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Mark’s Favorite Films: An Eclectic Mix of Goons, Music and Watersports

April 28, 2014


Over the past four years I’ve reviewed hundreds of movies (good, bad and anything Dolph lundgren). However, I’ve never written about my favorite films.

Why am I writing about them now? Maybe, it is because I’ve been watching the Steve Coogan classic show “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” Or, the fact that some of them have been criminally under watched. Either way, I figured it was about time.

I originally had a massive post written up with all 20 of my favorites. In order to save you from one massive block I’ve broken up the post into two parts. Today is 20-11.  Are they the best films ever made? Nope. Are they pretentious stock picks? Nope. Are they movies that left a lasting impact on somebody who has watched way too many movies? Yep. Are they an eclectic gathering of fantastic cinema? Yep.


20. Goon – Goon may seem like an odd pick to include on any favorite movie list. However, I love the character of Doug Glatt. He is an earnest wrecking ball who realizes his limitations and enjoys being the muscle for his team. Sean William Scott’s underrated performance blends kindness, intelligence, naivety, and badass into a three-dimensional ball of muscle.  He is a nice dude who has no delusions of grandeur. His relationship with Allison Pill is handled really well and I loved how her character was written (like a real person). Also, Leiv Schreiber is equal parts menacing and sympathetic as the older goon whom Doug will eventually battle. The friendships, fights and humor are rarely done this well and I’m glad critics took notice (82% RT). Characters trump all and Goon is full of them.

Sean William Scott Goon fighting

19. Take Shelter – Take Shelter is a heartbreaking film about a man trying to protect his family. Is the world ending or is he getting his first symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia?  Take Shelter glued me to my seat and I sat through the credits trying to absorb what I had just watched. Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories, Mud) is a unique director who has a firm grasp of blue collar life and the importance of family.  His direction alongside the performances of Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain create a wrenching film that lingers long in your memory. The final song by Ben Nichols is heartbreaking as well. Take Shelter is cinema at its most beautiful and absorbing.

18. High Fidelity – I love this film. I love music. I love being a snob about movies and music. I will let Roger Ebert sum up this film:
In its unforced, whimsical, quirky, obsessive way, “High Fidelity” is a comedy about real people in real lives. The movie looks like it was easy to make–but it must not have been because movies this wry and likable hardly ever get made. Usually a clunky plot gets in the way, or the filmmakers are afraid to let their characters seem too smart. Watching “High Fidelity,” I had the feeling I could walk out of the theater and meet the same people on the street–and want to, which is an even higher compliment.
high fidelity
17. Forgetting Sarah Marshall – I watched FSM one rainy weekend when I was living in South Korea. As soon as it was over I had an urge to work on my screenplay again (still not finished). The film inspired me to write which had never happened before. FSM is a truthful film about regaining your mojo after a bad break up (Basically, how Jason Segel got his groove back). It makes you realize you weren’t the man you thought you were, growing up is inevitable and not always fun. It has great lines (The weather outside is weather) and features a career best Russell Brand performance. Also, Mila Kunis is spot on as the polar opposite of Sarah Marshall.
forgetting Sarah Marshall
16. Hot Shots! Part Deux – I love Hot Shots! Part Deux. The jokes are fast and furious and I can watch it on repeat. Watching Charlie Sheen dunk his hands in caramel before a fight is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. The movie probably has the biggest hit to miss comedy ratio in the history of spoof comedy. Jim Abrahams has made better films (Airplane!) but this is his funniest. The endless creativity and film references are bound to please the most jaded cinema hipster.

hot shots

Topper: Great Expectations.

Rabinowitz: Is it any good?

Topper: It’s not what I’d hoped for.

The quotes are endless. Wow, I love this movie.

15. Dazed and Confused – Any film that plays Foghat’s Slow Ride twice is cool with me. Dazed and Confused is a laid back marvel that holds up really well.  Something about teenagers just hanging out, getting drunk and growing up in a 24 hour period appealed to me when I was younger and makes even more sense now. I wanted to hang out with these people and go to all the places they go. It didn’t need sweeping emotions or life altering moments. It focuses on the decisions and events that every teenager has to go through and that is why I love it. Also, I love how Wooderson is probably the coolest/saddest character in recent memory.
dazed and confused
14. Man on Wire – I love me some documentaries. Murderball, King of Kong, Grizzly Man, Act of Killing, Step into Liquid, Riding Giants and Cave of Forgotten Dreams are all fantastic docs that blew me away. However, nothing compares to Man on Wire. Petit walking the wire between the World Trade Center buildings left me breathless and in full appreciation of the “greatest artistic crime ever.”  Philippe Petit has lived a daring life and his exploits make for perfect cinema. You gotta love the quote “If I die, what a beautiful death!”
man on wire
13. 28 Days Later – A brilliant nightmare that has proven to be incredibly influential. The opening shot of Cillian Murphy alone in the city is my favorite horror moment (Second is the scene in The Descent). Danny Boyle brought his A+ game as he added a level of urgency and fear that will never be matched.  28 Days Later is a Heart of Darkness-esque horror masterpiece that reinvigorated the zombie world.
28 days later
12. Bottle Rocket – This is my favorite Wes Anderson quote:
One morning, over at Elizabeth’s beach house, she asked me if I’d rather go water-skiing or lay out. And I realized that not only did I not want to answer THAT question, but I never wanted to answer another water-sports question, or see any of these people again for the rest of my life.
Bottle Rocket is an odd little film that I adore. It is endlessly quotable and blew my mind when I first watched it. It is indie film making at its finest and proves that a good script and neat characters are what make movies great.
bottle rocket
11. Blazing Saddles – “We’re gonna need a sh*tload of dimes!” Blazing Saddles is a comedy classic that never ages. Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder have fantastic chemistry and the movie is full of hilarious supporting characters who all threaten to steal the show. Mel Brooks has been knocking comedy out of the park for decades and I love all of his films (Including Dracula Dead and Loving it). Blazing Saddles is his gold standard.
blazing saddles
The top ten are coming soon! What are your favorite films?
3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2014 6:29 am

    Take Shelter, what an incredible film. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are perfectly cast and the soundtrack creates such an atmosphere. You’ve reminded me how much I need to re-watch this one! Great list by the way!


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