zodiac

Hello, /Film readers. It is I, Chris Evangelista. You may (or may not!) be familiar with my writing here, as I’ve been contributing to /Film since April. But now I’m part of the staff, and I’m very excited about that. I’m also very excited to tell you my 15 favorite movies. Some of these movies are downright masterpieces, others are like comforting junk food. I try not to limit myself in terms of “quality.” If a movie gets a reaction out of me, I consider it a success.  

I see a lot of movies. Too many, in fact. And what I’m always looking for is that spark. That feeling that I’m seeing something unique; something special; something to make me sit up and take notice.

This was a bit harder than I thought it would be, simply because there are so many movies I could include on this list, but these are the ones that I think are the most important. For now, at least. This list could easily change in a week.

lost in translation

15. Lost In Translation

I saw Lost In Translation when I was 20, a time when I was still a burgeoning cinephile who thought he somehow knew everything there was to know about movies. Then I saw Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film and it completely floored me. I wasn’t entirely aware there were films like this. It was soft, and sad and not concerned with an abundance of plot. It made me homesick for a place I had never even visited. It made me want more and more movies like this. I went out and bought the poster – the one with Scarlett Johansson holding an umbrella. I stared at that tagline, “Everyone wants to be found”, daily. It seems hokey, I suppose, but it made me start looking at films in a completely different way.

meet frankenstein

14. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

My grandfather was the person who introduced me to movies. He was a big movie buff, and whenever I would be at his house he would sit me down in front of the TV and play me VHS tapes (p.s., have I mentioned I’m an old?) of classic films. Two types films he loved to show me the most – classic Universal monster movies, and Abbott and Costello movies. Then he showed me the best of both: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a film that pitted the comedy duo against Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster. It blew my damn child mind that something like this could even exist, and it’s a film I’ll always cherish as a result.

the devils

13. The Devils

I had only heard rumors of Ken Russell’s The Devils for most of my film-based life. Then one Halloween I decided to finally sit down and watch the thing, and it was like a religious experience. No hype or rumor could’ve adequately prepared me for how off-the-wall crazy the film was, and how amazing it was to behold. A tale 17th-century hysteria, The Devils is one of my favorite films just because there’s really nothing else like it.

crimson peak

12. Crimson Peak

I want to live in this movie. I’ve heard plenty of people say that Crimson Peak was a disappointment. To them I say: sit down. This is my favorite Guillermo del Toro movie, a slice of gothic goodness rich in ornate design and featuring Jessica Chastain going craaaaazy. It’s bloody, it’s beautiful, it’s the best. Ghosts, sex and gorgeous set design galore, Crimson Peak is now a film I make sure I pop on every year around Halloween, and maybe some other times too.

in a lonely place

11. In A Lonely Place

My father was a big Humphrey Bogart fan, and for years I must confess I didn’t quite get it. I mean, sure, I got that Bogart seemed like an incredible cool cat, always puffing away on a cigarette, always scowling. But so what? Then I saw Nicholas Ray’s brilliant, melancholy In a Lonely Place, which cast Bogart in a whole new light for me. He’s not super cool in this film; he’s an angry, frightened has-been who may or may not be a murderer. It’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, from any actor, and the film around Bogart is just as brilliant. The last few minutes of this flick will wreck you.

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