my 100 movies: the first 50

A few weeks back, I saw a post by YTSL of Webs of Significance listing 100 movies “which have particularly impacted and/or impressed [her] over the years.” Not too surprisingly, this list inspired me to think about listing my own personal favorite movies. (YTSL had, in turn, been inspired by a list of movies at Falling Stones are Not Heavy of that author’s own 100 movies to which he felt a particularly strong connection.)

Seeing as it’s late at night, I will start by posting only 50 movies. This first half of my 100 movies includes my all-time favorite movies, though I have not ranked them here. I have instead followed YTSL’s lead and simply listed them alphabetically.

These movies are not necessarily all good movies (though many are great ones) but I have connected with them in some way. It amuses me to see the recurring themes in the movies I list: dark humor and paranoia, time distortion and surrealism, silliness and whimsy, as well as women kicking some ass. My weaknesses for costume dramas and musically-oriented movies are also revealed. Anyone notice any other trends?

  1. 12 Monkeys (1995)
  2. Amadeus (1984)
  3. Beetle Juice (1988)
  4. Best in Show (2000)
  5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
  6. Bob Roberts (1992)
  7. Brazil (1985)
  8. The Cable Guy (1996)
  9. Chasing Amy (1997)
  10. Clueless (1995)
  11. Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
  12. The Commitments (1991)
  13. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  14. Dead Again (1991)
  15. Fargo (1996)
  16. The Fugitive (1993)
  17. The Full Monty (1997)
  18. Gosford Park (2001)
  19. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
  20. Groundhog Day (1993)
  21. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
  22. Lone Star (1996)
  23. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
  24. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  25. Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
  26. Mystery Men (1999)
  27. Office Space (1999)
  28. The Princess Bride (1987)
  29. The Professional/Léon (1994)
  30. The Remains of the Day (1993)
  31. Run, Lola, Run (1998)
  32. The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
  33. Serenity (2005)
  34. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  35. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  36. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  37. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  38. The Sound of Music (1965)
  39. Supercop (Police Story 3: Supercop) (1992)
  40. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
  41. Tremors (1990)
  42. Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
  43. The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996)
  44. Unbreakable (2000)
  45. West Side Story (1961)
  46. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  47. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
  48. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  49. Wolf (1994)
  50. Zero Effect (1998)

17 thoughts on “my 100 movies: the first 50

  1. Hi Alejna,

    Am glad that you too have felt compelled to come up with movies lists post viewing my 100 movies list. (Wouldn’t it be cool if this became a meme? ;b)

    Re your list (thus far): As you wrote — no surprise re your list containing its share of comedies and generally quirky movies. One other trend I noticed which I must admit to being surprised by though — especially given that you are a linguist — is the dearth of non-English language films in your list.

    Another trend which is quite distinct is the high number of films from the 1990s in your selection — and I wonder whether this will change after seeing the next 50 movies list. Also, did you watch more movies in the 1990s than any other era? If so, I guess it means that you’re into viewing contemporary rather than older films, right?

  2. Ooh, there is some good stuff in there. Loved Cold Comfort Farm – have you read the book. My boss was in West Side; people still send him fan mail. And just yesterday, I suggested to Niobe that she see Brazil, the title song of which I have to sing whenever I encounter idjit bureaucracy.

  3. YTSL-
    I noticed the prevalence of 90s movies, too. And yeah, I think it’s symptomatic of when I was watcing the most movies. I guess I tend to gravitate toward contemporary movies, though I enjoy watching older ones, too.
    And you make me feel a bit ashamed about the lack of non-English language movies. (The second part of the list has a couple more, but nothing too impressive.) This is also somewhat also due to the time period when I watched movies most often: non-English movies were harder to come by. Our video rental places tended to have very modest selections of foreign movies, and it was before the dawn of Netflix. The other issue is that I have seen and enjoyed many more non-English movies than are on my list, but that I haven’t gotten to know them as well. When I find time to watch a movie lately, I tend to gravitate either towards something new to me, or something that I can watch and enjoy without necessarily giving it my full attention. So it some ways, it’s surprising that there’s anything of substance on my list at all…

  4. Hi again Alejna —

    Oh dear, wasn’t trying to make you feel ashamed about the lack of non-English language movies on your list! And I can understand that this is due in part to the time period during which you watched movies most often. Also, would suggest — based on my time in the USA vis a vis elsewhere — that the US is a place that’s really not very friendly towards non-English language films. (Which makes it all the more ironic then that I became a born again Hong Kong film fan when living in that country!)

  5. Thanks for the list. I see lots of comedies. Where’s Corvette Summer? Just kidding, I think I was the only person to see that one.

  6. Ahhh, Roan Inish. Loved it. My husband teaches Irish film every so often so we’ve seen so many wonderful, quirky Irish films. Have you see Into the West, The General or The Butcher Boy?

  7. Great list! You can come over and watch movies with me anytime. Shawshank, Fargo, Chasing Amy and The Princess Bride are probably in my top 10 movies of all time.

  8. magpie-
    I have read the book for Cold Comfort Farm. I loved it, too. Cool that your boss was in West Side Story, too. And as for Brazil, I often think of it whenever I run into excessive bureaucracy myself. (And damn that song can get stuck in your head, can’t it?)

    Ah, the shame comes from me, not you, really. I try not to feel like an insular, anglo-centric type, but the truth is I don’t branch out as much as I feel like I should. I agree that the US is not too overly friendly towards non-English language films. I know a lot of small, independent theaters show plenty of foreign films, but I live quite far from them. And when I’m in town, my schedule tends to be quite full with work and other obligations. (Oh, see me make excuses…)

    Ha! Indeed, I think you are missing something. Crouching Tiger as well as the Princess Bride have plenty of action/adventure, though the fight scenes have no firearms or explosions. And Supercop and The Long Kiss Goodnight are both quite traditional action/adventure. With big, booming fireball-style explosions, even. I love me some action in my movies. There are a few more on my second list, too.

    Yes, I do tend to gravitate towards funny movies. But my idea of “funny” doesn’t always overlap with Hollywood blockbusters. (As for Corvette Summer, I’m afraid I haven’t even heard of it. Should I have?)

    dude and Red? I’ve heard of a movie called Red, but no dude comes to mind. (Well, there’s the Big Lebowski.) As for finding the energy, this was me decompressing. I’ve been feeling overloaded, and wanted to do something completely for fun.

    Well, I guess it may depend on how you felt generally about the movies on the list. But yeah, I would heartily recommend all of these:
    Cold Comfort Farm is quirky and British, and I find it both hilarious and pleasant. I also love to quote it. It is most definitely one of my top 10.
    Gosford Park is a complex character-driven mystery.
    The Secret of Roan Inish could be a good one to see with your kiddos–it’s a bit of a fairy tale. With seals.
    And Wet Hot American Summer is over-the-top campy silliness. (Actually, it’s about summer camp. Speaking of campy.) And it stars Janeane Garofalo. I love her.

    I haven’t seen any of those. I take it I should?

    I’m afraid to say I missed that one. Should I be ashamed?

  9. Kimberly-
    I’d love to hang out and watch movies. (Though I suspect we don’t even live in the same part of the country.) What else is on your top 10 list?

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