100 Things I Love About Movies


It’s good to have rituals. It’s good to reaffirm your faith in certain institutions. And clearly, if you’re reading this site, then you know that cinema is one of those institutions. It’s time for another “100 Things I Love About Movies” list. As you may recall from the other times I’ve performed this exercise, this list isn’t a top 100, nor is it the ONLY 100 things I love about movies. It’s a snapshot of 100 specific things I love about movies. A complete list of things I love about movies would be staggering, as is the case for most of us.

1. Quentin Tarantino placing a reference to a Disney princess- Cinderella- in his revenge fantasy movie about Nazis.

2. I am Spartacus.

3. Everything about the shower scene in Psycho (1960) 

4.”If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”

5. “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”

6. The cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about. You’re daaaamn right.

7. The freeze frame ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

8. William Blake- but not THE William Blake- sailing off to his death in Dead Man (1995)

9. Lina Lamont’s voice in Singin’ in the Rain (1951)

10. The shooting star in Jaws (1975)

11. The Bride of Frankenstein’s badass hairdo.

12. Busby Berkeley dance sequences

13. “They call me MISTER Tibbs!”

14. The corrosive nature of greed in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

15. This amazing bit of editing madness from the Czech New Wave classic, Daisies (1966):

16. The murderous refrigerator in Requiem for a Dream (2000)

17. Barbara Stanwyck as a femme fatale

18. Patrick Bateman’s infatuation with paper, ink, and bindery in American Psycho (2000)

19. Bernard Herrmann’s score punctuating Taxi Driver (1976) as a twisted noir

20. The ladies of Hammer horror films

21. William Castle’s gimmicks

22. The Lady in the Radiator

23. “There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that’s all some people have? It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.”
-John L. Sullivan, Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

24. Katharine Hepburn pissing off the establishment by wearing pants…

25. and really, everything else about Hepburn. Especially her comedic persona.

26. Amplifiers with knobs that all go up to 11

27. The penis train entering the vagina tunnel at the end of North by Northwest (1959), a hilariously unsubtle sexual reference from a dirty old man named Hitchcock

28. The styrofoam reindeer in Santa Claus (1959)


29. Albert Brooks replicating the ending of Gone with the Wind while wearing a clown suit in Real Life (1979)

30. One of the most noble and lovable characters in all of movie history, R2D2, is basically a mobile garbage can on wheels.

31. The 70s-style cinematography of Argo (2012)

32. Gene Wilder’s mad love affair with a sheep in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)

33. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a demonic murderous creature that stood 100-foot tall and was made entirely of marshmallows…

34. who can only be defeated if you don’t cross streams

35. Air blasting up Marilyn Monroe’s skirt

36. The ad campaign in the weeks leading up to the Blair Witch Project (1999)

37. Harpo Marx’s horn and…

38. Grouch Marx’s one-liners

39. “Brawndo’s got what plants crave. It’s got electrolytes.”

40. The astonished look on a toy Mickey Mouse’s face during the transformation scene of An American Werewolf in London (1981). You can find Mickey at the 2:03 mark.

41. The painstaking artistic craft of 1940s Disney animation

42. Jackie Chan’s Drunken Fist Kung Fu

43. The Last Supper scene in MASH (1970)

44. Princess Leia in a gold bikini

45. The opening scene in The Monkees’ Head (1968)

46. The slow, mournful sound of a trumpet right before vengeance is acquired in spaghetti westerns.

47. Hal singing “Daisy” more and more languidly en route to shutdown.

48. The pimple cream ad in Putney Swope (1970)

49. The Hill Valley Telegraph’s “Save the Clock Tower” flyer in Back to the Future (1985)

50. The parody of mass-consumerism in Dawn of the Dead (1978)

51. Satyajit Ray out-neo-realisming the Italian neo-realists in the Apu trilogy.

52. Buster Keaton damn near killed himself many, many times, and his only intention was to make us all laugh.

53. The mirror scene finale in All About Eve (1950)

54. Edward G. Robinson saying “see?”

55. The exclamation point at the end of Killing Them Softly (2012)

56. Levon Helm’s performance of “Ophelia” during The Last Waltz (1978)

57. …and Van Morrison squished into a too-tight suit while kicking around and belting out “Carnival”

58. …and Neil Young’s giant cocaine booger in the same concert film.

