November 15, 2011

TableTopics: #27

What's your favorite book and movie?

I've had a canned pair of answers to these for years,and I don't know that I'll be overthrowing those canned answers, but let's take a little bit to look at the various nominees...

We'll start with movies and break 'em down by genre...
  • Favorite comedy - Dr Strangelove or The Big Lebowski or Grosse Pointe Blank or O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Favorite kids-ish movie - The Muppet Movie or Spirited Away
  • Favorite action movie - Hero or Kill Bill: Vol 1
  • Favorite foreign film - Hero 
  • Favorite guilty pleasure - Road House or LA Story
  • Favorite drama - Fight Club or The Usual Suspects or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Goodfellas
  • Favorite sports movie - Hoosiers or Field of Dreams
  • Favorite documentary - The Fog of War or I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  • Favorite war movie -The Thin Red Line
  • Favorite concert film - Rattle and Hum or The Last Waltz or Purple Rain 
  • Favorite western - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly or Unforgiven
  • Favorite sci-fi - Blade Runner or The Matrix or Primer
  • Favorite suspense - The Player 
Let's play knock out again. The goal is to look for a film that I actually think is a great film and one that I'd willingly rewatch at the drop of a hat no matter my mood.
  • Out first - Road House - It's not actually a good film. I know that.
  • 2nd - The Matrix - As much as it shouldn't be so, the subsequent craptacular films poisoned this one.
  • 3rd - The Last Waltz - It might be ranked higher if it weren't for the Neil Diamond crap and focus on Robbie Robertson.
  • 4th - Rattle and Hum - As background, sure, but to actually sit down and watch the thing from tip to tail isn't one that I'm desperate to do all the time.
  • 5th - Spirited Away - The oddness is gorgeous and beautiful, but it is beginning to age for me.
  • 6th - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - This one's a little tough to watch because it's such a hard ending for me.
  • 7th - Purple Rain - The concert footage is outstanding, and the between is hilarious, but those parts are of such dubious quality that this one doesn't make it any further.
  • 8th - The Fog of War - This one's a thinker. It's a hard watch.
  • 9th - I Am Trying to Break Your Heart - Same reason as Rattle and Hum: it's not one I'll watch all the way through just because I'm killing time.
  • 10th - The Thin Red Line - Too slow for viewing unless I'm in the mood.
  • 11th - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - This cut is tough, but they'll all be tough cuts from here on in. I haven't seen this one enough (only twice) to say that it'll age and stay one of my favorites.
  • 12th - Unforgiven - Man, this one's dark. It's spectacular and amazing, but it's dark.
  • 13th - (From here on, every movie is in the running for my favorite depending on my mood.) - Kill Bill: Vol 1 - As much as I enjoy the hell out of this one, I'm not sure it's a spectacular film. It's stylish, but it's kind of all sizzle not as much steak.
Screw it...strengths of the rest...
  • Dr Strangelove - Amazing quality performances from the most spectacular mimic that we've seen on film. Marvelous cultural relevance. Brilliant dark humor. Not laugh out loud funny through most of the film.
  • The Big Lebowski - Tough to pass up no matter my mood. Spectacularly quotable...imminently referenceable...perfectly paced throughout.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank - Impossible for me to turn away from. Perfect character study. Beautiful Minnie Driver. Most excellent John Cusack part ever, and that's saying something.
  • The Muppet Movie - Cameos galore...funny at every turn...great message...Charles Durning...inspirational
  • Hero - My vote for the best movie I've ever seen...highest quality but not my favorite even though I do love it.
  • LA Story - I know this one isn't on par with the others in terms of quality, but it's a weak spot for me because of the second date thing. I love this one.
  • Fight Club - I'll watch this one any time. Great performances from all the leads. Hell of a book. 
  • The Usual Suspects - Best film of the 90's...I'm still stunned at the twist every time, and I find something new every time I see it.
  • Hoosiers - If it weren't for the inexplicable kiss (which is explained in the cut scenes), this might be the perfect sports movie ever. It's not all truthful, but it's phenomenal, and it brings me to tears every time when they head out for the final game.
  • Field of Dreams - It's a little slow in parts, but I weep like a baby in the last scene. It's perfect in every way.
  • Blade Runner - First off, the choice is the director's cut. It's marvelous and thoughtful, and the climax with Rutger Hauer is among the finest scenes on film.
  • Primer - This one's a thinker, probably the most thoughtful film I've seen. It's one that has to be seen over and over to be understood, and I love seeing it over and over. Outstanding stuff.
  • The Player - Brilliant acting...more cameos than The Muppet Movie...dark as dark can get...great paranoia
I'm going with Grosse Pointe Blank...Fight Club...Hoosiers...and Primer. That's the best I can get, a final four. Take it or leave it.

I referred to my critickr rankings for some help here. I really should go back through and update those.

I'll come back tomorrow with the book choices.

In case you're late to the party, here's the deal...

Here's what I've answered so far...
  • #25 - "I Know What Love Is" by Don White
  • #35 - no business 
  • #36 - MLK, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall 
  • #16 - first college visit home
  • #19 - No 
  • #22 - skydiving
  • #24 - Beastie Boys in NYC
Already requested answers...they'll be answered (probably in this order)...
  • 32...37
Feel free to request other answers in the comments.


Smamy said...

Got some, missed a lot. Several to put on my list to see (thanks). Thought "Chasing Amy" or "Clerks" might have made the laundry list. Glad to see you had the common sense not to include "Shallow Grave" (truly one of the worst movies that you ever made me watch.....).

PHSChemGuy said...

I'll admit that I haven't seen Shallow Grave again since I saw it in the theater. I loved it then but don't know that it would have aged.

Chasing Amy was a tough call. It's an emotional thing for me as it was important to a headspace I was in at the time, and because of that I don't always enjoy watching it again.

Clerks hasn't aged well for me at all. I've really fallen out of love with Kevin Smith's works and in fact gave away most of the DVDs I had of his stuff a few years ago. Kept Amy, but that's it.