Welcome to GriefSpeak's "Words of Wisdom," a come-as-you-are blog containing some random thoughts and observations which hopefully matter about the world-at-large and our place in it. Please come back often as the subjects and tone will change weekly, ranging from film, the arts, politics and kitchen cabinets (not necessarily in that order).


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The Montreal Expos: Nos Amours No More

The Montreal Expos may no longer be a Major League Franchise, but they will live on forever. Read the full article here


Over the years many people have repeatedly asked me the question what is my favourite film of all time? My usual answer is that the question is unfair. How could I pick just one film over so many masterpieces!? Often, I have distributed to friends and colleagues lists of films that I love for one reason or the other, so I've decided to post one here.

The following films are in no specific order or preference and reflect a range of personal interests, from Hollywood to independent to foreign. I truly love them all and each would make a great rental. With all the films I've seen in my life, I think it would be unfair to try to even choose a top 10. Some on this list I'm sure you've probably seen, but to be honest, most on this list if not all are worth a second or third look. I have given a short blurb on each and approximate dates of release. For each and any a search of the director would also bring up other good films to watch. By no means is this list complete. Enjoy! Drop me a line at: ag@griefilm.com. See you at the movies!

  1. THE GODFATHER 1 & 2 (Francis Ford Coppola - 1970s) If you don't know what these are about, you don't deserve to read any further

  2. BAD LIEUTENANT (Abel Ferrera - 1990) Harvey Keitel is the bad lieutenant; and trust me, he's bad!

  3. MYSTERY TRAIN (Jim Jarmusch - 1989) Bunch of people with different stories somehow intermingle at a hotel in nashville

  4. DOWN BY LAW (Jim Jarmusch - 1986) Tom Waits and Roberto Benigni escape from prison. Now that's entertainment!

  5. DEAD MAN (Jim Jarmusch - 1995) Johnny Depp in this western with a score by Neil Young

  6. KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (John Cassavetes - 1977) Ben Gazzara has to kill the bookie to pay off his gambling debt

  7. WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (John Cassavetes - 1974) Peter Falk pre-Columbo days

  8. SHADOWS (John Cassavetes - 1959) Early New American Cinema classic breaks down colour barriers

  9. BARRY LYNDON (Stanley Kubrick - 1974) The master's period piece. We got this instead of his planned film on Napoleon. Special lenses borrowed from NASA were used to shoot with only candlelight to get that 1800s painterly look

  10. APOCALYPSE NOW (Francis Ford Coppola - 1978) The documentary HEART OF DARKNESS by Coppola's wife Eleanor is a great companion to this classic Vietnam film

  11. THE CONVERSATION (Francis Ford Coppola --1972) Gene Hackman in a great role, pre-FRENCH CONNECTION days

  12. DR. STRANGELOVE (1962) (Stanley Kubrick - 1962) Peter Sellers plays three roles. As the American president he exclaims "Gentleman, there's no fighting allowed in the War Room!" You will laugh at this black comedy

  13. THE SHINING (Stanley Kubrick - 1980) The master's horror film. Good companion to this is Vivian Kubrick's documentary THE MAKING OF THE SHINING, available on the DVD, along with her commentary

  14. CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles - 1941) At only 25, Welles reinvented the cinema. This is based on J. Randolph Hearst, who luckily wasn't powerful enough to suppress the film

  15. TOUCH OF EVIL (Orson Welles - 1958) Considered the last real film noir. See Janet Leigh before she takes a shower in PSYCHO

  16. 400 COUPS (FOUR HUNDRED BLOWS) (Francois Truffaut - 1959) Jean Pierre Leaud is a simple kid who has a knack for getting into trouble. Made me cry the first time I saw it

  17. TIREZ SUR LE PIANISTE (SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER) (Francois Truffaut - 1961) Raymond Chandler style dime store novel movie

  18. A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (BREATHLESS) (Jean Luc Godard - 1959) Almost 20 years after Welles Godard reinvented the cinema again. See Belmondo and the tragic Jean Seberg

  19. WHEN WE WERE KINGS Great documentary on Mohammed Ali and the Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman

  20. LOLITA (Stanley Kubrick -- 1960) James Mason plays the perv in the Nabokov unfilmable story

  21. PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock - 1960) The first slasher film. Stereotyped Anthony Perkins

  22. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (Alfred Hitchcock --1957) Cary Grant is great with Eva Marie Saint and James Mason and a young Martin Landau

  23. VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock - 1959) Jimmy Stewart in one of Hitch's best

  24. BLAZING SADDLES (Mel Brooks - 1972) If you can't laugh at farting scenes or horses gettin' punched out, then don't bother watching this western farce

  25. RUN LOLA RUN (Tom Tykwer - 1999) Lola tries to save her boyfriend. Boy can she run. Three different episodes. Try to pay attention to what changes between each episode

  26. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (Alfonso Cuaron - 2001) Mexican coming-of-age film

  27. AMELIE (Jean-Pierre Jeunet - 2001) French and entertaining

  28. CHINATOWN (Roman Polanski - 1973) Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston - need I say more!

  29. KOYANNISQATSI (Godfrey Reggio - 1983) Predecessor of BARAKA, images and sound make points about our society

  30. LA NUIT AMERICAINE (DAY FOR NIGHT) (Francois Truffaut - 1975) Truffaut won his only oscar for this film starring Jacqueline Bisset

  31. JULES ET JIM (Francois Truffaut - 1962) Jeanne Moreau classic

  32. EASY RIDER (Dennis Hopper - 1969) Sixties classic defined the era

  33. THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (Rainer Werner Fassbinder - 1979) German film set during WWII. Good to see Germans portraying themselves for a change

