It recently occurred to me, after seeing an r/flicks thread, that it’s been a long time since I thought about what my favorite movies are. As a compulsive list maker and movie lover, this feels kind of unforgivable, especially since I haven’t made this list official here or on Letterboxd.
While I was looking through other people’s favorite movie lists, I was wondering what they consider “favorite.” A lot of the movies people were picking are known masterpieces for one reason or another. Does favorite need to equate to good? In my opinion, not so much. My favorite movies are those I love to put on and watch at any time. Yes, some of them might be critical darlings, but there are others that could be considered pure trash. I’m all right with this.
So, for the interested, here is my current list of favorite movies in no particular order.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched this subtle sci-fi from Charlie Kaufman. On each rewatch, I always feel like maybe I should have outgrown the story, but it still resonates with me. It is a reminder in a world of quick fixes that it’s still necessary to go through the pain and emotion to grow as a human.
Favorite Quote: “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked up girl looking for my own piece of mind. Don’t assign me yours.”
Baz Luhrman makes the most beautiful films. From the costumes to the cinematography, your spellbound from the first scene. Combine this with a musical concept, and you’ve got a movie I’ve loved from the very first watch and will continue to cherish for the rest of my life.
Favorite Quote: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in a Christopher Nolan film should be enough to sway anybody, but this movie offers so much more, including magic, revenge, and David Bowie.
Favorite Quote: “Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.”
Tim Burton has a special place in my heart because his best movies were a part of my childhood. Not that he isn’t doing good work now, but he mostly focuses on remakes these days instead of original stories, which is a little sad because his originals are so imaginative. If I could only pick one, it would always be Big Fish because it’s all about telling creative stories as a way of making the world feel bigger, brighter, and more magical.
Favorite Quote: “There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they are faster or stronger than the other fish; they’re just touched by somethin’ extra.”
There are so many teen movies I could have picked, but to me, it doesn’t get much better than this Tina Fey penned story about a homeschooled girl figuring out the high school experience. It never stops being funny or quotable. I can’t wait to see the Broadway play.
Favorite Quote: “I know it may look like I was being a bitch, but that’s only because I was acting like a bitch.”
I’m a sucker for time-loops, so I make it a point to watch any movie that uses the premise. As of yet, I haven’t seen any film that does it better than Groundhog Day. You slowly watch a man start off as a general sleaze bag, go crazy, lose hope, and eventually find empathy and real compassion for the people around him.
Favorite Quote: “I’m a god. I’m not the God. I don’t think.”
What’s not to love about a young high school student hanging out with a middle-aged scientist and traveling through time? Yeah the premise sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it totally does and this movie will continue to be loved by new generations.
Favorite Quote: “When this thing gets up to 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.”
I’m not really sure how to explain Terry Gilliam’s surreal retelling of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-induced story of his time in Las Vegas during the Mint 400 desert race. Thompon’s unique form of gonzo storytelling is not easy to bring to the screen as seen in other adaptations, but this mindtrip does manage to capture the crazy and hazy “American Dream” the author was trying to explore in his novel. I’ve seen it countless times, and I still catch new details with each new watch.
Favorite Quote: “There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
Ah, Mel Brooks you gem of a human being. The world has been long deprived of your movies, but fortunately, what you gave us is so magnificent that it never gets old. It’s hard to pick just one of this man’s movies, but if I could only save one, it would be Young Frankenstein, which was actually written by him and Gene Wilder — another truly wonderful person. It tickles my funny bone on each rewatch and just has so much heart.
Favorite Quote: “It’s pronounced ‘Frokensteen.’”
So many of my favorite movies have a bit of nostalgia attached to them, so replacing them with new films is often difficult. That being said, in recent years, La La Land has managed to stick with me over so many fantastic movies. I’m sure I could make my own list of modern great movies, but this one about going for your dreams over all else really hit home. Can we really love others as much as we’d like if we don’t feel complete?
Favorite Quote: “This is the dream! It’s conflict, and it’s compromised, it’s very, very exciting.
Want to share your favorite movies? Drop by the discord anytime.