Trying to decide on what my top 10 films are was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The countless hours and arguments I spent with myself, the hard cuts I had to make, and when I finally chose the 10 I struggled with the order and which one will take that coveted top spot. So without further adieu here they are.
10. City of God- What Coppola did for the mob in the Godfather, Fernando Meirelles does for the slums of Rio De Janeiro in City of God. By giving the audience a fly on the wall look into the harsh realities of life as a young man in the most dangerous city in the world. Based on a true story, City of God will leave you speechless. There wasn’t one thing about this film I didn’t love. Seriously watch it. Stop reading and watch it.
9. On the Waterfront- My favorite movie quote of all time, “You don’t understand! I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando gives one of his finest performances as Terry Malloy, a down on his luck street thug and once prized fighter who wants to turn his life around.
8. Annie Hall- The simple story of a pessimistic New Yorker who falls in love with a girl named Annie Hall, played by the loveable Diane Keaton. Filled with charm, crisp dialogue, and enough Woody Allen quirks to keep you smiling from the first frame to the last. If you like being awesome and hate being not awesome then you will watch Annie Hall because it’s awesome.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- For all you Jim Carey haters out there “Sunshine” (sounds cooler than ESOTSM) will make you eat your words. One of the most original scripts I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing portrayed on film. The plot and the performances are so masterfully guided, under the direction of Michael Gondry, that we’re left with something unforgettable and hauntingly beautiful.
6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb- Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about the Cold War may not age as well as his other films, but in my opinion is his most important. Filled with a strong cast, solid performances (Peter Sellers is like totes lawlcatz) and sharp script, Dr. Strangelove will have you saying, “What am I watching and why do I like it?” If not well then that would make this really awkward.
5. Vertigo- The first time I watched Vertigo was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had when watching a film. I know some will disagree but in my opinion this is Alfred Hitchcock’s finest film. The plot is masterfully woven together and the score is so magnetically executed you can’t help but feel every hair on your body standing by the time the screen fades to black. Filled with suspense and mystery, Hitchcock proves why he is the best at what he does.
4. Casablanca- Everybody’s favorite love story in cinematic history (I don’t know if that’s true or not but it’s definitely mine). Humphrey Bogart is the coolest cat in film history, and he proved it by single handedly making the name Rick sound cool. Also Ingrid Bergman is the ultimate babe (no jokes). After watching Casablanca all I wanted to do was wear tuxes, smoke cigars, start revolutions, and fall in love. Those are the signs of a good film.
3. The Godfather- There’s no such thing as a perfect film, but the Godfather comes awfully close. Like scary close. What else could I say that hasn’t been said? The score is amazing, the performances are unforgettable, Coppola’s direction is handled with such discipline and finesse yet still remains technically sound. No other film has impacted North American culture the way the Godfather has.
2. Citizen Kane- Hailed by many as “the greatest film of all time”, Citizen Kane pulls in at number 2 on my list. Watching Citizen Kane for the first time is one of those experiences you never forget. I literally couldn’t eat for two weeks because I couldn’t wrap my head around how beautifully the story of Kane was told and how tragic his life had turned out. It’s so good you just want to punch Orson Welles in the face for making such a mind-blowing film.
1. The Graduate- Picking number 1 was difficult, I mean any of my top 5 could have easily been here, but ultimately I had to go with the Graduate. Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock has to be the most tragic figure I have ever seen portrayed on film. Also the marriage between Mike Nichols vision, and Simon & Garfunkel’s soundtrack alone makes the Graduate worth watching. And when that final frame comes along be prepared to witness the saddest moment in cinematic history.
Just Missed the Cut: Reservoir Dogs, Shawshank Redemption
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