Like many of us finishing MPU this week I wanted to go out with my Top 10 Favorite Films. It's hard list to come up with a list, and sometimes it really depends on the day or mood I'm in! I'm pretty careful with what I call a favorite because it can't be a passing fad, it has to be a movie that has stood the test of time and I have to be able to love it enough that I've forced those that I love to sit through it!
So here's a list of my favorite films, and they're NOT in order. It was hard enough to narrow the list down to ten never mind ranking them. Instead I've listed them by release!
Everyone knows who Jimmy Stewart is because everyone has seen It's a Wonderful Life, but this will always be how I remember him!
Harvey is about Elwood P. Dowd, a profoundly positive man and his best friend Harvey - a six foot tall talking rabbit that only he can see. Harvey is a pooka, a mischievous creature from Celtic mythology who searches out social outcasts, like Dowd, and befriends them.
The film is both powerful and fun as it follows Dowd, his sister and several townspeople through their adventure of the sister's attempts to cover up the imaginary Harvey. As the story develops she tries to check Dowd into a mental hospital but in her rambling to the doctor she admits that she's seen the rabbit and she's hospitalized instead. Throughout the film the viewer is trying to decide if Harvey is real or just a part of Dowd's imagination. For a much older movie it really makes some great points about mental illness and loneliness. Plus the cast, dialog and situations are absolutely hilarious! It doesn't have a 84% on Rotten Tomatoes for nothing! Check it out!
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
This wonderful Disney classic has a whopping 89% on Rotten Tomatoes! Hopefully we've all seen it, but I recently found out one of my roommates hadn't so I made him watch it! Maybe if you didn't grow up as a Disney kid you missed the older films?
This film would be considered a romantic cliche by today's standards but it really is a genuine classic. Lady lives with a wealthy family, and Tramp is a homeless scoundrel, and yet the two have a grand romantic adventure. Not only does Tramp save Lady but the baby of her owners as well!
Lady and the Tramp has been on several lists naming it one of the most romantic movies of all time, and the spaghetti scene when they first kiss has become extremely iconic. Everyone knows where that's from, even if you haven't seen the movie. The music has aged wonderfully, the cast was phenomenal if you haven't seen it in a while, or never at all, give it a chance! It'll really surprise you!
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars is one of the most iconic film franchises of all time but my favorite of the six films is definitely Empire Strikes Back. It's going to be hard for even The Force Awakens to beat this film in my mind.
First off this sequel is everything a second film in a trilogy should be - they did everything perfectly. First off we have the exciting incident at the beginning of the film as the lead-in action. Second we split our heroes up and focus on all of them instead of relying heavily on a single character. It makes us more emotionally invested in all of them, and it adds depth to the characters. Third our villain shows us just how evil and powerful he is so that we know there's a real possibility of harm to our heroes. Fourth; our hero fails. Luke did not save Han Solo, and he did not save Leia. If he had stayed with Yoda his training could have continued and their fates would have still unfolded the way they did. He failed in taking on the villain, Vader, and even lost his hand. Finally fifth we're left with a hell of a cliff hanger pulling us toward the final film of the trilogy.
Empire, to me, is what makes Star Wars amazing. We were introduced to this universe in A New Hope, but Empire builds on all of that. It makes the universe even bigger, more dangerous and still introducing us to more iconic characters without leaving out the ones we already care about.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
This Disney classic has been one of my favorite movies since I was a little kid. It's one of the first movies I saw in theaters!
It's full of love, magic, and amazing music! Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric after rescuing him from drowning. She makes a deal with the evil witch Ursula and trades her voice for a pair of legs to go on land and find Eric. In the end Ursula betrays Ariel and attempts to marry Eric herself.
This cartoon is now twenty-six years old and it's still one of the most popular Disney films to date; and its aged wonderfully and holds a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. I shouldn't have to convince you to go watch this movie, if you've never seen it just tell a Disney fanatic and I'm sure they'll force you in front of a TV to watch it!
Truman Show (1998)
This 1998 film is truly a classic! Jim Carrey stars as Truman Burbank the most well known man in the entire world. Truman is the star of the famous reality show the Truman Show - the only rub is he doesn't know he's the star. Truman lives his life believing that it's reality, but all of his friends, family and colleagues are actually actors. Everyone has earbuds telling them what lines to say and what to do. His parents, his wife - no one in his life has been real except for a short fling in high school with a girl who quickly disappeared after telling him that everything was fake.
As Truman gets older he starts to see odd things in his life like a radio station that is narrating his every movement, a police officer who knew his name, and his wife's insistent dialog that advertises products like commercials.
This film is extremely profound and prophetic as it came at the beginning of our culture's obsession with reality television. It's pretty commonplace to watch reality TV and learn to hate or love real people put in those horrible situations. It hits the nail on the head when it depicts the world's obsession with Truman's life - especially since they can literally tune in twenty-four hours a day. This movie will change the way you see reality TV, and if you're anything like me it'll make you wonder if all the coincidences in your life are because you're the own star of a reality show and you haven't figured it out yet!
