I’ve been a movie lover as long as I can remember. Growing up, I watched a lot of movies with my Dad. This started when we watched The Maltese Falcon on TV, and I thought Humphrey Bogart was so cool that I made my Dad watch all of Bogart’s other movies with me. I was maybe nine or ten at the time, and too young to understand pretty much everything about these films, but I remember loving Bogart’s tough guy persona and the Noir atmosphere of moral decay and “adulthood” that all of his movies had.
After Bogart, I graduated to watching the films of Alfred Hitchcock. I remember being especially taken with things like Hitchcock’s recurring casts, his cameos, and the general stylistic touches that seemed to link all of his films. What these touches were I couldn’t have said at the time, but there was definitely something besides just suspense that united films as different as the voyeuristic Rear Window and the man-on-the-run thriller North By Northwest. In addition to these high-minded classics, I also watched a lot of low-brow comedies, movies like This is Spinal Tap and Caddyshack, and anything made by Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.
I can definitely see elements of all these first loves in the movies that I like now. I like character-driven movies with distinctive aesthetics, which transport me to a foreign world and have unique directorial touches. Many of my favorite films now qualify: The Royal Tenenbaums, The King of Comedy, Rosemary’s Baby, Dazed and Confused, The Apartment, The Master, The Graduate, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Truthfully, I don’t watch all that much television, but I am a really big fan of Mad Men, and I enjoyed the debut seasons of True Detective and Fargo very much. I also desperately hope that Larry David returns with a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Lately, in my spare time, I’ve also been getting into European art house cinema of the ‘50s and ‘60s—Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, and all those other names that will make me sound smart at cocktail parties 10 years from now. Since I haven’t watched a lot of non-American films, getting to explore other cultures and means of expression has been really rewarding. Right now I am halfway through Ingmar Bergman’s body of work, and everything that I’ve seen so far I’ve absolutely loved.