My favorite movies of the year

If you had not noticed, I like lists. That’s just how my mind works. I make lists for all kinds of things, especially at the end/beginning of a year: a list of books I want to read, a list of goals for the next year, a list of potential careers, a list of different subjects I’d like to teach… It can get a little out of hand. But I know no other way.

In this spirit, I thought I would write a list of the ten movies that I saw this year that I liked the most. Here are the ground rules: I must have seen it for the first time this year; the list includes not which movies I thought were the best cinematically, script-wise, acting-wise, or overall, it includes simply those movies that were my favorite; and, really, that’s about it.

Without further ado, here are my ten favorite movies I saw this year. (Critique away!)

10. On the Waterfront (1954)

One-sentence summary: A dockworker in Hoboken, New Jersey, struggles between his ties to the mob, his love for a girl, and doing the right thing. (Also, pigeons.)

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: Marlon Brando’s performance was mesmerizing.

9. Unforgiven (1992)

One-sentence summary: It’s a Western that shows that actually it wasn’t all that fun being a prostitute in the West, and that violence is tragic.

Most memorable moment: There are quite a scenes to choose from: the “duck of death” scene, the final shootout. But this one stood out to me.

“Hot, ain’t it?”

Why I enjoyed it: Honestly, how could one not enjoy a movie where Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman do battle?

8. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

One-sentence summary: Three actors adjust to the switch from silent pictures to “talkies.”

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: I’m not normally one for musicals, but this one was quite funny. Plus, the missus enjoyed it too.

7. Tropic Thunder (2008)

One-sentence summary: A bunch of actors make a fictional Vietnam War film that isn’t very fake.

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: I don’t think I laughed harder at a movie this year.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

One-sentence summary: A concierge to a famous hotel attempts to prove his innocence after being framed for murder during the onset of a continent-wide war.

Most memorable moment: YouTube is missing many of the funniest scenes in this movie. Just watch the whole thing. But here’s a taste.

Why I enjoyed it: It is the prettiest film I saw this year, and Ralph Fiennes is a treasure.

5. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

One-sentence summary: A man and a woman fall in love over a long period of time.

Most memorable moment: Umm… Let’s skip this particular gimmick for this movie. This is supposed to be a family website.

Why I enjoyed it: It is funny, obviously, and quite heart-warming. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Let’s pause here to acknowledge the two women on this list who recently passed away, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. R.I.P.

4. Children of Men (2006)

One-sentence summary: In a world gone mad with violence, totalitarian governments, and infertility, a man tries to lead a pregnant woman to safety.

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: It was beautifully directed (it reminded me of the number two movie on this list), and the story is at once depressing and full of hope.

3. Hail, Caesar! (2016)

One- sentence summary: A film studio “fixer” tries to find a kidnapped actor.

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: It is filled with hilarious moments, treats religion as an aspect of real life, and gives a more realistic portrayal of the communist infiltration of Hollywood than almost anything else I’ve seen. Bravo.

2. The French Connection (1971)

One-sentence summary: A couple of New York detectives attempt to break up a drug-smuggling ring.

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: Gene Hackman is without peer. And as far as the direction goes—I can think of no other word to describe it than striking.

1. Groundhog Day (1993)

One-sentence summary: A TV weatherman relives the same day over and over again.

Most memorable moment:

Why I enjoyed it: No movie made me feel as good after I saw it than Groundhog Day.


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