So here’s the deal. We at Hypable have something very exciting that we want to announce in the next few days and we wanted to kick it off with a bit of fun. When three key members of the Hypable team sat down to talk through this exciting new development, all that we found ourselves talking about were our favorite movies.
So before we get into the nitty gritty of the movies that I would happily watch on my birthday, lets breeze through the honorable mentions because numbers are cruel and I can only include ten movies on a top ten list for some reason.
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Godfather Part II, Love Actually, Children of Men, Shaun of the Dead, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Psycho, The Social Network, Jurassic Park, Gone With The Wind, Singin’ In The Rain, Billy Elliot
So there they are. I felt guilty playing favorites (I fear that some of those honorable mentions might think that I don’t love them!) but the following ten films are, without a doubt, my ten favorite films of all time. This week.
This is a movie that I watched as soon as I found out that it existed a full five years after its release. I share my taste in movies with my grandmother, and when she recommended O Brother Where Art Thou to me, I admit that I dragged my shoes a little bit. It looked a little old timey and boring so it just didn’t catch my fancy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I finally caught it on an airplane a few years ago and disturbed everyone within a five row radius with my laughter. It’s brilliance mixed with illiteracy. The sheer contrast is enough to make anyone chuckle.
You can never go wrong with the Coen brothers, and O Brother Where Art Thou proves that point. These guys can apparently take Homer’s The Odyssey and set it in the South during the Great Depression (and have it be comedy nonetheless) and still make it a masterpiece. Sorry, did I just blow your mind? O Brother Where Art Thou is based off of The Odyssey all the way down to the Cyclops (remember the eye-patched John Goodman?) They even have Homer listed as a writer of the film, which is just adorable.
This is another one that I caught several years after everyone else already found out that it was cool. I guess that makes me a reverse hipster in a way. Anyway, I was the biggest loser in college for being the only one who hadn’t seen The Big Lebowski and when I finally sat down to watch it, I only got twenty minutes in. I just didn’t get it. When I finally watched it all the way through my first time, I thought it was okay, but I frankly couldn’t wait until it was over.
That’s when I developed my (non)famous The Big Lebowski theory that clearly states that you’ll find out exactly how good a comedy is once you have watched it three times. After my third time watching Lebowski, I finally got it. I don’t know what it was exactly that I got, but this film can’t go three lines without cracking me up now and it comes straight from the Coen’s tight and stylized writing style.
This film exploits every rule of comedy in the book and still closely follows traditional film noir traditions, making it (literally) a black comedy. There is something to be said about making a contemporary detective film that centers on the location of a rug. It’s a whole lot of something about nothing, and at the end of the day that spells comedy.
Before you start thinking that this is just a Coen brothers party that no one else was invited to, let me throw in a wild card. Unless I’m wildly underestimating the cinematic literacy of our audience, many of you have not seen this film. This is not a bad thing. I’m not even mad, you just need to go out and rent it right now.
Rear Window is a claustrophobic examination of humans, humanity, and the insane Earth that we were all planted on. Largely regarded as one Hitchcock’s best, it broke pre-established conventions by taking place entirely inside the apartment of the protagonist. He watches the actions of his neighbors through the gigantic bay windows in the rear of his apartment because as his nurse tells him “we’ve become a race of peeping Toms.”
From nose to tail, this thing is packed with heavy lines carrying more than just their surface meaning. Hitchcock is famous for doing this, but this is one of those films that appears to be teaching you about humanity on top of presenting a genuinely thrilling tale about a man who appears to have murdered his wife.
I know what you’re thinking. “Number seven? How can you put the masterpiece of masterpieces as number seven?!” Now, it would seem that no list of the best films of all time would be complete without the tale of the Corleones and maybe it was out of my attraction to non-conformity that I slid it down to number seven. I certainly consider it to be the greatest film of all time (as many do), but as a list of my personal favorites, there are some that take personal preference.
Still though, the film is a shining masterpiece and anyone who doesn’t like it simply has bad taste. I don’t like making enemies, but if you watched the whole thing all the way through and understood the story that it was telling and still didn’t like it then I don’t know what to say. “Rent Paul Blart: Mall Cop and cry yourself to sleep again, I guess” would probably be my advice to this person.
The Godfather is a timeless classic about family, crime, power, trust and betrayal. Every turn of the story, every look, every thought and every camera angle is orchestrated perfectly to beautifully tell a sweeping story of inheritance and family duty. The addition of Godfather II only deepened the story and filled it with a past rich enough to merit its predecessor and a future that would make Vito Corleone weep. The cast is filled with stars and the storytelling is immaculate. Go and buy this film. Don’t just rent it. Buy it at Target right now. I hear they have an deal on DVDs that’s pretty hard to refuse.
I didn’t see Pirate Radio (or alternatively, The Boat That Rocked) until it finally came to the United States and I don’t see how Richard Curtis, the film’s writer and director hasn’t been heralded as one of the best filmmakers of the decade. Every film I’ve seen by him has been so lovingly crafted and so chock-full of fascinatingly unique characters that I don’t really understand why he isn’t currently swimming in work.
Pirate Radio is the perfect film to put on when you’re standing over your stack of DVDs stumped by what to put on. The plot isn’t too ridiculously complex, it instead chooses to focus on the characters and what rock and roll means to them. The soundtrack is electrifying and the dialogue is unbelievably funny. It is played for laughs from beginning to end, but like any Curtis feature there are small moments of biting reality that remind you that life (like the boat that everyone lives on) rocks frequently, and sinks on occasion.
