Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Updated: May 11, 2006

Hello one and all. Haven’t had much going on on the new moviewatching front- the last ones I saw were “V for Vendetta” and “Basic Instinct 2,” but I haven’t stopped watching. Instead, I’ve been catching up on many of the older films I’ve been interested in seeing for sometime. It’s been a rewarding moviegoing time, full of intriguing ideas and visions that remain relevant today. For my longtime readers, you may know that for the past few years on April Fools Day I’ve sent out various favorites lists regarding movies. Well, it’s that time again. Last year I did my 100 Best, 100 Favorites, and 50 Worst, plus the top 25 films- already in release- that I wanted to see, and updated versions of those lists will see the light of day again this year. But I thought I’d go with the more unorthodox format that this “tradition” began with, a collection of lists- 10-20 items deep- that cover everything from films, filmmakers, scores, and DVDs. It’s a broader examination of my geekiness. And so, here it is, the 2006 version of “Brian’s Movie 250.” Enjoy!

20 Favorite Films
1. “The Crow” (1994)- Alex Proyas
2. “Braveheart” (1995)- Mel Gibson
3. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)- Quentin Tarantino
4a. The “Star Wars” Saga (1977-2005)- George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand
4b. “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-2005)- Genndy Tartakovsky
5. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001)- Steven Spielberg
6. “Face/Off” (1997)- John Woo
7. “Swingers” (1996)- Doug Liman
8. “The Whole Wide World” (1996)- Dan Ireland
9. “Adaptation.” (2002)- Spike Jonze
10. “Sherlock Jr.” (1924)- Buster Keaton
11. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (2001-2003)- Peter Jackson
12. “Stalker” (1979)- Andrei Tarkovsky
13. “Big Fish” (2003)- Tim Burton
14. “Keeping the Faith” (2000)- Edward Norton
15. “Before Sunrise” (1995) & “Before Sunset” (2004)- Richard Linklater
16. “A Few Good Men” (1992)- Rob Reiner
17. “The Ref” (1994)- Ted Demme
18. “Apollo 13” (1995)- Ron Howard
19. “Office Space” (1999)- Mike Judge
20. “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie” (1996)- Jim Mallon

20 Best Films
1. “Vertigo” (1958)- Alfred Hitchcock
2. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)- Stanley Kubrick
3. “Schindler’s List” (1993)- Steven Spielberg
4. “Gone With the Wind” (1939)- Victor Fleming
5. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)- Quentin Tarantino
6. “The Fantasia Anthology” (1940 & 2000)- James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Gaetan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Norman Ferguson, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Pixote Hunt, Don Hahn, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen
7. “Sherlock Jr.” (1924)- Buster Keaton
8. “Andrei Rublev” (1966)- Andrei Tarkovsky
9. “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” (2000)- Ang Lee
10. “Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope” (1977)- George Lucas
11. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)- Steven Spielberg
12. “Arsenic and Old Lace” (1944)- Frank Capra
13. “Nosferatu” (1922)- F.W. Murnau
14. “Ran” (1985)- Akira Kurosawa
15. “Saving Private Ryan” (1998)- Steven Spielberg
16. “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962)- John Frankenheimer
17. “GoodFellas” (1990)- Martin Scorsese
18. “The Big Sleep” (1946)- Howard Hawks
19. “A Few Good Men” (1992)- Rob Reiner
20. “Face/Off” (1997)- John Woo

15 Worst Films
1. “Manos: The Hands of Fate” (1966)
2. “Monster a Go-Go” (1965)
3. “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn” (1998)
4. “Red Zone Cuba” (1966)
5. “Time Chasers” (1994)
6. “Return of the King” (1980)
7. “Spawn” (1997)
8. “3000 Miles to Graceland” (2001)
9. “The Giant Spider Invasion” (1975)
10. “Turbulence” (1997)
11. “Showgirls” (1995)
12. “Glen or Glenda” (1953)
13. “Hush” (1998)
14. “The Starfighters” (1964)
15. “The Final Sacrifice” (1990)

