Michael Ian Black’s Top Movie Picks

Because I’m a comedian, people are sometimes surprised when I tell them I don’t watch a lot of comedies. But it makes sense. Do nurses watch movies about taking people’s blood pressure with that thing that squeezes your arm? No, they don’t. Of course, I don’t know if there are a lot of movies about sphygmomanometers (which is the name of that thing that squeezes your arm when they take your blood pressure), but if there were, nurses wouldn’t watch them. Because that’s what they do all day. That’s how it is with me and comedies. 

Instead, my go-to genre is international spy/assassin/blow shit up movies. I will watch any movie involving some combination of intelligence agencies and gadgets and femme fatales. I want hand-to-hand combat, expert marksmanship, large amounts of C-4 explosives, jumping across rooftops, and bad guys with pets.

Plot: irrelevant.

Character development: irrelevant.

Moral: irrelevant.

Below is a list of some of my favorites. Obviously, James Bond tops the list. Bond is the godfather of the genre. Without Bond, none of the others exist.

The debate about the “best Bond” will rage forever. I’m not going to solve it here. As an adult, I appreciate Sean Connery, but I will always have a soft spot for Roger Moore, the goofiest of the Bonds, because he was my childhood 007. We never forget our childhood Bond, do we? 

I also have some Ethan Hunt on the list. I don’t care how crazy he is, Tom Cruise is my favorite action star, and I have seen every Mission: Impossible movie. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about any of the plots. Honestly, I don’t even know if they have plots. They’re just long chase sequences featuring Cruise running around and looking worried. I will watch a worried Tom Cruise forever. 

Also, I love Tom Clancy books, and I love his most famous creation, Jack Ryan. It seems like Ryan has now been played by as many actors as James Bond. Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and now Chris Pine in Shadow Recruit. On the face of it, Ryan is the nerdiest of all the action heroes. He’s not a big stud. He’s an analyst who keeps showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s no superhero, just a goody two shoes fighting for America, which is the best kind of goody two shoes and I will fight anybody who says different. 

Finally, I threw a couple wild cards in my picks. Ronin, which is just bad ass, and American Ultra, which is the only one on this list I haven’t seen yet. Why did I include it? Because the next time I have a couple hours by myself and I need to watch some stuff get blown up, I’ve already got my movie picked out. 

Tune in for my special, Noted Expert premiering FRIDAY THE 13th of May on EPIX!