I never know what my number one movie is, so I've left that slot blank to be filled in by whatever movie I'm in the mood to see at that particular instant. But I always announce "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" as my number two movie, because while it's not something I want to watch everyday, there's something about it, about what it says about relationships, plus how it was made (Michel Gondry's directorial style is like nothing I've ever seen before and I love him for it--"Science of Sleep" is another by him that's great, though the story hasn't a hope of measuring up to the likes of Eternal Sunshine), that made an impression from the very first time I saw it. I'm all the more impressed by this film because I saw it for the first time in less-than-ideal circumstances: on an airplane, on one of those tiny screens that are at least eight feet away from you, and I missed the beginning. And despite that, after seeing it, I promptly bought it when I next came across it. I adore this movie.
Slots three, four and five (and I suppose six, since I should be naming my top five movies and leaving out number one entirely is kind of a copout... I'll go out on a limb for the sake of this post and just rank Eternal Sunshine at #1) are much harder. Part of the problem is that I'm a bit shaky on my criteria. I want movies in my top five to be able to withstand the test of time, so that I think it's just as compelling five or ten years from now as I do today, but does it have to be a movie that I'm always in the mood to watch? That's generally been my criteria with books: favorites are those I can read over and over and never get tired of (yes, I'm one of those people who rereads books and rewatches movies, and as such I have a large collection of each). But movies... the movies you really love make it onto that list because you have some emotional connection with them that you treasure, and don't want to lose by desensitizing yourself to the movie by watching it too many times. And so the other movies on this list are films I love, and talk up to other people as something they have to see, but watch very infrequently myself. I'm taking a gander at my DVD collection (favorites can only come from within these ranks, as I can't feel very strongly about a film if I'm not even willing to buy the damn thing), other candidates for these other four slots are, in no particular order:
- Thank You for Smoking
- All About Eve
- LA Confidential
- The Sting
- The Incredibles
- The Hudsucker Proxy
Other movies stand out as ones that I really like: The Fifth Element, Anchorman, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Pride & Prejudice... these are movies I've been able to watch over and over without getting tired of them (and yes, I said Anchorman--there are just too many good lines in that movie). But none are of the caliber of those first seven... and since I can't decide amongst them right now, I guess I'm just going to have to revise "top five" to "top seven". It's not like I'll ever remember all of those anyway.
I was going to go on about what it is about all of those that I find so compelling and whatnot, but I'm kinda tired now, and have to get up early tomorrow to actually finally go to the gym (it's been months, for one reason or another, and it's really getting on my nerves).