NLTZ Must See

A small sample of the best cinema I’ve seen. By no means complete..

CITIZEN CANE… The story BEHIND the movie is as good as the movie itself. Welles was a genius and this film is a masterpiece.GLENGARRY GLENROSS… According to the late Jack Lemmon, this was the finest cast he had ever seen. The line that tells the story of this whole film comes from Alan Arkin, “What DID you say..” An amazing movie and Alec Baldwins monologue as Blake is not to be missed. UNFORGIVEN… “Did he spit on some rich fella?” A true western classic that can only be topped by…

THE WILD BUNCH… “Silver rings..” Sam Peckinpah’s dedication to realism put you right there. I literally feel the heat on the set in Mexico.

SLING BLADE… “French fried potaters?” Billy Bob should have received the Best Actor Oscar for this role.

DR. STRANGELOVE… “He’ll see the big board.” Kubrick’s classic will always be one of my favorites.

MIDNIGHT RUN… “Jack….Jack.” I can still hear Charles Grodin in his best role ever.

GOODFELLAS… “I’m funny how, how am I funny..” Scorcese’s BEST.

THE BIG LEBOWSKI… I won’t use any quotes from Lebowski. If you don’t love Lebowski or for that matter ANYTHING made by the incomparable Coen brothers, you can’t be helped by either modern science or medicine.

MILLERS CROSSING… “I’M SICK OF THE HIGH HAT!” Try to follow this film. Watch it again. And again. And again…

ABOUT SCHMIDT… A personal favorite but one that others may not like. One of my favorite scenes is when Jack Nicholson leaves the building he worked his whole life at and sees his files from his entire career in the trash. A wonderful movie. I’ve always said I like it because its not About Schmidt, its ABOUT ME..

SIDEWAYS… Just to see Paul Giamatti’s expressions. Paul says as much with his face in this as he does with his mouth. I see too much of Miles Raymond in me as well.. Same director as ABOUT SCHMIDT.. coincidence?

TIN MEN… “Bonanza? Three 47 year old men with a 50 year old father…” A classic dark comedy from Barry Levinson. Danny DiVito shines. It is a goodie.

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT… “It’s Paul’s grandfather..” This movie managed to capture the frenzy of the Beatle phenomenon. No better “music” film has ever been made.

PATTON… George C. Scott hit this one perfectly. In our age of “PC”, George Patton would have been dismissed before getting to West Point.

WAG THE DOG… “I want the credit..” Too close to the truth NOT to be funny..

FAWLTY TOWERS… “Manuel!!” John Cleese is a genius and the entire Fawlty collection is wonderful. I find Fawlty to be even better than his Monty Python work.

SOUTH PARK… ANYTHING. PERIOD. Cartman tamed by Cesar Milan?


INSIDE 9-11… National Geographic’s finest work.

BEYOND CONSPIRACY…Try to deny it. You can’t.

A nod MUST go to..THE THREE STOOGES. I know, I know.. They were without question comic geniuses regardless of what anyone thinks of slapstick comedy. Who didn’t run home from school to see them at 3:30..

My final movie is one you have probably never seen. Everyone overlooks it. PARADISE ALLEY… An early Sylvester Stallone movie that he himself may not think too much of. I can’t explain it, it just hits the spot with me. The scene where Victor dumps the ice down the stairs: He is leaving all he has ever known to pursue wrestling to buy his “house boat in Jersey.” If I am alone on this one, so be it…


22 responses to “NLTZ Must See

  1. Nope! You’re not alone re:PARADISE ALLEY!
    I don’t know why more people havn’t seen this film! Sly was definitely more raw, a bit skittish and too quick with his delivery but classic Stallone! He was NOT slow & monosyllabic (sp?), proving that ROCKY & RAMBO were just characters he created with that tendency! (GET IT, Hollywood?!?!!!!?)
    We love ya, Sly!!

  2. Ron Phillips

    I always say that an amazing move for it’s day was “Idol Maker”, I don’t see it anymore, but I freakin’ loved it as a kid…

  3. Dianna, I think we are alone on “Paradise”, Sly himself apologizes for it…Ron, I will try to check out “idol Maker.”…Larry

  4. About schmidt killed me. In addition to the files of a whole career in the trash another couple rib ticklers….

    1. “who is this woman that lives with me…” about the wife. Hilarious.

    2. The big RV -“I thought eating breakfast here would be fun!” oofah!

    2. The daughter has “some important position in the IT field” later on when she answers the phone at work – “Shipping, can I help you?” Cracked me up.

