The first part of my top 20 movies of all time, numbers 20 to 11. My picks are not necessarily based on the quality of the film, although that is a contributor, but the reason why I chose these films is because on how they make me feel. Yes, in movies, feelings is what I base it on. Movies are supposed to move you, not just make you happy or make you sad, but to make you do something or think about something after watching it. You may also notice that I am really into sci-fi and not too much into action but the movies that really leave their mark on me are the ones with a realistic implication on my life. Because that’s how I relate to movies, I always think about what they mean to me personally and if it justifies the world I live in.
20. The Matrix (1999) – Written and directed by the former Wachowski brothers (one of them is a girl now), it’s a sci-fi action film where humans need to fight the machines and things are not what they seem. That’s the short plot of it I guess but there is a lot more to it than that. There is a lot of action and a lot of whoa moments while you watch it because the effects are unreal. And although the effects do take you to a place you’ve never seen before, with people with abilities you wished you had, I still think the best part of this movie is the underlying message of reality. And although the effects were revolutionary and definitely amazing, the more important aspect of this movie which kept me glued to the screen was the real world and the matrix. It’s an exaggeration of what our life is now, when we live through machines and cannot find the actual reality of things. It makes us think what living actually is and what we’d rather choose to do and choose to be if we were given the chance to be enlightened. It’s not a common theme but this movie illustrated it very well with the special effects that blew me away.
19. The Jungle Book (1967) – Although I did grow up with the Disney princesses which were good, no amount of happily ever after can be compared to the adventure of Mowgli through the jungle. This movie just takes me back to my childhood, with all the singing and carefree nature of being a kid. It’s just so cool to hang out with a hippie bear who can sing your cares away and you always barely escape from trouble. And you have your conscience behind you all the time constantly telling you not to do stupid things. But you listen to the good and the bad arguments but end up still getting into trouble. But as Mowgli found out, it’s just a part of growing up. Well, not all of us have to fight a tiger and be raised by wolves but it’s a metaphor for it. It’s just one of those feel good movies that makes you believe that there will always be a child in you that you must never forget.
18. Stranger than Fiction (2006) – Written by Zac Helm and directed by Marc Forster, this is a fantasy story about Harold Crick who finds himself in the middle of a story of an unknown voice that narrates what he’s doing. At first this didn’t really catch my attention, but it was the only movie showing so I watched it and I’ve seen it multiple times since. This is a subtle movie but it captivates you with the interesting journey of the character. And although subtle, I think the true gravity of this story is when you fall in love with Harold despite being ordinary. It is also in the ending where you don’t want the ending to happen but you know it has to happen and it sucks but it really does need to happen. I really did cry with the thought of Will Ferrell’s decision to face what has to be his ending and the book’s ending. It’s extremely thought provoking but thoughtful at the same time that you can’t help but feel wonderful at the end.
17. Ace Ventura: The Pet Detective (1994) – Although I do love Dumb and Dumber, I will always love Ace Ventura more. I just think that it stood the test of time. I mean funny as Dumb and Dumber was, there were some parts of it that I found funny before that I don’t find funny now but the things I love about Ace Ventura that always stuck with me. It’s just a hallmark of physical comedy in my generation and it’s fairly unique to Jim Carrey. It really set him up as this big star and a go to funny guy where you both hated and adored him at the same time. He goes into this person that you believe is real but unrealistic which one of the funny things about the movie. You like him because he’s damaged and because he loves animals because they give him unconditional love unlike people who tend to hurt and betray you. It’s really a fun and funny movie all throughout.
16. The Gladiator (2000) – Probably Ridley Scott’s best film and the film where I really started to watch out for Russell Crowe. I didn’t see him in LA Confidential until this year so this was the first serious movie I saw him in. This movie is epic, I mean it’s about love, loyalty, courage, power, revenge and all that crap all wrapped in one package. The battle sequences were also amazing, got to give it up for Ridley Scott for all those shots that makes you feel that you’re in Rome actually witnessing it first hand. And although it follows the story of Russell Crowe where he tries to find justice for his murdered wife and child, it is also a story about what a man will do for power, what a man will do for honor and what a man will do for a friend. It’s just this awesome story that brings you down, then gives you hope then makes you want to fight back.
