Its an oft-spoken mantra of mine that you can tell a lot about someone by their favourite films. An exaggeration possibly, but I still think there’s some truth to how movies, particularly one’s from our childhood, can nurture us into the people we are today. I know its true for me.
So without further ado, presented here is a list of films that have most touched and impacted me in my life to date. They may not always be the best or most well made, but the one’s that made me feel, think or even change. Its likely to shift and grow in accordance with myself, but I hope some form of me can be expressed in the movies here.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The one that started it all. Not the best film I’ve ever seen, but it will always be my favourite, The Dark Knight is basically what I saw at the tender age of 12 that put me down the path to loving films. Bit more insight on the issue can be found on my Personal Spotlight.
And already a pattern forms. If The Dark Knight showed that I can love films, Inception showed me what type of films I can love. I’ve seen Inception more than any other film ever, and I’ve obsessed over its mysteries and meanings for over half a decade now, even to the length of doing an academic essay on the topic.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Often-times watching a movie at school should be completely off-putting for the film itself. My adoration of Schindler’s List proves this isn’t always the case. Not a film that many can stomach watching even once, I have endured this movie on multiple occasions and its incredible craftsmanship and depiction of one of the worst events in human history never ceasing to shock me. Emotional and taut, Schindler’s List is an important film, and one of the few movies in history that I could possibly call perfect.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
A romance film that even the most jaded-romanticists can fall in love with. This Charlie Kaufman written masterpiece is a little bit of everything – sci-fi, drama, comedy, surrealism, puzzle, fantasy and of course romance, Eternal Sunshine broke my heart in two and then put it back together all the while keeping my head spinning like a top. The quintessence of bittersweet storytelling, its an experience that I will savour till the end of my days.
The Social Network (2010)
Written by one of the greatest screenwriters of all time Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network may not have quite the impact when Facebook itself is dead and gone, but while it is still relevant its a bio-pic like no other. I never thought watching a website get founded would be such an electrifying experience but Sorkin achieves the impossible, and add in a couple of absolutely spectacular performances and here comes one of my favourite films of all time. Even if I don’t like Facebook.
My favourite blockbuster of all time. My favourite B-movie of all time. My favourite Spielberg movie of all time. And one of my favourite movies of all time. Need I say more?
Read my review here.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who knows, (and loves), this movie. For proof that Ryan Reynolds is more than just a very attractive/funny guy, this is all the evidence you need. No other movie has ever taken me on a thrill ride as intense as Buried. By the end credits I was bawling not because of sadness, but because of the sheer release of tension. Imagine going on a roller coaster that lasts almost two hours and you can sorta understand how it broke me so hard.
Speaking of tense films, here comes the Master of Suspense with arguably his best work. There’s just so much to this film that’s iconic – from the opening titles to the shower scene – that I felt like I already knew half the movie before watching it for the first time. Even so, I never expected me to be impressed by this incredible classic as much as I thought I would.
And Nolan appears on this list yet again. If Inception opened my eyes to scrutinising films, Memento solidified that as something I not only wanted to do, but loved to do. Such an incredible screenplay and idea is used brilliantly in this backwards thriller the comfortably sits as one of Nolan’s best films.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This list would feel incomplete without this movie. The safe answer to everyone’s question regarding ‘whats your favourite film?’, Shawshank may have been completely overlooked at the time of its release but now has deservedly received the acclaim of millions worldwide. I am but one of those millions.
The Truman Show (1998)
The best reality TV ever made. One might argue its fictional, but I may equally retort so is all reality TV. A film ahead of its time, The Truman Show has everything – fascinating subtext, an incredible premise, great comedy, a fantastic lead performance and enormous staying power. If only all reality TV could be this good.
Read my review here.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that a film about a jazz drummer would also be one of the tensest movie experiences I’ve ever had. Not an inch of fat exists on this lean, gripping tension-powerhouse of a film. Damien Chazelle created one of the best films of the century so far, and all with a grumpy music teacher, a plucky up-and-comer and some drumsticks. Oh and a hell of a lot of yelling.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
The ultimate creator of comfort-food movies, Wes Anderson did it again with his latest and greatest meal, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I can’t help but let a goofy smile of joy overtake me every time I indulge in this beautiful, funny and wholly entertaining wonder of a movie.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Damn, 2014 was a good year. Considering I spent most of my childhood indulging in the fantasies lego provided me, The Lego Movie proved to be the ultimate nostalgia trip. Not only does it have so much to say, its also one of the most imaginative and utterly delightful animated films I have ever seen. And all from basically two hours of advertising! Lord and Miller, you guys did the impossible.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
For several years of my life (namely 2008-2010), Hot Fuzz was THE MOVIE among my group of friends. And now, slightly older, I can see why. Not only does Hot Fuzz boast one of the sharpest screenplays ever, its utterly hilarious, wholly unique and just plain awesome. I’ve never seen another comedy that you can watch for the nth time and still pick up new jokes, but Hot Fuzz (and honestly the entire Cornetto trilogy) made a habit out of it, and its incredible.
I have quite a vivid memory of going to see Up in cinemas. Still living at home, and trying to convince my family (who aren’t big movie people) to come see Up with me, I stated “its by Pixar, they make funny and entertaining movies”. Several hours later and my mother turns to me, tears pouring down her face in the cinema, and whispers under her breath “I thought you said this movie would be funny!” I think that basically sums it up.
The Incredibles (2004)
Ah, The Incredibles. My favourite film of all time (for four years until The Dark Knight appeared anyway), I saw this at the ripe old age of 8 and it capture my imagination like nothing ever had. And would, for at least four more years. Still to this day, I affirm that The Incredibles is not only one of Pixar’s best, but also one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, and a masterpiece amongst animated films.
City of God (2002)
I had City of God described to me as ‘Pulp Fiction in Rio’. And honestly, that sells it short. Nothing prepares you for the sheer film-making energy that pulsates the screen for its entire run time. Its electrifying and an incredible achievement in editing that I honestly believe is superior to the film it was sold by.
Citizen Kane (1941)
What else can you say about arguably the greatest films of all time? While the movie is not only amazing, but the story behind it – of newcomer Orson Welles who had no idea how to make a film and by fumbling around completely revolutionised the film industry – is just as incredible. What more can be said?
La La Land (2016)
The newest addition to this list, but no lesser for it, La La Land may be receiving backlash for the universal acclaim its enjoyed, but its allure has never faltered in my eyes. Damien Chazelle does it again with this fantastic homage and critique of classic Hollywood that respectfully looks back and boldly looks forward to an optimistic future.
This is just the first twenty, but I’ll be adding more every time a specific film manages to carve out a special place in my heart for it.