Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Alan Cumming

The star of this week's Any Day Now on his all-time favorite films.

by | December 12, 2012 | Comments

An accomplished performer on both stage and screen, Alan Cumming has played an impressive array of parts in his career — from roles in blockbusters like X-2 and GoldenEye to independent films to projects as diverse as Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids. It’s testament to Cumming’s enduring talent that he’s earning some of the best notices of his career for his latest turn, in this week’s Any Day Now, a moving drama about a gay couple in ’70s Hollywood fighting a biased legal system to keep their adopted son.

With the movie opening theatrically this week, we got the chance to speak with Cumming about his five favorite movies.

“Gosh, it’s really hard to choose five favorite films because they sort of change as you grow older, and sometimes you re-visit ones that you have gone through periods of hating,” he explains, “but I always think the benchmark is which ones I’d grab to take into a nuclear bunker, and so these are they… ”

Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996; 91% Tomatometer)



I think this is a work of genius. It manages to be utterly hilarious, completely tender and touching, and biting and satirical at the same time. It actually taught me a lot about America. As I saw it shortly after I moved here, I realized that if these type of situations and characters were being parodied then they must actually exist. When the DVD came out, I bought it and I’m still reeling from the number “This Bulging River”. I think the only people I’ve ever geeked out about in an embarrassing way are the people responsible for this film.

A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)



This is a film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger that was called Stairway to Heaven when it was released in America. I saw it as a child and it really fascinated me, the idea that death was debatable, and it also drilled into my mind how life was so precious and flimsy. I also love how all the famous characters from history are seen in Heaven taking part in the debate. Powell/Pressburger are amazing filmmakers, and I wish we had more like them these days. “Magical realism” is a rather trite phrase, but their films are both magical and real.

Home Movie (Chris Smith, 2001; 87% Tomatometer)



I fell upon this documentary and it is an absolute gem. What makes it so is the five people’s homes that we are invited into. Their homes are — of course — insane, but it’s their happiness and comfort with them that is really the thrill. Again, it’s funny and tender and the filmmakers don’t try to try to be shady with their subjects at all. They just let them speak and their enthusiasm and joy floods over us.

Auntie Mame (Morton DaCosta, 1958; 92% Tomatometer)



If anyone comes to my house in the country and has never seen this film, I always show it. So, in a way, I am emulating — in that action — exactly Auntie Mame. It is a joyous, crazy cartoon of a movie that has a little bit of everything, but at the heart is this woman we’d have all loved to have known and have taken us under her wing. I also love wall-to-wall speaking in film, and you sure get a lot of dialogue in this one. And who could resist a catch phrase like “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”!

The Lovers on the Bridge (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) (Leos Carax, 1991; 80% Tomatometer)



This is an absolutely glorious film. I adore Juliette Binoche and have had very confusing feelings in my tummy about her ever since I saw the The Unbearable Lightness Of Being. She is amazing in this film and it’s a really heartbreaking tale of loss and hurt. The scene where she water-skis up the Seine is one of my favorite spectacles in all of cinema.


Any Day Now opens in limited theatrical release this week.


