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Favorite Films

"What's your single favorite movie of all time?"

If a working film critic gets asked one question by a reader or curious acquaintance, that's usually the one. (The runner-up is "How do you and the other reviewer at your paper decide who reviews what?" Why anyone would want to know that, I have no idea.) Most critics dread hearing the what's-your-favorite-movie one because, simply,we have no answer. Personally, I love movies so much and have seen so many of them that choosing one as THE best is an impossible task, like choosing which of your kids you love best. I could pick a single much-loved movie just to have an answer, but then the other several hundred or so would be nagging at my shirttails, "pick me, pick me!"

So here's a compromise: My thirty favorite movies. These are not necessarily the greatest, most well-made films of all time (although they're not necessarily not, either). They are, instead, the movies closest to my heart, mind, and moviegoing experience - 30 films I can watch anytime, anywhere, with anyone. They're in alphabetical order only because I do enough ranking of celluloid apples and oranges in my day job.

This list will be filled out with accompanying essays as time allows.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God


Au Hasard, Balthazar


Before Sunset

Being John Malkovich

Bringing Up Baby

Celine and Julie Go Boating

Days of Being Wild

Dazed and Confused

The Decalogue

The Godfather

I Know Where I'm Going

I'm Not There

L.A. Confidential

My Neighbor Totoro




Pee-wee's Big Adventure

The Pianist

Pierrot le Fou

Pulp Fiction


Rear Window

A Serious Man

The Seven Samurai


Splendor in the Grass

The Sweet Smell of Success

Written on the Wind

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