Founder George Latsios’ Top 10 Favorite Films On Video

Scarecrow’s founder George Latsios passed in 2003 but the amazing gift he left behind for film lovers has grown and flourished. George loved ALL movies, from blockbusters to obscure cult classics, and that passion is embodied in the Scarecrow collection and the unique variety it offers.
As part of our 30th Anniversary, we’re sharing highlights of Scarecrow’s history. What follows is George’s All-Time Top-Ten List. His descriptions really convey the love he felt for these movies. We strive to carry on that spirit and aim to inspire it in others by connecting them with films they’ll treasure forever.

1st: Blade Runner (1982):

Everybody asks me “Why Blade Runner“?, answer, it’s an almost perfect film to me. It has awesome special effects that have withstood 19 [ed.: 36 now!] years, mood, atmosphere, a style that has yet to be matched, sensuality, sexual tension, chemistry, film noir overtones(hense ‘future noir’) future technology to die for, fresh ideas, excellent character development (characters I will never forget), incredible cinematography, excellent direction, story, and of course it has action, mystery, suspense, romance, sci-fi elements, drama. What’s missing is comedy…but so what? Now, which version? The original (currently out print on any video format in the US [ed.: not anymore!]) or the director’s cut (which by the way Is not really director Scott’s cut)? Anyway, I fell in love with the original version, and thoroughly enjoyed the so-called director’s cut, I just wish there was a married version of these two versions…maybe one day. I could watch Blade Runner, [any] version, once a week and never get tired of it!

2nd: Mary Poppins (1964):

One of the biggest reasons that I love this movie so much has to do with my martial arts training over the last 27 years, Kung-Fu, Tai-Chi, and Chi-Kung. There are at least 21 major lessons for the beginner practitioner and 67 for the advanced student (for any martial art). I don’t believe that this film was written this way on purpose, but the lessons never the less are there. Other major reasons are the wonderful songs that touch your heart(I even cry on one of them), super special effects, art direction, acting, witty dialogue and something magical over all.

3rd: The Princess Bride (1987):

What can I say about this film? Perhaps that I can’t say enough. It is, for me the funniest and most fun film to date. Timeless humor for everyone. And let’s not forget (in my opinion) the most incredible and entertaining swashbuckler sword fights ever! A film that I can see over and over and still be is as funny as the first time.

4th: Highlander (1986):

For me, one of the neatest ideas in film. Immortals running around beheading each other, for “There can only be one”. I don’t now why, but this film fascinates me. I’ve always believed that immortals really do exist. Growing up in Greece my grandmother told many stories about human ‘Immortals’ roaming the earth. Also in Greece there is a naming of children Athanasia  (girl) and Athanasios (boy), which literally translates to ‘immortal’, ‘undying’, ‘not able to die’. Beautifully filmed at locations in Scotland with Sean Connery as Ramirez, a 3,000 year old immortal mentoring Christopher Lambert (Conner) about the “immortal” ways and rules. The film also has two of my favorite lines: Conner asks Ramirez, “Why are we immortals?” Ramirez replies, “Why does the sun rise?” And in the euro/uncut version during WWII scene with the Nazis, the Germans are trying to kill Conner with guns; he turns to them and says “So you think you’re the master race?” A timeless film for me. I just love it! … And one never knows any one of us could be one of them!

5th: Resurrection (1983):

A beautiful film about a woman due to a circumstantial event in her life acquires the ability to heal all known diseases to man. What makes this film even more special for me is that I know real people that can heal like the character in this film. Overall this film touches my heart and my spirit. A powerful, warm, and inspiring story that always leaves me in awe and a tear in my eye.

6th: Assault On Precinct 13 (1976):

The first time I saw this film it ‘blew me away’, and to this day every time I watch it on laserdisc it still as exciting as the first time; in fact when it opened back in early ’79 I saw it 16 times at the cinema in Allentown, PA. The characters are written and developed so well I found my self-cheering for them (good guys and bad guys). It has been about 20 years since its release and it’s still is my favorite action film ever.

7th: Time After Time (1979):

Time travel films are my favorite sci-fi genre. Nicholas Meyer is one of my favorite screenwriters and directors. In my opinion this is his best film to date. Add the haunting score by Miklos Rozsa, and the real chemistry of Steenburgen and McDowell, time travel, suspence, Jack the Ripper, great script and you get an unforgettable film that I love dearly. It opened in Allentown, PA. on Nov. 6th 1979, and the story takes place, if I remember correctly, on Nov. 9th 1979. Friends and I almost flew out to San Francisco (where the story takes place 3 days after we saw the film) in the hope that what if these events really take place? It sounds silly but the story was so good we wanted it to be real somehow!

8th: Jacob’s Ladder (1990):

Growing up watching Twilight Zone on TV and not getting enough of it, Jacob’s Ladder for me is the best Twilight Zone story/film that have ever seen. The music score by Maurice Jarre is one of the most haunting scores ever. I keep a soundtrack of it in my car and one at home. This film has wonder, mood, atmosphere, mystery and scenes that will haunt me forever. I wish the pay cable version were available on video, which has a couple scenes that were deleted from the theatrical and standard video release. According to the director the test version of ‘Jacob’s…’ ran almost an hour longer!

9th: Until The End Of The World (1991):

Probably the only futuristic (July 1999) ‘road movie’ that I know of. I love road movies, all road movies but this is my favorite. A romantic adventure with a twist. It is nice for a change to see the woman chase after the man, around the world. Awesome special effects, near future plausible technologies, unforgettable characters, haunting images, a soundtrack with about 22 songs contributed by various artists and groups with a futuristic flavor written specifically for this film, and lots of neat gadgets, and let me not forget the chemistry! There is a 5-hour version of this film and I pray it will be put on video some day. Current US video version runs about 2 hours, 50 minutes, and a Japanese version with 22 more minutes above the US version. I was privileged to see the full version when we brought the director Wim Wenders to Seattle. He has a personal 5-hour print that he brought with him. And all I can say is that ‘there is a God!’ Another timeless film for me.

10th: Wicker Man (1973):

People always told me that this little great film is a horror film. Not even close! What it is, is a top-notch suspense thriller mystery rich with ancient history, myths, and cults. Filmed on location in the northern British Isles it starts off as basic police mystery and turns into a nightmarish suspense thriller. This film made me question myself ‘do I still want to be a Christian?’ Filled with native folklore songs, dances and music; it is a film that lives in my heart. I recommend this film to everyone especially if you are Christian.

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