I have been writing this blog for over ten years now, and I have resisted putting up a list of my favorite films for that whole time. As the Borg say "Resistance is Futile!"
This year I am marking another year in my sixth decade of life. I did several birthday posts in the past and enjoyed them immensely. The last two years my heart has just not been into it. This year however, I am trying to push my way back into normalcy, but I don't have the energy to generate 63 things for a list. So what I am going to do is a ten day countdown of my favorite films.
Every year when I have posted a top ten list, I always point out that it is a combination of quality and subjective enjoyment that creates that list. Those are the guiding principles here as well. I will not claim that these are the ten greatest movies ever made, although I know several of them would be deserving of a spot on such a list. Instead, these are my ten favorite films as it stands at the moment. In a month, I could reconsider or remember something that I have tragically left off the list, but for this moment here is how they rank.
#8 2001: A Space Odyssey
Since the first time I saw this film when I was just ten years old, it has burned brightly in my mind. The fact that I saw this with my family at a young age is surprising, since it is not the kind of film my folks would probably like. My father had a friend who was a projectionist and he worked at many of the big movie palaces in Hollywood back in the 60s. We saw this at the Pantages Theater at my father's friends invitation, and the precocious kid that I was, thought he understood it.
Viewing the film many more times over the years, I have grown to understand how the film can be processed by the viewer in many different ways. It is speculative history, prescient science fiction, horror film and spiritual journey all wrapped up in an enigma that pleases me each time.
The most overwhelming aspect of the film is it's visual accomplishments. Stanley Kubrick is considered by many to be the greatest film director ever, but the only Academy Award he ever received was for the visual effects in this movie. That seems appropriate because he set the standard and inspired the visual artists who have followed and everyone working in those fields today owes a debt to this groundbreaking visionary. His story telling style is not for everyone. My wife and daughter often have reservations about his films (my love loathed Clockwork Orange). His pacing and the acting styles often result in an impression of cold detachment, but that is the perfect atmosphere for this movie.
Music and sound have as much to do with the impact this movie will have on audiences as the story itself. Kubrick famously dropped the score he had commissioned for the movie by Alex North, and replaced it with carefully selected source music that today is inseparable from the films visual images. This is not a film that I make an annual event, like many of the other films on this list, but when I do watch it, it is with a degree of focus and attention that I rarely devote to other movies. This is a masterpiece that you can find in the brushstrokes of film directing and Kubrick clear is the master.
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