I honestly don't like top 10 lists usually. This list isn't in order of what I think is the best, though Star Wars, Leon the Professional, Hellboy and Superman all have special meanings for me. I was raised on Star Wars and the other films are largely about adopted characters. Being adopted I tend to lean into that kind of story pretty heavily
Here are my top 10 favorite films (as of this very moment) in alphabetical orderFish Story:
This is the perfect "Cause and Effect" movie. A small punk band from Japan releases a mysterious track several years before The Sex Pistols are even a thing. This unknown song, from a failed punk band, will SAVE THE WORLD! No really. This is about how your actions, no matter how small will have giant ripples that will lead to great things. Your art, who you stand up for, your children, all of it... it all matters. This is a movie about how YOU MATTER. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th-aWq1UNeMHellboy II: The Golden Army:
This is a tough one for me because Hellboy means a lot. In 2004 when the original film came out I had just moved out of my parents house for the first time. Literally the month the first film came out I was alone, I felt very isolated even though I had room mates. I didn't feel like we got along at all. I was just too young to be out on my own and without a real job to speak of. But the first film really helped me. Ok I haven't really written anything about Hellboy II here. It's just the better movie. Hellboy is good, but it's got a lot of dog-shit moments. Hellboy II really raises the stakes and has some of the best damn creature design I've ever seen. Also the romance with Abe Sapien is too fucking cute. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMWQEi8vvtoLawrence of Arabia:
This is a hugely problematic pick for me because it's not politically correct at all. Sir Alec Guinness plays a Arabian prince named Faisal. Yeah Obi-Wan Kenobi playing a middle eastern prince. Hell they got Anthony Quinn to play a middle-easterner too because he was Mexican. Hollywood is fucking crazy. BUT watch this movie. It got me through a lot and my next tattoo will probably be about this film.
T.E. Lawrence is my favorite historical figure and though this film is largely inaccurate, including Peter O'Toole's incredible height (T.E. Lawrence was very short), but it's amazing. You want to see where the large sprawling epic started, go here. Want to see large scale battles with real horses, real planes, real explosions, in the desert, shot in 70mm in the widest format possible.
DO NOT SEE THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME AT HOME UNLESS YOU HAVE AN ENORMOUS SCREEN. I'm not talking about a 65 inch 4k tv even. Go see this movie on film. Like a good lover of cinema. See it in 70mm. it's constantly touring. You can find it once a year. Might be a drive to get there, but if you love film, see it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3tuBFHuYV4Léon: The Professional:
Here we go... maybe my favorite movie of all time. Leon is an all time iconic character. The look, the performance and the story all culminate an taught, action packed, emotionally heart wrenching picture. Natalie Portman's debut performance is Oscar worthy (not that I really give much of a fuck about the Oscars). I'd say she steals the show, but that's hard to do when Jean Reno is giving the best performance of his career as the quiet hitman, Léon and Gary Oldman is proving the world he's an actor by chewing through the scenery.
If I had to say watch one of these movies TODAY it'd be this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNQqoExfQsgLost in Translation:
The film that made me travel to Japan. This movie understands the isolation a westerner goes through when come to Japan. Japan is a very loud and bright place that's also incredibly reserved. Cities are lit up like Vegas but it doesn't have this insane party atmosphere. It can be very jarring seeing a whole world filled with busy people and it's still very quiet. The sound design of Lost in Translation in beautiful for this reason. That also carries over into it's soundtrack. No I don't mean the score, or it's music cues, I mean the literal soundtrack you can buy and listen to. That thing is brilliant because it captures these little musical harmonies that flow through Toyko's streets. Even their crosswalks sing, but nobody talks to each other.
That alone is reason enough for me to recommend it, but there's more. the brilliant performances from Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson are top notch. You believe their chemistry, you want to see them become friends as these two strangers start colliding together in this obtuse hotel. Murray is able to channel this alternative version of himself, the actor who didn't quite make it, who had a few hits, but is on the decline. Now the comedic power house and icon he is in reality. His sadness is so real, so palpable and he's so desperate for Japan to mean something to his life... it's wondrous. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU0oZsqeG_sLove Exposure:
Despite the inclusion of Lawrence of Arabia this movie has the longest running time on the list at THREE HOURS AND FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES. The opening credits happen 90 minutes into the movie. You heard me right. 90 minutes into the movie and that's when you get the title credits. The previous 90 minutes was all a prologue to what's going to happen next.
I can't explain this movie to you. All I can tell you is that it has EVERYTHING. It tackles every taboo subject in the book, it's hilarious, it's heart breaking, it's insanely violent, it's fast, and it's insane. Four hours will never fly by so fast in your entire life. Religion, sex, cross dressing, incest, cults, violence, voyeurism, up skirt panty shot taking ninjas... These are all in the film.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG13M1YwoVgMad Max Fury Road:
Probably the most known recent film on my list. I don't really feel the need to talk about it. You've most likely seen it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8The Raid 2 Berandal:
Never has there been a film so bad ass as The Raid 2 Berandal. Berandal literally means bad ass. It is the best choreographed action movie ever made. When it comes to hand to hand combat no film has come close to the speed, the furious nature of the fights and the brutal unrelenting violence. I mean true ultra-violence. The Raid was a masterpiece in small, indie, action story telling. If The Raid was a nuclear cinema bomb... the uncontained blast would be The Raid 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG9uFX3uYq4Star Wars:
I'm a fan Superman:
And we come to Superman. My literal namesake. In the 1970s when Superman hit theaters, my parents were in France. They had gone there as missionaries. Yeah I know. Who needs to spread the word of God to countries with the written word. It doesn't make much sense but there they were. In France, doing the work of The Lord as a young married couple. They decided to catch a movie (as that was their thing to do) and they chose Truth, Justice and the American Way...
Seeing those fields of Kansas Wheat as a young Clark Kent raced home, kicked a football into atmosphere and eventually saw the death of his father, my parents got homesick. That beautifully staged Richard Donner Americana, this was home. My dad grew up on a ranch in Northern California. My mother grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. They couldn't be more different. My dad went to college to study animal medicine and play football. My mom was an art major. My dad is incredibly practical and down to earth and my mom loves to paint and sew and be creative. They're just different enough to be perfect halves. They're still together and I love them.
BACK TO SUPERMAN
The film inspired my parents to move back to America, start a family and they eventually named me after Clark Kent, who, like me, is adopted. It means a lot to me. The Kent name is important. Adopted heroes resonate a lot with me. Being adopted is weird. As you get older there's a tendency to see your family less and less as family and more and more as people who took you in. It's a disconnect that happens when you realize the burden you were. When you can finally step back from yourself and see that you weren't easy, you were a hard, long thought out choice. And the life you have, it didn't have to be that way.
Most people can't relate to the idea that your life was 100% going to be different if these two people didn't step up. I'd have been in foster care, or with my teenage birth mom, or raised by another set of adoptive parents entirely. My mom has told me, if I was a girl, I wouldn't have my parents today. I'm literally crying as I write this because adoption means a lot to me.
But that film is the reason I'm as blessed as I am today and that I have the lovely parents that I have today.
Thanks mom & dad.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxD8RlGnP64