Back to One: First Edition

Original photo by Kenneth Lu

The last project I worked on was called Untitled Film Reenactment Pilot. Of course the name was ridiculous, but this is what shows are called until someone can come up with a witty (or lame) title.  I was going to call  this new and exciting entertainment feature – Back To One – which is what we say on set when we have to do another take. One being your start mark. I wasn’t sure if it was too “insidery”. If anyone has any better ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments. 

Just to get this party started – what are your top five favorite movies?  Can be just a list if you want.

Mine in no particular order – 

Raising Arizona – this early Coen brothers movie is a work of art for me – like a modern day Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It is sheer poetry  from start to finish and I will never be convinced otherwise. 

Lawrence of Arabia – I need to be around trees and would rather go hiking in the woods than hang out on a beach but for some reason I looove this movie about sand and it’s relationship with a dude named T.  E. Lawrence. 

The Hunt for Red October – It’s a masterclass in building suspense from the very beginning of the film to it’s really bad CGI final scene and I will watch this movie about Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin’s threesome with a submarine anytime it comes on. 

Master and Commander/Far Side of the World – the anti-Pirates of the Caribbean. Tall ships, cannons and a Russell Crowe/Paul Bettany bromance for the ages – what’s not to love? Based on the great books by Patrick O’Brien.

Star Wars – I still remember the first time I saw this movie when I was nine years old at the Tara in Atlanta. The red velvet curtains, the twentieth century Fox fanfare, a galaxy far far away, Luke Skywalker staring out at the twin suns  – no matter what the Star Wars universe has become – I will always have that moment in my life and I am grateful for it. 

In the interest of changing things up – I thought I would add a little quiz at the end of each post about an actor I have worked with. These will involve either an actual interaction that I had with the actor or my personal opinion from working with them. 

Which one of the following statements about Dakota Fanning might not be true- 

A) Liked to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with her fingers

B) As a child could probably have explained quantum physics to you better than a quantum physicist.

C) My father knows her grandfather

D) Was really well behaved and her mother was nice too

So, Deadsplinteratti – what films do you love? As always, thanks for your support  of Deadsplinter and for stopping by.



    • That is the best Austen movie, although the Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley is a close second.

      I admit I spend the entirety of Sense and Sensibility silently wanting Colonel Brandon and the elder Miss Dashwood to be a couple since their maturity would be well-matched.

      Also Edward Ferrars is a spineless excuse for a human being. 

    • I can’t not watch School of Rock when it’s on TV.

      Also, there’s a surprisingly decent musical they made from the movie. I saw it on the Broadway tour a few years ago. I say surprisingly decent because Andrew Lloyd Weber did the music and I’m not generally a fan of his work. 

  1. Ha – raising a glass to another Raising Arizona fan! Blade Runner is probably in my top ten and The Grifters is just so good.
    Re: Dakota – I’m going to wait to see if there are other guesses and then I’ll let you know.


    In no particular order,

    • White Christmas (reminds me of my father)
    • Wizard of Oz, with Judy Garland
    • 13 Ghosts, original in black and white
    • Star Wars
    • Apocalypse Now

    I will go with the familial relationship (father/grandfather).

  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    The Fifth Element
    The Drop
    The Wonder Boys
    King Arthur Legend of the Sword
    Why yes, I am intellectualz.
    The last one is controversial, I don’t know why people hated it. It’s got Jude Law and Charlie Hunnam and more man candy! The women are not wearing bras as outerwear while everyone else is in chain mail and leather!
    I am not a big movie person, anyway. Can I follow it while knitting? Good movie. Would I watch it again? Good movie. Voiceover? Bad fucking movie.

    • I actually like the Guy Ritchie King Arthur movie – but then again I like anything King Arthur. One of my most favorite books is Le Morte D’arthur.

