Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Louis Burklow Top 10 Movie Picks
2. Casablanca, 1943. Why? More than just my favorite movie, it stands as the ultimate World War II film, a classic romance and the best argument for finding a higher, nobler calling than just looking out for yourself.
3. The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946. Why? Without ever being slick or manipulative, this story of returning veterans and their families shows the toll of war does not end when the shooting stops. Also, the scene where Homer realizes his girlfriend still loves him even though he's lost his arms is about the most touching thing I've ever seen in a movie.
4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948. Why? In the midst of an ongoing financial meltdown, a vivid lecture on the evils of greed is most welcome. This film is an excellent western and action movie and serves to remind us how little things of value money really buys.
5. High Noon, 1952. Why? Proof that westerns could comment on current events. Fred Zinnemann uses Gary Cooper at his laconic best to attack anticommunist hysteria while also standing up for civilization in the genre's tradition.
6. North by Northwest, 1959. Why? The greatest of Hitchcock's classic entertainments using his greatest leading man, Cary Grant. From the crop duster to Mount Rushmore, it's wonderful to watch Grant's smooth facade cracked by danger and love.
7. The Apartment, 1960. Why? Still the best study of modern-day corporate culture and the ways it can be dehumanizing. This movie is considered a comedy; although it has funny moments, it is deadly serious and illustrates Billy Wilder's genius for finding drama in a comedic premise.
8. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964. Why? It still blows my mind that this movie ever got made. Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers make a farce out of the threat of nuclear holocaust, which is one of the greatest achievements ever by a film.
9. The Right Stuff, 1983. Why? Using an episodic storyline to tell an epic tale, this movie shows the beginnings of America's space program. As a boy when men first walked on the moon, I am fascinated by this movie's ability to show the kind of people who carried out this larger than life job.
10. Patton, 1970. Why? The war movie that both warriors and pacifists can enjoy, as well as a great biopic. George C. Scott brings the necessary larger-than-life presence to his role; I also love the fact that he declined his Oscar because he didn't see his performance as a competition.
George Lucas's Blockbusting book feature film writer Louis Burklow is a Los Angeles based freelance author.