Tuesday, December 15, 2015


I did something like this with music a while back, and I was meaning to do it with movies but never really got around to it.  Earlier this year, I kind of ended up doing it on Twitter with the #80sTen hashtag (and every other decade).  As it turned out, I got the years of a couple of these movies a little wrong, but here it is anyway. Oh, and I attributed them to directors just because that's the tradition (and the easiest way to specify), but I don't really see how anyone can be ascribed authorship when they're collaborating with Ray Harryhausen or Busby Berkely or The Marx Bros. or Ennio Morricone or Roger Deakins or Charlie Kaufman or Barbara Stanwyck or...well, you get the idea.  This digression is my tiny protest against the auteur theory.

I don't feel like I can really do much justice to the silent era, so I'll just start with...

The 1930's:

So a couple of these turned out to be from 1940, but I'm going to leave them because the competition is much stiffer in the 40's. Or, if you want a more logical rationale, you could say the 40's don't really begin until the U.S. enters WWII in 1941.

1. King Kong (Merrian C. Cooper, 1933)
2. Duck Soup (Leo McCarrey, 1933)
3. Fantasia (Ben Sharpsteen, James Algar, Norm Ferguson, et al, 1940)
4. Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933)
5. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
6. Mad Love (Karl Freund, 1935)
7. Swing Time (George Stevens,  1936)
8. The Great McGinty (Preston Sturges, 1940)
9. Vampyr: Der Traum Des Allan Gray (Carl Theodore Dryer, 1932)
10. The Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1934)

The 1940's:

I consider this the height of the Classical Hollywood Era. I had to drop a couple off this list that turned out to be from 1950. I was torn between The Clock and It's a Wonderful Life for that last spot, but ultimately decided to give the lesser-known film some love.

1. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
2. Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947)
3. To Be Or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
4. White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949)
5. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
6. Stormy Weather (Andrew L. Stone, 1943)
7. Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947)
8. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
9. I Walked With a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943)
10. The Clock (Vincent Minelli, 1945)

The 1950's:

When I think 1950's, I think sci fi, but as I made this list I realized it's really the golden age of film noir. EDIT: I decided to nix some of the noir/scifi content and replace it with a couple of colorful not-from-Hollywood musicals.

1. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (Nathan H. Juran, 1958)
2. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
3. Gojira (Ishiro Honda, 1954)
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)
5. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
6. Tales of Hoffmann (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1951)
7. Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955)
8. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959)
9. Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953)
10. Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, 1959)

The 1960's:

I never really thought of the 60's as one of my favorite decades, but when I look at these lists, this is the one I could seriously sit down for a 24-hour viewing marathon and be very happy.

1. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
2. Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live With the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
3. Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)
4. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer, 1965)
5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone,  1966)
6. The Connection (Shirley Clarke, 1962)
7. Youth of the Beast (Seijun Suzuki, 1963)
8. DOUBLE FEATURE: Black Sunday/Danger: Diabolik! (Mario Bava, 1960/1968)
9. La Dolce Vita (Frederico Fellini, 1960)
10. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962)

The 1970's:

The hardest one, no doubt, because there are so many great 70's films, and so many different kinds of great 70's films. So let's say the top 5 are written in stone, the next 5 are almost random. Ask me tomorrow and I'd give you 5 different movies.

1. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970)
2. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
3. Monty Python's Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)
4. Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, 1978)
5. Coffy (Jack Hill, 1973)
6. The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowski, 1973)
7. Fritz the Cat (Ralph Bakshi, 1972)
8. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartell, 1975)
10. Baby Cart on the River Styx (Kenji Misumi, 1972)

The 1980's:

I could easily do a whole top10 of just gory horror movies that I left off: Return of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Re-Animator, Hellraiser, An American Werewolf in London, Creepshow, Near Dark, Parents, The Fly, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part III: The Dream Warriors and (of course) Evil Dead 2. But just consider Evil Dead to be the representative of that genre.

1. Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
2. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (Tim Burton,  1985)
3. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
4. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
5. Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)
6. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
7. Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
8. Afterhours (Martin Scorsese, 1985)
9. Heathers (Michael  Lehman, 1988)
10. DOUBLE FEATURE: John Carpenter's The Thing (John Carpenter, 1983)/Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

The 1990's:

The first decade that I entered with my "adult" taste pretty much fully formed.

1. Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994)
2. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater,  1993)
3. Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994)
4. Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (Errol Morris, 1997)
5. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
6. DOUBLE FEATURE: Drunken Master II (Lau Kar-Leung, 1994)/Police Story III (Stanley Tong, 1992)
7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam, 1998)
8. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (Trey Parker, 1999)
9. Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997)
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Sellick, 1993)

The 2000's:

I just noticed that this is the only decade for which I have a Coen Bros. movie, which seems...inadequate. Also, it could just as easily have been O Brother, Where Art Thou?

1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)
2. Oldboy (Park Chan-Wook, 2003)
3. Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003/2004)
4. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
5. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
6. Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
7. No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros., 2007)
8. The 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
9. Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001)
10. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry,  2004)

The 2010's (so far):

This is interesting. A lot of movies on this list that don't seem like the kind of movies I usually obsess over. I guess my taste changes as I get older.

1. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
2. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010)
3. We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
4. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
5. We Are The Best! (Lukas Moodyson, 2014)
6. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
7.  Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-Eda, 2018)
8. Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015)
9. The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011)
10. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley, 2018)

And a bonus mention to the Planet of the Apes trilogy!

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Video and Podcast Appearences

Wow, it's been almost a year since I posted here. Here's some stuff I've been meaning to put up.

In August, I recorded a 30-minute set at Tao, warming up for Bobbie who was recording her new album, FEMINAZI C*NT (Go download it from iTunes, and rate and review it and all that! It's the best hour of comedy you'll hear this year!) Here's the video of my set. Beginning and end are old, reliable material, the middle is newer stuff.

If you just want to see the newer stuff, I broke it into a few videos. This first part is about 15 minutes, and it's all my stuff about racism and what have you in one place. Most of it is new, but there's some old stuff  mixed in there.

I like this next one because it's not really the kind of stuff I usually do. More personal, less punchlines. About 3 minutes.

And here's another new, somewhat political bit. About 4 minutes

You can also hear me on the latest episode of the Sonic Safari podcast. I don't show up until the end, but I'm very proud of my crazy Ric Flair-style rant wherein I manage to reference Steve Martin, Monty Python, Dazed and Confused and Harper Lee.

And last month, I was on the Crab Diving Progressive Radio Podcast with Ryan Pfiefer and Patrick Viall, discussing politics, the election, Religion and Smokey and the Bandit. Hilarious, raucous show!