“Observe and Report” – 2009. Dir. Jody Hill

With Seth Rogen, Michael Pena, Anna Faris, John Yuan, Matt Yuan, Jesse Plemons, Aziz Ansari with Danny McBride and Ray Liotta.

“I ain’t gonna lie to you Ronnie; there ain’t nothin’ good about this at all.” – Dennis (Michael Pena)

Lately I’ve taken a slight detour from my film watching, and I’ve invested fully into HBO original series. I’m sorry to say, but “Boardwalk Empire” isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. I’ve been diving head first into “In Treatment” (which I now consider the finest HBO show to date). The highlight of my week is the one hour block on Sunday nights of two series: “Bored to Death” and “Eastbound & Down”. I watched the first season of “Eastbound” and I wasn’t that impressed with it – but after seeing where the story has gone this season – it’s one of my new obsessions.

Jody Hill is the creator and head writer/director of “Eastbound” and my BFF Peyton told me about “Observe and Report” which Hill did prior to “Eastbound”. I had an idea what the film was and I can say one thing for sure: I don’t like Seth Rogen and I probably never will. I remembered Quentin Tarantino saying that “Observe and Report” was one of the best films of last year; and the film also has Ray Liotta in it. So I watched it last night.

I don’t think much can prepare you for this film – it is one of the blackest comedies I have seen in years. The subject matter, the situations, the themes of this film is very dark. Seth Rogen who plays the head of mall security at this shitty little po-dunk mall is a fucking psychopath (seriously). He is comical, but when you actually comprehend what he’s saying/thinking – you realize how fucked up he really is.

The film starts with a flasher running through the mall’s parking lot. He’s pulling open his coat and showing every woman he sees his penis and yelling degrading things to them. It’s very funny. Ronnie (Rogen) is making it his mission to find this “fucking pervert” and has his underlings hot on the case. John and Matt Yuan are overweight identical Asian twins who inject excellent comic relief and Michael Pena, who I’ve never cared for, plays Dennis a stereotypical “gangsta” Mexican but he’s soft spoken and speaks with a lisp. Pena rocks the shit out of his role.

Anna Faris plays Brandi a high maintenance spoiled girl who works a cosmetic counter at the mall, and Ronnie is not only in love with her – he’s obsessed. When Bradi is “assaulted” by the flasher; enter Ray Liotta as the hard ass Detective Harrison. As you would expect Liotta plays his hot headed typecast but he is such an excellent treat in the film. Ronnie goes head to head with Detective Harrison, to try and compete for the attention and protection of Brandi.

I know you won’t believe this unless you’ve seen this, or have read about it, but this film is a mirror to “Taxi Driver”. That being said, this film is nowhere near as powerful or important as “Taxi Driver” – but Jody Hill shows so much homage to not only to “Taxi Driver” but to other Scorsese films. I can’t help but think the casting of Ray Liotta was partially due to Liotta being in “Goodfellas”.

We are shown an incredibly dark world, filled with slime and pathetic people, just like the New York of “Taxi Driver”. Ronnie is our Travis Bickle, with his brooding voiceover narration that screams for anarchy. The way the story builds and arcs is much like the flow and structure of “Taxi Driver”. It’s a wonderful homage/re-imagining.

There are a lot of scenes in this film, one in particular that really pushes the limits and boundaries of the films audience. This film isn’t one of the typical bullshit comedies that come out; this film really does push your limits as a viewer. Many times while watching the film, I looked away from the film – not because I was disgusted – but because the film is a bit much most of the time. What eases the blow of such a crude film is an immaculate soundtrack of “throwback” 70’s music.

This is a difficult film to digest, due to the subject matter, and due to the fact that Ronnie is insane. Jody Hill paints us this disturbing portrait of the human condition – and makes these characters very over the top – yet we can see ourselves in them. This isn’t a great film; nor is it for everyone, but if you enjoy a romp in the darkest comedic form, I recommend this film to you 100%. After seeing the film, there’s no question as to why Tarantino thinks this was one of the ten best films of last year.

