T Nation

Your Favourite Film and Why?

Relatively new to the Forum and wanted to start integrating myself into the community early on with topics I appreciate, the most significant of which being film, because that’s been my niche for a long time.

There are a few film threads in the archives but no recent ones concerning general movie preference as opposed to opinions on a genre or a specific title. I’d like to get an idea of films that encompass all genres and time periods, that jive with people personally and for whatever reason that may be, whether the message enlightened you, it seemed fluid and classy, or of an important past experience in your life that it might somehow tie in with.

For me that film is Pulp Fiction, for a number of reasons. I’ll start with the reasons that make this film unique to me and my draw to it as a work of art and the content I appreciate most, then expand into my personal connection with it and how it helped me as a human being.

Pulp Fiction’s charm for me comes in it’s screenplay and character dynamic, a lot of time is spent on dialogue and conversation pieces that aren’t necessarily pivotal or for the most part even partly relevant to the overall premise. I enjoy how the characters always retain their realism even when the situations they face tend to spiral out of control, that Vincent and Jules can resort to talks that make light of their friendship and show their ability to share their thoughts with a loyal friend and crack jokes with each other with no work-related inhibitions.

That Butch can be an arsehole and a ego-centric jerk, but still be in a sympathetic position and have a respectable sense of pride even when he has to face the consequences of being stubborn in his intentions. And I like how The Wolf is calm and collected with a sense of class and eloquent in his speech, keeps to his logic in the event of stress, and is ruthless in his ability to urgently bring solutions to a wild and chaotic situation.

Even for the short time he spends on screen, The Wolf makes a lasting impression with me as one of the most outstanding and enviable characters in film history. All in all, I like the way each character has his own sense and definition of morality and how this moulds the way they respond to what they’re faced with in each passing situation.

I also love the pop-culture references and trivia behind the main dialogue, that I can view the film an indefinite number of times and still realise or remind myself of a quirk or popular throwback hidden within the framework. Like the reference to U.S. Presidents on the sign advertising Butch’s bout, or that ‘Operation’ is sitting on the table in Jimmie’s apartment when Vincent is administering an adrenaline shot to an overdosing Mia.

They keep the charm of the film fresh for me and ensure I will never just go through the motions watching it, but instead be enthralled and have my attention focused constantly on some intelligent pun or something I may have missed or not understood in the past.

But the most important thing I took from Pulp Fiction was how each situation and character, having their own separate reactions and coping mechanisms could be a direct influence to me and the way I live. That I could shape my depressed, easily manipulated personality of my early childhood and learn to accommodate for what I admire most about the characters. That sometimes I could take Jules’ aggressive nature and assert my own intentions and desires to counter-act the oppression of a controlling and manipulative associate or enemy.

That I could be like The Wolf, think logically about a task and complete it quickly and efficiently when the need arose, and speak passionately and respectfully about my thoughts and interests. I like that I could be more sociable and understanding of someone as a person and not categorise them on their social standing or background, like Vincent is with Mia, to some respect.

I didn’t intend this post to be as long and drawn out as it turned out to be, but I would be doing a disservice to cut any aspect of my appreciation for my personal favourite film of all time, everything I’ve written here has further solidified my adoration for what I consider to be one of the greatest and most enlightening embodiments of art in my lifetime.

I’d like anyone here who shares a passion for cinema to divulge their favourite films and their reasons, whether it be as detailed as mine, or short, sweet and to the point, all responses are equally welcomed.

Gladiator

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

It’s a captivating story about a man who just doesn’t give up. He tests social mores and ignores the limits prescribed by law in pursuit of what he loves.

I also like the way the film limits the traditional role of the “bad guy.” In the beginning you assume that Pee Wee will be battling Francis throughout the film and it will culminate into an epic final showdown. Surprisingly (and pleasantly so), you find that Pee Wee’s struggle is not with Francis, but himself.

As a young boy I found that some of the lessons Pee Wee learned on his adventure were a reflection of my own. Years later I would realize that the film was a crystal ball, foretelling the trials I would yet encounter as I inched ever closer to adulthood.

What a film! What emotions! I laughed at Pee Wee’s antics. I cried for the loss he suffered. I worried during those tense moments with Andy, the bikers, and Large Marge. I cheered as he overcame each struggle. And finally, I rejoiced at his triumph.