15 Favorite Filmmakers
1. Steven Spielberg (director; “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Schindler’s List”)
2. Andrei Tarkovsky (writer-director; “Stalker,” “Andrei Rublev”)
3. Joss Whedon (writer-director; “Serenity,” TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
4. Charlie Kaufman (writer; “Adaptation.,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)
5. Alex Proyas (director; “The Crow,” “Dark City”)
6. John Woo (director; “Face/Off,” “The Killer”)
7. Buster Keaton (writer-director-actor; “Sherlock Jr.,” “Our Hospitality”)
8. Alfred Hitchcock (director; “Vertigo,” “To Catch a Thief”)
9. Pixar Animation Studios (“Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story 2”)
10. Stanley Kubrick (writer-director; “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Eyes Wide Shut”)
11. Martin Scorsese (director; “GoodFellas,” “The Last Temptation of Christ”)
12. Tim Burton (director; “Big Fish,” “Ed Wood”)
13. Akira Kurosawa (writer-director; “Ikiru,” “Ran”)
14. Kevin Smith (writer-director; “Dogma,” “Chasing Amy”)
15. Michael Moore (writer-director; “Bowling for Columbine,” “Fahrenheit 9/11”)

15 Favorite Actors/Actresses
1. Amber Benson (“Chance,” TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
2. Mel Gibson (“Braveheart,” “Lethal Weapon”)
3. John Cusack (“High Fidelity,” “Grosse Pointe Blank”)
4. Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Simply Irresistible,” TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
5. Buster Keaton (“Sherlock Jr.,” “Our Hospitality”)
6. Gwyneth Paltrow (“Proof,” “Shakespeare in Love”)
7. Kate Winslet (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Finding Neverland”)
8. Nicolas Cage (“Face/Off,” “Adaptation.”)
9. Naomi Watts (“Mulholland Dr.,” “King Kong”)
10. Edward Norton (“Keeping the Faith,” “Fight Club”)
11. Johnny Depp (“Ed Wood,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”)
12. Renee Zellweger (“The Whole Wide World,” “Chicago”)
13. Tom Cruise (“A Few Good Men,” “Minority Report”)
14. Humphrey Bogart (“The Big Sleep,” “In a Lonely Place”)
15. Reese Witherspoon (“Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde”)

15 Favorite Movie Characters
1. Celine (Julie Delpy), “Before Sunrise” & “Before Sunset”
2. Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan), The “American Pie” Movies
3. Charlie & Donald Kaufman (Nicolas Cage), “Adaptation.”
4. Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton), “Keeping the Faith”
5. Novalyn Price (Renee Zellweger), “The Whole Wide World”
6. Robert E. Howard (Vincent D’Onofrio), “The Whole Wide World”
7. Projectionist (Buster Keaton), “Sherlock Jr.”
8. Sean Archer & Castor Troy (John Travolta & Nicolas Cage), “Face/Off”
9. Mike (Jon Favreau), “Swingers”
10. Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), “Proof”
11. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (James Earl Jones- voice, David Prowse, Hayden Christensen, Sebastian Shaw, Jake Lloyd), The “Star Wars” Saga
12. Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy
13. Gromit, “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” “The Wrong Trousers,” “A Close Shave,” “A Grand Day Out”
14. Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), “The Crow”
15. Jay & Silent Bob (Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Dogma,” “Chasing Amy,” “Mallrats,” “Clerks”