Rating: 7.5/10

Martin Scorsese Poll Results are in!!!

Alright, there were more of you who took the poll this time – and I thank you for that.

“Taxi Driver” is the winner!

The second best Scorsese film in the poll was a three way tie between “Raging Bull”, “The Departed” and “Gangs of New York”!!! Ha fuckers! “Gangs” was tied for second (which I actually didn’t vote for, I was the lone vote on “Mean Streets”).

Third place was “Goodfellas”.

Rounding out the bottom tier getting one vote each were: “Mean Streets”, “The King of Comedy”, “After Hours”, and “New York, New York”…that is ballsy to vote for that! That is, unless it was a miscast vote. Kind of like you people who vote for third parties in elections.

I am impressed that three did in fact vote for my self proclaimed Scorsese masterpiece “Gangs of New York”.

Good voting dear reader(s).

“Taxi Driver” – 1976. Dir. Martin Scorsese

With Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster, Cybil Shepherd, Albert Brooks, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle with Marin Scorsese and Harvey Keitel

“I think someone should just take this city and just… just flush it down the fuckin’ toilet.”

-Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro)

It took me a long time to really be able to get a handle on “Taxi Driver”. I saw it when I was a teenager and I felt that I didn’t really understand the movie. It wasn’t until my early twenties when I really discovered the beauty and perfection that the film holds.

I can only watch this film every so often – about twice a year. The film is haunting and affects me deeply. It engages in psychological warfare with me and it’s hard to shake the film when I see it. We just get thrown into this world of filth and disgust and we are to fend for ourselves. And who is our hero? Travis Bickle. It’s difficult to watch because we can identify with Bickle, we can understand him and we can almost trust him.

The opening of the film is fucking magnificent. The protruding score by Bernard Herman beats in our eardrums and soaks into the marrow of our bones then a quick cut to DeNiro’s eyes with a red gel over the light. He’s looking around, he’s almost frightened at what he’s seeing, quick cut back to the smog in the streets and the beating of drums to a taxi cab emerging from the smog.

There have been many scenes that have stuck with me over time, many scenes that can creep up on me when I’m not expecting them. The character of Betsy, the self righteous snooty bitch who is Bickle’s love interest in the movie has always stuck with me. She’s very contrived and knows how to play the game.

After Bickle’s botched date with Betsy where he takes her to a porn theater and she abruptly gets up and leaves almost makes me feel bad for Bickle. But you have to ask yourself, is Bickle really that naïve? Doesn’t he know what he’s doing? Is it just a game to Bickle too?

Scorsese’s camera work in the film is what makes this film so great. The way Scorsese slides the camera with his perfect tracking shots allow us to almost escape from certain situations. The scene that always has stuck with me is the long shot when Travis calls Betsy from a payphone. He’s in a back room that has a long hallway from the entrance of the building. This is one of Travis’ many attempts to try and contact Betsy after the porn theater disaster.

Travis finally gets a hold of her and asks her about the flowers he sent her. He asks her out for coffee and she tells Travis she’s sick. Travis just won’t let go, he continually tries to court her. It’s extremely embarrassing to watch. It almost makes you want to look away because it’s just too hard to watch, the way Travis fidgets as he talks to Betsy about how she probably has a 24 hour virus. In the midst of Travis’ pandering, the camera slowly rolls away from Travis and we are now looking down the long hallway to the entrance of the building. Travis conversation continues for a short while after this, but at least we don’t have to watch it anymore.

That’s how you direct a fucking movie.

The way the film glides and flows are perfect. The voiceover narration that DeNiro deliverers is so Shakespearian in the way he has this constantly running inner monologue with himself that we have the rare opportunity to hear. The man’s demons are taking control of him, they are running over his mind, body and soul – he can’t be saved. He knows he can’t be saved. Bickle must become a martyr; plain and simple.