    • Because I, too, fall into the category of “a good movie is one I can craft to”
      My list are these:
      Cinderella–Disney animated version or Ever After
      The 5th Element
      Dangerous Beauty
      The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 
      And I choose A, for the quiz😉
      None of them, except DB 

      • I forgot to finish the sentence!😖
        None of them, except DB would really qualify as a “Good” movie.
        Two are Cinderella stories, one is trash–but fun, and the other two are straight-up COSTUME movies.😉
        Which is why these are my faves–they’re all decently inspiring on the costume front😁

  4. I am also a huge Raising Arizona fan and all things Coen bros.  I took a history of film class in college and my teacher would do a different Coen brothers movie to dissect each semester and we would watch them over and over.  I missed the Raising Arizona class by one semester but got to do Big Lebowski instead. 
    -Raising Arizona-Life of Brian-Fargo-Young Frankenstein-O Brother Where Art Thou
    Honorable mention:
    -Kill Bill-The Shining

    • We did a breakdown of Blood Simple in some film class I took in college. I think of all of the film libraries of different directors –  the Coen brothers have the most movies that I love.

    • …I have a friend who basically banned me from talking about kill bill in their company…so I’ll keep this short…but I would strenuously recommend watching the source material he cut & pasted most of the best bits together from…but then I like kung fu flicks I have no problem with titles like “lady snowblood: blizzard from the netherworld”?

  5. I like this new feature! I’m bad at making lists, I can never decide. But Raising Arizona is one of my faves along with Fargo, and Miller’s Crossing by the Coen brothers. I also love Breaking Away, and The Cooler. It’s probably my favorite movie ending. 
    I’m going to guess B, the quantum physics stuff.

  6. Star Wars – epic.  Too bad Lucas fucked with the original print.
    Dr Strangelove – blackest comedy ever.  Torn between horror and laughing.
    Blazing Saddles – casual racism of the 70s aside, it was one of the more honest movies about the history of America and the western.  So much so it helped destroy the western genre.
    The Manchurian Candidate – the origin of my screen name and also one of the greatest thrillers ever.
    2001 A Space Odyssey – 2nd Kubrick on my list.  Sure it can be boring in parts (that’s why they invented FF) but still the best SF movie ever made.

    • Agree with you about Lucas screwing up the original. The new CGI takes you out of the movie when it pops up.
      Also, Angela Landsbury was so scarily good in TMC – I only knew her from Murder She Wrote.

  7. Okay – as far as Dakota goes – the one that is not true is…
    A) Liked to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with her fingers
    Although she may have liked peanut butter straight from the jar – I never witnessed this behavior.
    The rest are true…
    B) As a child could probably have explained quantum physics to you better than a quantum physicist. 
    Whenever anyone asked me about how she was – this is what I would always say – because she was so frigging smart.
    C) My father knows her grandfather
    My father owns a driving range that her grandfather used to frequent and they would discuss the three movies that we had worked on together.
    D) Was really well behaved and her mother was nice too
    She was really a sweet and pleasant kid and her mother was very quiet and sweet too. 

    • Or maybe The Sandlot.
      There’s also some more kid-oriented movies I love.  Shrek, Monsters Inc, Small Soldiers, and The Crocodile Hunter.  I’ve seen them all at least a half-dozen times.

  8. In no particular order:

    Legends of the Fall. 

    Plenty of people on this site have expressed their disdain for this film but I don’t give a shit.  It is an excellent film, but more importantly to this Former Audio Person, the recording of the score is top notch.  I worked very briefly with Shawn Murphy who played a production copy of this score for me a few months before the movie was released and I was already hooked.


    Young Frankenstein

    Mel Brooks is an absolute genius.  He had some stinkers in his career (High Anxiety and Silent Movie come to mind), but his approach to movie making and comedy has no peer.


    The Ref

    An absolute scream, from start to finish. 


    The Blues Brothers

    Greatest.  Musical.  Ever.  Also:  Greatest.  Car.  Chase.  Ever.


    Forrest Gump

    Gary Sinise didn’t have nearly as much screen time in this film, but he stole the show.  My favorite line in the whole movie is:  “Yes, I know that.”  The delivery is everything.


    I’m going to guess D–that she was really well behaved and her mother was nice too.  There’s something about how that’s worded that strikes me as sarcasm. 

