Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Favorite Movies

          I have seen 700+ movies in my life and own 200+ of them.  About 4 years ago I began a little (okay not so little...) project to determine just how many movies I had seen in my life.  I used the trusty and invaluable website to aid me on my journey.  I was able to go to the page of every movie I had seen and give it a proper rating, based on how much I enjoyed a particular film.  I went through my DVD collection, my family's collection, & then went on to use the Wikipedia page that tells you the list of movies released year by year.  Needless to say, through extreme amount of research over the course of several years, I believe I have accumulated a comprehensive list of the movies I have watched.  Using this information, I created a Microsoft Word document ranking every single movie from number 1 to number 702 (a number that grows constantly)

          Now then, I won't go ahead and rank all 702 movies because I know no one who actually does read this blog (all 2 of you) doesn't really want to look at that all.  It will become evident in this post that I am a massive horror & comedy movie fan, those are the genres I enjoy the most.  I will NEVER claim that my favorite movies are all cinematic masterpieces, they are simply the movies I enjoy the most.  There are "great" movies that I can't even sit through.  I am looking to be entertained and the movies that are my favorites, the ones I can watch over and over again, do exactly that.  So, like with my favorite bands post, I'll rank the top 15.  Also, like the favorite bands post, I'll post a couple movies that just missed the cut.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Jackass Number Two, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Toy Story 3, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Halloween II, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Cloverfield, Dazed and Confused, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, & Clerks. all just missed the cut.  I absolutely adore those movies, but they just aren't in my top 15.  So now then, let's see the 15 movies that DID make the cut.

15 - Scream 4 (2011)
This was a movie I was surprised made it into the top 15.  When I looked at my list, I went right to number 15 and there it was.  I stopped and thought to myself "Is this really a movie I would want to say is a top 15 favorite movie of all-time?" The answer is yes.  I know many people reading this list would instantly scoff & balk at the notion that a 4th movie in a horror franchise being on anybody's all-time favorite movies list, but I don't care.  I was thoroughly entertained while watching this movie and personally loved the twist ending (a Scream movie has a twist ending?!?  No way!) One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to modern horror movies is the complete lack of believable actors/actresses portraying their roles.  A lot of horror movies, especially slashers, involve teenagers as the main target.  I'm sick and tired of watching a horror movie and seeing all the actors/actresses from the CW network (the remake of Friday the 13th is the biggest culprit of this ongoing trend) While Scream 4 featured plenty of well-known young performers, I felt like they all pulled off the idea of being in high school.  My favorite part of the Scream series is the reoccurring faces in all 4 movies.  David Arquette, Courtney Cox, & Neve Campbell are the most important characters in the franchise and have been in every single movie, that is VERY RARE in the horror movie genre.  I applaud the fact that director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson stood by their creation all this time and watched it grow.

14 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Here's a fun fact about good old Michael Ryne.  I am a complete and utter Harry Potter NUT.  I'm not obsessive about the franchise, but God damn do I sure enjoy the hell out of it.  It all began back in 6th grade when I needed to read a big book to earn some Accelerated Reader points for my class and I decided to read the first Harry Potter book.  I was amazed by how quickly I read it and how much I enjoyed it.  Since then I have read the books & seen the movies.  In my humble opinion, I think the Harry Potter franchise is nothing short of epic.  I mean, it has its own theme park for God's sake in Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure (an AMAZING theme park I have been to twice since its inception) This particular movie, the 7th of 8 movies, absolutely blew my mind when I saw it.  I have been attached to these characters since 2001, when the first movie was released.  It's mind-blowing and beautiful to see how much the characters have changed in the past decade, most notably Hermione getting progressively hotter and hotter.  I just recently saw the 2nd part of Deathly Hallows last month (a movie that, like I said in my intro, JUST MISSED the cut) and I cannot wait to go out and buy the inevitable Harry Potter box set of all 8 movies.  The day I get to watch parts 1 & 2 of Deathly Hallows back to back is the day that I can die happy.