The scenes next scene that I am in love with is Scorsese’s cameo as Travis’ passenger. I wrote about it yesterday in my Art of the Crossover: Directors in front of the Camera post. What is so vital to the film is that Scorsese’s role is the only person, only thing that frightens Travis throughout the entire film. He’s the only person that has Travis on the edge of his seat, carefully watching him, carefully observing him.

What is so great about the scene is that it’s so very brief, we don’t know if the man goes in and kills his wife and her black boyfriend. We don’t know if Bickle reports it to the police (probably not). It’s a wonderful and marvelous scene that just adds to the sheer emotional power the film holds over us.

The one character that is a moral compass in the film is that of Wizard (brilliantly played by Peter Boyle). He’s the one person who Travis looks up too; he’s the veteran that all the cabbies come to for advice and for guidance. His character is very interesting, he is much like Travis, but he is able to control himself, control his demons.

For me, Harvey Keitel as Sport displays the sheer power that he holds as an actor. The character was transformed by Keitel (Sport was black and only had three lines of dialogue in the script) and he added his own brand, his own label to the character. Keitel is a true maverick when it comes to film, he doesn’t often appear in too many big budget Hollywood films – he’s found his calling in small independent films where he can shine.

Jodie Foster is tough as nails and shows from such a young age the capability of being a mature and powerful actress. She holds her own against both DeNiro and Keitel – not an easy feat for anyone let alone a twelve year old. That is nothing less than raw talent.

The films epic climax is always sighted and over romanticized by film school douche bags (yes – I went to film school). The climactic bloody ending isn’t what the film is supposed to be memorable for, it’s supposed to show us what happens when a man is alone, and can’t take it anymore. It’s not supposed to show DeNiro as a hero – he’s not. He’s filth just like the rest of the film; yet we can identify with him, we can relate with him. It’s pretty scary stuff.

What makes the ending so powerful is the last scene. What I don’t think many people really realize is when Travis is driving away from Betsy and Bernard Herman’s magnificent score starts to play and we’re watching DeNiro’s eyes scan the streets once again, looking for his next move. He sees something in the rearview mirror! He quickly brings his right hand up to adjust the mirror and he sees something and stares at it with his cold gaze.

The biggest rumor to emerge from the Berlin Film Festival was that Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese and Lars von Trier were set to do a remake of “Taxi Driver”. I’m not a fan of remakes, but I will stand in line all day to see that.

Review 10/10

The Art of the Crossover: Directors in Front of the Camera

Yesterday I posted an article that brought a good amount of traffic my way, talking about actors crossing over to music and musicians crossing over to acting. I really enjoyed working on it, and I know I left some people out. There were two HUGE crossover artists that no one seemed to mention; it’s fine, they will be headlining part two of that post. While watching “Quiz Show” the other day, I really loved how Robert Redford used a handful of directors in small roles in the film. He used Griffin Dunne, Martin Scorsese and Barry Levinson in really small yet somewhat vital roles in the film. I enjoy that film very much and I love the irony of Robert Redford the esteemed actor directing a film (where he has no role) and using three directors that normally aren’t in front of the camera (minus Griffin Dunne since he started as an actor). So I’ve been working on this new crossover since last night, trying to come up with a list of concrete crossovers where a director steps in front of the camera. I have really never seen anything about directors’ crossing over and becoming pretty decent character actors. We all see lists of actors turned directors which are fairly easy lists to make. A sad note that I would like to make known – I ruled out Albert Brooks, Woody Allen and Mel Brooks because (no, not because they are Jewish) they were already established as stand-up comics and performers prior to their turns are magnificent filmmakers. I also ruled out Oliver Stone and Alfred Hitchcock because the essentially have nothing more than a quick cameo (minus Stone’s appearance as the announcer for the Miami Sharks in “Any Given Sunday”).

Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis will always have a special spot in my heart as his characters Egon Spengler from “Ghostbusters” and Russell from “Stripes” (which Ramis also wrote both the screenplays) – but before he was our loveable nerd he was the screenwriter for “Animal House” and the writer/director of “Caddyshack” where he met his future creative partner Bill Murray. Ramis then went on to direct “National Lampoons Vacation”, “Groundhog Day”, “Multiplicity”, “Analyze This”, “Analyze That”, “The Ice Harvest” and *coughs* “Year One” (hey, they all can’t be winners).

What Ramis is most widely known for is his acting roles as I said before, Egon Spengler and Russell. Ramis actually is a very good actor – his comedic timing is impeccable. They way he can play off of his co-stars like Bill Murray or especially John Candy in “Stripes” is so excellent – he adds more humor and life to the film just by being the nerdy “straight” guy.

Will they ever make a “Ghostbusters 3” you ask, I really hope not.

Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack has directed some of the finest films that I have ever seen: “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”, “Jeremiah Johnson”, “Tootise” and “Out of Africa”. Where Pollack doesn’t get his due credit is as an actor. He was wonderful in his real first acting role as Dustin Hoffman’s agent in “Tootise” but he took a ten year break before resuming acting.

His follow up to his small (but very funny) role in “Tootsie” was as Dick Mellon in Robert Altman’s Hollywood satire “The Player”. How perfect is that? Pollack then branched out and started acting in other filmmakers films including Woody Allen’s “Husbands and Wives”, Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”, as Warren Feldman doctor who was in prison for killing his wife in an episode of “The Sopranos” and what I believe is his finest performance as Marty Bach in “Michael Clayton”.

I truly feel that Pollack gave the best performance in “Michael Clayton” and deserved a nomination for best supporting actor. Yes Tom Wilkinson was good – but I’m sorry, not nearly as good as Sydney Pollack. His role as Victor Ziegler in “Eyes Wide Shut” is just so creepy and the character has this rage that explodes from him in a couple of key scenes. I have a hard time choosing if I like him more as Sydney Pollack the director, or Sydney Pollack the actor.

Quentin Tarantino

Yeah, I know this one is obvious, but it can’t really be ignored. Is Tarantino a great actor? Not at all. Is he a good actor? Ehhhh… Is he decent? Alright, I can abide by that. The character that Tarantino plays either in his own films or in his friends films are always as eccentric and bizarre as Tarantino is in real life.

I don’t really think the characters he chooses to play add much to the movie, but they defiantly don’t take anything away from it. I think his best performance is that of Jimmie Dimmick in “Pulp Fiction”. The character of Jimmie is funny and witty and it doesn’t seem like Tarantino tries too hard.

The character of Mr. Brown feels a little forced to me, like Tarantino is sitting there trying to act cool in front of Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen – it just doesn’t work that well for me. Same goes for Warren in “Death Proof” – acting cool in front of Kurt Russell.

That being said, my new life goal is go to Cannes to see the premier of the next Tarantino film – the guy is a fucking genus.

Martin Scorsese

Oh do I love Martin Scorsese. He is such a remarkable talent – I could go on forever about how much I love him and his films. We all know who Scorsese is and what he has directed.

Scorsese has had key roles in two of his earlier film. In “Mean Streets” it is Scorsese’s hand that kills one of the central characters in brutally climactic ending (I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen “Mean Streets”). As I touched upon it before, Scorsese has a brief but meaty role in Robert Redford’s “The Quiz Show”. He plays Martin Rittenhome the CEO of Geritol the sponsor of the NBC quiz shows. His character is fast paced and no bullshit. He pulls a lot of strings with NBC and pulls them well.

Scorsese also voiced Sykes the puffer fish from the semi enjoyable “Shark Tale”. The role that Scorsese talks about playing the most is that of Vincent Van Gogh in Akira Kurosawa’s “Dreams”. It’s so amazing to watch because you are watching one remarkable filmmaker direct another. It’s a real treat. Scorsese has a handful of cameos in his films, my favorite is that of the TV Director in “The King of Comedy”. His opening voiceovers for “The Color of Money” and “Mean Streets” are wonderful, he has this voice that is so fueled by emotion that we can’t help but listen and try and digest the fast paced introductions.

