13 August 2009

Readers Respond: Top 5 Films With Alex Harner

When I asked him about his profile he told me that he wanted it to include the fact that he liked "stories and pictures". He possesses one of the most eclectic minds you could ever find. Right now he shows it off as an architectural graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. He's Alex Harner and these are his 5 Favorite Films.

5. Raising Arizona

Though it might not be the Coen Brothers’ best movie, it’s my favorite. Like Judd Apatow’s recent hits, Raising Arizona is a comedy that manages to be both funny and heartfelt at the same time. Despite the absurdity of the plot, there’s a genuinely human quality to the characters that keeps everything feeling important. Also, the narration is top notch. I think voice-overs take a lot of flack because they’re easy to do poorly. Raising Arizona shows that, with strong writing, the voiceover only makes a good movie better.

4. Barry Lyndon

Yeah…it’s Kubrick…so yeah…it’s pretty much formally perfect. That said, the art major in me can’t help but love a film wherein every scene looks like an 18th century painting. Also, there’s plenty of dueling and bastardry…if you’re into those kinds of things.

3. The Incredibles

I’m not sure I can sum up the brilliance of The Incredibles with just a few sentences. Blanket statement: it’s everything right about animation. On a more personal level, however, every time I watch The Incredibles, I feel like an eight year old at recess. That’s got to count for something.

2. Seven Samurai

I like to think of Seven Samurai as the great grandfather of action/adventure movies. As Luke already noted, it’s the one that started it all. While I won’t say Kurosawa invented the character archetypes that show up in Seven Samurai, I think he deserves crediting for first realizing them in film. Everyone since has simply followed suit. And when are samurai not awesome?

1. City of God

I’m especially fond of any fiction that can run the full gamut of human emotions. Really, that’s what great fiction does. Rather than making us feel one thing, it makes us feel everything, and in so doing reminds us that being human is actually pretty damn cool. I like to think that each of the films on my list provides a full plate of human experience, but I can’t think of any film that does it better than City of God. Humor, tragedy, horror, redemption…City of God does it all and does it all well. And it looks lovely in the process.

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