So lately I made a Youtube video, for the first time (I’ve made films before, and put them on Youtube, but I never made a video specifically to just say stuff on Youtube) in which I share my 101 Films That I Love the Most. You can see the video and read all about it here.
In addition to making this video, I thought I’d also share it in writing—for easy reference in case you or I don’t feel like listening to me talk about this over 40 minutes of real time.
To be clear, these aren’t necessarily the “best” movies. That’s very subjective and difficult to quantify. Rather, I’m calling it the movies that I love the most. Even that is pretty fluid—it’s based a lot on what I’ve seen recently or what I can remember.
I want to get this out pretty quickly so this will be a quick series of posts in which I won’t be saying much about each film, and mostly it’s what I said in the video. But I will also be including links to other posts that I’ve written where I discuss the films in more detail.
This is Part 2. Part 1 can be read here.
2009 – Directed by Clint Eastwood
I think he wants us to win the world cup
This political sports drama made me love rugby, and made me proud to have ever stepped foot into the great nation of South Africa.
2012 – Directed by Joss Whedon
There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.
And what if all the heroes from the previous stories…teamed up? It worked in comic books all those years ago, and it’s worked in movies now. Like Star Wars, it’s been a bit outdone by the movies that have followed, but this original attempt is still an achievement.
2000 – Directed by Rob Sitch
– Failure is never quite so frightening as regret.
– Oh, that’s good advice. I wish someone would tell me that
A quirky look at Australia, and reasonable insight into Australian vs American culture, with some fun history thrown in the mix. It’s the same filmmakers as The Castle, but with a more balanced tone.
2017 – Directed by Patty Jenkins
I can save today. You can save the world.
As others have noted, this is ¾ of a great movie, and about ¼ of an okay one. But that 75% is enough. Gal Gadot and Christ Pine are genuinely good in it.
Death at a Funeral
2007- Directed by Frank Oz
Why are my hands so big?
The original, British version—highly awkward at times but outrageously hilarious. Directed, if you don’t know, by the original Miss Piggy.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
1987 – Directed by John Hughes
And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea: have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!
This is a very funny road-movie with tons of oddball characters and scenes. Steve Martin is great, but John Candy really stands out as a guy who is an idiot, but is also highly sympathetic.
1974 – Directed by Mel Brooks
Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?
Honestly, one of the funniest movies of all time. It helps if you are familiar with the old Universal studios monster movies it’s spoofing, but even if not you can still enjoy it.
Read about a Great Movie Moment from Young Frankenstein here.
1954 – Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Eleven hundred? They ought to list that dress on the stock exchange.
My second and last Hitchcock movie, it’s a masterful though oddly light-hearted romantic suspense story that is well viewing.
1999 – Directed by Dean Parisot
Whoever wrote this episode should DIE.
There’s almost a whole genre of movies about heroes being gathered by helpless victims to fight brutal oppressors, and then a whole sub-genre where the heroes turn out to be really non-heroic entertainers. This is one of those movies, except… in space! It’s really funny and will especially appeal to Star Trek fans
Back to the Future
1985 – Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?
I love this movie, and I hate its sequels. If you see it now, you might think of it as the beginning of a trilogy, but really it was a completely satisfying, self-sufficient story with a fun little zinger at the end. It’s very good.
The Empire Strikes Back
1980 – Directed by Irvin Kershner
Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
I know this is supposed to be the best Star Wars movie, but it’s not the one I love the most. It is really good, though, and if nothing else it gets credit for introducing us to the imperial march.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2014 – Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?
The Russo Brothers break into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with one of the franchise’s best offerings. It’s a great set of characters in some great action sequences in a really satisfying story. Thumbs up.
Read some additional comments here.
2012 – Directed by Tom Hooper
Have you asked of yourself what’s the price you might pay? Is this simply a game for a rich young boy to play?
This is one of these musicals where the actors were actually singing on set, so the acting really comes through the songs. Everyone talks about Anne Hathaway and she is great, but I also really loved Samantha Barks as Eponine.
Read some additional comments here.