Now this is what I’ve been waiting the entire post to talk about: his role as DeNiro’s deranged taxi cab passenger in “Taxi Driver”. I feel that his character is so vital, so important to the film. It’s just another prime example to Travis Bickle of how fucked up the world has become, how it’s changed so much from what he knew it to be.

The most important factor in the scene is that it humanizes Bickle, it shows us that this is a world of filth and that Bickle is almost normal compared to his passenger talking about how his wife is “fucking a nigger” and repeating to DeNiro “Have you ever seen what a 44 magnum can do to a woman’s face. Have you ever seen what a 44 magnum can do to a woman’s pussy? Now that – that you should see.” Wow.

The character that Scorsese plays is the only character in the film that frightens Travis Bickle. That is very important. We see Bickle not afraid or anyone or anything except for the small episode with Scorsese in the back seat of his cab. Scorsese will often say that it wasn’t planned for him to play the role, that the actor who was originally supposed to play it was sick that day so Scorsese filled in for him. Thank God for that.

Alright tootsie pops…did I leave anyone out that you think I should have included? Let me know what you think.

10 Absolute 10s!

I haven’t recently posted in a while.  My apologies to the the five people who frequent my blog.  I have been watching a lot of films lately and have come up with a list of films that I have give a 10 of 10 too.  I get into arguments with my friend Peyton about giving films a ten, I tend to give slightly more 10s out then he does, but I am constructing a cohesive list of ten films that have the equivalent rating.  So far this year, I’ve only given out two 10s, one to “Antichrist” and the other to “A Single Man”.  Enjoy…

“Apocalypse Now” – 1979.  Dir. Francis Ford Coppola.  With Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburn, Harrison Ford, Fredirc Forest, Sam Bottoms, Bill Grahm, Albert Hall, Scott Glenn and G.D. Spradin.

This is film is truly an unstoppable force.  It grabs you and pulls you in for the full 153 minutes (202 min for “Redux”).  This is my favorite war film, but then again it really isn’t a war film.  It’s a story of Willard, brilliantly played by Martin Sheen, a man who is lost in the jungle, who is lost in horrors of war.  It’s about his journey through life as he navigates his way through beaches, and through rivers, and meeting eccentric and psychopathic people – it’s his journey to The End, to Col. Kurtz, to Marlon Brando.  It’s Martin Sheen as Odysseus in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Odyssey”.

The making of this film is a story that is as, if not more, fascinating then the film itself.  The trials and tribulations that Coppola had to deal with and concur as he was forced to shut down production, forced to deal with Brando’s bad behavior, forced to deal with Sheen having a heart attack while filming.  A documentary titled: “Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” by Coppola’s wife featuring interviews with the cast and crew during filming and then contemporary interviews (circa 1992) is almost as good as the film itself.

The ensemble cast that is shown in this film is an unbelievable abundance of talent.  All the unknown faces and known faces play together in a perfect mesh to show the utter horrors that war and that life have in store for us.  Everyone excels, from Sheen to Brando, from Hopper to Ford, from Hall to Glenn, from Spradin to Duvall.  This is a film that cannot ever, ever be remade or even reworked.  The filming was to chaotic, and too filled with it’s own horrors that it couldn’t have been made without the horror of film making itself.

“Brokeback Mountain” – 2007. Dir. Ang Lee.  With Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllehaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams and Randy Quaid.

Ang Lee’s epic saga about the pain and joy we all feel from love is one of the most emotionally draining films I have ever seen.  It even matches the emotional pull and despair I feel from “The Deer Hunter”.  The homophobic backlash this film endured is beyond belief appalling and it shows us how our society isn’t near as tolerant as we should be toward gays.  But I’ll get off my liberal soap box.  This is a love story that transcends gender.  It’s a story about a love we have all felt, about a love that we can’t let go of.  It’s about a love that is just so beautiful and painful and full of joy that we can’t let go of it.  We just can’t.  Heath Ledger gives the best performance of his very brief and short career as Enis Del Mar, who is a heterosexual man who falls in love with a gay man played by Jake Gyllenhaal.  The despair, the pain, the love, the affection are all too real in the film.  We can take this period piece love story and parallel it to our lives.

