Dave's Desert Island Movies

Hey, did I forget to mention there is a TV and DVD player on my desert island? In light of this revelation, I guess I better make a list of my favorite movies too (even though you could probably guess a majority of this list based on my blogging tendencies).

My rules this time around:

• Only one movie from a series
• Only one movie from a given director
• Limit the list to 10

Once again I have listed my selections chronologically according to when I originally discovered them. I look forward to reading similar lists on your blogs in the coming weeks.


1. The Empire Strikes Back

As a kid, I always thought The Empire Strikes Back was kinda boring in comparison to the ewok filled Return of the Jedi. But as a I grew up, my enjoyment of ewoks lessened considerably, and Empire eventually took its rightful place as my favorite Star Wars movie. I should mention that the version of the film I would want on my island doesn't exist currently. I would like the original film, with enhanced picture and sound, and maybe even with some of the optical effects and matte lines digitally polished, but none of the digital Cloud City sunsets and superfluous Darth Vader shuttle rides from the special edition. Is that too much to ask George?
Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.
Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark

I have been non-committal about choosing my favorite Indiana Jones movie in the past, but doing the live blogs for each installment really cemented the superiority of Raiders to the sequels that followed. It has everything that makes Spielberg and Lucas great, with none of the self indulgent excess. For more of my thoughts on Raiders, go back and read the live blog.
Indiana Jones: I'm going after that truck.
Sallah: How?
Indiana Jones: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go.
3. Back to the Future

Doc Brown's tricked out, time traveling DeLorean is probably second only to the Batmobile as the most sketched/coveted vehicle of my childhood. While Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd unquestionably carry the movie, it's the supporting performances from Crispin Glover as hopelessly nerdy George McFly, and Thomas F. Wilson as lunkheaded bully Biff Tannon that really gives Back to the Future its heart. Parts II and III have their charms, but ultimately are inferior to the original. This series is potentially my next live blogging conquest.
Doc: 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!
Marty: What the hell is a gigawatt?
High School

4. The Fugitive

Probably Harrison Ford's last truly great movie, The Fugitive has to be the ultimate action/suspense thriller. No one plays a likable everyman like Ford, and you couldn't ask for a better nemesis than Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy Sam Gerard, a role seemingly tailor made for his no-nonsense screen persona. Quite simply, this is a compulsively watchable film. Even though I have seen it a million times, and the DVD is sitting on my shelf, when I happen to run into it on TV while channel surfing, I still end up getting hooked and watching it to the end.
Dr. Richard Kimble: I didn't kill my wife.
Deputy Sam Gerard: I don't care.
5. Edward Scissorhands

Though I wasn't familiar with the term at the time, Tim Burton was the first director I came to appreciate as an auteur, imprinting a distinct visual and thematic style on all his work. Coming in the midst of his creative peak, Edward Scissorhands is arguably Burton's definitive and most personal work. I remember seeing parts of the movie as a kid and thinking it was so bizarre. When I watched it again in high school though, I was officially on the same wavelength. One thing is for sure, I can never look at suburbia the same way again.
Peg: Oh my. What happened to you?
Edward: I'm not finished.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas

But wait you say, is this not my second Tim Burton movie, thus breaking one of my rules? Not so, Nightmare was actually directed by stop motion expert Henry Selick while Burton was off making Batman Returns (though Burton still gets his name above the title—how's that for a loophole). This movie has to be the ultimate pairing of the macabre and the sweet, and watching it is both a Halloween and Christmas tradition at our house. I would like to see more original ideas like Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare from Burton these days, rather than all of the remakes and adaptations.
Jack Skellington: There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads, they're busy building toys and absolutely no one's dead!
7. The Hudsucker Proxy

I began to recognize and appreciate the unique voice of the Coen Brothers thanks to this film. Things get off to a blazing start with the unexpected suicide of Waring Hudsucker. Quite possibly the longest jumping off a building death ever committed to film, Mr. Hudsucker even has enough time to wipe a bug off his glasses and motion to the people on the street below to clear some space. From the corporate satire, to the rapid fire dialogue and art deco production design, this one has it all. The scene where a little boy innocently picks up a hula hoop for the first time is also an unquestioned highlight.
Norville Barnes: For instance, take a look at this sweet baby. I developed it myself. Yessiree, this is my big ticket upstairs. You know, for kids!

8. The Truman Show

A pitch perfect satire of television (and those who view it), the film's outlandish premise is grounded with understated humor and honest emotions. Jim Carrey knocks it out of the park in his first serious role, and has become the poster child for comedic actors successfully crossing over into drama. Partial credit certainly must go to director Peter Weir, who accomplished a similiar feat with Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society. Looking back now, it is fascinating to see just how prophetic The Truman Show proved to be, as it preceded the reality TV craze by a couple of years.
Truman: Was anything real?
Christof: You were real. That's what made you so good to watch.
9. Rear Window

While still getting a handle on college life as an incoming freshman, I had a hole in my fall schedule to fill. I couldn't very well take Beginning Billiards twice, so I signed up for "Introduction to Film". As part of the class, we had a weekly movie screening at the library. Though the films we viewed were hit-and-miss, it was there that I was first introduced to Alfred Hitchcock by way of his classics North By Northwest and Psycho. I have seen close to 20 of Hitch's movies since then, and Rear Window is my personal favorite. It combines many of the Master's hallmarks, including the glamorous blonde (Grace Kelly), mischievous humor, challenging moral dilemmas, and of course, heart-stopping suspense.
Jeff: I wonder if it's ethical to watch a man with binoculars and a long-focus lens. Do you suppose it's ethical even if you prove that he didn't commit a crime?
Lisa: I'm not much on rear-window ethics.
Married Life

10. The Dark Knight

I know this selection may seem a bit hasty considering I have only seen The Dark Knight a handful of times, as opposed to the other movies on this list that I have watched over and over. Well, I need a Batman movie on my desert island, and it sure ain't gonna be Batman & Robin! But seriously, I have total confidence that this instant classic will successfully withstand the scrutiny of endless viewings. Now that the DVD is finally mine, I will be able to find out for sure. My complete analysis of the movie can be found here. Bring on the Oscars!
Alfred: Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Honorable Mention:
Casino Royale
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Matrix
O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Krissy said...

Lucky for Dave, I share his taste in movies most of the time and we share many favorites.

Jess said...

I'm glad to see Colin Johnson had as much of an influence on you as he did on me - even though I would have picked "Birth of a Nation" or "Du Hast" (I mean "Das Boot") over "Rear Window"

Dave said...

Hey Jess, what about Battleship Potemkin or Roger & Me ("Rabbits for Sale: Pets or Meat")?

Marc said...

I know what the hell a gigawatt is. What the hell is a jigawatt?