10 Films That Should've Been on The List All Along
1. The Caine Mutiny
Sure, we know by now that Bogart could play a bad guy or a severely damaged guy, but who knew he had a character like Queeg in him anywhere? A great film of military justice and military law, the two not being synonymous.
2. True Stories
Oh, I'll take plenty of heat for suggesting this most-oddball-of-oddball films by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, but there is nothing else in the world like this film. Only Byrne would consider it important to get 50 pairs of twins to work on his film for...some reason or another. It's Eraserhead for the family.
John Waters appears on The List once, and with reason for that film, but he should be on it twice. Hairspray tackles racism with fun, with cheese, with music, with transvestitism, and with anything else it can. An essential film in the cult/camp genre.
4. The Great Dictator
Chaplin's most influential talkie? Do I really have to defend this one?
5. In Bruges
I remember when In Bruges came out. I really wanted to see it, but never got to it. I finally caught up with it this year, and I liked it enough that I went out and bought a copy of it. That's the only time I can say that about a Colin Farrell movie. That's how good this is--it transcends having Colin Farrell in it.
6. The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodovar is no stranger to The List, so when his latest was somehow snubbed, I found myself quite surprised. It's his most disturbing film to date, and possibly his best. Visually beautiful but psychologically disturbing, there's a moment in the middle that will force most men into a fetal position for at least 10 minutes.
Is there a more defining moment in a modern horror film than Kathy Bates hobbling James Caan? Over and over, horror/thriller films are ignored at the Oscars, but Kathy Bates earned every last bit of that gold statue. Her Annie Wilkes is the gold standard of female crazy on screen, surpassing Glenn Close's role in Fatal Attraction and being the default comparison for female screen psychotics ever since.
8. They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Human misery and desperation always draw a crowd. There's a reason gladiator fights were popular, after all--seeing those with nothing to lose fighting for a chance to still have nothing is, after all, a thrill for many. This film, about dance marathons during the Great Depression has all the pathos and melodrama and some truly fantastic performances. If I see this on somewhere, I can't not watch, mostly for just how riveting Jane Fonda is.
9. Friday the 13th
The List is missing only this film in its collection of early influential slashers at the dawn of the genre's popularity. Why it hasn't made it into this particular canon, I will never understand.
I am an admitted fan of the great John Hurt, and this is one of his best, most heartfelt and heart-rending performances. An adaptation that goes darker than its already dark source material.