books films video games music

Updated 2014.04.27
These are some films and television shows that I like.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God    1972
"If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of God. The earth I pass will see me and tremble."
Babe: Pig in the City    1998
I expected this to be a weak sequel cashing in on the popularity of the original, but I was surprised to find that I liked it quite a bit better than the first film.

"As terror gave way to exhaustion, Babe turned to his attacker, his eyes filled with one simple question: Why?"
The Blue Planet    2002
The Blue Planet: Seas of Life is a set of amazing documentaries about underwater life.

I've been gradually collecting other similar series also narrated or hosted by David Attenborough, such as The Life of Mammals, Life in the Undergrowth, The Life of Birds, and Planet Earth.
A bait ball
Brazil    1985
"This is your receipt for your husband. And this is my receipt for your receipt."
District 9    2009
"When dealing with aliens, try to be polite but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet."

Warning: Some violent scenes.
The Fall    2006
"You should ask someone else. There's no happy ending with me."
"I still want to hear it."
The Fountain
The Fountain    2006
My first impression of The Fountain was that it isn't quite as profound as it tries to be, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. And the score is excellent.

The Fountain
Look Around You    2002
Look Around You is a series of ten-minute educational science program parodies.

I found the second series much weaker, though the first episode had some good music.

"What are birds? We just don't know."
Thanks, ants. Thants.
Mad Max: Fury Road    2015
I had never seen any of the three original Mad Max films, but I'd been looking forward to this one because, like Babe: Pig in the City, it was written and directed by George Miller.

It immediately became a favorite, and I even watched it twice in the theater.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind    1984
When I was young, I saw Warriors of the Wind, a shortened and somewhat inaccurately translated version of Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind. It made an enormous impression on me, and later seeing more faithful translations only increased my regard for the film.

I also like Miyazaki's Nausicaš comic and several of his other films, especially Spirited Away.

I also have another page about Nausicaš.
The NeverEnding Story    1984
If I had to choose a single favorite film, it would probably be either The NeverEnding Story or Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind.

I try to pretend that the sequel doesn't exist.

"We don't even care whether or not we care."
The New Twilight Zone    1985
I've always considered the 1980s Twilight Zone my favorite television show. Many of the episodes really impressed me, and I considered them more creative and interesting than anything else on television.

When this show was released on DVD almost 20 years later, I was happy to find that my favorite episodes are as fun to watch now as they were back then.

You can find a good site about the series here.
The Burning Man
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure    1985
I liked Pee-Wee's Big Adventure when I was young, and it hasn't really lost its appeal with time. "Large Marge" alone makes it worth watching again every so often. It's also the only film I know of that includes Mr. T Cereal.

"Yes, there are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I'm going to tell you about right now!"
Police Squad!    1982
Unfortunately, Police Squad! lasted only six episodes. I prefer the series to the Naked Gun films that are based on it.

Police Squad! was released on DVD in 2006. Unfortunately, they restored the original Happy Birthday song in the episode "The Butler Did It" instead of the odd dubbed-in Something Different song heard in the VHS version.

"We're sorry to bother you at such a time like this, Mrs. Twice. We would have come earlier, but your husband wasn't dead then."
Primer    2004
Most time travel films bother me because it seems as if the filmmakers don't even attempt basic plausibility. Primer might have holes in its logic, but it's complicated enough that I find it difficult to tell.

"If you ditch work this afternoon and promise to do the few small things I ask you, I will in return show you the most important thing that any living organism has ever witnessed."
The Princess Bride    1987
If you somehow haven't seen The Princess Bride, you should.

I also recommend the novel. The movie follows it well, which is understandable since William Goldman is responsible for them both.

"No more rhymes now, I mean it."
The Prisoner    1967
When my friend Aaron Simmons loaned me a few episodes of The Prisoner, the show seemed somehow familiar--especially Rover, the balloon sentry. But I don't know where I might have seen it, since I wasn't around when it originally aired.

In any event, the show quickly grew on me and is now one of my favorites.

"Are you going to run?"
"Like the blazes; first chance I get."
"I meant, run for office?"
Pulse    2001
Pulse is a haunting Japanese film about technology, loneliness, and isolation. There's a U.S. remake, but I haven't seen it. Cure, also by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, is equally impressive.

"People don't really connect, you know. . . . Like those dots simulating humans, we all live totally separately. That's how it seems to me."

Warning: Some disturbing scenes.
The Ring    2002
I saw The Ring in the theater, and all I knew going in was a friend's statement that "it's about ghosts."

I found some elements contrived and others unpleasant, but overall I found the film creative and gripping. I thought about it a lot, watched the original Japanese films, and read the books. In my opinion, this is a rare case in which a remake improves upon the original. Unfortunately, Ring Two was terrible.

Warning: Some disturbing scenes.
Time Bandits    1981
It's a close call, but I think this is my favorite Terry Gilliam film, followed by Brazil (above). The Adventures of Baron Munchausen gets an honorable mention.

"Yes, why does there have to be evil?"
"I think it has something to do with free will."
UHF    1989
Despite my being a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic's music, I didn't see UHF until a few years after its release when my friends Troy and Anthony Kinsey rented it one night.

It then became the default movie that my family would rent when we couldn't find anything else--which was nearly every time we went to rent a movie. I think it's still my single favorite comedy film.

"Does this look like a number 2 pencil?"
Emo Philips as Joe Earley

Here are some others that might make this list when I become motivated to add to it:

Airplane!  1980
The Butterfly Effect  2004
Conan the Destroyer  1984
Cowboy Bebop  1998
Delicatessen  1991
Edward Scissorhands  1990
Fantastic Mr. Fox  2009
Fruits Basket  2001
Galaxy Quest  1999
The Great Race   1965
Hot Fuzz   2007
The IT Crowd   2006
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World  1963
The Matrix  1999
Miracle Mile  1988
Monty Python and the Holy Grail  1975
Napoleon Dynamite  2004
Robot Carnival  1987
Robin Hood (animated)  1973
The Scarlet Pimpernel  1982
The Simpsons  1989
Star Wars Trilogy  1977, 1980, 1983
Superman II  1980
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory  1971

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