Five Favorite Films with Emile Hirsch

The star of The Darkest Hour shares five of his most-loved movies.

Whether he's piloting futuristic racing cars around a kaleidoscopic funhouse or perishing earnestly in the North American wilderness, Emile Hirsch has been steadily building a solid acting resume that surely hints of some great work to come. And though he's been relatively quiet since roles in Gus van Sant's Milk and Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, the young actor is set to return with a bunch of new films, the first of which -- opening in theaters this week -- is the sci-fi action thriller The Darkest Hour, the debut feature for visual effects expert-turned-director Chris Gorak, produced by Timur Bekmambetov. Hirsch stars, alongside Olivia Thirlby, as a young American traveler in Moscow who finds himself pitted against a deadly, literally electric invasion by power-hungry aliens. Well now, that's not good for tourism, Timur. We had a chance to chat with Hirsch recently, where he obliged us with his five favorite films... and an impromptu exegesis of Terrence Malick.


A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951; 98% Tomatometer)

This'll be my five favorite films of this moment. I really love A Streetcar Named Desire. With Streetcar Named Desire, and On the Waterfront -- those are like the Brando movies that I think are so essential to the growth of film acting in general; I mean, Brando came along and changed the game.




The Matrix (Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, 1999; 87% Tomatometer)

The Matrix was just such an incredible cinematic experience. I saw it when I was 13, in the cinema. I didn't know anything about it -- I hadn't seen the trailer. It just blew my mind. I didn't know anything about it when I first saw it. And I was lucky enough to be able to work with the Wachowskis later, years later, on Speed Racer, which I had a great time on.




Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980; 98% Tomatometer)

Raging Bull was just an incredible performance by Robert De Niro. A great, you know, show of discipline by an actor. And Martin Scorsese... visually, it was just so cool.




The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995; 89% Tomatometer)

The Usual Suspects was Bryan Singer's masterpiece. It was such a great ensemble and such a smartly-told film. The twist at the end was just fantastic. That movie kicked so much ass.




The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996; 83% Tomatometer)

The English Patient I saw when I was really young, and the love story just devastated me, I think. You know, I was just sobbing. I loved it. Beautiful images. Something that can evoke that much emotion out of me -- I was just really moved. So those are five that just come straight to the surface. You must get all kinds of people naming these obscure-ass movies though, right?

Most people tend to be pretty honest; unless they're, you know---

Trying to be assh---s. [Laughs] Did you see The Tree of Life?

Yeah, I loved it.

I thought it was amazing. All the shots of the bacteria, when you see them bubbling for the first time, all the gasses and the fluid. And you see the little helixes swimming toward the surface together. I thought that was so amazing.

I could've watched that sequence for two hours.

Yeah. People were complaining about the cosmos shots and the life shots but I found that infinitely great. It's such a good film. So beautifully shot and acted. Another thing I really loved about it was the way in which you see the evolution of innocence to experience with these young boys, and how these young boys kind of become a metaphor for the human race; of how our species is just naturally corrupted with time. You're born good but you eventually see this dark side as you get older; like when the boys get together and they're killing things -- it's not that they're raised wrong, it just happens naturally. And then [the movie's] like trying to go back to that state of grace, you know? I loved that movie. What do you think that doorway represented? Cause it keeps cutting back to that doorway. I think it represented the transition from life to death, but the reason it's on the beach -- it's the solitary doorway -- is because there's no real difference: death, in a certain sense, is an illusion of change. You're still in the same area -- it's like you can pass through this manifest doorway but you're still in the exact same area as you were before.



The Darkest Hour opens in theaters this week.

Comments

justjoustin

Joshua G

I loved Emile Hirsch in Into The Wild. Has anyone seen Taking Woodstock? Is it any good? What's it similar to?

Dec 20 - 12:39 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Its similar to Giving Woodstock...

Dec 20 - 02:18 AM

Rachel W.

Rachel Woloshin

Don't expect too much out of Taking Woodstock. It's a nice film, but it is not about a nice time. It's watchable, but fair warning, it lacks the energy needed to sustain a film like it.

Dec 20 - 05:52 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I agree with Rachel (except the part about the time), but it's worth noting that Hirsch has a very small role in the film. If you're watching for him, you'll definitely be disappointed.

