BraedenG33's Top 50 Favorite Films of All Time

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28. Super 8

This is probably not going to be my most popular selection, as it's a film that people seem to either love or not really care for. I loved it. It definitely got me invested in it from the beginning in the premise of kids making a little super 8 short film stumbling onto this train crash that ends up being more than just that. I've already made my schpiel about how much I like JJ Abrams, and this film, very much an homage to Steven Spielberg's work, is no different. I'm a big fan of his style so it shouldn't surprise that I love pretty much all of his work (I haven't seen MI:3, but everything else he's directed appears on this list, not all the stuff he's produced though obviously).

The story, taking place in a 1979 Ohio suburb, follows a group of kids who were working on a zombie movie on a super 8 camera, when they witness a trainwreck and, after luckily escaping unscathed, discover that the derailment was not an accident, and stumble into a mystery as supernatural events begin to occur around the town.

The acting from the kids in this film is also really on point, better than you'd expect from child actors. The film does save the final reveal until the very end which is something Abrams is known for and it pays off as even though the design for the monster in the film itself wasn't terribly amazing, the circumstances definitely made it pay off. The set design was very good as it definitely has an old feel to it and captures the feeling of the late 70s well, and the dialogue of the kids also helps to add to the setting as they speak with some of the slang from that time period.

It's not a movie that everyone loves, but it's definitely one that I do and I think it's a lot better than some people give it credit for. If you're not a fan, that's cool I get it, it's definitely a derivative film in many respects, but for me it was less what the film was than how it executed it, and I think it's very well executed and was able to hook me.

27. Gladiator

"Are you not entertained?"

And with that line, Russell Crowe achieved a new level of stardom: internet meme.

In all seriousness, I don't quite know where to begin with Ridley Scott's period epic taking place in Ancient Rome. It's such an incredible film it was hard not to place it even higher on my list, just missing the top 25. Perhaps the fastest 3 hour movie ever, it's bloated runtime never feels slow as the film is completely riveting from beginning to end. Russell Crowe is perfect as the lead as one of the most iconic heroes in film, Maximus Decimus Meridius. He delivers one of the best speeches in film history.

The production design of Ancient Rome was incredible, showing yet again that Ridley Scott is perhaps the best director out there in building fantastical worlds and atmospheres for his films. It genuinely feels like Ancient Rome and there's a huge scale to the film that fits the epic feeling of the story of Maximus. The story itself is also fantastic, a long, emotionally gripping and intense journey from beginning to end, as we see the fall of Maximus from general to gladiator, and the rise from gladiator to hero.

Another highlight for the film is Joaquin Phoenix is the mad villain, Commodus. His performance is fantastic as he really feels insane and threatening and perfectly at home in the role. Commodus is one of the best villains put to screen since the turn of the century in my opinion, and that is in large part due to Phoenix's impeccable performance.

A truly epic film, Gladiator is a testament to the type of incredible and still emotionally meaningful spectacle film can create that is unique to the medium.

26. Inside Out

Returning to 2015 films, Inside out was Pixar's foray into the human mind, as we see the journey of the feelings of a preteen girl named Riley adjusting to the emotional complexities of growing up as well as moving to a new city. I absolutely love Pixar films and this is the first but certainly not the last of their films to make an appearance on the list. This film I believe is a very important one as it tackles some really important issues of dealing with trauma and emotions in general in a very palatable way and I think it's the kind of film literally anyone can relate to.

I rewatched this film just the other day with a friend and she and I were both on the verge of tears at certain points, Pixar is so good at appealing to emotions that they literally were able to make an amazing and inventive film about the idea of emotions. The film is so well done and clever and absolutely deserved the best animated picture oscar is won. The way the film presents some of the more complicated concepts of the human mind (abstraction zone was a personal favorite of mine) is really very impressive and my hat's off to the creatives over at pixar.

The characters are all very endearing as the Riley's parents get a decent enough amount of characterization to be believable in little screentime, and the emotions, who get most of the screen-time, are all unique enough, however the main character of the film and the one who has the most growth is Joy, who, like Riley and perhaps even representative of Riley, learns the importance of sadness and that things are very rarely just one emotion, they're always a mixture of good and bad, and this growth represents a huge amount of growth and maturity for both Joy and Riley (though it does beg the question of if the emotions themselves have emotions since they're capable of different emotional responses and if so where that trail ends).

One thing that I was curious about upon seeing the film was the differences between how the emotions in Riley's head worked in comparison to her parents. In Riley's head, Joy is in control, the emotions are vying to use the control panel and can't all be working at the same time, until the end when they get an upgrade (with a very clever puberty reference). More to the point though, is that her mother's primary emotion is sadness while her father's primary emotion is anger. Does this mean that the dominant emotion can change over time (and if so how is that facilitated), or were her mother and father just predisposed sad and angry people from birth, and how did that manifest itself in a child, and if children are innately happy creatures that are corrupted by the world which leads them to become overwrought with sadness or anger (a tad depressing but not altogether inaccurate sentiment) or if people are born a certain way and that's just who they are (an equally depressing sentiment).

Also, I find it interesting that all of her father's emotions were male and all of her mother's emotions were female while Riley's were mixed in gender. Does this perhaps suggest that gender identity is not something that is as clear cut in childhood and doesn't really flesh out until later in life (and that time is different in different people as the pizza girl also had mixed gendered emotions) in which case the emotions all become the right gender for that person (presumably matching the sex of that person if they're cisgendered or not match if they're transgendered). Or perhaps this instead suggests that the genders of the emotions don't change and that Riley (and the pizza girl) is of a non-binary gender identity. Granted in the grand scheme of things none of that really matters but it was food for thought for me, if you can't tell I absolutely adore the concept for this film and thinking deeply about it was very entertaining for me. Personally, I'd ascribe to the 'genders form properly of the emotions later' theory, just because I find the capacity of the emotions to change form and degrees of control to be more in line with my worldviews than predetermined nature does, and also simply just feels more comforting to me.

