But first-- a disclaimer: if you're looking for a list containing intellectually stimulating films or all-around cinematic masterpieces, I suggest you head over to the AFI and Criterion websites. This top 10 list has movies that I simply love. How do I know if I "love" a film? There are 3 distinct factors:
- Repeat viewings-- sometimes in the same day.
- Researching every aspect about the film, including watching all of the bonus features.
- Quoting the film. As I'm not much of an audible learner, if I remember what was said there's a good chance I loved the movie.
Without further delay and in no particular order, here are 10 Films I Love.
The Thin Man
Believe it or not, this 1934 comedic "Who Done It?" is actually a Christmas movie! At least... it takes place during the holiday and it's tradition that I watch this and its New Years Eve sequel, After The Thin Man, every year. The film stars Hollywood "Golden Age" power couple William Powell and Myrna Loy. Separately, they're both fantastic comedic actors, but together their banter and on-screen chemistry are what truly makes the movie.
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Few films ever come close to cinematic perfection, but Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley is, to me, perfect. Forget that it's a fantastic Jane Austen adaptation, forget that it hosts a legendary cast of young and seasoned talent, and forget that it's a timeless romance that filmmakers and writers will still be adapting decades to come. Take those factors away and the film has stunning cinematography beautifully edited into one continuous visual journey accompanied by a score so lovely that I actually used the music for my wedding ceremony. To say that I love this film would be an understatement.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (extended editions)
I haven't read the books so I have no basis to judge LOTR as an adaptation. Honestly, it's such a gorgeous fantasy production that this, too, is another perfect piece of cinema. What more can I say?
Nothing can really explain the comedic scope and legendary quotations from this amazing ensemble film. If you've seen it you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well, get to it because you're missing out on a movie you'll never tire of watching, especially with a great group of friends.
Films with large, all-star ensemble casts have a tendency to be... well... awful, i.e. New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. It might have something to do with needy, greedy stars that fight over the most screen time BUT I wouldn't want to speculate. So Love Actually is a breath of fresh air. It works as a smart, witty, and sweet RomCom, a warm and fuzzy Christmas movie, and a great example of how to do ensembles right. I think it's a British thing.
Persuasion (1995 and 2007)
Persuasion happens to be one of my favorite novels in all the Universe, thus it makes sense that TWO very different yet equally well-made adaptations would become two films I love. And I do love them, like Captain Wentworth loves Anne Elliot.
As a kid I spent my Thursday nights watching PBS Mystery! hosted by Diana Rigg. It was here I developed a love for David Suchet's Poirot, Joan Hickson's Miss Marple, and Jeremy Brett's Holmes. So when Robert Downey Jr. (a favorite actor of mine) landed the role of my favorite detective, you needed four burly men and tranquilizers to keep me from the theater. A stellar film and I love watching on repeat. Oh and I loved the sequel as well.
A Christmas Carol
A favorite story in general, you can't go wrong sticking me in front of a television playing any adaption of A Christmas Carol. While the Ebenezer Scrooge played by both Reginald Lockhart (1938) and Alistair Sim (1951) will forever hold a special place in my heart, Robert Zemeckis re-imagined the tale in ways I never thought possible. The imagery alone is incredible and Jim Carrey does a fabulous job jumping from Scrooge to all three ghosts (even if the Ghost of Christmas Past is a little weird).
The Court Jester
If you've ever watched White Christmas, you've seen Danny Kaye's incredible triple-threat talent hard at work. While The Court Jester has less singing and dancing (though there is some), this film offers oodles of slapstick comedy from a master comedian. Imagine if Robin Hood had a bumbling sidekick who must impersonate a traveling jester (who also happens to be an assassin) to infiltrate the castle to overthrow the tyrant ruler and place the rightful heir on the throne.
The famous "Vessel with the Pestle" dialog scene is from this movie.
Robin Hood Men in Tights
Speaking of Robin Hood and comedy, Robin Hood Men in Tights is a legendary comedy on its own. Though you can't go wrong with anything by Mel Brooks. I don't have anything else to add other than "Did you say 'Abe Lincoln?' "
There are many more films I love but this is just a taste of... my taste!