Your Favorite Movies - Matt Rabinowitz

For the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival we encourage you to Find Your New Favorite Movie! As we approach the festival we've started a new series on our site where we ask some Phoenix Film Festival filmmaker alumni about some of their favorite movies. In case you missed the first one, you can see Eddie Jemison's here.  

RabinowitzNext up, Director Matt Rabinowitz. His film The Frontier (Phoenix Film Festival 2014 Official Selection) has been lauded by film critics with high praise. Among the kudos, Martin Tsai of the Los Angeles Times calls the film, “An intimate family drama that subtly and delightfully subverts expectations... Refreshing and astute.”


What is your …


  • Favorite Comedy?

Picking a favorite in any genre is always such a difficult task and can be so dependent on how I feel in the moment I'm asked, but the movie that is almost always right there for me regardless of genre is The Jerk. Growing up in the era of Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey, I've always been drawn to character driven comedies, so after my millionth viewing of Ace Ventura or Billy Madison as a film obsessed 10-year-old, my dad forced me to watch The Jerk, "to see how it's really done". It changed my life. I had never seen something so stupid, but so smart. You can do both? At the same time?!?!? It's just perfect, I can quote any line – and I do often, much to the annoyance of everyone I know. Anytime I've named a dog since then it's been a struggle not to name them "Shithead", that's how much The Jerk has affected me.

  • Favorite Drama?

There Will Be Blood is my favorite drama; even though I'm almost positive it's a secret comedy … I mean it's hilarious. It's the kind of movie that is just so perfect that it makes me giddy to think about it. I smile the entire runtime to the point where my face cramps. It's genius.


  • Documentary?

I'm going to cheat and give two because it's too hard to pick one. Errol Morris' The Thin Blue Line is everything you could ask for in a true crime doc— great story; excellent characters; beautiful filmmaking; and it had an actual impact on the case it illuminates. My other favorite is Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, I love this one for very different reasons, as it's basically a nonfiction Spinal Tap, it's so great. So funny, so epic.


  • Favorite film you saw on the circuit?

The thing about the circuit is that you meet so many great people and excellent filmmakers that your opinions of the films and the people behind them merge into one so you can't judge the films objectively, so here's a list of some of the films I've loved made by new friends: The Big Ask, King of Herrings, Little Hope Was Arson, Surviving Cliffside, 10,000km, Fort Tilden, The House That Jack Built.

  • Do you have a favorite film poster?citizen-kane-poster_410

I love the original Citizen Kane one sheet with "It's Terrific!" scrawled across it. I love it so much I stole the quote as my production company name.


Matt reports that since PFF 2014, The Frontier screened at more festivals where they continued to meet a lot of great people, and gathered an impressive array of awards including Best Feature, Awards of Excellence and Best Actor in a Feature (Max Gail). And, the film may soon be available online! “We're in talks now with a company that wants to distribute the film … and, we're working on the next one.”


                                                – Laurie Smith