Thoughts on… Our Top Five

Just for the sake of sentimentality, here are our top five films of all time- What are your top five? Let us know!

Number 5

The Usual Suspects
To start if off, I’ve got an exception thriller known for its shocking ending, to me one of the greatest twist endings in history. The Usual Suspects doesn’t have one of most star-studded casts ever, Kevin Spacey and Benicio del Toro being the only known stars. However, everyone does their part in making everything so convincing and enticing. The set-up to the twist ending is simply incredible storytelling by Bryan Singer (director of X-Men) and the way that the ending unravels is slow, exciting and full of tension and excitement. Kevin Spacey also won the best supporting actor, and deservingly so. He is the centerpiece of the film and is a big reason it is so great. 
The Dark Knight
I have a full-fledged belief that absolutely no one dislikes this movie. Everything about it is awe-inspiringly entertaining and provoking. It’s an experience that drags you out of the fact that you’re watching a comic-book film and propels you into a dark, complex drama. I can’t say anything about Ledger that hasn’t been said beyond the fact that he embodies chaos perfectly while still squeezing all the love you could have for the character. That’s not to forget an excellent supporting cast which carries the weighted scenes with ease. The cinematography and shots just pull off what I think Nolan’s trying to say so well also. Long live Ledger. Long live Nolan. Long live Gotham’s dark knight (Just maybe not as Ben Affleck)

Number 4

Singin’ in the Rain
Ah. It’s a classic! THE original movie musical and Gene Kelly’s masterpiece, Singin’ in the Rain. I am a director in my school’s theater program, so I hold musicals close to my heart, and this is probably the greatest movie musical I’ve ever seen. The songs are great, the dancing is great, the acting is great. I truly adore this movie. I only watched it for the first time this past summer and fell in love with it. I’ve actually woken up singing “Good morning, Good morning!” before. I’ve heard Gene Kelly’s a real ass-hole, but, hell, does he dance well. 
Another Nolan one. When Inception’s on TV, I can almost never bring myself to turn to it. This is, in my way, the biggest compliment I can give to a movie’s intensity and impact. I’m never quite mentally prepared to leap through turning halls with Arthur, be regaled of Mal’s suicide with Dom, and to be swept into the cathartic final 10 minutes. I remember watching this with headphones on the first time and being able to hear every piece of dialogue and every little sound personally, it’s a great way to watch it. Plus you’ve gotta love a movie that completely delivers on the title.

Number 3

The Shawshank Redemption
Though the movie wasn’t a hit when it first came out (thanks to Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump being released the same year), it became much more popular as the years went on. It’s now thought of as an all time great, and rightfully so. While everything about this film is good (the direction, the acting, the writing) what most people take away from this film is it’s extraordinary message. The movie is about perseverance, belief, and, hence the title, redemption. I’ve heard many times people say that, when they’re sad or depressed, they watch this movie and it picks them right up. It’s just that kind of film. Prison movies are America’s least favorite type of movie, but the Shawshank Redemption manages to get around that and create a masterpiece.
The Departed
I love Boston. I love gangster movies. I love DiCaprio, Damon, and Nicholson. So what was the next logical step after I became a fan of these things? This movie. It’s kind of an out of place item on my list given that I tend to like relatively fast paced, direct plots and this movie can meander. But I don’t care. I love how it slows down, it takes its sweet time with the talented actors it has to give the audience suspenseful, foul-mouthed lines from the surprisingly personal characters immerse themselves in the violent environment they inhabit. And when a rat scurries across the Boston skyline in the final shot, you may feel a lot of things but emptiness over the film certainly isn’t one of them.

Number 2

The Departed
Essentially an adaption of Hong Kong’s 2002 film Infernal Affairs, The Departed didn’t fail to disappoint me. It was exciting from beginning to end, and I was very satisfied afterwards. Martin Scorcese is not known for plots. In fact, after winning, he said that this was the first movie he had done with a plot. And it was a good one. This is my first pick on the list that doesn’t really have a deep message, but instead it’s just… Fun. The plot is exciting, the action is engaging. The movie is just so exhilarating to watch, and keeps you on edge the entire time. It entertains you like an action movie, but is also really well written, and this equates to one of the best movies of the decade. It’s a shame Martin Scorcese hadn’t won best director before, but he definitely deserved it for this film.
It’s A Wonderful Life
I know how weird it is that in this list of particularly gritty, recent films I have an upbeat, Christmas movie. But really, after watching the movie year after year, it has grown on me. When Bailey resists temptation to give into Mr. Potter’s enticing offer, I feel every bit of emotion Jimmy Stewart throws out there. It says a lot about a scene that you feel the same impact you did the first time every single time you watch it afterwards. I could actually watch it anytime of the year, and it does get me how it gets thrown in the Christmas column exclusively even though it actually trails a man through a large part of his life. In fact just talking about it just makes me want to watch it now. It’s feel good and genuinely emotional without being forceful, a quality a lot movies wish they had nowadays.

Number 1

Forrest Gump
A movie that you can quote constantly, recite lines from, or be able to answer all the trivia questions at Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant correctly is definitely deserving of being number one on your list. I’ve see this movie many, many times, and it never get’s old. The charm, the plot. Everything. Tom Hanks delivers one of my favorite acting performances of all time as the titular character, the idiot who still manages to accomplish… well everything! The plot is one of the most outrageous, impossible stories but really, who cares? It’s such a heartwarming, humorous tale that sticks with you. It has it’s funny moments, it’s sad moments, it’s romantic moments. It even utilizes an extraordinary amount of computer graphics, if you haven’t noticed. It’s a movie made for everyone, especially me.
Pulp Fiction
I want to ask you something. What part of the movie has to be the best? The opening? The climax? The end? When asked that, I think Quentin Tarantino often chooses none of the above. Instead, he decides to throw a bunch of off-beat characters, action and somewhat pointless dialogue at you in a film that has been toned perfectly and expects you to like it. You know what’s insane though? It all works. The characters could be talking about a burger in France and still be developing. The film could structure in a way that is totally non-chronological and still work. I feel like in an odd way this film has something almost anyone can enjoy. Every time I see it, I notice something different, laugh at something different and, most importantly, absorb it all over again. Thank you, Tarantino, for making me perpetually want to walk the earth and maybe, meet someone as cool as one of these characters.

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