Out of all the films on this list, I’ve seen Pirate Radio the most (probably at least 28 times) and it has not yet overstayed its welcome. I literally watched it three days ago while I cleaned my room and I still sang along to every song.
As the final words of the film imply, Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. I have a funny love/hate relationship with Tarantino. There is nothing about Kill Bill that I enjoy, yet Pulp Fiction is one of my favorites. Death Proof is pretty much an abomination, yet Reservoir Dogs was one of the best heist movies of its decade and it didn’t even feature a heist.
With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino explored new ground with his first real period piece and he broke even further ground by actually casting people that fit their nationality. “Tom Cruise as a German? Just slap an eye patch on him and send him to makeup!” This logic doesn’t fly with Tarantino and he was very successful at getting genuine foreign celebrities to star in his film about internationality.
I own the script for Inglourious Basterds, and even though the movie is already one of my favorites, I’ve read the screenplay in its raw form three times. It’s just spectacularly written, superbly crafted, masterfully cast, has one of the best villains of all time and features brutal (sometimes horrific) Nazi killing. What else can a guy ask for?
I know, I know, I know. I pick one foreign film and it’s the obvious one? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling it by its original name to seem like an arrogant cinemaphile that eats caviar and swims in a pool filled with gold turnips. I kid you not, in video rental stores across the nation there is a red faced customer demanding to see someone’s manager for not giving them the “American” version of El Laberinto Del Fauno.
It’s in Spanish. It was meant to be in Spanish. It’s beautiful in Spanish. El Laberinto Del Fauno translates to “The Labyrinth of the faun”, not “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I get it, Pan (from Greek legend) is a faun, and there is definitely an awesome badass faun in the movie, but calling it Pan’s Labyrinth is like calling The Man Who Knew Too Much something like Jerry Knows Too Much. There’s no Jerry in the movie, so how does calling it Jerry Knows Too Much make any kind of sense?
The story is expansive and rich, the idea of mixing fantasy with history is infinitely thrilling and exploring the mind and imagination of a young girl as she deals with her new and extraordinary circumstance is both enchanting and tragic. The film flourished before our very eyes and captured the imagination of everyone who saw it, including the children that witnessed a bottle murder when they were unwittingly brought by their parents.
Here’s the thing about my love for Big Fish. I watched the whole thing on television one day out of the blue. When it finally finished, I broke down crying. It was the most fantastic tale that had ever been spun before me, and since the entire film is about storytelling and what it can do for the sake of humanity it just was too much for my emotional purse to handle.
Each of the stories told are even more miraculous than the last, and the design of the film impeccably places us in the world that the film wants to tell us about. Big Fish is one of Tim Burton’s only films that isn’t all Tim Burton’ed out and the movie is his best because of that. It was a soaring tale of humanity and the final twenty minutes are some of the most touching minutes I have ever experienced while watching a movie.
Every time I watch this film now, I can’t help but cry. There’s an exact moment in an exact scene that gets me every time, and it’s when everyone shouts “he’s here!’ when Billy Crudup carries Albert Finney into the clearing by the lake. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. Way to go, Big Fish, leave me alone already.
Now this film, in my opinion, is the single greatest achievement in American film, and only because of how sharply and accurately it is able to reflect reality and harshly criticize it at the same time, which is something that every work of art (by definition) should attempt to accomplish.
The film delves into the rotted core of the “happy American family” and the real superficial elements that have fallen into everyday life. Carolyn isn’t happy, Lester isn’t happy, Jane isn’t happy and as Lester says in his first opening monologue, he would tell Jane that she will grow up to be happy, but he doesn’t want to lie to her.
I mention the sheer beauty behind the name in my column about movie titles (exciting, I know) but that isn’t the final brilliant thing in the film. Albeit, some of the lines are blase and uninspired, but the midpoint monologue explains that away while featuring a video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind so the film appears to be a commentary of itself, which in itself is a commentary of real life. No wonder it was such a big deal when I was a kid.
#1 In Bruges
When I first saw In Bruges I thought it was okay. Two hitmen, one has to kill the other, blah blah blah, funny midget part, blah blah blah, bang bang, end. I knew from the beginning that the writing was sharp, witty and layered, but I had no idea exactly how layered it was until I realized what was dwelling underneath the surface of this film.
Now, I mentioned earlier that I’ve seen Pirate Radio something like 28 times. If that’s true, then I’ve probably seen In Bruges about 27 times. It’s my favorite film to put on when I want to really analyze something because there is so much to examine and it is still fresh, fun and hysterical during every viewing.
What is this mysterious second layer of the story? You will have to rent the film to find out for yourself, but let me give you a hint. This film doubles as a story of biblical proportions and they say many times throughout the film that they are “waiting” in Bruges for further instructions.
That’s all the information I plan on giving, but just know that the film was written and directed by the master of subtext, Martin McDonagh so it may take a few viewings before the brilliant layer settles itself upon you.
So that does it for my top ten! What are your favorite films? Let us know below!
Curious about what Pat’s favorite films are? Come back tomorrow for Pat’s top ten favorite movies and be sure to come back on Friday for Jeremy’s picks and our big announcement!