This is a film about a group of terrific actors all discussing what it’s like to be me. Or, rather, it features terrific actors playing characters who are discussing me. Either way, I simply adored it. It also features some fabulous shots of the downtown’s twinkling lights, the 405 Freeway, and the Century City Shopping Center. Can’t recall the overall message of this film, however, and much of the actual dialogue escapes me at the moment.

Lords of Dogtown

Utterly transcendent. Reminds us of why we go to the movies. The performances are spellbinding and the story tightly woven. The film contains breathtaking coastal scenery and a heartwarming tour of local swimming pools, as well as fascinating shots of Venice Beach, its mythical sunsets, and its various areas of pavement. Technically, Dogtown is not on my map, and, frankly, I’d go with another name if anyone is considering adding it. Still, I believe we have our front-runner for this year’s Oscars. One of the best films of the past 10 years.

The Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings,
and Star Wars films

Honestly, I never really saw the point.


Once again, were my ears burning here? Yes, they were, and if this film had a running time of 72 hours it still would have been too short. One of the best films of the past 20 years. Contains some wonderful scenes of the vibrant nightlife, the majestic office buildings, and even a shot of the nocturnal wildlife that often can be spotted prowling the streets and looking for a housecat to snack on. Mr. Cruise is excellent as usual as our dashing but accessible hero. It’s so gratifying to see him opening up. What is it actually like to be Tom Cruise? Now it’s a bit clearer, I think, and we’re so much the richer for it. Again, though, I don’t remember exactly the overall thrust or drift of this film. I sort of nodded off toward the end.


Trite and sluggish. And I want to say dismal, but that’s not the right word. No, that’s it, dismal. This is a film about the Midwestern-situated city of the title, or, as I’m prone to calling it—The Very Distant Third. Adding to the travesty, this entry swept the Oscars, which, I am happy to declare, I switched off the moment I laid my eyes upon Renée Zellweger’s dress.

Gangs of New York

Likewise. A turgid and disjointed mess. I should confess, I’ve never cared for the director. You know, what’s-his-face, with the eyebrows. Always too much violence. Also, the mouths on these people. And the mustaches. As for the city in the title, there is a growing multitude of almanac-keepers and innovative cartographers who place you squarely as número dos.

Training Day

Loved it. One of the best films of the past 50 years. Resplendent shots of the spirited streets of Gardena and Echo Park. Some absolutely magical car scenes. Pay careful attention to the Ethan Hawke hallucination moments. This is the stuff of which dreams are made. A much finer year at the Oscars, as the dazzling Denzel was rewarded and the whole program had returned itself to its proper Hollywood venue.

Mulholland Drive

I will say this: despite rumors, I had nothing to do with the making of this film. The conversations Mr. Lynch had with me over the course of several intimate evenings we spent together during the spring and summer of 2000 were to remain private. I thus refuse to confirm or deny the authenticity of this entire film. However, the embodiment of my leeching life force does not reside behind the dumpsters at a place called Winkie’s. But there I go—I’ve said too much already. Did everything need to be played this straightforward?

The Big Lebowski

This is a film in which Jeff Bridges, as a man everyone calls “the Dude,” is posited as my laziest resident. So you know they’re working from a point at far remove from reality. Didn’t anyone think of Sumner Redstone, as I did? I had notes for this film that both Coen boys systematically ignored. Marvelous scene by the seaside, however. Gorgeous colors of the water as it churned and dashed itself upon the craggy rocks, which contrasted nicely with the verdant crests above. Fewer full-body shots of Mr. Goodman and/or close-ups of the Dude would have helped. Also, why bowling? Why not just set the whole story in San Jose. This is for starters.

Point Break

Mind-blowing. A picture of sheer grandeur, heartbreak, old-fashioned movie magic, Gary Busey, and poetry. A visual feast with moments that stay with you long after seeing two or three additional surfing and/or bank-heist films. The metaphysical issues explored by Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves go way beyond anything that any film of the later half of the 20th century has even come close to touching upon. An epic modern-day Greek-tragedy-cum-liturgical-star-vehicular allegory. Potentially, the best film of our oh so sad and beautiful age. Either this or Speed.

The Player

I have only recently been informed that this film is meant to be ironic. I am not especially amused. And who says these were inside jokes? Furthermore, I understand Mr. Altman is from Kansas City. It all adds up to pure jealousy in the end. Doesn’t he realize no one ever stays mad at me?