Film Jukebox: Josiah Wolf

Josiah Wolf

Why? are one of the most interesting US bands of recent years, combining pop, folk and hip hop to create lovely lo-fi gems. Now their drummer and multi-instrumentalist Josiah Wolf releases his debut solo album Jetlag (Anticon – 29 March). The album glides through folk, psychedelia and 60s pop, but as it is produced by his younger brother and Why? frontman Yoni, will still sound very familiar to the band’s fans. You can find out more on his MySpace. Wolf takes us through the story of his life through movies and talks of his admiration for Gene Hackman and Bruce Willis. LUCY HURST

1. The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Coen brothers are probably my favourite directors and I would add more of their films to my list if it were longer than 10. The dialogue and the interpretation of these characters come across so naturally that it seems as if this film could have been improvised. I love every character so uniquely that it’s difficult to send props to just one, but if I were given that challenge Walter Sobchak is my man. It’s as if John Goodman were made for this role. He is a fine actor and I’m proud to include him in this list.

2. The Unforgiven (1992)
I’d never really watched a Western until I saw this film. Having watched many since then, I realise this was quite different from the rest. I saw this film in the theatre when I was a kid. There are no real good guys or bad guys in the film, so it raises a lot of interesting questions about karma and the cycle of violence, which Eastwood often addresses in his films. Gene Hackman is one of my favourites in this film as in many others.

3. Superman II (1980)
As a younger child this movie played a large role in my life. For years, my brother and I quoted this movie although it’s hard to say exactly what it was we liked about it as after seeing it recently I realise that it’s not actually very good. At the time, I think it had something to do with the three super-villains and their pseudo-British accents, not to mention I’ve just been a fan of Superman practically since the day I was born. Props to Gene Hackman again, I’ve always loved how his character, Lex Luther, wanted to own Australia and nothing more.

4. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
I’ve always been a fan of Bruce Willis ever since Die Hard. I’m a sucker for movies that deal with the brain-twisting elements of time travel. Props of course to the Back to the Future trilogy, which unfortunately didn’t include Gene Hackman and couldn’t be included on this list. Visually this movie is awesome, and the way the plot unfolds really took me on a rollercoaster ride. It was my first year in college and I was just getting into psychedelics, it was the perfect time to see a movie like this.

5. Pinocchio (1940)
They don’t make ’em like they used to. I read about this film years later and I found out they upped the cells per second for this movie specifically, and you can really tell how beautiful this film is as a result. Every cell is hand-drawn, something you can’t replicate with computer animation. The plot is classic: always tell the truth if you want to be a real man in this world.

6. Mary Poppins (1964)
This may have been the first movie I ever remember seeing. My father loved musicals and we saw many growing up, including my brother’s favourite, The Court Jester, starring Danny Kaye. I have always loved Burt the chimney sweep played by Dick van Dyke (the Gene Hackman of his day). ‘Feed the birds’ is a beautiful and haunting song and someone like Rufus Wainwright should cover it.

7. Little Big Man (1970)
For years, my good friend Matt Meldon recommended this film to me and then I finally saw it. Matt’s taste is very specific in a way that is hard to describe, his other favourites being Dead Man and The Big Lebowski. The deadpan storytelling and Hoffman’s character as a bystander in his own life made me think of Matt the whole time I watched it. All three movies include a ‘wise Indian chief’ who plays a crucial role in guiding the protagonist through his journey; Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man, Nobody in Dead Man and even the Stranger aka the Old Cowboy in The Big Lebowski. I’ll have to ask Matt about this connection.

8. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
I watched this movie many times without any sound while working at a restaurant in the Bay Area. One day, I finally watched it with sound. The beautiful soundtrack is by Phillip Glass. Not a typical documentary, nor a typical film in general. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the images tell the story, there is no dialogue. I loved it. Amazing cinematography with very thought-provoking images.

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Not the biggest fan of Tarantino since this but Pulp Fiction did it for me. Props of course to Samuel L Jackson and to John Travolta’s comeback. And of course let’s not forget my man Bruce Willis. You’ve all seen it. You know the deal. On tour we stayed at someone’s house, and in the morning they were watching the gimp scene when Bruce Willis is choosing his weapon to save his enemy, Marcellus Wallace, from his ass-raping (the moral peak of the movie), and I will say it was hard to pull ourselves away into the van and onto the next city.

10. Rushmore (1998)
It was not easy to choose this over The Royal Tenenbaums for obvious reasons (Gene Hackman) BUT Bill Murray desperately needed props. This is one of my favourite of his many great roles. Wes Anderson created a great world full of eclectic characters that at times seem so familiar and yet so impossible. The soundtrack is great. The style is great. The ending is great.