Number 3: “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”

“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” was the turning point film in my life.  I witnessed it.  Absorbed it.  And will forever love both Wes Anderson and Bill Murray.  Not to mention Klaus played by Willem Dafoe.

This film immediately became my favorite film of all time.  And how could it not?

It stars Bill Murray at the absolute top of his game in his most “Bill Murray-ish” ways.  He’s smoking drinking and just acting like the hilarious self assured and silly twelve year old we’ve come to know and love.

The story is so zany and fun.  It just kills me.  Everytime I watch this film I am absolutely entranced with the colors on screen and the equally colorful characters.

This is an adventure I would LOVE to go on.  Ever since I was young I’ve had a fascination with the sea.  Sure after seeing “Jaws” I was scared shitless of it’s depthless abyss but there was just something so soothing and amazing about the ocean to me.

My dad would take us boating, kitesurfing, sailing, and paddle boarding.  These we’re my favorite moments out on the water and I think that’s one of the main reasons “The Life Aquatic” is my favorite Wes Anderson over “The Royal Tenenbaums” or “Grand Budapest Hotel”.  Those are without question equally brilliant and amazing films but the combination of a colorful story at sea led and prominently featuring a larger than life sea captain, Bill Murray makes this an absolutely irresistible story for myself.

And it’s not even filled with my usual slightly concerning darkness.  I love this movie for what it is, a bouncy bountiful curious and colorful world seen through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.

This movie cracks me up as well.  There are so many little throw away moments that just bring a god damn tear to my eye.  When Ned slaps Klaus on the dock for undercutting him in front of Steve and Klaus says “But you stood up for yourself!”  He was absolutely livid and deeply hurt while responding like an angry and confused twelve year old.  Cuts me up to the core.

I guess one of my main loves of this film is it’s ability to elicit the feeling of being a twelve year old carefree kid and hanging out with your best friends who are also twelve.

They all have guns, blow stuff up for fun and just explore the world around them with such a deep and wonderful curiosity.  “What’s down there and around the corner?  Oh cool!  What would happen if we blew it up with dynamite? Oh cool!  Now let’s go over there!”

It’s just such a wonderful energy that I am consciously trying to bring more of into my life.

I love this movie with all my heart.

When Robin Williams died last year I was positively devastated.  I couldn’t believe someone who brought me so so much joy could have such a tragic and sad ending.  I don’t believe Bill Murray will have a sad ending.  I think he will go out like he lived; fucking awesome!

And if you believe Bill Murray will live forever come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychedelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Barhttps://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because Bill Murray will be there! (He won’t be there)

Life Aquatic
Whenever I see someone wearing a red hat it makes me smile.

Number 4: “Almost Famous”

This movie is neither dark, brooding, violent, nor any of the other deeply disturbing characteristics of most of the films on this list.  “Almost Famous” is just plain amazing.

It’s about a band on the cusp of superstardom in the early 1970’s.  Which for me is basically the best time for music that I have been exposed to.

The characters are incredibly memorable and I love them all as you would a best friend during the best part of your life.  There are only two movies that make me feel like I’m hanging out with friends; “Almost Famous” and “Dazed and Confused”.  Surprise surprise they are both set in the 70’s.  CRAZY!

But this movie has everything.  It has a fun and relatable main character.  An insanely cool rock star as the villain.  And one of the most beautiful and desirable female characters ever set on film; Miss Penny Lane.

The music, characters, time period, and adventure of this movie make it an absolute must watch with every girl I have ever dated.  It’s maybe more of a test.  If you are not moved by this film than we have no business dating because we have nothing in common and you might be a robot.

I love this movie.  It makes me feel like I was fortunate enough to grow up in the sixties/seventies like my parents.  They always swore it sucked just like growing up in the 80’s/90’s did but for some reason it just seemed like so much more fun!

I wish I could live through this movie but watching it is still pretty damn close.

Cameron Crowe is a genius in my mind who beautifully understands the angst and confusion that comes with adolescence; Ex “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.  And he just knows how to cut through all the bullshit and hit me right where it counts.

I even like his other movies, that lately have been universally panned.  I thought “Elizabethtown” was great and am actually still planning to see “Aloha”.

And if you are blind to bad films thanks to nostalgia from their predecessors come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’re going to give you new eye balls.