13 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
I was admittedly surprised when I saw that I had two Harry Potter movies in my top 15, back to back, but what did I say?  I'm a Harry Potter nut.  This is my favorite of the franchise, this is the movie where it really began to mature.  It took that next step from happy-go-lucky little wizard dude beating mean old evil dude, to a bunch of badass epic tales of good vs. evil.  Also, this was the movie where Hermione got hot, did I mention I approve of Hermione on screen?  I love this movie for another particular reason, the story is absolutely perfect for a sports loving freak like me.  The premise of this movie is based entirely around competition, which is something that I live to watch and enjoy.  Also, I feel the need to point out, another thing that greatly enhances this movie's appeal is the fact that *spoiler* the douche bag vampire twat from Twilight, Robert Pattinson gets killed.  I think we can all approve of that.

12 - The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman is my favorite superhero for many many reasons.  I believe he is the coolest character with the best background, his supporting characters, including villains & sidekicks, are far superior than any other superhero.  I remember when this movie came out in 2008, it had been filmed here in Chicago, Illinois.  I cannot tell you how many of my friends changed their city from 'Chicago, IL' to 'Gotham City, IL' on MySpace during the duration of its amazing run at the box office.  The Dark Knight is Batman personified.  An epic and gripping tail that has you on the edge of your seat the entire time.  It's a shame Heath Ledger had to die, but he went out with one hell of a bang as the Joker in this movie.  I honestly believe his performance was on par with that of one Jack Nicholson's performance in 1989's Batman.  There is a The Dark Knight themed roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois that, in all honesty, is a pretty mediocre ride, but because it's is themed with the musis, atmosphere, & characters of this movie, I can't get enough of it.  That's the effect this wonderful movie has had on me, it blew me away in theaters.

11 - Fight Club (1999)
Yeah yeah, I know I'm breaking rules 1 & 2, please forgive me.  I remember many years ago, I walked into my sister's room to talk to her and I noticed a movie playing on her TV.  The curious little boy I was looked at her and asked "What movie is this?" She responded and informed me that it was the movie Fight Club.  She invited to have me sit down and watch it with her and I did.  I barely remember much of anything watched that day, I'm pretty sure I entertained myself by playing with my action figures, but who would have guessed a decade later I'd be sitting here writing about how it's one of my favorite movies of all-time.  I was, admittedly, pretty late to the bandwagon when it comes to Fight Club.  I didn't see the movie until about 2 years ago, around a decade after it was released.  It sucks it took me so long to see such an amazing movie, but better late than never, right?  The combination of Edward Norton & Brad Pitt is astonishingly good and this movie has my favorite plot twist of all-time.  It's a movie you can watch over and over and still see and appreciate something new even after your 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th viewing.  Also, just to point out, I have never see a more beautiful combination of song & movie than the Pixies' Where Is My Mind? and this film.

10 - Clerks II (2006)
Let me start off by saying that Kevin Smith, director of this movie, is in fact my favorite director of all-time.  I love most of his work and I really believe Clerks II is the movie where he really put it all together.  There's a reason I proudly display a Kevin Smith autographed movie poster of Clerks II above my bed.  It's still that raunchy and crude hilarious movie that we all know and love from Kevin Smith, but with a touch of maturity and understanding.  The characters actually grew up a bit and it's quite evident if you follow all of his work.  Randall, Dante, Jay, & Silent Bob all have me laughing throughout this movie and I truly hope that this is indeed the final installment with these characters like Kevin Smith proclaimed.  It was a perfect ending for Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse.

9 - Friday the 13th (1980)
When it comes to the horror genre, I have the 3 big cajones; Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, & Jason Voorhees.  Now then, if you have seen Friday the 13th you'd know that *spoilers* Jason isn't actually the killer in this movie, it's his mother.  A plot twist that I love dearly & the source of a spectacular trivia question if you're looking to trick someone.  I feel as though the original Friday the 13th gets too much negativity due to the fact that its remake is a pretty awful (even though I will admit, I do find some enjoyment out of it) and all of its sequels are pretty much the same thing with slightly different characters (again, I still enjoy it) But the original Friday the 13th is an amazing movie and should be remembered as such.  I thoroughly enjoy watching it over and over and the final jump scare is probably the best in the history of horror movies, in my humble opinion.

