My Favorite 25 Films

favorite films are organic in that they are constantly changing so this is apt to change as well as I am sure I will forget many. Cutting them down enough to make a list was hard enough so they are not in any particular order. I love them all.
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Dogma (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An abortion clinic worker with a special heritage is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loop-hole and reenter Heaven. (130 mins.)
Director: Kevin Smith
“ From the AMAZING Kevin Smith. I have to limit myself to only one of his films or we'd be here forever. Dogma is the perfect comedy for me. The film is hilarious but it always has a point. There is a message in the film that we ALL have had to think about at some point, the issue of faith vs religion vs the meaning of life or if there even is one. The characters all seem both realistic and far fetched at the same time. Really beautiful film. ” - llizdebruin
Cloud Atlas (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. (172 mins.)
“ Not everyone's cup of tea but as a fan of epics as well as a fan of movies that force you to pay attention, I love it. I also appreciate that it has a bit of pretty much every genre. The cast was great. The make up had it's moments of being incredible but at other moments making easy to fix mistakes. The design of the film was stunning. The writing was top notch, very smart, mostly due to the original book by David Mitchell who I am pretty sure is a genius. I love the ripple effect of one's actions through time. I found a lot of the themes very emotional and human but still kept it a very sharp, intelligent discourse. A thought film, definitely. It's not too over stylized, doesn't need to be. What I most loved was this demonstration of how these different genres, with different stories, and different characters, all still play off the same human traits and motives. It's almost a discussion on how nothing truly changes, no matter how different it all appears. And I could go on for years about this movie. I've seen it 7 times and am still finding new details the film's cast and crew put in for continuity and I love movies you need to watch 600 times. ” - llizdebruin
The Great Escape (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. (172 mins.)
Director: John Sturges
“ This is the war movie I judge all others off of. It is a long film but it goes by quickly. The script is so sharp. It's funny when it should be, and sort of realistic humor. No slap stick or crazy antics. Mostly the type of sarcasm you would come across in reality. Characters were well written, likable. I always become so invested in these characters getting out. I like the historical aspect of it. There's an appropriate amount of action. Just wonderful movie over all and if you haven't seen it, go now, don't finish reading the list. GO WATCH. ” - llizdebruin
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
“ DO NOT EVER WATCH THE REMAKE. Flight of the Phoenix is Jimmy Stewart at his best, not suave, not even really handsome, just him giving a performance that feels so natural you forget he's acting. What makes this movie great though, apart from the awesome ensemble cast, is the actual story. For those who don't know, it's about a plane that is flying over the desert, it crashes, and the people are running out of water and food quickly so they decide to build a new smaller plane out of the ruined larger one and save themselves. You watch these men, from many different backgrounds, deal with and work with each other. It's the kind of movie that moves you without being overly emotional. Smart script, slower paced (like many older films) but it doesn't matter a bit. The book is equally awesome but do not watch the 2001 remake which tried and failed to turn it into a cheap action film. ” - llizdebruin
Jurassic Park (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok. (127 mins.)
“ Dinosaurs, Richard Attenborough, Sam Neil, and one of the most recognizable and epic musical scores of all time. If you need me to explain more than that, we're going to have a problem. ” - llizdebruin
Freaks (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. (64 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
“ I am a fan of side shows and the history of "freaks" and my life would not be complete without this film. One of the best and probably the oldest you'll find on this list. Many would place this as a horror film, I get it. I agree, but I see it as a lot more than that. The main reason I love it is because I get to see the side show performers I love on screen doing what they do best, being awesome. It's also well made and yada yada. ” - llizdebruin
The Five Pennies (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles... (117 mins.)
“ One of Danny Kaye's lesser known movies and one of the few that is not a comedy. This is Danny Kaye portraying Red Nichols. The film is a winner for music lovers and fans of emotional stories about life and dreams and family over all. I was crying a river by the end but it never relied too much on that emotional response. It stayed clever. It features a duet between Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong doing the best rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In I've ever heard. But best of all, as great as Kaye is in his comedies, watching him in this film about music and you can feel how much he loves it. He really shines in this film, which is the ONLY reason it won over The Court Jester. ” - llizdebruin
Independence Day (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive. (145 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
“ For an action/sci fi/world destruction film, this is probably my all time favorite. It partially comes from it coming out when I was eight, and I'm from a Sci Fi loving family so I grew up with this movie. I watch it most July 4th's and love it every time. It doesn't have too much of any of it's multiple elements. The appropriate amount of action balanced with the subtle comedy and of course, the sci fi. The alien story itself is nothing unique or new. It's a classic story but it was pulled off with such great writing and characters, and the design for the aliens was wonderful. ” - llizdebruin
Secondhand Lions (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas. (111 mins.)
