Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Joe Dante

The director of the original Piranha -- and the man behind Gremlins -- reveals his all-time personal favorite movies.

by | August 23, 2010 | Comments


As Piranha 3-D chomps into theaters in all of its glorious B-movie gore, we caught up with the man behind Roger Corman’s decidedly more modest 1978 original — director Joe Dante, then making his third feature film ahead of hits like The Howling, The Twilight Zone and, of course, 1984’s horror-comedy classic, Gremlins.

RT spoke to Dante recently in Melbourne, then hosting a retrospective of his career, and asked him to name his all-time five favorite films. Though his picks are now regarded as classics, many weren’t well-reviewed or even financially successful upon their first releases. ?Psychologically, maybe it reflects my career,? Dante laughs. ?No, I?m a firm believer that movies are not best appreciated at the time they?re released. They need to age a little, like wine, and people can?t really assess a movie until a couple of years have passed, at least.?

To Be or Not to Be (1942,
97% Tomatometer)

To Be or Not to Be

It?s a brilliantly angry comedy that was made during WWII. It was obviously considered to be in very poor taste, because it was making jokes about concentration camps and so on, but it?s a very personal and passionate film that also happens to be very funny.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968,
98% Tomatometer)

Once Upon a Time in the West
The apotheosis of the Italian Western. Sergio Leone had been examining themes from the West of a number of pictures and here they coalesced into one poetic fable that is strikingly beautiful to watch and very moving. Again, it was not a success when it came out, and was brutally cut after a number of engagements, but now has belatedly been appreciated and restored.

Touch of Evil (1958,
94% Tomatometer)

Touch of Evil

This was Orson Welles? last chance to work for a major studio and it was all going quite well until they saw it and didn?t quite get what he was doing. But it?s an audacious film, with all of his usual signature flourishes. Prior to that period, he?d seldom had the opportunity to use the technology the studios had and so it?s an exciting film to see visually. Thematically, it?s very dark. At its heart it?s a Universal-International B-picture, which is what they wanted. Their reaction to it is fairly inexplicable because the movie is extremely entertaining and could?ve been promoted into a solid box-office picture. Instead it was released at the bottom of a double bill and they fooled around with it.

The Night of the Hunter (1955,
98% Tomatometer)

The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter was Charles Laughton?s only film as a director and its poor reception pretty much killed his directing career. It?s a remarkable debut and there?s no other film quite like it. It?s very reliant on imager from back in the days of D.W. Griffith and it?s strikingly designed and extremely dark. I saw it at a kiddie matinee when I was a child and I was just terrified. It has such a fairy tale atmosphere about it that it probably speaks more directly to children than it does to adults.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935,
100% Tomatometer)

The Bride of Frankenstein

It?s one of those pictures that puts the lie to that idea that the sequel is never better than the original. Again, you have a filmmaker in James Whale who has now been given more resources to explore the same themes and issues as he did in the first film but he brings along with it an attitude towards the material and a result he doesn?t so much kid it as parody it. It?s a beautiful film to look at, extremely well acted, very witty.

