Jeff's Favorite Movies
As of today, I've watched and rated 2,319 movies, assigning each a numerical rating 1 (a waste of life) and 10 (loved it). Of course, this rating took place over many many years and I can't claim that my ratings have been consistent over the long haul; I'm sure that my tastes have changed during this journey. But although I'd like to, I can't watch all 2,319 movies over again to try and be more consistent, so for what it's worth, here is the list of the 60-or-so movies I've rated 9 or 10, followed by the 300-or-so-next-best films I've rated as 8.
I generally favor movies that are heavy in the plot department; there are many movies which are highly regarded on the Internet Movie Database or by critics which I don't like at all. Breathless is one such example. To me, it felt like nothing happened, and I rated it a 4 (I've since re-rated it as 7, because I now better appreciate it's allure, but it's still not a favorite). Even the highly-regarded Citizen Kane falls into that category; I rated it a 7 since although it might have introduced lots of new film techniques and had many interesting perspectives, the plot itself was totally boring to me. I didn't ever really care what "Rosebud" meant, so the rest of the film's goodness was lost on me. So those are two movies that don't quite make it onto my list of favorite movies. If you strongly disagree with both of these non-recommendations, you might as well stop reading here because my tastes don't align with yours. But if you tentatively agree, keep reading.
To rate a movie highly (that is, rate it as if I'd really enjoy watching it again, which is what my rating of 8 means), it has to have at least one of the following: a great plot, gorgeous photography, be a musical, contain beautiful music such as the way Kubrick used music, be a great science-fiction movie, or include anything about Italy, or especially Rome, for which I'm a total slut. I'm not at all adverse to non-American films; many of my 300-or-so-next-best films are black-and-white subtitled films. So if you're still reading and these things also tickle your fancy, here are my favorite 300-or-so movies out of the 2,319 I've watched.
I welcome you to send me an email with any comments on my choices.
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My Favorite 60 or so Movies, listed alphabetically
- Koyaanisqatsi: A 90-minute-long music video of time lapse fast motion and extreme slow motion photography with themes of nature, man, and the conflict between them. Accomanied by a Philip Glass score. Highly recommended.
- The Pianist: A terrific holocaust movie that will leave you a changed person. Beware that this will be depressing and disturbing, but it's a film you won't forget.
- (subtitled) The Piano Teacher: A young student falls in love with his much older sadistic and masochistic piano teacher.
In case you agree with my list of favorite movies, here are my 300-or-so-next-best films that you might also enjoy, again listed alphabetically
(The best 34 in this bunch are in bold font)
- Amadeus: Mozart's life story
- Baraka: Second installment of the art-film trilogy of Chronos and Baraka and Samsara (below), successors to Koyaanisqatsi (one of my top-60). Baraka and Samsara are very similar; Baraka has perhaps more incredibly beautiful scenes; Samsara has perhaps more of a message and is technically better.
- (subtitled) Carmen: Bizet's opera Carmen features great music and a story involving a soldier who falls into unrequited love.
- (subtitled) Cleo from 5 to 7: Two hours in the life of a gorgeous woman singer in Paris who is awaiting the results of a biopsy, fearful of a cancer diagnosis.
- A Face in the Crowd: Andy Griffith plays a small-town southern singer and schmoozer who is discovered by a radio show host, gains in popularity, and rises into a powerful media star.
- Man With a Movie Camera: This 1929 silent film is shot by a man wandering around Moscow for a day, contrasting man and machine as he goes. He frequently appears in the film. If you enjoy Koyaanisqatsi, I think you'll enjoy this film, made 53 years earlier but foreshadowing the themes and techniques used in that movie.
- My Fair Lady: Henry Higgins takes on the challenge to teach Eliza Dolittle how to speak properly and behave like a lady in this really funny musical with clever lyrics.
- Samsara: Beautiful third installment of the art-film trilogy of Chronos and Baraka (above) and Samsara, successors to Koyaanisqatsi (one of my top-60). Baraka and Samsara are very similar; Baraka has perhaps more incredibly beautiful scenes; Samsara has perhaps more of a message and is technically better.
- Some Like It Hot: Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis, musicians in a jazz band, need work and have to hide-out from gangsters, so they take a job in a female-only band that's to perform for 3 weeks in Miami. Dressed in drag and with their falsetto voices, they meet Marylin Monroe, the band's singer, and Tony Curtis tries to woo her, imitating a rich oil baron. Wow, what a fabulous nearly-see-through dress she wore during their date! This very funny comedy is well worth a couple hours of real fun.
- (subtitled) Tristan und Isolde: If you'd like to try out opera, but have always been afraid, then this opera by Wagner, or 1984's Carmen by Bizet would be a great way to dip your toes into the water. Tristan und Isolde if your a bleeding Romantic like me, Carmen if you're not. This particular version of Tristan und Isolde is in great sound, unlike other DVDs of great performances you might find.
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- Unfaithfully Yours: Hilarious story about an orchestral conductor who believes his wife has been unfaithful, therefore he plots his revenge.
And finally, a few TV series which I've especially enjoyed, again in alphabetical order
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