George Clooney is the rare kind of star whose magnetism is such that people might actually care what his favorite films are — I rather like the idea of devout fans frantically updating their Netflix queues in response to this list he’s shared with Parade magazine. (Their infomercial-like instructions: “See the films George Clooney loves!”
He’s certainly been generous with his advice. Rather than reeling a couple of titles off the top of his head, he’s recommended 100; before you go assuming these are his 100 all-time favorites, however, bear in mind that he’s limited to focus to films made between 1964 and 1976, the period he believes to be the most exciting in film history.
His taste, rather like his filmmaking, is admirably classical if not terribly radical: most of the expected canon titles are present and correct, while guiltier pleaures seem largely to have been filtered out. Somewhat annoyingly, Parade have presented the list as a 100-panel slideshow; if you have the time to wade through it all, knock yourself out here.
For everyone else, Clooney has instead singled out his more-than-respectable top five: “All the President’s Men,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Harold and Maude” and “Network.” (For the sake of contrast, Taylor Lautner recently shared his all-time top five with Rotten Tomatoes. They include “Man on Fire” and “The Notebook.” I don’t think I’m on Team Jacob here.)
The selection of “All the President’s Men,” in particular, doesn’t surprise me: it feels like the film the nobly politically-minded Clooney has been dying to make his entire career, and with good reason. His describes it thus:
“All the President’s Men really is a perfect film. And the reason it’s a perfect film is you start the movie knowing how it ends. We know that Woodward and Bernstein get the scoop and Nixon gets got and you’re chewing your fingernails off through the whole movie. There are those moments when Robert Redford goes to meet Deep Throat and we know he’s not going to get killed ’cause we know the characters don’t die. But you’re nervous for him the whole time. Alan J. Pakula was a great director. It’s a really well made film.”
Anyway, this feels as apt a moment as any to plug the list we’re planning for next week: to tie in with Clooney’s upcoming “The Ides of March,” I’ll be counting down the Top 10 political films ever made. Given my review, it’s no spoiler to say Clooney’s own film won’t be on it, but maybe some of his favorites will.