Tag Cloud

Rock Syfy kaiju Sneak Peek Academy Awards Legendary latino godzilla adaptation cartoon transformers National Geographic nfl Holidays psycho Nat Geo worst movies Red Carpet rt labs critics edition hist Grammys series AMC Plus 93rd Oscars hollywood chucky 24 frames WarnerMedia Trophy Talk Musicals jurassic park halloween USA Walt Disney Pictures superman Emmy Nominations travel Crackle streaming movies YouTube Premium Starz TCM The Walking Dead james bond Anna Paquin rom-coms 72 Emmy Awards toronto Cosplay scene in color social media 007 australia Ghostbusters Chernobyl El Rey live action Television Academy mob vampires 71st Emmy Awards Trivia mcc comic History 2017 legend Set visit Family child's play sitcom movies concert live event Lucasfilm E3 dramedy screen actors guild Awards Fall TV RT History Rom-Com nature NBA quibi Mindy Kaling First Look Adult Swim superhero Winter TV Classic Film remakes supernatural Disney+ Disney Plus spanish rotten Discovery Channel worst Superheroe Reality Competition The Academy anime werewolf Winners festival Western PBS FX on Hulu The Witch Image Comics romance sequels GIFs Logo ID casting docuseries PaleyFest GoT San Diego Comic-Con documentary marvel comics comiccon HBO Max Arrowverse Instagram Live finale period drama Pride Month Mary poppins mission: impossible Year in Review Showtime Cartoon Network golden globe awards Country 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Pixar directors award winner anthology Mary Poppins Returns children's TV name the review TV Land Calendar doctor who book adaptation Video Games boxing Avengers ABC Signature marvel cinematic universe AMC foreign theme song Elton John films First Reviews USA Network Teen IFC SDCC cancelled Tags: Comedy DGA cults Spectrum Originals Musical Prime Video ghosts thriller space festivals Captain marvel joker OWN ABC Television Critics Association Star Trek Quiz Lifetime Christmas movies Britbox Lifetime obituary 99% Marvel Studios Election strong female leads Marvel Television TV American Society of Cinematographers monster movies a nightmare on elm street LGBT king kong Bravo critic resources historical drama razzies VICE IMDb TV Podcast Biopics reviews Martial Arts franchise Holiday true crime Wes Anderson Lionsgate 2020 political drama Cannes cancelled TV series south america The Purge Hulu Creative Arts Emmys Rocketman Christmas GLAAD black comedy Nominations know your critic young adult YA 2016 Sci-Fi blockbusters independent archives docudrama news sopranos new york HBO sports Toys Awards Tour CW Seed slasher dragons Valentine's Day Apple 20th Century Fox mockumentary psychological thriller Film Festival discovery comic books Amazon Studios Tarantino gangster TV renewals justice league cancelled television blockbuster Turner Classic Movies NBC Acorn TV medical drama Shondaland zombies Comedy Central video Netflix hispanic Horror 21st Century Fox RT21 Spike 1990s breaking bad scorecard Star Wars Endgame Universal The Walt Disney Company Disney pirates of the caribbean indiana jones spinoff BET Awards Netflix Christmas movies Tumblr reboot Columbia Pictures HBO Go video on demand debate BBC One TruTV Drama Hallmark Christmas movies 2021 harry potter king arthur See It Skip It Heroines Black History Month free movies hispanic heritage month Hallmark comics Action Song of Ice and Fire diversity venice TBS emmy awards rt labs singing competition ITV LGBTQ crossover prank spanish language ESPN Writers Guild of America cinemax Photos cancelled TV shows target TIFF batman Polls and Games Music BAFTA Fox Searchlight Reality Mary Tyler Moore Comic Book Baby Yoda Ellie Kemper dexter scary football Apple TV Plus Binge Guide Travel Channel Tomatazos universal monsters SundanceTV Interview aapi wonder woman Superheroes biography MSNBC satire Exclusive Video Box Office toy story Vudu scary movies Premiere Dates trailers FOX The Arrangement adenture disaster international The CW A24 dogs YouTube Esquire dark spider-verse suspense Hear Us Out asian-american heist movie talk show TCA 2017 Comics on TV based on movie revenge technology DC streaming service Watching Series lord of the rings book Fargo VOD BBC America Tubi Marathons Marvel spain canceled green book E! TCA game of thrones Amazon Prime comic book movie Brie Larson Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Kids & Family NYCC Summer Animation Best and Worst Sundance TV Extras royal family APB Amazon Mystery crime thriller TCA Winter 2020 new zealand Pop crime drama witnail 2018 Turner Hollywood Foreign Press Association nbcuniversal PlayStation 79th Golden Globes Awards Masterpiece game show television Stephen King Freeform SXSW teaser miniseries Pacific Islander classics romantic comedy dc olympics Food Network comedies IFC Films Warner Bros. cops telelvision trophy TNT cars unscripted stand-up comedy fresh CBS french composers versus high school spy thriller boxoffice VH1 Mudbound elevated horror TLC DC Universe hidden camera dreamworks Schedule dceu Comic-Con@Home 2021 leaderboard christmas movies japan Tokyo Olympics critics Nickelodeon MCU basketball criterion Fox News Opinion genre TV movies Ovation cooking biopic 2015 Sony Pictures YouTube Red Trailer MTV 73rd Emmy Awards Dark Horse Comics Comedy deadpool animated renewed TV shows stoner kong ViacomCBS robots cats blaxploitation art house mutant FX spider-man vs. zombie Women's History Month facebook Black Mirror Thanksgiving Fantasy tv talk New York Comic Con natural history comic book movies Paramount Network stop motion slashers President Spring TV golden globes WGN streaming serial killer 45 Broadway 2019 Apple TV+ Pet Sematary police drama rotten movies we love fast and furious sag awards Pirates BBC crime sequel all-time Amazon Prime Video CBS All Access TCA Awards Universal Pictures posters Crunchyroll Alien FXX jamie lee curtis japanese Sundance canceled TV shows rt archives Shudder Film CMT Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Peacock what to watch science fiction ABC Family ratings war OneApp Infographic Disney Channel CNN Paramount Plus politics DC Comics action-comedy feel good Funimation Sundance Now parents X-Men DirecTV Oscars Paramount new star wars movies women Neflix italian TV One HFPA Super Bowl BET Character Guide 4/20 die hard Pop TV documentaries Rocky 90s adventure Disney Plus richard e. Grant indie black laika Epix Countdown twilight aliens saw binge kids movie Emmys A&E halloween tv Certified Fresh Disney streaming service zero dark thirty screenings popular best