23 March 2011

100 Things I Love About Films

This was originally a "note" on Facebook, but I thought I should also share it here on my blog.  Credit for the premise goes to Beau Kaelin, who is hopeful that this concept goes viral.  On his behalf, therefore, I invite you to compose your own such list and share it.  His original introduction:

Rather than posting your 100 favorite films (which has been done and overdone), you simply post your favorite things about movies.  I dig the concept, because instead of obsessing over whether the films you put on a list are "objectively good enough" to put on said list, you simply jot down 100 moments/lines/visuals that have made a lasting impression on you or sneak their way into running gags between you and your friends.  Just read below and you'll get the idea.


P.S. I'm probably gonna regret leaving something off the minute I post this.

P.P.S. If I tagged you, it's because we talk movies and as such, I'm genuinely curious as to how your list would look.  I didn't feel like assigning a special number to the number of people tagged, but I'm sure if this circulates long enough, it'll happen.
1. Everything about The Wizard of Oz, from the production design and costumes to the music and performances.

Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif
2. The look on Peter O'Toole's face when he declares, "No prisoners!" in Lawrence of Arabia
3. The 20th Century Fox Fanfare with Cinescope Extension, composed by Alfred Neuman
4. Tags after the end credits
5. Teaser trailers that actually make a movie seem interesting instead of a 3 minute summary of the entire story

Val Kilmer
6. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone
7. The atmosphere of Lost in Translation; I can just get lost in the film without even paying attention to the characters
8. A balloon animal in the shape of a dog tracking people in Killer Klowns from Outer Space
9. The arrival at Jurassic Park, from John Williams's score to Richard Attenborough saying, "Welcome to Jurassic Park."

Alan Rickman
10. Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
11. The way the opening montage of Up manages to grab and then break my heart
12. Michael Keaton saying, "I'm Batman."
13. The nuances of Tom Cruise's performance as Bill Hartford in Eyes Wide Shut, most of which were beyond me when I saw it during its theatrical run
14. Unexpected cameos, particularly in comedies for some reason
15. Seeing anything in a movie made before CGI that makes me wonder, "How did they do that?!"

Salma Hayek
16. Salma Hayek's dance in From Dusk Till Dawn; no nudity, but highly erotic
17. The way a film can sometimes actually improve on its literary source material, like with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Christmas with the Kranks (seriously, John Grisham, learn punctuation!)
18. The way a lively, attentive and respectful audience can elevate even a mediocre movie into a memorable, enjoyable experience
19. Pierce Brosnan as Julian in The Matador
20. When actors reprise roles after a lengthy time has passed, like Leonard Nimoy appearing as Spock in Star Trek after not having played him since 1991
21. Kevin Jarre's dialog for Tombstone, including such gems as "Are you gonna do somethin' or just stand there and bleed?" and "I'm sufferin'...from a hangover!"
22. The ease with which I fell completely in love with Casablanca
23. Camping out for midnight tickets to Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, before it became unnecessary to go to such lengths to see a movie
24. The way Paranormal Activity got me looking at the screen for things that weren't even there

Harrison Ford
25. Dramatic declarations from Harrison Ford, like "Get off my plane!" in Air Force One or "I need eggs!" in Morning Glory
26. The fact they managed to cast Ossie Davis in Bubba Ho-Tep
27. Seeing Michael Moore approach congressmen on the Capitol steps in a way "real" journalists never would
28. The bravery of every filmmaker who agreed to appear in This Film Is Not Yet Rated
29. The fact that Christopher Walken only ever changes his hair for a role and not his mannerisms, voice, cadence, etc.
30. Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor in Thank You for Smoking
31. The rare occasion when a movie portrays something I've always wanted to articulate, like Robert DeNiro's frustration with the doctors who tell him there's nothing wrong with him in the beginning of Analyze This.  (I'd been having anxiety attacks around the same time, took a battery of tests and it was the receptionist who finally told me there was something wrong because the cardiologist apparently didn't believe in acknowledging anything outside his specialty.)

Robert Redford, Paul Newman
32. The chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting
33. The multiple layers of storytelling taking place throughout Bride of Frankenstein
34. Indiana Jones shooting the swordsman in Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the anecdote for why that scene was shot that way
35. The thrill from seeing a movie again after I've forgotten a familiar actor was even in it because it was a small role, like Vincent D'Onofrio in Adventures in Babysitting
36. Knowing that even the extras were outfitted with period-authentic undergarments for Doctor Zhivago
37. The shameless gratuity (both violence and nudity) of a good slasher movie
38. The thought-provocative, soul-searching nature of The Seventh Seal
39. Any time I get to see real footage of outer space or Earth, like in For All Mankind
40. Seeing the evolution of Leonardo DiCaprio from a movie star to an actor; I don't think enough people realize how extraordinary his career has been
41. The authenticity that Sean Connery brings to everything he's ever done, even something as odd as playing a defecting Soviet submarine captain with his own Scottish accent

Jonah Hill, Heidi Hawking
42. The party scene in Grandma's Boy
43. The long pullback opening shot of Star Trek: First Contact
44. Knowing that when Bill Murray was asked by Golf Digest to name the greatest golf movie ever made, he answered "Goldfinger."
45. The complete absurdity of "Like a Virgin" in Moulin Rouge
46. The conversation about Superman in Kill Bill Vol. 2
47. The 16.5 minute long single shot discussion between Raymond (Stuart Graham) and the priest (Rory Mullen) in The Hunger
48. Yoda walking into the hanger bay for the finale of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones because we all knew what was coming and had been waiting 22 years to see it
49. Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, a performance I appreciate even more now that I've finally read Bret Ellis Easton's novel
50. There may be nothing more rewarding in life than staying up all night watching The Three Stooges short films
51. The way Sullivan's Travels explores the value of comedy

