Five Favorite Films with Sean Stone

The director of Greystone Park talks about his inspirations.

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.

Comments

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

Very nice picks!

Oct 17 - 04:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

A Man's movies. Only missing some Peckinpah and Don Siegel. Oliver Stone must have been feeding him Rocky Mountain oysters all his life.

Oct 17 - 06:32 PM

DerangedAngry Hilbilly

DerangedAngry Hilbilly

Unsolved? it's pretty obvious Oswald was the guy.... none of the alternate theories hold up under any real scrutiny.

Oct 17 - 06:48 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yuh, most defectors to the Soviet Union in the middle of the Cold War are allowed back into America without a single charge of treason. Right?

Oct 17 - 07:30 PM

Scott Otto

Scott Otto

a seven year old sat through JFK without moving? probably because his dad injected him with thorazine.

Oct 17 - 07:02 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yuh, most defectors to the Soviet Union in the middle of the Cold War are allowed back into America without a single charge of treason. Right?

Oct 17 - 07:30 PM

Simon DW

Simon DW

Wow i'm pretty much this guys age and he nails it with some of my favourite flicks. When i saw The Thin Red Line as a 13 year old it completely transformed my experience of cinema as a medium up until that point. I came later to Sergio Leone, but agree wholeheartedly that Once Upon a Time in the West is his best work.

Likewise, Conan was absolutely the most fun film to grow up on and never ceases to put me in a great mood watching it today.

Oct 17 - 08:45 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

All good films with the exception of 'A Thin Red Line' which was typical Malick cerebral gobbledegook.

Oct 18 - 06:53 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Gotta love what a critic said about the younger Stone's 'Greystone Park',

"A film like this doesn't need an ending because the audience would leave way before that."

Haha classic.

Oct 18 - 06:55 AM

Peter W.

Peter Winters

Agreed. We don't poetry recitations during war time action.

Oct 18 - 10:25 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Francis Scott Key would disagree. "Star Spangled Banner" was originally a poem, written during "war time action".

Oct 18 - 10:39 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Gotta love what a critic said about the younger Stone's 'Greystone Park',

"A film like this doesn't need an ending because the audience would leave way before that."

Haha classic.

Oct 18 - 06:55 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Regardless of how "poetic the narrative, the visuals and the music" were, Thin Red Line bored the living shit out of me. And I'm not a Malick hater (though I haven't really liked anything of his since Badlands!)

Oct 18 - 07:13 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I'm not a Malick hater in that I simply won't watch his films because I know what's coming. So he is irrelevant to me.

Oct 18 - 08:13 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I'm not a Malick hater in that I simply won't watch his films because I know what's coming. So he is irrelevant to me.

Oct 18 - 08:13 AM

The Pieper Review

Ben Pieper

Nice, I like how he took time and went in depth. No matter how frustrating and blatant his dad can be as a director, it seems a talent for articulation runs in the family. I couldn't agree more about The Thin Red Line. Gotta rewatch that one...

Oct 18 - 09:13 AM

Total  S.

Total Stranger

Extra points for Conan.

Oct 18 - 09:34 AM

Peter W.

Peter Winters

Agreed. We don't poetry recitations during war time action.

Oct 18 - 10:25 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Francis Scott Key would disagree. "Star Spangled Banner" was originally a poem, written during "war time action".

Oct 18 - 10:39 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Francis Scott Key would disagree. "Star Spangled Banner" was originally a poem, written during "war time action".

Oct 18 - 10:39 AM

Dave J

Dave J

The only one I remember from this list is "Once Upon A time..." and perhaps "Conan" which I saw once when I was only a an uderage kid!

And judging by it's low box office numbers I highly doubt that he saw "The Thin Red Line " 5 times on the big screen for if he really did do it then he may be the only one I know that's done it!

Oct 18 - 03:15 PM

Nathan S.

Nathan Sellers

The Thin Red Line is an amazing film. It may not be Malick's best film, but it is one of my personal favorites. Though the cinematography in The Thin Red Line may not be as "captivating" as 'Days of Heaven' (i.e. the burning fields), the vibrant contrasts of color, haunting visuals and symbols from the Thin Red Line burn into your mind... it's fascinating.

Oct 19 - 08:32 AM

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