I can’t do a ’10 films you must watch before you die’ list, because I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough films, or have enough life experience to decide that. So instead I’ve constructed my top 10 films list, but it won’t be one of those typical chauvinistic fuelled lists. I ****ing hate those lists where you always see Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, Godfather blah blah, get your own opinion and stop following the crowd just because you can’t be bothered to think of any other films you’ve watched.
This list was supremely hard to compose, mainly because I honestly didn’t think I even had more than about 5 favourite films to choose from, so to expand that and fit others in with lots of consideration involved was difficult. The other reason is, a lot of films I’ve seen recently I’d say would be my favourite films like; True Grit, Black Swan and Easy A. They may not stand the test of time in about 10, 20 years or so. So I’m basing my list on films that have truly impacted me, and what I think will still be great in years to come.
and like other lists, this won’t be in any order…
Oh man I love this film so damn much, I’ve watched it probably about 5/6 times or more. It’s so powerful, offensive, funny, incredible and has an immense sense of justice. Based on the true story of Erin who discovers that Pacific Gas and Electric Company are contaminating a wide area, are paying residents to live on the land and are telling them that it’s infact good for their health. Julia Roberts is an absolute powerhouse in this film, and well and truly deserved her Academy Award for it.
If you haven’t seen this film, you NEED to.
Including Julia Robert’s win, it was nominated for 5 Academy Awards in total.
This film is a masterpiece, Quintin Tarantino is a genius, and this is his most sophisticated and in my opinion, his best film to date. Set in World War II, Basterds is an alternate reality about how a group of American Jewish soldiers invade France with the sole purpose of killing Nazi’s and to take out the German leader, and subsequently ending the war. Easily the Tarantino film with the least amount of derogatory vocabulary in it, it features one of the best screenplays I can remember. Christoph Waltz is INCREDIBLE, he plays Colonel Hans Landa who’s renowned for hunting out Jews in Nazi occupied territory. The opening scene with Christoph and the farmer in the house is one of the best opening sequences ever, I was very happy when he won his Oscar for best supporting actor.
Including Christoph Waltz’s win, Inglorious Basterds was nominated for 8 Academy Awards in total.
From the director of ‘Juno’, brings another outstanding film about a man whose a corporate downsizer, and who flies around America, clocking up air miles to do. He sticks to his own philosophies, and he’s happy about being alone, until he meets two woman, who make him think otherwise. This film caught me off guard to be fair, I was half expecting not to like it because George Clooney is just that little bit too smug for me, but alas, I fell in love with it within about 10 minutes of watching. The screenplay is amazing, the humour is brilliant, the acting is superb and I generally loved the story and the morals of the story.
After watching this, and Michael Clayton, George Clooney has definitely won me over.
Up in the Air was nominated for 6 Academy Awards in 2010.
Released: 2003 & 2004
This was my first Tarantino film (thankfully), and what a film it is, I think if I had started with Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown I definitely don’t think I would have seen this otherwise. The fight scene choreography is absolutely amazing, the art direction is brilliant, and the script is great with tons of humour. Best of all, the story is awesome, a tale of sweet revenge on the group of assassins she once left to go off and pursue a normal life. Vol. 2 of the film isn’t quite as entertaining as the 1st, but it does go deeper in the story and the events that took places leading up until her ill-fated wedding.
Tarantino has announced that he is working on Kill Bill Vol. 3 which is due for release in 2014.
Released: 1999 & 2003
I couldn’t actually decide between The Matrix and Reloaded, yes the original has an entirely better story, but Reloaded wins for incredible choreography, effects and action sequences. The original Matrix was undeniably mind-blowing and genre defining, from the dystopian machine world story to the slow-motion effects, the gothic leather and trench coats, the bullet dodging agents, it was amazing. I loved Reloaded for reasons mentioned previously, I remember watching the Burly Brawl scene with all the duplicating Agent Smith’s and being blown away by the whole scene (minus the obvious CGI of Keanu). I think I had a serious eye-gasm witnessing that serious amount of kick-ass, that and the immense soundtrack to accompany it was a sensory overload. If you don’t like The Matrix, then there’s simple something wrong with you.
