To view this as a qualitative list, minus documentaries, visit: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls063080221/
There’s no accounting for taste, true, but trends do seem to exist where film is concerned. If you’re a boomer (AFI Top 100, BFI Top 100, Ebert’s 300 Great Movies, Sight and Sound, most world film awards), you might prefer world war two to lazy stoner kids. If you’re a millennial, like me (IMDB Top 1000, 1001 Movies To See Before You Die, MUBI, The QT Archives, any major internet list, really), you might be inclined to place a comic book movie above something Thelma Schoonmaker edited (Is Kick-Ass really better than Raging Bull? Well, it is a lot more fun).
I’ve been sorting out my top film picks since the late 90s, in my mid-teens, defining and redefining what I appreciate about film. For me, it’s neither a completely intellectual or completely visceral affair. When I tried to narrow down the scales by which I judge film I came up with these seven spectrums:
Watchability – Dullness (Cinematography/Visuals)
Authenticity – Nonsensicality (Costuming/Lighting/Continuity/Set Design/Make-Up)
Triumph – Trainwreck (Direction/Production)
Creativeness – Serial/Adaptation/Remake (Production/Direction)
Humanity – Offensiveness (Performances/Human Element)
Inspiration – Embarrassment (Writing/Sound)
Tightness – Excessiveness (Editing/Post/Music)
The most important spectrum for me, perhaps, is watchability: the number of times one can return to a film, the level of engrossment in the watching. Though I’ve created films and worked as an actor, I am foremost, like most people I suspect, a film watcher. When I recommend a title, watchability is the first thing I consider. Everything else in there is more or less subjective to taste, but if I don’t consider a film engrossing, it’s way worse than if Katie Holmes was miscast, or if the Coens let things run long, or if bigfoot’s watch was on the other wrist.
I’d eventually like to briefly review all these films, to explain the Entry Point (how the film hooked me), and the Groove (how the film lives, sustains). Also, I must confess to my effort for diversity, in the name of fairness. Feminism and humanism played no small role in bolstering films directed and written by women, non-whites, and the LGBTQ communities. If this were simply my top watchables and personal faves, I’m sure it’d be predominately North American fantasy/sci-fi/horror/LGBTQ. But since Straight White American Religious Males control the lion’s share of money that funds film production, I think it’s more than fair to tip the scales the other way when and wherever possible.
I’m also including all the movies that missed the cut, and all the films I discovered from pouring through the various major lists mentioned above (and so, so many more), or which sit in my vast collection, unwatched. I hope to see them all someday. Of the ones that fell short, some of them were viewed in childhood or adolescence and never since. So, some titles perhaps haven’t matured in my thinking, and may one day reascend.
One last thing of note: some films (28 Up, Dekalog) have one entry that stands for an entire series of films, while some series (like the Jackson/Tolkien films, Romero’s “Of the Dead” films) have been spelled out to highlight omissions.
Movies I like that aren’t on my MUBI top 1000 ( * = titles that MUBI doesn’t have a card for (mostly obscure docs))
127 Hours; 21 Grams; 47 Ronin; 50/50; (500) Days of Summer; 8 Mile; *9500 Liberty; Aladdin; The American; American Hustle; Amores Perros; Anna Karenina; Animal Kingdom; Antonio Gaudi; Apocalypto; The Art of the Steal; As Good As It Gets; The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford; Atonement; Attenberg; Awakenings; The Baader-Meinhoff Complex; Bad Education; Bad Teacher; Barney’s Version; The Baroness and the Pig; Beauty and the Beast; Beverly Hills Cop (series); Bicentennial Man; Big; *Big Rig; Billy Elliot; Blancanieves; The Blind Side; Blue Valentine; The Boondock Saints; Boy; Bridge of Spies; The Bridges of Madison County; Brokeback Mountain; Buena Vista Social Club; Bull Durham; Canadian Bacon; Candy; Cape Fear; Capote; Captain Abu Raed; Casino; Cast Away; Certified Copy; Chernobyl Diaries; Chloe; Clerks 2; Closer; Cloud Atlas; *The Codes of Gender; Con Artist; The Conjuring; Contagion; The Count of Monte Cristo; Crawford; The Crazies; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; The Crying Game; Dances with Wolves; Dangerous Liaisons; Dark Skies; Date Night; Daydream Nation; Dazed and Confused; *The Dead; Deadgirl; Dead Man Walking; Dead Ringers; Death at a Funeral; Deconstructing Harry; The Deep Blue Sea; Desert