My favorite movie of all time? Glad you asked, It's Sherlock, Jr. (1924). Lucky for all of us, this masterpiece from Buster Keaton, screens next Sunday on TCM (at 8 pm) as part of the cable station's month long tribute to film's greatest magician and metaphysician.
The tale of a projectionist who dreams of being a sleuth and who literally walks into the movie he's projecting and solves its mystery, Sherlock's subject is the mystery and magic of movies. It is Keaton's most exhaustive -- and hilarious -- investigation into the perils of what happens when someone from the three-dimensional world penetrates the two-dimensional universe of film. Behold the granite-faced guy in his dressing room, primping before the mirror, gamely striding through the looking glass and into the infinite possibilities of motion pictures. Sublime.
It's a film that influenced many filmmakers, including Groucho Marx (see the mirror scene in Duck Soup) and Woody Allen, who wrote and directed The Purple Rose of Cairo under its influence.
Your favorite Keaton? Alternatively, nominate your favorite film ever.