Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Michelle Monaghan

The star of Duncan Jones' sci-fi thriller Source Code drops by for a chat about her most-loved movies.

by | March 31, 2011 | Comments

In director Duncan Jones’ ( Moon) new time-twisting sci-fi thriller Source Code, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier sent into a space of eight minutes aboard a train bound for disaster; a temporal pocket he must inhabit over and over until he unravels either the identity of a bomber — or his own. Fortunately he gets to relive those same eight minutes with his delightful co-star Michelle Monaghan, who plays a passenger on the train in possession of a possible key to Jake’s future. Or past. No, wait, is it the future? Yep, it’s one of those cyclical narratives that revels in its sometimes confounding paradoxes. For Monaghan, who Jones cast having liked her in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it meant playing the same scene, and character, on endless loop; adjusting her performance ever so slightly in reaction to the changing trajectory of Gyllenhaal’s time-tripper. We caught up with the actress, most recently seen in Due Date and Somewhere and soon to star in Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher, and asked her to name her Five Favorite Films. “That’s really hard,” Monaghan laughs, “but I’m sure everybody tells you how hard it is.” Indeed.

 


A Woman Under the Influence (1974, 94% Tomatometer)



My favorite — my number one favorite, actually — is A Woman Under the Influence. [Gena Rowlands] is just… I respect and admire her so much as an actress. I just think that performance is so brave and extraordinary. It was one of those things that, as a woman, as an actress, I kind of appreciate, you know. And also, that film is kind of a really, truly independent film. I think Cassavetes financed it, I think Peter Falk put money into it; kind of no one really believed in it. I was in a film a couple of years ago that a studio would never touch, a movie called Trucker, which was a great opportunity for me; but those sort of movies need to be independently financed.

Fargo (1996, 94% Tomatometer)

 

I really like Fargo a lot. It has everything. I love the Coen brothers. I love Frances McDormand, I think she’s just an extraordinary actress. She’s so funny in that movie, as Marge. I’m from the Midwest, I’m from Iowa; so obviously that accent’s really heightened, but it’s something that I hear every time I go home. It’s something that feels like very much where I grew up; that backdrop is exactly where I grew up. It’s definitely exaggerated but yeah, there’s definitely that, “Oh, oh my gosh” where I come from. And when I go home and after I have a couple of beers you’d probably hear it come out: “You betcha!” [laughs]

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, 62% Tomatometer)

 

I love Christmas Vacation, with Chevy Chase, and Randy Quaid as well. It’s so funny. Juliette Lewis is in there, too — who I think is genius, by the way, in everything that she’s in. That movie, to me, is so funny that every time it plays at Christmas time I inevitably have to watch it. I mean, every scene in that movie is so funny — when that squirrel lands on the toupee of the grandpa; the kid when he gets on the damn saucer and he flies down the hill, I mean, I just think that’s a really cheesy scene. And I love Chevy Chase. Any Chevy Chase. He’s just got a really funny quality about him, and it’s really subtle — he’s got a little twinkle in his eye, he’s really sort of mischievous. I like him. Just the way he carries himself — he’s really animated without being physical.

Animal Kingdom (2010, 97% Tomatometer)

 

This movie is still my favorite movie of last year, and I think I have to name it because I just thought it was an extraordinary film and I still think about it a lot. I saw it in the theater and it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I think he’s a really extraordinary director, David Michôd. Ben Mendelsohn and Jackie Weaver — every single performance in that I was so impressed with, but in particular just the direction. That’s a director that I appreciate the sense that he allows his actors to just act and have these really quiet moments, and he really just created this world — the atmosphere of that movie was amazing. For a first film, too. The way that he was able to create a level of tension with actors not really saying much or doing much, it was just what he did with the camera. There are not a lot of films where you can just appreciate the camerawork and what a significant aspect of the whole film it is. It was perfectly curated.

Hands on a Hard Body (1998, 84% Tomatometer)

 

I really like documentaries a lot; maybe more than film. I love this documentary called Hands on a Hard Body. It was made in the 1990s, I think. It’s about this annual event that takes place in Texas — it’s kind of like an endurance test of how long you can keep your hand on a truck. And if you are the last man standing, you get the truck. Literally, you just stand, day and night with your hand on a truck, and there’s like 15 or 20 people all standing there. And it’s such a well-done documentary. They feature each person before the program starts; the director comes in and he asks them questions like, “Why do you want to do this? Why do you want your truck?” and it’s just a real, unique look into people’s lives. It’s really powerful and it’s really moving and it’s kind of funny and odd and bizarre. It goes on for, I think, over 72 hours, and it’s really sad as you see this people dropping out. It says a lot about human endurance.

 


Source Code is in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

Set visit RT History Summer Mary Tyler Moore based on movie Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Esquire adventure BET Rom-Com PaleyFest Netflix talk show VH1 what to watch war politics TV Land police drama Trailer period drama Universal Oscars composers Fall TV Certified Fresh NBC Starz Drama Thanksgiving Country IFC diversity serial killer Lucasfilm FXX singing competition Spring TV TCA Calendar Acorn TV DirecTV Infographic golden globes zombie unscripted Opinion discovery Tomatazos ratings Disney X-Men Syfy Emmys boxoffice docudrama Showtime LGBTQ TBS psycho TNT ABC Family Comedy Central Spike Logo NYCC MTV crime thriller 21st Century Fox 20th Century Fox WGN Winter TV El Rey comiccon Fantasy Best and Worst BBC America romance TIFF DC Universe Adult Swim TCM Valentine's Day See It Skip It Sci-Fi Character Guide Music Holidays Extras thriller The CW Musicals FOX dc Disney Channel CBS TV Freeform Watching Series Marvel Cartoon Network TLC Year in Review Ellie Kemper GoT political drama Sundance Now History Masterpiece Awards IFC Films Sneak Peek Premiere Dates binge Reality Crackle Pirates First Look Rocky Nickelodeon Ghostbusters Creative Arts Emmys Rock GLAAD Countdown Food Network Dark Horse Comics Star Trek President Bravo sports Paramount Pop SundanceTV science fiction Photos CMT ABC cooking Nat Geo Interview Red Carpet crime drama cops AMC historical drama Trivia aliens harry potter YA crime Sony Pictures ITV SDCC Comedy sitcom Box Office American Society of Cinematographers transformers 45 Comic Book ESPN medical drama Video Games Horror technology Martial Arts CW Seed Christmas Winners Amazon Star Wars Nominations USA Network Superheroes social media BBC Reality Competition Election Animation Action Lifetime APB spy thriller Schedule Podcast cats Musical Biopics DC Comics The Arrangement TCA 2017 Lionsgate Mystery 2015 HBO Toys cults OWN vampires dceu A&E Hulu justice league 24 frames Grammys Marathons Tumblr VICE travel Cosplay PBS DC streaming service E! Sundance Super Bowl Paramount Network Pixar Warner Bros. E3 2017 cinemax USA GIFs 2016 CNN CBS All Access Writers Guild of America dramedy Britbox supernatural FX 007 Teen MSNBC Mindy Kaling Kids & Family TruTV Western biography Fox News Polls and Games