Steven Spielberg’s Firelight (1964)

Nine Forgotten First Features by Major Filmmakers

I was annoyed recently when several film critics, in their reviews of M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, kept referring to The Sixth Sense as his "first film". It would've taken them 30 seconds to go to the IMDb and learn that Shyamalan directed not one but two features before The Sixth Sense. In light of this, I started thinking about all… read more!

New York

Nine Taxi Experiences in Nine Different Cities

Jim Jarmusch once made a movie called Night on Earth, which told five different stories that took place in five different taxicabs in five different cities across the world. This list isn't really a tribute to Night on Earth as it is my thesis that two things distinguish a nation's character: paying the bill at a restaurant, and taking a… read more!

Laura Bush

Nine Celebrities Who Have Killed People

Baretta star Robert Blake escaped imprisonment for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley, but if you believe popular opinion, he is in that grim group: famous people who have taken lives, whether on purpose or accidentally. Here are some others. [2010 note: This list was written before Phil Spector murdered Lana Clarkson.] Matthew Broderick. The star of Ferris… read more!

High Noon

Nine Movies That Take Place in Real Time

We've all seen movies that take place over a day, a month, a year, several years, even several million years. But I enjoy the sense of urgency in pictures where the story takes place in the exact amount of time it takes to watch the film. This narrative device isn't often used, so here's a list of those films that… read more!

Only the Lonely

Nine Movies Named After Roy Orbison Songs

The late great Roy Orbison experienced two waves of popularity: the first in the late '50s/early '60s, when he established himself as a dramatic (if not exactly hunky) singer/songwriter who effortlessly mixed pop, country, blues, and even opera together and emerged with his own distinctive sound; the second after decades of general neglect, when David Lynch used Orbison's "In Dreams"… read more!

The Boxer Rebellion

Nine Failed Uprisings That Changed History

[Note from Mark: as I'm stressed out with other film-related duties, my friend Thomas Lakeman returns with another list guaranteed to expand your historical consciousness.] History loves winners, and whenever we talk about big turning points it's easier to point to the revolutions that actually took off - American, French, Russian, Industrial... but what about the ones that never got… read more!

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Nine Most Overrated Films of 2001

This has become a very popular list - with me, anyway. When film critics everywhere presented their "Top 10's" a few weeks back, I kept seeing the same dull, forgettable titles mentioned again and again. I won't go into detail here: if you're curious why I felt this way about these films, go read my individual reviews of them. Waking… read more!

Lewis Carroll

Nine Historical Figures Believed to Have Died Virgins

If you are sans a sweetie this Valentine's Day, take heart: you're not alone. In fact, some of history's most influential people never got any action at all. Here are a few of them. Isaac Newton. Possibly the most well-documented historical virgin, Newton (who, after establishing landmark theories in mathematics and inventing physics, spent the rest of his life trying… read more!

Insert comeback line here

Nine Incredibly Cliched Action Movie Comeback Lines

[Note from Mark: This list is written by my good friend, the novelist Thomas Lakeman.] Just as bad guys need British accents, good guys are defenseless without a plentiful supply of withering put-downs, sardonic observations, and "inside" pop-culture references -- which they invariably spout at precisely the right moment. That's why you'll never see a movie cop say "Yes, sir,… read more!

Me, left, directing Foreign Correspondents (with Corin Nemec)

Nine Things I Learned About Life While Making Foreign Correspondents

My first feature Foreign Correspondents is now available on video (on Netflix and Amazon). Getting here was a long, hard road. Between the time I started writing the script in 1996 and this very moment, almost six years later, I've learned a number of life lessons. Take from this list what you will. Nobody wants advice. Everybody wants sympathy. The only time people take my advice… read more!