The justAtad Essentials: #6-10

September 1, 2011 — 16 Comments

When we get into a discussion of our favourite films, it’s very easy for certain films to get lost in the shuffle. Depending on how we approach films we might tend to give higher consideration to more established classics, or newer films that are more fresh in our minds, or even more eclectic choices that will distinguish our lists from all the others out there. And then there’s the fact that we film nuts have just watched way too much; we’re bound to forget some films.

In putting together this Top 20 Essentials list I could have easily put in ten Pixar films and another ten Disney animated films. Over and done with. But that would defeat the purpose of such a list in my eyes. You see, I’m not merely offering up the 20 best films I’ve seen, I’m presenting a list with variety. When you look through my offerings you should be able to get a good idea of my taste for film.

In my last entry I had Apocalypse Now sitting next to Back to the Future and Vertigo. That alone is a pretty good representation of my taste, but all my choices were firmly entrenched in the “canon”. They are films that might not appear on every list, but they are all very common. Of those five films, only Close Encounters of the Third Kind seems to have become more commonly ignored in favour of other Spielberg films like E.T., Schindler’s List, Jaws, Raiders, Jurassic Park and even Saving Private Ryan. Still, it’s pretty established.

So in my #6-10 I am going to give you five films that, while not necessarily eclectic on their own, are definitely very personal and not very common in the lists I’ve seen.

Without further ado, the list!

The justAtad Essentials #6-10

(click each image to read about my choices)


16 responses to The justAtad Essentials: #6-10


    I love Truman show and I love your love declaration for it. It’s one of those movies I’d be happy to revisit given the opportunity. I’ll keep my eyes open.


    I love the inferiority complex inherent in your enjoyment of jokes at your nationality’s expense.

    Anyway, three of the four this time around that I have seen would certainly make my essentials list, and six of ten so far.


    Last Temptation is an amazing film, one of Scorsese’s best. I love the portrayal of Jesus as human as well, and the real struggles that anyone would have in his circumstances.

    Your interest in religious film is interesting to me, Corey. Why would you be interested in a film deeply rooted in mysticism and a prophetic sensibility? I can see that anyone would appreciate some of the struggles of the characters– political action v. personal action is one of the many themes in this film. But, still, it is based on a religious presupposition– that God speaks to men and that communication is better and more important than the normal pattern of human life. Do you just ignore that? Or assume it is part of their culture, even if not your own?


      Well, there are four things involved in my enjoyment of religious stories and films like The Last Temptation of Christ.

      I am good so long as I feel a film’s core purpose is not to preach doctrine. A good story is a good story, so stick to that and I’m generally good.

      Also, though I am not at all religious, being from a Jewish family and living in a predominantly Christian country, I am more than a bit exposed to Judeo-Christian stories and philosophies and traditions. I may not buy into the truth of the stories or the existence of God, but I can still relate because they are a part of the culture I have been raised in.

      Extending beyond that, I could still relate even if it wasn’t a part of my culture. It’s not so much that the film is based on a religious supposition. It is a story, a story like any other. Some might claim it is a story based on events that actually occurred, I beg to differ, but it doesn’t change the potential power of the story. (That’s the same way I approach any film, including those based on a true story, by the way.)

      Finally, I think the reason I am attracted to such stories, beyond their being an integral part of Western culture, is the same reason I love magical realism or fantasy or science fiction stories. The mystical elements of the story may be considered fact by some, but even to those people they serve as concepts rife with symbolism. Great literature is great literature, God’s word or not.


    Oh yeah, and the funniest film ever made is a tie between The Emperor’s New Groove and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Just thought you should know. 🙂


      What people find funny can be a crapshoot. It’s very personal. I love Meaning of Life. It’s would probably be up there as one of the funniest films I’ve seen, but South Park is tops for me. I find it endlessly hilarious.


    Two of these are on my list. And therefore you have 2/5.


    Great seeing Truman and The Prestige on your list, both films I love, too. And you remind me that I need to see Close-up!


      Get your ticket and jump on the Close-up Train. I think that for the most part the people who have watched it under my recommendation have not hat the immediate personal reaction I had to it, but they’ve all at least liked it and found it a really valuable film.


    Thanks for your response, Corey, re: religious film. That makes a lot of sense, and matches my own sensibility.


    Looks like I need to add Close-Up to my must see list. Agree with the other selections listed. Though The Last Temptation of Christ has not aged well for me. Does not carry the same punch it once had.


      The idea of Last Temptation not aging well is funny to me, mostly because I only saw it for the first time a few years ago, and while it definitely feels like it was made at a certain time, the film completely overcomes that for me.

      And yeah, Close-Up a very special film. Thankfully it’s quite easy to find since being released on Blu-ray by Criterion.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Blog Rant: Stop Cropping My Movies! « justAtad - January 16, 2012

    […] This weekend I was flipping through my satellite guide looking for stuff to watch. It a pastime I quite enjoy. Sometimes I enjoy it more than actually watching anything. I search through the week to find interesting shows and documentaries and movies for my DVR to record. Of course, I record so much stuff that I barely watch half of it, but sometimes I make some great discoveries. Take, for example, the best movie I ever watched on my DVR: Billy Wilder’s The Apartment. It played on The Movie Network HD, and actually looked pretty decent, but better still it instantly become one of my very favourite films of all time. We’re talking Top 5 here. […]

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