If you had to watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? It’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many great films to choose from. My living room resembles the scene from The Holiday when Kate Winslet arrives in LA to Cameron Diaz’s insane film collection and home cinema type set-up. So when it comes to choosing films I couldn’t live without, I couldn’t pick just one. Some days you’re in the mood for something that inspires you, sometimes you want something mind numbing and other times you just want to watch something that is familiar and a comfort. Here are my top 20 movies I couldn’t live without and why.
Without a doubt my favourite film in the entire world. You have a young and adorable Drew Barrymore, 80s fashion and the idyllic American lifestyle of riding bikes in the street without a care in the world, and an alien who glows and touches his human friends lives. The bond between E.T. and Elliott is a timeless bromance, and who doesn’t love the extended version where E.T. is blowing bubbles in the bath? The soundtrack has beautiful scores by the legend that is John Williams and the effects of a flying bicycle and spaceships are so well done. It’s a comfort to watch a when you need a pick me up or just a lazy Sunday on the sofa.
The Goonies (1985)
Goonies never say die! 30-years after it’s release that line is still as iconic as it was back in the 80s. Pirates and treasure are just two things that make this movie a cult classic that everyone should watch at least once in their life – you can’t beat a good 80s movie no matter what decade it is. Friendship is the moral of the movie and the group known as the Goonies intend to do their best to enjoy their final weekend together before they are split up due to foreclosures on their homes. I cannot put into words how amazing the Goonies is and if you haven’t already watched it, stop reading and watch the trailer and then watch the film. Do it. Do it now.
This movie is something I always watch when I’m ill. Robin Williams excellently plays a ten year old boy in a 40-year old body due to a for if progeria. He’s about to help his fellow classmates out with his older looks and even begins dating one of their mothers. The heart-warming end sees Williams graduating from high school in the body of an 80-year old remind everyone that life is short and you should make your life spectacular. A life lesson for all and something that sticks with you when you feel like you’re dying from a common cold.
The Karate Kid (1984)
I did karate as a kid and this movie is probably why. While it wasn’t all about wax on, wax off and paint the fence, The Karate Kid inspired me to try something new. Ralph Macchio plays the underdog Daniel LaRusso taken under the wing of Mr. Miyagi and between the two of them they take on a rival karate dojo and succeed. It’s a tale of friendship, loyalty and dedication to your craft and supported by a sweet sounding 80s soundtrack that makes you wish the 80s were still alive and kicking today.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
This is not Robin Williams’ greatest legacy but it has a standing in today’s world where many children are a product of divorced parents. Robin Williams is the screw up dad who turns his life around in an unusual way to keep his kids in his life. Who would have thought impersonating an old lady would be such a hit with the kids? Not only do you get Sally Field as the mother, but you also see Pierce Brosnan in a non macho role to what he’s accustomed to and Mara Wilson in her cute Matilda and Miracle on 34th Street days. An all round family classic that again makes any lazy Sunday or rainy day complete.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Before the remake where Johnny Depp took a creepy and somewhat sadistic approach to Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder was the man with the factory every kid wanted. You’ll often see Willy Wonka on TV on bank holiday weekends and no matter how many times you’ve seen it before, you’ll sit through the adverts and watch it again. It is first and foremost a musical but there are so many quirks that it doesn’t really feel like it fits into that category. If you manage to make it through Willy Wonka without eating an entire box of chocolates then you have some incredible will power.
The Breakfast Club(1985)
Don’t you, forget about me. How could The Breakfast Club not be included on this list. It’s the ultimate 80s teen flick giving you hope that stereotypes and cliques are irrelevant in society. Never has a Saturday detention seemed appealing but it really is about discovering yourself and realising that we all have something in common no matter what social group we belong to. “You see as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal.” If you haven’t seen The Breakfast Club I have no idea what you’ve been doing with your life.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
This is probably one of the movies I relate to most in life: a tomboy who doesn’t fit in with the pretty popular crowd and doesn’t like to dress up unless there is really a need. To me I see this as one of Sandra Bullocks’ biggest successes and it doesn’t need much explanation as to why. If Chandler Bing loves it and knows it through a wall, that’s all the validation you should need to have this in your movie repertoire. Plus there’s Michael Caine. Score. An FBI agent that goes undercover at the Miss United States pageant and kicks some ass. That’s the movie in short without getting into how funny it is and how much of a feel good film it is.
Mean Girls (2004)
I may not be a victim of Regina George but I am a victim of a good teen chick flick. When watching the special features on the DVD you’ll hear that the casting directors hired Rachel McAdams for the role because it takes a nice girl to play a complete bitch. You would never think that this is the same girl who played innocent Allie in The Notebook and has gone on to major rom coms such as The Time Travellers Wife and The Vow. Amanda Seyfried is hilarious as dumbfounded Karen who believes there’s a thirty percent chance it’s already raining when it is in fact raining. We also get Lindsey Lohan on form before her downward spiral. It’s a modern day chick flick that you can watch over and over again without getting bored. Perfect for when you need a good laugh or a night in with the girls.
