Annie Hall(1977) Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen's masterpiece is simply the smartest, most intuitive film I've seen. Somehow, no matter what phase I'm going through in my life, Annie Hall always has something very profound to say that is always personal. Brilliant.
Vertigo(1958) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Mesmerizing film with almost no dialogue. The performances of Stewart and Novak had to be perfect and they were. Hitchcock shines a light on his own obsessions.
The Godfather(1972) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
A perfectly told story. Coppola takes his time to tell a good story. Seemingly a lost art. A movie of amazing conviction.
The Third Man(1949) Directed by Carol Reed
Flawless performances by Joseph Cotten, Valli, and Orson Welles. This movie not only has the best entrance in history, but also my favorite exit in the wonderfully somber finish.
Gates of Heaven(1978) Directed by Errol Morris
Roger Ebert mentions this fascinating documentary about pet cemetaries to be among the ten best movies ever made and after two years of searching for the out of print video, I have to agree. The film that comes closest to exploring the mysteries of life and death
Boogie Nights(1997) Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Does anybody realize yet how great this movie is? The group of people most affected by the move from the free love seventies to the conservative Reagan eighties, the pornography industry struggles to make the adjustment.
A Clockwork Orange(1971) Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick's masterpiece of sex and violence is both disturbing and entertaining. The cyclical story telling is masterful.
E.T.(1982) Directed by Steven Spielberg
There seems to be an E.T. backlash and I don't know why. The decency of this movie is overwhelming. It should reassure every person that there is a true goodness out there.
This Is Spinal Tap(1982) Directed by Rob Reiner
What a comedy should be. Respects the intelligence of the viewer to get the jokes. This movie must be seen many times to get all the jokes.
Hoop Dreams(1994) Directed by Steve James
The best documentary I've ever seen is more than just a great story about basketball. As the lives of Arthur and William are shaped, they move in directions that would have seemed schmaltzy in fiction. Breathtaking.
Leaving Las Vegas(1995) Directed by Mike Figgis
A movie full of contradictions. It is full of redemption and loss of hope. Elisabeth Shue provides a heart for the masterpiece. Nicolas Cage, we know you can act like this. Please do it again.
Pulp Fiction(1994) Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Time shifting has never been as seamless as Tarantino's use. This movie has spawned all the imitators and no equals.
On the Waterfront(1954) Directed by Elia Kazan
"I coulda been a contender" is my favorite line in a movie. Brando gives the performance of anybody's lifetime. Kazan controversy aside, he is a fabulous director.
Magnolia(1999) Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
With this sprawling, ambitious, thrilling, and emotional journey, Anderson has clearly established himself as THE director to watch.
The Graduate(1967) Directed by Mike Nichols
Captures the confusing time between when you think you know everything and you realize you don't know anything. Hoffman gives us a glimpse of things to come.
It Happened One Night(1934) Directed by Frank Capra
Charming and decent in a way that Capra only seems to understand. We need more Capras in this world.
Citizen Kane(1941) Directed by Orson Welles
Although not my absolute favorite, Citizen Kane is the best movie ever made. Every movie made after it has been affected by it.
Casablanca(1942) Directed by Michael Curtiz
Fargo(1996) Directed by Joel Coen
A truly original movie. There's nothing like this one. Frances McDormand is brilliant as the sherriff in the middle of selfishness she can't imagine.
Short Cuts(1993) Directed by Robert Altman
Altman's mosaic of Los Angeles life is a brilliant look at how we interact with each other. Note how if you rearrange the characters with different people how much better their lives could be.
Raising Arizona(1987) Directed by Joel Coen
A road runner cartoon brought to life. The chase scene is as funny a scene as we've had.
North by Northwest(1959) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
As entertaining a movie as there is. Hitchcock pulls out all the stops with this comic thriller. Great setpieces and Cary Grant at his best.
Dead Man Walking(1995) Directed by Tim Robbins
A movie that truly has a heart. Penn and Sarandon give their best performances in this death row drama.