Dec 20 - 07:56 AM

justjoustin

Joshua G

I'll give it a whirl. It always surprised me how that was Ang Lee's follow up to Brokeback & Lust, Caution and it pretty much was invisible.

Thanking you.

Dec 21 - 11:54 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Its similar to Giving Woodstock...

Dec 20 - 02:18 AM

Ed Tom B.

Ed Tom Bell

Emile reminds of Heath Ledger a bit.

Dec 20 - 05:03 AM

Rachel W.

Rachel Woloshin

Don't expect too much out of Taking Woodstock. It's a nice film, but it is not about a nice time. It's watchable, but fair warning, it lacks the energy needed to sustain a film like it.

Dec 20 - 05:52 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Nice mix of classic and contemporary.

I, too, saw the Matrix in the theater without ever having seen a trailer or read a review. I think what we had gone to see was sold out, so we just picked Matrix. Was blown away, too.

The Darkest Hour is likely be crap, but I think it looks cool. It does seem like an odd movie for Hirsh to headline after all his more independent fare (Speed Racer aside).

Dec 20 - 06:07 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

I had the same experience with seeing the Matrix. Didn't know anything about it, saw it only because another movie was sold out, etc. Experiences like I had seeing the Matrix only happen a few times, if ever. Very special.

Dec 20 - 09:30 AM

Dre M.

Dre M.

I had the same experience regarding the Matrix - I walked into that blind and walked out, as Neo says, "Whoa."

Dec 20 - 11:06 AM

merrygoround

Josh Hoffman

I saw the trailer, but I was young, and definitely didn't expect to witness something so different from anything I'd ever seen at the time (especially from a live action film).

Dec 21 - 09:25 PM

Swampfox

Pat Marion

I love Hirsch. Ever since I saw him in The Girl Next Door I knew I was gonna love this guy.

He was great in Alpha Dog, Lords of Dogtown and yes, I know I am in the very small minority, Speed Racer. I actually thoroughly enjoyed that movie. Not to mention, it is easily one of the best looking Blu-Ray movies to date.

Dec 20 - 07:04 AM

justjoustin

Joshua G

I figure if i'm going to watch Speed Racer it'd need to be Blu Ray

Dec 20 - 11:39 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Dec 21 - 01:50 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Fucking "English Patient". Notice the escalation of passion once the topic turns to "Tree of Life". Dude can spend all day talking about that film, but it ISN'T in his top five! Whatever. His other choices are cool. And yes, I am among the ones who thought "Speed Racer" was enjoyable. Fast, flash and actually funny (as opposed to most of the snide smart-ass summer flicks).

Dec 20 - 07:52 AM

morgan w.

morgan work

Also thought Speed Racer was pretty enjoyable,far from great, but enjoyable none the less.Like Emile, I was 13 when I saw The Matrix in the theater, and was completely blown away at the time. Told my cousin about it and we went back 3-4 times.2nd best film i've ever seen in a theater,right behind Fellowship of the Ring, still cant beat that experience;)

Dec 20 - 08:11 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

For a brief second, my heart elated at the possibility that you were Morgan Webb. Alas. Nothing personal. You're just less than Morgan Webb.

Dec 20 - 08:39 AM

morgan w.

morgan work

That comment made me turn G4 on immediately lol

Dec 20 - 08:50 AM

Dre M.

Dre M.

Hated the English Patient when I first saw it, but over the years I've really grown to love it. Anthony Minghella was a genius writer/director, it has a phenomenal score and the acting was so convincing. No doubt it's very sophisticated so you definitely need to be in the right mindset/mood to enjoy it. But one secret to making it through the movie is to not to be jacked up on Mountain Dew Code Red!

Dec 20 - 11:22 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I think Killians Red is the more appropriate beverage. I don't dislike "Patient", but I find it interesting that Hirsch has more thoughtful things to say about a film he didn't choose (and a much better film btw imho). In fact, his analysis of "Tree" is more articulate than many of the reviews. He got it.

Dec 20 - 02:42 PM

Mike Roy

Mike Roy

I loved speed racer too, I thought it captured the fun of the show as much as it could and it was an enjoyable experience. Sure, maybe not an amazing movie of Blockbuster-proportions, but definitely not as terrible as critics made it out to be.

