BOXING DAY MOVIEPALOOZA: So far, I've listed my favorite
movies of 2005
Now it's time to enter the Reagan era.
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked
back at 1985, it gave its Best Picture award to Out of Africa, which is basically a coffee-table book masquerading
as a story. These are all far better:
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Written by Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, and Masato Ide
The story of King Lear
predates the Bard, so it shouldn't seem that
odd that the best film the play inspired doesn't include a single line of
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, and Charles McKeown
Monty Python's 1984.
3. Pee-Wee's Big
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, and Michael Varhol
When I watched this in my teens, I thought it was pretty
funny. Thirty years later I saw it again, and I realized it was a goddamn
4. Mix Up ou
Directed by Françoise Romand
A gloriously bizarre documentary—bizarre in content, bizarre
in form—about what happened when two English families brought the wrong babies
home from the hospital.
Written and directed by Agnès Varda
Not a simple celebration of a free spirit, and not a
disdainful condemnation of a marginal life either.
6. After Hours
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Joseph Minion
Other critics can weigh this picture's place in Scorsese's
filmography. I'll just point out that it's the best movie Cheech and Chong were
ever involved with.
7. Louie Bluie
Directed by Terry Zwigoff
This is a charming documentary about the bluesman, artist,
and porn aficionado Howard Armstrong. It is also utterly fake: The comfortable
living room that it seems to have been filmed in is actually a movie set, some
of the people reminiscing with Armstrong barely know him, and the director had
to persuade his subjects to play the early string-band songs he loved rather
than the more complex music they preferred. I go back and forth on whether all
that artifice is a flaw or just another hidden dimension to the story.
Directed by Mark Romanek
Written by Romanek and Keith Gordon
Before he was shooting videos for Bowie, Beck, and Johnny
Cash, Romanek made this terrific indie flick about a man who believes he's
built a machine that lets you peek into heaven.
Directed by Paul Schrader
Written by Paul and Leonard Schrader
The literary lion as leader of a fascist death cult.
10. Return to Oz
Directed by Walter Murch
Written by Murch and Gill Dennis
This didn't find an audience at first, probably because most
people's expectation when hearing the phrase "sequel to The Wizard of Oz" is not
"freaky, scary movie that strongly implies that Dorothy is insane."
Fortunately, the picture eventually attracted the underground following it
11. Fool for Love
12. Come and See
13. Prizzi's Honor
14. Fluke (Emily
15. Chain Letters (Mark
16. The Purple Rose
of Cairo (Woody Allen)
17. The Epic of
Gilgamesh (Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay)
19. Back to the
Future (Robert Zemeckis)
20. Grim (Takashi
Of the films of 1985 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Taipei Story and Crimewave.