[Editor's Note: The Film Experience is very pleased to announce that the lovely actress Melanie Lynskey is our super extra special duper final guest blogger this week. Take it away, Melanie - Nathaniel R]
I could not be more honoured that Nathaniel asked me to do this little guest spot on my beloved Film Experience. I read this blog so much and it's always thoughtful, funny, and enlightening. I hope I do a good job guest blogging and I desperately wish I could use a word other than blogging, because ugh it is a horrible word. Okay. Remember, I'm a college dropout, so please forgive bad grammar and clunky sentences. (Dearest Nathaniel I hope you're having a great time with your mom.)
Somebody wrote to me on twitter and suggested that I write a piece about the movies I consider to be the ten best movies of all time. They said they'd be interested to see how the movies stacked up against the Sight and Sound poll. Well, the truth is, I honestly feel like I haven't seen enough movies to be able to compile a list of The Best Movies. My knowledge of pre-70s cinema is embarrassingly limited. I'm also super indecisive. So, I thought that instead, I could take a picture of a bunch of random DVDs from my collection and give a brief explanation of why I love these particular movies.
I don't buy a lot of DVDs so every one of these picks is because I said to myself "Yes. I must own this. It's important."
in photo order...
1) Terms Of Endearment- I remember one summer this was on TV when we were on a family vacation. I watched it with my mother and my grandmother (!!) I think I was nine or ten. I already knew, at that point, that I loved acting, I loved becoming a different person. But this was the first time I remember thinking, "oh, you can make people cry their eyes out from acting?" I couldn't believe how the performances made me feel, and I understood that even though the story was so moving, the thing that was making my heart ache was what these actors were doing. I knew it was magical. Shirley MacLaine, man. Wow.
2) The Piano- Oh Jane Campion I love you so much. I love the women in her movies. I love the sexuality. I love the light and the composition. I feel like I can smell the earth under the character's feet and feel the air around them watching a Jane Campion movie.
3) Gigli- yes. Gigli. [More Melanie Picks after the jump]
Because Gigli is a wildly entertaining movie. It's a movie that will make you ask "how?" and "why?" and "what's happening?" You will go around talking about The Baywatch for days afterwards. Highly recommended.
4) Ponette- Victoire Thivisol, the little girl in this movie, is devastating. I don't know how this performance came to be. Maybe she was tortured by the director. I hope not but if so it was worth it because my god it is incredible.
5) Star Trek- I am not usually a sci-fi fan, to the point that I don't even know if Star Trek would be considered sci-fi. I'm sure there is a proper nerd term for it and I apologise to all nerds. You know I love you. But- I loved loved loved this movie. Zach Quinto runs away with it for sure, but the performances are so great all around.
6) Wet Hot American Summer- funniest movie of all time. There is not a moment that is not perfect. It's a perfect movie. I am obsessed with it. I'm not even going to start naming moments (but Paul Rudd angrily picking up the cutlery and Molly Shannon talking about her divorce and that little boy giving her supportive advice and the love scene in the shed and Showalter as the comedian at the last night of camp show ok I'm stopping now.)
7) Blue Sunshine- This is an amazing and bizarre horror movie from the 70s about a man wrongfully accused of murder. As he investigates what really happened to try to prove his innocence, he discovers that people all over the place are losing their hair and becoming homicidal maniacs and it may be the result of bad acid they took years before. If you don't want to see it after reading that, I do not care to know you.
8) Straw Dogs- Susan George. Oh, Susan George.
9) Mickey Blue Eyes- this movie contains my favourite scene in the history of cinema. I have watched this scene over and over. Hugh Grant is pretending to be a mobster and he does a terrible mobster accent while pretending he doesn't know a man he actually works with at an auction house. I cry laughing every time.
10) Manhattan- I mean, everyone knows that this movie is the greatest. I saw it as a teenager and was like "I want to be an adult! I want to have affairs and talk and talk and live in a city and have complicated entanglements!"
11) Dog Day Afternoon- I saw this movie for the first time about eight years ago and I was so blown away by it. The complexity of the character that Al Pacino plays- the layers to that performance are so shocking and stunning. And John Cazale, who was incredible in everything.
12) To Die For- I am an actressexual. I want to come out right here, today, on The Film Experience. And I am extremely attracted to Nicole Kidman. My lord, she is so funny and sexy in this movie. I remember seeing it and wanting to clap afterwards with joy for her. It's amazing to see somebody just grab a role and run with it. She's so confident and so precise. I also loved Alison Folland in this movie (I had a massive crush on her after All Over Me). And it was the first time I had seen Joaquin Phoenix in anything... holy hell. He was so great. If he had somehow magically approached me after I left that movie theatre I think I would have strangled a kitten if he'd wanted me to. And Casey Affleck, who is one of my absolute favourite actors, is wonderful too.
13) Grey Gardens (HBO movie)- I sent Drew flowers after this. I was so immensely proud of her work and her commitment. I thought she was fucking amazing. And Jessica Lange is so crazily good in it. Their chemistry is really intense. I never doubted that those two women spent day in and day out together with nobody else around.
14) Short Cuts- this movie was a big one for me. I saw it when I was maybe sixteen and I was just like "yep, that's the dream." I loved the idea of doing a film like that. Still, to this day, this movie is the movie I most wish i could insert myself into. What a great cast, doing such beautiful work. I'm sure not everyone watched that intense scene with a bottomless Julianne Moore and thought "I wish that was me!" But I certainly did. That scene is so representative of why I love Julianne Moore so much. She's brave and bold but she's real, always. I loved Nathaniel's piece about her performance in Game Change. That articulated the brilliance of Ms Moore better than I will be able to. Also, Andie MacDowell is heartbreaking in this film.
15) Freeway- REESE!! I love Reese Witherspoon. I love her as a person, because she is tough and honest and stands up for herself and for people who don't have a voice, and because she doesn't deal with bullshit, and because she truly cares about things and about people, and because she is smart and funny and really, really cool. She's a good lady. I love the vulnerability she can access in her work, but man oh man I REALLY love it when she just plays a complete asshole. She is magnificent in this movie. She's hilarious and brave and dirty and weird. I love it so much.
16) Lost In Translation- I can just watch it over and over. The most perfect soundtrack of any movie I can think of. And [cinematographer] Lance Acord is a genius. I love how intensely it captures that discombobulated jetlagged feeling. And the loneliness of those two characters seeps through the screen and into my heart every time.
17) Mulholland Drive- I adore David Lynch. I love every one of his films. There are so many moments in this movie that have stayed with me all these years, they hit me so intensely. The love scene is gorgeous. I work a lot with dreams and in the unconscious and the thing I love about David Lynch is that you feel like you're watching a dream that someone has filmed. There is a depth to his films that resonates somewhere very deep and often very dark. I can feel the images getting inside my own unconscious and shaking things up in there. I also love the Los Angeles of this movie, sexy and scary.
18) The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters- this is a beautifully told story and a great, great character study. I watch a lot of reality TV because I'm so fascinated by people "being". There's a weird thing where people seem so unaware of the cameras but are performing on almost an unconscious level.
19) A Room With A View- just romantic and beautiful. I love Helena Bonham Carter. Her performance in Wings Of The Dove is one of my favourites of all time. Her little perfect face in this movie. And Julian Sands' little perfect face. Just so much beauty.