Many may disagree with me but I view X-Men as the original superhero movie. I know there were Batman films in the 80s and 90s, but this first film starring our favorite mutants really pushed the comic book genre into the spotlight. This film was loved by both fans and critics, and has spawned six films, and three more alone in the franchise planned for 2016. With new CGI technology it made it possible for the realistic superhero films we love now. The following year Spider-Man proved X-Men wasn't a fluke, and both of their sequels and the rebooted Batman superhero movies quickly became popular to mainstream audiences!
Now I will agree that re-watching X-Men fifteen years later makes the film look dated The genre has been perfected over time, and has certainly become less cheesy. (Toad still makes me cringe, and is the biggest detriment to this film!) I do believe that part of the reason X-Men has been such a successful franchise is because we all can relate to the mutants on some level. We all have felt like outsiders, we've all felt like we've been metaphorically hunted and have probably felt prejudice a time or two in our lives. The mutants in these films were given something we dreamed of having: a way to fight back!
Another one of the reasons I love this film is that it really pushed me into comic books. For me this film alone really made me excited to find out everything I could about these characters, and from there it spread to the Avengers, Spider-Man and many others. This film will always hold a special place for me because it was my gateway to Marvel.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko starred an up and coming Hollywood star: Jake Gyllenhaal. This film has aged extremely well, and it's the evil and dark version of my previous film Harvey.
Gyllenhaal plays the title charater, and the only one who can see the six foot tall talking rabbit that gives him glimpses into the people around him. Donnie follows instructions from the rabbit that include property damage, burning down a house, and implicating one of his teachers with child pornography. The rabbit also prophesies the end of the world down to the minute.
This is a really creepy movie, the writing and the cast are phenomenal! Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and more! If you haven't seen this film I would recommend it as a late night film for sure! It's super creepy, but the depth of the characters are amazing. They're what truly make it great!
Mean Girls (2004)
I'm almost ashamed to admit that this film makes the list, but whether it's a secret pleasure or not I can watch this movie when I'm sick, when I'm happy, when I'm sad or on Christmas Eve! It's absolutely hilarious. The characters are well written, portrayed wonderfully and hell it has Tina Fey. She even wrote it!
Cady has just moved back Africa, where her parents had been studying the wildlife. She's thrown into a High School completely, unaware of the social politics of being a teenage girl. She's invited into the popular girls club, the Plastics, and we watch her completely spiral out of control in her new role as a popular girl.
I love the film because of its heart, and its hilarity, but mostly its heart. Cady goes into high school completely innocent and unaware of what to expect and when popularity is offered to her she does what any of us would do. It becomes too much for her as she ruins relationships, hurts people and does some things that are morally gray at best.
The film has inspired several parodies and ongoing gags throughout popular culture. One of my favorites is the dubbed Disney version starring Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. Look it up on Youtube!
The Avengers (2012)
I've always been a huge Marvel fan so I was so excited when they started their own cinematic universe with Iron Man! The the tease at the end introducing Nick Fury with his line "I'm here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative" still gives me chills when I watch it. A string of films starring different characters inside a shared universe had never been done before. There's no doubt that Marvel has been extremely successful but their most awaited film has been 2012's The Avengers.
This comic book film connected several of our established characters as they formed a team together to stop the evil Norse God Loki and his army of aliens destroying Earth.
Comic book films are continuing to evolve but no matter how they change, or how much the bar is raised this film will always be extremely iconic as the first superhero team flick! It's a keystone to the Marvel franchise, and a wonderful mix of action, sci-fi and comedy!
Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
This high school film follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), a freshman, as he enters high school. We relate to Charlie as he struggles making friends until he finds seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). They appreciate his awkwardness in the kindest way, and bring him into their small group of friends. Charlie falls in love with Sam even though she doesn't reciprocate. We also watch Patrick and his romantic relationship with closeted quarterback Brad.
One of the most profound lines, for me, in all of cinema history is found in this movie: "We accept the love we think we deserve". This is explored through nearly all of the characters, as we see Sam continuing her relationship with her college boyfriend in spite of his cheating and emotional abuse. We see Brad and Patrick's relationship even though Brad refuses to admit his feelings for Patrick out loud to his family or friends, in spite of his football buddies harassing Patrick for being a "fag". Finally we explore Charlie's obsession with Sam and through his flashbacks we learn of his sexual abuse inflicted by his aunt.
The movie is incredibly profound, and honestly I can only watch it on occasion because I honestly cry at three different points in the film each time I watch it. The acting is amazing, the dialog and the deep emotions felt by these characters make this film an all time favorite!
Well there you have it! Judge away! Honestly they're not in any order at all but if you forced me to pick one favorite I'd pick The Truman Show. It's been on my list of favorite films since I started caring about films! Movies are such an important part of my life. From my list you can tell that I don't even have a favorite genre, I just love stories! A good movie to me doesn't need to fall within a certain genre, it could be about anything! I hope my list has given you some fun new movies to discover!