My Top 10 Favorite Films of All Time

This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time and it just finally felt right as we approach the end of this year. I feel like I’ve rewatched many films I’ve needed to at this point to really make this list justified. These are truly the movies I can rewatch over and over again and enjoy myself just as much as the first time if not more. I expect complaints for not having many “classic” films like The Godfather, Hitchcock films (I actually love Hitchcock and a good 5 or so of his movies could have made this list and who knows, might be on the list someday), 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. These are the movies I love, the ones I’m the most passionate about, the ones that made such an incredible impact on me, and the ones that remind me of why I love movies. Why movies are such a great form of artistic expression but also entertainment and how the process and love that goes into movies is absolutely incredible, there isn’t anything like them. Some may call it movie magic but to me that isn’t true, it’s an incredible process with dedicated people who love their work (at least for the most part), and one day, I hope to be part of that process (in case anyone cares, I’m only 17 and going to film school next fall). Movies aren’t just something I love, they are something that changed me as a person, shaped me, and helped me through anything and everything. And with that lengthy intro, here is the list:

10. Clerks


Sure, sure, you could say this is a movie filled with dumb dick jokes and childish humor but I highly disagree. On the surface, it may seem that it doesn’t have a lot of heart in it but it really does. The ending leaves you with something to think about. And frankly, I like the humor, it is dumb, but it is also hilarious. Also, this movie is personally important to me, it made me realize that anyone can make a movie. Just take a camera, get people you can trust, and jump in and take that risk. Because it just might pay off, it just might make you launch an entire career with an empire of fans of not only movies but pod casts as well (I like Kevin Smith a lot…what can I say?).

9. The Breakfast Club


John Hughes seemed to always understand what he wanted. And he really understood what he wanted with this movie. A movie that completely criticizes and destroys the dumb social structure of high school. And, manages to have plenty of hilarious moments as well as a criticism toward the cynical adults that fill the world (not to say that all adults are cynical…because that just isn’t true). Beyond that, the cast is incredibly talented and is loaded with improv, it’s rare to see a movie that feels so natural. Everything feels so real, you don’t feel like you are watching a movie, it feels like real life and that is a feeling that is so hard to capture in any movie. John Hughes may have slumped in his career after the early 90s but as long as he left us with a few masterpieces, it’s all okay. (point being…there might be another John Hughes movie on this list).

8. Jurassic Park


Spielberg’s magnum opus. Yeah, I said it. Remember that time when a movie about dinosaurs only had dinosaurs in it for 15 minutes? Yeah. Remember that time when you saw the dinosaurs for the first time and were in awe just as much as the characters were? I vividly do. Remember how you always hum the score because it’s fucking incredible? I know I do. Point being, this entire thing is memorable. Jeff Goldblum. Sam Neill. Laura Dern. Richard Attenborough. Even the kids give good performances! The minimalist usage of CGI is incredible and is how CGI should be used for the most part, not be completely overbearing like it is today. It tells a memorable story of how you shouldn’t fuck with nature and it is executed with pure perfection.

7. GoodFellas


“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Did anybody else kind of sort of maybe wanted to become a gangster after this movie? Of course, I’m joking (at least somewhat). A sprawling, lengthy, and quite accurate (at least according to Henry Hill himself) mob flick that is just as entertaining as it is informative. But, it is also a feat in camera work as well. The long, tracking shots such as the restaurant scene or the great “vertigo” shot when De Niro and Liotta are sitting down. It’s loaded with cinematography porn is my point. Joe Pesci easily gives the most memorable parts of the film, he’s hilarious in every scene. I think what this movie does best is the fact that it doesn’t take itself completely serious and is loaded with tons of black comedy, it makes the movie much more enjoyable to watch compared to something like, hmm, I don’t know? The Godfather? (whoops, sorry, I don’t actually enjoy The Godfather that much). Leave it to Scorsese to make a hilariously, entertaining, mob film. A master of the craft of filmmaking.

6. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

And now for something completely different. Well, I did go from GoodFellas to…well this. How fucking absurd is this movie? And I mean that as an incredible compliment, not an insult. Easily the funniest movie made. There almost isn’t a moment where you won’t be laughing. The writing is incredible. The performances by the group…is well, pretty damn amazing. From deciding to use coconuts as horses because the budget was low (in turn making the movie exceptionally more hilarious) or the bridge of death scene, it’s a crazy movie that’ll completely change your perspective of comedy forever. I know for a fact that I’ve never seen anything like Monty Python, it completely changed me (especially as someone who wants to make comedies), it made me realize that you shouldn’t be afraid to go completely surreal or absurd or ridiculous or whatever it may be, it just might be hilarious.

