and I couldn’t quite hear what they were saying.  Regardless, one thing led to another, and eventually these astronauts land on the moon and discover another peculiar monolith-like structure.  As the astronauts approach the structure, similarly to the first encounter, a horrible sound emanates from it, a sound that can only be described as a smoke detector gone wrong.  This represents another leap forward.  This, an hour in to 2001: A Space Odyssey marks the end of the ambitious first act (one could argue that the tossing of the bone through the air is the end of the first act, but I think all elements up to this point have been setup for the meat of the movie, the mission to Jupiter).

The “mission to Jupiter” sequence begins by establishing the monotony and loneliness of everyday life between two astronauts aboard a massive spaceship.  Their journey to Jupiter is aided and supported by a super computer called the HAL 9000.  The HAL 9000 is fast, always perfect, and mimics the mind of a human.  Wow.   “Hal,” for short, has a somewhat off-putting, eloquent English voice and is embodied by a single red light that resembles an eye.  It is noteworthy, that the tone in this section gradually grows more and more sinister, scary even, until something really curious happens— Hal, the immaculate computer, seemingly makes a miscalculation that compromises the mission.  Baffled, the two astronauts discuss whether or not Hal can be trusted from here on out, and they decide that he cannot be trusted.  So, they agree to dismantle him, in order to take over the mission manually…

Cut to: Intermission.  Yes, Intermission.  This is perhaps a self-reflexive comment regarding the musical and theatrical nature of the film.  Or maybe it’s just a break in action, allowing us a moment to take a piss.

Anyway, after the surprising presence of the Intermission, we return to the film, and realize that Hal does not take too kindly to the idea of being dismantled.  His oddly human response, self-preservation, results in the catapulting of one of the astronauts into deep space.  This leads to an intense sequence where the main astronaut (Dr. Dave Bowman) tries to rescue the catapulted one… of course, to no avail.  Dr. Dave Bowman returns, determined, and is able to dismantle the HAL 9000, despite Hal’s desperate pleads otherwise.

This brings us to the third and final act, which goes by in what seems like a flash.  In this elusive sequence, Dr. Dave Bowman approaches Jupiter in his space pod, when he enters what can only be described as a time traveling space-time continuum type thing.  During this “descent,” a certain psychedelic effect arises, something like tripping acid in space, and there are several still shots of Dr. Dave Bowman reacting to what’s before his eyes.  These moments are haunting.

At the end of this psychedelic portal, he finds himself in what appears to be a pristine, well-decorated mansion.  It’s bright.  It’s quiet.  It’s eerie as hell.  Then, in maybe three or four consecutive shots, we witness Dr. Dave Bowman grow old and die alone.  After which, a fetus wrapped in a bubble emerges in his place— the “star-child.”  In the final frame, reminiscent of the opening shot of the moon, the sun, and the Earth, we see the “star-child” floating in space, looking directly at us.  Music swells.  The end.

I’ve just described the context of a plainly obvious sci-fi film wrapped between two bizarre sequences that raise the film to a whole new philosophical level.  In other words, instead of a neat, superficial movie about space and lasers, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a profound symbol, a strict cautionary tale about the dangers of progress and the tools that make progress possible.  In this way, the bone at the beginning represents not just the spaceships in the movie, but also the cell phone in your pocket.  It represents the laptop computer in your bag.  The pen on your desk.  But what is the point?  Is it that progress and evolution are bad?  Is it that humans are intrinsically awful?  Is Kubrick suggesting that while these tools can be used for great things, they can also be used for bad?

There are more questions that come to mind, but before I lose myself within the maze that is the subtext of this film, I’d like to point out a couple of technical elements that caught my eye.  First, of course, is the photography.  Like all Kubrick films, the compositions are ambitious, symmetrical, and excessively deliberate.  In a word, they are masterful.  On top of that, was the repetitious use of circles.  From the planets, to the buttons, to the spaceships, to the eyes, was the presence of circles.  These, I believe, represent perfection, infinity, and the circle of life, which also comments on the circular nature of the film (dawn of man, death of man, rebirth of man).   The final technical element I want to mention was the use of red.  Red appears throughout the film, sometimes as a light emanating from a spaceship, sometimes a button on a console, or of course, most memorably, the red eye of Hal.  The red is a little bit more ambiguous than the circles, but I think it represents temptation and danger.  Perhaps it is the forbidden apple from the Garden of Eden.

