Over the past few years I’ve made a concerted effort to watch lots of movies considered to be among the best of all time. Now, for the first time, I’ve made my own list of favorite movies of all time. Every other Wednesday throughout 2022, I will be revealing ten movies in my list of 250 Favorite Movies of All Time.
Director: Dean DeBlois
Cast: Sigur Rós
When did I first watch this movie?: On an Icelandair flight after returning from Amsterdam in 2010.
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: The band Sigur Rós, after gaining worldwide success, returned to their native Iceland for a tour in 2006. This included performing in intimate and unusual venues and embracing facets of traditional Icelandic culture. The beautiful cinematography of this film pairs well with Sigur Rós’ ethereal musical style as well as the landscapes of Iceland.
Title: Fanny and Alexander
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Pernilla Allwin, Bertil Guve, Jan Malmsjö, Börje Ahlstedt, Anna Bergman, Gunn Wållgren, Kristina Adolphson, Erland Josephson, Mats Bergman, Jarl Kulle
When did I first watch this movie?: In 2021, for my Classic Movie Project
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Bergman’s most personal film explores the dynamics of a large family through the eyes of a child. It’s filled with bold colors and scenarios on the edge of reality and imagination.
Title: 12 Angry Men
Director: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden
When did I first watch this movie?: In a high school class after we read the play.
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: The classic courthouse drama makes the most of 12 anonymized men in a close room. Henry Fonda portrays the sole juror who wants to pursue justice rather than get out as quickly as possible. It’s a kind of unsettling account of our criminal justice system.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, Douglas Dick, Edith Evanson
When did I first watch this movie?: Spring 1997, although I don’t recall the details
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Another movie that sets a group of people in a single room for the drama. This time a snobbish pair of college students murder a classmate and then have a party with his family while the body is hidden in the room. Filmed in long takes and set in real time, the tension of this story is set to high from the start.
Title: Mulholland Drive
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Mark Pellegrino, and Robert Forste
When did I first watch this movie?: Last year for my Classic Movie project
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: I like movies that are weird and beautiful, and Lynch’s masterpiece is the weirdest and most beautiful. The film deconstructs the modern Hollywood dream with nods to classics like Sunset Blvd.
Title: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Director: David Gelb
Cast: Jiro Ono
When did I first watch this movie?: During the 2019 Blogging A-to-Z Challenge
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: I’ve never had sushi (I don’t like seafood), but found this documentary about the perfectionist sushi chef Jiro Ono to be compelling. In a world that consistently celebrates innovators it’s good to see the appreciation of craft, where someone does one thing very well and then does it again and again.
Title: Chop Shop
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Cast: Alejandro Polanco, Isamar Gonzales, Rob Sowulski, Carlos Zapata, Ahmad Razvi
When did I first watch this movie?: Winter 2009
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Growing up a Mets fan, I was aware of the industrial region adjacent to Shea Stadium (and now Citi Field) called Willets Point or the Iron Triangle, that was home to auto repair shops and junkyards. Despite being in New York City, the area had unpaved roads and no storm drains. This neorealistic film follows the orphaned 12-year-old Alejandro as he tries to make a living for himself and his sister.
Director: Ceyda Torun
Cast: Sarı, Duman, Bengü, Aslan Parçası, Gamsız, Psikopat, and Deniz
When did I first watch this movie?: I watched it for the 2020 Blogging A-to-Z Challenge
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: I love cats. The people of Istanbul, particularly in the Cihangir neighborhood, really love cats. This documentary observes the lives of several street cats in Istanbul and their interactions with the humans who care for them.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson
When did I first watch this movie?: Sometime when I was a teenager
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Hitchcock builds the mood and tension in this story of a woman haunted by the memory of her husband’s previous wife. Great performances from Fontaine and Anderson make this psychological thriller work.
Title: Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
When did I first watch this movie?: At a movie theater in March 2020 which I will always remember was the same day that WHO declared a global pandemic of COVID.
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Rian Johnson reinvents the ensemble cast mystery-comedy for our age with this story of a large family of really shitty people in the wake of the apparent suicide of the family patriarch. Ana de Armas gives a tour de force performance as the nurse Marta Cabrera caught in the middle of the whirlwind of white privilege.