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About Andy Zach

 

Howdy Doper! My name’s Andy Zachariason and I’m a film studies and mass communication graduate. I like to think I have good taste in film and I love talking and writing about them. Film is the ultimate art form and this is where I explore that form. Obviously, movies are almost entirely subjective and in my reviews I try to give my honest view on a film, but I also try to be objective to further the insight of my reviews.

The ONLY review that matters is your own, but film is meant to be discussed, wrestled with and consumed. I’m not huge on ratings because they always seem to overshadow the actual review. I do letter grades just as an arbitrary scale where I factor in my own enjoyment mixed with it’s technical strength, and how much I think others would enjoy it.

I try to see as many movies as I can to gain a higher appreciation and understanding of film. I also enjoy movie analysis and digging deeper into a film’s goals, meaning, and construction. My aim here is to help you understand cinema while I learn more about it myself. The greatest thing a movie-goer can do is to keep learning and exploring. We mustn’t forget a film after the credits roll. It needs to be dissected and discussed so it can find it’s place in cinema. I hope you enjoy my reviews and leave a comment with your thoughts!….The Dude Abides.

My favorite director of all time is David Lynch.

Tied for 2nd place is Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Nicolas Roeg, Michael Mann, Christopher Nolan, Richard Linklater, Andrei Tarkovsky, Terrence Malick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.

Leave a comment on my reviews if you ever wanna talk movies!

Alright, alright, alright

38 Responses so far.

  1. Christy Crary says:

    Love your writing style Andy!

  2. Marilyn Sackariason says:

    Thanks, Andy! good work! Now I won’t have to cut out the movie synopses in Friday’s Arizona Republic newspaper….I’ll just go to your blog!

  3. Tony DeLorenzo says:

    You have a wonderful approach to film. Thanks for taking the time to share your passion with us all!

  4. Craig Inzana says:

    Awesome website man! Great taste in films as well. You ever consider doing this site through something like Tumblr? (or better yet; do you have a tumblr?)

  5. Scott Stone says:

    Hey great site Andy! I’m huge fan of directors and film in general. I noticed you have Howard Hawks listed as one of your favorite directors but didn’t see any of your favorite films listed by him. In my opinion “Rio Bravo” is one of the greatest films of all time. Tarantino listed this as the ultimate hangout film along with “Dazed and Confused”. I also prefer “The Big Sleep” over “Double Indemnity” and this is no slight knockoff of the latter film either but if you haven’t seen “The Big Sleep”, check it out sometime. “Red River” is another masterpiece along with his great adventure film “Only Angels Have Wings’. Not to mention his version of original “The Thing” and his awesome comedies “His Girl Friday” and “Bringing Up Baby”. Gotta check out “Scarface’ too. I love your piece on “Inception” by Nolan. Keep up the great work!

    • andyzach says:

      Thanks, Scott! I’m always messing around with that Favorite films list and sometimes I switch out/move around films and forget to put them back in there. Don’t know how I forgot to put Rio Bravo back on it. I adore that film I actually watched it bc of Tarantino’s recommendation haha. Also love His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby. Masterpieces. Embarrassingly, I’ve not seen The Big Sleep. I love noir films and it’s my big blind spot. They show it at a theater near me every summer and I was holding out to see it there on the big screen. But now I think I’m just gonna buy the blu ray. I gotta see Red River as well. It’s on the top of my to watch list!

      • Scott Stone says:

        I think you will enjoy The Big Sleep and Red River. Will be curious to hear your thoughts on those two for sure. My favorite directors for the record are: Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino. Still need two more to make a top 10 but haven’t decided yet. Good write up on Nolan and PTA. PTA’s films really captivate me.

        • andyzach says:

          Ya, I worship Nolan and PTA. Along with the Coen’s, they’re my fave filmmakers working today.
          I think PTA is Kubrick, with emotional depth…. so he might be my all time fave.
          Nolan in my mind is what Ridley Scott never ended up being, an art director with love for genre films from his youth who’s also the most ambitious filmmaker alive.

          • Scott Stone says:

            I see a few Hawks films on your top 150 list now. Wow that was quick or were they already there and I just missed them the first time? haha. Very good description of PTA. I noticed you have Michael Mann as one of your favorites. What did you think of his latest film Blackhat? I thought It was underrated. Still trying to warm up to The Coen’s style, they are fascinating though.

