Andrew Probelski's Top Five
Wow...this is going to be difficult.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE FILMS OF ALL TIME:
1. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, Luis Bunuel)
This film floored me the first time I saw it, and I had to sleep on it before I even had an opinion. But I tell you, the next day I woke up awestruck over the sheer genius of this film. I have never seen anything since that has had such an emotional impact on me, and I hold this film close to my heart for many reasons (although my initial draw to this film was due to the similarity of the character Conchita and a girl I dated a couple years back). From start to finish, it is full of symbolism, metaphor, beauty, duality, chastity, and possession. See this film for an excellent portrayal of the dark side of love, and pay attention to every single detail. Film is the most expressive form of art, and this one will show you why.
2. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
This film is extremely emotional and quirky, and it has that wicked theatric dialogue that Lynch is so famous for. Set in a small, cute, suburban American town, this film portrays the deception of suburbia better than American Beauty or any other film of the like in my opinion. Great script, great score, great acting, great filmmaking.
3. Slacker (1990, Richard Linklater)
This is one of the most unique pieces of (art or film?) that I have ever seen. If you have seen and enjoyed the film Waking Life, you will love Slacker. Linklater recycled some of his great ideas from Slacker and made Waking Life eleven years later, but this is the better of the two, hands down. Slacker is a literally a day in the life of the alternative youth culture from 1990. This film was shot on 16mm with a low budget, and has only recently become available and rightfully given the Criterion Collection treatment. Slacker follows the lives of tons of different characters as they simply just do their thang on a hot Austin afternoon. There are philosophical debates, people committing crimes, people selling strange items, people just hanging out, weirdos, losers, lovers, and of course slackers. See this for that great early 90's vibe and also to enjoy another truly great cinematic experience.
4. 8 1/2 (1963, Federico Fellini)
Fellini was in the process of writing a script, and he was stuck creatively. This film was born out of that frustration, as Fellini decided to make a film about a director struggling to make a film. Sound boring? Well this is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen. 8 1/2 opens with a hallucinatory dream sequence in which a man is stuck in his car in a tunnel backed up with traffic and suddenly smoke starts to pour into the cabin through the vents. He struggles to break free, and he eventually floats up and out of the car, over the traffic ahead of him, out of the tunnel, into the clouds, and he looks down to realize that there is a line attached to his foot, as if he is a kite. He then falls down to the ground below only to wake up in bed. The whole film is full of these half-real half-imagined sequences that illustrate his frustrations with and desires for his childhood, his family, his film, his lovers, his arrogance, and more. Beautifully shot in black and white with a wealth of symbolism.
5. Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
Amadeus is my favorite period film of all time. Like the other films from this list, it is amazing for a million reasons, but the portrayal of Mozart and his musical genius is by far the best part of the film. Being a lover and player of music myself, it's just mind-boggling to watch Mozart compose amazing multi-intrumental symphonies in his head and dictate them flawlessly every time. The film is spectacularly made with amazing costumes, a wonderful script perfectly acted, and of course the beautiful backdrop and scenery of Prague. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and it won 8 including Best Picture.
TOP FIVE FAVORITE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME:
1. Kid A (Radiohead, 2000)
Kid A is indescribable. There isn't an album out there that works better than this. Kid A is so f------ amazing that it brings tears to my eyes each time I decide to take the 57 minute journey. Radiohead fans became divided when this album was released, because it was unlike anything Radiohead had ever done before. There are two types of Radiohead fans - those who swear by 1997's Ok Computer, and those who swear by Kid A and Radiohead's later work. Kid A should be approached with caution, as it is a dangerously powerful substance.
2. Lateralus (Tool, 2001)
Does anybody need to re-evaluate there place here on Earth and how they are choosing to live their lives? If so, allow me to suggest Lateralus for insight into your soul. This album is brilliant. It is a lot to digest (78 minutes in length) and it's subject matter can hit close to home, but it relays a powerful message with even more powerful music. Danny Carey plays the drums with so much feeling and technicality that the instrument literally speaks to me (being a drummer, it doesn't get much better than this). Don't write this album off without really getting to know it, because it really had a positive impact on my life, and I know if you keep an open mind it will change yours.
3. In Rainbows (Radiohead, 2007)
Radiohead never ceases to amaze, and when they offered this album in October as a download-only album (for which you could pay whatever you wanted, whether that be nothing, one cent or a million dollars) they made history yet again. This album is more accessible than Kid A, and almost as amazing in my opinion. This was definitely the best of 2007, and one of the best of the millennium.
4. Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (The Smashing Pumpkins, 1995)
The Smashing Pumpkins were a favorite band of mine growing up, and this album is the main reason why. I remember begging my father for this album, solely for "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," and being surprised that it was a 28 song double-disc and that I only knew one song. Luckily, he surprised me with this album and I fell in love with all the songs. Needless to say, it was on constant play in my discman for over a year. There is so much wonderful material here that it takes a long time to fully appreciate this one. It is the White Album of our generation and a must for any alternative rock fan.
5. Roman Candle (Elliott Smith, 1995)
Elliott Smith is my favorite singer/songwriter, and his first EP showcases his amazing ability to make short, epic poems of love and lament simply using his raspy, whispery voice and acoustic guitar. I might add that this short album was recorded entirely on a four-track by himself. His unique finger-style way of playing is gorgeous, and his words of loneliness create a stark contrast that makes his style it's own. For those that have never listened to him, he is no whiny young emo "artist" singing ridiculous songs, but a very tasteful lamenter with a man's voice, and the best singer/songwriter since John Lennon. Elliott Smith ended his life at a young age, but he left behind a great body of work that will live on forever.