[ my favorite movies ]



A real toss-up with Heathers, but when you compare them side-by-side, Clueless is more consistently entertaining. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find 30 seconds in Clueless that aren't funny. I could quotes ad-nauseum, but then you'd know how many times I'd watched it.


Not as scary as the original, but cooler overall. Ripley is too smart to get sucked into a fight, but does anyway when her maternal instincts kick in. The final wrestling match is a genius touch; a way to go mano-a-mano with the bitch.


Often imitated, never equalled. A religious experience. The formula couldn't be simpler: crack a joke, shoot a gun, blow something up. Yet it's the little touches that make it work; when Alan Rickman comes face-to-face with Bruce Willis, each pretends to be someone he's not.

9 TO 5

I saw this as a kid by accident; a friend's mom dropped us off at the wrong theater. Between the pot-smoking fantasy scenes and garage-door opener bondage bit, it was a lot to take in. The movie is immensely rewatchable, even hacked to bits on TV.


The first rated-R movie I ever saw, and how cool it was. First there's the whole causality head-trip: a son sends his friend back through time to father him. The love story works. And then there's the action, which still holds up surprisingly well. T2 had more effects, but the original had more oomph.


A "chick's film" for guys. I read the novella before I saw it, and wasn't one bit disappointed. Brad Pitt is doing the same bit he later did in LEGENDS OF THE FALL, but here the protagonist is Craig Sheffer, helpless to stop his brother's self-destruction. It's a suitably quiet meditation on beauty and death.


I saw this one in college with my friend George. More than once we turned to each other in the theater to say, "Damn, this is good." Of all the creepy moments in the movie, my favorite is when Jodie Foster slides under the door into the warehouse. She tells the driver whom to call if there's an emergency, then crosses into the unknown.


Before I saw JEFFERSON IN PARIS, I would have said that Merchant/Ivory can do no wrong. Well, they can. In a way, that makes this movie all the more impressive, because it spins a seductive story out of a non-affair between Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. It shouldn't work, but it does.


This was the first movie I ever tried to break down and analyze: why did I think it was so damn funny, when a lot of people didn't get it? (c.f. HEATHERS) What makes it so brilliant is that it keeps you rooting for both sides, even though they're trying to kill each other. Kathleen Turner's final post-chandelier gesture makes the whole movie.


Not just the best Trek movie, but a great movie period. Loaded with good ideas: the nebula chase, the Genesis device, Kirk's son, Khan. And, lest we forget, the death of Spock. A movie so big it took two more just to clean up the wreckage.


[ other movies I really liked ]


Batman -- Nicholson is a god. Burton is a visionary.

Do The Right Thing -- I'm still not sure whether I agree with Mookie's (Spike Lee) action at the end. But that's probably why I like it.

The English Patient -- Frankly, I would have crashed a plane into Ralph Fiennes just to get his cool Cairo apartment.

Evita -- I must love it.

E.T. -- First movie I ever saw twice.

Field of Dreams -- I went to school in Iowa.

Flatliners -- A Joel Schumaker morality tale. Makes no sense, but it's cool.

Heathers -- Clueless shows it up, but still great.

Heavenly Creatures -- Never has matricide looked so good.

Lorenzo's Oil -- If this doesn't make you cry, you're not human.

The Lost Boys -- Vampire delinquents. Also Joel Schumacher.

Near Dark -- Vampire drifters. A subtle but telling difference.

The Player -- Fiction is truer than truth.

Point Break -- One of the best overlooked action movies, with one of the best chase scenes ever.

Police Story III: Supercop -- Hong Kong action at its least sensible.

Poltergeist -- Better than you remember, and just as scary.

Rosemary's Baby -- Just damn good. And sexier than I remember.

Scream -- Envy, envy, envy.

Shallow Grave -- Slick, vicious fun. And an apartment to kill for.

The Spy Who Loved Me -- The coolest Bond movie, even without Sean Connery.

Trainspotting -- Because it makes my bathroom seem okay.

True Romance -- A slicker Pulp Fiction. The honeybear bong alone worth the price of admission.

Wings of Desire -- Because everyone needs a little German artiness now and then.



email John August at august@primenet.com