Five Favorite Films with Richard Kelly

The director of The Box and Donnie Darko talks Kubrick and the merits of being ambiguous.

Richard Kelly

Is it possible that after only two films (his cult hit debut Donnie Darko and his infamously panned follow-up, Southland Tales), director Richard Kelly has already achieved auteur status? Audiences will find out this Halloween, when Kelly's next film, The Box, opens in theaters. Based on Richard Matheson's short story Button, Button, the old-fashioned thriller follows a married couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) who are given a choice: if they push a button they'll receive one million dollars, but someone somewhere will die. Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Kelly in San Diego just hours before he debuted extended footage from The Box and discussed his favorite films, the genesis of The Box, and his hopes to return to Southland Tales with an eventual Director's Cut.





2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, 96% Tomatometer)
2001: A Space OdysseyIt pioneered everything, and it's a film that says pretty much everything that needs to be said about our species (laughs). It was just such a groundbreaking film on every level. I don't know if anyone has broken ground quite in the way that Kubrick did with that film.




Barry Lyndon (1975, 94% Tomatometer)
Barry LyndonOn the flipside, Barry Lyndon, for me, is the most beautiful film ever made, for its beauty and also for its statement about our hubris as a species, in the character of Barry Lyndon being a fool who destroys everyone around him. After that it's really murky.




Vertigo (1958, 98% Tomatometer)
VertigoMy favorite Alfred Hitchcock film would have to be Vertigo.




Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, 95% Tomatometer)
Close Encounters of the Third KindMy favorite Spielberg film is probably Close Encounters of the Third Kind.




The Big Lebowski (1998, 77% Tomatometer)
The Big LebowskiWho's another director I like? My favorite Coen Brothers film has gotta be The Big Lebowski.



Next: Kelly talks about the merits of ambiguity in cinema, and why The Box is his most personal film.

Comments

BMS1234

brandon sideleau

When I saw 'Southland Tales' with some friends in 2007 they all wanted to walk out halfway through so I joined them. I remember that, even though I didn't really "get" what Kelly was going for, I was strangely intrigued. Perhaps I need to rent it and watch the whole thing, maybe twice...it could be one of "those" movies that takes repeated viewings to appreciate. As it is, however, I remember it being pretty terrible.

Jul 24 - 07:25 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

Great list. And I LOVE Richard Kelly. I will definitely at some point purchase those prequel comics to Southland Tales, and then rent the film. I think it seems like a movie that if shown in its full cut, and if you read the comics before hand, that it would be really great. And I really cant praise Donnie Darko enough, though it does have its flaws, it really just is an absolutely beautiful film and one of my personal favorites. I'm very excited for the box.

Maybe someday I will have a five favorite films article of my own, because I know I'd put Donnie Darko on there.

Jul 24 - 07:34 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Cool, I still think Southland Tales is interesting and I want to see a Director's Cut. Maybe it will make it less messy and coherent, but I still like its weirdness. Can't wait to see The Box.

Jul 24 - 07:37 PM

Kevin B.

Kevin Bonser

"Can't wait to see The Box" is the best post I've ever read on this website. Thanx Jokerboy. Seriously though, I give it to him for being able to narrow his list down to 5 films. That's a tough thing to do for me. His choices are all high on my list except for Barry Lyndon, which I haven't seen.

Jul 25 - 02:59 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Interesting...well not really. But good list.

Jul 24 - 07:39 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

jena Malone..

Jul 24 - 08:29 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

The Box is a New Twilight Zone segment from 1985 you can download in ten minutes from http://www (the internet) .com. He reminds me of David Lynch. Like Speilberg is the Alfred Hitchcock of my generation, Kelly will be the David Lynch for the generation born in 1982 - 1990 I imagine. Before Speilberg, "everyone" was exicted about "The new Hitchcock picture," and when I was growing-up "everyone" was talking about "the upcoming speilberg movie." I'm 38 now and Kelly's films are for kids who are 28 or 20 or something. i have to self-censor. GFT

Jul 24 - 09:26 PM

rottenjoy

nando valdo

Wow, two great Kubrick masterpieces! Impressed. Vertigo is great too. Close Encounters and Lebowski are a bit overrated, but two good films nevertheless.