    3. The boyfriend – mattress salesguy with a mullet. A father’s nightmare.

  5. noleftturnz

    Big MiC, Both “Schmidt” and “Sideways” came from the same director. When he sitting in his office on the last day at work and he is just watching the clock tick towards five o’clock…he won’t leave until straight up five..”I wanted to go as far as the Minnie Winnie but she wanted the whole she bang!” It truly is a masterpiece that most everyone missed… Stop by again and let me know what you think..Larry

  6. Unforgiven!
    “We all got it comin’, kid…”

    One of Eastwood’s best, imo.

  7. Max, Can’t forget “you better bury Ned right..” “I’m writer..” “What, letters and such?” One of the best westerns ever. Thanks, Larry

  8. Wow, Atomic Cafe. I actually called the director in NY (teh Discovery channel pointed me his direction of all things) to find a copy of it way back when. Have it on VHS, very interesting stuff.

  9. Patrick, You can easily “feel” the blatant liberal bias but the humor of it has always made it too hard to resist. Thanks, Larry

  10. I love A Hard Days Night!!! “If I Fell” and “The Things We said Today” are two of my all-time fave songs!!! Great flick too.

  11. Amy D., I’ve been told that “A Hard Days Night” is shown at film schools. Decades ahead of its time. MTV and the “music video” basically started here..Thanks, Larry

  12. Larry, back once more to make a brief comment abut this list (my long comments were on your “Must Hear List”.

    “About Schmidt” has to be one of the greatest “slice of life” films ever made. The complete turn around by Schmidt in the bathroom where he decides what to say at his daughters reception is wonderful.

    Once again you’ve sparked my interest in some films which I have yet to see. Thank God for the Blockbuster gift certificate I got for my birthday. Will take your list with me and start “expanding my horizons”…something I told my kids to do all the time. Never too old!

    Have you ever heard of or seen “Vernon, Florida”? Can’t recommend it enough for an out-of-the-ordinary little film. It is an odd-ball survey (documentary) of the inhabitants of a remote swamp-town in the Florida panhandle. It was directed by Errol Morris, who also made “Gates of Heaven” about pet cemeteries and “The Thin Blue Line”, about “in-justice” in America.

    Just a chance for you to enjoy a truly eccentric movie about some very weird people. (Turkey hunters, insurance scam artists, people who collect sand, etc.) Really funny and very well made.


  13. KC, Even though I like the ones I have listed, I would hit the rental aisle first..just in case I threw one in there that really doesn’t hit the spot with you..

    EXACTLY!! “About Schmidt”, I have aways said, seems to “hit home” because its “About Me”..that it is “realism” on the screen. Most love the movies as an “escape”, I am fond of those movies that are “just within the reach of reality”, that you could see it happening to you. Put “Little Miss Sunshine” on that list as well..Alexander Payne, who directs both “Schmidt” and “Sideways” really has a feel..BOTH movies are very high up on the list with me. Payne’s use of “extras”, those who color the backdrops of his films, are almost as fascinating as the film itself. As stupid as it sounds, I will watch a film a number of times in order to see that small things that a mastr like Payne will subtly include.

    If you don’t mind reading fiction, (the liberals would include my site on that list…)check out both books, Schmidt and “Sideways”. Haven’t read Schmidt, but enjoyed “Sideways” BEFORE I saw Schmidt. Payne’s greatest gift, in my humble opinion, is his ability to take a draft,tweak and trim it in to a masterpiece. I’ve been told that people who read and saw “Schmidt” saw Warren transformed into a “regular” guy for the film, (they said he was an attorney in the book.) in order for the elites to laugh at people like us. Whatever, I know I do things everyday that should be laughed at..

    Sorry that this got long,’s kind of fun to talk about something other than the election once and awhile..

    Hurry back, my friend..


    I will look up “Vernon Florida” but whats the synopsis of “Thin Blue Line”? I hope it’s not another “lets beat up the cops” movie as…well, thats what I do for a living. Not to say that everyone wearing the badge is a saint, but its hard to hear about each and every case of the “cop gone wrong” syndrome.. Personally, I am incredibly happy that DNA evidence collection and processing has become a little more affordable. Hopefully those incarcerated wrongly can be exonerated. I also hope that their imprisonment was what I call an “error of enthusiasm” and not malace..KC, sorry to “rant” on this..I don’t often talk about “work”..Most individuals around here are actually found guilty due to the falsely named,”eye witness” testimony which I personally believe is BY FAR the weakest link in the evidetiary chain..

  14. Larry, Thanks for your response. I found clips of Vernon Florida and other Errol Morris films on You Tube. Google them and you’ll find all sorts of things. The Thin Blue Line basically is a story of finding the real guilty party in the killing of a police officer in Dallas, Texas.

    I’ll have to find Schmidt, the book. Sounds very interesting.