Director: Tim McCanlies
“ This movie did not do well critically or commercially, but I will defend it until I die. I do, however, like to point out the great, late roger ebert really seemed to enjoy the film. The way he put it, it's "about the uncles every boy should have, and the summer every boy should spend." The film is not too realistic. The character's are not impossible but pretty close, but it's not supposed to be. The film is about growing up believe in goodness and bravery when faced with cowardice and neglect. It's about a boy who is dropped off with two uncles he's never met for the summer by a neglectful mother who is always running off with different boyfriends. The uncles tell him stories of their very colorful past and it's never 100% clear whether the stories are true or not but it doesn't matter, it was believing the stories that mattered. It has some of the best monologues I've ever heard given by Duvall's character, and if you are in the mood for a family film, please give it a shot. ” - llizdebruin
Death to Smoochy (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A kids show host, Rainbow Randolph, is fired in disgrace while his replacement, Sheldon Mopes, aka Smoochy the Rhino, finds himself a rising star. Unfortunately for Sheldon, the business of kids television isn't all child's play. (109 mins.)
Director: Danny DeVito
“ Time for a dark comedy. Now, if you don't do well with dark comedies and have a hard time seeing past antics to see the message, might not be your thing. It didn't do well with critics, but definitely a cult favorite. Absolutely hysterical performances across the board featuring names like Robin Williams, Ed Norton, Jon Stewart, Danny Devito and many more. This seemingly ridiculous movie is about the corruption and pure capitalistic motives behind children's television and, believe it or not, charity organizations. Despite the colorful suit of Rainbow Rick (williams) and Smoochy's(Norton) big fuchsia rhino costume, this film is not for kids. Not only is there plenty of violence and some sexual language, it would be over their heads most of the time. Smart, funny, ridiculous, bitter, twisted, everything a dark comedy should be. Definitely not a film for the mainstream though, it goes against the grain a fair bit. ” - llizdebruin
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ This will be one of two Christmas films on this list, fair warning. Jimmy Stewart again<3 But he's so darn relatable in this movie it's hard not to get behind his character and fall in love with his clumsy little guardian angel as they go through the world as though he never was. Wonderful film, Watch it every year. ” - llizdebruin
The Santa Clause (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place. (97 mins.)
Director: John Pasquin
“ Getting the second Christmas film out of the way. The sequels aren't great but the original Santa Clause is nothing but incredible family fun for the holiday. Magical, hopeful, sweet, something about the film just makes me feel warm and safe and very nostalgic. ” - llizdebruin
The Devil's Backbone (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
After Carlos - a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War - arrives at an ominous boys' orphanage, he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover. (106 mins.)
“ So probably one of the few horror's that make my list but again, not straight up horror. Incredible movie. Dark, meaningful, scary and the make up and effects on the young boy were just amazing. Everything about this film was a home run. Made by the same director as Pan's Labyrinth, this film tops my favorites of his over all his other incredible works. ” - llizdebruin
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets. (127 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
“ I told a friend I probably wouldn't add this because as much as I love it, I understand why many don't, BUT I haven't done that for any I have listed so far so, who cares? I love everything about this movie. The music is great, the costuming and the sets are gorgeous, and I immediate feel so connected and invested in the main two characters it's hard for me to stop being emotional after the film's over. ” - llizdebruin
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father's footsteps and stop the Nazis. (127 mins.)
“ It was hard for me to pick from the original three films for this. I went with Last Crusade because I felt like the mystery/adventure was the best, plus it had the added bonus of Sean Connery as Daddy Jones. Part of me wanted to put Temple of Doom, don't judge, I didn't like the female lead in ToD either nor the horrible racist stereotyping but I love that it's the only one of the three that the goal is actually helping people not just finding treasure. But in the end, Connery and better character's and better baddies won out. Although, Marian from Raiders was definitely the best female lead. ” - llizdebruin
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ To be honest, I HATE episodes 1-3. But 4-6 I couldn't decide which so I went with New Hope because it came first and has the seen with all the incredible alien make ups at the pub. So much detail in that scene. But yeah, no self respecting Sci Fi fan is not going to put at least one of the Star Wars movies up. ” - llizdebruin
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother. (146 mins.)