Jul 24 - 09:53 PM

Smokie G.

Smokie Gonzalez

The Big Lebowski's a masterpiece.. Buffoons shot in the most beautiful and strangest way. Nice list.

Jul 24 - 10:02 PM

Triple T

Triple Twyford

Most impressive list I think I've seen yet, Close Encounters is in my top 15, and 2001 and The Big Lebowski are in my top 3. I haven't seen Barry Lyndon yet (sadly, I think im going to rent it tomorrow), nor have I seen Vertigo. I need to watch a few of Kelly's movies.

Jul 24 - 10:32 PM

EIKOH

Jay Silbe

southland tales is a crazy movie, but when justin timberlake (yes i know) sings "I got soul but i'm not a soilder" I freaking went nuts. That is such an awesome scene. That movie is sweet and is the best roles that sean william scott and the rock have played. I cant wait to see the director's cut cause I know it will rock.

Jul 24 - 11:19 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

One of the best list ever! Finally Barry Lyndon gets some respect. One of the greatest films of all time and if you dare argue against that I will fight you. lewboski is classic. This is almost the same list I'd have except replace vertigo with aliens and the spielberg film with not a spielberg film. On that note south land tales is just terrible, just plain awful. I'm sorry I was so angry I sat through that garbage I almost punched the screen. I mean justin timberlake lip syncs to a killer's song, the open begins with a twenty minute narration which is the most goddamn boring thing ever, it doesn't make any *****ing sense what so ever even in a lynchian way, and its terrible in almost ever respect you can imagine. There is literally not enough space on the internet to contain all the words I'd have to use to adequately articulate my hate for that movie.

Jul 24 - 11:20 PM

EIKOH

Jay Silbe

southland tales is a crazy movie, but when justin timberlake (yes i know) sings "I got soul but i'm not a soilder" I freaking went nuts. That is such an awesome scene. That movie is sweet and is the best roles that sean william scott and the rock have played. I cant wait to see the director's cut cause I know it will rock.

Jul 24 - 11:22 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Look man you can't just smoke crack and then post on internet forums. That's one of the worst scenes in all of cinema! And remember I've seen cannibal holocaust and the phantom menace.

Jul 24 - 11:32 PM

Daniel M.

Daniel Moctezuma

You know what, Cannibal Holocaust is not that bad of a film everybody makes it out to be. It actually has a very intellectual value to it. The whole idea that our civilization has not progressed very far from naked indigenous people is actually a very interesting concept. And on top of that the film makes us sympathize with cannibals after a self realization that we rape indigenous people and brutally murder animals. That is almost brilliant in itself.

Jul 25 - 01:27 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Yeah because the scene wherein a native woman is raped to death with a stone phallus just smacks of intelligence. Plus I have First Nations (Native American to Americans) ancestry so don't clump me into the whole we rape indigenous cultures argument there brother.
@kevin b
watch barry lyndon as soon as possible. It's a masterpiece

Jul 25 - 05:02 PM

Daniel M.

Daniel Moctezuma

That's funny cause I totally forgot about that scene. It was so cheesy and fake that I didn't really find it disturbing. But you do have a point; yeah the movie is cheesy, goes for shock value, and is disturbing, but once you get passed all that the message is vibrant and the movie isn't totally useless. It was one of the films that influenced me to become a vegetarian. "Cannibal Holocaust" beyond it's horror seems to hit the psyche more than other meat slaughter house movies.

Jul 28 - 01:26 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Look man you can't just smoke crack and then post on internet forums. That's one of the worst scenes in all of cinema! And remember I've seen cannibal holocaust and the phantom menace.

Jul 24 - 11:32 PM

Daniel M.

Daniel Moctezuma

You know what, Cannibal Holocaust is not that bad of a film everybody makes it out to be. It actually has a very intellectual value to it. The whole idea that our civilization has not progressed very far from naked indigenous people is actually a very interesting concept. And on top of that the film makes us sympathize with cannibals after a self realization that we rape indigenous people and brutally murder animals. That is almost brilliant in itself.

