The “New York movie” — shot on location, pulsing with the heartbeat of a city, capturing with documentary-like attentiveness a snapshot of a city in constant evolution — is a popular topic for movie list-makers, and over the past few months, we’ve seen both Time Out New York’s exhaustive top 100 and Complex’s briefer top 50. They’re both good lists, and filled with terrific films; they also don’t offer much in the way of surprises, since the NYC movie canon has been so firmly established that it becomes less a question of what will be on it than what order they’ll choose for the usual suspects (Taxi Driver, Manhattan, Sweet Smell of Success, etc). Again, all great movies. But we thought it might be fun to point you in the direction of a few of our favorite New York flicks that didn’t make either list — just in case you’ve already worked your way through those 100-plus titles, or would like to check out something a little further off the beaten path. You’ll find our top dozen after the jump.
Mo’ Better Blues
Any list of New York flicks is bound to be chock full of Spike Lee; the quintessential Brooklynite has given us such iconic New York flicks as 25th Hour, Summer of Sam, and (of course) Do the Right Thing. Mo’ Better was his follow-up to the latter, and as such, was bound to suffer some in comparison — but we’ve always had affection for this seemingly autobiographical portrait of a talented young artist, and its portrait of the New York jazz scene is fascinating. Plus, the image of Denzel Washington blowing his trumpet on the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the sexiest in the star’s entire filmography.