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 3. Part 2 can be read here.
2000 – Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
They called me Mr. Glass!
I didn’t realize at first I was watching a deconstructed superhero movie, but when I did it only added to my enjoyment. Unbreakable is an origin story that implies some cool future drama, that got completely thrown away when they did the eventual follow up.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
2018 – Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
Sometimes I let matches burn down to my fingertips just to feel something, anything.
This is the first movie since Toy Story that made me feel like I was watching something truly new in terms of animation style. It’s a great superhero film which works in spite of its deep dive into comic book minutia.
The Dark Knight
2008 – Directed by Christopher Nolan
Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Some men just want to watch the world burn.
2005 – Directed by Christopher Nolan
– You’re just one man?
– Now we’re two.
The last third of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is okay but the first two parts are great. People usually cite The Dark Knight as the best and for good reason, but I’ve always preferred Batman Begins simply because it’s the only movie to really focus on Bruce Wayne as a character, and that’s what I’m here for. Christian Bale is my favorite movie Batman and these two films are the character’s cinematic high point.
1990 – Directed by Ron Underwood
A few household chemicals in the proper proportions.
I love with a passion this film about giant subterranean worms, and I’m not afraid to say it. Apparently Kevin Bacon thought he was in a career low when he was filming it, but…he was wrong.
Read more about Tremors here.
1972 – Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
You are a young man dressed as a clown about to be murdered.
This is one of the twistiest, turniest cat and mouse thrillers that I ever done saw, featuring great performances by Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.
1997 – Directed by David Fincher
First, admit to yourself that it sounds intriguing…
This is a difficult and sometimes unpleasant puzzle of a movie that is worth sticking around because the journey does end in a very interesting place.
2000 – Directed by Gregory Hoblit
You went down 30 years ago pal you just don’t know it yet.
A police officer finds himself communicating by radio to his long-dead father, and things go from there. Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel are both good in this movie, a trippy but heartfelt science fiction thriller.
1987 – Directed by Brian De Palma
Surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle. Losing is half the battle. Let’s think about what is all the battle.
A super-stylish highly fictionalized account of Al Capone being taken down by Federal agents. There are lots of cool sequences, but a slow motion yet quickly cut shootout at a train station (which I know is an homage to Eisenstein) is a standout.
2019 – Directed by Greta Gerwig
I’ve made so many resolutions and written sad notes and cried over my sins but it doesn’t seem to help.
I’ve seen a bunch of versions of Little Women which all had merit, but this most recent one from last year is the only one on this list. It’s a beautiful film with good acting and a lovely sense of rhythm.
Read more comments about Little Women here.
War of the Worlds
2005 – Directed by Steven Spielberg
Can you think of a plan that *doesn’t* involve your 10-year-old sister joining the army?
It’s maybe a little shocking this movie is so high. Certainly it’s got a flawed plot, but it makes up for it with one outstanding sequence after another of almost unbelievable tension.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2001 – Directed by Peter Jackson
I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
If it were one movie, maybe I’d choose the entirety of Lord of the Rings, but it’s not and I can’t quite bring myself to give it three spots on this list. This first one is the one I remember the best and has the most of my favorite scenes.
2011 – Directed by Sarah Smith
I’ve got a phobia of being beheaded – and heights, and speed, and reindeer, and buttons.
A very cute animated Christmas film that comes in a lot higher than I’d have guessed a cute animated Christmas film would come, but whatever, it’s a good, sweet and funny movie.
Read about a great movie moment from War of the Worlds here.
The Prince of Egypt
1998 – Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner & Simon Wells
With one word, Pharaoh can take away your very lives. But there is one thing he cannot take away from you: your faith.
This is a pretty unique movie—a biblical, historical, musical animated epic. It’s legitimately inspirational, and got some good performances.
The Miracle Worker
1962 – Directed by Arthur Penn
Mrs. Keller, I don’t think Helen’s greatest handicap is deafness or blindness. I think it’s your love and pity.
Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft are outstanding in this movie, based on the real story about blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller and her teacher. The ending is one of the most heart-warming things I’ve ever seen, and there’s an “eating breakfast” scene in the middle which is so intense, it has to be seen to be believed.
Read about a great movie moment from The Miracle Worker here.
2007 – Directed by John Carney
I play these song at night or I wouldn’t make any money.
Once is a small scale Irish folk-musical about the relationship between two broken characters who connect over their music. It’s really sweet and features an Oscar-winning song, Falling Slowly.
Read more here.
Twelve Angry Men
1957 – Directed by Sidney Lumet
Listen to me. Listen. / I have. Now sit down and don’t open your mouth again.
A nearly one-room play featuring a great cast playing a jury debating a murder. Some of the legal processes are a little bit fanciful, but the drama is top notch.
Read about a great movie moment from Twelve Angry Men here.
1996 – Directed by Douglas McGrath
I hope John advises him against it. After all we know nothing about her parents. They could be pirates!
An artful and well-mannered adaptation of Jane Austen’s second most famous novel. It’s genuinely funny and features a very good cast, with a special shout out to Sophie Thompson as Miss Bates.
Read about a great movie moment from Emma here.
1993 – Directed by Richard Attenborough
We can’t have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That’s the deal.
Shadowlands is the story of CS Lewis’ marriage to American Joy Gresham. It’s sad and moving, and features great performances from Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
Catch Me If You Can
2002 – Directed by Steven Spielberg
Frank, look. Nobody’s chasing you.
The second of five Steven Spielberg movies on this list, none of which include dinosaurs. It’s a highly satisfying and ultimately uplifting historical crime caper movie, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
Shall We Dance?
1996 – Directed by Masayuki Suo
A weak first step transmits nothing.
There’s an American remake of this movie which I’ve only seen part of, and seemed pretty good, but this is the original Japanese film about a repressed businessman finding joy and self- expression in the somewhat taboo world of ballroom dancing.
Bridge of Spies
2015 – Directed by Steven Spielberg
I have a mandate to serve you. Nobody else does. Quite frankly, everybody else has an interest in sending you to the electric chair.
I’ve only seen this movie once, but I really like it. It’s an historical drama about espionage and cold-war politics which has one of those quiet but effective performances from Tom Hanks, and also some really good work by Mark Rylance.
Read more here.
1982 – Directed by Sidney Pollack
For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I’m not. I’m Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea.
Wow, is this a funny, funny film, which has a really well developed script and an outstanding performance from Dustin Hoffman as a struggling actor who gets regular work on a soap opera by pretending to be a woman.
Read about a great movie moment from Tootsie here.
2017 – Directed by Christopher Nolan
Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?
At the moment, this is my favorite Christopher Nolan movie—a look at . a significant moment in World War II, told from three different perspectives over three different time periods, which all come together at the climax. It’s a good piece of work.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
1981 – Directed by Steven Spielberg
Asps… very dangerous. You go first.
One of the greatest adventure movies, featuring one of the greatest adventure characters of all time. It represents a bit of a perfect storm of the talents of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford and others…it feels like the sort of thing that will never be repeated.
Read about a great movie moment from Raiders of the Lost Ark here.