Ang Lee proves himself as a master of his craft.  The way he molded Larry McMurtry and Annie Proulx’s words to the screen is a monumental feat that many can’t achieve.  The cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto is flawless and the heartbreaking score by Gustavo Santaolalla is pitch perfect.  This film continues to break my heart each time I watch it.  I live for films like “Brokeback Mountain”.

“The Deer Hunter” – 1978. Dir. Michael Cimino. With Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, Michael Savage and John Cazale.

“The Deer Hunter” is a film that I put in once a year and it’s a landmark event if I can find the strength within myself to watch it all the way through.  I gladly make it through the beginning, where all the characters are happy.  Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep are getting married.  When the boys go deer hunting before they embark on their own personal hell in Vietnam.  The first 45 minutes or so, I’m good.  Once we reach Vietnam and see the characters forced into playing  Russian Roulette by their Vietcong captors, I start to break.  The actual scene that breaks me isn’t the end (which I’ve only made it too about five times over my twenty attempts), it’s the scene when they are DeNiro arrives back from Vietnam and they go deer hunting.  DeNiro is stalking a beautiful buck through the woods for what seems like hours upon hours.  He finally gets his “one shot” – but doesn’t take it.

Another emotional factor for me is knowing that while the crew and actors were filming this film they knew that John Cazale (best known as Al Pacino’s acting partner and as Fredo from “The Godfather”) was dying of a rare form of cancer, that this film was going to be his swan song.  Cazale and Streep were engaged during the filming of “The Deer Hunter”.  This film also isn’t purely a war film, even though the backdrop of the film is Vietnam.  I believe the film is more about the power of love and friendship.  Would you travel across the world in a fleeting moment to save a friend who refuses to be saved.  Would you try?

“Five Easy Pieces” – 1970.  Dir. Bob Rafelson.  With Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, and Billy Green Bush.

Jack Nicholson’s finest work came from his filmmaking partner Bob Rafelson.  In “Five Easy Pieces” Nicholson gives his best performance as Robert Erocia Dupea, a piano prodigy who left a life of wealth and prosperity to make it on his own, to live his own dilapidated life.  This film defines an era of rebels and individuals and is about the last of a dying breed.  Nicholson gives a powerful performance as a man who’s life is falling apart.  He quits his dead end oil drilling job after his best friend gets arrested, and then travels back home to see his dying father.

Dupea never stops running, and he never will.  He was born to run, to Run Like Hell.  This film is so powerful and raw that it defined Nicholson as an icon, as a Hollywood and American legend.  It’s just a shame that Nicholson couldn’t produce films like these his entire career.  The ending to this film has to be one of the most powerful endings to any film I have ever seen.

“Blue Velvet” – 1986.  Dir. David Lynch.  With Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern and Dean Stockwell.

David Lynch is one of the most original and unique film artists in cinema.  While Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, Coppola, and Tarantino are just as gifted, if not more then Lynch, they all show homages to the greats who made them who they are in their films.  The only artist David Lynch shows homage to is David Lynch.

I have never seen a film that blends two genres so well together.  A mellow-dramatic horror film.  Only David Lynch could do this.  The film transcends time, it has an ambiguous time frame, it’s a period piece mellow drama, yet once Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper who gives the best performance of his impressive career) enters the film, it’s turned upside down into a contemporary horror/thriller.  It’s a hard film to put a label on, but if I had too I would call this film a love story.

I cannot even begin to comprehend how David Lynch thinks.  I won’t even try.  It’s too perplexing to me how he does it.  He’s truly the most unique and impressive filmmaker I have ever seen.  Now I understand why Mel Brooks called Lynch “Jimmy Stewart from Mars”.

