Our new episode helps the viewer differentiate between the variety of cuts in film! It's a fun episode for the movie buff out there, so have fun! Alfred Pennyworth features too.
Usually I want to use the article space here, or as I affectionately baptized it ‘The Science of Film’ section, to consider certain aspects of film.
However, since it’s New Years Day, and my website is still budding, I thought today I would get to explaining my Top Five film picks out of the way.
Now, my Top Five doesn’t mean I consider these the best motion pictures produced by humankind (because alien developed pictures could be superior, right?). For instance, I think #2 on my list is the greatest film ever made; yet it’s not #1.
The reason my list is structured in this way is for the sake of the influence that film has on me. I will admit that there are far better movies than the ones listed here (except #2, see last paragraph/ below), so this is singularly my list of my Top Five Films.
Click on the titles to link to IMDb for more info on the films.
So without further ado:
"I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way."
Why is this my favorite film?
It’s the motion picture that started it all. 5-year-old me took the blood oath and pledged my mind, body and soul to the film industry after seeing this movie.
This movie has everything I love, and as I age I’ve found more reasons to cherish it, be they good, bad, or flat out ridiculous.
I can honestly tell you I’ve seen this one well over 100 times, including watching it frame-by-frame in my teens with my sister. Overall, I just love the film and it’s just plain old fun.
"I'm not hurt at all. Didn't you know? They can only kill me with a golden bullet."
Oh boy, what can I say about the greatest-movie-ever-made that hasn’t already been said?
This movie has influenced more filmmakers than I can count, including Spielberg. This is David Lean’s magnum opus, and you don’t see movies like this anymore. Experiencing it for the first time in my teens revolutionized everything I knew about storytelling.
I decided for a long time after seeing this film that every movie or script I churn out should live up to this one’s standards, and I recommend indulging in this film for yourself at least once.
A bonus is that I got to see it in 70mm around my birthday one year.
"Is it showing off if somebody's doing the things he's capable of doing? Is a bird showing off when it flies?"
The poster for this one summarizes it all: You’ll Believe A Man Can Fly.
Richard Donner’s Superman made me believe. It is funny, exciting, heartbreaking, beautifully filmed and told. I don’t think any superhero film has achieved the panoramic sensations of this flick’s world. It felt big. It felt real. And as a comic book fan, this movie will always exhibit the case that you don’t need state-of-the-art graphics or over-the-top action sequences to tell an inspiring and heartwarming superhero film.
This is my rainy day movie.
4. Hook (1991)
"He's just been away from Neverland so long, his mind's been junk-tified. He's forgotten everything."
My feel-good movie. It’s a fantasy swashbuckler, and a story of fathers and sons, a classic Spielberg motif, that just elates the audience.
Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins really bring this film together, and it’s one of the few movies that still makes me cry, in a good way. I can always rely on this film to cheer me up, watching it makes me want to stride to live more adventurous, and it’s filled with a ton of Easter Eggs that I’ll let you spot yourself.
Plus, Hook’s suicide attempt has to be the best moment in a film ever. Even my mother quotes this scene.
"The quest for the grail is not archeology, it's a race against evil."
Indy is the hero I believe every young entrepreneur wants to be, and I think this adventure is not only personal for Spielberg and Indy, but for the audience as well. It’s a father/ son exploit about unearthing what you’re truly pursing.
This film has that intimate touch that you see in Steven’s finest. It’s the core of the story, the reflective, or rather metaphoric use of religious themes to characterize the journey of our heroes that makes this film stellar.
Out of all four Indiana Jones films, this one resonates the most with me. I even started writing in diaries because I wanted my own Grail Journal.
This isn’t necessarily in any order; just two movies I want to mention that didn’t make it to the Top Five.
"You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July."
I remember watching this movie with my dad at 4-years-old and swearing never to enter the water again. It was my first exposure to Steven Spielberg, whose films would, a year later, lead me down the path I’m on now. It’s my July 4th flick, so I watch it pretty regularly.
Some years later, when I dwelled deeper into the bosom of filmmaking, this was the movie I spent most of my time breaking down. I have a notebook somewhere from my teens where I actually storyboarded shots from the film that I thought stood out so I could master the theory behind them.
"And nothing. You belong to me... now."
I have watched this movie annually since I was a child and it’s a big part of my life. Transformers is my ‘thing’. It’s my fandom, and this film is probably what I think most people pre-2007 remember about the franchise.
It introduced The Matrix, Unicron, Galvatron, and many other things that are now part of the Transformers Mythology, including the first of the many deaths of Optimus Prime. It’s so influential that nearly every Transformers franchise that followed either quotes from or homages this film, including the Bay-verse movies.
I had this movie memorized word-for-word at one point, and in 2011 I got to see it on the big screen at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, on my birthday, which might make that my best birthday ever. It has, and will always, hold a special place in my heart as my favorite animated film.
Also, it’s basically Star Wars, but with Grimlock, how can you not love that?
Some time ago I was sitting with a group of colleagues, three of us in film, and the fourth what we would consider the general audience. Our discussion, which was getting heated, was about what makes a good movie, and ended with us discussing in what order we would categorize the important aspects of film; story, sound, cinematography, talent, or design. Unable to reach a mutual conclusion, we decided to shelve the question for a later time.
There was a flaw in our argument, and I hope you noticed. The fact is that film can’t be divided into five specific tiers.
You can make a film without any one of the five elements I listed, of course losing visuals might just be an audio book, the fact of the matter is that there are no limitations on what makes a good movie as long as you can extend your vision in the best way possible.
Silent films, art house films, non-narrative, home movies, these are all forms of film and don’t commandeer to one category or the other. The beauty of cinema is that it is an entity created by human kind, molded to fancies of the creator to be presented to the audience.
A movie does not need to hit every check mark to be good. On the contrary, it can also be terrible even if all the stars align. Once it gets to the audience, isn’t it entirely subjective?
Thus meaning, a film is equal in it’s need for story, for sound, for cinematography, for talent, for design, for special effects, for format, for location, for props, and the list goes on and on. We can’t lock it down into five categories; we need to embrace the diversity of it.
So that makes the Science of Film a term of endearment. It’s a statement to the expanding omniverse of the film world that we treasure its diversity. That we wish to explore this interminable world. That we love film.
The Science of Film is a church of belief in film. The Science of Film is achieving the sublimity of film by your own means. The Science of Film is dreaming out loud.
During that night, I had an epiphany, which I shared with my friends, and I confess to you now; sometimes I, as a filmmaker, have my head stuck up my ass. The only person making sense that night, was our fourth member, who said ‘You like a certain way of doing things, and you like doing them differently. Who cares as long as you both get the point across?’
‘It’s purely subjective.’