Friday, February 11, 2011
My Top 15 Favorite Movies of All TIME
A few years ago I decided I had to have one favorite movie, just so I had an answer when someone asked. Instead of stammering along, saying "well, it's so hard to have just one" or "it depends what you mean by favorite", I wanted to just be able to say a specific title with authority. And for about five years, Good Will Hunting has reigned at the top of my list.
Recently I was talking about my Top 10 with Spencer, and I found (of course) when I tried to narrow it down I ended up with a list of about thirty movies. I mean, how do you judge between a movie like The Matrix and Adaptation? They're trying to accomplish entirely different things.
That being said, I finally brought it down to 15. I decided my criteria was re-watch value. That way, even though movies like Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump will always have a nostalgic place in my heart, they won't be crowding out the movies I really want to watch over and over again.
I'm pretty happy with the list I came up with, and hopefully there are a few on this list you haven't seen.
#15. Eastern Promises
Viggo Mortensen will always be Aragorn to me. There's nothing he can do about it. Even in the grueling, epic, naked bathhouse fight scene at the climax of this movie, I was still thinking Yeah! Kill them, Aragorn! Regardless, I think he was awesome in this movie as a Russian gangster so slick he puts out cigarettes on his own tongue.
A lot of people may question me for choosing this movie over, say, Donnie Brasco or Goodfellas. And I'm not going to lie, I'm conflicted about it. But I love the cast (especially Vincent Cassel and Naomi Watts) and I thought this movie brought some real unique, human grittiness to the gangster genre. And it's the only David Cronenberg movie I've ever liked.
#14. 12 Monkeys
When I say that I think this is the finest performance of Bruce Willis' career, I'm not being facetious. I actually think he's a terrific actor, he's just phoned in a lot of performances in shitty movies. In 12 Monkeys he delivers a heart-breaking, nuanced performance of a (possibly) insane time traveler...well, it's almost a waste trying to summarize this plot. Just see it.
Suffice to say that this is the type of movie where you pick up new details every time you watch it, and both Willis and Brad Pitt give career-defining performances. Add the bizarre quirk of Monty Python director Terry Gilliam and you have a truly unique movie.
A magazine article written about Heat ten years after it was released called it a "crime opera", and I don't think anything I can say will put it that succinctly. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best bank robbery movie EVER. (And you know how much I loved The Town.)
Seriously, this is director Michael Mann at his best, with one of the wickedest casts of all time. You've got De Niro, Pacino, Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Jon Voigt, Tom Sizemore...you even have that dude from Machete and the future black president guy from 24. I love the script, love the cinematography, love the acting...I basically love everything about this movie.
#12. Broken Flowers
This is the only Jim Jarmusch film on this list. I promise.
I know this movie isn't for everyone. But the soundtrack is awesome, Bill Murray has never been better, and it's just odd and funny and sad. Check it out.
#11. The Good Girl
Jennifer Aniston gets a pass for life because of this movie. I don't care how much schmaltzy Hollywood garbage she stars in, this movie is awesome and she's awesome in it. You can check out a longer post about it HERE.
I want to write something like this someday.
#10. Half Nelson
Another movie that gets better every time you watch it. I'm a little bit obsessed with Ryan Gosling, and this is my second-favorite performance by him. (For the first, keep reading this list.)
I like how this movie subverts all your expectations. It sets you up to expect a certain type of movie, then delivers something else entirely. Shareeka Epps gives one of my favorite child performances, and the script is nearly flawless.
Plus, hey, you get to see Ryan Gosling as a crack addict. Also, best last line of a movie. Ever.
#9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jim Carrey really tried to be taken seriously. Poor guy. I mean, he's actually a very talented actor. The problem is, I don't think he's ever going to live down movies like Ace Ventura and Liar Liar.
For me, Kate Winslet is the star of this movie. Her Clementine is so human, so eccentric and neurotic and human, it kills me. This is one of those movies you can quote endlessly, that's visually stunning and completely original.
Doesn't hurt that Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson and Elijah Wood round out the cast...
#8. You Can Count On Me
Terrible title. Great movie. I dare you to watch it without feeling an urge to hug your sister (or brother). I've probably seen it about 30 times. And I cry pretty much every time.
Actually, I've noticed I talk about myself crying a lot on this blog. I'm actually not a huge sap. Really, believe me.
#7. Pulp Fiction
What can I say that hasn't already been said? I can almost quote this entire movie word-for-word. It's almost twenty years old, but it still feels fresh. There have been an endless stream of copy-cats, but nothing has touched it. As far as I'm concerned, John Travolta should have retired the moment this hit theatres.
#6. Children of Men
Clive Owen is the MAN.
And in this movie he's the unlikely hero of the last living human baby on earth. You can't be more bad-ass than that. With mind-boggling action sequences and a horrifyingly bleak vision of what the future looks like without our ability to reproduce, this is one of those rare occasions where the movie is better than the book. (The book, by PD James, is still worth a read, though.)
#5. Fight Club
This movie came out at the height of my Edward Norton obsession (he's since flushed his career down the toilet) and probably stands out as the coooooolest movie ever made. I've read everything Chuck Palahniuk has written since, and everything pales in comparison. This is an anti-establishment manifesto, a fucking twisted self-help nightmare of a movie.
The studio head that green-lit this movie ultimately lost his job.
Every time I watch this movie it makes me want to take off my shirt and get into a bloody bare knuckle fist fight with a stranger. It makes me want to sell all my possessions and live under a bridge. This movie fucks with your head in a good way. This is the closest a movie has ever come to changing my life.
#4. 21 Grams
The opposite of a feel-good movie. I love everyone in this cast--Benicio, Sean Penn, Melissa Leo and Naomi Watts. The guy that made this movie also made Amores Perros and Babel, but in my mind this is his crowning achievement.
This movie jumps back and forth in time at random throughout the movie, making it a jarring, haunting juxtaposition of life and death. People are killed, lose their faith, end their marriages--it's sad an horrifying and real. These characters are the dregs of humanity, but we feel every moment of their pain. Naomi Watts, as a woman who loses her husband and two young girls, has never been better.
21 Grams refers to the weight of your soul when it leaves your body. And when this movie ends you feel like you have a new appreciation for what it means to be alive.
#3. Lars and the Real Girl
Who knew a movie about a sex doll could be so innocent? That's right, this is my favorite performance by Ryan Gosling, who is almost unrecognizable as a mustachioed, frumpy man-boy who is terrifying of human intimacy.
I dare you to watch this movie and not feel like the world is a beautiful, heart-warming place. This movie is a little cutesy, very pink, but also cathartic.
I don't know of any other movie like this.
C.R.A.Z.Y is a period piece, a family drama, a French Canadian movie and the story of a young boy growing up gay in a conservative family. It's beautifully shot, has great music and is captivating from start to finish. You just have to put up with reading subtitles.
I'm not sure if I can explain what's so perfect about this movie. You just have to trust me.
#1. Good Will Hunting
Another movie I can almost quote line for line.
I love Matt Damon. I think he might just be my favorite actor. And this, in my opinion, is his best performance. Even Ben Affleck is good in this movie!
This movie is an engaging exploration of what it means to be a friend, what it means to be a man, and how to embrace living your life. It just inspires me. Everyone wants to believe they're as cool as Will Hunting, and everyone wants to have best friends like Chucky. Robin Williams is awesome as a psychologist trying to get over the death of his wife, and the scenes between him and Damon are unbelievable.
Even the deleted scenes are brilliant.
Okay, so yet again I'm in the library procrastinating on getting stuff done by writing random blog posts. So I should get back to it.
Thanks for reading,