Back to the Basics

The Apartment

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to resurrect this blog and start writing again. Two…weeks. Oops.

With that acknowledged, I wanted to spend today reminiscing some of my favorite films. Any time you are disappointed with the current state of film or feel that there’s nothing of value playing in your local theater, recounting the movies that made you fall in love with the medium can be a breath of fresh air. And since you don’t need yet another negative review of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” let me share with you a few of my favorites.

On the Waterfront

Though Marlon Brando’s “I coulda been a contender” scene is often the one remembered from this 1954 film, there are a multitude of strong performances. Karl Malden as Father Barry and Lee J. Cobb’s Johnny Friendly are two of the best characters from classic Hollywood. Though awards aren’t everything, the film basically took home all of the Oscars with achievements in writing, directing, cinematography, and five(!) acting nominations on top of a Best Picture win.

Saving Private Ryan

A completely different kind of film, Steven Spielberg’s WWII tale is one of the best war films ever shone on the silver screen. Like most films of its kind, there are a slew of top-notch actors peppered throughout the film (Paul Giamatti, Ted Danson, Nathan Fillion, Bryan Cranston, to name a few) in addition to the main cast. The opening scene on Omaha Beach is considered by many to be the most accurate portrayal of war in film and the filming techniques that Spielberg uses are perfect. The whole film is shot beautifully and it succeeds by being both entertaining and hauntingly real.

L.A. Confidential

A year before “Saving Private Ryan” was robbed of Best Picture by “Shakespeare in Love”, another great film was ignored in favor of a romantic tale (“Titanic”). “L.A. Confidential” is the story of 3 very different 1950’s detectives who are all caught up in the same case from different angles. The movie may sound pretty standard at first, but throw in Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, and the setting of Los Angeles and you’ve got cinematic magic.

The Apartment

Taking it back to 1960 for what I often refer to as my favorite movie, “The Apartment” is a Billy Wilder film starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Lemmon plays a young employee at an insurance company who tries to climb the corporate ladder by allowing his superiors to use his conveniently located apartment for their extramarital affairs. Things turn for the worse, however, when he discovers that the elevator girl he’s in love with is one of his bosses’ mistresses. The chemistry between Lemmon and MacLaine is fantastic, the characters moving, and the film is wonderfully shot in black and white. The Apartment is one of the best comedies ever written and was an instant favorite the minute I watched it.

Though this isn’t an exhaustive list of my favorite films, they are a few that have been imprinted on my mind in recent years. Film is something that is immeasurably personal and everyone has their own tastes and preferences. Soon I will be getting back to reviews, but today I just want to enjoy some personal favorites. I would also be interested in hearing about your own favorite films in the comments below.

Happy viewing.


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