the yellow brick road

Ten Great Films I Saw in January
February 1, 2010, 5:10 am
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Once Upon a Time in the West |Sergio Leone, 1968|
Do you know anything about a guy going around playing the harmonica? He’s someone you’d remember. Instead of talking, he plays. And when he better play, he talks.”

Spirit of the Beehive |Victor Erice, 1973|
“I told you he was a spirit. If you’re his friend, you can talk to him whenever you want. Just close your eyes & call him… It’s me, Ana… It’s me Ana..

Ninotchka |Ernst Lubitsch, 1939|
“It’s midnight. Look at the clock, one hand has met the other hand, they kiss. Isn’t that wonderful?”

Bright Star |Jane Campion, 2009|
“It ought to come like leaves to a tree, or it better not come at all.”

The Passion of Joan of Arc |Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1928|

Odd Man Out |Carol Reed, 1947|
“In my profession there is neither good nor bad. There is innocence & guilt. That’s all.”

A Serious Man |Coen Bros., 2009|
“I think, really, the Jolly Roger is the appropriate course of action.”

The Lady from Shanghai |Orson Welles, 1947|
“That’s how I found her & from that moment I did not use my head, except to think about her.”

The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice |Orson Welles, 1952|
“Oh beware, my lord, of jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

Brief Encounter |David Lean, 1945|
“This can’t last. This misery can’t last. I must remember that & try to control myself. Nothing lasts really. Neither happiness nor despair. Not even life lasts very long. There’ll come a time in the future when I shan’t mind about this anymore, when I can look back & say quite peacefully and cheerfully how silly I was. No, no, I don’t want that time to come ever. I want to remember every minute, always, always to the end of my days.”


25 Favorite Films I Saw in 2009
January 1, 2010, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

25. George Washington |David Gordon Green, 2000|
“Sometimes I smile & laugh when I think of all the great things you’re gonna do. I hope you live forever.”

24. The Graduate |Mike Nichols, 1967|
“Look, maybe we could do something else together. Mrs. Robinson, would you like to go to a movie?”

23. Spirited Away |Hayao Miyazaki, 2001|
“Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can’t remember.”

22. Kind Hearts & Coronets |Robert Hamer, 1949|
“I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.”

21. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg |Jacques Demy, 1964|
” Absence is a funny thing. I feel like Guy left years ago. I look at this photo, & I forget what he really looks like. When I think of him, it’s this photo that I see.”

20. All the Real Girls |David Gordon Green, 2003|
“I just want to make sure that a million years from now, I can still see you up close & we’ll still have amazing things to say.”

19. Memories of Murder |Joon-ho Bong, 2003|

18. Jules et Jim |Francois Truffaut, 1962|
“We played with life & lost.”

17. Sherlock Jr. |Buster Keaton, 1924|

16. The Thin Man |W.S. Van Dyke, 1934|
“The murderer is right in this room. Sitting at this table. You may serve the fish.”

15. Brazil |Terry Gilliam, 1985|
“Information Transit got the wrong man. I got the right man. The wrong one was delivered to me as the right man, I accepted him on good faith as the right man. Was I wrong?”

14. Sullivan’s Travels |Preston Sturges, 1941|
“There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that’s all some people have? It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.”

13. Rules of the Game |Jean Renoir, 1939|
“I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can’t expose my guests to your firearms. It may be wrong of them, but they value their lives.”

12. Touch of Evil |Orson Welles, 1958|
“That wasn’t no miss, Vargas. That was just to turn you ’round, so I don’t have to shoot you in the back. Unless you’d rather run for it.”

11. Bringing Up Baby |Howard Hawks, 1938|
“Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because after all, in moments of quiet I’m strangely drawn toward you, but – well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.”

10. Hiroshima Mon Amour |Alain Resnais, 1959|
“They make advertisements for soap. Why not for peace?”

09. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb |Stanley Kubrick, 1964|
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”

08. The Red Shoes |Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1948|
“You cannot have it both ways. A dancer who relies upon the doubtful comforts of human love can never be a great dancer. Never.”

07. The Shop Around the Corner |Ernst Lubitsch, 1940|
“Oh, my Dear Friend, my heart was trembling as I walked into the post office, & there you were lying in Box 237. I took you out of your envelope & read you, read you right there.”

06. It’s a Wonderful Life |Frank Capra, 1946|
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

05. Love & Death |Woody Allen, 1975|
“& so I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Actually, make that ‘I run through the valley of the shadow of death’ – in order to get OUT of the valley of the shadow of death more quickly, you see.”

