Favorite Movies A-Z: Groundhog Day

What is perhaps original to this film is that it is such a mundane man and such a mundane day. Too much has been made of how this mundanity leads to great spiritual awakening. There is nothing particularly religious or spiritual about what happens to our trapped protagonist. The truths he apprehends tend to be the same philosophic truths that do not require revelation to apprehend; they are part of the common store of humanity. Though at times we forget or ignore them, they are the province of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Favorite Movies A-Z: The Godfather

This is the quintessential mafia movie. More than Goodfellas, more than Little Caesar, more than anything else before or since. It is so influential that despite its fictional nature even real-life mafiosos have had their behavior and attitudes affected by the film, not just film and television gangsters. This mark of its greatness is also its greatest flaw.

Favorite Moves A-Z: The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

When he does manage to talk to Taeko for more than just a few moments and attempts to explain how he feels, he says that what he likes is "the flavor of green tea over rice". She does not find this illuminating. As viewers, however, we are afforded an additional insight into his character that his wife is denied when a chance encounter leads to him reuniting with his wartime platoon sergeant.

Favorite Movies A-Z: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Jim Carrey first made his bones by being an insanely frenetic, rubber-faced comic. There seemed no limit to the lengths of silliness he would explore in search of laughs. But the man isn't without intelligence and, more to the point, an inclination for introspection. This has led to him later in his career appearing more and more frequently in films that are far less comic and considerably more serious in tone than those that really launched his career.

Favorite Movies A-Z: The Empire Strikes Back

Perhaps it falls under "damning with faint praise", but this is the best movie in what has become a sprawling, bloated, incomprehensible monstrosity of a "universe". It's a relic of a leaner, more thoughtful, artistic time. It might be lacking, but it had aspirations and made the effort and I'll always have a soft spot for fine craftsmanship even if it doesn't quite rise to the level of art.

Favorite Movies A-Z: The Emperor’s New Groove

There are some serious plot holes, but if you're coming to a Disney animated film for strict narrative consistency, well that seems like a reason for some introspection on your part. The movie follows a pretty simple plot, at least in the broad strokes: spoiled royal learns virtue and humility through adversity and companionship with a noble peasant. The genius is in the details and in the characters.