  9. …I suck at picking my top anything…& I doubt I could narrow it down to five even from any one genre

    …but I look forward to more of these posts…maybe next time I’ll be quick enough to offer an answer to the pop quiz…because nobody will believe me if I claim I’d have picked the right one this time

  10. I can’t possibly pick 5 of all time without several days of preparation.

    But since I’ve been working from home I will, on days when I’m working without too many meetings or calls scheduled, throw on movies and have them playing in the background. I’m not watching at full attention, but the good ones suck me in here and there and then the really good ones … well, I probably shouldn’t have them on.

    So 5 movies I’ve re-watched recently that really sucked me in:

    Die Hard (I mean, not surprising)
    Star Trek Beyond (I’m a Trek fan, and I enjoyed this the first time but I *loved* it on second viewing, even if they wasted Idris Elba)
    Raising Arizona (just the best)
    The Death of Stalin (loved it the first time, loved it the second time)
    The Martian (love it)

  11. Fun new hopefully regular post!
    I’m late to the party. In no particular order but trying to keep it a mix of genres:

    The Fifth Element
    28 Days Later
    Con Air, Face/Off, or The Rock
    Across the Universe
    Les Poupées Russes

    I think movies really imprinted on me when I was younger. The ones I remember the best were ones I used to watch over and over again. In the age of streaming videos, there’s too much that I want to consume for me to justify watching something more than once. Or they are really good but too stressful like Get Out or Parasite. Or I’m just getting old.

  12. Raising Arizona is probably the Cohen movie with people I’d like to hang out with the most, and that genial love of the characters come through. Every one of their movies have (a lot of) something to reccomend it, but I wouldn’t want to hang out with anyone in them. Maybe except Jackie Treehorn because he knows how to party.

  13. Favoritest movie: Jurassic Park

    Not only does it hold up because they used models for so much, the writing and acting was so good. Also loved the poking at gender roles that happened througout. 

    Close second: Sleeping Beauty (1959 animated version)

    Visually, this movie is stunning. They legit went to medieval art themes and utilized them stylistically in backgrounds and design. I love it. It almost bankrupted Disney because it took a decade and was expensive as hell. It was the last animated feature they inked by hand, and they filmed it in fucking widescreen. Maila Nurmi, who played the character “Vampira” was secretly used as a model for Maleficent, and you can tell because early concept art looks entirely different and the final version shares some of her characteristics.  

    Additional faves:

    Young Frankenstein – I love this movie so much. My favorite Mel Brooks film.

    Thor: Ragnarok – it’s such a fun movie conceptually. And very funny. And Jeff Goldblum being peak Goldblum.

    Addams Family Values – first, Morticia and Gomez are major relationship goals. Plus Joan Cusack being unhinged. Also Camp Cherokee “for privileged young adults” where they get their revenge… chef’s kiss!

  14. One thing about film/TV that have bugged me a while is whenever the filmmaker lose control of filming or flat out fucked up the cinematic vocabulary. Basically by choosing a tone, angle, or blocking that’s so mismatched with the scene’s content that  it knocked me out of the experience.
    Think Kenneth “Dutch angles everywhere” Branagh, or a wannabe Tarantino with no ear for dialog and no eye for camera placement. It would seem fun for me to dissect all the ways these scenes go wrong and/or dunk on the Michael Bay types.
    I’m sorry I rewatched “The Story Of Film” recently after catching up with Film Crit Hulk’s backlog.

  15. Feel free to write up a post! Even though I work in the business – I pay more attention to story than all of the technicalities – so other views will be greatly appreciated I’m sure. 

  16. my favorites that currently come to mind:
    Children of Men
    Let the Right One In
    Ghost World
    28 Days Later
    Avalon (2001)
    Alita: Battle Angel (eh, I’ll admit it’s not exactly high art, but I’m an old fan of the source material, have been waiting for the live-action version of this for close to two decades, and thought it was a really great adaptation.  I’m also really disappointed that the thing with the uncanny-valley-eyes alienated so many people from the first teaser trailer, and also that some gamergate fuckwit decided to make Alita vs. Captain Marvel a thing, and caused a (hopefully) temporary incel flood to the fandom…)

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