In Which The Critic Regretfully Excludes Spirited Away, Don’t Look Now, Last Days, Tampopo, and Gleaming the Cube

Six Movies That Stick

by Andrew Zornoza

In no particular order. . . .

6. Days of Heaven – Terrence Malick

To watch a Terrence Malick film is to see the world in a radically new way. This one actually has a story attached to it too.

“Peace and Hate” – The Submarines (mp3)

5. Two Lane Blacktop – Monte Hellman

“For all the shut down strangers and hot rod angels/Rumbling through this promised land/Tonight my baby and me we’re gonna ride to the sea”

Manifest destiny, teenagers and the circulatory system of a nation. More American than any Western, more American than Citizen Kane–a total disaster at the box office when it first came out, in 1971.

“Racing in the Streets (Live)” – Bruce Springsteen (mp3)

4. Aguirre, the Wrath of God – Werner Herzog

Fitzcarraldo‘s darker brother. A study in insanity—chaos and emotion: Picasso and Brueghel put in a blender.

Kinski and Herzog had an affinity for one another. Here’s some words from Kinski, you can almost feel the hinges coming off:

“I tell Herzog that Aguirre has to be crippled because his power must not be contingent on his appearance. I’ll have a hump. My right arm will be longer than my left. as long as an ape’s. My left arm will be shortened so that since I’m a southpaw I have to carry my sword on the right side of my chest and not in the normal way, on my hip. […] I will be crippled because I want to be. […] Just as I’m beautiful when I want to be. Ugly. Strong. Feeble. Short or tall. Old or young. When I want to be. […] I will be crippled today-today, now, on the spot, this very instant.”

“I feel the jungle coming nearer, the animals, the plants, which have been watching us for a long while without showing themselves. For the first time in my life I have no past. The present is so powerful that it snuffs out all bygones. I know that I’m free, truly free. I am the bird that has managed to break out of its cagethat spreads its wings and soars into the sky. I take part in the universe.”

“Although I constantly try to keep out of his way, Herzog sticks to me like a shithouse fly. The mere thought of his existence here in the wilderness turns my stomach. When I see him approaching in the distance, I yell at him to halt. I shout that he stinks. That he disgusts me. That I don’t want to listen to his bullshit. That I can’t stand him! […] He should be thrown alive to the crocodiles! An anaconda should strangle him slowly! A poisonous spider should sting him and paralyse his lungs! The most venomous serpent should bite him and make his brain explode! No panther claws should rip open his throatthat would be much too good for him! No! The huge red ants should piss into his lying eyes and gobble up his balls and his guts! He should catch the plague! Syphilis! Malaria! Yellow fever! Leprosy!”

“Take Me To The Basement” – Aesop Rock (mp3)

3. Ran – Akira Kurosawa

Best Lear ever. Tatsuya Nakadai is ghostly, violent, calm, mad. Better than Ian McKellen at BAM. Better than Paul Scofield back in the day. . . .

“Daylight” – Aesop Rock (mp3)

2. Mala Educacion – Pedro Almodóvar

Wasn’t Almodovar’s most successful film—we’re rightfully tired of pedophile priests—but time will tell. His greatest movie since the more primitive days of Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down.

“You’re in a Bad Way” – Saint Etienne (mp3)

1. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Peter Weir

Is still a mystery. . . .

Watch this late at night, when the wind is howling. A must-see before you die.

“My Minds Playin Tricks on Me” – The Geto Boys (mp3)

Andrew Zornoza is the senior contributor to This Recording. He lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. His latest story is available here. His photo-novel “Where I Stay,” will be available from Tarpaulin Sky Press in early 2009. You can e-mail him at azornoza at


Working for the church while Tyra Banks diets.

Highlighting the work of Elisa Gabbert.

What used to excite us doesn’t anymore.

7 thoughts on “In Which The Critic Regretfully Excludes Spirited Away, Don’t Look Now, Last Days, Tampopo, and Gleaming the Cube

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