          • andyzach says:

            I just threw those back on there because you reminded me that I’d forgotten to put them back on. One has to have at least one Hawks on a favorites list! I love Mann. I sometimes call “Heat” my favorite film. All of his pre 2000 stuff is masterpiece status imo. I admire his recent stuff, including Blackhat, which is terribly misunderstood. Coen’s are godlike to me because they can make me laugh my ass off and then they can also plunge me into despair.

  6. Scott Stone says:

    Hey Andy.. Just curious, what is your take on Brian DePalma? Do you have any favorite films of his?

    • andyzach says:

      Funny you should ask because I’ve slowly been making my way through his filmography. Just watched “Sisters” a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. Not seen everything but I love him. “Carrie” is a masterpiece. Like “Dressed To Kill”. Opening scene is jaw dropping. Watched “Phantom of the Paradise” around Halloween and it blew my mind. But my fave is “Blow Out”. It’s in my top 30 all time. Worship that film.

  7. Scott Stone says:

    Did you just add “Blow Out” in your top 30 and replace “2001”? I could have sworn I saw “2001” in your top 30 a couple of weeks ago but then again maybe not, Just a wild guess, thought I was going crazy. haha. But you know what, I do the same thing, I can never leave my list alone too long without changing or rearranging favorites. “Blow Out” is a masterpiece, I agree. However, I watched “Mission to Mars” last night and flat out hated it. I couldn’t believe it was directed by the same guy who directed “Blow Out”. Probably the reason why I have DePalma on the fence as to whether or not he makes my top 10 favorite list at any given time. Love the guy and his brilliant camera work one min and I go whoa what a stinker of a film as a whole the next min, so it’s like a bipolar reaction to the guy that is typically not shared with other filmmakers in an extreme way.. haha. I mean in other words, sure almost all directors have a stinker or two, but not quite as bad as DePalma’s worst in my opinion., it’s like night and day. Although I have been reading lately in that I am not alone in my regard or sentiment towards him. Do you feel the same? I will say this, there is one film that he gets slammed for by critics that I feel is unjust and it’s “The Black Dahlia”, one of the most underrated films of all time. I think it’s an instant classic. Check that one out if you haven’t already as you could be pleasantly surprised.

    • andyzach says:

      No, I’ve had Blow Out in there for a while. I took out 2001 and put in Nashville. Figured one Kubrick was enough and just wanted to change it up. I’ll probably rearrange it again soon hah. I’ve steered clear of De Palma’s lesser works and I still have to see some of his other classics. I vaguely remember seeing Mission to Mars as a kid. Can’t remember much… He’s a masterful stylist. Arguably the best there is. So I think it comes down to the scripts. And bc he made so many movies and wasn’t a commercial/critical darling he likely ran out of creative juice at points. Even something like Dressed to Kill I don’t find entirely satisfying. Carrie/Blow Out are the ones where I feel it all comes together perfectly. Especially the latter. Phantom of the Paradise is also a one of a kind film. But I can’t comment to much because I’ve only seen 7 of his films. Going to watch Body Double this weekend I think.

  8. Scott Stone says:

    I missed “Blow Out” in your top 30 the last time around. I know exactly what you mean with regards to “Dressed to Kill”, great first half though especially with that museum sequence which further drives your point of DePalma being one of the great masterful stylists. I like that feature of a director because I think a masterful stylist can sometimes improve on a bad script. In other words, I have seen a few lesser DePalma films such as “Snake Eyes” where his stylish camera is the biggest actor or most exciting aspect of the film. It sure is a joy to watch. What did you think of “Body Double”. I just watched that movie a couple of weeks ago and did enjoy it. I think I might place it above “Dressed to Kill”. Interestingly you place David Lynch as your all time favorite. You know I haven’t watched a single Lynch film yet except for “The Elephant Man” and I should barely even count that since it has been such a long time since I have seen it. Where should I start on Lynch? Have you seen “Dune”? You have to be excited he is back currently shooting the new “Twin Peaks”. They say he may fully return to filmmaking.