Either way, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a film full of ideas and possible interpretations.  It’s approximately two and a half hours long— and on one hand, it seems like very little is actually happening, but on the other, it seems like Kubrick is taking on the entire history and nature of mankind.  At its essence, this is a sci-fi epic sandwiched in between a cautionary tale about the dangers technology presents to our humanity.  It’s bold.  It’s brilliant.  It’s precise.  It’s confounding.  It’s haunting.  It’s quintessential Kubrick.  In other words, it raises way more questions than it answers.  Questions like, what’s with the mismatching green helmet near the end?  And why is the mansion on Jupiter so immaculately decorated?  And what about those strange monoliths?  Are they a metaphor for God?  The universe?  And what about that creepy star-child?  Is it us?  Is it the next step in evolution?  Is it another planet unto itself?  Are we all planets unto ourselves?  Is it meant to be sinister or hopeful?  In the end, that’s up to you.


2. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Smiley Rating:

 

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2005) is one of those high-concept movies that once it has been manifested, it feels like it was destined to exist all along.  But this ingenious concept— Steve Carell as a virgin—is only the surface.  Just as big, heaving boobs are only at the surface.  Just as obligatory romantic comedy plot-points are just at the surface.  And perhaps the 40-Year-Old Virgin operates only at the surface, with big giant boobies and bad fucking words, which, if that were the case, I’d say it absolutely-fucking-succeeds.  That’s why it did so well at the box office, I presume—because apparently we Americans find big boobs and bad words to be really fucking funny!  With that said, aside from the big boobies and the shocking language, I must admit, there are A LOT of jokes at play here.

From the onset, the profane-ridden jokes are rattled off a mile a minute, including a few slapstick moments that often involved a boner.  Otherwise, it was one-liner after one-liner after one-liner after one-liner.  And while they can be exhausting at times, some of these one-liners are definitely laugh-out-loud moments; some are a complete waste of time; but most are at least genuinely funny (especially the asides that often punctuate the end of a scene).  On a random, side note, maybe Apatow’s films have too many jokes.  By that, I mean, almost all of the characters are legitimately funny people with an awesome sense of humor.  And maybe people really are this funny in real life… but maybe they aren’t.  Either way, it’s Apatow’s world and it just happens to be populated by hilarious people who all seem prepped to do a set at the Laugh Factory at a moment’s notice.  Even so, the 40-Year-Old Virgin really executes its concept solidly.  It tends to deliver on its multitude of jokes, and the filmmakers take this concept to its only logical conclusion—a colorful, hippie-inspired, song/dance routine set to “Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In.”

However, that’s all on the surface.  If we were to delve deeper, real deep (“this is graphic”)— we’d find that this movie is actually a portrayal of the modern day American man… or should I say man-child?  Whether intended or not, the 40-Year-Old Virgin is essentially about ashamed American men and their struggle to come to terms with their own sexuality, especially within the context of an ever-more liberal culture that constantly bombards them with sexually explicit content and unrealistic expectations of what a man (or woman) should be.  This leads to faulty preconceived notions of what we expect from one another.  This leads to miscommunication.  Most importantly, this leads to a deeply insecure man with repressed feelings regarding his sexuality, which, in turn, leads to an epidemic of sophomoric man-children.

But what is really at the heart of the 40-Year-Old Virgin?  Words.  And on the surface, certain words may seem “bad,” but here, Apatow attempts to defuse the whole notion of a “bad” word.  He does this by over-using profanity to such an extent, almost in a hyperbolic way, that it takes its power away, thus providing a neutral, even slate to operate from.  This is important because the message of the movie is acceptance.  In order to accept, one must let go of preconceived notions, and open up their mind.  But first, we must accept ourselves.  Then, we must accept everyone else.  Whether they are gay, straight, virgin, woman, non-virgin, young, old, or whatever else.

…  Or maybe it’s just about boobs and fucks.

 


1. 8 ½

Smiley Rating:

 

It is said that the title, 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963), refers to the amount of films Federico Fellini had in his oeuvre up to that point.  Meaning, this movie, 8 ½, was his eighth and a half film.  How fitting, then, that 8 ½ is my number one.  That is, my first entry.  My beginning.

Speaking of beginning, where does one begin when discussing such a classic, beguiling film?  Much has been said, and much could be said.  Quite frankly, “where to begin?” is a difficult question for any artist to answer, and it’s a question that plagues this protagonist, a film director named Guido, throughout.  Of course, it doesn’t help matters that he’s in the midst of a deep and terrible creative block.  A “director’s block,” he calls it at one point.  It also doesn’t help that he has a bounteous amount of mistresses, despite the fact that he’s married (more on this later).

So, perhaps I’ll begin with an oversimplification of the entire film.  A shallow first impression, if you will.  Although, to be fair, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen 8 ½.  I’ve seen it one or two other times, but it has been at least four years since the last viewing.  So, for the sake of fairness, we’ll simple call this my “present impression.”

