So, I’m not a very tough critic and I can usually find entertainment in whatever I’m watching, even if it’s just my friends playing video games on the big screen. But when it comes to movies that I can watch a million times I’m a bit harsher, and they have to be perfect. This is a short peek into the movies I couldn’t possibly live without.
10. ‘It’s Kind Of A Funny Story’ Starring Zach Galifinakis, Emma Roberts, and Keir Gilchrist.
This is one of my favorite books turned to film, having first read this when I was 16, I was excited with this 2010 release. Ned Vizinni brings us a teenage boy named Chris who is convinced he is depressed, and after deciding suicide wasn’t an option checks himself into a mental ward of a hospital. Directors and screenwriters Anna Boden and John Fleck capture the awkwardness and naivety of the teenager who believes his problems are the biggest problems. We are introduced to a variety of interesting people, each with their own problems, both clinical and not. Using a delightfully teen angst filled soundtrack this movie is a must see.
9. ‘Across The Universe’ Starring Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, and Joe Anderson.
This 2007 musical, directed by Julie Taymor, has even captured the attention of the most manly of my friends. Featuring a score of strictly the best of The Beatles, this psychadelic flick will have you singing along the whole time. Shaping the storyline with songs, the character list ends up looking more like the soundtrack. Set in the 60s, Jude is an english sailor looking for meaning, and Max is a fun-loving college dropout. They head to New York, where all their dreams can come true, but surrounded by political unrest they get sucked into the social cause, whether they were willing, or drafted.
8. ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ Starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray.
This might be the biggest name on my list, but for very good reason. If you haven’t seen this claymation, directed by the brilliant Wes Anderson, then you have been living wrong. George Clooney lends his voice to Mr. Fox, who is just a wild animal. With a killer soundtrack, and absolutely stunning detail, this is much more than another animated children’s movie. There are lots of funny jokes that are for the older audience, and plenty of action to keep everyone happy. This PG movie is well worth the watch, I promise you.
7. ‘Office Space’ Starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, and David Herman.
The real reason this movie makes the list is due to Jennifer Aniston’s beautiful and perfect hair, no really. Okay, not really really, but that is a part of it. Mike Judge directed this ’99 cubicle comedy, about a man who just needs to… relax. He takes a new lease on life and ends up excelling at his mundane job he works so hard to avoid, and finding a girl who likes kung-fu. This low budget flick had me laughing out loud consistently.
6. ‘(500) Days of Summer’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, and Matthew Gray Gubler.
This is not a love story, as it tells you in the opening credits. I can’t describe all the perfection that exists in this movie without telling you the whole thing, but it has an amazing cast that makes you fall in love with each of them. Marc Webb hit the nail on the head with this indie flick with the indie queen Zooey Deschanel, and her love(ish?) interest Joseph Gordon-Levitt, former actor of the week. Including the best movie soundtrack of the past five years, I continue to rewatch this movie and still feel the same emotions as the very first time.
5. ‘The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia’ Starring Jesco White.
If you haven’t seen this loud and crude documentary yet, you are missing out. Not only is it almost impossible to believe that this is a real family, but even worse, you almost want to hang out with them. Surrounded by a toxic amount of drug use, and a fondness for the “F” word, the White family of Boone County West Virginia is a rowdy crowd. This MTV Studios and Dickhouse Productions classic, is truly an amazing spectacle of what exists in our own country. This film follows the family for a year, and you get taken through some of their questionably good, and a lot of their bad times.
4. ‘Pirate Radio’ Starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, and Nick Frost.
This is another 60s extravaganza, whose main focus is the music. Only this just incorporates the songs into the plot, because we have a ragtag bunch of radio DJs living on a ship anchored in the middle of the North Sea. The British government is trying their hardest to shut them down and outlaw rock and roll, our brilliant team battles them in the best ways they know how. They play silly games and have a good time, and their listeners love it. Playing the best of the era, and tailoring some of the action towards the songs, the director, Richard Curtis, made a movie that made my mom feel nostalgic, and made me want to pull out her old mini skirts and go dancing.
3. ‘Life is Beautiful’ Starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, and Giorgio Cantarini.
Italy is close to my heart, as my family is Italian and I studied there for a semester. My mother has had me watching this 1997 Roberto Benigni movie ever since I can remember. Always watching it with subtitles, never dubbed over in english, this Holocaust movie is of a different kind. Actually making you laugh throughout the entire movie, and still being one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen, Benigni also stars as Guido. A charming Jewish man, living in Italy during the Nazi occupation, we are shown his quirky life and how he makes sure his son survives, no matter what. Have your tissues ready, because this will have even the burliest man choking up.
2. ‘Super Troopers’ Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, and Andre Vippolis.
To balance out the sadness of that last one, here is a film that will have you laughing out loud. Directing and starring in this stoner cult classic, Jay Chandrasekhar brings us a movie that just gets funnier the more you watch it. We are introduced to a couple of highway patrolmen who are desperately trying to keep their station afloat, all while still trying to have the most fun possible. They must prove themselves worthy of staying open and not letting the local PD take over their territory. Definitely a movie you should watch, right meow.
1. ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ Starring Butch Patrick, Hans Conried, and Mel Blanc.
This movie is a wild 1970 animation, directed by Chuck Jones and based off the same titled book written by Norton Juster. I grew up watching this movie, and still own it on VHS. Milo (Patrick) is a very bored young boy, and one afternoon his imagination takes him for an unforgettable adventure in the Kingdom of Wisdom. Here he meets the Whether Man, Tock, and The Humbug, and eventually makes it to his final destination The Castle in the Sky. Encountering some very strange people in the Doldrums, Digitopolis, and Dictionopolis, Milo is given the task of freeing Rhyme & Reason. As the book was for children, the movie is very silly but definitely has some dark overtones that are even scary to me now.
We Want to Hear from You
What 10 films would you recommend people go see? What films have you seen and enjoyed on the list?