    • andyzach says:

      Didn’t get to ‘Body Double’. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow. You haven’t delved into the mind of Lynch yet?1? The Elephant Man is really an outlier in his work. Along with The Straight Story it’s the most “normal” of his films. I’ve seen Dune twice and it’s his worst film by far, but for a Lynch fan it’s still admirable and certainly has a distinct vision that clearly got meddled with. I suggest you start with Blue Velvet as it’s his essential masterpiece, and maybe my all time favorite film. It’s got everything that he ever explored and it’s put in an incredible narrative with legendary performances. It feels so familiar yet there’s a strange dream quality that’s impossible to describe. It’s definitely his best entry point. Then go to Eraserhead, his first film, and his latter day masterpiece, Mulholland Drive. Then i’d say just make your way through his 90’s stuff which builds some of his earlier fascinations and delves deeeeeep into them. Highly suggest Twin Peaks, the tv show as well. OR it’d be pretty cool to watch his 90’s stuff before Mulholland Drive, because it’s a distillation of them all. And in my mind it’s the greatest film of this century and a film I’d probably put in my top 10.

  9. Scott Stone says:

    Cool, thanks for the Lynch guide! I will be looking forward to that. What did you think of “Scarface” or “Carlito’s Way”? I think those films are top shelf De Palma. What do you think of Clint Eastwood as a director? To me he is the exact opposite of De Palma, basically invisible as a director. Some actors have claimed that he does very little in direction and lets his crew make the film, acting included. But I can understand that since Eastwood started out first and foremost an actor himself. Have you checked out Roman Polanski’s work yet? I see you have Chinatown listed in your top 30.

    • andyzach says:

      Love Scarface, but not quite as much as Blow Out/Carrie/Phantom. Haven’t seen Carlito’s Way yet… i know i know. Lukewarm on Eastwood. Some good some bad. Unforgiven is an incredibly directed film though. Almost perfect I’d say. LOVE Polanksi films. Seen most of them. Chinatown is top 15 for me. Could easily throw Rosemary’s Baby into my top 30. Hell, I might hah. Repulsion is great. The Fearless Vampire Killers is great. The Tenant is great. His latter stuff isn’t up to par but I’ve also not seen it all. Chinatown/Rosemary’s Baby are two of the greatest all time though. And the latter took a while for me to truly love. I was taken aback with how darkly funny it is.

  10. Scott Stone says:

    Just rewatched Carlito’s Way and loved it. What a masterpiece that film is imo. Eastwood is just average for me. My favorite of his is The Outlaw Josey Wales. Polanski is one of my favorites and yeah Rosemary’s Baby, what a trip that film is. I agree his latter stuff is not as good such as Frantic but I think a few are, The Ghost Writer, The Ninth Gate, and The Pianist. The Coens have a new one coming out this Friday, Hail Caesar!

  11. Scott Stone says:

    Hey Andy! I meant to ask you if you have seen De Palms’s Femme Fatale film yet? I’ve read where some compare that film to Mulholland Drive

    • andyzach says:

      Can’t wait for Hail, Caesar! Agreed on the Polanski’s you mentioned. I’ve not seen Femme Fatale yet, but I watched Body Double and thought it was pretty great. I’ll hit FF next.

  12. Scott Stone says:

    Body Double is great. And for me like a lot of films, gets better with repeated viewings. I think you will like Femme Fatale, one of De Palma’s best imo. Have you had a chance to see Bridge of Spies yet? Just wondering if that is a good movie or not?

    • andyzach says:

      Saw Bridge of Spies opening weekend. Liked it well enough initially but it’s craft stuck in my mind and months later I began to truly admire it. I put it at number 10 in my best of 2015 list. It’s so expertly crafted. Familiar but amazing storytelling.

  13. Scott Stone says:

    Hey Andy. What do you think of Steven Soderbergh’s work? “Traffic” is one my favorite films. He’s made a lot of great films actually and he is quite the maverick. Adding to direction, producing, editing, cinematography and screenplay collaboration. Some critics and fans alike even take his “Solaris” over the original.

    • andyzach says:

      Funny you should say that because I just added more movies to my faves list and that is one of them. I totally dig his work. Of the guys that came out of the 90’s, he’s got the most varied and interesting career. I’m a huge Ocean’s 11 fan lol. And Magic Mike XXL was one of last year’s best shot and edited films! But ya Traffic is his best film. His TV work has been called even better than his film work. Damn I gotta start The Knick. I really enjoy his Solaris. His understanding of editing is mind blowing. Almost Malick like. But I have to give it to Tarkovsky’s original. I’m a massive fan of his.

  14. Scott Stone says:

    Good call and great timing there. Excellent site here.

  15. Scott Stone says:

    How are you doing Andy? Busy here lately with work and what not. Did you ever check out Femme Fatale yet? Just curious as to what you thought of that film. Also have you checked out John Ford yet? I’ve been on a John Ford kick lately, love his westerns. The Searchers is recognized as one of the best films in general.

