Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, dir. George Roy Hill (1969) ★★★★★
As readers of this blog can probably tell, I like westerns more than the average film lover. I have always felt like it was a genre that was pushed to the side when discussing the wide world of film. Once upon a time I was one of those people that pushed it to the side. It was almost a joke when I started watching cowboy movies.
Before I made it to possibly one of his most famous films, I watched Robert Redford’s 1970 film Little Fauss and Big Halsy. After loving his performance and general vibe in that one I began to search out his other films and finally came to watch this one. Ever since then it has been one of my go to “favorite movie” answers.
The Sting, dir. George Roy Hill (1973) ★★★★★
Following my viewing of Butch Cassidy I did the only logical thing: watched The Sting. Not only did this film win best picture at the Oscars but also best director, and original screenplay among other smaller awards. It truly stands out among the growing New Hollywood movement of the time as one of the more family friendly pictures. That being said, it is feverishly confusing the first time or two that you watch it.
The Warriors, dir. Walter Hill (1979) ★★★★★
In my efforts to watch “weird movies” back in high school I would often ask for recommendations from family, friends, and most importantly my local librarians. While raiding Skokie Public Library’s neverending shelves of interesting movies I was recommended a wild double-feature. While skeptical at first, I took Michael Beck’s most famous movies home with me and popped them into my dvd player.
The first film was The Warriors and followed a New York gang as they fought their way back to their home turf of Coney Island. What movie did I watch after? Xanadu.
Withnail & I, dir. Bruce Robinson (1987) ★★★★★
I originally watched this one for the first time in high school too. That was really the time when I discovered the things I liked and besides using “top ten strange movie” lists, I bounced around in the filmography of actors I enjoyed. One actor that I loved was Paul McGann and watching his most mainstream film was a must. Although I loved him mostly when he played the 8th incarnation of The Doctor in Doctor Who, this movie also quickly made its way up in my favorites list and introduced me to Richard E Grant.
Wings of Desire, dir. Wim Wenders (1987) ★★★★★
Those strange movie lists quickly evolved into “top stunning” or “gorgeous” film lists and this one usually makes the top ten on those endless articles. I wasn’t disappointed and after grabbing a Criterion Collection edition of this film it proved my love for it even more. Not only am I able to enjoy the content of the original film more with the restoration but I can also view special features and read through the booklet and essay that the release came with. It was one of the first truly collector edition DVDs that I got and it sparked a love for reaching beyond digital releases.
Mikey and Nicky, dir. Elaine May (1976) ★★★★★
Speaking of bouncing around filmographies, not only did Wings of Desire lead me to the iconic series Columbo but also Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky which also stars Peter Falk. He was very much playing against his stereotypical roles in this film which featured him collaborating with longtime friend John Cassavetes. The story of friendship, betrayal, and hardships is highlighted even more when this male friendship is shown through the lens of a female director.
The Boys in The Band, dir. William Friedkin (1970) ★★★★★
I ended the week with one last favorite five star film. The Boys In The Band is both important to me and the history of queer representation on screen. While articles and essays have been published talking about gay relationships in multiple of the movies I rewatched this week, this one is explicitly queer. What’s even more amazing about this film is the use of a full queer cast; that's a claim that not many gay stories in modern film can even meet.