5. Gremlins/Gremlins 2: The New Batch

I feel like these the films that will be most questioned on my list. I have a very passionate love for both of these movies which is why they are both included and my list is totally a lie because it’s more than 10 movies (don’t worry, an entire trilogy has yet to appeared on this list but will). Gremlins (the first one) starts off like a fun, little Christmas romp…bwahahaha. Not really though, it’s actually a horrifying comedy. These Gremlins terrorize the hell out of everything. And it’s hilarious. Every scene the Gremlins are in, is basically hilarious. Gizmo, the mogwai that unfortunately makes this all happen, is basically the cutest damn thing on the planet. Billy and Kate, the two human leads, are developed just enough to make you still care about them. I think what I love most in this movie is that it is loaded with subtleties and foreshadowing which makes repeated viewings even more enjoyable. It foreshadows to later events so many times in the beginning such as with scenes with humans caroling, Gizmo watching racing on TV, etc. But, the crucial scene is a scene that Phoebe Cates delivers with perfection as Kate which puts in question what the movie is supposed to make you feel. She tells a horrifying story about why she hates Christmas and it seemingly comes out of nowhere and feels entirely out of place but for good reason. It is the scene where you decide how you feel about this movie. Is it fucking hilarious or cruelly dark? I think it’s fucking hilarious. It’s unique and different and there aren’t too many films like it.

And then we get to the sequel, Gremlins 2 is basically the 2nd greatest sequel ever (Empire Strikes Back being the first), it’s constantly makes fun of itself and is basically a live-action cartoon. It’s never serious. Ever. It makes fun of the after midnight rule, halfway through the movie it just stops and cuts to a super-meta movie theater scene making fun of the original and the 2nd one with a random cameo by Hulk Hogan, Leonard Maltin makes a cameo making fun of the original film and then precedes to get killed by a Gremlin. It’s absurd, ridiculous, and one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Oh, and it makes fun of the crucial scene from the 1st movie in the best way possible.

4. Blade Runner

“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain.” Rutger Hauer delivered what is easily the most memorable soliloquy ever put on film and it was improv! Beyond that, this movie is incredibly unique. Ridley Scott used the book, “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick as the basis for the film, although, the book and the film are very, very different…but in a good way. I prefer the film but it’s almost impossible to compare them since they are drastically different. Anyways, back on the subject of unique, this movie is so atmospheric, you feel like you can live and breath this world and are absorbed into this dystopian future of 2019 Los Angeles, everything feels necessary, the long, beautiful shots of the city, the reserved performance of Harrison Ford as well as most of the cast being fairly reserved, none of them act in an overly enthusiastic manner because it just wouldn’t work. Rather, they stay calm, cool, and collected most of the time, and preserve a manner of underlying darkness which this movie always has. Replicants, they look like humans…but aren’t. That is terrifying, extraordinarily terrifying. Is it moral to hunt them down? Is it moral for them to feel a superiority? Is Deckard himself a Replicant or a Human? I feel as though Rachael is the middle ground, piece of mind in this film. She is the one who is confused, unsure of what she is, and is the underlying connection to everything. The soundtrack, oh god, the soundtrack. It’s incredible, filled with synthesizers that only add to the mood and make the film a thousand times more memorable. The movie leaves you questioning, the movie leaves you with plenty of memorable pieces of cinematography and dialogue, and it leaves you changed, to me, it showed me the depths of filmmaking in a science fiction sense, you can do a lot with a little, rather than having too much. Oh, and make sure you watch the final cut if you’ve never seen it, it’s the best version of the film.

3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” John Hughes, thank for this piece of screenwriting gold. Seriously. This movie has a life philosophy in it and that’s why it is awesome. Take risks. Don’t be afraid. Don’t live a boring, drab, life. Have fun for Christ sakes and stop worrying! On top of that, it commentates on the pointlessness of a lot of high school, is a love letter to the city of Chicago, and did I mention that it’s hilarious? This movie is a prime example of how to break the 4th wall and make it work, every time. Matthew Broderick delivers each line with care and perfect comedic timing. Cameron is exactly how a person shouldn’t be. And don’t ever be like Rooney, he’s just a dick. And who can’t help but connate Twist & Shout with this movie forever? Because every time I listen to it, it always makes me think of this movie. My overall point is that this movie gives you something to live by. Relax. Take it easy. Laugh. And that message is so crucial, a message that more people need but unfortunately I don’t think most people do. Buellerism. Well, I probably shouldn’t use an ism.

2. Star Wars Original Trilogy

Okay, I cheated again. Get over it. But, it’s the original trilogy and it’s incredible. I don’t feel like I need to explain much as to why I love these films. They are cemented into pop culture forever. The original film with an opening that throws you right into it and immediately catches your attention and makes you question what in the hell is going on. The memorable characters and lines. The special effects that hold up so perfectly fine today…yeah, George Lucas, they do. The captivating villain of Darth Vader who didn’t even need to be developed much as a character in the first film just because of that damn costume. The mystery of the force…that didn’t need to be explained. Lightsabers which are basically the coolest thing ever in the history of everything. Oh, and did I mention the music? That opening theme or maybe the throne room at the end. Thanks John Williams.