Anne Heche and Joan Chen
52. Joan Chen and Anne Heche's sex scene in Wild Side, for the bravery as actresses to film it, and because it's smokin' hot
53. The Break-Up for not caving in and giving us the predictable, feel-good ending everyone expected
54. I love discussing movies and seeing people react when I admit I haven't seen something they think everyone in the world has seen
55. The banter between the good that was Bob Hope and the evil that was Bing Crosby in their "Road" movies
56. The absolute goofiness that is Disney's Robin Hood
57. Thinking about what the MPAA used to allow in a PG movie
58. Everything about Dick Tracy from the production design to the make-up, the costumes, the star power of its cast, the songs, Danny Elfman's score, etc.

Louise Brooks
59. The unapologetic sexuality of Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box
60. The way that computers process, download, upload and transfer data instantly without fail unless it's to build tension
61. The fact that movie characters always have concise phone conversations devoid of the rambling that characterizes real life phone conversations
62. Recognizing the same locations in different movies, like the bridge over the creek in Hollywood Homicide and Valentine's Day
63. Product placement (I can't help it; I actively look for those things)
64. The gunbarrel opening of a Bond movie
65. When I actually wonder whether a line was ad lib or script
66. Piper Perabo's pouty face in Coyote Ugly
67. When a movie invents something and makes it convincing, like taking pictures of the borders of paintings in The Thomas Crown Affair
68. Seeing characters enthusiastically sing along with old pop songs
69. When the camera work is manipulated to show us that someone is under the influence of a mind-altering substance, even though it makes no sense that our omniscient narrator would be affected
70. The way characters who have just met somehow know how to contact one another later; i.e., "I'll call you" or "Pick me up on Friday" even though we've never seen any indication they should have that information
71. Elaborate period drama costumes, even when most characters should be outfitted with something far more plain
72. Rousing, defiant performances of "La Marseillaise," such as in La Grande Illusion and Casablanca
73. All the quote-worthy phrases from Office Space
74. The fact that the entire premise of Smokey and the Bandit is a beer run

Alec Guinness and a bunch of guys who didn't speak as clearly
75. The precise enunciation of Sir Alec Guinness
76. The remake of 3:10 to Yuma, a movie set in the American West, stars Russell Crowe (Australian) and Christian Bale (Welsh)
77. Montages that show a group of people preparing for battle; gathering weapons, fashioning defenses, modifying cars with spiky add-ons, etc.
78. The Muppets
79. The contrived ways actresses with star power remain clothed during and after sex scenes
80. Mark Wahlberg as Sgt. Dingham in The Departed
81. The way we know a phrase like "There's no way I'm doing that/going there" is a cue for an immediate quick cut to that character in fact doing that or being there
82. Seeing animated short films before features; not sure why I love this but I do

Fred Savage and He-Man action figure
83. Watching a movie made in the 1980s and recognizing things I had as a kid, like the He-Man action figure behind Fred Savage in The Princess Bride
84. That "Oh, wow! Really?" feeling that comes with seeing an "Introducing" credit for someone like Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia or Kirstie Alley in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
85. Guys firing two guns, in slow motion, midair with fire behind them, John Woo-style
86. When Danny Glover says in Silverado, "I don't want to kill you, and you don't want to be dead"
87. Sometimes George Clooney just mails it in, but sometimes he takes some creative chances and captivates me, like From Dusk Till Dawn, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Men Who Stare at Goats and those are the performances that remind me not just why I love seeing him in movies, but why I love seeing movies
88. Walking out of a movie like The Prestige and immediately having to talk myself out of seeing it a second time
89. The cheap thrill I got from leaving The X-Files: Fight the Future and saying, loudly enough for the next audience to hear, "I can't believe they killed the Cigarette Smoking Man!" when, in fact, they didn't, but I'd planted the seed in their suspicious little minds and I know they hated me for it
90. Hearing the little boy behind me at Toy Story 3 yell at Andy about his toys, "They're not junk!" because it reminded me how great it is to be so invested in these fictitious people

Optimus Prime
91. Seeing my mom cry when Optimus Prime died ("They killed my baby's favorite!")
92. Thunderheart for being the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater (thanks to Justin and his family for taking me!)
93. What Lies Beneath for making the drive home from Clarksville, Indiana the night before Thanksgiving 2000 spooky and unnerving
94. The way the rules for surviving Zombieland appear in text on screen throughout the movie
95. The animated bat-to-person transformation of Count Dracula in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Glenn Strange and Lon Chaney, Jr.
96. The whole Universal Studios series of DraculaFrankenstein and The Wolf Man movies and their various crossover sequels, for going ahead and just throwing those worlds together for the fun of it
97. James Bond movies for still using practical effects and stunts and not farming it all out to CGI artists
98. Bad Santa for going ahead and admitting what we all knew anyway: that people are not somehow better around the holidays than they are the rest of the year
99. All the various adaptations of Alice in Wonderland for trying to show us the unreal
100. Zombie movies for being both an allegory for social anxieties and for being unadulterated fun

Other "100 Things I Love About Films" lists:
Beau Kaelin, original "100 Things I Love About Films" list
Nathan Chase, co-founder of Flickchart
Hannah M
Tyler Harris