Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Rob Cohen

The Action Film Director Discusses the Films that Inspired Him

by | January 16, 2015 | Comments


It can be fascinating learning what films inspire the filmmakers who inspire us. In this instance, action film director Rob Cohen imparted to us five of his favorite films, some of which helped to manuever him towards a career in filmmaking. His The Fast and the Furious brought the once popular car-race genre back to the forefront of action films, and on Jan. 23, he’ll offer his take on another classically popular genre, the stalker-suspense film, with The Boy Next Door, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman. So hearing him discuss his favorite films elucidates why he jumped into making the types of movies that have made him famous. Do any of his choices affect you the same way?


Gone in 60 Seconds (H.B. Halicki, 1974; 38% Tomatometer)

I like films that really break every rule, where the director, writers, producers have gone out, they’re just going, “We don’t give a f— what the hell has happened in other movies, or how other movies were written, or other movies were shot. We’re just going to do it our way.” And those movies not only tickle my fancy, but they always give me a lot of courage when I should have to do something to go, “You know what? Be more like that. Don’t listen so much to the popular wisdom or the collective wisdom, the rules.” And that’s one of the reasons I’m so proud of The Fast and the Furious. It’s because nobody gave a s— about the movie except me and the cast, and so we didn’t hear anything. I just did what I wanted to do. I was very much inspired by the original Gone in 60 Seconds, but the H.B. Halicki version, not the other version. You know, because that guy was staging car chases on the Long Beach freeway with no permits, no anything [laughing] and he was clipping telephone poles and doing all sorts of stuff that was just so balls-to-the-wall. H.B. Halicki was a junk dealer who wanted to be a movie director. And he financed, wrote, directed and starred in the original Gone in 60 Seconds. That was such an outrageous thing that it stimulated me in many, many different ways.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981; 100% Tomatometer)

Same with my friend George Miller’s Road Warrior. When I first saw that in Westwood, I was like, “OooooK, there is a whole world beyond Hollywood that is sort of significant in this movie, that has a set of rules about gasoline as the ultimate currency that is both metaphorical and so out-of-the-box.” And the vehicles, the way George did it, the stunning performance of young Mel Gibson. I can remember the visceral impact that it had on me and I’m really looking forward to Fury Road now. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing.

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994; 94% Tomatometer)

After Gone and Road Warrior is Pulp Fiction, which I consider a perfect movie. I consider it a pitch-perfect movie. I’ve gotten to the point now where I pray to not come across it while channel surfing because, if I see five frames of it, then I have to sit and watch the rest of it. I’m now up to something like 30 or 40 times I’ve seen it. I just love that movie and all its dimensions, its crazy story structure, Quentin’s just brilliant dialogue, and the kind of mix of style and atmosphere with these memorable, memorable characters. Pulp is definitely one [of my favorites], although anything Tarantino would be good with me.

True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993; 92% Tomatometer)

I love Tony Scott’s True Romance. Tony was a good friend of mine and I miss him every day. That movie was not only, in my opinion, his best movie, that movie changed movies. It changed the way movies looked and, again, I think that script was written by Quentin.

Yeah, it was. But I don’t believe he had much involvement in it after that.

No, I don’t think he did. But Tony took that sort of subversive script and created a thing of such visual beauty and such compelling characters. You know, I gave Christian Slater his first leading role in The Legend of Billie Jean when he was 13.

I love that movie!

Oh! Thank you! [laughing]. [One of] Kerr’s favorites!

I love that movie, are you kidding me? I used to watch that over and over again, when I was young.

If you put that as one of your favorite films…

Oh it’s probably up there. I still go around singing “Invincible” to myself whenever I think about the movie, and vice versa.

Hey, fair is fair. And Monster Squad. I have my cult films.

Irréversible (Gaspar Noe, 2002; 57% Tomatometer)

Another one that I was very inspired by and touched by in all its ugliness and brutality, but its daring story structure, was Gasper Noe’s Irréversible, which is an odd one, but I just found the idea of starting at the end and telling it backwards as such a conceit. And the world it took you in, and the way it took you in, I felt that was something new that I’d never seen before.

It’s a journey through hell, starting at the end and working backwards to the beginning. So it’s sort of Paris’ underground, and it has a rape scene in it of Monica Belluci that’s one of the most frank, most brutal… You know, people kid about rape, you just say, “Yeah, I think you should watch this movie and see what rape really looks like. You should see how violent and terrible it is and then you’ll not make any jokes anymore.” It’s so balls-out, this film. It’s so unafraid. It’s so in-your-face. It’s one of those movies that, once you see [it], you will never forget it, and it keeps coming back to you and back to you. It’s not necessarily a pleasant thing, but it was definitely a filmmaker who said, “I don’t give a f— what anyone thinks. Anybody. Not the critics, not my friends, not the finance producers, nobody. I’m just going out to tell my story the way I want to tell it.” Vincent Cassel is so great in it, and Belluci. It’s really a very powerful movie.

Where are your light-hearted comedies, Rob?

Well then I start sounding like a geek, you know? I love Preston Sturges. The Lady Eve is one of the most wonderful high-style comedies. My comedic taste runs sort of to that zone which, after the era of Judd Apatow, we’re not doing that anymore. Nobody’s doing the high styled sophisticated comedy.

The Boy Next Door opens Jan. 23, 2015, in wide release.

Tag Cloud

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