David says I'm a movie snob; I say anyone who sees one movie a year doesn't have much basis for criticism. But I have seen a lot of movies that didn't register on the mainstream radar, and I like to plug the good ones when I can.
Now that I'm seeing only a couple movies a year in theaters, I'm about 5 years behind in discovering good stuff.
My favorite performances
My favorite movies you have heard of.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Breaking the Waves (1996)
The Conversation (1974)
Days of Heaven (1979)
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Local Hero (1983)
Lone Star (1996)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Raging Bull (1979)
Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980)
Rules of the Game (1939)
Zero Effect (1998)
|My favorite movies you never heard of|
Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson) Manic young man has criminal ambitions, gets his pals to buy into his elaborate plan.
Brick (2005, Rian Johnson) Murder mystery set at a Southern California high school.
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1987, Mark Lewis) A documentary about huge toads brought to Australia to kill some pest that have become pests themselves.
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway) Restaurant chef helps facilitate the affair between a woman and her lover, until her husband, a brutal criminal, finds out. Really gorgeous and really horrific.
Cold Weather (2010, Aaron Katz) A young man recently returned to Portland tries to find his missing ex-girlfriend.
Cul-de-Sac (1966, Roman Polanski) A pair of criminals on the run invade a couple's remote, rundown castle.
The Daytrippers (1997, Greg Mottola) With her family tagging along, soft-spoken young woman goes into the city to confront her cheating husband. Starring Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber
Dead Man (1995, Jim Jarmusch). No "Walking." Meek accountant (Johnny Depp) heads out for a job in the Wild West, finds big trouble, ends up on the run. Score by Neil Young.
District 9 (2009, Neill Blomkamp) Space aliens are interned outside Johannesberg.
Don't Come Knocking (2005, Wim Wenders) Sam Shepard is a former cowboy star in crisis who flees a movie set for his Montana hometown.
An Education (2009, Lone Scherfig) Precocious British high-schooler (Carey Mulligan) is courted by an older man (Peter Sarsgaard).
Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog) Man with a plan -- to build an opera house in remote South America -- must first haul his steamship over a mountain. Best seen with "Burden of Dreams," Les Blank's documentary on its making.
Five Corners (1988, Tony Bill) Wacko's kidnapping of the object of his obsession mobilizes her friends in the Bronx. Starring Jodie Foster, John Turturro, Tim Robbins.
Half Nelson (2006, Ryan Fleck) Inner-city high school teacher with a crack habit becomes entangled with student.
Henry Fool (1998, Hal Hartley) Disruptive boarder ignites a garbageman's literary genius.
House of Games (1987, David Mamet) Unworldly psychiatrist gets caught up with a bunch of conmen.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009, Terry Gilliam) Behind the curtain of a traveling showman's wagon is a strange world. Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell.
In Bruges (2008, Martin McDonagh) Hit men Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are sent to Belgium to lie low after killing the wrong person.
Lantana (2001, Ray Stewart) Anthony LaPaglia as a police detective searching for a missing woman as his marriage founders.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressberger) This story of a British military man over four decades is not the snarky slapstick I expected but a thoughtful romance.
The Lives of Others (2006, Florian Henckel von Donnensmarck) German-language movie about a Staasi agent in the early 1980s spying on a playwright and his girlfriend.
Locke (2010, Steven Knight) Story told in real time with one actor (Tom Hardy) in a car, taking phone calls as his life falls apart.
Malcolm (1986, Nadia Tass) No "X." Odd loner with a genius for mechanics builds a bank-robbing machine.
Margin Call (2011, JC Chandor) 24 hours at an investment company whose traders see the first signs of the financial crisis ignited by subprime lending.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011, Sean Durkin) A young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) who has escaped from a scary cult holes up with her sister and brother-in-law.
Micmacs (2009, Jean-Pierre Jeunet) Strange band of people with diverse talents decide to destroy two weapons manufacturers.
Moon (2009, Duncan Jones) The sole employee at a mining site on a distant planet believes his replacement will come soon. When the guy shows up, things get weird.
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953, Jacques Tati). I saw this about 20 years after my parents did, and when I mentioned it to them, my mom immediately started imitating Tati's tennis serve. Deadpan humor, no dialogue, lots of sound.
Northern Lights (1979, Jim Hanson/Rob Nilsson) Dakota farmers struggle through the winter of 1915. Nilsson's more Cassaveteish stuff -- "Heat and Sunlight," "Chalk" -- is also worth a look.
Small Faces (1996, Gillies MacKinnon). Overshadowed by "Trainspotters," another story of rough life in Glasgow. A boy is influenced by two brothers, one an artist and one a thug.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997, Atom Egoyan). A small town struggles in the aftermath of a school bus accident.
Trees Lounge (1996, Steve Buscemi). Buscemi's directorial debut, about a loser who hangs out at a Long Island bar and gets way too involved with teen-age Chloe Sevigny.
Trust (1991, Hal Hartley) Bad-news teen (Adrienne Shelly) hooks up with edgy young man (Martin Donovan).
24 Hour Party People (2002, Michael Winterbottom) Quasi-documentary-style portrait of a Manchester rock impresario.
Voyager (1991, Volker Schlondorff) From Max Frisch's "Homo Faber." Engineer-in-crisis Sam Shepard takes European road trip with charming Julie Delpy. Sounds cute; it's not.
Waitress (2007, Adrienne Shelly) Astringent romance between a small-town waitress and her obstetrician.
The Way Way Back (2013, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash) One of the better summertime coming-of-age stories I've seen, with Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette.
Whatever (1998, Susan Skoog) Long Island high-school student (Liza Weil) might go on to art school, or she might come to a bad end with those troublemakers she hangs out with.
What Maisie Knew (2012, Scott McGehee & David Siegel) The care of a little girl falls to her divorced parents' respective lovers. Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgard and the amazing Onata Aprile.
Whiplash (2014, Damien Chazelle) Dark story of a music student abused and manipulated by a teacher.
You Can Count on Me (2000, Kenneth Lonergan) Laura Linney is a single mom pretending she has everything under control; her beloved screwup brother Mark Ruffalo comes to visit.
My favorite performances
Christian Bale, Rescue Dawn (2007)
Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski (1998)
Russell Crowe, The Insider (1999)
John Cusack, The Grifters (1991)
Hope Davis, Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York (2002)
Julie Delpy, White (1994)
Robert De Niro, Raging Bull (1979)
Martin Donovan, Trust (1991), The Opposite of Sex (1998)
Illeana Douglas, Grace of My Heart (1996), To Die For (1995)
Ben Gazzara: His 1998 supporting roles in The Big Lebowski, The Spanish Prisoner, Buffalo 66, Happiness
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson (2006)
Gene Hackman, The Conversation (1974)
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica (2005)
Jessica Lange, Blue Sky (1994)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rush (1991)
Joe Mantegna, House of Games (1987)
Carey Mulligan, An Education (2009)
Sean Penn, Carlito's Way (1993)
Sarah Polley, Go (1999), Guinevere (1999)
Bill Pullman, Zero Effect (1998)
Alan Rickman, Truly Madly Deeply (1991), An Awfully Big Adventure (1995)
Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), The Way Way Back (2013)
Sam Shepard, Voyager (1991), Don't Come Knocking (2006)
James Spader, Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Terence Stamp, The Limey (1999)
John Turturro, Quiz Show (1994)
Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves (1996)