I think this is a good way for me to just throw my interests out there and see what sticks. When approaching this list I began by just writing out the movies that meant so much to me while growing up. A lot of these were watched in their Pan and Scan glory via WPIX 11 and WWOR 9. In my high school years I remember watching tons of crap on TNT and TBS. Joe Bob Brigg's Monstervision was a godsend for geeks like me. Mondays would consist of my friend and I debating on how IMMORTAL COMBAT was pure shit and probably killed Roddy Piper's career after the awesome THEY LIVE.
It really wasn't till senior year that I started going to the theater on a semi-regular basis. The Magic Johnson theater in Harlem happened to be the only theater (and still is) in Manhattan to have an actual matinee ($7.50 before 2pm). This coupled with the lax security and internet movie schedules provided us with enough knowledge to watch at least 3 films a visit.
We don't do it as often these days but we always try squeeze at least one extra flick per visit. It's only fair.
I'd also like to mention that summer of 97 when I found out that the public library was a virtual goldmine of free video rentals. While others went out on exotic locations or boring summer school, I stayed at home watching as many films off the AFI list that I cold find. That list really payed off as I learned and experienced so much from it.
Anyway, I had all of this in mind when writing my list. When I had it all down I was short by about 11. I can recognize a good film when I see it but that doesn't mean I want to watch it again. A good film for me has to be one that never becomes stale and sticks with me long after viewing. If that means I became victim to the various merchandising campaigns for some of these films, oh well, blame it on the generational gap. You should also expect a couple of what people call "guilty pleasures". I call bullshit on that term and I don't feel one ounce of guilt while watching them.
So yeah on with the list(50-45)
50. Pinocchio ('40)
Probably the first Disney film I remember vividly. The ideas of wishing, the inner conscience, trust, honesty and artificial intelligence were great lessons to ingrain into my mind at the age of 4. Pleasure Island still freaks me out and I intend to sue Disney some day for the psychological harm.
49. Bladerunner ('82)
Similar to Pinocchio in the sense that talking marionettes and androids are the same in my mind. Bladerunner was one of those movies that really got me into thinking about how the future could be. According to Ridley Scott, the future is the love-child of Times Square and Chinatown with flying cars and robots. In other words, perfect.
48. Fight Club ('99)
It turned me onto Palahniuk. I think the guy is great but I can understand the criticism he gets. Just about all of his books read the same. Fight Club seems to be one of those movies where you look at it artistically and appreciate it yet your friend looks at it a completely different way and also manages to appreciate it. Let's just say that Fight Club is a lot more than just dudes slugging it out in basements or as a friend put it "sweet fights".
47. Alice in Wonderland ('51)
This is the other Disney flick I grew up watching a lot. There weren't many lessons for me in this one but I can attribute my fondness for blondes to it. Wonderland helped me realize how bizarre and nonsensical stories could be yet still prove to be fun and worthwhile. It's connection to modern drug culture isn't much of a surprise with all the mushroom eating and robotripping. For the record, I think the Cheshire Cat was an asshole.
46. Lawrence of Arabia ('62)
I really regret watching this entire epic on a computer monitor but I had little choice. I watched it after reading Frank Herbert's Dune and immediately made parallels between Paul Muadib and T.E. Lawrence. I'm a big fan of these stranger in a strange land movies. Post 9/11 I think it's just one of those movies that show how silly ethnocentrism can be. I also can't forget mentioning that desert reflection scenes. Pure beauty.
45. Full Metal Jacket ('87)
I've spoken to a lot of people who love the first half but usually shut it off right after the big bathroom scene. R. Lee Emery is incredible and justifies the price of admission but are you really gonna miss the "Me so horny" and "Too boo-koo" scenes? Yeah, I guess the film takes this nosedive into exploring the duality of man and leaves a lot of people confused or disturbed. I think it's perfect.(to be continued...of course)