Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Sean Stone

The director of Greystone Park talks about his inspirations.

by | October 18, 2012 | Comments

Sean Stone hasn’t even been on the planet three decades and has already played Jim Morrison, Nixon’s brother, and countless other roles in some of the finest films of his lifetime, directed by his father Oliver Stone. But he’s not just a pretty face–he’s taking up the family business and directing his own movies now, with terrifying results.

Greystone Park is a found-footage scare-fest that blends Jacob’s Ladder-esque visuals with Blair Witch tension, then ratchets them up about 300% and adds in spears and chicks wearing ball gowns dancing in mental hospitals. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s sure to get you in the mood for screaming. And while you’re looking it up On Demand, you can add his favorite films to your watching list, too.

The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998; 78% Tomatometer)

The first time I watched this film, I was 13 years old, and I had no idea what kind of ‘war film’ to expect.  My first reaction was that it was too slow; but as I got home that night, the poetry of the narrative, the visuals and the music began to sink in.  I ended up dragging my friends to see it, watching the film five times in theaters; and though the film received mixed reactions at the time, I found Terrence Malick’s work to be a transformative meditation on the classic Transcendental themes of the brotherhood of man, self-sacrifice, and faith.  It is only a ‘war film’ insofar as the war is a metaphor for the Darwinian struggle of survival in what seems an unjust world.

Conan the Barbarian (John Milius, 1982; 77% Tomatometer)

Before Gladiator, there was another slave turned gladiator, and his name was Conan.  I think if any film demonstrates the pure charismatic power of Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is the one.  When in need of a good pick-me-up, this old fashioned revenge story from John Milius is a go-to for me.  And though the movie has its flaws, when Basil Pouledaris’ music picks up during the sword-fights that punctuate the story, these prove to be some of the best fight scenes ever captured on the silver screen.

The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992, 97% Tomatometer)

From the opening shots of Daniel Day Lewis running through a forest in chase of a deer, to the finale when he’s sprinting across a mountain to protect his brother, this is my kind of romance – men and women living upon the earth, fighting for love, and willing to die for nothing more than honor.  It may not be the ‘greatest love story’ ever told, but when Day Lewis promises to find Madeleine Stowe’s character, no matter where she goes, before jumping off a waterfall, that’s one of the great scenes in cinema history.  Kudos to Michael Mann.

JFK (Oliver Stone, 1991; 84% Tomatometer)

It may not be fair to say this is one of my top five, since it’s my dad’s film, and I’m in it as a youngster (playing Kevin Costner’s son); but even at 7 years old, when I first saw it, I remember sitting through the whole 3-hour film without moving.  There’s something to the interplay of editing and dialogue that hooks me, no matter how many times I watch it, back into the investigation of the murder of President Kennedy.  And perhaps because the crime remains unsolved, the film remains infinitely intriguing to watch, as though each time viewing it, you expect new revelations   Instead, upon each viewing, I feel compelled to go out and research more about our country’s dark, hidden history.  To create that kind of curiosity in an audience is a remarkable feat in itself.

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

The Western is obviously one of the staples of American cinema, but ironically, the Italian spaghetti-westerns have become more famous in pop culture than the classic American western.  And amongst the spaghetti-western directors, Sergio Leone will always be the titan for me.  Although I love his films with Clint Eastwood, this epic is one to spend an evening with; from the classic shoot-out at the train depot, to the haunting final three-way gun fight, this may be my favorite portrayal of Charles Bronson on screen.  It’s a story of the expansion of the railroad and the opening of the west; of revenge and infamy; of love triangles and justice.  And with a sweeping, heartrending soundtrack from Ennio Morricone, what more can you ask of a film?

Greystone Park is available on Video on Demand and on DVD October 16.

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