My “present impression” of 8 ½ is that it’s an ultra self-reflexive film about a film director who is creatively blocked, and who really, really, really likes gorgeous women.  In other words, it’s about me—minus the good looks, impeccable wardrobe, and abundant success.  Oh, and also the uncountable mistresses.  I guess that’s more of an Italian thing, circa 1963.

Let me back up for a second…  For those of you who have never seen this film or have totally forgotten what it’s about, I’d briefly explain the plot like this:  Guido, an uninspired film director, MUST make a film.  Producers, crew, critics, press, and mistresses all await answers as the expenses and the pressure mounts.  Unfortunately, Guido has the aforementioned “director’s block” and has no idea what the film is going to be about.  The result being, Guido must lie, manipulate, and procrastinate his way to the finish.

What I’ve just described may or may not sound intriguing to you, but it’s totally irrelevant either way.  8 ½ is not a plot-driven movie.  Instead, it’s a somewhat surreal, dream-like, character study.  This may lead to some impatient viewers claiming that the movie is ambiguous and meandering.  I would disagree.  I think that the symbolic representations of a character’s subconscious, whether dream or reality, allow for a deeper understanding of said character.  This kind of penetrating character study is often confused with ambiguity, because the movie doesn’t employ a genre-specific plot (see Mulholland Drive).

The themes, however, are made abundantly clear, namely— honesty and freedom.  Guido struggles immensely to tell the truth (honesty), and is imprisoned by his creative block (freedom).  One fuels the other.  These themes are made visceral with extremely effective recurring visual motifs.  Most strikingly of which, are the graphic vertical pinstripe lines that are often found in the background of scenes.  I believe this visual motif clearly represents a mental-like-prison, epitomized in the ever-growing scaffolding tower that is to be the set for the “spaceship scene.”  Not only that, but the graphic boldness alone of the vertical lines really adds texture to the black and white photography.  If nothing else, it really looks awesome!

Another recurring visual motif was the keen use of wardrobe— most notably, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.  Often the brim of a hat would completely hide a character’s face.  In fact, there’s a pivotal scene, probably two-thirds of the way through, where Guido is finally being honest to his wife about his dishonesty.  Ironically, the key lines delivered during this scene are with his face completely hidden by the brim of his hat.  Sunglasses, similarly, are used for characters to hide the truth as well.

An additional element that jumped out at me during this viewing was the extreme self-reflexive nature of the film.  There are literally scenes in which characters are discussing a previous scene we had just previously watched.  Fellini lets the scene unfold, and then comments and criticizes it in the next.  We take this kind of quirky self-reflection for granted now, as it has been done a million times since, like in the popular sit-com Seinfeld.  At any rate, I enjoyed the self-reflection, and imagine it was quite groundbreaking at the time (although, I could be wrong).

I probably shouldn’t go on any further without mentioning the music by Nina Rota, which is perhaps the most memorable score of all time.  In this movie, the music is basically another character unto itself.  Perhaps the most likeable character, at that.  Every time the music rose, I knew I was in for something exciting.  This, accompanied with the dizzying camera movement and the lush black and white photography, all made for a more-than-pleasurable viewing experience.

Speaking of a pleasurable viewing experience— now might be a good time to mention the endless stream of beautiful actresses in this film.  One gorgeous actress after another is paraded about, most enigmatically, the dark haired minx that obviously inspired Quentin Tarantino (once you see the film, you’ll know exactly what I mean).

These women, of course, are a curse to Guido and Guido is a curse to them, as they represent his inability to love and to be honest.  They, like the vertical lines, are suffocating him.  This is demonstrated in one of the more memorable dream sequences, the harem scene, in which every woman in Guido’s life literally lives under the same roof (and it’s a lot of women).

With that said, my favorite sequences are the opening dream sequence that sets the tone and the concluding parade sequence, which somehow ties everything together.  In the former, a surrealistic traffic jam encapsulates Guido’s stasis and lack of creative freedom.  In the latter, after Guido orders the scaffolding to be dismantled (represents tearing down the vertical lines), he is finally free and inspired to start anew.  Which brings us full circle back to the same question I posed at the beginning:  “where to begin?”