59. Spaghetti strained with a tennis racket in The Apartment (1960)

60. Japanese ghost stories like Kwaidan (1965), Kuroneko (1968), Pitfall (1962), and Ugetsu (1953)

61. Georges Méliès’ visual trickery before the cinematic medium had even been defined

62. Winslow Leach’s mask in Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

63. The final shot of Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

64. I know what you’re thinking: “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do you, punk?

65. The little old lady flying out the window on her motorized scooter in Gremlins (1984)

66. Nicholas Angel riding back into Sandford on horseback with ammunition angel wings in Hot Fuzz (2007) during quite possibly the most boomerang moment-laden 20 minutes in movie history

lon-chaney-sr-phantom-of-the-opera67. The first look behind the phantom’s mask in the Phantom of the Opera (1925)

68. Luca Brasi, who sleeps with the fishes

69. Travis Bickle’s mohawk

70. A child, a snowy TV, and a ghostly arrival. “They’re heeeeeere.”

71. Bill Murray as Carl Spackler, eating a “turd” in Caddyshack (1980)

72. “Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

73. The two faces of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman melting into one

74. Brando as Colonel Kurtz

75. The opening credits of Raging Bull (1980)

76. The jaw-dropping raw humanity of Hoop Dreams (1994)

77. Ray Harryhausen’s monsters

78. The world’s introduction to Hugo Stiglitz…

79. and that it made even my nearly 70-year old father laugh.

80. This:

81. And especially Ennio Morricone’s immaculate score for that scene, and the entire movie.

82. Yippee ki-yay, mother fucker!

83. The palpability of the hot weather in Do the Right Thing (1989)

84. Mrs. Robinson’s leg

85. King Kong demolishing the Empire State Building

86. The bed/car sequence in Le Grand Amour (1969).

87. The silhouette of a child and his extra-terrestrial best friend flying across the moon

88. François Truffaut’s montage from Day for Night (1973).

89. Steve Buscemi in Tree’s Lounge (1996)

90. The Mount Rushmore of horror: Boris Karloff, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Bela Lugosi

91. The Avengers of horror: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon

92. And the actual Avengers (2012), which made me feel the same way I did when I was 5 years old, smashing all of my toys together

93. The confusing plot of The Big Sleep (1946)

94. Matthau and Lemmon

95. The German Expressionist orgy of Fritz Lang’s early work

96. Amicus horror anthologies

97. The sheer shittiness of bat nipples

98. The fevered, dreamlike twist on Alice in Wonderland as seen in Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974).

99. The stinkpalm

100. Eddie Felson vs. Minnesota Fats


Filed under Movies

23 responses to “100 Things I Love About Movies

  1. Eda

    61 is sheer genius! I’d never seen that before.

    • Ooooh… if you get a chance at all, there are a lot of Melies shorts on youtube. The Melomaniac, The Pillar of Fire, Devil in a Convent, and of course A Trip to the Moon… they’re all amazing.

  2. the amount of times I just sat there and smiled whilst reading this because I agree with every single one of these amounted to ..well … about 100 to be honest

  3. I love that you included HEAD in this.

    Great work overall.

    • Head was so bizarre but so great. It’s right there in that magic underbelly of late 60s/early 70s counterculture films- Putney Swope, The Groove Tube, The Magic Christian, the Jodorowsky stuff…

  4. Aleksalynn

    Great list again. Though, wasn’t Sta-Puft killed specifically BY crossing the streams?

  5. Unexpected dancing sequences, like the one in (500) Days of Summer 😀

    And “That’s not an orkhorn” from The Two Towers, just because it made me realize how weird “orkhorn” sounds. Especially when you say it 10 times in a row.

  6. Excellent list! Love #65. When you talked about Inglorious Basterds in #1, I immediately thought about #78 and I’m glad you included it. That intro was awesome.

    • A few months back, I re-watched Gremlins for the first time in years, and that scene holds up every bit as funny as it did the first time you saw it. It was awesome.

      I really, really, really, really wish I could go to a baseball game and hear a player use that Stiglitz song as their walk-up music.

  7. R.P. McMurphy

    It is great that you mentioned Steve Buscemi in Trees Lounge. That is a great underrated performance and movie.

    • Thanks, RP. I love that movie. It’s one of those films that made 90s indie so great, with Buscemi in the (ice cream truck) driver’s seat.

  8. Ben

    How good would an “Avengers of Horror” movie be?

    • Oh man… have you ever seen The Monster Squad? It’s not exactly as big-scale as The Avengers, but it’s got all of the big monsters in there and is so much fun. It features the epic line, “Wolf Man’s got nards!” from a kid who kicks the Wolf Man in the nards.

  9. The Guy Who Was Babysat by the Sister of Nuclear Man from Superman IV

    I want to take credit for #26 making its way onto this list. Also, its good that Apocalypse Now got a mention (#74).

    • What, you think I scanned the comments section from the last time I did this list and added some of those?

      I totally scanned the comments section from the last time I did this list and added some of those.

  10. I love when my favorite bloggers do these posts. I learned a lot about you and a lot about movies here. Great work.

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