At Movie Fail, we feel that it is important for every semi-serious filmgoer to have at least an idea of their top favorite movies. Why? Well, while a favorites list is purely subjective, it does help others better understand your film tastes. By isolating the cinema that you most enjoy watching or that you most readily connect with and why, you are able to define your film affinities and give others a better understanding of your critical opinions. So, without further ado, here are my top ten favorite films:
10. The Truman Show
Jim Carrey has had to prove time and time again that he has the chops to deliver a truly outstanding dramatic performance. Such is the case with The Truman Show, a story about a man whose entire life is a lie, a fabricated world designed for the entertainment of the television audience. As a long time fan of Jim Carrey as a comedian, I found this movie to be an absolutely spectacular turn for him, convincingly portraying the titular Truman character to a tee. The film remains today a startling indictment of the society in which we live, wherein the media, and specifically reality television, has normalized the immorality of schadenfreude. It criticizes the voyeuristic desire we have to be given viewership of the the most intimate moments in someone’s life – at the cost, in this case, of that person’s freedom.
9. Iron Man
As you’ve probably gathered from my review, I absolute adored Iron Man. I felt it was an outstanding piece of escapist artistry that maintained an almost unheard of balance between humor, action, and heart. Robert Downey, Jr. gives an absolutely groundbreaking performance on par with the best superhero movies have seen so far, bringing the character of Tony Stark to the forefront of people’s minds, despite his relatively less-famous status as compared with Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker. Every aspect of the film, from how it embraces the goofiness of the plot to the tight script, is incredible.
8. Matchstick Men
This is probably highly controversial, but I believe Matchstick Men is arguably director Ridley Scott’s best film so far. It is a brilliantly conceived story revolving around two small-time con artists who decide to take on a “long con.” The caveat, however, is that Nic Cage’s matchstick man, Roy, has an incredibly serious case of OCD – something that factors into every step of the story. I have never seen Nic Cage put this much effort into so effectively capturing a character, and I loved every minute of it.
I am a sucker for con movies, but even more of a sucker for con movies that actually make sense (looking at you, Nuevas Reinas). Matchstick Men is layered and therefore gets better with each viewing; each time I catch things that I missed before. This one I can recommend to anyone who likes a sleek brain-bending puzzler that’s rife with humor and wit.
7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Second only to my personal favorite comedy, Dumb and Dumber, I cannot express just how much I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I am absolutely enamored with all forms of comedy, be it sketch, improv, or stand-up, and as such I have the utmost respect for Monty Python as a troupe. They remain to this day the absolute epitome of sketch comedy, and one of the few groups to ever successfully convert their talents into feature length films time and time again. Every part of Holy Grail is absolutely silly and totally endearing, with an excellent cast that clearly embraces every ridiculous moment. From the halls of Camelot to Tim the Enchanter, this one is a jewel.
Who cares what dumb ol’ history has to say, this is my preferred reference for all things Arthurian.
6. The Iron Giant
It is tough, having seen so many amazingly animated films over the past few years, to select just one as my all-time favorite. However, The Iron Giant will have to take the crown here – as I stated in my critique, I absolutely believe this is Brad Bird’s best work to date. With excellent performances from all involved, a truly moving story, and a wonderful animated style, I fell heads-over-heels in love with The Iron Giant. Even now, I see films like Super 8 that share a common theme and don’t quite pull it off with the same panache that Bird did in this feature. I am still eagerly awaiting the day this finally appears on Blu-ray.