Flower; Die Hard; Disconnected (2008); Don’t You Forget About Me; Doubt; Drive; Drive Angry; Driving Miss Daisy; DuckTales: Legend of the Lost Lamp; The East; Easy A; An Education; *Emma Goldman; Enemy; Erasing David; Essential Killing; *Eve and the Firehorse; *The Execution of Wanda Jean; Eyes of the Mothman; Fair Game; Fantasia 2000; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Fido; First Blood; Fish Tank; The Five-Year Engagement; Fearless (1993); Final Fantasy: Advent Children; Five Broken Cameras; Flight; Frantic; Frequency; From Up on Poppy Hill; Frost/Nixon; Frozen; The Full Monty; Funkytown; The Ghost Writer; Gimme the Loot; The Girl (2009); Gomorrah; Gone Baby Gone; Good Night and Good Luck.; The Great Debaters; The Great Outdoors; The Green Inferno; Griefwalker; *Guns, Germs and Steel; H2Oil; Hamlet 2; The Hangover; Happy Accidents; Headhunters; Heathers; Hellraiser: Bloodline; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; *The Hollywood Librarian; Home; House of Flying Daggers; House of Sand and Fog; House of Wax (2005); Howl; *How to Live Forever; The Human Face; The Hurt Locker; Hysterical Blindness; In America; In Darkness; Inspirations; The Internationale; In the House; In the Name of the Father; In Time; Into the Arctic (2007); Iron Man 3; *The Iroquois Speak Out for Mother Earth; It (2017); Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer; Jeff, Who Lives At Home; Juice; Julie and Julia; Junebug; The Karate Kid; The Kids are All Right; Killer Joe; Killing Them Softly; The King’s Speech; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Kontroll; K-Pax; Kubrick’s Odyssey; Kung Fu Hustle; The Land Before Time; The Last Circus; La Vie En Rose; Lessons of Darkness; *Life (1999); Life in a Day; Lincoln; Little Children; The Lords of Salem; Louie Bluie; Lucid; Lucky (2011); Lust, Caution; Macgruber; Man on Fire; Margo at the Wedding; The Martian; Marwencol; Mary Pickford: Muse of the Movies; Masquerade; Master and Commander; Maxed Out; McLuhan’s Wake; Meet the Fokkens; Megamind; Melancholia; Men with Brooms; *Middle Sexes; Midnight Special; Mildred Pierce; *Moguls and Movie Stars; Moneyball; Mongol; Monsieur Lahzar; Monster; Monster Camp; Moon; The Motorcycle Diaries; Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater; Mr. Nobody; Mud; Munich; My Amityville Horror; My First Mister; National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; The Natural; Natural Born Killers; *Neshoba; Night on Earth; *No Grades + No Homework = Better Learning; Nostaliga for the Light; The Oath (2010); Ocean’s Eleven; Of Mice and Men; Oka!; Once Upon A Time in America; Operation: Filmmaker; Orange County; Olso, August 31st; Pacific Rim; *Pageant; Paprika; ParaNorman; Paris, Je T’aime; Penumbra; The Perfect Host; Philomena; The Pig Farm; The Pillow Book; Prairie Giant; Premium Rush; Pretty Woman; The Producers; Psycho Beach Party; Pucker Up; Push (2009); The Queen; Quills; Rachel Getting Married; Rain Man; Rango; The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Rescue Dawn; *Resolved; The Revisionaires; *®evolution; Rhymes for Young Ghouls; The Right Stuff; Robot and Frank; The Rugrats Movie; Safety Not Guaranteed; The Sandlot; Scarface; Senna; Seven Days; Shallow Grave; The Shock Doctrine; Side Effects; Sideways; Sin Nombre; The Skeleton Twins; A Small Act; So I Married An Axe Murderer; Soundtracker; Split; Spy; Stardust; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; The Station Agent; Stranger Than Fiction; *Strongman; Suicide Kings; The Sweetest Sound; Take Shelter; Taxi to the Dark Side; The Ten; Thelma & Louise; The Theory of Everything; This Is Not A Film; This Is the End; The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada; *Three of Hearts; Tiny Furniture; Titan AE; To Rome with Love; Tomboy (2011); Tootsie; Top of the Lake; Total Recall; The Town; Trading Places; Trance; Transamerica; Triage (2008); Tropic Thunder; True Grit; *True Story; Turn Me On, Goddammit; Tyrannosaur; Unconditional Parenting; Under the Skin; Up in the Air; Volver; Vs. the Dead; Waiting for Superman; Waitress; Waltz with Bashir; War Horse; Warrior; Warrior Queen: Boudica; Watchmen; The Way Back; The Way Way Back; The Weather Man; Weekend; Weibo’s War; Wendy and Lucy; Wet Hot American Summer; *Whale Wars; The White Diamond; Wild Things; William S. Burroughs: The Man Within; The Wind Rises; Wish You Were Here; With God on Our Side; Woody Allen: A Documentary; Working Girl; The World’s End; Wreck-It-Ralph; The Wrestler; You Don’t Know Jack; You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger; Zodiac
Unseen Films I’d Like to Consider (Not a complete list; please recommend titles!)
