Five Favorite Films

Chris Parnell's Five Favorite Films

by | September 3, 2015 | Comments

(Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images)


Chris Parnell recently talked to Rotten Tomatoes about his Five Favorite Films. The charming and funny SNL Alum, television actor (Archer, 30 Rock, Rick and Morty), and star of the upcoming tennis comedy Break Point showed up ready with his picks, and they’re all aces. Here are his smashing selections —  compare and see if any of your favorites game, set, match!

Chariots of Fire (1981) 82%

I guess my first favorite movie would be Chariots of Fire. I know it’s not just me because it won an Academy Award, so I know it’s pretty good. But it struck a chord with me. I think when I was younger I was very religious, and that aspect of the story appealed to me. Although not anymore, I still love it. I have a certain, I guess, fascination with that kind of period in England. Not that I know about it; I’m not a historian or anything. But just like it’s something so romantic about, you know, going to school there and in that atmosphere and that time. I mean, it was an awful time for a lot of people, but for the guys who got to go to Oxford and Cambridge. I don’t know. It’s cool. And then they go to the Olympics, and the characters are just so interesting, and winning. I mean obviously based on real people, and such fantastic acting, you know. Great direction. Art direction, and wardrobe, and all of that.

Dune (1984) 48%

Dune, directed by David Lynch. I just love that movie. It’s so weird. It’s such a great combination of the book that Frank Herbert wrote, and then David Lynch’s sort of take on that and spin on that. It’s so otherworldly, but you know, so human obviously. I love Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart; it’s an amazing cast. I love science fiction, and it’s just so weird in so many ways. It’s so different than any other science fiction film that I know. I saw it (in the theater), I can’t even remember how old I was. I was a teenager maybe. But I remember when you went in to see it, they gave you a one-page glossary of terms used in the movie, because I guess they felt like that was going to be necessary for you to get what was going on. Of course, you get in there, it’s kind of hard to read this in the dark. But I enjoyed it. And I kind of rediscovered it. Later on at some point I watched it and I was like, “Oh my God, this really is so good.” I mean, there’s a few cheesy aspects to it, but it’s just awesome to me.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 95%

I guess I’d have to say This Is Spinal Tap. I don’t know that many movies made me laugh as hard as that did — the first few times I saw it, anyway. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I know that at some point I will watch it again and laugh anew at it. That movie is just so brilliant. It captures something from a period in rock and roll that, even though I wasn’t there, it just feels so right. It feels like, “Oh, yeah, this is based on something real.” That time in rock and roll, and these guys are not that far off from real rock and rollers of a certain band. And it’s just brilliant. I mean, it’s just so well done, and just so funny. I mean, they were such an amazing team: Michael McKean, and then Rob Reiner directing, and Christopher Guest. You know, it’s a masterpiece, a comedy masterpiece.

Annie Hall (1977) 96%

It would probably be a Woody Allen movie, and I don’t know whether it would be Manhattan, or Annie Hall, or Broadway Danny Rose. Those are my three favorites, but it’s kind of hard to pick a favorite among those. I don’t know. It’s hard. I mean, they’re all three so good. I don’t know. Maybe Annie Hall is my favorite. It’s one of the most lauded certainly. But then you’ve got Manhattan, and the romance of New York City, and you have that obviously in Annie Hall, to a certain extent. Broadway Danny Rose is less often mentioned, I find, but still really amazing with him (Allen) and Mia Farrow. He’s such a character, and Broadway Danny Rose represents all these, you know, sort of loser acts in a way. But it’s such a sweetness to it that I love, and it’s just like all of his – I like all of those movies certainly. So well shot, in beautiful black and white. 

You Only Live Twice (1967) 73%

That would have to be a James Bond film, and then I was trying to think of what my favorite one would be. And I guess it would probably be You Only Live Twice. Mr. Connery. Even though I really like Roger Moore, too. I mean I liked all the Bonds, honestly. Including the newest, Mr. Craig. He’s fantastic. But yeah, You Only Live Twice. It takes place in Japan as a part of it, and you’ve got Blofeld, Spectre, the classic villains, and the whole thing with the volcano that’s really a secret lair. And you’ve got Russia and the United States. You know, it’s huge in scope. And I don’t know, it’s this great classic Bond to me, and a great song, a great theme song. I think the first time I saw it, I definitely saw it on TV. I’m not sure what year it came out, but I may not have even been born yet when that came out. I mean my first exposure to James Bond was absolutely on television. And then my first one to see in the theater, which I also love, is The Spy Who Loved Me. That was pretty exciting. That was the first Bond I saw at a movie theater.

Break Point opens in wide release on September 4, 2015.

  • I saw Dune in the theater, too. I was 13 and I totally remember getting the guide sheet as we walked in. Up until now, I wasn’t sure if I was just imagining it. Man, I remember how much my dad hated the movie.

    • MaxJohnson1971

      Ha!! I still have that sheet actually. And my favorite memory of seeing it at the theater was my dad leaning over to me about thirty minutes in and asking me “Do you know what’s going on?”. Ah the joys of cinema!!!

  • Bill Oppenheim

    You really needed to have read the novel as a “guide sheet”, partly because Lynch’s version pretty much lost half its running time due to a disastrous test screening. There’s been faux expanded versions assembled for tv, but not his original cut.

    • Techngro

      There’s also a fan-made version called ‘Spicediver’ iirc.

  • denzack157

    You have good taste!!!

  • ntvnyr30

    Love the choice “You Only Live Twice” one of my favorite Bond films with one of the best opening scenes and theme song.

  • It’s always nice when someone gives “Dune” some credit. Sure, David Lynch considers it the low point of his career, but that’s more because of the meddling of studio executives, not his creative vision. And Frank Herbert liked the movie, despite Lynch’s taking certain liberties. I agree completely with Chris Parnell, and I say that as someone who thinks Frank Herbert’s book is the greatest sci-fi novel ever written.

  • SgtMAD

    FRIGGIN’ DUNE? are you kidding me?

  • Bill E

    I saw Dune four times in theaters. At the time, I felt I was the only person in the world that liked it. Every review proclaimed it the worst film of the year (except for Newsweek). I think a lot of the hate came from the fact that it wasn’t what a sci-fi filmed was ‘supposed’ to be. It wasn’t clean. It wasn’t heroic. It was dark and mean. It was weird. It seems more accessible now, oddly enough. I wish Lynch would recut it and improve some of the FX work. Regardless, I love it from beginning to end.

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