Our Favorite Movies Of All Time

Someone recently asked if I could provide a reliable “core” list of movies. Sometimes two heads are better than one. So I spoke with my friend William Wolfe (who can be found at the Twitter account Zero Soy Pics), to see if he could give me a list of his own favorite films. I told Bill that I’d post both of our lists on my website.

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All Men Seek Their Divine Origins

By 331 B.C. Alexander the Great had reached Egypt and brought it under his control.  He already had a string of incredible military victories to his credit, including those at Granicus, Issus, and Tyre.  He must have sensed, in the marrow of his bones, that he possessed some indefinable quality that separated him from other men. 

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Apelles, The Greatest Painter Of Antiquity

Painting is a perishable art.  Pigment fades and flakes with the centuries; and the passage of millennia leaves us nothing of painting but dust and memories.  From antiquity have survived statues, tombs, mosaics, some murals here and there, artifacts of all kinds, and the sublime monuments of architecture; but of the great Greek and Roman painters, we have no original works.    

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Acknowledging The Debts To Our Predecessors

In his treatise On the Nature of the Gods, Cicero points out a shameful personal weakness of the philosopher Epicurus.  What was this character flaw?  It was Epicurus’s congenital inability to admit that he had ever been influenced by the thinkers that preceded him.  Cicero states:

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Heaven And Hell Can Change Places Very Quickly (Podcast)

Most people never realize that good fortune can be suddenly and brutally replaced by bad fortune. What once seemed like heaven can quickly be transformed into a hell. The reverse is also true: a man can find himself in terrible straits, but can extricate himself through consistent efforts, and reach a kind of “heaven.”

This observation leads us to make five (5) important conclusions. We list and discuss them.

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What Was It That Allowed Odysseus To Return Home?

Oliver Stone’s memoir Chasing the Light, which I began reading two weeks ago, relates an interesting anecdote.  After returning from military service in Vietnam, the future director enrolled in film school at New York University; one of the classes he attended, taught by a professor named Tim Leahy, dealt with classical drama. 

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Disaster And Heroism At Maiwand

On July 27, 1880, General George Burrows led just under 2,500 British and Indian troops into the field near Maiwand, Afghanistan, to intercept an Afghan force led by Ayub Khan.  Burrows, however, was not aware that he was confronting a force that numbered around 25,000 Afghan warriors.  The terrible engagement that followed, known to history as the Battle of Maiwand, was one of the major battles of the Second Anglo-Afghan War.     

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Clausewitz’s “Coup d’Oeil”: That Special Knack (Podcast)

The military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz used the term coup d’oeil to describe a special, innate ability to grasp the military possibilities presented by a specific situation. We may broaden this idea to describe an instinctive talent in some field of endeavor. Each of us possesses a special skill that distinguishes us from others; too often, however, those talents languish, or remain undiscovered. It is our responsibility to try to discover where our own coup d’oeil lies.

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On Whether Alexander Could Have Conquered Rome

It is said that after Alexander the Great completed his conquests in Asia, he intended eventually to turn his gaze westward to the Mediterranean region, and bring those lands under his control.  Death, of course, overtook him before he could begin this campaign.  Either the lingering effects of his battlefield wounds, or his dissolute living habits, brought him to an early grave. 

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The Moral Corruption Of The Elites

The military historian Polyaenus, in his Stratagems of War (II.17), relates the following anecdote.  There was once a man named Dinias, the son of Telesippus, who lived in the city of Cranon, which is located in the region of Thessaly in Greece.  He was originally from the town of Pheraea.  He was a poor man, we are told, and earned his living by hunting and fishing in the countryside near the city.

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