Tag Cloud

adaptation what to watch TNT Endgame Nat Geo Amazon Studios History Classic Film Action Star Wars 4/20 Creative Arts Emmys hist Britbox BET anime Spring TV justice league Nominations SXSW TLC CBS TV harry potter CMT video on demand Disney+ Disney Plus Watching Series christmas movies slashers Paramount Network Countdown Pop TV comiccon Horror psychological thriller ABC Hear Us Out The CW natural history 2016 Rom-Com spanish language Animation FOX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina blockbuster politics dogs sports best Comedy Central Chernobyl Heroines Marvel Mary poppins Dark Horse Comics parents zero dark thirty Disney Channel OneApp USA Network reboot Opinion laika The Arrangement Women's History Month Ghostbusters Crackle screen actors guild Comedy Emmy Nominations Character Guide serial killer dceu HBO Max SDCC festivals Shudder Rocketman E3 diversity TCM Elton John VH1 Fall TV canceled docudrama TIFF Black History Month jamie lee curtis fast and furious blaxploitation composers teaser Emmys Musicals television TCA Winter 2020 canceled TV shows IFC Films Writers Guild of America CNN Quiz dragons criterion theme song Binge Guide cooking TCA Awards WGN Tumblr Western Trailer CW Seed screenings Amazon Prime Video films series NYCC Peacock nbcuniversal breaking bad Infographic hollywood satire unscripted Sundance TV Mudbound discovery TruTV indiana jones 21st Century Fox LGBT Best and Worst Comic Book anthology Star Trek Toys Tomatazos game show Television Academy richard e. Grant Film Festival critics Starz American Society of Cinematographers NBC Marvel Studios independent name the review 24 frames video Disney spinoff Trophy Talk Pet Sematary Spike YouTube Red PBS RT21 Fantasy movie Awards Tour Captain marvel Red Carpet Funimation book Winter TV Reality Competition El Rey Film The Purge stand-up comedy Acorn TV Pride Month period drama cancelled television romance 2017 Holidays ABC Family Pirates historical drama cars mockumentary BAFTA thriller HBO Go true crime Reality aliens dramedy PaleyFest Spectrum Originals YouTube revenge die hard Sony Pictures documentaries crime 71st Emmy Awards Adult Swim Holiday concert Lifetime Christmas movies vampires Tarantino miniseries Rocky Lifetime werewolf Mystery YA Universal police drama Song of Ice and Fire Awards Mary Poppins Returns Hallmark MSNBC asian-american Year in Review Apple TV+ cats 2019 Apple renewed TV shows witnail Disney Plus Sundance twilight AMC Hallmark Christmas movies dc PlayStation BET Awards Podcast First Reviews Marathons obituary San Diego Comic-Con doctor who Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spy thriller National Geographic movies classics superhero Turner Interview Cosplay Disney streaming service singing competition Sneak Peek supernatural DC streaming service Logo sitcom all-time Winners reviews facebook tv talk spider-man Television Critics Association Drama comics stoner science fiction Superheroes quibi travel MTV WarnerMedia directors Grammys President Food Network Amazon cinemax adventure Esquire Netflix foreign Summer Crunchyroll streaming comedies Biopics BBC sequel MCU Video Games BBC America Super Bowl Tubi biography finale news Amazon Prime Bravo cults Trivia elevated horror Arrowverse versus RT History Vudu GIFs Paramount APB Calendar 007 FX 72 Emmy Awards Nickelodeon zombie chucky south america Masterpiece spain medical drama A&E IFC Set visit Syfy ITV scary movies The Walking Dead Academy Awards cartoon Freeform comic batman free movies boxoffice Martial Arts Mary Tyler Moore Rock 45 Brie Larson BBC One 2018 Cannes cops romantic comedy Lucasfilm joker Avengers CBS All Access TBS 2020 Discovery Channel crime drama golden globes documentary VICE Superheroe Turner Classic Movies Photos Polls and Games mutant award winner YouTube Premium HBO Stephen King rotten Country Ovation First Look psycho Shondaland Pixar Schedule Anna Paquin Travel Channel binge Thanksgiving The Witch X-Men emmy awards DC Comics TCA 2017 child's play OWN political drama Oscars Box Office Valentine's Day A24 Extras Election mission: impossible DC Universe 2015 Hulu Family Kids & Family FXX animated Walt Disney Pictures Lionsgate sag awards TCA Sci-Fi robots rotten movies we love ratings disaster Warner Bros. talk show universal monsters Mindy Kaling crossover Columbia Pictures Comics on TV Baby Yoda crime thriller space social media hispanic game of thrones Netflix Christmas movies ESPN Fox News stop motion dark casting Apple TV Plus See It Skip It Sundance Now Certified Fresh TV Land Premiere Dates Teen Epix transformers war LGBTQ SundanceTV 20th Century Fox TV renewals Ellie Kemper cancelled TV series Black Mirror strong female leads FX on Hulu VOD kids Christmas USA Pop cancelled TV shows indie worst DirecTV nature GoT franchise sequels green book Music cancelled halloween children's TV latino a nightmare on elm street Cartoon Network toy story ghosts New York Comic Con GLAAD zombies based on movie E! Marvel Television DGA Showtime technology Musical