Dr. Strangelove(1964) Directed by Stanley Kubrick
A movie where the world blows up and it's one of the funniest movies ever made.
The Shawshank Redemption(1994) Directed by Frank Darabont
What a great story. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are magnificent in a story about hope and love and the things that get in the way. Listening to Freeman's narration is worth the price of admission.
Forrest Gump(1994) Directed by Robert Zemeckis
I didn't care for Forrest the first time I saw the movie. It grows on me every time I watch it now. I don't know what I was missing now.
The Sweet Hereafter(1997) Directed by Atom Egoyan
Devastating story of a community recovering after a school bus crash. Ian Holm turns in a masterful performance as a lawyer trying to arrange a lawsuit. Sarah Polley is amazing as the only child survivor of the crash.
To Kill A Mockingbird(1962) Directed by Robert Mulligan
There's something very magical about this simple story. The children seem to play in a way that makes all other movies seem fake.
Schindler's List(1993) Directed by Steven Spielberg
A movie I underrated for a long time because I saw it on video. I finally saw it on the big screen and I don't know how I missed this amazing story the first time.
The Princess Bride(1987) Directed by Rob Reiner
Fun fantasy that has it all and the best revenge plot I've seen.
Taxi Driver(1976) Directed by Martin Scorsese
Fascinating depiction of urban breakdown. De Niro has never been better.
Eyes Wide Shut(1999) Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick's last movie is also one of his best. Rich setpieces, swift moviemaking, a gutwrenching score, and a story so involving that your eyes will be wide open.
The Best Years of Our Lives(1946) Directed by William Wyler
I never cry in movies and this one gets me four times every time I watch it.
Go(1999) Directed by Doug Liman
A movie of incredible momentum. It is funny, interesting, exciting and quotable. It's tantra, baby!
Bananas(1971) Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen's funniest film. Shows how flexible a filmmaker he is. Instead of doing serious work, he can slapstick with the best of them as well.
The Manchurian Candidate(1962) Directed by John Frankenheimer
Light years ahead of any other political thriller, Frank Sinatra brought this masterpiece back to the masses after it had been out of circulation for years.
Stealing Home(1988) Directed by Steven Kampmann and William Porter
Redefines the way memories stick in my head. Another movie that makes reality seem fake.
Sweet Smell of Success(1957) Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
Brutal movie with amazing performances by Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster. Along with North by Northwest, as entertaining as movies get.
Rain Man(1987) Directed by Barry Levonsohn
Hoffman's wonderful, but Cruise is the one who has the hard job in this heartwarmer.
Midnight Cowboy(1969) Directed by John Schlesinger
Hoffman and Voight's best performances. Brutal picture of being on the outside looking in.
The Lady Vanishes(1938) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Early Hitchcock comic thriller is the best of his early work. Wonderful use of the MacGuffins.
Do the Right Thing(1989) Directed by Spike Lee
The meltdown of a small town is thrown against the backdrop of a sizzling hot summer. Were there any other movies in the eighties that tried to say anything?
Psycho(1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
I'm past the point where Psycho truly scares me. Now I'm just amazed at how well crafted the story is. Every detail is perfectly put together by Hitchcock.
Hoosiers(1987) Directed by David Anspaugh
Uplifting and inspirational in a way that few movies can be. Dennis Hopper is marvelous as the drunk that knows everything there is to know about basketball.
Bonnie and Clyde(1969) Directed by Arthur Penn
As well crafted a movie as there is besides Citizen Kane. The bad guys don't seem so bad, yet their outcome seems fair.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington(1939) Directed by Frank Capra
The Capra touch on a ridiculously patriotic movie that actually works. Everything Capra touches is perfect in this film.
Rebecca(1940) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock's melodrama with a fabulous performance by Joan Fontaine is a great, sweeping epic that you'd expect from anybody except Hitchcock.
The Thin Man(1934) Directed by W.S. Van Dyke
The best of the high society sleuths. There is a mystery in the middle, but all what really registers are the wonderful one-liners.