American Pie 2 (2001)
The one and only film in the American Pie franchise that never tires. When you’ve been to University and come back home for the holidays, hanging out with your friends isn’t quite the same. So what do you do? Rent a house at the lake for the summer and relive your high school days. I was never much of a party person, but American Pie 2 is easy to relate to for anyone. You grow and change, you begin to find people you want to spend your life with and then there is always one person who just can’t let go of the high school life. The soundtrack of Blink 182, 3 Doors Down and Sum 41 happens to take me back to my failed ollie jumping teen skater days. Everyone likes to keep that little bit of the high school free spirit alive and American Pie 2 is a great reminder of the good old days.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg again teams up with John Williams for an iconic soundtrack that left us all feeling nostalgic after the recent release of Jurassic World. Sure it’s not a realistic film, but for geeks and nerds all over dinosaurs are cool. It’s probably as realistic as you can make dinosaurs look in the 90s with it’s combination of CGI and humans in robotic dinosaur costumes. Sam Neil does an excellent job as Doctor Grant saving the island from velociraptors and a T-rex. But the highlight will always be the late great Richard Attenborough. His smooth soothing voice just melts your heart and makes you fall in love with the possibility that dinosaurs could one day come to exist.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
James Dean, what can I say. A man of such talent with a life that was short-lived. Rebel Without a Cause is his most well known film. A classic teen flick about 1950s society and the rebellion between parents and children demolishing the idea of the nuclear family has such cultural and historical standing in the movie world. I personally hadn’t watched Revel Without a Cause until my second year at university in a 1950s Hollywood module, but it has since become an iconic DVD in my collection. James Dean, you’re tearing me apart with your suave leather jacket and slick back gelled hair. This is one movie that doesn’t need flashy effects or over powering music, the story speaks for itself.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Ah the days of young Jake Gyllenhaal. Science fiction films are always on the spectrum of weird, which makes them so great, but Donnie Darko and it’s doomsday visions are beyond the spectrum. It’s full of teen angst making it a film to watch when you’ve had a bad day. While Frank the rabbit might look creepy he does save Donnie’s life from an aeroplane engine. Donnie Darko has you questioning fate and destiny throughout the whole movie and it’s again accompanied by a deep soundtrack topped off with Gary Jules – Mad World. Enough said.
The Shining (1980)
If you thought Stephen King’s novel was brilliant, you must have seen Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation starring Jack Nicholson. It’s as psychedelic as the novel with the creepy twin girls, blood flowing from the walls and Nicholson’s classic line “here’s Johnny!” that studies have claimed to be the scariest scene in movie history. The Shining isn’t your typical horror film, this is a classic thriller scary movie. No stereotypes, just incredible writing, eery scores and acting that will deliver chills. No need to wait for Halloween for a scary movie, watch The Shining any day of the year.
Toy Story (1995)
Cowboys and spacemen, a perfect combination! Throw in Rex the dinosaur, space aliens, Mr Potatohead and a bunch of other favourite toys we wish we had growing up, and you get Toy Story. I’d be lying if I didn’t hope my toys came to life when I was out of the room, but at least we have Buzz and Woody to live vicariously through. You can’t beat the brilliant animation of Walt Disney and Pixar and the friendship between all the toys as they pick their moving buddies. A classic for all no matter what your age.
The Express (2008)
The best thing about a sports movie is when it’s based on a true story. I fell in love with this movie at University after studying its historical context. The biopic follows Ernie Davis as a high school and college football player, becoming the first African American winner of the college Heisman Trophy in 1961 and to this unfortunate battle with leukaemia. There’s so much motivation that inspires you to push through life’s troubles. Sure we may not face segregation anymore but its a poignant part of American history that everyone should know about.
I could have easily traded Inception for Juno but Ellen Page’s acting and overall look was far superior in one of the most confusing films to exist, Inception. Does Leonardo DiCaprio truly make it home to his real life? Does the thimble stop spinning? We will never know and it’ll be forever debated. What cannot be questioned is the insane soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and calibre of the acting from accompanying actors Tom Hardy, Michael Cane and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The visual effects are insane as the characters delve into the deeper levels of the subconscious. It’s a film that cannot be faulted. It’s challenging and ingenious but most importantly keeps you hooked from the beginning.
The Holiday (2006)
Now I’m not one to rave about the holiday season, in fact I’ll make it known how much of a scrooge I am. But the Holiday isn’t like any other Christmas movie about miracles and who gets the biggest present. It’s a real feel good romantic comedy that doesn’t have to be watched in December. You have two love stories, some cute kids who you wish were your own, Jack Black in a somewhat serious role, Jude Law as Mr. Napkinhead, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz (no need to explain what makes them enjoyable to watch), and the loveable Arthur Abbott who introduces us all to some classic movies. Plus there’s snow and a nice rustic cottage in the middle of nowhere in Surrey. Win, win and win.
Peter Pan (1953)
Nobody ever wants to grow up and that’s why this is one movie I can’t live without. A classic Walt Disney in all its animation glory. If you weren’t sold on the love story between Wendy and Peter, and the idea of flying to Neverland so you could fight pirates and forever be a kid, then you’ll never understand the love I have for this film. It’s one of the rare films that isn’t depicted by time, everything stands still and you’re brought back to a life that was simpler and without responsibilities. I’m still waiting on my Tinkerbell to give me some fairy dust so I can think happy thoughts and fly away.
What’s your favourite scary movie? Is it Scream? No it’s not. But it’s so ludicrous that you can’t help but laugh. It’s the epitome of all horror movie cliches; don’t leave the house and then go back in and lock the door, the killer will be inside; don’t leave the group for some one-on-one time with your high school sweetheart, they will try to kill you; and a big party doesn’t keep you safe, it’s a big slaughter fest. You can’t help but watch Neve Campbell in her innocent days take on a killer, and you can’t help but love the on and off screen romance between Courtney Cox and David Arquette. It has everything you want in a scary movie.