The Matrix won 4 Academy Awards back in 2000.
On the cover of the DVD for Scott Pilgrim, which I recently just purchased it says “Prepare to have a new favourite movie”, this couldn’t be more appropriate. I’ve already reviewed this from ‘Top 10 films of 2010’ so I needn’t elaborate any further on how much I’m in love with this film.
This instantly replaced my favourite Disney movie after watching this, which was ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’. I think it’s easily Disney Pixar’s most original and best film to date. It’s a story of an old man Carl Fredericksen who doesn’t want to be bothered, and all he aspires to do is to one day live on Paradise Falls in South America, which had been a dream of his since he was a kid. At the beginning of the film, there’s a very touching story of how he met a girl, who loved adventure, and eventually became his wife. As Carl is old, he is to be evicted from his house into an old people’s home to make way for further city developments, but Carl has other plans in mind, and (somehow) sets up hundreds, if not thousands of balloons to uproot his house from the ground and set sail for South America.
I highly highly recommend watching this film, even if you’re not a Disney fan. It won ‘Best Animated Feature’ and ‘Best Original Score’ at the 83rd Academy Awards, 5 Academy Awards nominations in total.
This is like Gladiator, but if it were made at an art school. 300 is epic, from its classic “This is Sparta!” tagline, to its lush dark, gritty art style, and it’s bad-ass gory fight scenes. 300 is a fictionalised retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae and focuses on King Leonidas who is played by Gerard Butler, and leads 300 Spartans to battle Xerxes’s army of 1 million.
It don’t really need to explain anymore, because it doesn’t get much cooler than that.
This film is brilliant, it’s a crazy film about a little girl called Olive who enters a beauty pageant in LA and is selected to enter. The ironic thing about Olive is that she’s a pretty typical girl who isn’t fanatic about beauty, but is obsessed with the thought of winning. Steve Carrell is a gay guy who is living with his sister (who is Olive’s mum) after he tries to commit suicide. The father is an author of a book and the proud creator of the ‘9 steps to success’ program which is constantly revisited in the film. The son wants to be a pilot, and vows not to speak until his placed is accepted, and hasn’t spoken for 9 months since. Their grandfather is a loose-canon, free-living kinda guy who speaks his mind without regret. They travel in a Volkswagen Wagon, which hilariously breaks down more and more along the journey. Bizarre things happen on their way, which each time further prevents them from getting Olive to her beauty pageant and getting there on time. Their sheer determination for Olive to enter is the driving force (no pun intended) in the film. The screenplay is amazing and hilarious, and it really brings each character to life and gives them a certain depth. The message behind the film is also brilliant.
Little Miss Sunshine was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, and won 2, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin.
As I was writing this list, I found that the last slot was the hardest, I literally couldn’t decide for hours (and had to sleep on it). After much consideration, I decided that this had to be on the list, as I nearly nearly nearly chose Inception. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a stunning film, the cinematography is beyond stunning, the choreography is stunning, the art direction is gorgeous, the screenplay captivating and the characters compelling.
I remember watching this film for the first time because of the buzz surrounding it, and I totally didn’t get it, but as I watched it for a second, third and fourth time I got it, and fell in love with it. The other great thing about Crouching Tiger, is it made the way for a lot of eastern films to reach the silver screen in western audiences and culture thereafter. It’s an unforgettable film.
It won 4 Academy Awards, for Best Foreign Language Film (Taiwan), Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Cinematography, with a total of 10 nominations in total.
Films that didn’t quite make it: Inception, Forrest Gump, The Sound of Music, The Dark Knight, The Emperor’s New Groove, Seven Pounds, Black Swan, Girl Interrupted, True Grit, Easy A.