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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).

Attention, short people: You’re unwanted

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing a blog that approximately eight people will read.

No, my perfect world involves me hitting .330 for the Yankees, or singing to a sold-out audience at Madison Square Garden, or – above all else – floating amid the weightlessness of space as a NASA-trained astronaut.

Sadly, this world crapped on my grandest dreams by giving me limited athletic ability, the singing talents of Enrico Pallazzo and the intellectual capacity of a decapitated goat.

Some people simply can’t perform certain jobs. I’m OK with that. But I realized on my flights from Oregon to Tucson on Saturday that even seemingly normal occupations are quite exclusive.

Exhibit A: You can’t be a flight attendant if you’re too short.

I’ve been on hundreds of flights in my lifetime, but it didn’t really occur to me until the weekend that virtually all the stewardesses are notably taller than average.

Curious, I asked one of the Southwest Airlines flight attendants if there was a height requirement for folks like her.

“There are certain requirements, yes,” said the 5-foot-10-inch lady.

I didn’t ask her to explain the rationale behind the you-must-be-this-tall-to-work-here mandate because the reasons are obvious to me. Here they are:

No one respects a pipsqueak. You have to enforce a lot of federal regulations as a flight attendant, and everyone is annoyed by most of the rules. So if you’re 5-0 and you tell someone to turn off their electronic device, they’ll probably kick you in your little legs and stuff you in an overhead compartment.

Speaking of overhead compartments, you can’t reach them. If the Federal Aviation Administration left you and a bunch of hobbits in charge, you would be of no help to the socially accepted short people who need to safely stow their luggage.

The pre-flight safety demonstration would go unnoticed. You can’t properly instruct passengers how to put on an oxygen mask if they can’t see you over the seats in front of them.

In the event of a water landing, passengers likely will sacrifice your livelihood and use your seat-cushion-sized body as a flotation device.

You are not an adequate food source. If you crash in a very remote location (a la the plane in the film “Alive”) and the survivors start eating one another to stay alive, you’d likely only provide a small snack, leaving the others hungry. So you’d be dead, eaten and hated.

Why vegetarians hate the world

One of the best skills you can attain in life is learning how to wisely choose your words while saying something that, for all intents and purposes, disparages another person. It’s what I call The But Rule.

Here’s an example of it:

“I’m sorry I set all your clothes on fire, BUT you shouldn’t have insulted me for wearing ‘Smurfs’ pajamas.”

You aren’t really that sorry if the last words out of your mouth place blame on the other person, right?

Here’s the better tactic:

“You ruined my day by eating all the Fruity Pebbles, BUT I’m sorry I responded by calling the police and falsely reporting you for animal cruelty.”

Always finish the conversation with an attempt to smooth things over. It works in a variety of situations and can help you successfully navigate a tricky scenario. Best of all, it allows you to air your grievance while also showing that you see things from their perspective. Win-win, yeah?

Today, I’m going to apply The But Rule to talk about vegetarians and why they are such miserable people who are perpetually angry at the world. (This is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but allow me to proceed, please…)

I ate at a quaint breakfast cafe in Eugene, Ore., last Friday, a locally owned eatery that oozes charm and has a lot of character. If you ignore the fact that everyone there hates you, it’s really an enjoyable place to eat your first meal of the day.

I’ve recently noticed a pattern of hatred at the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly places in my area. At first I thought I merely imagined it all, that I was dying a little inside and everyone around me was just sad to see me go and, therefore, became angry in their sadness. But that’s not the case.

The people (and I’m generalizing) who work at these restaurants have all the personality of a dead rabbit. They take your order and bring your food (tasks that — all kidding aside — I am truly grateful for) and treat you with as much indifference as is humanly possible.

Why is this the case? How come non-vegetarian restaurants are predominantly filled with servers and workers who, at least superficially, make you feel welcome? I don’t need to be treated like I’m a special boy on his birthday, but at least let me believe there’s some joy put into the crappy vegetarian food you’re making me.

And therein lies the problem. The food vegetarians eat is, for the most part, awful. They have subjected themselves to (or are sometimes forced to live) a life filled with unsatisfying meals. The most horrific example of what these people consume is tofu, which looks and tastes like a block of Play-Doh that missed the dye machine. It’s sad, really.

Nonetheless, I will continue to eat at these establishments filled with crabby employees because I can invariably find one or two items that appeal to me. And I’ll have even more compassion in my heart because I fully understand that the only reason they treat me like a festering turd is due to the fact that I enjoy the fine delicacies they will not or cannot.

In summary, vegetarians are grouchy, unpleasant people who are incredibly angry at the world for their horrible culinary preferences or their biological inability to eat good food, BUT it’s not always their fault and there are more pretty animals alive as a result of their unique eating habits.

The But Rule wins again.

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

Brace yourselves, you mongrels

I like to make definitive statements. More than that, I like to make outlandish definitive statements as a way to bolster an opinion. It’s a simple concept, really. For example, just add the words “since Hitler” to any sentence, and a bland conversation becomes memorable.

Try this on for size:

“My boss is the world’s biggest douche bag.”
“My boss is the world’s biggest douche bag since Hitler.”

A discussion is undeniably more intriguing when a parallel is drawn to the 20th century’s most vile human. Pick your spots, though, because it’s not a foolproof strategy:

“Kanye West is the world’s most overrated rapper.”
“Kanye West is the world’s most overrated rapper since Hitler.”

Nevertheless, you get the point. Everyone in the world is trying to say something, but very rarely is anyone heard. And because I’m not prone to speaking loudly, I prefer to make my outlandish points known through the written word.

It takes a certain amount of narcissism to start a blog and thrust your views on an Internet community that, undoubtedly, doesn’t at all care what you have to say. Notice I said “you.” You are an idiot. I am here to make fun of you, and the universe will love me for it.

This blog will be a forum for astute observations of the world and all its heathens, my perspective on movies (new and old), the occasional thought on sports and whatever else comes to mind. Revolutionary concept, right?

The difference between my blog and the countless others like it is that I have Ryan Gosling-like charm and Chevy Chase-like wit. That combination will attract readers like no blog ever has.

Some even say I’m the best writer since Hitler.