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Opinion: Columns

April 1st, 2020 10:58 AM

Bill Greffin

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I've been distributing my list of favorite movies to friends — to address a persistent symptom of cabin fever: "Why do I torture myself watching movies I didn't even like the first time I saw them?" (Clinicians might call it Afflecksis, or in olden times just Aniston's Hysteria, but it is a problem that requires a disciplined approach and a little guidance.)

Thus, my favorite movies, in their current rank-order. It's just my list, for my reference and amusement, and it betrays a few prejudices, e.g., the only true sci-fi movie is the very last one, and that's only because the movie's so gosh-darn funny.

Anyhow, here's my list for your enjoyment:

Chinatown (1974 Roman Polanski)

The Godfather (1972 Francis Ford Coppola)

Dr. Strangelove (1964 Stanley Kubrick)

Shakespeare in Love (1998 John Madden)

Margin Call (2011 J.C. Chandor)

Do the Right Thing (1989 Spike Lee)

L.A. Confidential (1997 Curtis Hanson)

The Graduate (1967 Mike Nichols)

Amadeus (1984 Milos Forman)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967 Arthur Penn)

Pulp Fiction (1994 Quentin Tarantino)

Ordinary People (1980 Robert Redford)

Spotlight (2015 Tom McCarthy)

Jojo Rabbit (2019 Taika Waititi)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975 Terry Jones)

Lady Bird (2017 Greta Gerwig)

Stop Making Sense (1984 Jonathan Demme)

This Is Spinal Tap (1984 Rob Reiner)

Quiz Show (1994 Robert Redford)

Michael Clayton (2007 Tony Gilroy)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007 Julian Schnabel)

Casablanca (1942 Michael Curtiz)

Some Like It Hot (1959 Billy Wilder)

No Country for Old Men (2007 Coen Brothers)

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989 Woody Allen)

Being John Malkovich (1999 Spike Jonze)

Wait Until Dark (1967 Terence Young)

Dr. Zhivago (1965 David Lean)

Sideways (2004 Alexander Payne)

Groundhog Day (1993 Harold Ramis)

Lost in Translation (2003 Sophia Coppola)

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005 George Clooney)

Get Shorty (1995 Barry Sonnenfeld)

The Untouchables (1987 Brian De Palma)

Fahrenheit 451 (1966 François Truffaut)

The Pianist (2002 Roman Polanski)

Bullets Over Broadway (1994 Woody Allen)

Moonstruck (1987 Norman Jewison)

Saving Private Ryan (1998 Steven Spielberg)

The Verdict (1982 Sidney Lumet)

Fargo (1995 Coen Brothers)

Closely Watched Trains (1966 Jirí Menzel)

Vickie Christina Barcelona (2008 Woody Allen)

The Fugitive (1993 Andrew Davis)

Prizzi's Honor (1985 John Huston)

Topsy-Turvy (1999 Mike Leigh)

Schindler's List (1993 Steven Spielberg)

North by Northwest (1959 Alfred Hitchcock)

Adaptation (2002 Spike Jonze)

True Grit (2010 Coen Brothers)

Deliverance (1972 John Boorman)

Airplane! (1980 Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

Young Frankenstein (1974 Mel Brooks)

Apollo 13 (1994 Ron Howard)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997 Mike Myers)

All the President's Men (1976 Robert Redford)

Philadelphia Story (1940 George Cukor)

Bull Durham (1980 Ron Sheldon)

Rosemary's Baby (1968 Roman Polanski)

Talladega Nights (2006 Adam McKay)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972 Werner Herzog)

The Player (1992 Robert Altman)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962 John Frankenheimer)

A Civil Action (1998 Steven Zaillian)

Being John Malkovich (1999 Spike Jonze)

Apocalypse Now (1979 Francis Ford Coppola)

Unforgiven (1992 Clint Eastwood)

Sunset Boulevard (1950 Billy Wilder)

12 Angry Men (1957 Sidney Lumet)

On the Waterfront (1954 Elia Kazan)

Two for the Road (1967 Stanley Donen)

Melvin and Howard (1980 Jonathan Demme)

The Death of Stalin (2017 Armando Iannucci)

Isle of Dogs (2018 Wes Anderson)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962 Ralph Mason)

Repo Man (1984 Alex Cox)

Richard III (1955 Laurence Olivier)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993 Henry Selick)

The Last Picture Show (1971 Peter Bogdanovich)

The Princess Bride (1987 Rob Reiner)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007 Tim Burton)

Knight's Tale (2001 Brian Helgeland)

Almost Famous (2004 Cameron Crowe)

Stranger Than Fiction (2006 Marc Forster)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962 David Lean)

Monsters, Inc. (2001 Pete Doctor, David Silverman, Lee Unkrichj)

Win Win (2011 Andrew McCarthy)

Ghost Town (2008 David Koepp)

Breaking Away (1979 Peter Yates)

Best in Show (2000 Christopher Guest)

American Beauty (1999 Sam Mendes)

Philomena (2013 Stephen Frears)

Carrie (1976 Brian De Palma)

Patton (1970 Franklin J. Schaffner)

The Wizard of Oz (1939 Victor Fleming)

My Fair Lady (1964 George Cukor)

Burn After Reading (2008 Coen Brothers)

Bye Bye Birdie (1963 George Sidney)

Howard's End (1992 James Ivory)

Diner (1982 Barry Levinson)

Into the Night (1985 John Landis)

Married to the Mob (1988 Jonathan Demme)

The Insider (1999 Michael Mann)

Ruthless People (1986 Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

Interiors (1978 Woody Allen)

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979 Robert Benton)

Member of the Wedding (1952 Fred Zimmerman)

The Station Agent (2003 Tom McCarthy)

Hairspray (2007 John Waters)

Pieces of April (2003 Peter Hedges)

While You Were Sleeping (1995 John Turteltaub)

Paris, Texas (1984 Wim Wenders)

All Is Lost (2013 J.C. Chandor)

The Man Who Would Be King (1975 John Huston)

The Kids Are Alright (2010 Tim Doyle)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 Robert Wise)

M*A*S*H (1972 Robert Altman)

Happy, Texas (1999 Mark Illsley)

Rashomon (1950 Akira Kurosawa)

Paddington 2 (2017 Paul King)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959 Edward D. Wood Jr.)

Bill Greffin is an Oak Park resident and, as you can see, a film buff.

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