04. Le Samourai |Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967|
“I never lose. Never really.”

03. Peeping Tom |Michael Powell, 1960|
“Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? It’s fear.”

02. Notorious |Alfred Hitchcock, 1946|
“You’re sore because you’ve fallen for a little drunk you tamed in Miami & you don’t like it. It makes you sick all over, doesn’t it? People will laugh at you, the invincible Devlin, in love with someone who isn’t worth even wasting the words on.”

01. Duck Soup |Leo McCarey, 1933|
“You’re a brave man. Go & break through the lines. & remember, while you’re out there risking your life & limb through shot & shell, we’ll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.”

Fifteen Great Films I Saw in December
January 1, 2010, 7:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s a Wonderful Life |Frank Capra, 1946|
“What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word & I’ll throw a lasso around it & pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”

The Manchurian Candidate |John Frankenheimer, 1962|
“Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

The Jerk |Carl Reiner, 1979|
“I was born a poor black child..”

Monsieur Verdoux |Charles Chaplin, 1947|
“Wars, conflict – it’s all business. One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify, my good fellow!”

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans |Werner Herzog, 2009|
“What are these iguanas doing on my coffee table?”

Sweet Smell of Success |Alexander Mackendrick, 1957|
“Way up high, Sam, where it’s always balmy. Where no one snaps his fingers & says, ‘Hey, Shrimp, rack the balls!’ Or, ‘Hey, mouse, mouse, go out & buy me a pack of butts.’ I don’t want tips from the kitty. I’m in the big game with the big players. My experience I can give you in a nutshell, & I didn’t dream it in a dream, either. Dog Eat Dog. In brief, from now on, the best of everything is good enough for me.”

The Passenger |Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975|
“I’ve run out of everything. My wife, the house, an adopted child, a successful job. Everything except a few bad habits I could not get rid of.”

The Searchers |John Ford, 1956|
“Figure a man’s only good for one oath at a time; I took mine to the Confederate States of America.”

Punch-Drunk Love |Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002|
“I didn’t do anything. I’m a nice man. I mind my own business. So you tell me ‘that’s that’ before I beat the hell from you. I have so much strength in me you have no idea. I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine. I would say ‘that’s that’, Mattress Man.”

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly |Sergio Leone, 1966|
“Every gun makes its own tune.”

The Rules of the Game |Jean Renoir, 1939|
“The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.”

Hiroshima Mon Amour |Alain Resnais, 1959|
“You’re destroying me. You’re good for me.”

Avatar |James  Cameron, 2009|
“Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world & in here is the dream.”

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance |John Ford, 1962|
“Liberty Valance’s the toughest man south of the Picketwire – next to me.”

Cleo from 5 to 7 |Agnes Varda, 1962|
“I’m afraid of everything – birds, storms, lifts, needles – & now, this great fear of death…”

Ten People I Will See in Anything
December 4, 2009, 6:40 am
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Note:  not a “best” list. Favorite performances included.

Johnny Depp
Ed Wood

Audrey Hepburn
Roman Holiday

Cary Grant

Gene Kelly
Singin’ in the Rain

Robert Downey Jr.

Winona Ryder

Woody Allen
Love & Death

James Stewart
Rear Window

Helena Bonham Carter
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Bruce Campbell
Evil Dead II?

Ten Great Films I Saw in November
December 1, 2009, 5:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Big Heat |Fritz Lang, 1953|
“Prisons are buldging with dummies who wonder how they got there.”

Mean Creek |Jacob Aaron Estes, 2004|
“If you could snap your fingers & he’d drop dead in his tracks, would you do it?”

Limelight |Charlie Chaplin, 1952|
“That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.”

Max & Mary |Adam Elliot, 2009|
“Max hoped Mary would write again. He’d always wanted a friend. A friend that wasn’t invisible, a pet, or rubber figurine.”

Black Narcissus |Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1947|
“Remember, the superior of all is the servant of all.”

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang |Mervyn LeRoy, 1932|
“How do you live?”
“I steal!”

Last Year at Marienbad |Alain Resnais, 1961|
“You never seem to be waiting for me, but we kept meeting at every turn of the paths. Behind every bush, at the foot of each statue, near every pond. It is as if it had been only you & I in all that garden.

Moulin Rouge! |Baz Luhrmann, 2001|
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love & be loved in return.”

The Night of the Hunter |Charles Laughton, 1955|
“Lord, you sure knew what you were doing when you brung me to this very cell at this very time. A man with ten thousand dollars hid somewhere, & a widder in the makin’.”

Fantastic Mr. Fox |Wes Anderson, 2009|
“Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I’m saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you’ll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds illegal.”

Ten Great Films I Saw in October
November 1, 2009, 4:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Pontypool |Bruce McDonald, 2008|
“Sydney Briar is alive.”

Where the Wild Things Are |Spike Jonze, 2009|
“Let the wild rumpus start!”