20 Favorite Movie Moments
1. Eric Draven finds peace. (“The Crow”)- The artful staging of director Alex Proyas, soulful acting of the late Brandon Lee, and melancholy music of composer Graeme Revell as Lee’s arch-angel is reunited with his beloved has lingered with me ever since I first saw the film.
2. Frodo & Bilbo’s Rivendell reunion. (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”)- This beautifully-acted and scored scene resonates powerfully with me in light of my grandfather’s passing in 2000. Ian Holm’s Bilbo- traveler to far-away places he is- reminds me a lot of him, and his sly little smirk as Frodo looks at the map of the Shire is a great moment.
3. Rublev comforts the young bellmaker. (“Andrei Rublev”)- In Andrei Tarkovsky’s epic, the great Russian icon painter kills a man, and takes a vow of silence- and never to paint again. When a cocky young bellmaker- tears of joy streaming down his face when his long-labored bell rings- reveals a surprising revelation to Rublev, Rublev’s decision to paint once again- inspired (as we are) by what the boy’s accomplished- is an inspiring sight for the artist struggling to create without compromise.
4. A life remembered. (“Big Fish”)- In a career of startling visual importance, Tim Burton’s most memorable moment as a director for me comes from his most emotional, when a cynical son finishes his father’s final tall-tale, and then sees it come to life in its’ own way when friends and family come together to celebrate the father’s life at his funeral, hinting at the truth behind the tall-tale.
5. Life imitates art…sort of. (“Sherlock Jr.”)- It is probably one of the most sublime endings in cinematic history, as Buster Keaton’s projectionist takes his courage- and a few moves- from the movie playing onscreen to express himself to his beloved. But when the film takes a surprising leap, Buster’s left to scratch his head, while we’re left to take in the sly self-conscious humor of Keaton’s masterpiece.
6. Michelle has a kinky secret. (“American Pie”)- For most of this teen comedy, Alyson Hannigan’s flute-playing band geek is the movie cliche of a band geek, always starting her stories with, “And this one time, at band camp…”. But when Michelle- in her typically squeaky-voiced tone- end one of her stories with “…I stuck my flute in my P*##^,” I can only imagine the hilarious gasps of an audience watching it for the first time. From then on, it’s impossible to look at Michelle the same again. In “American Pie 2,” Michelle was the main female character. In “American Wedding,” she was the bride-to-be, and for a brief moment, I was in teen comedy heaven.
7. Scotty trails Madeline. (“Vertigo”)- In many of his great films, Hitchcock let the mechanics of the story turn with ingenuity and imagination. But in his best film, he did something even more ambitious- he went against tradition, resulting in a more seductive film. No more so is that the case in “Vertigo” than when Jimmy Stewart’s detective is following Kim Novak’s emotionally-troubled wife around San Francisco to spots of significance later. For 10 wordless minutes, Hitch turns his storytelling genius over to cinematographer Robert Burke and composer Bernard Herrmann, who guide us through the sequence with what can only be called an author’s command of literary narrative, allowing the audience to discover for themselves the secrets within this haunting story.
8. Confessions on a boat. (“Before Sunset”)- It is late in the afternoon of Richard Linklater’s wonderful sequel when Jesse and Celine- meeting for the first time in nine years- find themselves on a boat moving through Paris letting their guard down and revealing themselves bolder than they’ve let themselves do by getting down to the heart of “Sunset’s” story, about how they might just be destined to spend their lives together. You think they do after that unique and unforgettable final scene?
9. Luke & Vader’s fight/Anakin’s redemption. (“Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi”)- Most people cite the ending of “Empire” as their fave moment of the “Star Wars” series; but for my money, the climactic battle between Luke and Vader, the Emperor’s retribution on Luke, and Anakin’s saving of his son at the end of “Jedi” has the most emotional punch.
10. Novalyne receives a telegram. (“The Whole Wide World”)- When Novalyne receives word of the tragic fate of her friend, pulp writer Robert E. Howard, the scene is a master classic in emotive shifts, as conducted by Ms. Renee Zellweger. The melancholy of the scene resonates through to the film’s end.
