In Which Our Contributing Editor Defends Her Top Movies; Damn Good Movies

Movie Weather, Also Known As Do-I-Need-A-Sweater Weather, Is Upon Us

by Tess Lynch

Movies a person who posted on Google Image has seen.

Movies I’ve seen; the titles are backwards so you can’t judge me.

I have walked out of one movie in my entire life, and that movie was Neil LaBute’s Your Friends And Neighbors, which also, for some reason, I reference all the time (I try to stick to the first hour, because that’s all I saw; if necessary, I will predict what I thought probably happened in the second half and talk about that. It depends on how informed my audience is).

I may have walked out of Tomb Raider, but I actually can’t remember, which is probably a worse sign than if I’d hated it enough to make a mental note of the fact that I was leaving. I’m pretty sure that these movies are bad, but I can’t be a hundred percent sure because, historically, it’s been suggested that maybe I have kind of bad taste in movies; of course, I don’t think my movie taste is bad, I think it’s precise, which is different. I like horror movies, movies starring Harvey Keitel, documentaries, and then a VERY select few from all the remaining categories of movies which exist.

Hate good movies/love bad movies? Check out this web site, I guess liking bad movies exclusively makes you some kind of genius. Good news.

I certainly went through the requisite ’80’s movie phase, even writing a really bad paper on John Hughes where I am pretty sure I said he was my favorite director. Everyone else did theirs on Kubrick. I could blame all this on laziness, as it is much easier to smoke pot and watch She’s Having a Baby and retain any information than it is to watch A Clockwork Orange; my seventeen-year-old brain was easily blown, and anything with any actual substance usually just made me want to take a nap.

This is an animal called the Weedy Sea Dragon; the Kubrick to Hughes’ golden retriever puppy.

Anyway, that’s where the notion that I have shit for movie brains came from. That, and the fact that I’m easily bored; I want movies that make you go “OH! Oh, no! Oh, God! Oh, God, that’s horrible;” or movies that manipulate your feelings so that you are reduced to a weeping schoolgirl, regardless of your gender; or, finally, movies that inspire you to be a more refined version of yourself (this is the opposite of being Advanced, admittedly, but I still like to refine myself into what is usually the persona of a man in his mid-thirties who enjoys music and/or junkfood and misery).

What follows is a list of eight of my favorite movies, for your cozy nights/afternoons spent at home after you leave the picket lines.

“Fugitive Motel” — Elbow (mp3)

#8. High Fidelity

If ever there was a movie almost as good as the book on which it was based, that movie is High Fidelity. I’m fairly sure everyone in the world has seen this movie, so I’m not going to get into why it’s so great (and don’t think that I like it because I’m some sort of John Cusack freak.

I didn’t even really like Say Anything, though I know that would fit the vision of the high school person I painted for you — this is why I like to think of myself as Advanced, actually) — I just think that this movie has the right combo of gravitas (death! Break-ups!) and un-gravitas (every scene Jack Black is in, but this is before he started to scare me like Belushi did in his Samurai Deli scenes) and hits you with a dope soundtrack.


I also fancy myself to be a lot like Rob Gordon, when I’m functioning at 100% capacity. I know this is half hubris and half self-deprecation, but watching High Fidelity makes me feel like it’s totally okay to be a person with small, mediocre dreams who enjoys bitter rants and making endless lists. I mean, it’s the pinnacle.

“Dance Commander” — Electric Six (mp3)

#7. The Adventures of Sebastian Cole

If you’re ever watching Entourage and thinking, “That Adrian Grenier sure got far just by being extremely good-looking” and then you flip channels because Entourage has gotten to be so bad, I invite you to take a trip back to when Mr. Grenier was a subtle, charming actor (p.s. Adrian, if you’re reading this, I don’t mean to hate. I think it’s the writing. I think you’re a very good actor. I even saw that documentary you made about your dad and was like, aww, that guy seems A-OK) with The Adventures of Sebastian Cole.

Besides featuring my favorite song of all time, Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World” (mp3), this movie takes place about twenty minutes from where I used to live in rural Connecticut (the spectacular Dutchess County) and captures perfectly the love/hate relationship absolutely every teen who has ever lived somewhere like that has with their hometown. It’s also about having a fucked-up relationship with your family, but is not without sweetness, kind of like the also very good In The Name of The Father, but with more eye candy.

