Five cool directors supply a list of their five favorite films

Posted on 18 March 2009 by HansKlopek

Hey, Hans here. This item is close to a week old, but I doubt that many of you have glimpsed it. Gwyneth Paltrow recently posted an item on her blog where she listed the five favorite films of Steven Speilberg, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, James Gray, and Jon Favreau.

gwyneth-paltrowIf you are anything like me, then this stuff fascinates you because you like to know what really interesting filmmakers hold near and dear to their heart, and also because it just gives you a good recommendation for stuff to see. For those who might not know, James Gray recently directed Paltrow alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Vinessa Shaw in Two Lovers and before that had directed Phoenix in We Own the Night and a great, underseen film called The Yards (Below Radar review forthcoming). I honestly just find a lot of these picks very funny, particularly Jon Favreau’s (look at them and you’ll see what I mean.

So check these out. Anderson, Gray, and Favreau all supplied commentary for their choices. Spielberg simply supplied his picks and so did Coppola, although her picks are very interesting, and not in a geeky, sophisticated way, but in a disturbingly recent way. She does list Let the Right One In though, and if Sofia, the spawn of Francis, the cousin of Nick Cage, the cousin of Jason Schwartzman, and the neice of Talia Shire, likes it then you have to see if right away. Check out Shep’s review right here.

Anyway, here we go. I have to say, good show, Gwyneth Paltrow.

steven-spielbergSteven’s Favorites:

The Best Years of Our Lives

Captain’s Courageous

The Godfather

The Searchers


Wes’ Picks:

Terror’s Advocate

Barbet Schroeder’s great documentary, Terror’s Advocate, also relates to another one I would highly recommend,wes-anderson which is Marcel Ophüls’ documentary Hôtel Terminus (except I think you can only get it on VHS). There is kind of a miniature version of Terror’s Advocate in the middle of it.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
This is a Japanese cartoon that is very difficult to describe and might not sound that great if I tried anyway. It is 24 episodes, and we watched them all in less than a week because you start to want to believe it’s real. This could spawn something like Scientology.

From the Life of Marionettes
I’d never heard of this until last month. It’s an Ingmar Bergman movie he made in Germany where I think he was a tax exile.

Life Lessons
The Martin Scorsese part of New York Stories. It’s about a painter.

More or less anything that says The Criterion Collection across the top it. The most recent one I had never seen before and loved was Costa-Gavras’ Missing.

Jon’s Picks:

jon-favreauSeven Samurai

Kurosawa’s masterpiece. A real study in storytelling and cinematography. Remade into The Magnificent Seven and later Roger Corman’s The Last Starfighter. Three hours and you never check your watch.

Kung Fu Panda

My seven-year-old son said Iron Man was his second favorite film last year. This one was his first.

Top Chef Boxed Set

I downloaded the whole series, and the L.A.-to-Europe flight was over before I knew it.

Visions of Light

A wonderful overview of the history of cinematography with a who’s who of interviews and great clips in context. Perhaps my favorite documentary. I watch it every few years.

Directed by Michael Crichton. Great concept. Great violence. Yul Brenner created the paradigm for Jason and the Terminator.

James’ Picks:

Rocco and His Brothers
This is a beautiful movie that takes its time but comes to a full boil and devastates. Luchino Visconti’s 1960 epic detailsjames-gray the tragedies of an Italian family that migrates from Italy’s agrarian south to its industrialized north.

The 400 Blows

Francois Truffaut’s classic about the struggles and joys of youth. Tender and unforgettable.

Singin’ In The Rain
Pure joy. Film’s transition from the silents to sound with an acrobatic Gene Kelly leading the way.

The Godfather/The Godfather Part Two
Yes, two movies, not one – I’m not cheating. These two classics are impossible to separate, bound together by story, cast, theme, look and greatness.

Tokyo Story

Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu’s magnificent picture about how we disrespect our elders. So moving it becomes almost unbearable; a transcendent experience.

sofia-coppolaSophia’s [sic] Picks:

The Last Picture Show


Chris Rock – Never Scared

Heartbreak Kid

Let the Right One In                           

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