Jul 25 - 01:27 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Yeah because the scene wherein a native woman is raped to death with a stone phallus just smacks of intelligence. Plus I have First Nations (Native American to Americans) ancestry so don't clump me into the whole we rape indigenous cultures argument there brother.
@kevin b
watch barry lyndon as soon as possible. It's a masterpiece

Jul 25 - 05:02 PM

Daniel M.

Daniel Moctezuma

That's funny cause I totally forgot about that scene. It was so cheesy and fake that I didn't really find it disturbing. But you do have a point; yeah the movie is cheesy, goes for shock value, and is disturbing, but once you get passed all that the message is vibrant and the movie isn't totally useless. It was one of the films that influenced me to become a vegetarian. "Cannibal Holocaust" beyond it's horror seems to hit the psyche more than other meat slaughter house movies.

Jul 28 - 01:26 PM

Kudos Mooney

Jeremy Mullins

Wait wait wait wait wait.

You think "Close Encounters" is overrated?!?!?

BANNED.

You think he should replace "Vertigo" with "Aliens"!?!?!??!!

DOUBLE-BANNED.

And you think he is Generation Y's David Lynch?!!?!?!?

ULTRA-BANNED.

And last, but not least, did you just f'ing say JENA MALONE?!??!!

SCOOBY-DOOBY-MEGA-NUCLEAR-BANNED!!!!!!!

As much as I love Richard Kelly's films, they can never touch the magic that is "Close Encounters" -the sheer optimism and child-like wonder mixed with dark sinister tones, along with a great balance of the two, puts that film high up on the list of top films (and probably Spielberg's best, in my opinion).

Jul 25 - 01:46 AM

Rot And Roll

jeroen de barbanson

nobody's gonna mention that this segment or actually just about any best movie list posted in the forums exists out of the same films over and over?

it's really predictable.. but what do you do, they're really good films..

a few words extra from Kelly about the films would've been nice too :)

Jul 25 - 04:10 AM

Premo Beat

John Noto

This list is quite generic and Donnie Darko was horrible (I have no idea how it's got 83% t-meter, maybe critics just fell for the artsy tone? jake?). Haven't seen ST, but comparing this guy to Kubrick/Spielberg/Lynch is disrespectful to the greats as this dude only has two major pics under his belt, one of which has a *cult* following and the other was universally panned.

Jul 25 - 08:22 AM

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Mr. Bo Ziffer

I heard that the Director's Cut of Southland Tales got a lot less booing at Cannes than the theatrical version. I really don't see the hate for that movie, I think it's awesome. Richard Kelly tries to do something different and gets crucified for it. Shame on you, critics.

I'll be seeing The Box when it comes out, and I'll pick up the DC of Southland Tales. Pimps don't commit suicide!

Jul 25 - 08:26 AM

Functionally Godarded

Joe H

What a great list. 2001 and Barry Lyndon are two of my three favortie Kubrick films (with Clockwork in between them) and Kubrick is my favorite director. I, for one, loved Southland Tales. It was a poorly designed multi-media spectacle and I invested the time into the graphic novels and the website and the final pay-off of seeing the movie was incredibly rewarding. And Darko's great. Can't wait for The Box.

Jul 25 - 09:24 AM

jimb14red

Michael Sullivan

i do not carewhat anyone says Southland Tales is fantastic and much like masterpieces such as Brazil, 2001, and Blade Runner will hopefully get its recognition in the future after being hated initially by the critics and public. Kelly has so much potential and may soon be my favorite living director if he continues on the path he is on. I am excited for The Box and hope it can live up to my expectations.

Jul 25 - 10:19 AM

Premo Beat

John Noto

Brazil, 2001 and Blade Runner eh. eh heh heheheehehe that's pretty good

Jul 25 - 12:36 PM

jimb14red

Michael Sullivan

Donnie Darko horrible heheheheheheheh, that'spretty good.

Jul 25 - 07:00 PM

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