If you’re not aware of Film Crit Hulk, you need to remedy that, as he’s nigh single-handedly working to turn the world of online film criticism into a better, more high-minded place. Some time ago, he published an article comprised of a smattering of reasons he came to and continues to love movies. It became a call to arms of sorts, with similar beacons being lit across the internet and forming a chain of celebration of the moving image. I humbly offer my voice to the proceedings.
Why I Love Movies
Because his name’s Murphy.
Because The Fly can be both one of the most disgusting and most moving films I’ve ever seen.
Because of the opening scene of The Naked Kiss.
Because Buster Keaton actually did most of that stuff.
Because John Cassavetes put it all on the line.
Because up to a certain age, I truly believed that when someone died in a movie that they were dying in real life, and that it was because they had decided that playing that role was worth sacrificing themselves if it served the story.
And because I felt like maybe that was worth it.
Because of Bernstein’s speech about the girl in the cotton dress.
Because of Sidney Greenstreet’s gut.
Because King of Comedy and After Hours aren’t even Scorsese’s best films.
Because on paper, I should hate a movie about a donkey that suffers, but Au Hasard Balthasar destroys me every time.
Because a moment as small as Adrian Brody showing Thomas Kretschmann his can of pickles can say so much.
Because back when there was no internet, I had to go to great to lengths to even hear of some of them, let alone find and see them.
And because that never felt like work.
Because of the end of Modern Times.
Because of the end of The Wild Bunch.
Because of how excited I get when Al Pacino pulls Robert DeNiro over and asks if he wants to get a cup of coffee.
Because in the end, Kikuchio proves himself.
Because I learned to talk to girls by directing recess recreations of my favorite scenes from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Because a movie like Duck Soup can leave me bursting at the seams with the inherent joy and possibility of existence.
And because Apocalypse Now reminds me of the inescapable darkness within us all.
Because of when Travis Bickle stops and then restarts his voiceover halfway through Taxi Driver.
Because the fights in Spider-Man 2 really hurt.
Because of Luis Bunuel.
Because even though I could never have an actual conversation with my father, we could watchTombstone together and feel like we were sharing something.
Because Gene Kelly had a fever of 103 when he did this:
Because Blade Runner can be such a great movie even if Ridley Scott seems to have no idea why.
Because Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind means something completely different to me every time I watch it.
Because of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Because I don’t care how full of shit JFK is.
Because of “Girlfriend is Better” and the big suit.
Because they helped me and my brothers survive some dreadfully boring summers.
Because of Love and Hate.
Because I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love Die Hard.
Because Ace in the Hole, Dr. Strangelove, and Network are just as searing, frightening, and true as they were decades ago.
Because even though I had no idea what was going on the first time I saw Mulholland Dr., I knew that I had seen something life-changing.
Because something like Brewster McCloud could ever have gotten made.
Because I was going to write “because of the last scene of Hard Eight,” and then realized that it was ludicrous to even try to limit the career of Paul Thomas Anderson to one scene, let alone to one from a film that doesn’t even scratch the surface of his gifts or impact.
Because, having said that, of Rahad Jackson and “Jesse’s Girl.”
Because whether I like it or not, I Know What You Did Last Summer was one of the first dates I ever went on.
Because a film in which a 13-year-old girl jams a crucifix into her vagina and tells her mother to lick it was the biggest hit of its day.
Because every frame of Kubrick is a stand against compromise.
Because of Billy Wilder’s range.
Because of the infuriating ease with which the Coen Brothers seem to do everything.
Because I could sit next to my first-ever ex-girlfriend in English class and distract myself by trying to figure out how in the hell the Queen Alien got onboard the Sulaco.
Because of this shot:
And this one:
And this one:
Because I worked in a movie theater for three years and it didn’t kill the aura.
Because of the Class of '99.
Because, for better or worse, Brian De Palma never half-asses anything.
Because “I’m Easy.”
Because of Paul Newman out-cheating Robert Shaw at poker.
Because they’re powerful enough for people to feel threatened by them.
Because even though I could only see what the hell was going on half the time for the static, I re-rented that old VHS tape of Eraserhead from Vision Video all throughout my college years.