2046; 24 Hour Party People; 3 Idiots; 42; 45 Years; A Chinese Ghost Story; The Addiction; After Dark, My Sweet; After the Wedding; Ali; Alps; Animal Factory; Another Earth; Another Year; Antichrist; Anvil! The Story of Anvil; The Arabian Nights Trilogy; The Assassin; Audition; August Rush; Au Revoir Les Enfants; Away We Go; Bad Cop Bon Cop; Bad Lieutenant (1992); Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; Bad Taste; Bajrangi Bhaijaan; Ballad of Narayama; Beasts of No Nation; Beautiful Thing; La Belle Noiseuse; Bells from the Deep; Belly of the Beast; A Better Tomorrow; Beyond the Hills; The Big Chill; Big Hero 6; The Big Picture; Birdy; Black Book; Black Venus; Blow; Blue is the Warmest Colour; The Blue Kite; Bobby Fischer Against the World; Body Double; Bone Tomahawk; The Book of Life; Boy A; Boyhood; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Broadway Danny Rose; A Bronx Tale; Brooklyn; The Brothers Bloom; The Brothers Grimm; Buffalo ’66; The Butcher Boy; The Butterfly Effect; Cache; Cafe de Flore; Carlito’s Way; Carlos; Casualties of War; The Celebration; Cemetery of Splendour; Chungking Express; Cinderella (2015); The City of Lost Children; Clouds of Sils Maris; Coherence; Cold in July; Come and See; Company of Wolves; Concussion; Confessions; Control; The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; Cop Car; Coriolanus; The Cove; The Dance of Reality; Day & Night; Dark and Stormy Night; Day of the Beast; The Dead (1987); Dead Man’s Shoes; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Dear Zachary; The Decline of the American Empire; Delicatessen; Detachment; The Devil’s Backbone; Din of Celestial Birds; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; Disconnect; The Double Life of Veronique; The Dreamers; Dreamgirls; Drinking Buddies; Drugstore Cowboy; The Duke of Burgundy; Eat Drink Man Woman; Edge of Tomorrow; Elite Squad; Elizabeth; El Norte; The Emerald Forest; Empire of the Sun; Enter the Void; Exotica; Farewell My Concubine; Fat Girl; Faust; Fearless (2006); Film Socialisme; Fireworks; A Fish Called Wanda; Flirting with Disaster; The Foot Fist Way; Force Majeure; Frank; Freedom Writers; The Garden of Earthly Delights; The Gatekeepers; Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices; A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night; Goodbye to Language; The Good Lie; Goodnight Mommy; Goya’s Ghosts; The Grandmaster; The Hairdresser’s Husband; Great Expectations; Hairspray; Hamburger Hill; Hangover (2014); Hard to Be a God; Head-On; Heartbeats; Heart of Glass; He Died with a Falafel in his Hands; The Hitcher; Holy Motors; Homicide; Hoosiers; The Horse Thief; House of Tolerance; How to Survive a Plague; The Hurricane; Ida; Il Postino; The Illusionist (2010); The Imitation Game; The Impossible; In a Better World; Innerspace; In the Loop; Into the Cold; Ip Man; Iron Sky; Irreversible; I Saw the Devil; I Smile Back; I Stand Alone; Jane Eyre (2011); Jean de Florette; Jeepers Creepers; Jesus Christ Superstar; Jesus of Montreal; Jodorosky’s Dune; Junun; Kai po che; The Kid with a Bike; The Killer; The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness; Knocked Up; Kosmos; Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter; The Lady; Lady Vengeance; La Femme Nikita; La Haine; The Last Battle; The Last Boy Scout; The Last