2011 – Directed by Martin Scorcese
– Happy endings only happen in the movies.
– The story’s not over yet.
I’m sorry, I know, but this is the only Martin Scorcese film on the list. I loved Hugo and its fable-esque quality, and the way it pens a love letter to the whole world of cinema.
The Darjeeling Limited
1974 – Directed by Wes Anderson
I wonder if the three of us would’ve been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people.
It seems there are a lot of train movies on this list—but I think this is the last one. Some of the symbolism in Wes Anderson’s travel-based comedy-drama is a bit obvious, but I really liked it.
Jesus Christ Superstar
1973 – Directed by Norman Jewison
Why do you not speak when I hold your life in my hands?
This is the most 70’s thing you will ever see, but it’s got a great, raw visual style to go along with its rock-opera music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. It’s not biblically accurate in many ways, but it does bring up some honest questions.
Read about a great movie moment from Jesus Christ Superstar here.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
1974 – Directed by Joseph Sargent
Ladies and gentlemen, it might interest you to know that the City of New York has agreed to pay for your release.
Four men break into a New York City subway train and take one of the cars hostage for money, and Walter Matthau is the transit police officer trying to figure out they’re plan. This movie has been remade at least twice, but this is still my favorite version. None of the others have Robert Shaw in them as Mr. Blue.
Mission Impossible III
2006 – Directed by J.J. Abrams
It’s unacceptable that chocolate makes you fat, but I’ve eaten my share and guess what?
I might be the only person in the planet who’s convinced that this is the best Mission Impossible film, but I’m not backing down. It’s got the best villain, the most emotional stakes, and the most sympathetic version of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. It’s J.J. Abrams first feature film and it’s a remarkably confident piece of work.
The Giant Mechanical Man
2012 – Directed by Lee Kirk
And I heard someone say something recently, that it just takes one person, you know. Just one person to make you feel like you belong. To make you feel special.
This movie has nothing to do with robots. Jenna Fischer from The Office is struggling to find her way through life, who finds meaning when she meets another guy as confused as she is. They don’t break new ground as characters but they’re as unique as any two real people would be.
Read more here.
2015 – Directed by Ridley Scott
I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the greatest botanist on this planet.
This has got to be Ridley Scott’s most upbeat and life affirming movie, right? It’s hopeful, it’s fun, its full of smart people and a really great cast that includes Will McAvoy, Troy Barnes, Wong, Bucky, Sue Storm, Boromir…if you know what I mean.
Read more about The Martian here.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1982 – Directed by Nicholas Meyer
I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.
Still the best, most adventuresome and most emotionally affecting Star Trek movie. Great work by everyone involved. Not just good Star Trek, but a good movie.
Read about a great movie moment from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan here.
1993 – Directed by Peter Weir
This is it. This is the moment of your death.
Jeff Bridges has long been one of my favorite actors, and here he is a survivor of a plane crash who has lost his fear of death as a result of the trauma. He helps other people recover, but will he?
Read about a great movie moment from Fearless here.
The Hudsucker Proxy
1994 – Directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
You know, for kids.
This is an insane film about a guy who becomes president of a company because the board want to devalue their own stock. It’s overcooked, but that just means every sequence is full of the most creative and experimental juices that the Coens could bring to the screen, and I love it.
The Iron Giant
1999 – Directed by Brad Bird
– You are who you choose to be…
I don’t like Brad Bird’s live action work, but in animation he did this and The Incredibles and they’re both amazing. The Incredible didn’t quite make it on my list, but the Iron Giant did—such a grand adventure with good characters and tons of heart.
Return of the Jedi
1983 – Directed by Richard Marquand
You’ve failed your Highness. I’m a Jedi, like my father before me.
The more I thought about it, the clearer it was that this was the Star Wars movie I love the most. It’s got flaws, but they are easily forgiven when you have this amazing triple level climactic act, with the ground war, the space war and the personal war all happening at the same time. The battle between Luke, the Emperor and Darth Vader is as epic as this franchise gets.
Read about a great movie moment from Return of the Jedi here.