11. David Bowman does the timewarp. (“2001: A Space Odyssey”)- Like every other person who’s seen Kubrick’s trippy sci-fi masterwork, all I can present are theories about what’s going on in this movie. But that’s the point- to make you think. Kubrick will also make your eyes pop with his movie’s final 20 minutes, which finds Dave going through who-knows-what toward his final stage of evolution before he becomes truly transcendent to those who left the monolith for us to find…or something like that. If I’ve made it sound confusing, good. If I’ve made you want to see it for yourself, even better.
12. Bogie and the bookgirl. (“The Big Sleep”)- I never looked at women with glasses the same way again after this classic scene in Howard Hawks’ brilliant film noir, where Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe shares a spark-laden round of banterball with Dorothy Malone’s bookstore employee, who begins to find Marlowe interesting and shares a drink with Raymond Chandler’s classic gumshoe. Marlowe likes her better without her glasses on- I beg to differ.
13. David finds the Blue Fairy…and some resolution. (“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”)- 2,000 years have past, and through his memories, his advanced A.I. kin give David (the remarkable Haley Joel Osment) the peace and resolution he’d been searching for in the conclusion of Spielberg’s ambitious sci-fi epic, which is just as subjective in interpretation as Kubrick’s was in “2001.”
14. Mano a mano in the jungle. (“Predator”)- His squad dead, picked off one-by-one by a faceless menace in the jungle, Arnold prepares for a final stand against the baddest alien to ever touch-down on Earth, a dread-locked predator with the ability to make itself invisible, hit you from a long distance, or evicerate you up close. With Alan Silvestri’s score pumped up to the hilt, director John McTiernan shows us Arnold and the Predator’s pre-battle preparations, which are topped by the exciting and inventive battle that finds Arnold learning from his enemy’s tricks, only to be matched by the Predator every step of the way. Now this is what an action movie should be.
15. Tom Cruise can’t handle the truth. (“A Few Good Men”)- When it first hit video in 1993, I watched it maybe a dozen times and knew Nicholson’s immortal rant from memory. Eleven years later, Jack’s tyraid still rivets attention, as does Cruise’s audacious comeback.
16. Charlie Kaufman & Amelia’s lunch together and goodbyes. (“Adaptation.”)- The unexpressed expressed, as Charlie- now certain of how to finish his script- finds the confidence to tell Amelia how he feels about her, and has it acknowledged and rewarded by Amelia. In the most memorable and surprising of ways, Kaufman the screenwriter “wowed me in the end.”
17. Sean Archer’s life comes full-circle. (“Face/Off”)- The lighting might be a bit much, but when John Travolta’s Archer comes home at the end of John Woo’s remarkable high-concept thriller with the son of his enemy, the emotional impact- and delirious crowd-pleasing high- generated in the moviegoer leads one to believe they’ve just seen a masterpiece…and a classic. Know what? They’re right.
18. Vince and Jules on cleanup duty. (“Pulp Fiction”)- I don’t know if a movie sequence has made me laugh so hard than when John Travolta’s hitman accidentally shoots a witness in the face, leaving him and Samuel L. Jackson to do some fast damage control before the real problems start. The act itself is as brutal in the carnage it creates as any sequence I’ve ever seen, but leave it to Quentin Tarantino to strip away the brutality and show the absurdity of the details such as who should be cleaning up brains in the back seat. In lesser hands, it’d be offensive. In Tarantino’s, it’s dark comic gold.
19. Mike and Trent switch places…metaphorically speaking. (“Swingers”)- It’s one of the most perfect endings I’ve ever seen, as Jon Favreau’s sad sack Mike is in love, and Vince Vaughn’s cocky Trent is humiliated when he mistakes baby games with flirting.
20. Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes face off. (“The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”)- Three men. A treasure chest of gold buried in a grave. Only one man knows the grave. He writes it on a stone, placed at the center of a stone “courtyard” in the middle of a Civil War cemetary. From the second Clint Eastwood places the stone on the ground, director Sergio Leone- aided immesurably by Ennio Morricone’s powerful score- shows a mastery of style as the three main characters face off at corners of the courtyard, cutting furiously between all three and their guns as the tension builds as all three wonder who will shoot first…and whom they will shoot. It’s an ambitious sequence that puts the audience at the hands of a master.

