2021-05-11 07:17:32 (UTC)

Current Top 5 Films

Personal entry follows.

It's early, before the day job begins, and I have the urge to write but my prompts are at home. So here's something I'd been meaning to articulate: my current "Top Five" films list. As it stands now, these are in no particular order. However, in each case I would consider a chance to sit down and watch any one of these as a special occasion.

_Donny Darko_____
What if god was an angsty teen? Ideas about parallel universes/alternative realities come to mind with this film. If nothing else, it's a persuasive argument that there is no alternate reality - which is almost funny, since the film features multiple situations where these alternate realities are intersecting and interfering with one another, even up until the last moment. It also reminds me of a book I first crossed-paths with in my first year of college, "Ways of Worldmaking." The general idea there was that each individual is capable of shaping their own reality by either forcing their perception of it or in some way modifying their perception of the stimuli around them. The soundtrack to this film is also fantastic. I remember first seeing this film at a late-night showing, and by chance I met up with a friend of mine with whom I'd later collaborate on video game projects for several years.

_The Big Lebowski_____
This film has me rolling every single time. Full of clever situations, foul language, bumbling and dip-shittery at some of its finest. The ace performances and writing help tremendously. Even though one character dies (the Taoist one), it's still a hoot. I first saw this when I was studying overseas, and I really couldn't believe what I was seeing. I admire everything about this film.

_Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas_____
This is my newest addition to this list. I see it as a cautionary tale about being self-absorbed and sucking everything out of life from those around you. Do not become a burden: an adult that forces everyone else to clean up after you. I wonder how Hunter S. Thompson ended up where this film lands him, and how he ran off the rails from being an actual practicing journalist to a completely selfish prick. The scene that brought this idea home for me was when Thompson and Mr. Bungle or whatever his name is are lunching at the rotating cafe, and Mr. Bungle is fumbling and collapsing all over the place, and the waitress - completely disgusted with the pair of them - says, "Take care of your friend." That was the best moment in the film.

We see, hear, and read sci-fi stories all the time about how humans explore undiscovered planets. But what if the planet itself was an alien life form, attempting to understand humans the same way? That is the crux of this film. The planet itself has an intellect and emotions, and it does everything in its power to compel the humans to love it in return. Is it an enemy, or is it just lonely - just like us? It's a perfect sci-fi setup, and while it has a grandiose world-spanning mission and purpose the film remains intensely focused - and all the more powerful because of it - on the human story. Most Andrei Tarkovsky films are of monumental length, but for some reason this one seems his most digestible for what I would consider typical audiences.

_Paris, Texas_____
Well, I'll be damned. If there's a better love story, I have yet to see it. There's a gorgeous, haunting exchange between Kinski and Stanton in the peep show, where Stanton is on one side of the one-way mirrored glass, Kinski is on the other side, and they have the most truthful discussion I've ever seen on film. He apologizes to her for fucking up. They're both looking at the facade of a 1950s kitchen - their dreams of a life together - realizing finally that it's all a sham... You see the unfinished wall behind Kinski as she's gripping the intercom in her hands, the glass, and Stanton beyond it, talking into the microphone like he's the lone remaining crew member of a sinking submarine. Bleak and beautiful, like a slow-motion tornado. I think I wrote about this one in an earlier entry. It's stuck with me.

Other Possible Entries:
Alien - I was wrestling with this one. It's so damn good.
Brazil - though there's already a Terry Gilliam film in my Top Five
Un Flic - super-stylish French crime thriller
Seven Notes in Black - AKA "The Psychic," a fantastic variation on Poe's "The Telltale Heart"
Shanghai Triad (really, really close to the Top Five) - a gangster crime epic focusing on the downtrodden life of a servant boy to a Chinese ingenue. A down ending.
Suspiria - bumped off the list in the past few years. The first 15 minutes are unforgettable.
Carnival of Souls - My favourite ghost story.
Wolf Children - A heart-wrenching anime film. I didn't think I'd care for a story about a single mother's struggles in raising kids until I saw this. I was bawling like a baby in the cinema during the sledding scene.
Akira - Another priceless anime film, with a story steeped in technology and folklore.
Mad Max: Fury Road - Probably my favourite entry in the series.
Andrei Rublev: Another Tarkovsky masterpiece, the first of his films I'd seen. The bell-foundry sequence of the film is jaw-dropping.
Koyaanisqatsi: The film that convinced me to never eat an animal ever again.

...I suppose I could go on. But that's another 12, and I think that's plenty.