There are so many lessons and insights to be garnered by this masterpiece. I could make a lengthy list. But in the end, it is for the individual viewer to decide what wisdom the film imparts and how it applies to his or her own adventure through life.

Despite the aforementioned, I will share one point of emphasis that I have never forgotten. For me, the most profound proposition I took to heart is this:

There is no basement in the Alamo.

[quote]csulli wrote:
Gladiator[/quote]

X2

It’s amazing this film turned out to be the masterpiece it is, considering its crazy beginnings and the process along the way. One example, Dolph Lundgren was considered for the lead before Russel Crowe. Imagine that!

[quote]super saiyan wrote:
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

It’s a captivating story about a man who just doesn’t give up. He tests social mores and ignores the limits prescribed by law in pursuit of what he loves.

I also like the way the film limits the traditional role of the “bad guy.” In the beginning you assume that Pee Wee will be battling Francis throughout the film and it will culminate into an epic final showdown. Surprisingly (and pleasantly so), you find that Pee Wee’s struggle is not with Francis, but himself.

As a young boy I found that some of the lessons Pee Wee learned on his adventure were a reflection of my own. Years later I would realize that the film was a crystal ball, foretelling the trials I would yet encounter as I inched ever closer to adulthood.

What a film! What emotions! I laughed at Pee Wee’s antics. I cried for the loss he suffered. I worried during those tense moments with Andy, the bikers, and Large Marge. I cheered as he overcame each struggle. And finally, I rejoiced at his triumph.

There are so many lessons and insights to be garnered by this masterpiece. I could make a lengthy list. But in the end, it is for the individual viewer to decide what wisdom the film imparts and how it applies to his or her own adventure through life.

Despite the aforementioned, I will share one point of emphasis that I have never forgotten. For me, the most profound proposition I took to heart is this:

There is no basement in the Alamo.[/quote]

I loved Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Who knew one of Tim Burton’s strangest project would be that?
I haven’t seen the film in such a long time I’m by no means qualified to make any meaningful counter-points. I always respected his ingenuity in taking a real, live cast film and giving it all the elements of a playful cartoon. Paul Reubens was surprisingly good too, even though I have every reason to, I never got bored or annoyed at the way he played Pee-Wee Herman. It was always charming in a childish innocence kind of way.

I’ll definitely add it to my list of films I need to see again, maybe with your post in mind I’ll open up a new perspective I could never explore as a child. Thanks for the response!

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
Gladiator[/quote]

X2

It’s amazing this film turned out to be the masterpiece it is, considering its crazy beginnings and the process along the way. One example, Dolph Lundgren was considered for the lead before Russel Crowe. Imagine that![/quote]

Gladiator has been spoiled for me ever since I found out that Oliver Reed was 'CGI’d in at the end because he died during filming.

Now I can’t watch it without looking for those bits.

My favourite film would be either The Green Mile or Little Miss Sunshine. No Kurasowa for me, just low-brow twaddle.

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
Gladiator[/quote]

X2

It’s amazing this film turned out to be the masterpiece it is, considering its crazy beginnings and the process along the way. One example, Dolph Lundgren was considered for the lead before Russel Crowe. Imagine that![/quote]

Fully agreed, normally the people I speak closest to about films have a wavering opinion on Gladiator, but I couldn’t argue in favour of it any more. Huge fan of the way they showed brutality, inside the Colosseum but even more so outside, with Proximo, Marcus Aurelius, Maximus’ family etc. I like when films push past the civilised barrier so many are restrained by and instead approach the dark, violent background of the film’s setting, adds ten-fold to the story. Much like Django Unchained and A Clockwork Orange, to name a few examples.

I love when directors fight tooth and nail through production stumps and make a film that works so well with the final casting, makes it all the more pleasant for me.


favorite movie of all time.

I like movies that can make fun of themselves, the characters were over the top, the lines were funny and it had a good ending.

and… there were Ninjas.

ninjas make all movies better, if you ask me~

Predator

Possibly the manliest movie of all time. Excessive muscle, massive guns, wilderness setting, all things to get the testosterone pumping.