    BTW: I also like to go back and re-watch movies I enjoy. I have seen The Ladykillers with Alec Guinnes at least a dozen times. One of the “gang” keeps making hand gestures the way Harry Truman did when he spoke. Cracks me up every time I see it. And looking at the extras and props and even locations in any number of films is fascinating. I’m an old thespian who “ruins” the movies for my wife since I tell her how all the things are done, what’s real and what’s fake, and discuss the lighting, costumes, etc., etc. Can’t get the pancake out of one’s blood!

    Agree…nice to talk about stuff other than the election. (Enjoyed your 21 Aug comments.)

    I’ve heard the same thing about “eye witness” testimony. Would sure hate to be wrongly convicted of anything based on an eye witness report. Apparently you are involved with the legal system in some way. Keep up the good fight.

    Regards, KC

  15. KC,

    Sometimes for me its not the backround and the extras that is fascinating to me, sometimes its the backdrop of the people themselves..

    The back story to “Citizen Kane” is probably more fascinating than the movie itself, which is probably the greatest film ever made.

    Even the back story on Welles himself is fsacinating.

    From what I have been told, he produced one of the best versions ever of Macbeth while in Harlem with the WPA grants, his Julius Ceasar/Nuremburg trials was considered to be one of the best Shakespeare productions ever, his radio braodcast of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is considered to be probably the best radio broadcast ever. Then he gets handed the keys to RKO whereupon “Kane” was created.

    It sounds like I am in your stomping grounds here. Tell me what you think.

    From the top of the world to the bottom..Welles ends up doing small time commercial voice overs while trying to find anyone to produce his plays where he dies virtually pennyless.

    Did you see the Coen brother version of the “Ladykillers”?

    It took a few views but they did an admirable job of covering the original while giving it a little “update.”

    KC, if you would like to be the NLTZ film critic, with your backround and experience, it would be kind of fun to hear your take on the “blockbusters” that come along. (The Dark Knight, etc..)

    Take care and let me know if there are any other gems out there worth taking in. Its the preverbial “needle in the haysack” but it sounds as though its something that you truly enjoy.

    What a sad but incredibly fascinating story.That whirlwind from 1936-1941 must have been something..the stuff of dreams.

  16. Larry,
    Couldn’t agree more with your assessment of Kane. Even using the term “Rosebud” shows another level of the genius of Wells. The IMDB comments on this film are extremely insightful. I wasn’t fully aware of all the details of the technical innovations Wells did on this film…visually and aurally.

    You are in my stomping grounds, but I believe I will forever bow to your higher level of competence and knowledge. I am the king of little known and useless facts; able to throw out a buzz word or two in just about any conversation, but then let others carry on the deeper conversations. I would therefore potentially find myself in some “deep do-do” should I ever attempt to do any serious film critic work. I may drop you a line, once in a while, regarding a favorite film, or one that I have just viewed. I have some old favorites that someday I may comment on for your enjoyment.

    Until then, you have my best regards.


  17. KC,

    Rosebud was probably the final shot across Hearst’s bow. Welles teaming up with Mank was too incindeary..Mank hated the Hollywood elite but I believe that he held something deeper for Hearst.

    I can’t for the life of me remember who it was but someone said to Welles after viewing “Kane”, “Quit now kid, you’ll never top it.”

    The movie destroyed its two main “characters”, Welles and Hearst..Absolutely fascinating.

    “The King of Esoterica” is how you have billied yourself. Thats all that I am. I can hold onto morsels of information and I can reach back in and grab them. I have no “higher level of competence and knowledge”, we are the same.

    All hail the King, for the floor is yours….

    Thanks as always,


  18. KC,

    Have you ever seen “Barton Fink”?

    It is a Coen brothers film.

    For the longest time “Barton” got by me. I enjoyed the Coens wacky characters, Tony Shaloub in particular as Ben Geisler..

    I now think the Barton Fink is the Coens homage to the whole Welles/Hearst/Kane saga..

    There are just too many similarites for it to be a coincidence..

    What do you think?

    If you haven’t seen it, be prepared to watch it at least twice..

    Thanks as always,


  19. Just checked in…will check it out and get back to you. Sounds very interesting.


  20. KC,

    Let me know what you think..

    Maybe I’m nuts but I see too many references.

    Love the Coens.


  21. I just love “The Black Stallion” – the gorgeous music and scenery always give me the shivers and make me wanna cry. A masterpiece.

  22. Very impressive list. I agree very much with the majority of it especially:
    The Big Lebowski, Unforgiven, and of course the anything with the Beatles. My favorite part is when George walks into the teen marketing dept. and comments on the newest teen idol”We turn the sound down and say rude things about her.” Classic, I actually saw it for the first time in the theatre for .50 cents. It’s hard to beleive that you did not add the Godfather 1 or 2 or is that like saying my favorite Who song is Won’t get fooled Again instead of Pure and Easy, to obvious???

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