San Diego market coordinator, Landmark Theatres
Many have said it before, but HBO’s series The Wire should be required viewing. Not only is it incredibly addicting, it’s scarily realistic. Having lived in Baltimore for nine years and taught in its public schools for two, I can say with some authority that the series accurately captures the dignity and degradation of this American city.
An archetypical story set in a visionary world, Serenity is one of the most fun sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a decade. The intro and commentary by Joss Whedon on the DVD illuminate the interesting story of how the failed TV series Firefly became a theatrical release.
I can’t put my finger on what was the creepiest thing about House of 1000 Corpses, but it still sticks in my mind as being terribly unsettling. Horror usually doesn’t faze me, but Rob Zombie created something disturbing with his first film.
The Wire - Seasons 1-4
(USA) 2002–04, HBO
Serenity (Collector's Edition)
(USA) 2005, Universal
House of 1000 Corpses
(USA) 2003, Lionsgate
Employee, Landmark Theatres
Judd Apatow and Paul Feig got a lot right with Freaks and Geeks, their series about high school outcasts in the 1980s. Their greatest achievement may be the casting of unknowns (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardellini) who filled their roles beautifully. The tone’s consistently perfect, thanks to stellar writing and direction.
Pennies from Heaven, the 1981 box-office flop, took fans of Steve Martin’s “wild and crazy guy” by surprise. Looking back, it makes perfect sense. It shows off his exceptional gifts. Based on Dennis Potter’s miniseries, it features elaborate dance numbers that’ll leave you wondering why other movies with dance numbers are so bad.
In Stella Shorts, David Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter make you re-evaluate everything you thought was funny. These shorts inspired the Comedy Central Stella series that was very good but nowhere near this pinnacle.
Freaks and Geeks - The Complete Series
(USA) 1999, DreamWorks
Pennies From Heaven
(USA) 1981, Warner Home Video
(USA) 1998-2002, stellacomedy.com
Chief of staff, Landmark Theatres
The Adventures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger is a 1926 animated tale, a treasure you must discover. Inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights, the intricate, silhouette images in the film were all created by manipulating cardboard cutouts frame-by-frame.
Get ready for Wong Kar-Wai’s English-language debut My Blueberry Nights with one of his Hong Kong classics, In the Mood for Love. Easily one of his most visually sumptuous films, Wong Kar-Wai captures the slow, melancholy longing of two neighbors in the restrained world of 1960s’ Hong Kong.
With an aesthetic that vaguely echoes the silent-film era, David Lynch’s Eraserhead is guaranteed to suck you into its eerie world and spit you back out both enthralled and appalled. Choose to decipher its linearity or just go along for the ride — either way, you’re about to have an intense movie experience.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed
(Germany) 1926, Image Entertainment
In the Mood for Love - Criterion Collection
(Hong Kong) 2000, Criterion Collection
(USA) 1977, Absurda