AARON'S TOP FILMS

Here are my top 14 favorite films, as of whatever today's date is in 2019. In any particular order? In no particular order? You decide!

Blue Velvet

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1986

David Lynch

David Lynch

Kyle MacLachlan

Isabella Rossellini

Dennis Hopper

Laura Dern

A masterpiece. A complete work of genius. You could learn everything you need to know about directing and getting your vision down by studying this movie. 

Johnny Suede

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1991

Tom DiCillo

Tom DiCillo

Brad Pitt

Calvin Levels

Catherine Keener

Tina Louise

The late-eighties and early-nineties saw a lot of offbeat comedies (my favorite genre), and this is the best of them. DiCillo creates a cool world (no pun intended (Brad Pitt was in a movie called Cool World)) and Pitt and the rest of the cast inhabit it perfectly. Plus it's cool to see early-nineties Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Heat

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1995

Michael Mann

Michael Mann

Al Pacino

Robert De Niro

Val Kilmer

Ashley Judd

Tom Sizemore

I didn't appreciate this film when I first saw it, but something made me watch it again and upon repeated viewings I see the incredible depth of each character, and the masterful way it is directed, shot and edited. The shootout in the LA streets has got to be the greatest such sequence in any film ever.  

Barry Lyndon

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1975

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

Ryan O'Neal

Marisa Berenson

Leon Vitali

Quiet, simmering intensity, with frames that look like 18th-century paintings. 

The Thin Red Line

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1998

Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick

Jim Caviezel

Nick Nolte

Elias Koteas

Ben Chaplin

Sean Penn

Woody Harrelson

The best war film ever made. The face off between Tall and Staros is one of the most intense scenes there is. 

Short Cuts

Year: 

Director: 

Writers: 

 

Starring: 

1993

Robert Altman

Robert Altman

Frank Barhydt

Tim Robbins

Andie MacDowell

Lily Tomlin

Julianne Moore

Matthew Modine

Robert Downey, Jr.

Jack Lemmon

Heartbreaking, funny, poignant stories intersect in early-nineties LA. And what a cast. 

Pulp Fiction

Year: 

Director: 

Writers: 

 

Starring: 

1994

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

Roger Avary

John Travolta

Samuel L. Jackson

Uma Thurman

Bruce Willis

Maria de Medeiros

Ving Rhames

This film blasted into the stratosphere, there have been so many imitators that it can no doubt be tough for new viewers to see just how original this movie is. There was nothing like it, not even close, and despite the imitators there still isn't.

The Graduate

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1967

Mike Nichols

Buck Henry

Dustin Hoffman

Anne Bancroft

Katherine Ross

Every shot is perfect, as is the sound design and the performances.

My Own Private Idaho

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1991

Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant

River Phoenix

Keanu Reeves

River Phoenix is my favorite actor and this is his best performance. He is restrained and yet so open. A truly beautiful film. 

Rumble Fish

Year: 

Director: 

Writers: 

 

Starring: 

1983

Francis Ford Coppola

S.E. Hinton

Francis Ford Coppola

Matt Dillon

Mickey Rourke

Diane Lane

Dennis Hopper

Nicolas Cage

A top director goes experimental, to great effect. In its own dreamy world, with a terrific cast that also includes Tom Waits, Laurence Fishburne and Chris Penn.

Paris, Texas

Year: 

Director: 

Writers: 

 

Starring: 

1984

Wim Wenders

Sam Shepard

Kit Carson

Harry Dean Stanton

Nastassja Kinski

Dean Stockwell

Aurore Clément

This movie is the definition of slow burn, it takes its time and eventually you realize you've been sucked in, as it builds to the most shattering monologue I've seen. 

Stranger Than Paradise

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1984

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

John Lurie

Eszter Balint

Richard Edson

If John Cassavetes' Shadows is phase one as a major touchstone in American independent cinema, Stranger Than Paradise is no doubt phase two. Subtle humor, with a quietly engaging story and characters. It's not flashy but there's just something about this film that makes me love it more with each viewing. 

Do the Right Thing

Year: 

Director: 

Writer: 

Starring: 

1989

Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Danny Aiello

Ossie Davis

Ruby Dee

Rosie Perez

Brilliantly directed and creatively shot, a day in the life story that is so much more, with its themes of racism, police violence, love, hate, remaining poignant and important today, 30 years later. And it's still funny as hell.

Drugstore Cowboy

Year: 

Director: 

Writers: 

Starring: 

1989

Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant

Daniel Yost

Matt Dillon

Kelly Lynch

James LeGros

Heather Graham

Incredible, lived-in performances, top notch camerawork, weird little interludes, this film is just so damn good. 

aaronwertheimer.com  |  aaronmilan@gmail.com

  • TMDB