Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Starlet Director Sean Baker

The writer-director behind this week's indie drama offers a glimpse into his favorite movies.

by | November 7, 2012 | Comments

One of the buzz films at this year’s SXSW festival, writer-director Sean Baker’s Starlet explores the unusual friendship between a 21-year-old actress (Dree Hemingway) and an 85-year-old woman (Besedka Johnson) when their lives cross paths in California’s San Fernando Valley. Featuring breakout performances — especially from Hemingway, the daughter of actress Mariel and great-granddaughter of writer Ernest — the movie is getting early praise from critics ahead of its release in New York and Los Angeles this week. We caught up with director Sean Baker recently, who shared with us an interesting list of his five favorite films.

Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrera, 1992; 77% Tomatometer)



This is torture. It was very difficult to leave off so many of my favorites from this list but I decided to go with my favorites that don’t get as much attention as others so that hopefully it leads to people seeking them out. So these aren’t in order — love them all equally. Abel Ferrara’s masterpiece Bad Lieutenant. I love NYC films and this truly captured the city’s vibe of the early ’90s. I could watch Harvey Keitel screaming, crying and smoking crack all day. Besides his amazing performance and Ferrara’s vibrant realism, Zoë Lund wrote one of the tightest screenplays ever written. We only got one film from her as she tragically passed away in 1999. Thank you Zoë… this is an important film.

Oasis (Chang-dong Lee, 2002; 89% Tomatometer)



Chang-dong Lee’s Oasis. Very little exposure in the States, however it was released on DVD and you can find it. An extremely daring film that made me cry about a “forbidden” love affair. I consider Chang-dong Lee to be one of the most important living directors. All of his films
are worth checking out.

The Idiots (Lars von Trier, 1998; 70% Tomatometer)



Lars von Trier’s The Idiots aka Idioterne. This was the 2nd Dogma 95 film and didn’t get nearly the attention or acclaim as The Celebration. But I feel this is the quintessential Dogma film… combines scathing social commentary, laugh-out-loud, daring comedy and ultimately an extremely emotional and cathartic ending. This is von Trier’s masterpiece.

Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993; 88% Tomatometer)



I love all of Mike Leigh’s films but this is the one that had a big impact on me. Like all of films above, it beautifully combines comedy and drama. It was also a stylistic departure for Leigh, who still held on to the British social-realism vibe but delivered it in a very
cinematic and calculated way. Also should be seen for Katrin
Cartlidge who had a very bright but tragically short career.

Used Cars (Robert Zemeckis, 1980; 76% Tomatometer)



Robert Zemeckis’ Used Cars. One of the most underrated and under-appreciated films of all time and my favorite comedy. Kurt Russell is genius in this film and I wish he would return to comedies because his delivery and timing are to die for. Excellent supporting cast including the wonderful Jack Warden who plays two characters — dueling brothers. And kudos to Zemeckis and [co-writer] Bob Gale for writing a biting, social satirical and very un-PC script. “Jesus Palomino!”


Starlet plays the AFI fest in Los Angeles and opens in LA and New York this week.


Tag Cloud

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