In honor of Forrest Gump being re-released theatrically in IMAX, I have made this list, my baker's dozen. Yes, I know, it is a little self indulgent to make a list like this. Though, more than anything, I would just like to share films that have helped shape who I am as a person. There is a level above awesome that these films have hit for me that can only be described as being special. If you haven't seen any of the movies, please do check them out. Quick shout out to Truman Show, The Matrix, Toy Story, and Shaolin Soccer (english dubbed) for almost making the list. 13. The Avengers
This might be the funnest movie on the list. While it has fallen a bit on how I view this film from the first time, it continues to be a staple of my go to movies when I truly want to be entertained. The fight for New York is one of the greatest cinematic fight scenes one will ever see. All of this is fueled by delicious characters, clever banter, and some of the most hilarious lines to come out of an action movie. It was here that my love and collection of superhero movies was fully ignited.
Quote of the Film: Loki: "I have an army." Tony Stark: "We have a Hulk."
Fair warning, this is where I might get a little cheesy. This is, without a doubt, my favorite true romantic comedy of all time. Sure other films I like more will combine a splash of romance and a hint of comedy, but this one truly mixes them together for a beautiful combination. Has there ever been a better on screen couple other than Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? The two are made for each other and it shows through their delightfully piercing dialogue when they hate each other to their joyful tone when they are falling for the other. The film gives me hope for finding what the film describes as, “the one single person in the world who fills your heart with joy”.
Quote of the Film: Kathleen Kelly: "Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
I don't even like cycling, yet somehow this is my favorite sports film of all time. Though, it isn't the sport that makes the movie; it is the deeply touching yearning tone in this film that allow it to to be so great. It is quirky, funny, brilliantly constructed, with some of the most touching and human dialogue I have seen in film. All of this adds up to it being my favorite coming of age picture I've ever seen. Roger Ebert said it best when he wrote, “Movies like this are hardly ever made at all; when they're made this well, they're precious cinematic miracles.”
Quote of the Film: Mike: "I'm just gonna be Mike. Twenty year-old Mike. Thirty year-old Mike. Old, mean old man Mike. These college kids out here - they're never gonna get old or out of shape 'cause new ones come along every year. And they're gonna keep calling us 'Cutters'. To them, it's just a dirty word. To me, it's just somethin' else I never got a chance to be."
Tom Hanks truly is a tour de force in one of the best straight up dramas in the last twenty years. This film gets better and better every time I see it. Every scene leads into the next seamlessly all adding up to its philosophically rewarding finale (even if this can easily be missed the first time around and be mistaken for a disappointing ending). This profound conclusion gives me hope and comforting warmth for any path set in front of me in the future.
Quote of the Film: Chuck Noland: "I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"
Out of all the films on the list this is the one that rubs people the wrong way the most. I will be honest and say that this an incredibly wandering film, and it is also incredibly quirky (almost to a defect). This may throw some people off, but for me it hit me and continues to hit me in the best way possible. When it does wander it come to fantastic scenes with brilliantly hilarious moments and deeply touching dialogue; and when it is quirky, I love it even more. Tom Hank and splash of three Meg Ryan characters only fuel my overzealous love for this unorthodox film. Searching out the meaning of life among certain death is what this picture seeks after, and it does it in such a way that I flat out love.
Quote of the Film: Joe: "Look, I don't know you. I don't think I know anybody. You're angry. I can see that. . . I'm very troubled. . .There is only so much time if I use it well, so I am here, talking to you. I don't want to throw that away."
Star Wars truly rocked my childhood more than any other film on the list. To this day, I still want to become a jedi. It takes a rare person not to like this original trilogy. These are truly phenomenal films with one of the best story arcs, over a course of movies, of all time. What truly grounds this trilogy to be so darn likable is the immensely enjoyable characters and their interactions. None of the character would be the same without each other. Could you imagine Han Solo without Chewbacca? C-3PO without R2-D2? Blasphemy!!! Everyone and everything fits so perfectly together. Star Wars (the originals of course! Geez!) is cinema, storytelling, and all of the above at its best.
Quote of the Trilogy: Darth Vader: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."
Luke Skywalker: "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
Darth Vader: "No. I am your father."
