My Favorite Movies
This is a short list of the movies that I find myself going back to over and over. Some may have more humor than others, some may be a bit more bleak and serious, but they all have a great vision from the director, amazing acting, and a way of looking at the world that I find unforgettable.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, dir. Michel Gondry
I find this movie both extremely emotionally powerful and incredibly creative. It was written by Charlie Kaufman, one of the most groundbreaking screenwriters of the last few decades, and the beauty of the story is matched by the images. It tells the story of Joel, a man who learns that his ex-girlfriend has undergone a procedure that erases all memory of him from her brain. Heartbroken, he looks to undergo the same procedure, but there are some complications. Jim Carrey is amazing in a role that largely has him tone down his famous comedic energy, and the movie looks at the age-old love story in a new and beautiful way.
Fargo, dir. Joel Coen
The Coen Brothers make movies unlike anybody else in the medium, and even though this is one of their most approachable and mainstream movies, it still has an energy and a tone that is truly their own. Despite the title, which is a city in South Dakota, the movie is set largely in Minnesota, and tells the story of how small concessions to a person’s darker nature can spiral into events that are truly horrific. The dialogue is funny in rather disturbing ways, and the look of the movie makes you feel that you are in the freezing Midwest winter as well. The television show inspired by this movie is also great, but you should start with this original.
Silence of the Lambs, dir. Jonathan Demme
I like to say that this is a perfect movie, because in my opinion, it succeeds in everything that it’s trying to do. It centers around the young FBI recruit Clarice Starling, and her interactions with the infamous killer Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Lecter is in a mental institution, but Starling goes to speak with him to try and gather some information about a killer who is still on the loose. The acting is incredible, the story is excellent, and the suspense is chilling and influenced countless movies and television shows that came after it.
There Will Be Blood, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
This movie from one of my favorite directors is not what you might call light viewing. It is long, it is intense, and it certainly does not have a happy ending. What it does have, however, is a monumental performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and a tense and atmospheric mood provided by the director, the music, and the setting. It tells the story of a self-made business man at the turn of the 20th century, and the single-minded focus that allows him to succeed, at some serious costs. Day-Lewis won the Academy Award for his performance, and in my opinion, it is very deserved.
Before directing the breathtaking movie Gravity, Cuarón showcased his talent behind the camera in this 2006 thriller. It is set in the near future, where for some unknown reason, women can no longer become pregnant. This, of course, creates some level of chaos in the world, and that is where we are introduced to Clive Owen’s character. The movie has some amazing unedited shots that really ramp up the tension, and the performances by Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and others help to ground the action in reality.