Let’s talk memorable quotes:

  1. “Ain’t got time to bleed”. I mean shit, can you even conceive of anything better than that?
  2. “This shit’ll make you a goddamn sexual tyranosaurus… Just like me.” The confidence on display in that statement is awe-inspiring.
  3. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” I was wrong, this is even better than #1

As if those quotes weren’t enough, how about some of the most iconic scenes in masculine movie history?

  1. Arnold/Carl Weathers air arm wrestle.
  2. Sonny Landham going out on the log to die in single combat.
  3. Arnold covered in mud lighting the bonfire to attract the Predator.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are not one, but two future Governors heavily featured.

Jaws. If you have to ask why, then you’ve never seen Jaws.

A Korean film called Oldboy is tied for the top spot though. That’s a movie and a half

[quote]FarmerBrett wrote:

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
Gladiator[/quote]

X2

It’s amazing this film turned out to be the masterpiece it is, considering its crazy beginnings and the process along the way. One example, Dolph Lundgren was considered for the lead before Russel Crowe. Imagine that![/quote]

Gladiator has been spoiled for me ever since I found out that Oliver Reed was 'CGI’d in at the end because he died during filming.

Now I can’t watch it without looking for those bits.

My favourite film would be either The Green Mile or Little Miss Sunshine. No Kurasowa for me, just low-brow twaddle.

[/quote]

A film is by no means twaddle just because the more “classic” of acclaimed titles are aged and have their history behind them. I love both of the films you’ve mentioned and I’m especially glad you mentioned Little Miss Sunshine, tends to fly over a lot of people’s heads because it’s independently made.

I loved how unorthodox and quirky it was, the family mannerisms were great and to separate them all so far from each other in the beginning only to bring them crashing together in a hail of glory towards the end was incredibly satisfying. Alan Arkin as the Grandpa was hilarious, brilliant performance from him. Paul Dano as well has my praise, as often as he plays the whiny brat, there’s still some great variety in his acting capability, made a film when he was very young called L.I.E., disturbing, but very moving performance from him for such a young age.

If anyone is a fan of thrillers, I just came across a Norwiegan production not long ago called Hodejegerne (Headhunters in English). If you deal well with subtitles, the plot is very fresh and engaging, definite reccomendation.

Pan’s Labyrinth.

Guillermo del Toro at his best.

I could literally just watch this film for the rest of my life and be happy.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
Jaws. If you have to ask why, then you’ve never seen Jaws.

A Korean film called Oldboy is tied for the top spot though. That’s a movie and a half[/quote]

Jaws was one of the first horror films I ever saw, for that alone and the impact it gave me at the time, I was very young, (I watched a hell of a lot of adult films at a very young age). The suspense you can build with open ocean and a water monster is uncanny, all the more terrifying when the monster is real.

I love Oldboy, incredibly disturbing plotline, but ruthlessly spewing originality. Spike Lee’s on call for a remake, I have very, very slim hope for it.
If you’re into Korean films there’s a director called Bong Joon-Ho that’s made some incredible films, Memoirs Of Murder is very highly acclaimed and The Host is a personal favourite when it comes to East Asian cinema. Yet another monster film, albeit a ton of special effects, but don’t let that put you off, it’s incredibly good. By your post it sounds like you’d enjoy it.

I do love Gladiator, the sorrowful score, the performances of Crowe and Phoenix, really great film.

But my all time favorite (for now, since who knows which other film might take its’ place) is a different film starring Russel Crowe:

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

I think Crowe displays a versatility in this role that he hasn’t really shown before or since. One scene he’s the rowdy Skipper of a warship under Englands’ flag, the next he’s questioning his decision making, and the next he’s mourning the deaths within his own crew in a fatherly posture.

It’s a film about war, being the under-dog under extreme duress, being crafty, being willing and brave, being stoic men, honoring a code of ethics, superstition, and brotherhood.

There’s also a love story in the film, one that really isn’t noticed or discussed, but when you step back and look at it from a distance, the relationship between Crowes character Aubrey and the ships Surgeon (played by Paul Bettany), is one of the purest examples of devoted love between two men that far exceeds anything I’ve seen before as a study on male relationships. It’s not sexual, romantic, or even “gay,” but these two characters are clearly devoted to each other, face differing points of view, compromise, suffering and loss, as well as the shit talking and familiarity that comes with being in a fucked up situation with your best friend.