“ SOOO much wrong with this movie. It's too long. It's got like 300 endings, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most thought provoking and moving and sad and awesome sci fi films out there. The story, the design, the direction, the acting was all stunning. It just needed about 299 less endings. ” - llizdebruin
The Sixth Sense (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist. (107 mins.)
“ Still mad at M. Night for the sham Airbender was, but he get's his credit here. The Sixth Sense was incredible, just was. I'm tired and that's all I can say at the moment, other than the other M.Night film I was going to put was Signs, but I dropped it for Sixth Sense because Sixth Sense works at every level. Signs was a movie about faith and fate and a family and it was wonderful but it painted itself as sci fi and on the sci fi level, it failed at some key points. So Sixth Sense it is! ” - llizdebruin
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer. (109 mins.)
Director: Steven Zaillian
“ Amazing depth to this film. One of the only truly smart and interesting films center around chess. It follows the story of a young boy, a chess prodigy and is all about the balance that him and his family and teachers need to find to both nurture his particular genius but without letting it consume him. The performance of the young lead is astounding. While watching, it is clear what he is feeling every second even when he is not saying anything. ” - llizdebruin
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A deformed bell-ringer must assert his independence from a vicious government minister in order to help his friend, a gypsy dancer. (91 mins.)
“ And yes, I meant to pick the Disney version. I would not say this is a top 25 best film but for top 25 personal favorite films, it definitely belongs. I simply wish they had not had the gargoyles help in the fighting in the end because it would have been very interesting to have kept this idea, of the gargoyle's being in Quasi's imagination from extreme isolation, open. But anyways, the animation is beautiful, the music is powerful. It's incredibly dark for a kid's film and obviously it deviates from the book greatly but when you're good guys are singing about killing the heroes and taking pleasure in it (court of miracles) and your disney villain is a "man of god" openly lusting after Esmeralda who practically does a strip tease in the flames, oh and the whole thing opens with a woman being murdered and the threat of throwing an infant into a well, Disney took a lot of risks. I always connected to this portrayal of Quasimodo. Esmeralda was always the disney character I looked up to the most and I still cry at least three times watching this. So don't judge, I love it. I know the gargoyles are kind of dumb and their song is completely out of place. I also take pride, once again, that in a film less loved by others, Roger Ebert wrote a glowing review, so go check it out. ” - llizdebruin
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner. (105 mins.)
Director: Nora Ephron
“ I'm not much of a romcom kind of gal but every once and a while there is one I see as smart, unique and interesting. Sleepless in Seattle tops the list. It's a movie about being in love in the movies. The character's are likable and completely relatable. While some of their behavior makes no sense, we've all sort of done those crazy sort of things when it comes to love or what not. ” - llizdebruin
The Lion King (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble. (88 mins.)
“ If you need this explained to you... just... just watch it, okay? No need for anything else. Just watch it. ” - llizdebruin
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
When a lottery winner dies of shock, his fellow townsfolk attempt to claim the money. (91 mins.)
Director: Kirk Jones
“ Phenomenal Irish comedy about two best friends in a small village who, compelled by greed, decide to pretend to be a man named Ned Devine in order to get the winnings of a 6million lb lotto win. Funny, smart and featuring a bit of every type of humor, it is definitely one of the best films I've ever got the pleasure to watch. It is a slower paced film. It is not for people who enjoy more Will Ferrell styled comedies. ” - llizdebruin
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. (113 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
“ Speaking of Will Ferrell, here he is as the lead of a film while managing to be completely not like Will Ferrell. He plays a completely ordinary guy who everyone hates for being an IRS man. Everything changes when he starts hearing a voice narrating his life and it announces that he will soon die. His character decides to live life to the fullest, in ways such as falling in love and learning to play guitar. It stars Dustan Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Emma Thompson. Definitely one of the most meaningful movies I've ever seen. If you enjoy films about character and heart while remaining clever and entertaining, than this is definitely a film for you. ” - llizdebruin
A League of Their Own (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. (128 mins.)
Director: Penny Marshall
“ A piece set during World War II when the men were sent over seas and in an attempt to keep the money flowing, the first (and only) national women's baseball league was created. The film not only shows a complicated relationship between two sisters with honesty, but shows the struggle of the amazing women to be recognized as ball players. As well as the struggle of a woman to figure out what she truly wants, between the sport she loves and the man she loves, dealing with a culture that, at the time, would never permitted her to have both. Great Film. ” - llizdebruin