10 Favorite Film Soundtracks
1. “The Crow” (Various Artists, Graeme Revell)
2. “Braveheart” (James Horner)
3. “Broken Arrow” (Hans Zimmer)
4. “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)
5. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)
6. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (Howard Shore)
7. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Various Artists, Alex North)
8. The “Star Wars” Saga (John Williams)
9. “Millennium” (Hans Zimmer)
10. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (John Williams)

10 Best Film Scores
1. “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)
2. “Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back” (John Williams)
3. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)
4. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Howard Shore)
5. “The Godfather” (Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola)
6. “Touch of Evil” (Henri Mancini)
7. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (John Williams)
8. “Psycho” (Bernard Herrmann)
9. “The Crow” (Graeme Revell)
10. “The Last Temptation of Christ” (Peter Gabriel)

10 Favorite Film Composers
1. Ennio Morricone (“Lolita,” “The Untouchables”)
2. Hans Zimmer (“The Thin Red Line,” “The Lion King”)
3. John Williams (“Schindler’s List,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”)
4. Danny Elfman (“Big Fish,” “Batman”)
5. Howard Shore (“Spider,” “Ed Wood”)
6. Carter Burwell (“Adaptation.,” “Conspiracy Theory”)
7. James Horner (“Titanic,” “The Man Without a Face”)
8. Bernard Herrmann (“North By Northwest,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still”)
9. Jerry Goldsmith (“Basic Instinct,” “L.A. Confidential”)
10. James Newton Howard (“Signs,” “The Fugitive”)