8 - The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Okay, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for mockumentary horror films.  The sense of raw realness you get while watching it provides an aspect that regularly shot films can't match.  I wasn't very aware of this movie when it came out, so I didn't get caught up in all the hype, I wish I would have though.  I was only 8 years old when this movie was released and there was no chance I was going to see it.  I am positive, if this movie came out now, I would completely get sucked up into the hype and would be chomping at the bit to see it.  I love the original theatrical trailer, such little information given, I hate when trailers basically give away the entire plot of a movie.  This trailer, and eventually the movie itself, left everything up to your imagination.  Sure frightening sequences occurred throughout the movie, but it was the type of movie that allowed your imagination to run wild.  Believe me, when you're a person like me, with an exuberant imagination, this is the type of movie that captivates you.  The final several minutes are so eerie and chilling, you can't look away from the screen.

7 - Paranormal Activity (2009)
I have friends who would completely disown and ridicule me for having this movie anywhere near a top 15 list.  I also have friends who would applaud and agree with me for having it on this list.  Never have I seen a movie that sparks such a debate amongst the masses.  I know of people who vehemently despise this movie and I know of people who can't get enough of it.  There seems to be no middle ground.  Well, count me on the side of the people who can't get enough of it.  I'm a person with a very active imagination and I absolutely believe in ghosts & demons.  The way I see it, life is just more interesting if you choose to believe in them rather than not to.  Remember when I said if I was more of age during the release of The Blair Witch Project then I would have been sucked into the hype?  Well, I know I would be because I DEFINITELY got sucked into the hype of Paranormal Activity.  Did this movie affect me and terrify me?  No.  It's a movie, I've seen far too many scary movies to let that happen to me anymore.  This movie did, however, capture me and entertain more than most others.  I loved sitting there n the edge of my seat wondering what the hell was going to happen next.  Paranormal Activity is quickly becoming another horror movie franchise that will eventually make far too many movies that the public absolutely rips to shreds, but oh well, I'm sure I'll enjoy the hell out of it nonetheless.  Everyone has their own tastes.

6 - Mallrats (1995)
Here it is, my favorite movie of my favorite director, Kevin Smith.  Mallrats was the highly anticipated follow-up to the surprise cult hit Clerks..  Unfortunately for Kevin Smith, the movie didn't do so great in theaters, in fact, it was considered a major flop.  It was so bad that Kevin Smith even felt the need to apologize for it.  Little did he know that it would go on to become one of his most popular movies of all-time.  When Mallrats was released on home video, it garnered a following and ending up being widely successful after all.  It was so successful that it ended up having a 10th anniversary special edition DVD (which I proudly own) This movie is hilarious and at times, even pretty touching.  I must credit this movie for having my favorite portrayals of the amazing duo of Jay & Silent Bob in a movie.  I must also credit this movie for introducing me to one of my favorite actors, the hilarious Jason Lee.  All this talking about Mallrats makes me want a chocolate covered pretzel...

5 - Halloween (2007)
I am well aware that Rob Zombie's remake of the horror classic Halloween doesn't receive all that much respect in the movie world.  But as I stated before, this is a list of the movies that I love and that I enjoy watching.  I appreciate the fact that Rob Zombie put his own spin on Halloween and honestly believe he did a fantastic job of it.  The background he gave to little Mikey was unique and added depth to character who was completely empty before.  I remember when the rumors of this movie began to circulate and I talked with my sister about it constantly.  We both anxiously awaited its arrival, often wondering if it was ever actually going to come out.  Then, one day, I was watching TV and a commercial for the movie began and I was ecstatic.  Every time a commercial came on for Halloween I stopped what I was doing and was completely engulfed.  The movie didn't disappoint me at all when I saw it in theaters, I thoroughly enjoyed it and still do.  I watch it on DVD every couple months and it has gotten to the point where I pretty much know the movie's dialogue by heart.  Say what you will about the movie, but this writer absolutely loves it.

