Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Top 10 Favorite Movies [2003 Pre-Film School Edition]

I just found a list of my favorite films from back in 2003. This was not too long after high school and a couple years before I started film school. Looking back on it, it could have been a lot worse. Granted, even back then, I knew the difference between "best" and "favorite." These were my favorite films, the ones you could put on anytime, over and over, and I'd watch them. If you want to learn a few things about your favorite blogger...then I'd suggest you go ask them. To learn about me, read on.

Here they are: My Top 10 Favorite Movies [2003 Pre-Film School Edition]

1. Dangerous Minds - I was pretty much obsessed with this movie for years. It came out just as I was beginning to listen to hip-hop, "Gangsta's Paradise" was all over the radio, Michele Pfeiffer was gorgeous in my mind, and the most influential reason leading to my love of all things Dangerous Minds, my parent forbid me from watching Dangerous Minds. It bore the mark of the forbidden "R" which was also forbidden in my religious household. Since I couldn't watch the movie, I bought the soundtrack, which my dad threw away on multiple occasions. Each time, I bought another cassette. Each time, he threw it out. I bought the book which somehow still remains on my bookshelf. Eventually, I bought the DVD and proudly paraded it in front of my family, the plastic disc serving as a symbol for my teenage rebellion and newfound adulthood.

Today's rating: Probably not in the top ten, but definitely in the top 20.

2. Born in East LA - Saw this on TV, searched out a VHS, eventually bought a DVD. When I moved my DVDs into binders, this one stayed in its case to sit on the DVD shelves in between and Boogie Nights and Bottle Rocket.

Today's rating: Still in the Top 10. I'll die loving this movie.

3. The Breakfast Club - What 80s baby didn't love The Breakfast Club. It summed up high school so well. It taught us to categorize others into rigid, stereotypical, and unescapable labels. How else were we supposed to get through our teens? If they ever remake this, the certain magic the original possess could never be duplicated. Say what you will about American Teen, but an homage is certainly better than a remake.

Today's rating: As high school moves further and further into my past, my love for The Breakfast Club slowly lessens. Top 50, maybe? Bottom 50, maybe?

4. Tortilla Soup - One night, shortly after a move to a new town, I walked to the one-screen movie theater to watch a movie I'd never heard of before. It was a few days after 9/11 and the entire country was talking about terrorism, death, and destruction. Not Tortilla Soup. Tortilla Soup opened with a beautiful montage of fascinating food preparation and delicious looking dishes. Over the next week, I watched Tortilla Soup five more times. On the last day, I asked for a job. For the next couple of years, that's where you could find me, working at my one-screen art house movie theatre.

Today's rating: Still very high. Top 20, probably higher. Every note of Bill Conti's score brings back waves of nostalgia that you can't buy in some Five and Dime.

5. Best in Show - Back in the day I wrote a list of the Top 20 DVDs I Wanted and decided to share it with my friends via MySpace. What showed up on my doorstep a couple weeks later? A DVD of Best in Show from my good friend Rena. Thanks again, Rena! These days, Waiting for Guffman's probably my favorite Guest film, Parker Posey's "DQ" monologue is unbeatable.

Today's rating: Not as high as Guffman. Probably somewhere in the lower half of the list.

6. Fools Rush In - I grew up in a half white/half Hispanic community. I was the white boy with crushes on the Mexican girls. Fools Rush In spoke to me. I used it as a preperation guide as how to talk to these girls and even charm my future Mexican in-laws. The irony is, the first Hispanic girl I dated loathed this movie. Everything I had learned was wrong. Thanks Hollywood. But even after the film's verisimilitude turned out to be faulty, I continued to love watching Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek living the dream.

Today's rating: Might scrape in somewhere in the 90-100 range.

7. Airplane! - Middle school brought forth my love of Saturday Night Live. I caught strep throat and had to stay home for a week straight. That entire week was spent watching reruns of SNL. I left school intelligent and semi-popular. I came back completely unfocused and determined to win the coveted "Class Clown" award (which I did). After SNL, the next logical step, as far as zany comedy went, was the work of the Jim Abraham and the Zucker brothers. This movie killed me as a kid. The opening parody of Jaws. The girl scout fight. "Don't call me Shirley." Otto Pilot. I recently watched it with a group of friends and it's still one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

Today's rating: Top 15 overall, top five comedies.

8. Cinema Paradiso - Someone has shown this to me in my early teen years. I can't remember who but I do remember how blown away I was by this foreign film! It had subtitles! And it was good! I had seen other foreign films by then, actually, the first film I saw in theatres was The Adventures of Milo & Otis which was made in Japan (but later dubbed in English). But it was the way Paradiso glorified the movie theatre and fetishised film in the eyes of the little boy that I strongly identified with.

Today's rating: The second half of the film is far less interesting and captivating than the first and would probably drag the film right off the entire Top 100.

9. Back to the Future - This is still one of the best made films of all-time, in my opinion. It might not be popular in the scholarly world to say that about 80s teen com-dramas but damnit, I'm taking a stand. The plot still holds up, DeLoreans kick ass, Lea Thompson is one hot mom-to-be, Huey Lewis needs to be on more soundtracks, I have a need to skateboard behind a jeep, disappearing photos are scary, and while the hoverboards didn't show up until the sequel, their eventual invention will be more celebrated than the cure for AIDS.

Today's ranking: I would bet that the #9 spot would be a comfortable home for Marty McFly and Doc.