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Number 13: “Citizen Kane”

This may appear to be my “Look how smart I am” addition to the list.  I did initially see this film BECAUSE it’s supposedly the greatest/most important film of all time but that’s not why I loved it.  There are plenty of movies I saw because they are great but didn’t necessarily enjoy them.  I saw “The Godfather” and didn’t lose my mind.  I’m absolutely certain of it’s brilliance but it just didn’t connect with me.

“Citizen Kane” on the other hand connected, hook line and sinker.  As a boy growing up you have this odd thought that only modern actors/directors/writers can really make you feel anything or possess any sort of gravitas or bring any weight to a performance.  Watching Orson Welles chew the scenery as the most interesting and broken man in the world (at the time) was so pleasurable I could shriek.  And he also wrote/directed/produced it AGAINST the world’s most powerful man’s almighty force is equally triumphant.

Watching this for five minutes you forget that it was made seventy years ago.  Because frankly not that much has significantly changed since then.  We still have emotional problems, we still don’t know how to make relationships work, and we still have problems that no amount of technology or money can or will ever fix.

And this movie is just fucking brilliant.  The camera angles, the story, the characters, the structure.  It’s just a fucking blast to behold and as described by my good buddy Michael “it’s just a lot of fun.”  I could not agree with him more.

citizen kane
My favorite show loves this damn movie!

What a presence Orson Welles is in this film and every film he’s in for that matter.  I recently had the good fortune of discovering “The Third Man” which is one of my favorite Film Noirs of all time.  He doesn’t show up until about an hour into the film but his hilarious and powerful presence is felt throughout.  And when he dies at the end, even despite of his severe despicableness you’re still left wanting him on screen.  You want to see that smiling mug of his and enjoy his energy and presence.  It was watching this movie, that withholds and then grabs away his magic energy that really drives the point home that he was something special.

So in a way Orson Welles with his incredible ability to DO EVERYTHING in the world of filmmaking would easily be my be all end all.  And if I was alive in that time and still possessed this incredible desire to become a filmmaker he would have been my number one.

If you think not a thing has changed since 1941 then come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychedelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because you’re right!

Citizen Kane
This quote sums up my life philosophy pretty handily.

Number 17: “Jurassic Park”

Oh man what a flick! I honestly can’t tell you a movie I was ever more excited to see than Jurassic Park. HOLE EEEE SHIT! I was excited to see this film.  I was what eight years old when it came out?

Steven Spielberg said he wouldn’t let his kids see this film.  That made my ultra violence loving behind want to see it even more.  It confirmed my suspicions that dudes got straight up eaten in this movie. OMG was I excited.

Then I heard they were going to have a midnight showing on the Thursday before it opened.  I begged and pleaded for my Mom to take me.  I must have offered my very soul to her and she amazingly, and possibly for the first time in my life, said “no.”  I was stunned.  I was always able to “negotiate” for that extra toy or video game or even to stay home from school but now this relatively simple request of taking an eight year old to see an ultra violent PG-13 dinosaur movie at midnight on a school night was denied.  I was livid and would see to it that I was the one who got what was rightfully mine!

After exhausting my eight year old brain I came up with nothing.  My dad DEFINITELY wasn’t going to take me and my brother was 5 and an idiot.  So I asked my Mom what she recommended.  “Well you could call and ask your friends and family.”  EUREKA!

So that’s what I did.  I called every person whose number we had and asked if they would like to accompany me to the world premiere of Jurassic Park.  Now I thought my enthusiasm for this great film would carry me through and well past the finish line.  But would you believe it?  Not one of my aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, teachers, friends, mailmen, milkmen, grandparents, strangers, creepers with white vans, not one would agree to take an underage kid to see an ultra violent dinosaur movie at midnight on a school night. The NERVE!

So I did what any overprivileged young chap would do.  I sulked and bitched and wined and moaned until I eventually fell asleep.  I of course still had to go to school the next day and suffer while so many lucky fools we’re watching this amazing film.  It felt like the night before Christmas times the day before summer starts.

But after six miserably long hours that final school bell rang and I was off to the races.  My mom picked me up from school and we went right to the theater and saw the HELL out of that movie.