Inventory

Here is the full list of movies I aim to commentate on (alphabetical order):

  1. 8 ½
  2. 40 Year Old Virgin
  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  4. A Clockwork Orange
  5. Across the Universe
  6. Adaptation
  7. A History of Violence
  8. Almost Famous
  9. Amelie
  10. The American
  11. American Beauty
  12. American Pie
  13. A Mighty Wind
  14. Annie Hall
  15. Any Given Sunday
  16. Art School Confidential
  17. Away We Go
  18. Barton Fink
  19. Batman Begins
  20. Beginners
  21. Being John Malkovich
  22. Best in Show
  23. Big Fish
  24. The Big Lebowksi
  25. The Birds
  26. Blood Simple
  27. Boogie Nights
  28. Boondock Saints
  29. Born on the Fourth of July
  30. Bottle Rocket
  31. The Bourne Ultimatum
  32. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  33. Breathless
  34. Brokeback Mountain
  35. Burn After Reading
  36. Capote
  37. Chasing Amy
  38. Citizen Kane
  39. Clerks
  40. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  41. Coffee and Cigarettes
  42. The Darjeeling Limited
  43. Dazed and Confused
  44. Deconstructing Harry
  45. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  46. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  47. Donnie Darko
  48. The Doors
  49. The Double Life of Veronique
  50. Down by Law
  51. Drugstore Cowboy
  52. Dumb and Dumber
  53. Easy Rider
  54. Eat Pray Love
  55. Eraserhead
  56. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  57. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  58. Eyes Wide Shut
  59. Family Plot
  60. Fanny and Alexander
  61. Fantastic Mr. Fox
  62. Fargo
  63. Fast Times at RIgdgemont High
  64. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  65. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  66. Fight Club
  67. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  68. Frenzy
  69. Full Metal Jacket
  70. Funny Face
  71. Funny People
  72. Garden State
  73. Get Him to the Greek
  74. Ghostbusters 1
  75. Ghostbusters 2
  76. Good Will Hunting
  77. Half Nelson
  78. Hard Eight
  79. Harold and Maude
  80. Heaven and Earth
  81. High Fidelity
  82. I’m Not There
  83. Inglourious Basterds
  84. I Heart Huckabees
  85. Inland Empire
  86. Into the Wild
  87. Jackie Brown
  88. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
  89. JFK
  90. Juno
  91. Kicking and Screaming
  92. Knocked Up
  93. Lars and the Real Girl
  94. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  95. Little Miss Sunshine
  96. Lost in Translation
  97. Love Actually
  98. Magnolia
  99. Mallrats
  100. Manhattan
  101. The Man Who Knew Too Much
  102. Marnie
  103. Match Point
  104. The Meaning of Life
  105. Melvin Goes to Dinner
  106. Memento
  107. Midnight Cowboy
  108. Milk
  109. Miller’s Crossing
  110. Moulin Rouge
  111. Mulholland Drive
  112. My Own Private Idaho
  113. Mystery Train
  114. Naked Lunch
  115. Natural Born Killers
  116. Nixon
  117. The Notebook
  118. Office Space
  119. Once
  120. Paris Je Taime
  121. Paris, Texas
  122. Paris When it Sizzles
  123. The Phantom of Liberty
  124. Pi
  125. Pineapple Express
  126. Platoon
  127. The Player
  128. Pretty in Pink
  129. The Princess Bride
  130. Prizzi’s Honor
  131. Psycho
  132. The Puffy Chair
  133. Pulp Fiction
  134. Punch-Drunk Love
  135. Raising Arizona
  136. Rear Window
  137. Requiem for a Dream
  138. Reservoir Dogs
  139. River’s Edge
  140. Rocky
  141. Roman Holiday
  142. Rope
  143. The Royal Tenenbaums
  144. The Rules of Attraction
  145. Rushmore
  146. Saboteur
  147. Sabrina
  148. Salvador
  149. Say Anything
  150. Scenes From a Marriage
  151. Seven
  152. Sex and the City
  153. Sex and the City 2
  154. Shadow of a Doubt
  155. The Shining
  156. Short Cuts
  157. Sideways
  158. Slacker
  159. Sleeper
  160. Slumdog Millionaire
  161. The Social Network
  162. Some Kind of Wonderful
  163. Some Like It Hot
  164. The Squid and the Whale
  165. Stand By Me
  166. St. Elmo’s Fire
  167. Stranger Than Paradise
  168. Superbad
  169. Swingers
  170. Swordfish
  171. Synecdoche, New York
  172. Talk Radio
  173. Taxi Driver
  174. Thank You For Smoking
  175. There’s Something About Mary
  176. There Will Be Blood
  177. This is Spinal Tap
  178. Three Colors Blue
  179. Three Colors White
  180. Three Colors Red
  181. Thumbsucker
  182. Topaz
  183. Torn Curtain
  184. Traffic
  185. Tropic Thunder
  186. The Trouble With Harry
  187. True Romance
  188. U-Turn
  189. Vertigo
  190. Vicky Christina Barcelona
  191. The Virgin Suicides
  192. The Visitor
  193. Waiting for Guffman
  194. Waking Life
  195. Waking Ned Devine
  196. Walk Hard
  197. Wall Street
  198. The Way We Were
  199. The Weather Man
  200. When Harry Met Sally
  201. Zelig