15. Forrest Gump (1994) – When you make a movie list of best movies, Tom Hanks has got to be on there, and this is my favorite Tom Hanks movie because I think this is where he displayed his best talent, being the ordinary likeable guy. Based on the novel of the same name and directed by Bob Zemeckis, this story is about an ordinary person living out a remarkable life to which all he really searched for was love. It’s a weird movie because you see history through the eyes of someone like Forrest Gump which is supposed to be boring but it’s not. It’s living out a normal life that happens to be in extraordinary circumstances where you find friends and loyalty. You go from being a child, to being in college then fighting a war to finding a hobby to meeting a president, but all you want to do is go back home where you belong and find the love that you’ve always wanted. It’s such a heartwarming tale that you can’t help but feel than warm glow inside your tummy while watching it.
14. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – This is where you meet the greatest Jedi of all time, Yoda, that is reason enough why this is my favorite Star Wars movie. It’s one of the best sequels ever made. It did not only touch on both the empire hunting down the rebellion but also Vader trying to hunt down Luke Skywalker. This is where you dive in more to the characters and it’s done with the best of dialogues. Darth Vader seems more evil as he tries to lure in Luke, while you can see Luke failing the training from Yoda and ignoring Vader’s temptation. You also see Han Solo and his relationship with princess Leia developing where she says I love you and Han Solo says I know. It’s just an extraordinary piece of cinema. But of course, the icing on the cake is the scene where Vader confronts Luke. I mean at first you know Luke is “trying” to avenge his father who was supposedly killed by Vader. And he’s giving it all he’s got, but you can see Vader is not even breaking a sweat and you feel like, yeah, the rebellion is doomed because they are no match for Vader. And then yeah, Vader is Luke’s father. When I first saw this, my first thought was, oh, so that’s where that reference came from (I only saw Star Wars when I was in college) then it was just, whoa. How did that happen! And you want to learn more but then, it’s over! It’s just one of the best scenes in movie history and it definitely gets you invested in the whole saga more.
13. Back to the Future (1985) – Another Zemeckis film starring Micheal J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd about time travel and the decisions that you make. I love this movie because not only was it cool, but it was extremely intelligent for both the scientific perspective and for the year it was supposed to be made. To illustrate, my favorite lines from the movie are, Marty: Heavy, Doc: There’s that word again. “Heavy.” Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull? It was so funny but so clever at the same time that I laugh about it even after I’ve seen the movie. This movie just stays with you as an adventure that you’ve always wanted to be in.
12. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – James Cameron is an amazing filmmaker and when you talk movies, his name has to come up. T2 is my favorite Cameron film of all time, yes, not Titanic but T2. Again, this movie is both smart and hilarious. The idea of one child trying to make a terminator understand what it’s like to be human is a great contrast to the apocalypse ahead of them. What’s really cool is they also played the meaning of terminator which is not only the robots are terminators but humans can also be terminators. Also, the idea of judgment day blew my mind. I’ve never really thought about it like that before, that if you can hinder some things from happening, you can change the future (like most movie plots go), but there are endings that you cannot change. You can defer what is going to happen, but you cannot stop it from happening. That premise really intrigues me, even until now. The effects of this movie were also really ahead of this time, everytime you see the T1000, you wonder what else it can do other than what it has already done. It’s just an unstoppable piece of machine that you wonder how could Arnold ever defeat this guy and protect John Connor, I mean, they can’t just run from him forever. And lastly, Arnold’s one liners are so iconic because it’s so dry that you can’t help but laugh.
11. District 9 (2009) – The only reason why I saw this film was because Peter Jackson was producing it. I knew nothing of the director and the actor but Peter Jackson was part of it, so I thought, that’s credible. Little did I know that I’d love the crap out of this movie. I know it’s flawed at some of the plot points but the humanity in it is so powerful. I couldn’t believe that this was loosely based on real events in Africa. It really opened my mind on how we view “living things” as living things and how we disregard that anything other than us are not living. I mean there were a lot of scenes on this movie that were not as grotesque because they were done to prawns. I mean imagine the hut that they burned down full of incubating prawns, imagine if those were human babies? What would’ve been your reaction? It was a really cool take on “aliens” shot superbly like it was real. It breaks sci-fi down to the bare minimum and turns it on its head. On this movie, we are superior to the aliens and we can push them around, that has never happened before.
So that’s my top 20 to 11. Did you like it? Do you have similar movies on your top 20 of where there any movies that you thought didn’t belong? If you have any comments or suggestions, just let me know. Your feedback is very welcome and will be very much appreciated. Just leave a comment or send me a message. It would be nice to hear from the people who read my blog 🙂