It was amazing!  Now normally as an eight year old, you see an ad for a toy, video game, movie, whatever and it looks AMAZING!  And then you get it, open the box and it’s just a fucking toy.  But this movie BO MY GOD!  It was better than my wildest eight year old fever dreams could have ever imagined.   It had the T-rex in full nineties CG end of the world screaming glory.  The wicked smart velociraptors (which if I may say is the COOLEST NAME FOR A SOULLESS KILLING MACHINE OF ALL TIME!).  And this crazy island filled with other dinosaurs and unsuspecting visitors.  IT WAS AMAZING!!

And as we we’re walking out we ran into my cousin Timmy (the only person I could not get a hold of in my desperate attempt to hitch a ride to the midnight show).  He was also walking out of the theatre.  My Mom said “Yo Tim! Wha’d ya think of the movie?”  To which he replied “Oh man it was even better the second time!” Oh so he must have seen an earlier show that day or something I thought.  “Oh yeah I saw the midnight showing last night.  Craziest movie of my life! I’ll never have an experience like that again!”

My blood began to boil and I imagined savaging him like my spirit animal the velociraptor.  But alas I calmed myself as my Mom informed him of my desperate search for a ride.  He laughed and said “oh sorry little buddy but I didn’t check my messages before we went.”

Just breath I thought.  Someday you’ll own a flock of Velociraptors and you can enact terrible vengeance (Just like in Jurassic World!). As we parted ways I made peace with the fact that I had just witnessed the greatest cinematic event of my eight years and likely the rest of my days.  I then proceeded to see the movie nine more times in theaters and countless times on vhs.  It was truly an amazing film.

And if you love dinosaurs so much you’d sit through a staged screenplay reading come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’ll have a live dinosaur in the studio audience! (We will not have any dinosaurs in the studio audience).

Number 19: “Toy Story 3”

Why “Toy Story 3”? Why not just Toy Story?”  You may ask. These are very legitimate questions and my only answer is “HOLY SHIT TOY STORY 3 IS AMAZING!”

Now I’ve heard of sequels being better than originals (Terminator 2, Aliens) but the third?  NEVER!  Not Star Wars, Dark Knight, well maybe Lord of The Rings (but fuck those movies bore me), not nothing.

Just “Toy Story 3”.  It seemingly stands alone atop that glorious mountain.

Sometimes I don’t truly understand how much I love something until someone tells me how much they love it.  Bo Burnham, one of my favorite stand up comedians/performers had a throw away line where he said “I cried for like 3 hours after Toy Story 3.”   He didn’t cry for three hours after TS1 or TS2.  He cried for three hours after “Toy Story 3”.  And do you know why he cried for three hours?

Because this movie connects us with the most powerful, painful, deep seated pain of our fucking lives…  Moving away from our parents and siblings.  Is there anything more painful or sad than doing that? NO, there fucking isn’t!

And it dwells on this subject for like the last fifteen minutes of the movie.  If you possess even a semblance of a soul, buckets of tears explode out of you.  To call it an ugly cry would be the understatement of the century.  I can’t even think about it much less watch it.

Makes me think of being a little kid and thinking how i’d always be this age, my parents would always be on the other side of the house, my little brother would always be little and things would stay relatively the same/awesome forever.  But they don’t. They change fast as fuck and the speed with which the change changes goes fast as fuck.

To be confronted with no protective distracting walls, just full frontal “hey this is how you truly feel and you can never be a kid and your parents can never be young parents again” is one of the hardest things to swallow in life.

And gosh dang “Toy Story 3” nails that point home like only the top echelon of Pixar movies can.  It’s so good!

And I can’t end a TS3 review without mentioning the fact that right before this “ugly cry” scene they have all of the characters on a conveyor belt about to be dropped into an incinerator.  The characters look each other deep in the eye to say how much they meant to each other and then say goodbye.  WHAT? Before our very eyes you are going to KILL our favorite characters of all time! And not just kill but horribly burn and scold to death?! Are you mad sir?!

I legitimately thought they we’re going to kill them all.  But fortunately the Deus Ex Machina swung in and saved the day.

If you love thinking about times gone by that you can never have back and slowly become more depressed and sad until you can barely move then come on down to the staged reading of my screenplay “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM because we’ll definitely cheer you up!