The 2nd film. Wait a goddamn minute…it’s better than the first one? Bullshit. How memorable is the battle of Hoth? Oh, and that’s just the first 20 minutes? How? How is the first 20 minutes this good, the movie can’t get much-nope, it does. For me, the most memorable parts of Empire is anything with Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try,” a life philosophy to live by. He is this mysterious creature thing that we love because of how mysterious he is. Cloud City and the fight of Luke against Vader. See, the thing is, that fight in itself was incredible, emotionally charged, the cinematography and color scheme is absolutely amazing, but then we get the twist. One of the biggest moments of pop culture (and one of the most misquoted moments), “No, I am your father.” Darth Vader just says it. No subtleties, he just says it. Luke screams in confusion, completely denying it. Imagine what it must have been like to see this in 1980. People must have been so confused and amazed and in shock. And then they had to wait 3 years! People must have discussed this so heavily in that time and I bet it was incredible. And then the movie closes with a beautiful shot of Luke, Leia, C3PO, and R2D2. Oh, and did I mention the music by any chance? Yoda’s Theme. Nuff said.

The 3rd film. The one that people like to consider the worst, although I’m not sure how I feel. I love the movie, some people don’t. “Ewoks are fuckin’ stupid.” No, I disagree. They are pretty damn cool. In fact, I love them. Sure, would a planet filled with Wookies like what was originally in the script been cooler, yeah, but Ewoks are still pretty cool. They manage to help take down an entire empire with some old school tactics and to me, that’s badass. Regardless, the movie opens with Jabba’s palace, who pretty much exceeds your expectations with how incredible he looks, you would have never thought he looked like that, it completely catches you off guard. The palace scenes are just as memorable as the Cantina scenes in the original film with all of the unique and interesting creatures. And then it ends with a cool fight scene with the Sarlaac pit. But, we go back to Dagobah to witness the death of Yoda. Which for me, is incredibly sad but we also find out a new truth. What in the actual fuck, Leia is Luke’s sister? Stop with all the twists, you are making my head explode! Anyways, we get plenty of back and forth of scenes on Endor, the lead up of Luke’s eventual fight again with Vader, and Lando and the rest of the rebellion taking down the 2nd Death Star. It’s just enough to not feel overbearing. The final fight between Darth, Luke, and The Emperor is incredible. It completely manages to redeem a character who you thought was completely evil and make you actually feel bad for him! We see what is under Darth’s mask, a man torn and injured from something, did we need to know what? No, I don’t think so. It’s fine without us knowing. Lastly, we have a well-deserved celebration on Endor with everyone, including the ghost of Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (not Hayden Christensen, that didn‘t happen), Obi-Wan, and Yoda. It closes with perfection. And with that, I went on way too long about Star Wars…how could I not?

1. Back to the Future

As much as I went on about Star Wars, I still have a film I enjoy the most. A film I can rewatch all the time. Anytime. Anywhere. That film being Back to the Future. The opening with it’s beautiful tracking shot displaying the madness that is Doc Brown and the scene after it with Marty riding his skateboard to the memorable sounds of “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News. I love it. To me, this film, even though it doesn’t spend a lot of time in the 80s, still feels like a love letter to that decade just for that opening scene. We quickly establish Marty as a character and that’s what I love so much. He is considered a slacker by his principal, he wants to make it in music as a guitar player but still has an underlying fear of being rejected, and is an overall likeable guy with a nice girlfriend. It’s simple but works so well. His family is a mess, his Dad is basically nonexistent and in another world in the family and is stomped on by Biff, his Mom is an alcoholic, and his brother and sister haven’t exactly done much themselves.

But, hey, what if you could go see your parents in high school? And that just happens. With a Delorian. Who builds a time machine out of a Delorian? Oh, and maybe you’ll make everything fall apart and maybe make you not exist anymore. No big deal. I mean, come on. This is why the ridiculousness and the humor of this movie is great. Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown is captivating in every scene, he’s hilarious. Michael J. Fox is basically the most likeable actor ever. And on top of that, this movie is also a love letter to the 1950s with it’s display of the culture. It’s entertaining, completely captivating, filled with loads and loads of memorable scenes and lines. And the simple concept of seeing your parents in high school is so intriguing. It works on every level. It still is alluring every time I watch it, it captivates me just as much as it did the first I watched it. I still feel for these characters and get emotional at the same moments I did, the moments of triumph that the characters receive is so great, so rewarding, and makes me love the movie more than I already did.

And that was my list…this was long…maybe too long. But, I love movies, so what can I say? It is sometimes hard to articulate into words why you love a certain movie, frankly, I sometimes felt like this was a mess that I wrote. And I’m okay with that. It’s one beautiful, movie orgy mess on why I love the movies that I love. I’m passionate about this, I really am, and I hope that came off as evident. Regardless, love movies, they are a gift, a gift that has captivated me for years and continues to do so, one movie at a time.


2 thoughts on “My Top 10 Favorite Films of All Time

  1. Nice list! I love the last 3 and Jurassic Park. Probably one of my favorite films (or my all time favorite) is The Dark Knight. I love it because a.) I’m a huge comic nut and love batman b.) Heath Ledger’s Joker was just mind-blowing and legendary.

    • Yeah, The Dark Knight would be somewhere in my top 50 for sure. It is a good example of how to make a comic book movie really work and not make it feel cartoony. It felt real. It felt like a crime drama with Batman involved.

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