10 Favorite Original Songs
1. “It Can’t Rain All the Time” from “The Crow” (Jane Siberry, Graeme Revell)
2. “La Resistance” from “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (Trey Parker, Marc Shaiman)
3. “Under Your Spell” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling” (Joss Whedon)
4. “Streets of Philadelphia” from “Philadelphia” (Bruce Springsteen)
5. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story” (Randy Newman)
6. “Gollum’s Song” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, Jane Roddick, David Donaldson, Steve Roche, David Long)
7. “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” from “A Mighty Wind” (Michael McKean, Annette O’Toole)
8. “Philadelphia” from “Philadelphia” (Neil Young)
9. “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2” (Randy Newman)
10. “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” (Elton John, Tim Rice)

20 Favorite Film Music “Cues”
1. “Return to the Grave” from “The Crow” (Graeme Revell)- Few film scores have had a more haunting and beautiful finale than when Revell’s music accompanies Eric Draven’s contemplative, moving reunion with his beloved.
2. “The Art of Living” from “Millennium” (Hans Zimmer)- I’ve never seen the 10-hour documentary Zimmer wrote this music for (though I’ve been curious ever since I heard the music), but this piece of music is pure beauty, and is my favorite Zimmer track ever.
3. “Many Meetings” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Howard Shore)- There are many wonderful renditions of Shore’s Hobbit theme in his landmark trilogy score, but my favorite is the one that accompanies my favorite scene from the trilogy. It has a lasting ability to move me every time.
4. “Rescue from Cloud City/Hyperspace” from “Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back” (John Williams)- The quotation of the Force theme- as the bond between Luke and Leia deepens- and the propulsive escape music in this stirring climax make it my favorite “Star Wars” musical passage.
5. “The Trio” from “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone)- When a director throws a sequence to the composer and says, more or less, “bring it to life,” you better deliver. During the showdown in the cemetary at the climax of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western epic, he does just that to Morricone, and boy does he deliver. His music dictates the tempo of the editing, the suspense of the scene, and the exact moment the tension breaks. Oh, and what he writes is pretty damn good as well.
6. “The Unexpressed Expressed” from “Adaptation.” (Carter Burwell)- My favorite performance of Burwell’s “Ghost Theme” for this surprising artistic comedy comes when Charlie Kaufman finds the courage to say what he didn’t before.
7. “Finale” from “Big Fish” (Danny Elfman)- “Big Fish” is perhaps Elfman’s finest score for director Tim Burton, and possibly the best he’s ever written (it’s certainly his most emotional). A score loaded with memorable moments, none more so than the 10-minute master class Elfman puts on during the film’s finale, as it shifts from eccentric adventure to powerful feeling as Edward Bloom’s life ends, and his legacy endures in his friends and loved ones.
8. “Masked Ball” from “Eyes Wide Shut” (Jocelyn Pook)- For his final film, Stanley Kubrick hired Pook- a composer in British cinema and television- to write a handful of pieces for his thriller of erotic temptation. Among those was this haunting, chant-like piece for the ritual performed at the start of the orgy that’s the centerpiece of the film. Not many pieces are so potent in their sensuality.
9. “‘Freedom’/The Execution/Bannockburn” from “Braveheart” (James Horner)- If any section of Horner’s score has lingered longest in my memory, and it’s influence has been more far-reaching, it’s this stirring conclusion as Wallace is tortured, killed, and his spirit is reborn in his fellow Scots. Inspiring stuff.
10. “Duduk of the North” from “Gladiator” (Hans Zimmer)- This isn’t a piece that shows up in Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning epic. A point of fact, it’s actually ideas Zimmer worked on but didn’t use for his thrillingly bombastic score. How did I hear it? It was included on a second CD of music from the film released later. That doesn’t make it any less powerful to listen to.
11. “Yearning of the Sword” from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (Tan Dun)- Dun’s Oscar-winning score for this exhilarating martial arts epic is filled with haunting and lyrical writing not usually associated with contemporary epics. But “Crouching Tiger” is hardly a usual epic. No passage in the score is more lyrical than this one, as Chow Yun-Fat’s master swordsman is in a courtyard with his legendary sword, and confronted by his silent love- Michelle Yeoh- about the consequences of the life they lead. Yo-Yo Ma’s powerful cello solos- here and throughout- bring to life their unspoken connection.
12. “Prelude and Rooftop” from “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann)- It’s hard to think of a more effective mood-setting opening piece than Herrmann’s dizzying motifs to begin his hypnotically romantic score for Hitchcock’s thriller about obsession.
13. “Stored Memories and Monica’s Theme” from “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (John Williams)- In the most striking and compelling score of his career, Williams gives us- in this, the finest composition of the score- profound mystery and poignant emotion as the robot child David is discovered in a distant future, and given his most coveted wish.
14. “Togetherness” from “Lolita” (Ennio Morricone)- A late edition to the Top 20, the romantic longing instilled in this intimate and heartbreaking piece- for me, the musical centerpiece of Morricone’s haunting score for Adrien Lyne’s powerful adaptation- is an example of the master composer at his most emotional.
15. “Close Your Eyes (Buffy/Angel Love Theme)” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Soundtrack (Christophe Beck)- More props to “Buffy” composer Beck, with acknowledgement of his earliest classic piece of music for the cult classic series, a poignant love theme for the doomed vampire-slayer relationship that was the beating heart of the show’s first three seasons. This was its’ best performance, at the moment when Buffy slayed Angel- newly souled- to save the world.
16. “The Emperor Arrives/The Death of Yoda/Obi-Wan’s Revelation” from “Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi” (John Williams)- Second to the earlier cue from “Empire,” this continuous track- which provides the musical background for three key events in the original trilogy’s conclusive chapter- contains my favorite playing of the Force theme, as well as Yoda’s theme and the Empirial March, and the introduction of Luke and Leia’s theme as brother and sister.
17. “Broken Arrow” from “Broken Arrow” (Hans Zimmer)- My first real experience with Hans Zimmer is still my favorite- his synth-heavy action score for this John Woo thriller, a score that is inspired heavily by his hero Ennio Morricone, not to mention Henri Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” theme (the guitarist on that classic is on this score as well). Picking a favorite piece is hard, so I’ll choose the last track, which encompasses all the elements that make this score so damn fun.
18. “Lament for a Lost Son” from “The Crow: City of Angels” (Graeme Revell)- The main inspiration for my composition “In a Lonely Place,” “Son” reveals a soulful beauty and inventiveness that is throughout the score for this “Crow” sequel, which stands as impressive as Revell’s score for the first film, even if the film itself falls well short.
19. “Evenstar” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (Howard Shore)- One of the remarkable aspects of Shore’s work for “Lord of the Rings” was his uncanny ability to blend the orchestra with choral textures effortlessly. This quiet, haunting piece from “Towers”- which accompanies a scene with Arwen and Aragorn- is my favorite example of that.
20. “Ness and His Family” from “The Untouchables” (Ennio Morricone)- Best known for the early Spaghetti Western scores with Leone, Morricone has nonetheless displayed remarkable depth of creativity both musically and orchestrationally, both of which are on display in this touching, lyrical piece from his versatile score for Brian De Palma’s TV-show update, a powerhouse entertainment.