Number 23: “Lost In Translation”

I love “Lost In Translation”! And not just because Bill Murray is in it.  Though he will be making at least one other major appearance in this list #ChrisTop30Films

This movie appeared to me at just the right moment.  It was my first semester at the University of Central Florida.  I was a pending film major.  Pending because I hadn’t been accepted nor was I sure I wanted to be accepted (more on that to come).

I was super gung ho about becoming a filmmaker but also super insecure about my work and socializing in general.  I could walk up to any girl and strike up a convo but talking to another dude or person of similar interest was bizarrely terrifying to me.

Luckily I had already met some really cool people in my freshmen orientation.

The leader of the pack was Mr. Michael Dennis.  With his last name starting with a “D” and mine with a “B” we we’re delightfully placed right next to each other in our orientation class.

I being the first to speak to someone new, always (because it’s easier than sitting in awkward silence in my opinion).  I must have said “hey man what’s up” or something like that and then somehow or another one of us muttered a Simpsons quote and the other immediately finished it.  Sparks flew as rockets launched, ships went out to see, and the ticker tape parade began.  It was best friends at first Simpsons quote.  And we’ve been best friends ever since. Twelve plus glorious years.

It was Mr. Michael Dennis who inevitably invited me to see this masterpiece of simple yet extremely complicated emotionally driven relationship cinema.  We had to drive all the far theater in a super nice area of Winter Park.  I being the wannabe lady killer invited a girl and we met Michael there with another friend from film class.  Phil I believe.

I had already heard amazing things about this movie.  At this point I didn’t even realize what a Bill Murray fan I was.  It embarrassingly wouldn’t be until 2007’s “ZombieLand” that I finally realized what a MASSIVE Bill Murray fan I am.  The dude is a god damn living legend times savior.  Love him!

The movie starts and I am just drawn in to the atmosphere and the location.  Tokyo is unlike anyplace I have ever seen.  It’s dark, crowded, filled with flashing lights, and quite beautiful.  There is a young girl who is just flat out gorgeous.  Like classy pin up gorgeous multiplied by Marilyn Monroe (who would later become the world’s sexiest woman Scarlett Johansson; go figure).  And then Bill shows up and he’s brooding!  He’s not happy go lucky problem free Bill Murray.  He’s problem filled Bill Murray.  And he’s fantastic.

The movie goes on like this orbiting their beautiful non-age appropriate and growing relationship.  And it perfectly elicits the excitement and wonder of every relationship I’ve ever had while on a trip.  Every girl I ever had a crush on and wasn’t sure liked me back. The dizzying highs when you are around them, the terrifying lows at the thought of them leaving, the muddling middles where you’re not sure where this is going or where it should go.

They both need exactly what they get in this movie.

I like to think they never saw each other again and just enjoy the memories and wonderful experiences they had together.  Cause sometimes that’s enough.

Bill Murray is fantastic in this film.  He’s super funny and just real.  He’s a real person with real feelings and he’s fucking sensitive about shit.  I’m so glad he decided he could do roles like this.

Whenever I’m in need of a vacation or an exciting fling I put this film on and enjoy our memories.

And if you want to make some great new memories to enjoy come to the Staged Reading of my screenplay “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater on Aug 9th at 5:30 pm.  Bill Murray is gonna be there! (Bill Murray will 99.9% NOT be there). Here’s the Event Brite as well! 

Number 25: “Good Will Hunting” #ChrisTop30Films

Good Will Hunting is a great film.  It’s one of those movies that just connects so well and so hard it burns itself into your psyche.

It’s got Matt Damon and Ben Affleck when they were super young and super skinny. Sure we’d seen them in a few things before but they were definitely still fresh faced and fuzzy tailed.

To round it out we had Robin Williams and Minnie Driver.  Two much more recognizable faces at that time.  I hadn’t seen “Dead Poets Society” at this point so my main source of Robin Williams brilliance was Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. Two of my favorite films growing up #Obvs.  But this movie was different.  This was a different, deeper, raw, filled with pain, real side of Robin Williams I didn’t even know existed.  He had always been the funny happy go lucky distraction from all of life’s problems.  But not here.  Oh no, not in this movie.  He was the revealer of that which is too scary to see, think about, or even consider hinting at.

