Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Robert Rodriguez

Hello Film Doctor friends.

This Fun Friday is rather flavoursome – we have TWO director’s favourite film lists.

With the release of Machete Kills we have independent directing champion Robert Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, Robert (2007)
By pinguino k from North Hollywood, USA (Robert Rodriguez) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is his list:

  • Jaws (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1975) “watched it when I was seven because it was released on my birthday in 1975. June 20th, 1975, Jaws came out, and that was my birthday present.”  (R. Rodriguez for IMDb’s 20th Anniversary Star of the Day video interview)
  • The Godfather (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) – “because it’s about family. It’s just a perfect film. Five-act structure… It’s just amazing. Coppola just did the coolest stuff with that.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2009)
  • Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982) –  “I love film noir movies, and that was just a new way of doing it. Set in the future, made up worlds. It’s just a straight up great movie; everything fell into place, which is just rare for things to happen that way. How everything came together, the artistry that went into it, the design, the music, and how resilient the story is, how you can just keep making new versions of it, and they all still kind of work. [laughs] When you can just keep remaking the same movie with the same footage and just kind of tweak it a little bit..” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2009)
  • Notorious (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) – Between that and Strangers on a Train, I think Notorious, because it’s just… I just dig that one.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2009)

Film Doctor Danny Trejo and Robert Rodriguez

Rodriguez is known for directing his personal takes on the B-Movie genre (like Machete Kills), so it’s only logical that he also discusses his favourite cult movies:

  • Rolling Thunder (dir. John Flynn, 1977) – One of the earliest that I remember seeing was Rolling Thunder. It’s a revenge-thriller, but it’s done so cool—it’s intense and brutal. It’s got Tommy Lee Jones and William Devane in it, and Paul Schrader writes it. It was set in San Antonio, and you see its influence in just about every one of my movies because the guy loses his hand by the bad guys and it turns into a hook. Transformation is a big thing in my films—starting one way and going 180 degrees into something else—and usually it happens at the end of my movies.” (R.Rodriguez for, 2013)
  • Escape From New York (dir. John Carpenter, 1981) – This film really opened up my eyes to the kinds of movies I wanted to do and be a filmmaker for because of the freedom that it suggested. When I saw that John Carpenter had written, directed, and done the music, I thought, “That’s crazy.” And you can just declare that New York is a prison and the audience buys it? That’s the most freedom you could possibly have in a playground to create your own set of rules. And Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is the ultimate antihero and does the types of things you’d never see a hero do. You can only get away with that in a cult-type movie. All my movies, whether it’s a kid’s movie or an action movie, have a complete sense of freedom and fantasy where they’re not realistic at all but live within their own set of rules that are defined by that particular movie.” (R.Rodriguez for, 2013)
  • Evil Dead II (dir. Sam Raimi, 1987) – Evil Dead II was a big influence on films like From Dusk Till Dawn. Aside from the transformation, where you had a guy with a chainsaw for an arm, it had this idea of horror and cartoonish-type comedy where you didn’t know if you were meant to be scared or laugh out loud. I loved that.”
  • Flash Gordon (dir. Mike Hodges, 1980) – I loved Flash Gordon! The Dino De Laurentiis production gone awry. I remember my younger brother and I saw the trailers on television, and my other siblings were laughing at it, saying, “You’re going to see that? That looks retarded!” So they went to see this reissue of Song of the South, and my brother and I went to see Flash Gordon, and we got the better end of the deal. A good trailer for Flash Gordon came on before the showing of Song of the South, and they were suddenly pissed they chose the wrong movie. Sure enough, to this day, it’s one of those jokes within our family and we just love it—the jokes, the kitschy nature of it. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but you end up loving things for what it is.”
    • The Hitcher (dir. Robert Harmon, 1986) / Near Dark (dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) – There was a time in the mid-’80s, around the time I was going to college, where there were two films by [screenwriter] Eric Red, The Hitcher and Near Dark. Near Darkwas a great cult vampire movie. It came out the same time as The Lost Boys and just got buried. It was not distributed well. Whenever I see Kathryn Bigelow I always bug her about Near Dark stories. And with The Hitcher, they remade it recently and it’s terrible, but the original one is great. I finally got to work with Rutger Hauer on Sin City, and he just has an amazing presence and is a fucking great actor. Working with him was a dream.”


The Fifth Estate

Another film on release this Friday is The Fifth EstateIts director Bill Condon  (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, The Twilight Saga) shares affection for “Bride of Frankenstein ” – “one of my favourite movies and maybe my favourite horror movie” (CraveOnline, 2012).

Film Doctor The Fifth Estate UK Poster

Its lead, Benedict Cumberbatch has the following films on his list:

Buy/rent/watch these films and expand your filmic palette!

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The Film Doctor Team
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