Top Secret!(1984) Directed by Jim Abrahams and David Zucker
Forget Airplane, this is the best laughs per minute movie there is. Val Kilmer is fabulous in his first movie. It is also the movie on my list I get the most criticism for. Remember, the list is my favorite movies, not the best.
The Godfather, Part II(1974) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Not as good as the first, but then again, not many are. Still a wonderful sequel with wonderful insights into Michael Corleone. Bob De Niro's not a bad addition either.
Manhattan(1979) Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen's all too close to real life depiction of his love with a younger woman. Very funny and touching. A nice companion to Annie Hall.
The Player(1992) Directed by Robert Altman
A great movie looking at the movies. Along with Short Cuts, Altman has given us two fabulous and very different movies about Los Angeles life.
2001: A Space Odyssey(1968) Directed by Stanley Kubrick
This movie borders on mind numbingly boring at times and then goes to some of the most thrilling cinema ever made. A visual masterpiece.
Bound(1996) Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski
A masterfully written and directed thriller. This movie goes to extremes to tell it's story. This is as good as you can do with $2 million.
One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest(1975) Directed by Milos Forman
Nicholson carries this movie. It's one that's hard to imagine with anybody else in the main role. Nurse Ratchett is as evil a character as we've had in film.
The Ice Storm(1997) Directed by Ang Lee
A chilling tale of families that can't relate to their families. Some of the best child acting we've had.
Rebel Without a Cause(1955) Directed by Nicholas Ray
As good a movie as we've had that deals with the awkwardness of growing up. James Dean became an icon because of this one.
Raging Bull(1980) Directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese and DeNiro manage to find a human essence in an essentially dispicable person. Aesthetically, a breathtakingly realistic film.
All About Eve(1950) Directed by Joseph Mankiewicz
A pure cat fight of a movie. Bette Davis is absolutely wonderful as the stage star who is being moved aside for a younger star.
A Streetcar Named Desire(1951) Directed by Elia Kazan
Brando is absolutely brilliant in this story of cruelty and tolerance.
In the Line of Fire(1993) Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
A truly smart thriller with Eastwood and Malkovich turning in great performances as two guys who will give their life for the president.
Blood Simple(1984) Directed by Joel Coen
Style, style, and more style in the Coen brothers' first movie. A very good movie with absolutely no likeable characters.
The Fugitive(1993) Directed by Andrew Davis
Another great thriller. For my money, Harrison Ford's best performance, although I know I'll get many dissenting opinions.
Rear Window(1954) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The original voyeuristic thriller. As imitated as any movie there is. Never duplicated.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles(1987) Directed by John Hughes
Another great laughs per minute movie. Comedies just don't seem as funny to me in the nineties.
Sunset Boulevard(1950) Directed by Billy Wilder
Eerie story of man moving to Hollywood and ending up dead in the swimming pool instead of the secretarial pool.
Nashville(1975) Directed by Robert Altman
Altman's groundbreaking look at the country music scene is fabulous despite the country music. A wonderful movie of political and personal statements.
Sullivan's Travels(1941) Directed by Preston Sturges
A filmmaker tries to make a movie for the suffering about the suffering only to discover that they just want to laugh. A movie that defended everything that Sturges did with his wonderful screwball comedies.
Ed Wood(1994) Directed by Tim Burton
Depp is fabulous as the title character, but Landau steals the show with one of the best performances of the decade as Bela Lugosi.
Platoon(1986) Directed by Oliver Stone
The first movie that started to make war feel like war to me. The story is marvelously crafted in a work of passion by Oliver Stone.
Dial "M" For Murder(1954) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Very entertaining one set movie. Hitchcock moves the story along well enough that you don't even notice that it's basically a stage play.
Doctor Zhivago(1965) Directed by David Lean
Possibly the best looking film there is. There are setpieces that constantly haunt my memory.
Swingers(1996) Directed by Doug Liman
A movie that hits a little too close to home. Fabulous comedy that hits perfect on the bar hoppers in L.A.
