Saturday, April 02, 2016

100 Must-See Films! -- Brad Pitt

“I'm one of those people you hate because of genetics. It's the truth.”

“You shouldn't speak until you know what you're talking about. That's why I get uncomfortable with interviews. Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a fucking actor! They hand me a script. I act. I'm here for entertainment. Basically, when you whittle everything away, I'm a grown man who puts on makeup.”

“There are no secrets in our house. We tell the kids, "Mom and Dad are going off to kiss."
- Brad Pitt

5. Babel (2006, Mexico, France, USA)
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza. Rinko Kikuchi, Gael Garcia Bernal

In a world where peace and well-being are so functionally possible but where societies are fractured by the polarization of classes and then turned against each other out of imaginary fears, we are each never more than two wrong steps away from internal desperation or desperate outward circumstances. This film is a masterpiece for its compassionate illustration of such victims. Utterly gripping. Utterly compelling. As a thoughtful viewer your empathy will be stretched to the breaking point but in the safe hands of brilliant director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Amores Perros, The Revenant).

Beautiful performances by Pitt and the very dedicated Adriana Barraza who gained 35 pounds for the nanny role and refused to give way to a double in the dessert scenes, carrying 7-year-old Elle Fanning in her own arms despite a history of heart attacks.

The film took eleven major awards including Oscar for best score and received nods for dozens more.

Writer: Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams)
Budget: $25,000,000
IMDB rating: 7.5

6. Burn After Reading (2008, USA, UK, France)
George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Richard Jenkins, Tilda Swinton

This is a sort of madcap spy caper where the spy element never fully gets off the ground thanks to the universal incompetence of the entire roster of half-wit characters, all tripping over themselves in their greed and ignorance; each boldly portrayed by a stellar cast. The writing of quirky ding-bat characters is one of the Coen brothers’ specialties which was very apparent in Fargo and Raising Arizona but fully celebrated here.

According to Daniel Fierman of Entertainment Weekly, Pitt said of the script: “I don’t know how I’m going to play this part. The character is such a complete idiot!”

Said Joel Coen after a pause: “You’ll be fine.” 

That such superstars as Pitt and Clooney allow themselves to be idiocized in this way and deliver such strong unique performances to boot, is testament to the Coens’ mastery of this art. The result is so constantly funny in such a subtle and stylish way that you can watch this movie any number of times and never stop chuckling – as long as you have a compatible sense of humour and an appreciation for a lot of appropriately-utilized foul language.

Here’s an early scene where two health club employees (Pitt and McDormand), attempt to negotiate a price for the return of a misplaced data CD which they believe contains highly-classified CIA documents. The government agent is hoarse because he was just awakened in the middle of the night. The idiot takes this as a queue and whispers back, presumably because he thinks that this is what spies do;  an example of the Coens’ clever brand of dumb:

Writer/Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (Fargo, The Big Lebowski)
Budget: $37,000,000
IMDB rating: 7.0

7. The Tree of Life (2011, USA)
Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Sean Penn, Tye Sheridan, Laramie Eppler

This film attempts, I believe, to tell what could be a simple story: the dynamics and consequences of father-son/family relationships; primarily unfortunate ones, but from a far greater context than usual; from a truly universal perspective. The result is a beautiful, graceful film with a sacred feel, full of rich subtlety from which thoughtful viewers may perceive their own messages; derive their own insights. For me, it all worked. It sent my head into marvelous gentle vantages. From there the characters, so real, could not be perceived as good guys and bad guys but only as a tribe of imperfect pitiable struggling creatures, each eternally lovable.

Critics have called the film “mad and magnificent” and an “unashamedly epic reflection on love and loss." Roger Ebert said of it: “a film of vast ambition and deep humility,” and in 2012 named it among his 10 best films of all time.

Young Jack (voice over): “Where were You? You let a boy die. You let anything happen. Why should I be good… when You aren't?”

Writer/Director: Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line)
Budget: $32,000,000
IMDB rating: 6.7

Short List:
Moneyball (2011, USA) Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Se7en (1995, USA) Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman


Sunday Visitor said...

I have never watched these. Will definitely add them to my To - Watch list

KICKS Kids Club said...

Hi there!

I’m stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge. I don't think I've seen any of these and I'm a Brad Pitt fan...;~)

I have two blogs in this challenge…my author blog at THE STORY CATCHER ( and my KICKS Kids Club blog (

If you get a chance, check them out and good luck with the challenge!

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I haven't actually seen any of these Brad Pitt movies - I feel like a bad fan. My fav performance of his is Interview With a Vampire. He's so very intense.
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

I must confess that I still have not seen Interview -- I've been holding off thinking I will finish the book series first, but my reading list is so long. Maybe I should give up on that and just watch the movie.