The climax of the film does not go without casualties, so that even in victory the Surprise is reminded of it’s duty, and the closing shot of the film as the crew once again “beats to quarters” as the camera cranes away from the ship is the perfect way to button up a pure oddysey of a film.

Seems a lot of people deem the film “too big” or what have you, but honestly, to me, this movie is an Epic adventure on the high seas the never dissapoints no matter how many times I watch it. I love this movie above all others.

Leon (American version The Professional)

Great cast, really well developed characters that I cared about. Loved the development of Leon, best role ever for Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman as one of the absolutely best bad guys ever. Every time it comes on tv I find myself watching it till the end.

[quote]Gumbi wrote:
Pan’s Labyrinth.

Guillermo del Toro at his best.

I could literally just watch this film for the rest of my life and be happy.[/quote]

Excellent choice, I love how he turned the fantasy on it’s head and showed the disgusting creatures he expanded upon so well, including Captain Vidal.
I like when fairy tale fantasy is twisted and turned until it’s dark and evil, artistic interpretation like that has always been a soft spot for me.

An example of Jack and Stevens’ bitter devotion to each other, from IMDB:

Dr. Stephen Maturin: They’re exhausted. These men are exhausted. You’ve pushed them too hard.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Stephen, I invite you to this cabin as my friend. Not to criticise nor to comment on my command.
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Well, shall I leave you until you’re in a more harmonious frame of mind.
[he stands and is about to leave]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: What would you have me do, Stephen?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: [turns back to him and knows what to say] Tip the ship’s grog over the side.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Stop their grog?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Nagle was drunk when he insulted Hollom. Did you know that?
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Stop 30 years of privilege and tradition. I’d rather have them three sheets to the wind than face a mutiny.
Dr. Stephen Maturin: You see I’m rather understanding of mutinies. Men pressed from their homes, confined for months aboard a wooden prison…
Capt. Jack Aubrey: I respect your right to disagree with me, but I can only afford one rebel on this ship. I hate it when you talk of the service in this way. It makes me feel so very low. You think I want to flog Nagle? A man who hacked the ropes that sent his mate to his death? Under MY orders? Do you not see? The only things that keep this wooden world together are hard work…
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Jack, the man failed to salute. There’s hierarchies even in nature. There is no disdain in nature. There is no…
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Men must be governed! Often not wisely, but governed nonetheless.
Dr. Stephen Maturin: That’s the excuse of every tyrant in history, from Nero to Bonaparte. I, for one, am opposed to authority. It is an egg of misery and opression.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: You’ve come to the wrong shop for anarchy, brother.

[quote]Scotto wrote:
Leon (American version The Professional)

Great cast, really well developed characters that I cared about. Loved the development of Leon, best role ever for Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman as one of the absolutely best bad guys ever. Every time it comes on tv I find myself watching it till the end.[/quote]

One of the best foreign films ever made. Natalie Portman’s role as Mathilda is incomparable to any other child role I can think of, at such a young age she oozed potential, her character relation with Reno’s Leon was incredible.

Gary Oldman is one of, if not the, greatest villains in cinema. From Stansfield in Leon, to Drexl in True Romance, to Oswald in JFK. Oldman makes the perfect film villain, regardless of the personality tweaks each character is uniquely and fully his own. Great respect for him as an actor.

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:
Gary Oldman is one of, if not the, greatest villains in cinema. From Stansfield in Leon, to Drexl in True Romance, to Oswald in JFK. Oldman makes the perfect film villain, regardless of the personality tweaks each character is uniquely and fully his own. Great respect for him as an actor.[/quote]

Couldn’t agree more, you made me think of another where he’s kind of an anti-hero, with an over the top great bad girl performance from Lena Olin, Romeo is Bleeding. Loved Lena Olin since The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Already so many films and actor portrayals that are unquestionably immortalised in history, could not agree more with the films mentioned in this thread. It’s also given me a new insight into films I may have missed in the past, Master & Commander is a title that stands out to me as a must see.

I love to see other people share the same passion for film that I do, incredibly grateful to everyone who’s posted and I am fully looking forward to any new titles posted in the future!