There’s a silly thing going around on Facebook at the moment (as if FB has any other type) where people are listing their ten favorite movies. My good friend Paul J. Anderson tagged me in it. He should know better – I don’t give out free samples. But, since he’s my brother from another mother and a founding member of the New Hong Kong Cavaliers (more to come on that soon…), I decided to post a list here.
It’s nearly impossible to list my favorite films and stick to 10 or even 20, but I’ll try to narrow it down to what works at this moment. It shifts around all the time, although some never leave the list. In order to have any chance of variety, I’m limiting it to one film per franchise – otherwise this list would probably just be a bunch of Star Wars & 007 movies. It’s so very hard to do:
- Are we picking desert island discs – things that we’d want if we could only keep 10 movies to last us the rest of our lives? Because I don’t need to see Clockers for the rest of my life, but it’s definitely one of my faves…
- Are we picking 10 movies that made the most difference in our lives? Because Click‘s focus on work/life priorities and the story it borrowed from It’s A Wonderful Life resonated deeply with me and I’m not even sure it’s a good movie – I sure wouldn’t put it in my top 100. (Although the Jimmy Stewart film would definitely be in the top 25…)
- Are we picking 10 movies that we feel tell people about us? Because then you feel obligated to include classic dramas and indie films to impress people. Makes me want to include The Searchers, Casablanca, Stranger Than Fiction and Dr. Strangelove.
- Or are we just trying to be different and support films that are left-field choices or simply didn’t get the recognition they deserve? I want people to know about movies like Mumford and Hero, Erik the Viking and Young Guns II, movies that either flew under the radar or ones that look terrible but are actually great.
- Then there are some that I simply can’t include because of fatigue; I may never watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail or This is Spinal Tap ever again, even though they are two of the greatest comedies of all time and used to be my favorites. Similarly, I don’t really need to include Jaws or Amadeus. Brilliant but I’ve seen them both dozens of times.
- Often I think my top ten has to be made up of movies that make me smile – movies that always make me happy. If that’s the criteria, it means that I can’t include Chinatown even though it’s one of my very favorite films of all time, simply because I can’t say I put it on to feel good. Similarly I want to include Run, Fatboy, Run, which certainly isn’t one of my favorite all-time movies, but it’s making me disproportionately happy right now…
- A lot of times a movie sticks with me because a scene or piece of dialogue keeps echoing in my brain, and that’s what I think I’m going to go with here…
So here’s the list as of today – my top 10 favorite movies, mostly meaning ones that make me happy and have huge rewatch appeal – this list will necessarily lean towards comedies and feel-good adventures. Surprisingly, a lot of the movies and franchises I enjoy watching a ton of times aren’t on here at all, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Alien, and none of the comic book movies. The first five are sacrosanct – the others are the ones that can lose their place in the pecking order from time to time…
Top 10 Favorite Movies, at this particular moment… #Top10
and their 140-character review: #140RVW
- Star Wars – has to top the list. It is my favorite movie of all time and always has been. The whole series makes me happy…
#140RVW: Most enjoyable epic of all time? Yes. It has everything; adventure, wonder, emotion, jawas. 2 hours; perfect length. Never to be equaled…
- WarGames – my 2nd favorite comfort-food movie (after SW). I never get tired of it.
#140RVW: Tight & clever thriller works just as well today, but as 80’s time capsules go, they don’t come better than this. Quality makes it a classic
- From Russia With Love – I love Bond movies. My top 5 shifts occasionally, but this is usually the one on top.
#140RVW: 2nd time around they get everything right. Based off maybe the best novel, it’s my favorite Bond film. Red Grant is a rare credible villain.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark – There are people who prefer other Indy movies. They are wrong…
#140RVW: Maybe the greatest adventure film of all time (not counting ones with lightsabers). Lucas & Spielberg assemble a dream team of filmmakers…
- The Nightmare Before Christmas – I admit this is in here more for the music and design than the actual film…
#140RVW: Tim Burton’s passion project brought to life by Selick with incredible skill. Truly unique visual design. Elfman sings & scores his finest.
- Horse Feathers – not the best Marx Brothers film (that would be Duck Soup), but it’s my favorite for the “swordfish” gag, Chico yelling “peanuts” and all four brothers performing “Everyone Says I Love You”
#140RVW: Not greatest Marx Brothers film, but they were really comfortable on film at this point & it shows. Story really tight for once. #swordfish
- Leap of Faith – this will probably be the most surprising choice on the list, but I really love this movie, mostly because of the whip-smart dialogue and heart.
#140RVW: One of my all-time favorites; hear me out. Dialogue is smart & tight, cast delivers it well. They keep trying it on Broadway for a reason…
- Say Anything… – A sentimental pick. At any time this can be shifted by High Fidelity, About A Boy, Love Actually, or Amélie but I will always love this one best.
#140RVW: The highwater mark for all teen movies. Crowe becomes a director, Cusack a superstar, “In Your Eyes” the soundtrack for love forever more…
- The Muppet Movie – impossible to watch this film and keep a smile off of your face. So far above standard kids’ fare it’s silly.
#140RVW: At 6, I didn’t realize this was as good as kids movies were ever going to get; I just knew it was a great time. Still the high-water mark…
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – besides being littered with great lines from the book, it’s a beautifully made movie that always works.
#140RVW: Don’t say it takes too many liberties with the story. This is the movie that Douglas Adams wanted to make; he wrote most of the screenplay.
Just outside the door and knocking:
these next ten could knock off any of the bottom five at any given moment
- Blade Runner – nothing was harder to leave off the list…
- A Hard Day’s Night
- Miller’s Crossing
- The Princess Bride
- Midnight Run
- The Prestige
- Big Trouble in Little China
- Superman: The Motion Picture