Welcome to TG10s. This year, echoing another publication, we are posting our top 10s, and taking votes from you. Keep reading The Twin Geeks for lists from our regular writers, as well as some extra special selection of lists from some amazing guests.
Matt Farley is the star of Motern Media, the Earl of Christmas, the author of 30,000 songs, and a dear friend of the site. We recommend watching all of his movies and listening to all of our podcasts about them.
These are not necessarily my favorite movies. They’re just movies that heavily influenced the movies I’ve made with director Charlie Roxburgh (and the one I made myself!).
Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2
The first half of this movie is made up of clips from Silent Night Deadly Night Part 1. The rest of the movie is outrageously entertaining. It doesn’t take itself seriously. But it rarely lets on that it’s not taking itself seriously.
What I learned from this movie was that a filmmaker needs to entertain an audience at all costs—even if it means recycling half a movie!
Tiny Furniture / Frances Ha / (Almost every movie about artistic people)
There are plenty of other movies like these in which young creative people are depicted as lost, suffering, and despairing in a big city. “That’s not even close to what it’s like for me!” I would scream to the heavens after watching one of them. I am a creative person who is focused, happy, and optimistic in the suburbs. So I made Local Legends.
Friday the 13th Part 2
I don’t enjoy the violence or the terror in a slasher movie. I enjoy the fun moments when characters are just hanging out, and there’s only the slightest hint of horror—a bit of horror on the soundtrack, or a touch of terror in POV shots from a distance. I guess a bloody finale is required. But I want that finale to be as late in the movie as possible! Friday the 13th Part 2 totally delivers what I want in a slasher!
The Pit is like a dozen different types of movies squished into one. Slasher. Monster movie. Babysitter-dealing-with-a-weird-kid thriller. Cop drama. Task Force Action movie. Librarian-dealing-with-a-crazy-patron horror. Talking Teddy Bear movie… With no concerns about sudden shifts in tone, the filmmakers entertain us at all costs by ping-ponging between all of these styles and many more. Frequently while watching it, you will say, “I can’t believe this movie exists!” And I think that’s one of the greatest compliments you can give a movie.
This movie feels like it was made by a bunch of friends who have known each other forever and just wanted to make a movie. They’re just like me and my friends (if James L. Brooks took us under his wing!). If they can do it, we can do it. We don’t even need James L. Brooks’s money and support.
How is it that this movie is simultaneously boring and thrilling, heartbreaking and hilarious, beautiful and mundane? This is one of the movies that helped me figure out that the best works of art are all things at once.
Summer of ’42
I could watch this movie over and over again. It’s just fun to be at this location with these characters. Unlike some of the titles I listed above, this one doesn’t feel the need to cram entertainment into every moment. It’s a confident film that’s ok taking its time. It shows us the beauty of the island where it takes place. There is a fight scene with no music on the soundtrack. A weaker movie would have inserted exciting music to accentuate the action. But not Summer of ’42. Summer of ’42 doesn’t need to enhance the drama and excitement because it’s already there without exciting music! It’s a comedy with moments of intense drama, and it doesn’t apologize for it. Our movie Magic Spot tries to do similar things with setting, intense emotions, and shifts in tone.
Everybody Wants Some!
Another great hangout movie. I’m just happy to hang out with these people as much as possible. I very frequently put it on in the background when I’m working on something else.
It’s mostly a comedy. But it’s also a crime mystery. And it’s not afraid to lean in to the mystery elements for stretches of time. A weaker movie would feel the need to insert more jokes. But Fletch is confident enough in its dramatic moments to just let them be. I think they make the comedic moments that much funnier. We referenced this movie several times while writing Metal Detector Maniac, which—between the pure comedic scenes—has moments that could have come out of a straight detective movie.