Lets Go To The Movies

People ask what are my favorite films.  Recently Kelsi asked that I list 5 - impossible! Ten was tough enough.   I could run up 100 films almost as quickly as these 10; quicker because I would have more room. These 10 films always seem to come to mind when I am asked about favorite films. I am willing to bet there is at least one movie of these ten you have never heard of. It is an eclectic list no doubt.

If you do not like subtitled films then there are four of my 10 you could drop out right off. My films span 70 years – if I had a 100 to choose it might cover 100 years as well.

My amigo Steve comments on the new Bond movie, apparently there is some hope.

PIcking ten being mostly impossible are listed below in the order that they came into my head (subliminal rating?).


Talk to Her (Spanish: Hable con ella) is a 2002 Spanishcomedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, and starring Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling,Geraldine Chaplin, and Rosario Flores. The film won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the 2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. The film’s themes include the difficulty of communication between the sexes, loneliness and intimacy, and the persistence of love beyond loss.


Fitzcarraldo is a 1982 film written and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski as the title character. It portrays would-be rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an Irishman known as Fitzcarraldo in Peru, who has to pull a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory. The film is derived from the real-life story of Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald.

The film won a “silver category” German Film Award for Best Feature Film. The film was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Film, the Palme d’Or award of the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Herzog won the award for Best Director at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.


Aguirre, the Wrath of God (German: Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) is a 1972 West German New Wave adventure art filmwritten and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German  progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh. The story follows the travels of Spanish soldier Lope de Aguirre, who leads a group of conquistadores down the Amazon River in South America in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado. Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, counterpointed by the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle. Although based loosely on what is known of the historical figure of Aguirre, the film’s story line is, as Herzog acknowledged years after the film’s release, a work of imagination. Some of the people and situations may have been inspired by Gaspar de Carvajal’s account of an earlier Amazonian expedition, although Carvajal was not on the historical voyage represented in the film. Other accounts state that the expedition went into the jungles but never returned to civilization.

Aguirre opened to widespread critical acclaim, and quickly developed a large international cult film following. It was given an extensive arthouse theatrical release in the United States in 1977, and remains one of the director’s best known films. Several critics have declared the film a masterpiece, and it has appeared on Time magazine’s list of “All Time 100 Best Films”.


The Mission is a 1986 British drama film about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th century South America. The film was written by Robert Bolt and directed by Roland Joffé. The movie stars Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons,Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Cherie Lunghi and Liam Neeson. It won the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. In April 2007, it was elected number one on the Church Timess Top 50 Religious Films list. The music, scored by Italian composer Ennio Morricone, was listed at number 23 on the AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores.

French Kiss is a 1995 American romantic comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Written by Adam Brooks, the film is about a woman who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé and gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her to smuggle a stolen diamond necklace. French Kiss was filmed on location in France.


Grand Canyon is a 1991 American drama feature film directed and co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and featuring an ensemble cast. About random events affecting a selection of diverse characters, the film explores the race- and class-imposed chasms which separate members of the same community. Grand Canyon was advertised as “The Big Chill for the ’90s”, in reference to an earlier Kasdan film.

The film won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival. The screenplay was nominated for the Oscar (as Best Original Screenplay), the Golden Globe and the Writers Guild of America.


! SCRATCHED!  for a more recent Woody Allen movie: Manhattan is a 1979 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Woody Allen from his screenplay co-written with Marshall Brickman and produced by Charles H. Joffe. Allen co-stars as a twice-divorced 42-year-old comedy writer who dates a 17-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway) before eventually falling in love with his best friend’s mistress (Diane Keaton). Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep and Anne Byrne also star in the film.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a 2008 romance comedy-dramafilm written and directed by Woody Allen. The plot centers on two American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), who spend a summer in Barcelona where they meet an artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who is attracted to both of them while still enamored of his mentally and emotionally unstable ex-wife María Elena (Penélope Cruz). The film was shot in Spain in Barcelona, Avilés and Oviedo, and was Allen’s fourth consecutive film shot outside of the United States.

The film was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including nominations for Bardem, Hall and Cruz in the Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress categories, and won the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Cruz won both the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Actress in a Supporting Role. Altogether, the film won 21 out of 28 nominations.


Carmen is a 1983 film adaptation of the novel Carmen by Prosper Mérimée, using music from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. It was directed and choreographed in the flamenco style by Carlos Saura and Maria Pagès. It is the second part of Saura’s flamenco trilogy in the 1980s, preceded by Bodas de sangre and followed by El amor brujo.

