The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Film Features

Dante's Pick: Director Joe Dante Selects His 13 Favourite Films
Ian Schultz , September 16th, 2016 08:40

To coincide with the release of his cult classic Matinee on Blu-Ray, the director of Gremlins, The Burbs and Explorers, Joe Dante, picks a Baker's Dozen of his favourite films for The Quietus


Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)

Preston Sturges, let’s go there. There’s an amazing, if brief, career. A writer who managed to do what Billy Wilder did: get to direct his own stuff after watching other people do it in ways that he didn't appreciate. And so he paid Paramount a dollar, or allowed them to pay him a dollar, to direct The Great McGinty, and then after that was a success they just sort of let him do a bunch of things on his own that were successful for about a couple years. And then all of a sudden they stopped working—and so did he, actually - with Sullivan’s Travels. It’s every filmmaker’s favourite Preston Sturges movie, I think, because it's about a guy who wants to make serious movies, because he’s making comedies and things that are just silly and they really aren’t about anything. So he goes off to find out what the poor people are really like—of course, accompanied by his entourage. And of course he gets lost, he gets separated from them, and now he has to really find out what life on a chain gang is like. But the combination of pathos and satire and just out and out ballsy humour is really remarkable. It's a really remarkable movie, the dialogue is just so fast and the actors... he used to use the same people over and over, as many of us do, and the ensemble is just terrific in that picture. It's hard to pick just one of the Sturges movies that’s better than the others, but I think that one probably has more of a personal resonance to me.