Monday, February 6, 2012

60 Reasons I Love Movies

Inspired by this wonderful post by Film Crit Hulk Smash, I felt compelled to offer some of the many reasons, both large and small, that I love movies. Unfortunately, I’m not creative enough to do this in Hulk voice, so I’ll just have to play myself.

1. Because Pulp Fiction taught me my first Bible passage (Ezekiel 25:17).

2. Because of the crane shot in The Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne plays opera music for the prison yard.

3. Because of how many times Bill Murray tries to kill himself in Groundhog Day, and then decides he must be God because he keeps failing.

4. Because of the plastic bag dancing in the wind in American Beauty.

5. Because of the sewers, the zither score, the cuckoo clock speech, absolutely everything in The Third Man.

6. Because of the moment in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when the doctor says “Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.”

7. Because of the Little Tramp versus the eating machine in Modern Times.

8. Because my views on violence were forever molded by a single line in Unforgiven: “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

9. Because of how long it must have taken to pull off the mirror scene in Duck Soup.

10. Because of the moment Kim Novak walks out of the bathroom in Vertigo, bathed in green light, and Jimmy Stewart’s sanity crashes down around him.

11. Because This is Spinal Tap made 11 the greatest number.

12. Because of Liam Neeson’s performance when Oskar Schindler regrets not having done more (This ring, this car, etc.).

13. Because of Peter O’Toole emerging from the endless desert sun in Lawrence of Arabia and scoffing at Omar Sharif: “Nothing is written.”

14. Because I once met someone who honestly thinks The Terminator has cinema’s greatest ever love scene.

15. Because the sex scenes in Out of Sight and The Thomas Crowne Affair are even better than the one in The Terminator.

16. Because cinema’s most beautiful kiss takes place in an alley with garbage falling from the sky, and it’s between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.

17. Because Jack Lemmon prefers the name Daphne in Some Like it Hot.

18. Because of Luke Skywalker defiantly watching the dual sunset of Tatooine, right as John Williams’ timeless score reaches its crescendo.

19. Because Wedding Crashers launched the term “motorboat” to the forefront of the cultural consciousness faster than any other term in the history of language.

20. Because Daniel Day Lewis somehow taught even the veins in his forehead to act.

21. Because Fredo broke Michael’s heart. And then Michael had him killed.

22. Because there’s almost nothing as satisfying as a great heist scene.

23. Because even a volleyball can have a great death scene.

24. Because when Grace Kelly asks Cary Grant if he “wants to touch them,” we all know she’s talking about her breasts. But Hitchcock got it past the censors anyway.

25. Because Dustin Hoffman made a better man with Jessica Lange as a woman than he ever did with any other woman as a man. Know what I mean?

26. Because Tropic Thunder forever taught us the error of “going full retard.”

27. Because the endings of The Usual Suspects and Primal Fear still give me goose bumps no matter how many times I see them.

28. Because “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” is one of the most gratifying things you can ever yell.

29. Because John McClane is such a badass that he’s somehow lived through four Die Hard movies (and counting).

30. Because Terminator 2 made me cry as a 10-year-old and Hugo made me cry as a 30-year-old.

31. Because the black and white blood in Raging Bull somehow looks more graphic than red blood ever has or ever will.

32. Because when Nuke Laloosh shakes off Crash Davis’s signals in Bull Durham, Crash makes him regret it.

33. Because Rocky goes the distance while Terry Malloy never made it that far. (“I coulda been a contender.”)

34. Because I swear I’m the only person on the planet that thought Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was good.

35. Because Mary Astor has such a pretty neck in The Maltese Falcon, but Sam Spade lets her hang anyway.

36. Because Dr. Strangelove forever taught us that there’s no fighting in the war room. (And to stop worrying and love the bomb.)

37. Because no matter how fucked up your family is, The Royal Tenenbaums are even worse.

38. Because even a movie about Facebook can be great.

39. Because “Stuck in the Middle With You” will always remind me of torture, Fava beans will always remind me of cannibalism, and pea soup will always remind me of demonic possession.

40. Because I think about Phoebe Cates taking off her bikini every time I hear The Cars' "Moving in Stereo." And other times, too.

41. Because nothing you read about World War II could ever prepare you for the first fifteen minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

42. Because racing Nazis to the Holy Grail and fighting evil bald men in their secret volcano lairs were my top two boyhood fantasies. And they’re still in my top ten as an adult.

43. Because Uma Thurman slicing her way through the Crazy 88 was awesome. Even if there weren’t really 88 of them.

44. Because spending a year and 200 million dollars to take a bunch of no-name actors to New Zealand and film twelve hours worth of movies based on fifty-year-old fantasy novels somehow turned out to be a great idea.

45. Because never again will someone forget to a put a cover page on their TPS report.

46. Because I can’t think about my favorite movies without hearing the scores of Bernard Hermann, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, John Barry, Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, and so many others.

47. Because the last ten minutes of The Last of the Mohicans are wordless, beautiful, and absolutely perfect.

48. Because Manhattan should always be pulsating to the sounds of George Gershwin.

49. Because of the way Lt. Aldo Raine pronounces “bon giorno” in Inglourious Basterds.

50. Because WALL-E thought that showing EVE an eggbeater and bubble wrap might get him in her pants hard drive.

51. Because of the close-ups in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns.

52. Because of the rainy rooftop scene at the end of Blade Runner.

53. Because you could ask ten people for their favorite line in Casablanca and get ten different answers.

54. Because after Werner Herzog titled his new movie Into the Abyss, he claims he realized that could have been the title for every movie he’s ever made.

55. Because of Jane Fonda’s zero gravity strip tease in a room with floor to ceiling shag carpet in Barbarella.

56. Because The Doors and Richard Wagner existed 100 years apart in reality, but only about thirty minutes apart in Apocalypse Now.

57. Because someone with money read the screenplay for Being John Malkovich and still gave it the green light.

58. Because the Dunkirk tracking shot in Atonement is one of the few times where the word “epic” is the only appropriate description.

59. Because Mean Streets opens with “Be My Baby.”

60. Because movies are the only art form that combines elements of every other art form: imagery, music, plot, dialogue, character, acting, composition, form, color, pacing, drama, comedy… everything.

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