Friday, September 12, 2008

Along comes Matt to shake the rust off, posting at his place on what his Favorite Movie of All Time might be.

Personally, I have trouble nailing down favorites by genre, let alone an all-time pick. And then there's favorite vs. best, which is not always the same. I could say my favorite horror film is Dawn of the Dead (1978), but I'm pretty certain that's not even Romero's best film (that being Martin.)

Some random possibilities that occur to me:
Better Off Dead? Grosse Point Blank? Both are surely in my top 10.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off? This just feels like the sort of movie one outgrows, and honestly I'd rank Major League above it.

I think you *do* outgrow Ferris. Not that you root for Rooney, but you see what a manipulative little shit Ferris is toward his friends. I've always seen Grosse Pointe Blank as an answer to the shallow, lilywhite affluence of the John Hughes oeuvre. Better Off Dead is pretty great, but DeMar is a weak sidekick.

To my mind the best "teen movie" isn't one of these, but rather My Bodyguard. I'll run into it on TV and I have to watch to the end.

Is it one of the Pixar blockbusters? But how does one rank those? Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles would both contend (I think Toy Story got massively overplayed). Finding Nemo was also run into the ground but might be so good that it withstands the hype. When I finally get a chance to see WALL*E will I ask "where have you been all my life?"

quite easily, without even ranking Wall-E:

Toy Story 2
Bug's Life
Toy Story
all the shorts

Mind, there's a hair's breadth between the middle group (I might overrate Bug's Life simply out of the hope that, as a retelling of Seven Samurai, it might turn a few kids on to Kurosawa later on), but about a light year between the Pixar shorts and Cars. Also, note that The Iron Giant has them all beat.

My favorite Kevin Smith movie is Dogma, for what it's worth (I'm weird that way).

My favorite Will Ferrell movie is Stranger Than Fiction. (Sort of along those lines: I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, hated Fight Club, loved both of the M. Night Shyamalan movies I've seen.)

Dogma's a respectable pick. At least it tried to say something. Eternal Sunshine is not only the work that finally proved to me Jim Carrey was worth a damn, but it's the science-fiction film to trump people who say they don't like science fiction. I think Fight Club is really great, but I can't disagree with a friend who dismissed it because she didn't give a spit about whiny affluent white male malaise. Also, (spoilers?) I haven't seen it post 9/11.

I wonder how well the Airplane! franchise has aged. (Surprisingly I've never seen any of the "[Adjective] Movie" hybrid spoofs.)

I was going to speculate "not well," but then I remembered the recent mini-resurgence in disaster flicks. Maybe the tropes it spoofs aren't as distant after all.

Steve Martin's best movies (in my opinion) were HouseSitter and My Blue Heaven, both of which have quite a lower profile than (say) Roxanne or Father of the Bride.

Really? My Blue Heaven? Really? Well, at least you didn't say The Spanish Prisoner. LA Story and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid for comedies. Pennies From Heaven is difficult but wholly underrated and really terrific.

Is Bill Murray's best movie really Lost in Translation? (Or for that matter The Royal Tenenbaums?) I wonder how Meatballs has held up over time. If it hasn't then my favorite 20th century Bill Murray movie might be Groundhog Day, which really really doesn't feel like anybody's all-time #1.

I think the best Bill Murray Comedy(tm) is Quick Change. And Scrooged isn't far back there. I think Rushmore and Life Aquatic are both better than Tenenbaums. The flat-out best movie he's been in? He's had great smaller roles in stuff...Ed Wood, Little Shop of Horrors, Hamlet (the 2000 one starring Ethan Hawke; you'll just have to trust me on this), and of course, Tootsie.

Meatballs is still a sweetnatured little film (holds up better than Stripes), but seen through 21st-century mores, he's way too old to be spending that much time alone with Chris Makepeace.

(I should love Caddyshack but emphatically... it's not that I dislike it, but that Caddyshack is arguably THE MOST OVERRATED movie of all-time.) males, yes. Close behind: Fletch and Rounders. Surely there is a female equivalent. Pretty Woman, perhaps. Sound of Music.

So I already mentioned loving Eternal Sunshine, and the same goes for Bruce Almighty. The Ace Ventura movies are underrated (but still nothing special); I've still never seen Dumb & Dumber because I never forgave the Farrelly brothers for There's Something About Mary (which might give Caddyshack a run for its "Most Overrated" money!).

Is There's Something About Mary still on peoples' radars, or is this something I miss by not reading Bill Simmons? TSAM won me over with the Jonathan Richman Greek chorus, and this before seeing Cat Ballou.

So, I dunno...sticking with English only, in no order:

The Palm Beach Story
Raising Arizona
Local Hero
Heavenly Creatures
Miller's Crossing
Stop Making Sense
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
Dawn of the Dead
The Iron Giant

Read the full post with comments