Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Nod to the 1%

As I did last year, I'm going to nominate some films that should be on The List but that have been somehow overlooked. While I may well dip into personal favorite territory here, I'm going to try to stick with truly great films--films that are objectively great or important, or worth watching for a significant reason.

I will limit myself to 10 films, or roughly 1% of a given volume. I don't want to get greedy. As I did last year, I kept a running list of films that are strangely absent, and have decided on 10 that I think should make it on somehow. The following films are presented in no order, other than the order in which they came to me.

10 movies that should be added to the 1001 Movies list

1. Inherit the Wind:
A great adaptation of what has proven to be an important piece of trial precedent in American history. This is a film that is still extremely relevant, and features great performances by all of the principle players. Run out and see this if you haven't already.

2. Roxanne: No film better proves that romantic comedies can be both truly romantic and truly funny. A stellar performance from Steve Martin helps sell it, and basing the tale on Cyrano de Bergerac seals the deal.

3. Stop Making Sense: The quintessential post-modern concert film. David Byrne in all his weird glory, a special appearance from The Tom Tom Club, and some funky-ass music.

4. Office Space: This film resonates with anyone who has ever worked a thankless, meaningless, mundane job. Or anyone who has worked in food service. Or anyone with a terrible boss. In other words, pretty much anyone older than 18. Oh, and it's drop-dead funny.

5. Kung Fu Hustle: Stephen Chow's best film is also his most accessible, his most entertaining, and his most frenetic. It's like Bugs Bunny snorted Vincent Vega.

6. Any film from the Harry Potter franchise: The Potterphiles can fight and argue about which one is the best, and I'd be happy to suggest Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 included as a single film. There are few cultural touchstones in the modern world as important as Harry Potter. That should be enough, but the film series deserves some love on its own merits.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas: The only knock against this film is determining whether it's a Halloween film or a Christmas film. It's sort of both. It's also charming and fun, and just a touch scary for the little ones.

8. The Fugitive: If there's ever been an argument that television shows could successfully translate to the big screen, it's this rollicking action/suspense film. It's a great role for Harrison Ford and a break-out role for Tommy Lee Jones. Plus, the story is fantastic, and the camaraderie of the U.S. Marshals is surprisingly entertaining.

9. The Warriors: Somewhere between West Side Story and Boyz N the Hood came this nightmare, psychedelic vision of street gang life in New York City. Loosely based on an ancient Greek tale, the story of young criminals trying to get home when the entire city wants them dead is fun, has some great action sequences, and some of the most easily identifiable moments of the last 50 years.

10. Anything from William Castle: Castle was the master of goofy promotions, having moviegoers sign waivers against death from fright, for instance. One of his camp horror classics should be here, because there was no one quite like Castle. I'd go with The House on Haunted Hill, but the original 13 Ghosts or The Tingler would work, too.

And would you believe I've still got half a dozen for next year?


  1. "Inherit The Wind" at the top of the list.. I couldn't agree more. All the others are well worth a nod.

    I have noticed that changes to "The Book" never seem to remove films older than 10 years. I think that a list of 10 films from the untouchable years is in order. I nominate "Wavelength" or maybe "Babes in Arms".

  2. More than anything, I nominate Independence Day.

  3. Independance Day should actually be included I think...

    On your list I root for The Fugitive its truly awesome! William Castle is great as well and in that same tone I'd be hoping that Roger Corman is represented in it.

  4. Corman does have a film on the list--Masque of the Red Death if memory serves.

    As for Independence Day, it's just such a dumb, plot-hole-filled movie that I find it inexcusable.

  5. Still though Steve I'm quite serious when i say ID4 will be one of the films people still are talking about in say 50 years.

    I do think its great in all its cheesiness.

  6. If people are still talking about it, it will be exclusively because of its practical effects. There is little else of note in that film.

  7. I've been meaning to start my own list, and definitely would include Kung Fu Hustle.

  8. I did similar posts at the end of 2009 and 2010 if you want some additional ideas.

  9. I agree with most of your choices (Inherit the Wind is a 5 star movie to me.) I probably wouldn't have The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Fugitive on there. I thought they were good, but not great. A Harry Potter movie is debatable. I'm literally re-reading, re-watching, and writing reviews for the whole series right now. If there could be a 3 hour edit that combines the last two movies together (dropping most of Part 1) then I would definitely agree with it being on the list.

  10. I included The Fugitive as proof of concept that small screen can transfer to big screen. Honestly, the only other example I can think of is Serenity. As for Nightmare, I admit that I have warm fuzzies around that movie, so I may well be biased.

    I'm not a dedicated Potterphile, but the movies are so important culturally--they're Star Wars for a different generation--that it seems like a real snub that they've never been added.

  11. I'm in the minority on The Fugitive. I'm kind of surprised it's not on the list because most critics loved it and it was even nominated for Best Picture. I'd definitely have Serenity on the list.

  12. I sort of agree with you on Serenity, although saying it makes me feel like a complete fanboy. It's a hell of a good film, though, and is probably my favorite small-to-big screen conversion.

    I think I'd argue for it, but I also think it would get less traction than The Fugitive would. And I feel like I'm in the minority on The Fugitive, because virtually everyone who has commented on it (here and on Facebook) thinks that it's not quite deserving.

  13. Stop making sense, inherit the wind, the warriors all good choices. I tried to come up with an alternative 1001 list and by about 300 I began to get a headache and stopped. I may try to narrow it down to 100 at some point.

  14. That's the main reason I limit myself to 10 per year. Otherwise, I think I'd slowly go mad with all of the possibilities.

    The hardest thing is remembering not simply to include my favorite movies, but movies that are significant in some way.

  15. I've seen 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and I agree that all should be included. There's plenty of cultural import to be found amongst them, particularly with titles such as Potter and Office Space.

    Good calls!

  16. Finally! Someone agrees with me on The Fugitive!