Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Michel Gondry and James Gunn

Hello Film Doctor friends.

This Fun Friday we’ve got a yummy double bill for you – extensive film picks from Writer/Directors  Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”,  “The Green Hornet”, “The Science of Sleep”) and James Gunn (“Movie 43”, “Scooby-Doo”).

Michel Gondry on set of Mood Indigo

Gondry – who’s latest project,  “Mood Indigo”hits UK cinemas today – offers a double-length list of film choices.

First up is a selection of films chosen by Gondry for a feature in Dazed, June 2014 – under the slogan “films he simply can’t get out of his head”:

  • “My Little Loves” (1974, dir. Jean Eustache) – “It’s about a 14 year old boy who is forced to live with his auntie as his mother is not rich enough, he goes to a town but he’s struggling to find a girlfriend. The movie is so pure, sincere and touching. I watched it on VHS and wanted to stop it because it’s very slow-paced and a bit dry, but something stopped me and it got to be like an old buddy. I watched it again and again and it became may be my first favourite movie.”
  • “Modern Times” (1936, dir. Charlie Chaplin) – It really summarises how I see the world of mechanics and magic at the same time.”
  • “Groundhog Day” (1993, dir. Harold Ramis) – “Groundhog Day is a brute comedy with the simple concept of waking up every day to the same day which is impossible in real life but you can totally identify with. Many times you wake up and it feels like the same day again and again – like shooting a film for instance, but everybody feels it’s like Groundhog Day.”
  • “Like Father, Like Son” (2013, dir. Hirokazu Koreeda) – “This movie I saw very recently, a Japanese movie about two kids that are switched at birth but try to correct the situation. It’s complicated as one kids’ fate may be better than the other with his new family, but on one hand the other may have more of an experience. Eventually the kids fit better in the family where they each grew up.”
  • “L’Atalante” (1934, dir. Jean Vigo) – “L’Atalante is a movie by Jean Vigo, which was made with very little money in the late ’20s.  It’s completely magical. It’s a simple love story on a boat travelling in the Channel, it’s sort of surrealist by with a very simple meaning. The main character Michel Simon is just magical. It’s one of the most magical movies I’ve seen.”
  • “Je t’aime, je t’aime” (1968, dir. Alain Resnais) – “Je T’aime, Je T’aime is sort of science fiction/experimental where the guy goes back and relives one hour of his past and the experiment goes wrong so he keeps going back to the same moment in time which he can’t get out of. You find out what really happened, it’s surreal.”
  • “The Phantom of Liberty” (1974, dir. Luis Bunuel) – “Each scene has an element of the next, so you follow an unexpected thread. Every time I watch this movie, I can’t stop watching it to the end. One time I was in the video store and they were projecting it and I stood there for two hours just watching it. I couldn’t stop.”
  • “Kes” (1969, dir. Ken Loach) –  It’s a beautiful story. I love Ken Loach so much, his type of cinema doesn’t really exist in France, most movies in France are mostly about the bourgeois.”


Second is Gondry’s selection for Flavorwire’s “Streaming Cinema Playlist” – a feature which offers suggestions for supplementary online viewing.

On July 17th, Gondry made this “playlist” in relation to “Mood Indigo”:

…and something you may not have expected from Monsieur Gondry:

  • “RoboCop” (1987, dir. Paul Verhoeven)  /  “Back To The Future” (1985, dir. Robert Zemeckis)  – “My love of movies is in making movies in America with a [studio] system. My archetype of a great movie is RoboCop and Back to the Future. Those are maybe my two favorites.  RoboCop definitely is a comic book and Back to the Future is not but the approach is quite close to this universe in Green Hornet. It’s not that far off. There is a spirit that I can understand.”


And to honor Thursday’s release of  “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, we delve into its Director, James Gunn’s list of films – this one, dedicated to dark comedy picks (as originally published in, 2011):

  • “Visitor Q” (2011, dir. Takashi Miike) – Visitor Q is the most f***d up film on this list, by far. [Laughs.] I am loath to suggest Visitor Q to anyone, because you’ve got to have a warped brain to even understand or appreciate it a little bit. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have been blessed with a warped brain, and I really dug it. It’s not my favorite Takashi Miike film—that’d be Audition, but, although there are comedic moments in Audition, I don’t consider it a dark comedy. Visitor Q is much funnier and much stranger.” 
  • “The Hospital” (1971, dir. Arthur Hiller) – “This is a Paddy Chayefsky script, which was his follow-up to the classic Network, and in a lot of ways it’s like Network. It’s about the corruption of institutions, and a series of murders that are going on within this hospital. It stars George C. Scott in one of his greatest performances.
    The Hospital is just a fantastic movie; I actually think it’s much better than Network myself, although I’m probably alone in that. It doesn’t telegraph its message as much as Network, so that makes it a better movie for me.”
  • “Happiness” (1998, dir. Todd Solondz) – Todd Solondz seems to have absolutely no love for his characters, and he’s a very different director from me in that way. All of my characters are really angry, dark, and fucked up, but I really love them—even the bad guys. In Happiness, there’s no sense of that love; in fact, it’s an utterly loveless affair, but very funny and a fantastically acted and shot movie.”
  • “Chuck & Buck” (2000, dir. Miguel Arteta) – This movie was written by Mike White, who went on to write School Of Rock and write and direct Year Of The Dog, and he also stars in the movie. It was directed by Miguel Arteta, who just did Cedar Rapids. Oh, and the other two stars are the Weitz brothers, Chris and Paul, who wrote and directed American Pie. The performances from all three of those guys, who are writers, are great. It’s really interesting how writers can so often be good actors, because they just don’t overplay things.  Chuck & Buck is a creepy cringefest. It’s about these two guys who’ve been best friends all of their lives, and you find out that they used to f**k all the time when they were kids […] It’s a great movie for straight males to freak out on. [Laughs.] But it’s great. Knowing that Paul Weitz is a straight guy makes it creepy to watch. It’s just really creepy, but it’s funny and strangely touching at the same time. “

James Gunn

  • “Bad Santa” (2003, dir. Terry Zwigoff) – It’s one of the few movies on my list that was actually successful at the box office. A lot of people went to see it, despite the fact that it was so dark.”
  • “Man Bites Dog” (1992, dir. Remy Belvaux and Andre Bonzel) – “It’s almost hard to imagine that Man Bites Dog is a comedy. [Laughs.] But it is really funny at times. […] I saw that movie in New York City when it came out, and it’s a movie that people remember. Not too many people have seen it, but those who have will always remember it.
  • In The Loop” (2009, dir. Armando Iannucci) –  In The Loop was a little gem. That was a movie I saw right before the end of the year, because I started hearing tons of good things about, and I do like my “favorites of the year” list every year. I had started hearing that it was good, but it didn’t appeal to me at first. But then I saw it and thought it was just a blast throughout, and it ended up being my favorite movie of that year, actually.” 
  • “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” (1975, dir. Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones) – “Monty Python And The Holy Grail is a hugely important movie to me. I remember watching it for the first time on cable, when I was about 13 years old. I remember seeing the scene when the Black Knight is getting his limbs cut off, and I laughed so hard. And then the scene with the killer rabbit. I laughed so hard during those scenes, I don’t think I ever laughed harder in my life before then or since. It’s just an all-out hilarious movie from moment to moment. And in a lot of ways, it really was the first real slapstick gore film. I like their other movies, too. Life Of Brian is hilarious, and I probably would have put that on this list, too, but I decided to just give Monty Python one pick.”



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The Film Doctor Team
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