10. The Karate Kid, Part II - My favorite of the Macchio trilogy. This one's got it all. A beautiful girl (she's no Elizabeth Shue, but I'm not complaining), Okinawa, a Daniel vs. five skeletons fight scene, THE DRUM, THE MIYAGI FAMILY SECRET, and a romantic montage set to Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love." What else can a growing boy ask for?

Today's rating: Honestly, still in the Top 10, maybe even higher than it's 2003 #10 spot.

What movies did you used to love? Do you still love them?
What's your old Top 10 look like? How about today's?


Ross Williams said...

I haven't seen three of those movies, including your #1, which I've always dismissed as cliche'd teacher-with-a-heart-of-gold makes some inner-city kids love to learn. The rest of them, except for Back to the Future, I probably haven't seen since the 80's. I need to watch Born in East L.A. again, I loved that one as a kid. I haven't seen Cinema Paradiso in way too long.

I'd hate to see a list of my favorite films from before I became a cinefile. Probably a bunch of Arnold movies, with Terminator, Predator, Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Commando in there somewhere.

What I Watched Last Night

Rachel said...

It's amazing how perspective changes with education. I graduated high school in '99, then went straight to college to gain a BA in theatre. I didn't have a full Top 10 prior to college, but my favorite was proudly Clueless. 10 Things I Hate About You and Dogma rounded out the Top 3.

It's all different now. Dogma is now 67, 10 Things is at 96 and Cluess fell to 37. the times have changed me.

elgringo said...

Rachel, did you know I used to be in love with Alicia Silverstone? You probably didn't but now you do.

The Aerosmith videos, Clueless, even A Blast from the Past. I hearted her! There will probably be a tribute post to her sometime soon.

I'd love to see your entire 100. Maybe I'd trade you for my 2003 Top 100 list (yes, I had the full 100 but was too embarrassed to post it, haha).

elgringo said...

Ross, you're pretty much right about Dangerous Minds. What were the other two you hadn't seen? I'm guessing Tortilla Soup and Fools Rush In?

Don't knock a love for Arnold. California loved him enough to vote him in as an elected official.

Rachel said...

I had every intention of one day posting my Top 100, then I remembered I'm as fickle as a two year old on Christmas morning, and anything is at risk for being bumped or knocked off completely. I still have it typed up though, festering away on my desk. I'll give you the Top 10 as a teaser:

10. Pan's Labyrinth
9. Requiem for a Dream
8. 28 Days Later
7. Kill Bill Vol. 1
6. Children of Men
5. Little Miss Sunshine
4. The Fountain
3. Fight Club
2. Pulp Fiction
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

See what I mean by fickle? The oldest film on there is from 1994, but this has been the list for awhile now. Like 6 whole months or so.

Fox said...

I really need to see Born In East L.A. I can't believe I haven't. I even liked the song when I was a kid.

Plus, all my Hispanic co-workers talk about it all the time. If I finally watch it maybe they will think I am cool.

elgringo said...

Rachel, it seems like that last decade's been really good to you! I've seen all but Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain.

I LOVE Pan's Labyrinth and Pulp Fiction.

Fox, I can't see how that could be a bad plan. I certainly think people who
have seen East LA are cooler than those who haven't. Except for you, you're still cool in my book.

Ross Williams said...

Good guess, yes Tortilla Soup and Fools Rush In.

I still have a love for Arnold, but he's more of a guilty pleasure now. At one time I even made a site dedicated to his One Liners.

I can't believe you guys have top 100 lists. It would take me months to figure that out and the order would change constantly.

What I Watched Last Night

elgringo said...

Holy damn, Ross. 3400 votes on your Arnold poll. That's insane! I voted for "It's not a tumor!" Cool site.

Daniel said...

Wow, DM way up there? I admire that, having taught in an inner-city middle school for a few years. Thoughts on Freedom Writers and/or Stand and Deliver. Or, for that matter, High School High?

Love your thoughts on the rest of these!

elgringo said...

Hey Daniel, you taught at an inner-city school? That's awesome. I love all those movies, actually, I'm writing my MA thesis on them.

Freedom Writers, while I still don't like Swank, is a good movie because it focuses on the struggles of the students more than the rest of these genre films.

High School High combines almost all of my favorite things together. Ghetto school movies, parody films, and Tia Carrere. Woah...

Daniel said...

Yeah it was in San Diego. Great times that I look back on with extreme fondness.

I remember literally zero about Freedom Writers, despite seeing it in the theater opening weekend. Actually I do remember that the marriage piece played maybe too large a part than it needed to.

I'd love to read that thesis!

Ryan McNeil said...

Funny the way our tastes change as we get older ain't it?

If you went back to 1992, I would have said my favorite flick was TOP GUN. Fast forward a few years and the answer became GOOD WILL HUNTING.

Neither of them would crack my top 20 nowadays.

Guess it all depends on where you're at in life when you see the movie, no?

Reel Whore said...

Whaaas sappening! I haven't seen Born in East LA in ages yet I remember it vividly. It's like watching two puppies fighting under a blanket.

And it's totally cool that Tony Plana now is big league with Ugly Betty when he was so small time then.

Adolfo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adolfo said...

Bah, had to snuff a typo. To you "Born in East L.A." is #2. Qué locura! I enjoy Paul Rodriguez hamming it up when he thinks Jesus is talking to him and wants a beer.

I wonder if I'll grow up to be like their charaters. I need Cheech to teach me how to go "psst-psst-psst" and talk to the ladies. I love it!

Dame James said...

My favorites before I got crazy obsessed about film are all still pretty much in my Top 100: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Spice World, Bring It On, Erin Brockovich, Clueless, The Lion King and Aladdin. The only ones I still like but not as much anymore are Superstar and Save the Last Dance.