“Rough Gem” — Islands (mp3)

#6. Sleepaway Camp

As I’ve mentioned, there isn’t a horror movie I won’t watch; when I was presented with Sleepaway Camp, I knew only that there is what is known as a “twist” at the end. There was. I love this movie, and not just because it validates my decision to never attend sleepaway camp, but because instead of casting twenty year olds who look thirteen, it appears as though the director took the plunge and actually cast thirteen year olds. I’m not going to fact-check this, because it would ruin it. Their freckles speak for themselves.

“Oh Woman, Oh Why” — Paul & Linda McCartney (mp3)

#5. Badlands

If there’s anything better than a horror story, it’s a horror story that’s also about love and based on true events. Badlands is this movie. For some reason, no one is ever in the mood to watch it; you could have a house full of people and they’re not doing anything except listening to the crickets and watching the tumbleweeds of pet hair float across your floor and you say, “Anyone up for watching Badlands?” and everyone has some place to go. This is because they haven’t seen Badlands. If I could be in any movie, I might want to be Sissy in this movie.

#4. Persona

If you take yourself very seriously, and have never seen Persona, get excited: you just stumbled upon a veritable goldmine of seriousness. First there’s the question of what the hell is going on, which you can ruminate on while you sip some brandy and cry, and then there’s the question of is it sexy, which you can answer by saying “Yes, but I’m not sure how that makes me feel.”

“Twiggy Twiggy” — Pizzicato Five (mp3)

#3. Oldboy

Recently I’ve been turned on to the special breed of horror films which seem to set out to make you scared forever: Korean horror films. Oldboy is really scary, and just so you know, octopi are really smart.

#2. Twilight Zone: The Movie

“Vague Space” — Stephen Malkmus (mp3)

How long has it been since you’ve seen Twilight Zone: The Movie? Because, since I saw part of it the other day, I can basically guarantee you that it is as scary and creepy now as when you first saw it when you were eight. The four segments (directed by, respectively, John Landis, Stephen Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller) are better than I’d remembered; I’m a The Twilight Zone fanatic and didn’t really think I’d enjoy the movie after seeing all of the original episodes — but seriously, the remake of “It’s A Good Life” (that’s the Dante one) is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.

“To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)” — Ryan Adams (mp3)

#1. Buffalo ’66

Now, I’m not saying this is my #1 favorite movie of all time (that would be either Annie Hall or Wayne’s World), but it is a movie that I cannot recommend highly enough and which deserves as fair a shot as any movie that doesn’t feature/wasn’t written by Vincent Gallo. I really don’t think I like Vincent Gallo, so I was really reluctant to enjoy Buffalo ’66, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s dark and sweet and, well, it’s an interesting movie. It’s kind of like the “egg custards” you can order at Dim Sum restaurants but never do because you can’t imagine that they’d be any good, but then a week later you think, man, I wish they had those at Ralph’s so I could eat six thousand of them right this second.

The Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, MA where I see movies when I am in the Berkshires.

Tess Lynch is Contributing Editor at This Recording; she wanted to find a place for Grizzly Man, which is really up there with Annie Hall and Wayne’s World, but the vastness of its content is beyond comment for even the best of bloggers (so look instead to Rotten Tomatoes).


Molly and the WGA; LOL.

Will on shmoetry.

Jess on Darjeeling.

Nick lends you his A-paper and asks only that you change names and fonts.

11 thoughts on “In Which Our Contributing Editor Defends Her Top Movies; Damn Good Movies

  1. 1. I know a dude who has not one but two Vincent Gallo tattoos.

    2. I prefer Mr. Galo’s music to his movies, but to each her own.

    3. Oldboy helped me overcome my fear of “Tako”

  2. In regards to #1, are we talking face, name, or essence? I hope the tats are of VG’s profile, one from each side.

  3. PS you guys, what are the odds that “The Long Swedish Winter” was posted just below my post, and I not only missed that fact but then had to (HAD to) repost the song in reference to the Bergman movie I am shoving on you? COSMIC BLOG VIBEZ

  4. Why do people always insist on bragging about knowing people…

    You really need to convince people to watch Badlands. I’m amazed it’s on someone else’s top list. Why would people be scared to watch it, anyways? Unless of course, they watched The New World. Like Down by Law/Jarmusch?

  5. Perhaps everybody had enough after reading Molly’s Bruce Springsteen post and then downloading “Badlands.” But now I’m going to go rent Down By Law, so thank you, Malick’s Nephew’s Friend. I’ve had a hard time getting people to watch anything after I did too hard a sell on The Brothers Nix (; that could be the very problem with getting people to watch my top 8. I still stand by the Brothers Nix, too, by the way, haters.

  6. Hope you like it, most any Jarmusch is good. Then again, all I’ve seen of Vincent Gallo is Brown Bunny. I might be out of the loop. (To?)

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