100 Things I Love About Films (a re-post)

03 Jun

(This is a re-post from my old blog. Yes, I wrote in English on a Swedish-language blog at times. Go figure. I had a lot of fun writing it and I think it should feel more at home here at A Swede Talks Movies.)

Travis McClain (blogger, Flickcharter and frequent commenter on this blog) recently made a list of 100 things he loves about films, which I found to be a very fun and rewarding read. He encouraged others to compile their own lists, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Credit for the original concept apparently goes to Beau Kaelin, whose introduction went:

Rather than posting your 100 favorite films (which has been done and overdone), you simply post your favorite things about movies.  I dig the concept, because instead of obsessing over whether the films you put on a list are “objectively good enough” to put on said list, you simply jot down 100 moments/lines/visuals that have made a lasting impression on you or sneak their way into running gags between you and your friends. Just read below and you’ll get the idea.

I encourage you to make a list of your own. It’s a lot of fun and makes you think of why you love films.

Now, without further ado and in no particular order…

1. The utterly unapologetic approach with which Crank tackles the action genre, understanding that the audience sometimes just wants action and not plot.

2. The way Alfred Hitchcock made film with real depth that still remain highly accessible to a more modern-leaning viewer like myself.

3. Nicolas Cage in total overdrive mode, as seen in films like Vampire’s Kiss and Face/Off.

4. Cab Calloway singing “Minnie the Moocher” in Blues Brothers.

5. Watching Love Actually and being able to recognize London locations after having been there myself a few years ago.

6. The visual flair of Hero.

7. Giving a film a second chance to impress me and have it pay off spectacularly.

8. The music store scene in Once, where the two leads play “Falling Slowly”.

9. Bill Murray.

10. The opening scene car trip of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

11. Seeing an acting performance and going “Wow, this is really great. She/He should have been nominated for an Oscar”, only to later find out that they did.

12. Jonah Hill‘s inadvertent headbutt in Superbad.

13. Actors playing against type and nailing it.

14. Clive Owen in Closer furiously screaming “Because I’m a fucking caveman!”.

15. The brilliant mind of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.

16. The out-of-nowhere genius of the celebrity siblings support group meeting in Fred Claus.

17. When a movie has one or two qualities so strong that you’re willing to overlook any other flaws it might present.

18. The way Sam Mendes effortlessly makes films I find myself loving even when they’re in genres I’m normally not very fond of.

19. Kevin McDonald‘s psycho crossing guard character in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip.

20. Variations of the line “I don’t even know what that means” after another character has used some odd slang or weird metaphor.

"Jeremy who?"

21. Rikard Wolff voicing Scar in the Swedish dub of The Lion King.

22. The fact that Ryan Gosling is only 30 years old and will (hopefully) be giving the world more amazing performances for many years to come.

23. When I’m fully aware that the two characters in a romantic comedy will inevitably end up together in the end, yet still find myself thinking “I hope they end up together…”

24. All the delightfully showoff-y acting in Glengarry Glenn Ross, but particularly the way Al Pacino‘s character verbally annihilates Kevin Spacey‘s. “Who ever told you that you could work with men?”

25. How the plane Ethan Hawke has to catch in Before Sunset brings a background sense of urgency to the whole film, and the lovely way it pays off in the end.

26. Blind-buying a DVD on a sale without having ever heard of the film before and ending up falling in love with it.

27. The way the Oscars (and in extension the entire awards circus) brings more awareness and publicity to small deserving films like Winter’s Bone.

28. Jason Statham fight scenes.

29. Seeing a film from a country that I’ve never seen a film from before.

30. The unconventional charm of Tilda Swinton.

"Dillon! You son-of-a-bitch."

31. The ridiculously macho zoomed-in shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers’ handshake in Predator.

32. Recognizing as much of myself in Paul Giamatti‘s Miles character in Sideways as I recognize my best friend in Thomas Haden Church‘s Jack.

33. The line “Aren’t you relieved to know you’re not a golem?” in Stranger Than Fiction.

34. Anne Hathaway‘s speech at the wedding rehersal in Rachel Getting Married, so embarasssing and cringe-inducing that I have to avert my eyes from the screen.

35. Seeing a highly acclaimed classic like Taxi Driver for the first time and finding that it lives up to the hype.

36. Long uninterrupted takes.

37. Shannyn Sossamon‘s smile.

38. Michael Douglas‘ fake laughter in War of the Roses.

39. When a line of the lyrics to a song that, despite having been written unrelatedly to the movie, is played at a scene where it perfectly describes what’s going on.

40. The astounding amounts of craftsmanship and artistry that went into the stop-motion animation of Coraline.

41. American Beauty. All of it.

42. The unflinching fearlessness of Kevin Bacon as he plays a pedophile in The Woodsman.

43. Watching Fellowship of the Ring for the first time and repeatedly going “That is JUST how I pictured it when I read the book!”

44. The many fun and innovative ways in which Peter Capaldi‘s Malcolm insults people in In the Loop.

45. How films like Fight Club and Evil make punches to the face sound so absolutely gruesome.

46. The dog in A Boy and His Dog, which puts all other usages of animals in film to shame.

47.The familiarity evident when directors like Spike Lee and the Coens work with a core group of actors multiple times.

48. Allusions to or gags about actors roles in other films, such as Bruce Willis‘ character in Cop Out never having seen Die Hard.

49. Natalie Portman being so very very adorable in Garden State.

50. Well pulled-off twist endings, where I’ve sat throughout the entire movie trying to piece it together only to be surprised regardless.

51. Samuel L. Jackson playing the blues in the club in Black Snake Moan.

52. The weird and quirky characters Noah Baumbach creates, and chief among them Jeff Daniels‘ intellectual snob of a family dad in The Squid and the Whale.