15 Favorite DVDs/Collections
1. “The Fantasia Anthology” Box Set
2a. “A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies”
2b. “My Voyage to Italy”
3. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”
4. “Andrei Rublev” The Criterion Collection
5a. “Firefly: The Complete Series” Box Set
5b. “Serenity”
6a. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season” Box Set
6b. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season” Box Set
6c. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season” Box Set
7. “Dogma” Special Edition
8a. “The Simpsons: The Complete First Season” Box Set
8b. “The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season” Box Set
8c. “The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season” Box Set
8d. “The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season” Box Set
8e. “The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season” Box Set
8f. “The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season” Box Set
8g. “The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season” Box Set
9. “Dark City”
10a. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” Special Extended Edition
10b. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” Special Extended Edition
10c. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” Special Extended Edition
11. The “Star Wars” Trilogy Box Set
12. “Bowling for Columbine”
13. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” Unrated
14. “Basic Instinct” Unrated Director’s Cut Special Edition
15. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” Special Edition

15 Favorite DVD Commentaries
1. Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and co. (“Futurama: Volumes 1-4”)
2. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Greg Nicotero (“Evil Dead II”)
3. Roger Ebert (“Dark City”; “Citizen Kane”; “Casablanca”)
4. Walt Disney Archives (“Fantasia”)
5. Joss Whedon” (“Hush” & “Restless” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season”; “The Body” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fifth Season”; “Once More, With Feeling” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season”; “Chosen” from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season”; “Objects in Space” from “Firefly: The Complete Series”; “Serenity”)
6. Nicholas Meyer (“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” The Director’s Edition)
7. Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Brian O’Holleran, Jeff Anderson, Scott Mosier, Dave Mandell, Chris Bailey (“Clerks: The Animated Series”)
8. Oliver Stone (“JFK” 2-Disc Special Edition)
9. Camille Pagia (“Basic Instinct” Unrated Director’s Cut Special Edition)
10. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens (“The Lord of the Rings” Special Extended Editions)
11. Matt Groening and co. (“The Simpsons: The Complete First-Seventh Seasons”)
12. Martin Scorsese and co. (“GoodFellas” Special Edition)
13. Bruce Campbell as “The King” (“Bubba ho-Tep”)
14. Jerry Goldsmith (“Hollow Man”)
15. John Lasseter and co. (“Toy Story 2”)

15 Favorite DVD Features
1. “The Fantasia That Never Was” Section (“The Fantasia Anthology”)
2. “The Beginning” Documentary (“Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace”)
3. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Panel Discussion (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth Season”)
4. “Tarkovsky Interviews” Section (“Andrei Rublev” The Criterion Collection)
5. “The Making of ‘The Shining'” Documentary (“The Shining”)
6. “Obsessed With ‘Vertigo’: New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece” Documentary (“Vertigo”)
7. “The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of ’12 Monkeys'” Documentary (“12 Monkeys”)
8. “Behind the Planet of the Apes” Documentary (“Planet of the Apes” 35th Anniversary Collector’s Edition)
9. The Appendices (“The Lord of the Rings” Special Extended Editions)
10. “A Profile of James O’Barr” (“The Crow” Miramax/Dimension Collector’s Series)
11. Hans Zimmer Interview (“Gladiator”)
12. Behind the Scenes Documentaries (“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”)
13. “Memento” in Chronological Order (“Memento” Limited Edition)
14. “No Day But Today: The Story of ‘Rent'” Documentary (“Rent”)
15. Arthur C. Clarke Interview (“2001: A Space Odyssey” Out of Print Edition)

Top 25 Movies I Want to See
1. “Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds” (1989); dir. Alex Proyas (“The Crow,” “I, Robot”)
2. “Red Sorghum” (1987); Gong Li (“Raise the Red Lantern”), dir. Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”)
3. “Umberto D” (1952); dir. Vittorio de Sica (“The Bicycle Thief”)
4. “The Thing” (1951); dir. Howard Hawks (“The Big Sleep”)
5. “Say Anything…” (1989); John Cusack, dir. Cameron Crowe (“Jerry Maguire”)
6. “Goldfinger” (1964); James Bond, Sean Connery
7. “Schizopolis” (1997); written, directed & starring Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”)
8. “Shoot the Piano Player” (1960); dir. Francois Truffaut (“The 400 Blows”)
9. “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961); dir. Ingmar Bergman (“The Seventh Seal”)
10. “The Green Room” (1978); dir. Francois Truffaut
11. “Macbeth” (1971); dir. Roman Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown”)
12. “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989); Tom Cruise, dir. Oliver Stone
13. “The Rules of the Game” (1939); dir. Jean Renoir (“Grand Illusion”)
14. “Thriller: A Cruel Picture” (1974); inspiration for “Kill Bill”
15. “The Sugarland Express” (1974); Goldie Hawn, dir. Steven Spielberg
16. “Zatoichi: Vol. 1- The Tale of Zatoichi” (1962); character in “The Blind Swordman”
17. “To Die For” (1995); Nicole Kidman, dir. Gus Van Sant (“Drugstore Cowboy”)
18. “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988); dir. Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”)
19. “October” (1928); dir. Sergei Eisenstein (“Battleship Potemkin”)
20. “Once Upon a Time in China” (1991); Jet Li, dir. Tsui Hark
21. “Once Upon a Time in China 2” (1992); Jet Li, dir. Tsui Hark
22. “Once Upon a Time in China 3” (1993); Jet Li, dir. Tsui Hark
23. “Amarcord” (1973); dir. Federico Fellini (“8 ½”)
24. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972); dir. Luis Bunuel (“Belle de Jour”)
25. “The Conversation” (1974); Gene Hackman, dir. Francis Ford Coppola

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