Monday, July 07, 2003


The other day I was thinking about the favorite films that I love to watch over and over again, and I decided that I would come up with a list of them as well as an explanation as to why I love these movies. Some are cool for dates, some for watching with friends, and some for just deep thought, but either way they are all my favorites to watch. So, without any further adieu... The no particular order

MGM - 1977 - Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Tony Roberts, Diane Keaton, Shelly Duvall, Paul Simon
I love this movie because it's a chronic case of neurotic New Yorker Alvy Singer (Allen) falling for of all people, Annie Hall (Keaton). We follow their love affairs ups and downs, with beautiful locations in New York, and for whatever reason, no matter how many times I watch it, the jokes never get old, and I still laugh out loud. Woody is at his sharpest in this film, Keaton at her funniest and most stylish, and the movie as a whole is as warm and inviting as it was 25 years ago when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This film is one of my favorites because it was so unabashedly fearless and so damned funny.
My favorite line: "Why don't we kiss now and we'll digest our food better..."

Columbia - 1987 - Directed by Spike Lee
Starring: Spike Lee, Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell, Sam Jackson, Kyme
If you didn't go to a black college, you just don't get it. And for that, I'm truly sorry. But, there are few films that I can sit down with my parents and watch, and we'll all be laughing at the same things. Spike Lee's film about Black College life set in the late 80s was and is still brilliant. His use of negative imagery as it pertains to stereotypes and class levels within the African American race were thought of at the time as racy and dangerous, because many African Americans simply didn't want these subjects presented on the screen. However, Spike, the auteur that he is, did it in a way that is always enjoyable to watch. This is one of my favorites because for all of the problems and turmoil that he went through to make the picture, none of it is portrayed on the screen. The story itself is preserved, and it's done so in a way that we, the audience can not only appreciate and enjoy, but in a way that we can take with us for all time. Scenes in this film trigger our collective consciousness and remind of us times similar to those that are on screen; only the great ones can do that.
My favorite lines: "Gamma!" and "What do you know 'bout Af-rica? You don't know a got-damn thing 'bout Af-rica! I am from Detroit! Motown! So you can Watusi your monkey-ass back to Af-rica if you want to!"

MGM - 1989 - Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Bruno Kirby, Carrie Fisher
I have a weakness for films that are primarily New York based. I love the way their shot, the way they look, and the general feel of the films. When Harry Met Sally is no different. A classic love story that takes 11 years to make happen, we root for Harry and Sally, in spite of themselves. In all honesty, this was the film that when I was a first and second year student at Howard, I would play in the fell clutch of circumstance that a young lady would come over. It's one of my favorites because of the warmth and beauty of the story that Reiner portrays is just as fresh as it was 14 years ago.
My favorite line: " pretty much wanna nail them too."

1973 - 20th Century Fox
Starring: John Houseman, Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner
As a child, I would sit at my father's knee as he watched this film whenever it came on tv. The guys in the movie studied and studied much like my father did at the time, and looking back I could see why he related to it. The tale, a story of first year law students at Harvard, is a delightfully entertaining movie that chronicles their first year under legendary professor Kingsfield (played by Houseman). The dialogue is witty and fresh and the film itself is extremely inspiring, especially before a test. In the end, they study and they succeed, not a bad message.
My favorite line: "Mr. Hart, here's a dime. Call your mother. Tell her that there are serious doubts on your becoming a lawyer."

MGM - 1993
Starring: Hugh Grant, Andie McDowell, Rowan Atkinson
The title is self explanatory, and my love for sappy love stories in the 90s is unquenchable. This movie is delightfully smart and the dialogue is so sharp that it makes it an easy crowd favorite in my DVD player. Hugh Grant, I can't get enough of his romantic comedies. From this film to Notting Hill, he's always entertaining and Andie McDowell is so funny and sexy and mysterious in this role. In the end, Hugh is just as complex and jaded as any red-blooded man, despite the continent he resides on. Also, the cast of characters that is Hugh's circle of friends is so hilarious, that you want to watch the film again just for them. It's one of my favorites because it teaches you not to settle.
My favorite line: "I was wondering, if you wouldn't mind very much NOT to marry me. And if NOT being married to me would be something you'd be interested in doing for the rest of your life?"

Warner Brothers - 1960 - Directed by Lewis Milestone
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickenson
I love the Rat Pack. Not like, love. And if you're a true Rat Pack enthusiast pally, you stick to the basics. The basics are Frank, Sammy and Dean and movies like Oceans Eleven. This film put the boys on parade when they were at their height, and is an entertaining feature if not an unlikely caper that takes them from their respective places in the world, to knocking over seven casinos on New Years Eve in Vegas. Granted, the newer version is splashier, funnier, cooler and probably generally better, but this version has a certain magic that can only be translated through the screen before the use of, or overuse rather of computer generated 'magic.' This films is one of my favorites because it's pure.
My favorite line: "What should I tell my wife?" "Tell her you love her. That should hold her for a few weeks!"

Artisan - 2001 - Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughan, Sean Combs, Faizon Love, Peter Falk, Famke Jennsen
Swingers has a bigger cult following. Swingers was made on a smaller shoestring. Swingers was more personal to so many people, but I like Made more because it's funnier, smarter, bigger, and way more hip. Once again, Favreau and Vaughan team up for a hilarious romp through L.A. and NY that brings Love and Diddy on the way with them. This film is one of my favorites because of the dialogue, the witty banter and that all too famously overused word, chemistry. The chemistry between Favreau and Vaughan is intoxicatingly humorous, and it never gets old. This is one of my favorites because I always debate in the end if they truly won.
My favorite line: "There's a nice way to do that."

Paramount - 1974 - Directed by Francis Ford Coppola - Produced by Bob Evans
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Robert DuVal, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Lee Strasberg, Michael Gazzo
It's beautiful. It's big. It's warm. It's cold. It's American. It's about family. It has everything that appeals to someone in some way. There's so much to say about it, but I'll spare you. It's one of my favorites because no matter how many times I watch it, Michael is still a bad, bad man.
My favorite line: "Senator, we are all a part of the same hypocrisy, but don't think it pertains to my family."

Warner Brothers - 1992 - Directed by Spike Lee
Starring: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman, Jr., Delroy Lindo
At the time this film was released, nothing in Black America was more important. Many people in the film industry tried their best to stop Spike from making this picture. And even more people tried to stop it from coming out and even undermined its box office numbers by stealing it's money at the gate. But the film is the thing that matters. This epic saga of the life and death of Malcolm X on screen in beautiful 70mm, is a screen gem like no other. It is one of my favorites to watch because it took so much to make and show this film, and everytime I see it, it inspires me to be better, in whatever it is I do. And when no one's looking I rock the X cap every now and then.
My favorite line: "Our Prince, Our Shining Black Prince. Our Shining Black Manhood."

MGM - 1979 - Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Mariel Hemmingway, Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Anne Byrne
Any black and white film set in New York instantly gets respect. Woody dates a 17 year old (Hemingway), leaves her for Diane Keaton who happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Woody's best friend (Murphy). But despites the twists and turns, the backdrop is a beautiful homage to Manhattan. The black and white Allen used is so beautiful and charming that it makes it impossible not to love. Every time I go to New York, I watch this film and try my best to hit most of the spots that Woody used in the film. This film is one of my favorites because of its simplistic elegance.
My favorite line: "She's 17. I'm 42 and she's 17. I'm older than her father, can you believe that? I'm dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father. That's the first time that phenomenon has ever occurred."

I'm Joe and that's how I see it...


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