4 - The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Beautiful, awe-inspiring, magical, touching, exciting, playful, memorable, catchy, & stunning.  Those are the words I would use to describe this extraordinary movie.  I honestly feel like this movie was made for someone like me.  I'm somebody who truly believes that October & December are legitimately magical times of the year with both Halloween & Christmas creating such beautiful atmospheres.  The songs in this movie are so catchy & amazing, I know all of the words.  This Is Halloween, Jack's Lament, What's This?, Kidnap the Sandy Claws, Making Christmas, Oogie Boogie's Song, Sally's Song, Poor Jack, & Finale/Reprise are some of the best songs ever assembled in one motion picture.  I honestly pity anyone who can't find enjoyment in this cinematic masterpiece.  I said in the intro that I don't believe that the movies I love are masterpieces, but I do with this one.  This is a movie that I couldn't get enough of as a child, can't get enough of now, and won't be able to get enough of when I'm an adult showing it to my children.

3 - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
1...2...Freddy's coming for you... I'll admit, one of the biggest reasons I love this movie so much is because of the effect it had on me as a child.  Freddy fucked with my head and I was legitimately afraid to fall asleep at night after seeing this movie as a child.  ...3...4...better lock your doors... Freddy is a fantastic character and he does his best work in the original.  He became a cultural icon who made funny cracks at his victims in all the sequels, but here in this original, he was a terrifying blood-thirsty murderer. ...5...6 grab your crucifix... Over the past several years this movie has gone from being a mid-level favorite of mine, amongst the rest of the movies I'd given an 8/10 to, to becoming a top 3 favorite movie of all-time with a 9/10.  I have gotten so into the story itself, thanks to the EPIC documentary Never Sleep Again that discussed Freddy & his Nightmare franchise. ...7...8...gonna stay up late... I really wish I was around when this movie was released, I would have killed to see it in the movie theaters surrounded by people and being terrified along with them. ...9...10...never sleep again...

2 - Scream (1996)
This list started off with a Scream movie and it damn near ends with a Scream movie.  This (and subsequently the number 1 movie you will read about after this) movie is on a whole other level compared to the other movies on this list.  I cannot name a flaw in this movie, it's perfect to me.  I'm a massive fan of the Scream franchise and have been only until very recently.  My senior year of high school, 3 years ago, I had a rhetoric of film class and the final project was to do a presentation on any director of our choosing.  I decided to choose horror master, Wes Craven.  As a part of my project, I figured seeing Scream would be a good start, I had never seen it before.  I decided to go out and buy the movie on a whim, blindly accepting the fact that Wes Craven is a horror God and that it would probably be pretty decent.  Little did I know that I was about to buy a movie that would go down as a film that actually was able to match my favorite movie of all-time.  Scream is one of only 2 movies I would give a perfect 10/10 rating to.  I view my top 2 favorite movies as almost like father and son.  An epic combination that I marvel at.  So now that I'm done talking about the "son," I'll begin talking about the "father."

1 - Halloween (1978)
Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, my all-time favorite movie.  I honestly couldn't even begin to contemplate just how many times I have seen this spectacular movie.  I know this movie from the opening shot of young Michael Myers' house to the very end with the camera panning around from room to room searching for the missing psycho himself.  The absurd amount of knowledge I have gathered about this movie is immense.  You need to know about a certain mistake the filmmakers made in the film, come to me.  I'll tell you all about the smoke the camera man blows in front of the lens or shadow of the camera trolley in the classroom.  Random nuggets of trivia about a particular scene or the way something was shot fill my head and I love telling them to people.  The score to this movie is unmatched by any other film.  When Michael is stalking his prey and the music begins or the iconic piano begins to play the theme, the movie's atmosphere becomes even more enhanced.  I'm a Halloween fanatic.  From the magnificent original to all the sequels and remakes, I own them all on DVD and can bust out a Halloween marathon any time.  I will never get sick of this movie.  I truly believe this is the greatest horror film ever made

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