Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paul Matwiy Top 10 Movie Picks

1.  Wings, 1927 directed by William A. Wellman.  Why?  This is the last of the great silent films and the first to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.  Ironically, The Jazz Singer was released in the same year.
2.  Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, 1937 directed by David Hand.  Why?  What more can be said?  This is the film that started (and which could have ended) one of the most dominant entertainment businesses of the 20th Century.
3.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939 directed by Frank Capra.  Why?  One of the best of the "movie as political statement" films, which succeeds at being both cynical and optimistic at the same time.
4.  Ben-Hur, 1959 directed by William Wyler.  Why?  The last of the big, religious-themed blockbuster movies.  A movie which manages to be exciting, spectacular, and reverential at the same time.
5.  Lawrence of Arabia, 1962 directed by David Lean.  Why?  Simply the most stunning of the grand, epic films.  A style of filmmaking many aspire to, but which we can no longer afford to make.
6.  2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 directed by Stanley Kubrick.  Why?  This film legitimized science-fiction as a subject suitable for serious films, and released the genre from the B-grade category.
7.  Star Wars: Ep IV A New Hope, 1977 directed by George Lucas.  Why?  The birth of the modern, effects-driven, blockbuster.  Most big box office films of the last 30 years owe their existence to this movie.
8.  Jurassic Park, 1993 directed by Steven Spielberg.  Why?  This really did usher in a completely new way of making films.  It will be difficult in the future to find any feature film without some digital visual effect.
9.  Shakespeare in Love, 1998 directed by John Madden.  Why?  Aside from being the surprise winner of the Best Picture Oscar for that year, this film re-affirmed that a literate script with beautiful dialog was not box-office poison.
10.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 directed by Chris Columbus.  Why?  Number 10 was a toss-up between any James Bond and any Harry Potter film.  These are examples of book series as film franchises.  The Sorcerer's (aka Philosopher's) Stone is, however, a very faithful adaptation of the book, and probably the best foundation for a film series done to date.

George Lucas's Blockbusting book consultant and fact checker Paul Matwiy is an entertainment technologist who has worked with THX, Lucasfilm and JAK Films.

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