Hiding Out (1987; dir. Bob Giraldi) I used to watch Hiding Out a lot when it was on cable growing up. I was about five or six, so it's kind of weird that a manic high school comedy/corporate thriller appealed to me, but it totally did. It was probably because of Jon Cryer, who is awesome in this movie. It's really refreshing to see him play the well-adjusted, intelligent cool guy and not the bumbling doofus he's so often asked to play. After this most recent viewing, it struck me that maybe I liked it because of how sweet it is -- especially for a high school movie. The thriller and action aspects are clumsily slapped in to make the premise -- stock trader on the lam from the mob hides out as a high school student -- work, but those elements are actually shot better than most modern day action movies. Talk about sad. Other things I like about Hiding Out: Keith Coogan playing the Keith Coogan part, Annabeth Gish being a poor man's Jennifer Rubin (I'm going to have to open a wing in the Hall of Kick Ass for cute girls from '80s teen movies) and the use of some awesome songs like "Catch Me (I'm Falling)" by Pretty Poison and "Crying" by Roy Orbison. For the record, the use of Roy Orbison music automatically makes a movie better. You should watch Hiding Out because this will be the only time in your life that someone will recommend it to you.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992; dir. James Foley) David Mamet’s devastating critique of capitalism, masculinity, and the plight of the working man might just be the single finest film adaptation of his stage work. The cast is uniformly excellent. Jack Lemmon once revealed in an interview that the Cannes Film Festival nearly made an exception for Glengarry Glen Ross by voting “Best Actor” to the entire cast. Director James Foley and that entire cast do a great job making Mamet’s highly stylized dialogue sound natural coming out of these characters’ mouths. Alec Baldwin’s single scene “motivational speech” is probably best remembered, but Al Pacino’s sales pitch to/seduction of Jonathan Pryce is equally memorable. My favorite line is delivered by Pacino to a young Kevin Spacey near the end of the film, “Who ever told you that you could work with MEN?” Required viewing for all men.
Mark Ahn: Sleepwalk with Me (2012; dir. Mike Birbiglia) Stand up comics don't always have their humor and comedic timing translate well into TV or movies, but Mike Birbiglia's self-deprecating, dry, and very vulnerable sensibility comes across in all of its wide-eyed, rumply glory in his directorial debut. Sleepwalk with Me is populated with lots of personally poignant moments from Birbiglia's life, but you don't have to be a fan of his coming into the movie, nor necessarily a fan of his humor; the story of an aspiring comedian struggling to succeed while balancing the other elements of his life (including his sleep disorder) is compelling enough.Eight Men Out (1988; dir. John Sayles) With baseball season right around the corner, and Adam Riske making it okay to admit we cried at a movie, I’m choosing Eight Men Out as my pick this week. As a boy growing up in a die hard (unhealthy) White Sox-loving family, seeing Eight Men Out as a kid, the story of the 1919 White Sox that threw the World Series rocked me and brought 10-year old Mike to tears. I had no idea they cheated! How could the White Sox, MY team, have done this? I felt so betrayed. Can I not believe in anything anymore? Besides Santa Clause, that is.
Navajo Joe (1966; dir. Sergio Corbucci) Burt Reynolds plays a Native American! His voice is dubbed! In a western by the man who made Django! The score is awesome! You'll recognize it from Kill Bill Vol. 2! What do you think of my new punctuation style! I'm the new Harry Knowles! This is out of print on DVD! But it's on Netflix in HD! This movie is awesome!