The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was entered into the 1983 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Technical Grand Prize and the award for Best Artistic Contribution.  It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Local Hero is a 1983 Scottish comedy-drama film written and directed by Bill Forsyth and starring Peter Riegert and Burt Lancaster. Produced by David Puttnam, the film is about an American oil company representative who is sent to the fictional village of Ferness on the west coast of Scotland to purchase the town and surrounding property for his company.For his work on the film, Bill Forsyth won the 1984 BAFTA Award for Best Direction.

On the aggregate web site Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rare 100% positive rating from top critic reviews (based on 31 reviews), and an 87% positive rating from audience reviews (based on 6,916 reviews). In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film his highest four stars, calling it “a small film to treasure.” He gave particular praise to writer-director Bill Forsyth for his abilities as a storyteller.


It’s a Wonderful Life is an American classic Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, that was based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”, written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939, and privately published by the author in 1945. The film is considered one of the most inspirational and best loved movies in American cinema as it currently holds an 8.7 out of 10 rating on the IMDb consumer reviews and a 93% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


List your favorite ten if you dare ;-)   Stay Tuned!

  • Steve Cotton

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? would show up on my list — somewhere.

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Interesting – no input on my selections – probably not on any of your lists ;-)

    It would be in my top 100 – but it is so tense – a movie to watch when you are in the right mood – Of course Taylor and Burton were incredible and George Segal quite good – but I have to say Sandy Dennis wears on me pretty quickly (as I suppose she was meant to in this flick).

  • Dana Jennings

    Talk to Her is on my top ten list. And ten off the top of my head would include: Slingblade, Razor’s Edge (w/Bill Murray), Amores Perros, Midnight Cowboy, …..wow, can’t even pull out 10 without sitting down and thinking about it. Must get out more.

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Dana – I have the opposite situation – too many films in my head ;-0.

  • Kim G

    OK, I’m going to throw out Mexican films I liked.

    Nesio – A young, small-time drug dealer loses everything when an attempt to go big-time fails badly. Set in Mexico City’s Centro Historico the film has tremendous ambiance, and some hot romance scenes. Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBIyy-909K8

    Amores Perros – Intertwined love stories where everyone gets screwed in the end. With Gael Garcia Bernal, a particularly notable Mexican actor. Also set in Mexico City. Some good Rap in Spanish too. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XToRtfQbeHg

    Morirse en Domingo — a dark comedy where a young man’s uncle dies after a long illness. But it’s Sunday, and the family is broke, so they have to call the services of a one-man mortuary. Chaos ensues when uncle’s body disappears. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d36O4OhrItw

    Y Tu Mamá También – Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna take a young woman in search of a mythical beach — Boca del Cielo — and learn a few tough lessons about life. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qg6n7V3kO4

    Quemar las Naves – A young man comes of age while he and his sister take care of their dying mother in a dilapidated mansion in Zacatecas. Nice music by Eugenia León. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oAKJrqZBBo

    All of these films are made in Mexico, by Mexicans and can give you an insight into the country and its culture. Will any of them make Top-100 film lists? Probably not, but they are entertaining and worth watching. Some of them have subtitles, others not.

    Support the Mexican film industry! It is under siege by Hollywood and one of the bigger losers under NAFTA.


    Kim G

    Boston, MA

    Where our general lack of knowledge of films was a distinct disadvantage when we lived in Los Angeles.

  • Norm Kwallek

    A Beautiful Mind, Green Mile , and anything with a good period set will keep me glued to the screen. That history bug thing again.

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Excellent movies Norm

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Kim I have seen several of your suggestions. On the look out for Morirse en Domingo. Gracias for the list.

  • http://garydenness.co.uk/ Gary Denness

    Every Christmas I make it a firm intention to watch Its A Wonderful Life. This year I will make it happen. Then I will have watched one of those films in your top ten!

    My top ten would reveal how uncultured I really am. Star Wars (Episode IV), The Killing Fields, Life of Brian. Shawshank Redemption, Wizard of Oz, Pulp Fiction, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Love Actually, Train Spotting. I guess I look more for light entertainment….

    I love old WW2 movies as well. That was my childhood on Sunday afternoons….

  • http://garydenness.co.uk/ Gary Denness

    I think Like Chocolate for Water is the only Mexican film I’ve watched. It was a really good movie. Thanks for the list…I’ll be able to add a few more titles to my Mexican collection…

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Like Chocolate for Water —- Excellent movie – VIVA MEXICO!

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Shawshank Redemption on many’s short list. Love Actually – very British ;-)

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  • http://garydenness.co.uk/ Gary Denness

    I just ordered Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien from Amazon. Along with another flick called Sin Nombre. The pack of three had a special price. I’ll let you know how that third one goes.