  34. FIVE EASY PIECES (Bob Rafelson - 1970) Jack Nicholson is great and begins to define the persona we'd come to love

  35. THE GRADUATE (Mike Nicholls - 1968) A classic with Dustin Hoffman's breakthrough role and Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack to end all soundtracks. Try to imagine this film without the music

  36. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (Sergio Leone -- 1966) Okay maybe this film has the soundtrack to end all soundtracks by Ennio Morricone. Clint Eastwood took a risk making this spaghetti western filmed in Italy. Smart man. Anything by Leone could be on this list

  37. THE WILD BUNCH (Sam Peckinpah - 1969) William Holden and Ernie Borgnine play bad cowboys in this film eulogizing the end of the west

  38. THE TIN DRUM (Volker Schlondorff - 1979) German film kinda creepy but a classic

  39. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (John Frankenheimer - 1962) Eerily prophetic given assassination soon after. Remake this year I also recommend

  40. THE PAWNBROKER (Sidney Lumet - 1964) Rod Steiger in a very powerful performance

  41. RAGING BULL (Martin Scorsese - 1980) Scorsese's masterpiece; he should have won the best director oscar that year

  42. SUNSET BOULEVARD (Billy Wilder - 1950) William Holden in this noir-esque L.A. tale

  43. SALESMAN (Maysles Brothers - 1968) Documentary about bible salesman and how they prey on people's faith in god. Main salesman made out to be Willy Loman-esque a la Death of a Salesman. Can't even sell a bible to a priest

  44. TITICUT FOLLIES (Frederick Wiseman -- 1967) Documentary. Who's crazy? The inmates or the people running this mental institution. Wiseman is the king of the institutional / fly on the wall film

  45. THE YEAR OF THE PIG (Emile de Antonio - 1968) Documentary. Before Michael Moore there was De Antonio. Anti-Vietnam film while the war was raging

  46. MILHOUSE: A WHITE COMEDY (Emile de Antonio - 1970) Documentary. De Antonio was the only filmmaker priviliged to be on Richard Nixon's hate list

  47. GIMME SHELTER (Maysles Brothers -- 1970) Documentary. The Altamont debacle caught on film and classic Rolling Stones tunes when they were still fresh

  48. THE THIN BLUE LINE (Errol Morris - 1988) Documentary. The true power of film-the film successfully argued the wrongful conviction of a man

  49. FOG OF WAR (Errol Morris - 2003) Robert McNamara, former defense secretary during JFK's and LBJ's administrations, comes clean, sort of

  50. MR DEATH: THE RISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LEUCHTER JR. (Errol Morris - 1999) Documentary. Execution expert, this guy's a creep

  51. BADLANDS (Terence Malick -- 1973) See Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek young, reenacting the Starkweather murders of the fifties

  52. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Stanley Kubrick - 1968) The master's space movie. More real than space itself

  53. THE PASSENGER (Michaelangelo Antonioni - 1975) Great Jack Nicholson film

  54. RED DESERT (Michaelangelo Antonioni - 1963) Great Italian film, worth it just to stare at Monica Vitti

  55. 8 ½ (Federico Fellini - 1964) Strange and good. Fellini's masterpiece

  56. STAGECOACH (John Ford - 1939) You knew there'd have to be at least one John Wayne film on this list, right?

  57. GILDA (Charles Vidor - 1946) Rita Hayworth may be the ultimate siren in this classic film noir

  58. THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (Orson Welles - 1948) Welles was married to Rita Hayworth at the time and had her trademark red hair cut and dyed blonde to Columbia Pictures President's dismay

  59. SHANGHAI EXPRESS (Josef von Sternberg - 1932) Marlene Dietrich in this classic

  60. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (David Lynch - 2002) Weird and strange but it works here

  61. WILD AT HEART (David Lynch - 1990) Nicholas Cage is great in this

  62. PLATOON (Oliver Stone -1989) Probably the most honest Hollywood portrayal of what really went on in Vietnam

  63. THIRTEEN DAYS (Roger Donaldson - 2000) Cuban Missile Crisis revealed

  64. VIVRE SA VIE (MY LIFE TO LIVE) (Jean Luc Godard -- 1963) My fav. Godard film, Anna Karina is hot

  65. POINT BLANK (John Boorman - 1967) Lee Marvin had to be on this list somewhere

  66. 25th HOUR (Spike Lee - 2002) This film sort of came and went but I think it's one of Lee's best films

  67. MEMENTO (Christopher Nolan - 2000) See if you can follow this one

  68. PI (Darren Aronofsky - 1998) Black and white and dark atmosphere make for a compelling film here

  69. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (Darren Aronofsky - 2000) Do not watch this film before bed because you'll be wired after watching it

  70. MAGNOLIA (P.T. Anderson - 1999) Ensemble cast about people and their problems

  71. BOOGIE NIGHTS (P.T. Anderson - 1997) Porn became cool all of a sudden. Reinvigorated Burt Reynolds' career

  72. THE PLAYER (Robert Altman - 1992) Ensemble cast, maybe Tim Robbins' finest performance. See TOUCH OF EVIL first though (#15) - you'll understand the beginning of this film better

  73. THE CHINA SYNDROME (James Bridges - 1979) Three Mile Island incident happened just before this film's release

  74. SEXY BEAST (Jonathan Glazer - 2000) Ben Kingsley is truly brilliant and intense

  75. FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (Terry Gilliam - 1998) The Hunter S. Thompson classic comes alive. Johnny Depp is great as the famed writer/drinker


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