Tender Mercies(1982) Directed by Bruce Beresford
Robert Duvall is a one man show in a movie that is very simply about life
Shadow of a Doubt(1943) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock's favorite Hitchcock. A good ole murder on the home front.
Double Indemnity(1944) Directed by Billy Wilder
Sizzling script leads this noir thriller. Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck turn in fabulous performances as the immoral lovers.
Strictly Ballroom(1992) Directed by Baz Luhrman
Ridiculously funny look in to the world of ballroom dancing. As surprised as I've ever been that I loved a movie.
American Beauty(1999) Directed by Sam Mendes
Biting satire of American families gone wrong is wonderfully acted, but this is director of photography Conrad Hall's movie. A beautiful movie.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery(1997) Directed by Jay Roach
Yeah, baby! A movie that's funny over and over again. Most impressive in how many jokes they have going on in the screen at one time.
Paper Moon(1973) Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Wonderful story of the experienced con man who meets the more skilled con girl. Absolutely love the meaning of the title.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid(1969) Directed by George Roy Hill
One of the few Westerns that has grabbed me. Bad choices of music, but fun comic thriller with Redford and Newman.
Harold and Maude(1971) Directed by Hal Ashby
The strangest love story you'll ever see. As dark a comedy as you'll ever see. All in all, a great movie. Check it out.
Field of Dreams(1989) Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
The male cry out loud movie. A little oversentimental, but a movie of great moments and great feeling.
The Silence of the Lambs(1991) Directed by Jonathan Demme
Great eerie thriller with two fabulous performances.
Exotica(1995) Directed by Atom Egoyan
The predecessor to The Sweet Hereafter is a dark, mysterious drama. Not for everybody, but an amazingly well structured story about loss.
The Great McGinty(1940) Directed by Preston Sturges
A bum becomes a governor. That's not so hard to believe, is it? Another wonderful screwball comedy from Sturges.
Jaws(1975) Directed by Steven Spielberg
What gets lost in the "theme park" around this movie is that it's an amazing thriller. Spielberg's nod to Hitchcock.
Strangers on a Train(1950) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
You kill my guy, I'll kill yours. Make sure you both agree to the deal. Hitchcock's thriller is wildly entertaining and has been copied many times.
Dazed and Confused(1993) Directed by Richard Linklater
The story with almost no plot is somehow about as watchable and fun a movie as there is. Fun just to see all the future stars before they were stars
Back to the Future(1985) Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Speaking of fun, this one has boatloads of it. Another example that fluff in the eighties is a heck of a lot better than fluff in the nineties
Rosemary's Baby(1968) Directed by Roman Polanski
Groundbreaking horror film where the thrills are not in the effects, but in the reactions of Mia Farrow.
The Last Picture Show(1971) Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Wonderful depiction of teens turning into adults and adults manipulating them.
Saboteur(1942) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
And yet another Hitchcock. And another early thriller with setpieces you can't forget. The Statue of Liberty sequence is one of the all-time greats.
High Art(1998) Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
A small story told well. A movie that doesn't choose to lean toward hatred when discussing relationships. Fabulous performances by Radha Mitchell and Ally Sheedy
Paths of Glory(1957) Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Early Kubrick film is one of the great anti-war movies.
Palm Beach Story(1942) Directed by Preston Sturges
Another great Sturges screwball comedy with some of his finest moments.
Apocalypse Now(1979) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning." The first half makes you feel that war isn't so bad and the second half makes sure you'll never feel that way again.
The Red Shoes(1948) Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
A movie that stretches the visual boundaries. There are few movies that look better than this one to this day. Oh yeah, believe it or not, it's a ballet movie.
M*A*S*H(1970) Directed by Robert Altman
Crazy free-for-all comedy about the war is oddly scary and funny at the same time.
Goodfellas(1990) Directed by Martin Scorsese
Okay, stop giving me crap. It's on the list. See, I really do like it. Seriously, Scorsese's crime drama is a mesmerizing look inside the world. Everybody talks about the tracking shot through the bar, but give me the simultaneous track and zoom in the diner.