The Critics' Picks
10 Favorite Films
10 FAVORITE FILMS
With tongue firmly in cheek, Medved says about the request to provide a list
of favorite movies, “I hate, resent and despise the very notion of ‘All-time
Best’ lists of motion pictures. As a working critic, it’s difficult enough
to come up with a ‘Best of the Year’ list each December, let alone engage
in some gaseous survey of more than 100 years of cinema history to compile
some collection of deathless classics, inscribed on tablets of stone. With
this prejudice in mind, I submit the following list of classics for which
I feel conspicuous enthusiasm. I do so only under duress, and under protest,
with the condition that the titles will appear without further comment.”
Smith Goes to Washington” (1939).
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945).
Wild Strawberries” (1957, Swedish).
“The Bicycle Thief” (1948, Italian).
Wizard of Oz” (1939).
“Rules of the Game” (1939, French).
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946).
10 FAVORITE FILMS
“Wings of Desire” (1987, German). Spend a few hours following angels down the
streets of Berlin, and your sense of awe at God’s glory will be rejuvenated.
Colors — Blue” (1993, French). The richest episode of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s
extraordinary “Colors” trilogy, “Blue” features Juliette Binoche’s most exquisite
performance as a woman who must overcome fear and denial in order to mourn the
tragic loss of her husband and daughter.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship
of the Ring” (2001). Peter Jackson’s labor of love gave Tolkien fans and newcomers
the most elaborate, engrossing big-screen fantasy ever made, full of powerful
lessons about courage, friendship, trust and the corrupting nature of power.
Now” (1979). Francis Ford Coppola offers an unflinching vision
of the horrors of war and discovers how power in the hands of well-intentioned
them vulnerable to their own hearts of darkness.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Everybody has a favorite
popcorn movie, and for me the myth, whimsy, imagination, character
development and spiritual
leanings in these two classics set them apart.
“The Fisher King” (1991). In this
bittersweet comedy, a romantic fool who believes he is one of Arthur’s knights
teaches an egotistical shock-radio DJ about the healing power of faith and imagination.
Python and the Search for the Holy Grail” (1975). Absurdist comedy at its best — the
Pythons never mock the sacred, only the folly of men in their anxious and misguided
attempts to apprehend it.
“Blade Runner” (1982). In this adaptation of a Philip
K. Dick sci-fi nightmare, an android journeys through rage toward mercy,
and a world-weary cop sees judgment fall on men who play God.
Polish). Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 10 short parables explore how the Ten
Commandments relate to our everyday decisions.
10 FAVORITE FILMS
“Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938). James Cagney delivers a searing performance
as sympathetic gangster Rocky Sullivan in the greatest of Warner Brothers’ socially
conscious crime dramas.
“The Awful Truth” (1937). Charming, effortless screwball
comedy finds Cary Grant and Irene Dunne divorcing, fussing over custody
of Mr. Smith — their dog — and inevitably falling back in love.
Roman Polanksi’s unsettling tale of corruption in L.A. excels on two
levels: as a mysterious, two-fisted film noir and as a mirror of ’70s
Man Walking” (1995). Tim Robbins’ adaptation of Sister Helen Prejean’s memoirs
achieves the sublime: It reveals points of view from all sides of the death penalty
controversy and listens with patience and compassion.
“Humoresque” (1946). The
chemistry is electric between Joan Crawford as a wealthy patron of
the arts and John Garfield as a struggling violinist. When Crawford staggers
into the ocean
in the fi nale, it’s the screen’s most enduring symbol of romantic
Me in St. Louis” (1944). A perfect movie musical, this is the closest
we have to a visual valentine from Vincente Minnelli to fiancée Judy
of the Hunter” (1955). Still spine-tingling, this movie stars
Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell, who preys on widows and orphans
You’ll never hear “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” in quite the same
by Northwest” (1959). Hitchcock’s wildest, most satisfying ride has
it all: Cary Grant being mistaken for a U.S. intelligence agent, running
from a malevolent
crop duster, hanging from the top of Mount Rushmore and wooing American
spy Eva Marie Saint. All in four short days.
“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). “Come
on with the rain, got a smile on my face!” And did he ever. Gene Kelly’s
mile-wide grin and his earthy, graceful dancing were never more joyously
Girl” (1988). Mike Nichols’ stylish, deft big-business comedy has Harrison
Ford as the leading man, Sigourney Weaver as the villainous boss and
Melanie Griffith in her gutsy signature role.
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