I have seen this movie maybe ten times and I’ve NEVER made it through the “It’s not your fault scene” without balling like a little school girl whose dad just came home from war.

And the fact that Matt and Ben wrote this together as two struggling actors in LA is so inspiring it makes me sick with jealousy.  They couldn’t get the roles they wanted or the recognition they craved so they just made something up that fit their styles, personalities, and goals perfectly and then went to town trying to get it made.  This strategy or philosophy has  always made the most sense to me.

Why would I wait around for someone to find me when I could hone my storytelling and acting craft and make something great myself?  I don’t understand people who say “I’m just waiting for the right role.” Or even worse “I just can’t find the right role.”  Fucking make the right role homie!

I’m not saying this is an easy feat at all! But it sure as shit beats sitting around waiting for someone to realize how great you are.

One thing I’ve realized about most of the artists who have made it is they had to slog through nine hundred miles of shit before they got to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Then once they got there the journey wasn’t over.  It had just begun.  With hundreds or even thousand more miles of crap.

But that’s the point isn’t it?  We don’t play music just to get to the end.  We play music or sing a song or act out a scene to enjoy the journey through it.  If we played just to get to the end the person who played the fastest would be the best.  And that is definitely not true.

Anyway I am a big fan of this film.  It is super inspirational and just downright a good ass movie where the realistic characters go through real pain and grow as real people.

And if you want to grow as a real person come to The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM for my LIVE SCREENPLAY READING!

Even Southies are welcome 😉

My Top 30 Films of All Time Countdown

Hey Everybody and welcome to the blog announcing “My Top 30 Films of All Time Countdown”.  You can use #ChrisTop30Films to tell me how brilliant/silly I am via social media.

Each day around noon I’ll be releasing a new film review blog in the countdown from my thirtieth favorite film all the way to my first favorite film.

Is this to celebrate the fact that I’m now thirty and can no longer drink, sleep, have sex, have as much hair, think, or overall act like I did when I was in my twenties? GOD NO! It’s to announce my “PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING”. Click the link or scroll down for more info 😉

From this countdown you’re gonna get some action films, some romance, some drama, but mostly you’re gonna get ME telling YOU not only why these movies are awesome but how deeply they affected and literally changed the direction of my life.

Quick preview of “#6” Blog to come:

I saw my sixth favorite film of all time “Fight Club” in 1999 when I was fourteen years old. This film said very clearly “Hey! You will NOT be satisfied working in an office and should think long and hard about your many alternatives.” I was fourteen and already like “Man that office salary cubicle life is bull shit!”. And I didn’t even have to work for forty years or have a stroke to realize it. This amazingly slick propaganda film convinced me in vivid ultra violence that when the time came I should explore other possibly non-traditional ways to make a living. And I didn’t even need to start a Fight Club :B

So you’ll not only get my “expert” analysis of the film but also the deep and fun ways it affected my life.

How neat is that??? (crickets)

And if my math is correct the last blog post will come out on exactly the day of my “PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING” which I am totally stressing and freaking out about.

But in light of my inability to withstand criticism of any weight directed at my chosen art I would love you to come watch the performance read by actual actors (how awesome is that?!)!

The reading is at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. It should be a rollicking good time!

Or if you are lucky enough to live in a place without the worlds weirdest weather (i.e. Chicago) you can tune in to the Periscope live broadcast and watch from the comfort of your own home. #SweatPants!

But either way you can RSVP at the Facebook event here!

We will have free snacks and the Annoyance Theater has a full bar!

Hooray!

So stay tuned cause I’m going to post a new blog errrday until the Big Day that is the Unveiling of my “Master Work” titled “Mum Knows Best.”

It’s a combination of “Blade Runner”, “The Maltese Falcon”, and “Inception.” With tons of other elements from the film noir, sci-fi, action, and comedy genres that I love so much!

But Chris aren’t all three of those movies like basically the same thing? YES, YES THEY ARE!

Well how is your movie going to be any different? I DON’T HAVE A CLUE! But maybe if you come you can tell me and we’ll make it better together! #TeamWork!

Well thanks for reading, I’d love you to come or watch from afar and join me in celebrating the best movies this thirty year old “man” has ever seen.

Love ya!

Chris “Praying This Screenplay Comes Out Remotely Decent” Brodhead