This list was a blast to write-up, and I hope you enjoy reading it. If you haven’t drafted one of these lists, then you should definitely consider it. I, for one, love knowing why people love movies.
1. There’s a Christmas home video of me receiving my first film. It was Cinderella. I was three years old.
2. In the same video, right after I open Cinderella, my brother opens his gift to see that it’s E.T. I take E.T. from him and say, “I want to read the back.”
3. By the time I was 10 years old, my parents let me watch whatever I wanted.
4. From ages 10-16, my parents took me to the movies every weekend. This is not an exaggeration.
5. My parents are responsible for my film fanaticism, for which I can never thank them enough.
6. I once had an intellectual conversation with my dad about how bad Showgirls was. I was 11.
7. Most of what I’ve learned, I learned from movies.
8. I didn’t know two men could have sex until I watched Pulp Fiction.
10. To this day, if I see something in a movie that I find intriguing (or new), I will go home and research it to death.
11. In more ways than I am able to explain, film has acted as my savior.
12. My iTunes playlist has more than 6,000 songs, 65 percent of which are film scores.
score from Shame in the background.
14. Only three movies have literally changed the way in which I live my life. The most significant one being Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher.
15. Next is Georges Franju’s Blood of the Beasts.
16. And, finally, The Seventh Seal.
17. The first time I watched The Seventh Seal remains the most significant film-viewing experience I’ve ever had. The date was June 21, 2008. It was my first Bergman. My life was forever altered.
18. I shot my first movie in the summer of 2008. It is called Full Circle and does not contain one word of dialogue. Bergman is, in part, to thank for this.
20. I write scripts the way method actors act – I force myself to mentally get into the mindset of my characters.
21. A song or piece of music used perfectly in a movie can bring tears to my eyes.
22. As can a perfect camera movement or shot.
23. Tracking the baby running through the dinning room in The Tree of Life is one of the most sensational shots ever put on film.
24. My favorite shot in film history is the pan-up that discovers Travis Bickle’s Mohawk.
26. The first time I saw Persona, I assumed I could fit it in before work, seeing as it’s only 80 minutes. I ended up calling out sick. I was that shaken.
27. I watched Persona three times that day.
28. The best compliment I can give an actor is that they’ve “Got it.”
29. Catherine Warner’s got it.
30. I watch every movie with a clean slate. No preconceived notions. No judgments about who made it, who’s in it, or what it’s about.
31. Movies used to make me cry very easily. Then, for several years, they didn’t. Now I’m back to crying.
32. Whether it is in English or not, if the option is available, I watch all movies with the subtitles on.
33. The best acting performance I’ve ever seen is Marlon Brando’s work in A Streetcar Named Desire.
35. The best female acting performance I’ve ever seen is Gena Rowland’s in A Woman Under the Influence.
36. When I was in college, I had an Iranian friend who loved movies, but hadn’t seen many of them. I loaned him films by the dozen, which he would watch in two or three days, then return for more. After he watched Babel, we talked and cried for an hour about the torture and beauty of that film. It was one of the best film-related conversations I’ve ever had.
37. Every Friday, my phone is inundated with e-mails, text messages, tweets and Facebook posts, all requests from friends and family members asking me what movie they should watch this weekend. I fucking love it.
38. For the past several months, my answer to most of those requests has been Shame.
39. If they like Shame, I usually tell them to check out Hunger the following weekend.
40. More people like Shame than Hunger.
42. A few random examples of this include The Seventh Continent, The Thin Red Line, Jarhead, and Another Woman.
43. The main reason Jarhead rocked me was because of its flawless use of Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks.”
44. Every script I write, in some way, mirrors exactly how I felt (or acted) at a specific time in my life.
45. Notions of my short film Earrings are extremely autobiographical.
46. (Writing that made me realize, after people see Earrings, they may think I’m a nutcase. But really, I’m cool.)
47. Great movies get better as you get older.
48. I’ve seen every Best Picture winner, every film on every AFI list and every movie that has won the Foreign Language Oscar.
49. The majority of popular foreign films are better than the majority of popular American films.
50. The opening to Drive is, arguably, my favorite film opening. Ever. Well, second to GoodFellas, of course.
52. As a filmmaker, my favorite parts of the process are the writing and the editing.
53. As a film watcher, I have no favorite part. I love it all.
54. Everything I know about film is completely self-taught. I studied film history in college, but my mechanics for filmmaking were learned from watching movies, reading books, and playing with film equipment.
55. Books can teach you the how, but the why has to be in you.
56. If a film has a good story, then I can forgive most everything else.
57. I can name 50 great films that have excellent stories but look like crap.
58. I can name 50 awful films that have crap stories but look great.
59. The three best performances of Denzel Washington’s career are all contained in Malcolm X.
61. I’m always wondering which actor will be the first to win three Best Actor Oscars.
62. No, sadly, I don’t think Daniel Day-Lewis will do it for Lincoln.
63. The older I get, the more political I find the Oscars.
64. Despite this, I love the Oscars.
65. My favorite Oscar is Adrien Brody winning for The Pianist.
66. The last time my favorite film of the year won Best Picture was when Million Dollar Baby nabbed it.
67. Marion Cotillard is my favorite contemporary actress.
69. Michael Fassbender is my favorite contemporary actor.
70. Daniel Day-Lewis is a close second.
71. I can watch Se7en on repeat.
72. And Casino.
73. And Pulp Fiction.
74. I'd kill to know what The Gimp looks like.
74. I'd kill to know what The Gimp looks like.
75. I think Rooney Mara will soon deservedly be hailed as the best actress of her generation.
76. I love reciting lines from Closer back and forth.
78. One of the most overlooked films in both David Cronenberg and Ralph Fiennes’ careers is Spider.
79. My favorite period of filmmaking used to be the American ‘70s. Then it was the European ‘60s. Now it’s both.
80. Slow motion is the reason I hate most sports films.
81. Edward Burns’ Newlyweds is one of the most creatively inspiring films I’ve ever seen.
82. I love loving the work of a polarizing director. Contemporaries include Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier.
83. I haven’t seen a Steven Soderbergh film I didn’t appreciate.
84. The line, “And we’re here to listen,” as written by Steven Gaghan, as said by Michael Douglas, is the best line of the 2000s.
86. If I’m ever lacking in inspiration, I watch the trailer for The Tree of Life. And/or Shame. And/or Little Children.
87. Science fiction is my least favorite genre.
88. Conundrum: 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my top five films of all time.
89. Going to film festivals is fucking awesome.
90. Anthony Gonzalez, the front man for my favorite band, M83, recently said he moved to LA so he could start scoring movies. I’ve been holding my breath ever since.
91. I think United 93 should’ve gotten more acclaim, respect, and attention than it did.
93. I wish someone would turn George Pelecanos’ The Night Gardner into a movie. It is a perfect crime thriller that could make for an excellent film.
94. I have never once been depressed by a film. I thrive on the darkness of human nature. I love watching it unfold cinematically.
95. My favorite part about being a movie buff is having a person tell me they like a film, then recommending three others I think they’d like equally, if not more.
96. There is no end to my admiration for Heath Ledger.
97. The thing I love most about movies: they occasionally speak to me. The first time I saw Antwone Fisher, Derek Luke saying “I don’t know what to do,” perfectly mirrored how I felt at that exact moment in my life.
99. I once broke up with a girl because she said I watched too many movies.
100. I love the fact that Twitter has allowed me to find, and become friends with, complete strangers who love movies just as much as I do.
101. If Ingmar Bergman were alive and I had the chance to say one thing to him, I would say thank you.