“Bad Lieutenant” – 1992.  Dir. Abel Ferrara.  With Harvey Keitel, Victor Argo and Frankie Thorn.

This is one of the rawest, and most stomach turning films I have ever seen.  The story is a simple: a cop who’s fallen from grace.  It’s a simple and generic story but the way it’s shot, and the elements it involves goes way beyond all other films like it.  This is as raw, and as gritty as filmmaking gets.  Harvey Keitel gives undoubtedly his best performance as the Bad Lieutenant.  He bares his body, his heart, and his soul on camera until he has nothing left.  The story is about a man who has fallen so far from grace, it takes the brutal raping of a nun to get him on the path to redemption.  This is a film that comes along once in a great while.  This film is the “Antichrist” of the 90s.  If you actually do come across this film, or are interested in seeing it, don’t waste your time with the R rated version, the NC-17 cut of the film is the only one that is true to the film.

“There Will Be Blood” – 2008.  Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson.  With Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.

This is a film that is the closest thing I have ever seen to “Citizen Kane”.  One man, Daniel Plainview, whose obsession with greed and power destroys absolutely everything in his path, whether it be the towns he claims, or his son, nothing will remain standing in the rubble.  Nothing at all can stop Plainview’s lust for power.  He is truly an unstoppable force, he’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Day-Lewis gives the biggest tour-de-force performance out of anyone’s career.  The amount of anxiety the fills you while watching this monster tear through everything, slash and burn it is truly incredible and shows the great gift PTA and DDL have in the world of film.  All I know is it scares me that I have a little bit of Daniel Plainview inside of me, but then again.  Who doesn’t?

“The Natural” – 1984.  Dir. Barry Levinson.  With Robert Redford, Wilford Brimley, Darrin McGavin, Glenn Glose, Kim Basinger, Joe Don Baker, Michael Madsen, Richard Farnsworth and Robert Duvall.

I can’t think of a movie that has filled me with more inspiration than “The Natural”.  It is hands down the best film that deals with baseball and sports, and all that comes with it.  For all the people who say you can’t do it, you’re too old, you’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re not strong enough, fast enough – watch “The Natural”.  Robert Redford is truly a marvel in this film, and yet again this film isn’t just about baseball – it’s about one man’s odyssey through life, through all the bumps in the road Roy Hobbs chooses to never give up, he chooses to travel the path he was meant to take.  It may take him 10, 15, 20 years to get there, but he finally does, and it’s beautiful.  This movie fills me with pride about myself, because maybe one day, someone some where will say, “There goes Frank Mengarelli, the best there has ever been, the best there ever will be.”

“2001: A Space Odyssey” – 1968.  Dir. Stanley Kubrick.  With Keir Dullea.

What could I possibly have to say about this film or Stanley Kubrick that hasn’t already been said.  I wouldn’t be able to do either justice.

“Taxi Driver” – 1976.  Dir. Martin Scorsese.  With Robert DeNiro, Cybill Shepherd, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks and Harvey Keitel.

This film is one of Scorsese’s masterpieces.  It’s one of the roughest films I’ve ever watched.  I’d say I can only watch this film about once a year and I almost loath every moment of it.  It’s too painful to watch, to hard to watch – to real.  Your just thrown into this world of absolute filth and disgust and the punchline of it is, Robert DeNiro is the character you relate to, the most sympathetic and has the most redeeming qualities to him.  What a sick joke that is!  This world where Travis Bickle becomes the antihero is just to bizarre and so strange.  I’ve never truly seen a film like this before, it’s 100% true and 100% genuine to it’s medium and too the world.  The one thing that I pride myself on is the final shot of the film I don’t think most people understand, but I think I do.  Lets talk.

Thank you for reading and I hope you disagree with me so we can argue and battle to the death about these films.  These aren’t the only 10’s I’ve ever seen, but it’s a good grouping of them.