    • andyzach says:

      I did watch FF and I loved parts of it. Particularly the opening scene. De Palma man…. Ever the stylist, and I also think he’s got one of the deepest understandings of cinema both as an art form and how we as viewers react to it. Can’t wait for the documentary on him this summer.
      I’ve seen a good bit of Ford but he’s directed sooooooo many films. The Searchers is a masterpiece obviously. Love The Quiet Man and The Grapes of Wrath. Stagecoach is quite good.

  16. Scott Stone says:

    That’s just it, De Palma “the” stylist. I’m looking forward to that documentary too. You may like The Black Dahlia, I enjoyed it despite the bad reviews. But I flat out hated Mission to Mars, I was like what is he thinking? That style will only go so far but without much substance it will stop short of Mars. haha.

    Yeah it seems it would take a lifetime to get thru Ford’s filmography. I’m a huge fan of Stagecoach and the man just got his locales right on the money for the western. They have a place called John Ford point in his honor. When I take a trip out west, I will have to stop there. The technical composition of The Searchers is amazing, you could hang just about any picture frame on your wall from that film. Have you seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? I wonder what your take is after you see Hawks’ Red River.

    Hope all is well Andy!

  17. Scott Stone says:

    Forgot to mention, I noticed you dropped Double indemnity way down. It was in your top 30 list wasn’t it? I would do the same thing though, meaning I couldn’t ever keep a top 200 list alone forever, my tastes seem to change frequently.. You have an excellent layout here.

    • andyzach says:

      I’m gonna make sure I see every De Palma before that documentary. Planning on The Fury soon.
      The Searchers is just perfect on every level. Ford’s opus. Wish films like that were still made. I’ve seen Valance! Very much enjoyed it and initially I saw it because I’d read it was a template for The Dark Knight. So cool to see which films impact modern films.
      Speaking of Hawks, I saw Only Angels Have Wings on criterion! It’s incredible. Added that to my fave movies list.
      And thanks for pointing out the Double Indemnity thing. I put in Casablanca after I rewatched it recently and switching movies around in that list is a pain. Because if I take one out then I have to keep moving them around and it’s tedious. But there’s not much difference from #50 to #150. It’s a list that’s always in flux.

  18. Scott Stone says:

    Oh The Fury, I have yet to see that one.. I almost bought Only Angels Have Wings – Criterion that was just released but Barnes and Noble wanted 40 bucks for it. Way too high! It’s on Amazon for 27 plus and I have a 10 dollar credit. So I’ll wait but I’ll just tell you it wasn’t easy because that film is one of my all time favorites and on Criterion with extras and one hell of an upgrade in picture quality. Check out Hawks’ Scarface too, way ahead of it’s time with so much badassery. That’s the one film that Hawks’ shows off his visual/camera moves. But most all his films are contained to rigorous frames which is interesting in itself, He was the biggest thematic auteur of his time and to do that across just about every genre of film is astonishing. I bought The Big Sleep on blu ray and that is my favorite film noir. And the excellent thing about that film is that it has two versions. Red River is imo just about the only western that can go neck and neck with The Searchers. Wayne’s role in Red River was very much a precursor to his role in The Searchers. Ford made it all the more obvious when he realized that Hawks got Wayne’s first truly great performance out of him in Red River with his famous quote to Hawks: ” I never knew that big son of a bitch could act” LOL. You changing up your list makes it all the more worthwhile to continue checking out. I do that too with my lists, not only changing films around but sometimes directors too. What can we say, different moods not only apply to films but certain people like us who watch and learn from them on repeated viewings. Bravo Andy!

    • andyzach says:

      Ya criterion is expensive. I always buy them used on Amazon and they’re usually around 20 bucks. I’m going to watch The Big Sleep this week. Hah that Red River story is great. Gotta watch that soon too. I must say my favorite westerns are Leone’s spaghetti westerns. Once Upon A Time In The West is a top ten film for me. Then of course there’s “modern” or “post-cowboy” westerns like No Country For Old Men or Paris, Texas. Love those two because I think they offer more complex themes by placing the western symbology and archetypes into a world that has moved past them.

  19. Scott Stone says:

    Hey long time no hear. Been busy with work and what not. Time keeps slippin. Did you ever watch The Big Sleep or Red River yet? What’s your take on David Fincher? I think he is a cinematic genius. I like all his films especially Zodiac, Se7en, and Fight Club.

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