FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| John Ford |||
John Ford

One of the art form's grand masters of all time, Ford is responsible for influencing the seminal directors of generation after generation. Strongly associated with the impressive body of work created over a lifetime with collaborator John Wayne, it is nearly impossible to choose just three… but here it goes.

This powerful winner of the Best Picture Academy Award is set in Wales at the turn of the 19th century, and tells the story of a family of miners, whose lives are filled with danger and repression. The film is beautifully crafted, lovingly depicting the gut wrenching sacrifices and light-hearted moments that are elemental to family life, making this film a true representation of the craft that is unmistakably John Ford.

This film is told in flashback as James Stewart, after a long absence, returns home for the funeral of a friend who saved his life from a sadistic outlaw. This classic covers every essential element required to qualify as a western epic from unlikely friends to the girl who comes between them, to the enemy they both despise, but handle with extremely different approaches, to Fords signature cast of supporting characters, all combine to make this a staple for every fan of this uniquely American genre.

This romantic comedy seen through the eyes of John Ford has John Wayne ( an American-raised boxer) go to Ireland to the village of his birth, fall for feisty Maureen O'Hara, and fight with town ruffian Victor McLaglen in one of the all time classic screen brawls. This is an exceptionally fine romantic movie that with Ford’s capable bravado manages to be a film that any man’s man can openly enjoy.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D

By EdwardHavens

October 20th, 2006

Re-imagining "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as a three dimensional film has taken Henry Selick's modern masterwork and turned it into a timeless classic. Although the new version is essentially the same as the one film fans fell in love with in the early 1990s, the update gives the film extra depth (no pun intended) and excitement, and brings to the silver screen the single best instance of three dimension cinema moviegoers have ever seen.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D

Compare the stereographics from “Nightmare” with the painful images from the three dimensional versions of other recent films utilizing the same processes. Perhaps this is because “Nightmare” was not conceived and produced as an all-CG animated project, giving the film a more natural look and feel due to its “live” action shooting process. One could conceive it to be more convenient to give depth to images that were created in a real-world environment and photographed on a live set. Whatever reason it may be, the clarity of the stereographic images here are astounding, far outpacing the best 3D movies of the past such as “House of Wax” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Throughout the film, one truly gets the sense of being in Halloween Town with Jack Skellington and his motley group of cretins.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the film, this is genuinely a great gift. If you’ve never seen “Nightmare” before, I am honestly jealous. To be able to experience this film for the first time ever in 3D should become one of the greatest cinematic events you will ever get to enjoy. Having seen the film several dozen times since its release in 1993, including a few visits to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood (where Disney has shown the film every year during Halloween) and one pre-release test screening (where I believe I may have been the only person to have liked the film that night), I have found myself reconnecting with the film in ways I never did before, getting close to sheer giddiness during two of the film’s best set pieces: the film’s opening moments, where we meet the denizens of Halloween Town, when Santa is taunted by Oogie Boogie, and especially during the single greatest moment of the film: when Jack discovers Christmas Town. Like the Pumpkin King, I shared his excitement as he asked “What Is This?” This is brilliance taken to the next level.

The Nightmare Before Christmas” has aged well since its first release, and we can only hope Disney decides to make this a holiday perennial for all (not just those of us who live close to the company’s flagship movie theatre). If ever you needed an excuse to be reminded why we go to the movie theatre sometimes, this is it.

My rating: A+