of the Mohicans; The Last Seduction; Last Train Home; The Last Unicorn; Leolo; Le Quattro Volte; Lethal Weapon; Like Father, Like Son; Like Someone in Love; Like Stars on Earth; Li’l Quinquin; Lilya 4-Ever; The Lincoln Lawyer; A Little Princess; Local Hero; Locke; Lone Star; Lone Survivor; The Long Day Closes; The Long Goodbye; The Look of Silence; Lost in La Mancha; Love; Love & Mercy; Love Me If You Dare; Lucky#Slevin; Malena; Man Bites Dog; The Man From Nowhere; Margaret; Maria Full of Grace; Margin Call; Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present; The Match Factory Girl; Match Point; Me and Orson Welles; Me and You and Everyone We Know; Me, Earl and the Dying Girl; Men Don’t Leave; Midnight Run; Mishima; The Mission; Mommy; Monsieur Hire; Monsoon Wedding; Mulan; The Muppets; Mustang; My Big Fat Greek Wedding; My Left Foot; My Life As A Dog; My Name Is Khan; Mysteries of Lisbon; Mystery Train; The Name of the Rose; Neruda; Nest of Kin; Never Let Me Go; Night on Earth; Nine Queens; No; North Country; Nymphomaniac; Ocean Waves; An Officer and a Gentleman; Of Gods and Men; Once; Only Lovers Left Alive; Only Yesterday; Paint it Yellow; Paris, Texas; The Past; Perfect Blue; Perfect Sense; A Perfect World; Phoenix; The Piano Teacher; The Pied Piper of Hutzovina; Pina; Pineapple Express; Pirate Radio; The Player; Police Story; Post Tenebras Lux; A Prairie Home Companion; Project A; A Prophet; The Pursuit of Happyness; Pussy Riot; The Quick and the Dead; Radio Days; Raising Cain; Rec (2011); Remains of the Day; Remember the Titans; Repo Man; Rewind This!; Ringu; Risky Business; Robocop; Rocknrolla; Romper Stomper; Rosetta; Rudy; Running Scared; Rust and Bone; The Salt of the Earth; Santa Sangre; Satantango; Say Anything…; Seabiscuit; Searching for Sugar Man; Seven Pounds; Shoah; Short Term 12; Show Me Love; Side By Side; The Skin I Live In; Smoke; Song of the Sea; Son of Saul; Stop Making Sense; The Story of Film: An Odyssey; Stranger By the Lake; Stranger Than Paradise; Stray Dogs; Strings; St. Vincent; Sukiyaki Western Django; Summer of Sam; A Sunday in the Country; Sunshine Cleaning; Superbad; Swades: We the People; Swallowtail Butterfly; Sympathy for Lady Vengeance; Tabu; A Tale of Winter; Talk to Her; Tell No One; Tender Mercies; Terms of Endearment; The Terrorist (1998); Tetsuo: The Iron Man; These Amazing Shadows; This is England; This Must Be the Place; The Three Colours Trilogy; Timecrimes; Tokyo Tribe; Top Secret!; A Touch of Sin; Trainwreck; Trees Lounge; The Tribe; Trouble Every Day; Two Days, One Night; Under Fire; Underground; The Underneath; The United States of Leland; Upstream Color; Velvet Goldmine; The Verdict; Veronika Voss; A Very Long Engagement; Victor Victoria; The Wackness; Wadjda; Water; The Wave (2008); Weird Science; Welcome to the Dollhouse; Werckmeister Harmonies; Whale Rider; What’s Love Got to Do With It?; When We Were Kings; White God; White Material; Wild; Wild Tales; Wild Zero; The Wind That Shakes the Barley; Wings of Desire; Winter Sleep; Witness; Wolf Children; The Wolfpack; A Woman’s Tale; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; The World According to Garp; The World’s Fastest Indian; World’s Greatest Dad; Wristcutters: A Love Story; A Year of the Quiet Sun; The Young Victoria; Youth; You’ve Got Mail, Zatoichi (1989)Lees minder