53. The two great monologues in 25th Hour: Edward Norton spewing bile on every minority in New York City and Brian Cox detailing a possible future life for his son.

54. Peter Stormare improving any movie he’s in, no matter how small a part he plays.

55. Benicio Del Toro‘s off-beat way of speech in The Usual Suspects.

56. The way colors and music create the thick atmosphere of restrained passion that envelopes In the Mood For Love.

57. The amount of innate sex appeal Rosario Dawson brings to any role she’s in.

58. The way I each time I see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest first find Louise Fletcher‘s Nurse Ratched reasonable only to utterly despise her at the end.

59. The existance of the line “Flash, I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth” in Flash Gordon.

60. The fact that a film like Cast Away can make me choked up about a stupid volley ball.

61. Schwarzenegger riding a horse into an elevator and up to the roof of a hotel in True Lies.

62. The silly sense of nationalistic pride I feel when a great Swedish movie like Let the Right One In or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becomes popular in other parts of the world.

63. The juvenile antics of Michael Dixon and Michael Lambourgh in Cashback.

64. Wondering whether the documentary Unknown White Male is authentic or not and realising that it’s a great film either way.

65. The fact that 65 year-old Helen Mirren is still widely considered one hot lady by anyone that matters.

66. The rare occurences when news break about a book being adapted to film shortly after I finish reading it myself.

67. When I recommend or make someone watch a film I love and they end up liking it too.

68. The knowledge that whether I will end up hating or loving one of Darren Aronofsky‘s films, I’ll always remember them and find them worthy to think about.

69. The overabundance of iMacs in movie-world.

70. The way that Lars and the Real Girl, a movie about a man falling in love with a sex doll, so expertly sidesteps all the numerous pitfalls that surrounds its premise.

71. Jack Black butchering the Ghostbusters theme song in Be Kind Rewind.

"Yeek yeek, woop woop, why you all in my ear?"

72. The end credits of Tropic Thunder with the Les Grossman character dancing to “Get Back”.

73. James Coburn‘s petty anger at Mel Gibson for putting a bullet through his new expensive suit in Payback. “That’s just mean, man!”

74. Steve Buscemi‘s pitch-perfect performance as Seymour in Ghost World, a part that despite his long track-record of memorable supporting turns still stands out as the role he was born to play.

75. The gaudy 80s fashion on display in The Lost Boys.

76. The fond memories I have of watching the Police Academy movies over and over when I was a kid. Memories I know better than to try to repeat.

77. Bloopers being shown during end credits.

78. How The Cell, a thriller about cops chasing a serial killer starring Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn, became something unique and memorable in the guiding hands of director Tarsem Singh.

79. The musical genre and everything it stands for.

80. The borderline fetishistic way in which the title character in May handles her cigarettes.

81. All the mockumentaries Christopher Guest has been involved in in one way or another.

82. Alan Rickman‘s voice.

83. The clever and captivating structure of Memento. I never wanted the film to end when I first saw it.

84. Eddie Marsan as the driving instructor from hell in Happy-Go-Lucky.

85. The über-slick Gun Kata fighting in Equilibrium.

86. When I spot a translation error in the Swedish subtitle track of English-language films.

87. The raw, hot and angry stairway sex scene in A History of Violence.

88. The duo of Jeff Bridge‘s The Dude and John Goodman‘s Walter in The Big Lebowski, two characters so iconic and funny that it seems a small miracle they ended up in the same movie together.

89. The many memorable scores John Williams has composed, with Imperial March and the Indy theme as the deserving stand-outs.

90. When a character sits quietly after discovering critical information and I can really feel the cogs in their brains turning to process it all. Notable examples: Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown, Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right and Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow.

91. The opening shot in Aguirre, the Wrath of God, with the caravan of explorers making its way down the mountain. The lack of widescreen only helps to emphasise the vertical journey.

92. The whimsical warmth of Amélie and the sadness lurking beneath it. Both the movie and the character.

93. Harold Ramis‘ dead-pan line readings as Egon in Ghostbusters.

94. The many ways the T1000 transforms, gets damaged and rejuvenates in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. State-of-the-art CGI effects for its time that holds up remarkably well to this day.

95. The eerie beauty of Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion.

96. When Robin Williams reels in his natural motormouth tendencies and instead plays a more grounded character.

97. Christopher Walken‘s mob boss character continually telling Ira that he’s the man in Suicide Kings.

98. The Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. Haters be damned.

99. Clint Eastwood‘s angry grunting in Gran Torino.

100. When the driver’s motions with the steering wheel don’t correspond to the movement of the car in a movie.


Posted by on 3 June, 2011 in Lists


4 responses to “100 Things I Love About Films (a re-post)

  1. Jandy Stone

    6 June, 2011 at 21:12

    Great list, Emil!

    I especially loved the shoutouts to Charlie Kaufman (most brilliant working screenwriter by far), long takes, Anne Hathway in Rachel Getting Married, Catherine Deneuve (in anything, really!), and The History of Violence. The way the sex scene on the stairs is contrasted with the playful, fun sex scene earlier in the film (Maria Bello dressed as a schoolgirl) is so perfect – possibly the best use of sex-as-character-development I’ve seen.

    • Emil

      7 June, 2011 at 07:19

      Thank you for the kind words, Jandy!

      I actually hadn’t thought about that connection between the two sex scenes before, but yeah, that makes perfect sense. I really need to rewatch that film at some point. I liked it well enough on the first go-around, but it felt a bit like a lot of great ideas and scenes that didn’t quite add up to an equally satisfying whole.

  2. LOstnWOnderland

    17 July, 2012 at 07:31

    Such a great list! Agreed with so many!

    • Emil

      18 July, 2012 at 22:53

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.


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