Star Trek into Darkness has a special place in my heart. A few months before I saw this film, my Grandpa passed away. A certain scene in the later part of the film, without any spoilers, gave me closure. More than this, though, Star Trek into Darkness is truly a great film. Its story, plot twists, acting, dialogue, pacing (among other things) are about as good as it gets.
Quote of the Film: James T. Kirk: "I'm scared, Spock... help me not to be... how do you choose not to feel? " Spock: "I do not know. Right now, I am failing." James T. Kirk: "I wanted you to know why I couldn't let you die... why I went back for you..". Spock: "Because you are my friend."
I'm not sure if there has ever been a film series that has ever fit the description of epic more than Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring kicks this trilogy off as good as any first movie could. From the beginning we are given an epic journey that only escalates with each film (regardless of slow pacing in the Two Towers) and end with possibly the greatest cinematic achievement of all time The Return of the King. Much like Star Wars (The originals! Geez!!!) this trilogy has stuck with me in the best way possible.
Quote of the Trilogy: Sam: "Let us be rid of it... once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you"
The film Nobody (pun intended) knows about and many never will. . . There was a time when I wondered whether this would take the spot of my number one favorite movie of all time. After seeing this for the first time I was quivering from profound emotion. It was as if a dagger had hit me in the heart and I would never be the same. There is so many concepts and deep philosophical implications in Mr. Nobody, all bundled tightly in ball of genuine emotion that have stayed with me long after the film ended. Its presentation of the limitless amounts of choices you have in your life and how they will affect later on is hard to ignore, no matter who you are.
Quote of the Film: Nemo:"Why do we remember the past, but not the future? When you ask mommy, she says, stop asking why. It's complicated."
I have only seen this film a few times due to its graphic and dark tone. Out of all the movies on the list this one probably has had the greatest impact on me. The brutal frankness of the film on subjects many of choose to look away from was a wake up call for me and influenced decisions I made later in my life. Though more than this, City of God is simply a flat out awesome film.
Quote of the Film: Knockout Ned: "Many have died. Mostly innocent people Just knowing me is enough, just being my friend. If he thinks someone knows me, he'll kill them."
Hunger Games is the probably the biggest reason I decided to continue writing. Say what you want about Hunger Games film series, it is a fascinating concept. Who cares if Battle Royale beat it to the punch. I can distinctly walking out of the theatre in awe, thinking to myself “Have I ever seen a more perfect story?”. My love for the Hunger Game's story only expanded when I saw Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence continued to show why she is such a talent along with everyone else in the cast who stepped up their game to being borderline phenomenal. The pacing is brilliant, the story is delicious, and above all the film superbly handles the greater concepts of Revolution, Influence of Media, Poverty, Hope, Survival, Sacrifice and Love. All of this adds up to it being one of those series that I could watch once a month for the rest of my life.
Quote of the Series: Cato: "Go on. Shoot. Then we both go down, and you win. Go on. I'm dead anyway. I always was, right? I couldn't tell that 'til now. How's that? Is that what they want, huh? I can still do this. I can still do this. One more kill. This is the only thing I know how to to do. Bringing pride to my district. Not that it matters."
Shawshank Redemption could possibly be the greatest film of all time. The passion at the end of this movie is unbelievably powerful, the story is beautiful, and the acting is phenomenal. Everything is spot on perfect about this film. That however, isn't why I adore it. The deeper messages of gratitude for one's circumstance, life long friendship, and more importantly hope has carried with me long after the picture ended and will for a long time to come.
Quote of the film: Andy Dufresne: "there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside... that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours."
Red: "What're you talking about?"
Andy Dufresne: "Hope."
The words to describe this film don't do it justice, but I'll try. Tom Hanks showcases why is one of the best actors of all time. The scope of this movie is breathtaking, but what is even more breathtaking is how deep it cuts into questions of existential nature without being overbearing. It is truly a brilliant film and it continues to be my favorite movie of all time.
Quote of the Film: Forrest: "It was so clear, Jenny, it looked like there were two skies one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up, I couldn't tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It's so beautiful.
Jenny: "I wish I could've been there with you"
Forrest: "You were."