Because, goddammit, I cry every single time Kevin Costner asks his dad if he wants to have a catch.
And because, even though they would never admit it today, I saw people whom I never would have expected to do so openly sobbing at the end of Titanic.
Because the “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” scene in Cabaret presents something so evil and foreboding in a way that manages to be as graceful as it is frightening.
Because I wince every single time I see King Kong hit the side of the Empire State Building on his way down.
Because after years of trying to convince my mom to let me see The Silence of the Lambs, I finally snuck in a Showtime Free Preview viewing one night without her permission only to come home and find out that she had taped it for me.
Because of the way Orson Welles is revealed in The Third Man.
Because of Clint Eastwood’s squint and laconic humor.
Because of the last scene of Brokeback Mountain.
Because of the last scene of Late Spring.
Because the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark is ten minutes of character-and-world-building perfection.
Because over the course of his career, Robert Altman may have said everything there is to say about living in this world.
Because of Fellini’s imagination.
Because I will still defend Life is Beautiful.
Because The Shining terrifies me every single time I watch it.
Because the opening narration of Adaptation made me feel like someone had stolen my brain.
Because of the ribald, blasphemous sincerity of The Devils.
Because no matter the content of his films, Quentin Tarantino is still attentive to the rhythms of real life.
Because Vito brought home the pear.
Because the more you watch Persona, the further it lets you in.
Because Jeff Goldblum and James Spader read their lines in ways that no one else on the planet would ever think of.
Because of the collective gasp in the theater the moment Kevin Spacey got shot in L.A. Confidential.
Because Lost in Translation is so warm and delicate that I wish I could wrap my arms around it.
Because the Star Child has stared into my eyes in 70mm and I realized why some people, upon original release, tried to run into the screen.
Because of Miek Leigh's process, and the emotional dividends it yields.
Because Pedro Almodovar has so much love for even his most appalling characters.
Because Ben Gazarra in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie can give a performance that is at once so pathetic and yet so noble.
Because of Jurassic Park.
Because of Tim Burton’s Batman, even if it doesn’t hold up.
Because of Bela Lugosi.
Because of Sonny Chiba.
Because of The Crippled Masters.
Because of the score to Vertigo.
Because of Jack Warden's exasperation.
Because of M. Emmett Walsh's drawling, easy-going sleaze.
Because Takashi Shimura makes it just a little more difficult to say that Toshiro Mifune is my favorite Kurosawa alumnus.
Because of Ennio Morricone.
Because of Victor Sjostrom in Wild Strawberries.
Because of Grace Kelly's entrance in Rear Window.
Because Sarbojaya Ray is able to give into her turmoil without seeming any less strong.
Because you do not want to fuck with Bette Davis in All About Eve.
Or with Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion.
Because of Rita Hayworth
Because of Setsuko Hara
Because of the Gamin.
Because they make me fall in love with people who don’t exist.
Because the good guys win.
Because the good guys lose.
Because “I need the eggs.”
Because, “You need to learn to trust people.”
Oh hell, because of every word Woody Allen ever wrote.
Because “I’ll be right here.”
Because “Did you just call me Coletrane?”
Because “No one ever loved me that much.”
Because “You bow to no one.”
Because “Yes, it’s true – this man has no dick.”
Because, “…it’s Chinatown.”
Because “deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
“Because it’s dull, you twit, it’ll hurt more!”
Because “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”
Because “I am, and forever shall be, your friend.”
Because they remind me that I’m not alone.
Because so many people feel compelled to make them without possessing even a suggestion of talent.
Because thanks to the times in which we live, there is going to be an overwhelming array of brilliant filmmakers given voice who otherwise would never have been heard from.
Because they're important enough that it can sometimes be easy to take them too seriously, forgetting just why we love them so much to begin with, until we come across one that reminds us why we need them.
Because a shy, awkward little boy could soak them into his bones, building an expertise that would give him a sense of place in a world in which he often felt he didn't belong.
Because he could still find comfort in that as he grew into an equally shy, awkward adult.
Because I could write an entire series of similar lists with absolutely no overlap.
Because no matter how many reasons I give, it will still feel insufficient.
And because I already feel guilty about everything I’ve left out.