Dec 24 - 09:43 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I agree with Rachel (except the part about the time), but it's worth noting that Hirsch has a very small role in the film. If you're watching for him, you'll definitely be disappointed.

Dec 20 - 07:56 AM

justjoustin

Joshua G

I'll give it a whirl. It always surprised me how that was Ang Lee's follow up to Brokeback & Lust, Caution and it pretty much was invisible.

Thanking you.

Dec 21 - 11:54 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Nice picks. The only one I've seen is The Matrix. Emile is pretty good actor I must say.

Dec 20 - 08:00 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Please watch "Usual Suspects" before anyone has a chance to spoil the ending for you.

Dec 20 - 08:47 AM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

the usual suspects was a really good movie... nice list too... raging bull was great, matrix was AMAZING, the english patient was good, but i haven't seen streetcar...

Dec 22 - 12:27 AM

Andrew I.

Andrew Imrie

I'm asking this honestly and mean no offense, but have you just recently gotten into cinema? I assume you like movies to be on this site, but these films that he chose aren't exactly obscure titles.

Dec 21 - 06:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Some people here are younger than others. But Monster has written over 300 film reviews on his profile, and well written too. They are mostly contemporary, but it's a journey. Not everyone can get through the classics all at once.

Dec 22 - 12:53 PM

Brandon Carlson

Brandon Carlson

Yeah I've never seen any of those besides matrix either. And in going to school for film production. I want to see raging bull and unusual suspects. I don't plan on seeing English patient and streetcar I've never even heard of.

Dec 24 - 06:42 PM

morgan w.

morgan work

Also thought Speed Racer was pretty enjoyable,far from great, but enjoyable none the less.Like Emile, I was 13 when I saw The Matrix in the theater, and was completely blown away at the time. Told my cousin about it and we went back 3-4 times.2nd best film i've ever seen in a theater,right behind Fellowship of the Ring, still cant beat that experience;)

Dec 20 - 08:11 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

For a brief second, my heart elated at the possibility that you were Morgan Webb. Alas. Nothing personal. You're just less than Morgan Webb.

Dec 20 - 08:39 AM

morgan w.

morgan work

That comment made me turn G4 on immediately lol

Dec 20 - 08:50 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Nice choices, even though I tend to agree with Elaine on Seinfeld and dislike The English Patient. The Darkest Hour looks so strange to me. The effects of the people vaporizing and the environmental stuff looks pretty good, but the aliens look so stupid. I thought it was a commercial that was parodying a movie when I first saw the trailer on TV.

Dec 20 - 08:19 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Just die already!" I guess "Patient" wasn't so bad, but very tedious. I'm also not impressed with what I've seen of "Darkest Hour". The effects look nifty, but I feel you on the parody thing. It's just so derivitive of so many other films we've seen.

Dec 20 - 08:45 AM

Ryan K.

Ryan Kenedy

I didn't like it either, but when I told my boss (J. Peterman) he made me live in a cave.

Dec 22 - 11:24 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I couldn't make it. I tested positive for poppy seeds and osteoporosis.

Dec 22 - 12:55 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

For a brief second, my heart elated at the possibility that you were Morgan Webb. Alas. Nothing personal. You're just less than Morgan Webb.

Dec 20 - 08:39 AM

morgan w.

morgan work

That comment made me turn G4 on immediately lol

Dec 20 - 08:50 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Just die already!" I guess "Patient" wasn't so bad, but very tedious. I'm also not impressed with what I've seen of "Darkest Hour". The effects look nifty, but I feel you on the parody thing. It's just so derivitive of so many other films we've seen.

Dec 20 - 08:45 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Please watch "Usual Suspects" before anyone has a chance to spoil the ending for you.

Dec 20 - 08:47 AM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

the usual suspects was a really good movie... nice list too... raging bull was great, matrix was AMAZING, the english patient was good, but i haven't seen streetcar...

Dec 22 - 12:27 AM

morgan w.

morgan work

That comment made me turn G4 on immediately lol

Dec 20 - 08:50 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

#5b - Sack Lunch

Dec 20 - 08:54 AM

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