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Posts from the ‘Movies’ Category

I show you mine, you show me yours

“To each his own” is the most valuable motto in a world as diverse as ours. It allows me to peacefully coexist and be friends with others whose interests are far different than mine. It doesn’t matter that I like God and you don’t, or that you like the Red Sox and I hope you get hit by a train.

No matter what, your opinion is just as good as mine. And today is all about sharing opinions.

In a blog post last week, I published a list of the 77 movies that I consider to be the best of all time based on a formula that I devised in my childlike brain.

That list was alphabetical, nothing more than a catalog of films that score a 10 out of 10 on my ranking scale. Today, though, I’m giving you a rundown of The 10 Best Movies Ever.

Keep in mind that, to me and many other scientists, a list of “the best movies I’ve ever seen” is far different than “my favorite movies ever.” That’s because a film like “Schindler’s List” is undeniably great, but it’s not one I’d ever consider a favorite. Likewise, “Happy Gilmore” is a movie I could happily watch every day of my life, but I’m not dumb enough to think it’s among the best ever.

My Top 10 consists of the best movies I’ve ever seen, some of which also happen to be among my favorites of all time. (You can find the basic premise of the unsophisticated formula I use to rank films on the post I mentioned earlier.)

There’s one condition to me sharing my Top 10 with you: You must do the same by posting yours (or at least your Top 5) below.

And, yes, I agree that it’s difficult to judge movies across genres. But flying a plane is also difficult and people still do that every day, so we’re gonna do this, too.

Behold, all ye foul-smelling peasants! The 10 best movies I have ever seen:

THE TOP 10

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

3. Good Will Hunting (1997)

4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

6. The Godfather (1972)

7. Love Actually (2003)

8. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

10. Do the Right Thing (1989)

The next five: As Good As It Gets (1997), Braveheart (1995), Pulp Fiction (1994), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Young Frankenstein (1974).

The Best Movies Ever

I just Googled the phrase “the world’s great equalizer,” and the magical dwarves of the Internet pulled their little levers and kicked back search results that included sexual pleasure, sleep, traffic lights, public education and Calvinism.

Nonsense, I say. Nothing levels the playing field quite like the world of movies. Everyone watches them, everyone enjoys them, and even those people who don’t enjoy them love to criticize them.

(Some would say food is the obvious choice as the ultimate equalizer, but food is too divisive. There is no universal opinion on food unless you’re eating poop. No one likes to eat poop.)

Movies are the best form of entertainment because they appeal to the masses regardless of age or any other factor. They tell stories (sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great) in tidy, two-hour compartments, and there are pretty pictures involved, too. What’s not to like?

That’s the most half-assed analysis of movies in the history of humanity, but this isn’t meant to be the least bit academic. Instead, it’s an indirect way of getting to a very necessary discussion about the best films of all time.

It’s a topic that has consumed me for about two months. I’ve known for years which movie I consider to be the best of all time, which one is my favorite and which are in my all-time top 10.

But I needed a way to quantify – at least in my mind – which ones fit in the Best Movies Ever category. So I came up with one.

I rank movies on a scale from 1 to 10, and what constitutes a 10 is a movie that prompts me to say, “That’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.” How many times have you ever said that about a film? My guess is it’s a lot more than you’d initially think.

I sat down to tally all of my 10s, and the first draft of my best-ever list contained 97 movies. I told my wife, who immediately chastised me and said it was “way too many.” My oldest brother and sister-in-law said the same thing. I don’t value their opinions, but they were somewhat right: I needed to be stricter.

Thus, I devised a very primitive formula to rate the elements that must be in place for a film to be considered among The Best Movies Ever. Not every 10 has to be the best example of each category, but it needs to max out in four of the six. They are:

1. Story: I’m a writer, so I value this element above all else. Take me on a journey. Make me forget I’m watching a movie for two hours. (Examples: “Fellowship of the Ring” and “Slumdog Millionaire”)

2. Acting: Bad acting can ruin an otherwise good movie, and a stellar performance can erase other mediocre elements. (“Rain Man” and “As Good As It Gets”)

3. Durability: It’s great from start to finish, and it stands up over time. (“Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Casablanca”)

4. Watchability: A movie that you’d want to watch time and again. (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Good Will Hunting”)

5. Cinematography: I’m not a film expert, but I fully understand the difference between standard Hollywood fare and a true cinematic, artistic gem. (“Amelie” and “Saving Private Ryan”)

6. The X Factor: A film that just does it for you, whether it’s based on nostalgia, originality, controversy, quotability or that it’s the standard-bearer for its genre. (“The Matrix” and “Young Frankenstein”)

Armed with my formula (I won’t bore you with the details), I whittled down my list and finished with 77 that I consider to be The Best Movies Ever.

You might still say that’s too many, but I disagree. So kiss my grits.

The Best Movies Ever

‘Amelie’

Amelie

American History X

As Good As It Gets

Best in Show

Big Fish

Blazing Saddles

Borat

Braveheart

Bull Durham

Caddyshack

Casablanca

Catch Me If You Can

Citizen Kane

Dan in Real Life

Dances with Wolves

The Departed

Die Hard

Do the Right Thing

‘Do the Right Thing’

The Family Stone

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

A Few Good Men

Field of Dreams

Fight Club

Fletch

Forrest Gump

The Fugitive

Glory

The Godfather

The Godfather: Part II

Good Will Hunting

The Goonies

The Graduate

Groundhog Day

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’

Inglourious Basterds

It’s a Wonderful Life

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

The King’s Speech

Lars and the Real Girl

Life Is Beautiful

The Lion King

Little Miss Sunshine

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Love Actually

Lucky Number Slevin

The Matrix

Meet Joe Black

Minority Report

Notting Hill

Nueve Reinas

‘Nueve Reinas’

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Princess Bride

Pulp Fiction

Rain Man

Roman Holiday

Saving Private Ryan

Seven

The Shawshank Redemption

The Silence of the Lambs

Slumdog Millionaire

So I Married an Axe Murderer

Stand by Me

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi

The Sting

Stranger Than Fiction

There’s Something about Mary

‘There’s Something about Mary’

The Sword in the Stone

Tombstone

The Usual Suspects

Up

V for Vendetta

When Harry Met Sally

Young Frankenstein