Good Movies

Lists have never been more popular. VH1 and E! showcase programs like The Top Forty Celebrity Embarrassments and Awesomely Bad Hair, and we all sit glued to the TV like idiots just dying to find out who made it to number one. And you know that when the lists turn to something important like music or movies, the masochists compiling them purposely scramble a few of the results so that people will get spitting-mad at their TV and refuse to tune out just so they can see how moronic the list will get. I perused Maxim’s Hot 100 list recently in search of such an outrage. There was no shortage. For example, they attempt to assert that #21 Mischa Barton is hotter than #54 Heidi Klum. Like anyone really thinks that.

In attempting to assemble a list of my favorite films, rather than adopting such a nauseatingly provocational tone I’ve instead adopted the method employed by the title of Roger Ebert’s book The Great Movies–a book that could easily have been called, say, The Best Movies–which through its title and its elimination of numbered ranking manages to dispense with the pretense of definitiveness that makes those other lists such a frustration. (And frankly, even the word The in Ebert’s title gives it too much of an air of absoluteness for my taste, hence…the title of this post.)

Some of these films–Star Wars, for example–would have made it onto my “good” list for most of my life. (Admittedly, that may not be entirely accurate to say since this “list” didn’t really exist until just a few minutes ago.) A few (i.e., Capote) are movies I saw recently and really enjoyed. Ironically, some of the movies on the list aren’t very good at all (i.e., Purple Rain. Not Showgirls however; Showgirls is actually a good movie pretending to be bad.) Others might not even be on my list were I to make it again next year. (Roll Bounce is the kind of movie that isn’t weighty enough to make most people’s “best” lists…but hey, I had a great time watching it.) I guess that’s okay, though: if your list stayed the same throughout your whole life, you’re either not watching enough movies or…well, there’s something you’re not doing right.

Here’s my rambling, unruly list of movies that I completely enjoy every time I see them, in no particular order:

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Capote
  • Brazil
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Pinocchio
  • Blade Runner
  • Match Point
  • Jackie Brown
  • Flash Gordon
  • Downfall
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Lost in Translation
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Star Wars
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • City of God
  • Touch of Evil
  • Out of Sight
  • Kill Bill, Vol. 1
  • Gone With the Wind
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Kid Stays in the Picture
  • Riding Giants
  • The Polar Express
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Forbidden Planet
  • On the Waterfront
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Talk To Her
  • The Incredibles
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Signs
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Purple Rain
  • Showgirls
  • Sweet and Lowdown
  • Tron
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1977)
  • Mommie Dearest
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Roll Bounce
  • In The Mood For Love
  • 2046
  • Hero
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