Mike’s Top Ten Movies.

Gentle readers, this is a post from Mike. Enjoy.

Here’s a first. Greetings to all of Kari’s dedicated readers. As you may know, Kari tagged me yesterday on the movie post. I remember talking to her on the way home from Ben and Jerry’s Friday night trying to come up with what our favorite movies were. I did agree that one of the greatest joys we will have in raising children would be introducing them to incredible cinematic masterpieces. I do not see us showing The Wizard of Oz to our 5 year-old child. They just wouldn’t get it. They would not understand the importance of it. How it changed cinema as well as the lives of innumerable children for close to a century. The same goes for Citizen Kane. And To Kill a Mockingbird. The latter two are important works, but they need to be understood and prefaced before any viewing is done.

Have I gotten off the subject? Hang with me. The movies on our list will be monumental moments in our lives (and hopefully our children’s lives), so they cannot be shown lightly. These movies are very important to us and can’t be shown in the same way our child might watch Finding Nemo or Toy Story. We want to instill a deep respect for cinema and how cinema has an immense impact on those who value it.

It was tough coming up with this list because I have to leave off so many important films. Important in the history of cinema and important in my life as well. I don’t know if the Coen Brothers will make the list, but their movies are incredible (Raising Arizona was the first PG-13 movie I saw—I snuck into the theater with a friend). And what about the guy movies? How do I choose between Braveheart, The Matrix, and Gladiator? They can’t all be on the list because I need room for comedies and musicals. Musicals? Yeah, musicals. To without further ado:

The rules are as follows:
1. List your top ten favorite films in no particular order.
2. If you’re tagged, post your list and tag 3-5 other people.
3. Link back to the person who tagged you.
4. Give a hat tip (HT) to Dan.

The Godfather Parts I and II: When I saw Once back in August, it dawned on me that movies can be adopted as your outlook on important areas of your life. I came up with 5 categories: God/Religion, Family, Relationships, Music, and Humanity. If I could pick one movie for each area, what would it be? The Godfather movies would represent my outlook on family. I want to be the kind of father that would do anything to protect my family, to stick up for what I believe it right. These movies are marvels to watch and study.

Dan, you are looking dapper today.

The Princess Bride: I was very tempted to make sure Kari and I didn’t have any movies that agreed in our top ten. That way we would have 20 different movies that we just could not wait to show our kids. However, there a couple of choices that I could not leave off, no matter how much I wanted to twist the data. This is a perfect movie. The grandpa got it right when he said, “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.” The movie has it all. It is inconceivable how a movie could be this good.

High Fidelity: “My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups, in chronological order, are as follows:” Most of us have them: Breakups, heartaches, meltdowns. This movie is the movie that represents my outlook on relationships. Rob’s blundering, self-centered actions that lead to some gray self-revelation about what love might be strikes a chord (where do I come up with these). And this might be Jack Black’s best role ever.

12 Monkeys: I love apocalyptic films. When I was making that other list back in August, I had to choose what movie would represent my view on humanity. This was one of the two movies that were in the running. (Would I choose hopeful or apocalyptic?) I love that 5 billion people died and just a handful of humans are left. There’s time-travel and scary music. Brad Pitt is amazing and not at all attractive in this roll. I’d like to put 2 Terry Gilliam works on this list, but I don’t know if it will work out. This was my all-time favorite movie for quite a number of years (you notice how all-time lists change so frequently?), but I think The Godfather could have eclipsed it. As an added bonus, let me tell you that this movie is even more enjoyable in black and white.

Pulp Fiction: I wouldn’t show this to my children until they were much older, but I would show it to them. This is a fun movie. And it’s stylish. And it has so many layers. With its homage to great cinematic directors, its out-of-sync plot, its Tarantino dialogue and its attention to details, you can’t help but get something new from this movie each time you watch it.

Millions: Another movie that Kari and I agree on. This movie is on that other list I mentioned earlier. This movie represents my outlook on Religion and God.

Braveheart: I don’t know if this movie will age well. I could see it falling off the list at some point. However, for right now, this movie had an incredible impact on me. It impacted several of my friendships over the years. There is something powerful about watching this movie with your guy friends. Kind of like Gladiator and The Matrix (which could easily be on this list had I had honorable mentions).

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: One of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I laugh so hard I cry when I watch this movie. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.” Brilliant.

Guys and Dolls: I promised you all a musical. Marlon Brando is incredible in this film. This is a man’s musical if there is such a thing. It’s about a floating crap game and love. I mean how can you resist gamblers spontaneously bursting into song? You can’t!

I honestly don’t know what to put in the last spot. Back to the Future, The Lord of the Rings, Garden State, Brazil, A David Fincher film, a romantic comedy, Heat, The Shawshank Redemption, that movie that I chose as my outlook on humanity (the one that one out over 12 Monkeys)? After much deliberation and much sadness that this list has to end, I give you the last movie to make the list:

Miller’s Crossing: What is the Coen Brothers’ best film? You can make a case for No Country For Old Men and for Barton Fink and possibly Fargo or The Big Lebowski, but Miller’s Crossing? No. However, I love gangster films and they do a fantastic job with their tribute to the gangster genre. I love how the Coens construct their films and feel that it truly works in this genre. This movie isn’t quotable like many of their other films, but it is beautiful to watch. Many of their go-to actors are in this film, including a brilliant performance by John Turturro. Do you remember that scene in Home Alone when Kevin decides to watch that movie his parents didn’t want him to watch? Remember that mob boss? Well, Albert Finney’s performance really reminds me of that crazy guy who gives you to the count of ten to get out of his office. He just plays the mob boss to perfection. “You ain’t got a license to kill bookies and today I ain’t sellin’. So take your flunky and dangle.”

Thanks for tagging me Kari. I have enjoyed discovering many a good film with you. I look forward to finding more movies that could possibly wind up making this list.

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