In the Mood for Love |Kar Wai Wong, 2000|
“Feelings can creep up just like that. I thought I was in control.”

Love in the Afternoon |Billy Wilder, 1957|
“In Paris people eat better, and in Paris people make love, well, perhaps not better, but certainly more often.”

Volver |Pedro Almodovar, 2006|
“There are all sorts of things that I should know, but they aren’t telling me.”

Moon |Duncan Jones, 2009|
“I hope that Earth is everything you remember it to be.”

The Great Dictator |Charlie Chaplin, 1940|
“We’ve just discovered the most wonderful, the most marvelous poisinous gas. It will kill everybody.”

The King of Comedy |Martin Scorsese, 1982|
“Why not me? Why not? A guy can get anything he wants as long as he pays the price. What’s wrong with that? Stranger things have happened.”

Abre los Ojos |Alejandro Amenabar, 1997|

Sherlock Jr. |Buster Keaton, 1924|

Top Tens of the 1990s
October 10, 2009, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


1)  Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)
2)  Miller’s Crossing (Coen Bros.)
3)  Jacob’s Ladder (Adrian Lyne)
4)  Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven)
5)  Cry-Baby (John Waters)
6)  Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese)
7)  Misery (Rob Reiner)
8 )  The Godfather Part III (Francis Ford Coppola)
9)  Trust (Hal Hartley)
10)  The Grifters (Stephen Frears)


1) The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam)
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kielowski)
JFK (Oliver Stone)
4)  Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron)
Barton Fink (Coen Bros.)
Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)
Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
8 )
Silence of the Lambs (Jonathon Demme)
The Commitments (Alan Parker)
Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg)


1) Chaplin (Richard Attenborough)
2) Husbands and Wives (Woody Allen)
Batman Returns (Tim Burton)
Wayne’s World (Penelope Spheeris)
Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi)
Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)
8 )
Aladdin (Ron Clements, John Musker)
The Crying Game (Neil Jordan)
10)  Malcom X (Spike Lee)


1) Nightmare Before Christmas
(Henry Selick)
2)  Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg)
3)  Short Cuts (Robert Altman)
4)  Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater)
5)  Manhattan Murder Mystery (Woody Allen)
6)  Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis)
7)  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (Lasse Hallstrom)
8 )  The Secret Garden (Agnieszka Holland)
9)  The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese)
10)  Swing Kids (Thomas Carter)


1) Ed Wood
(Tim Burton)
2)  Bullets Over Broadway (Woody Allen)
3)  The Lion King (Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff)
4)  Quiz Show (Robert Redford)
5)  Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis)
6)  Leon the Professional (Luc Besson)
7)  Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
8 )  Serial Mom (John Waters)
9)  Little Women (Gillian Armstrong)
10) Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan)


1) Before Sunrise
(Richard Linklater)
2)  Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)
3)  Toy Story (John Lasseter)
4)  Seven (David Fincher)
5)  Casino (Martin Scorsese)
6)  Safe (Todd Haynes)
7)  Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam)
8 )  Heat (Michael Mann)
9)  Tommy Boy (Peter Segal)
10) The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer)


1) Fargo
(Coen Bros.)
2)  That Thing You Do! (Tom Hanks)
3) Mars Attacks! (Tim Burton)
4)  Primal Fear (Gregory Hoblit)
5)  Sling Blade (Billy Bob Thorton)
6)  Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson)
7)  Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe)
8 )  The People Vs. Larry Flynt (Milos Forman)
9)  The Crucible (Nicholas Hytner)
10)  The Birdcage (Mike Nichols)


1) Good Will Hunting
(Gus Van Sant)
2)  Gattaca (Andrew Niccol)
3)  Donnie Brasco (Mike Newell)
4)  The Ice Storm (Ang Lee)
5)  The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan)
6)  The Game (David Fincher)
7)  As Good as it Gets (James L. Brooks)
8 ) L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson)
9)  Men in Black (Barry Sonnenfeld)
10) Face/Off (John Woo)


1) The Truman Show
(Peter Weir)
2)  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam)
3)  The Big Lebowski (Coen Bros.)
4)  Dark City (Alex Proyas)
5)  American History X (Tony Kaye)
6)  Rushmore (Wes Anderson)
7)  Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg)
8 )  A Simple Plan (Sam Raimi)
9)  Rounders (John Dahl)
10) Pleasantville (Gary Ross)


1) Sleepy Hollow
(Tim Burton)
2)  Fight Club (David Fincher)
3)  The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola)
4)  Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze)
5)  Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter)
6)  Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch)
7)  Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick)
8 )  The Iron Giant (Brad Bird)
9)  The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan)
10)  The Insider (Michael Mann)