Anyway, speculation aside, this is a fantastic, thought provoking, charming, emotional, important film and I absolutely loved it.

Honorable Mention - Selma

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is by far the American historical figure whom I hold in the highest regard, and this film was absolutely riveting. Ava Duvernay did a fantastic job with this biopic and it had me engaged the entire way through.

Well we're officially at the halfway point of this list, 5 honorable mentions and 25 films have been revealed with the same amount left from here. We're about to get into the top 25! This is where we really get into some of the truly amazing films that were just a cut above for me. It's very exciting stuff I'm really happy with the positive reception the list has gotten so far I'll admit I was a bit nervous putting my interests out there like this (I'm a bit insecure lol), but the feedback has been pretty much 100% positive which is great. I'll be starting off the top 25 in just a bit but I figure I'll put the list so far again here (it's also in the OP) as a midpoint.

Honorable Mentions: The Revenant; Guardians of the Galaxy; Terminator 2:Judgment Day; Snowpiercer; Selma
50. Memento
49. The Prestige
48. Man of Steel
47. Creed
46. North By Northwest
45. Aliens
44. Captain America: The First Avenger
43. Batman Begins
42. Star Trek Into Darkness
41. Mad Max: Fury Road
40. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
39. X-Men: First Class
38. Reservoir Dogs
37. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
36. The Terminator
35. Iron Man
34. Deadpool
33. Blade Runner
32. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
31. The Avengers
30. Rear Window
29. Star Trek
28. Super 8
27. Gladiator
26. Inside Out

25. Ex Machina

Kicking off the top 25 is one of the most interesting and unique (and visually stunning) science fiction films to come out in a long time. Ex Machina is a deep engaging study into several interesting ideas about what the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, about what the nature of love is (and by extension sexuality). It's hard science fiction as the genre was intended to be, a speculative thesis about the world. 'The real world, but what if--' Is the basis for the hard science fiction genre, and this film is exactly that, and does so incredibly well.

Ex Machina follows the story of a guy named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer for a big tech company, wins a contest allowing him to spend a week at the private estate of the genius CEO of the company, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Upon arrival, Caleb discovers that he is going to be used as the human component of the Turing test to determine the intellectual and cognitive capabilities of a beautiful android named Ava, who turns out to be much more deceptive and self aware than previously imagined.

Oscar Isaac is incredible as the eccentric mad genius CEO character in this film, and it never ceases to amaze me how different he can be in each of his roles, he has great range (this one be the last film with him in it on my list). Domhnall Gleeson is very good as well and Alicia Vikander is probably the highlight of the entire film as the alluring and deceiving AI, Ava. This all plays well into an incredibly smart and well written script (which was nominated for an oscar).

The film's cinematography was incredible visually striking and I remember it really sticking out just how amazing the film looked. Of course, it's impossible to talk about the films visuals without getting into the look of Ava, whose design and vfx are possibly one of my favorite effects in any film, and it's no doubt that they were deserving of the oscar for visual effects the film received. The design of the estate (really it was more like a compound) was also very well-done and added to the film.

24. Alien

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

What a great line to market a sci-fi horror film. Alien is one of the greatest films ever made and definitely one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. It has perhaps had more influence on the sci-fi horror genre than any other film has, and for good reason, it's d*mn brilliant.

To start, how can you not talk about the set design of the film. The Nostromo is one of the greatest designed settings in film history. Ridley Scott's great use of atmosphere is probably on display here more than in any other film, as the visuals of the film add so much to the suspenseful, slow burn nature of the film. The alien planet is also incredibly well designed as the downed spacecraft feels so alive. The design of the Xenomorph is incredible, one of the great monsters in film history.

The story itself is as simple as it is fascinating. It's the classic monster in the house tale, but in space, which is honestly one of the best strokes of genius ever. You have your monster, the xenomorph, and your house, the Nostromo. It is one of the most suspenseful films I've ever seen as it builds slowly to a tantalizing conclusion. When the crew of a cargo vessel stumbles upon a foreign planet, they find mysterious eggs on the planet, one of which hatches and the organism released attaches itself to a member of the crew. Brought back aboard, the creature essentially impregnates that crew member, and out of him spawns the xenomorph, an alien that is the perfect killer. Now stuck onboard with nowhere to go, the crew must find a way to survive.

This story also introduces us to one of the greatest female characters in film history, Ellen Ripley. She's smart, strong willed, yet still vulnerable and flawed and real. Ripley is one of my all-time favorite characters and while I think she gets more time to shine in Aliens than in this film, she still shows a lot in Alien.

More to the point, I like the characters in this film and the whole situation in this film more than I do in its sequel. They're just regular people, stuck in a terrifying situation. They don't have any skills that would make them equipped to deal with the xenomorph, which makes it even more horrifying when they are thrust into that situation. Also, I like the idea of one unbeatable monster than an entire horde of them, which are beatable in the sequel. They're beatable in the sequel because you're dealing with soldiers, not just regular people. That's not a knock against the sequel per se, it's still a great film, but I think this film was just that much more impressive.

There's a lot that has been said about the themes of this film by people better equipped to talk about them than I am, so I'm not going to go into that, but I definitely appreciate just how deep you can go into this film in terms of its thematic undertones. Ridley Scott really did a magnificent job with this film, and is a timeless classic in the science fiction genre.

I did the same thing with my own 100, whereas a lot of people tend to put in arty films and stuff like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Psycho simply because of the reputation of the films.
Who does this?

Some solid films here . My favourite so far is North By Northwest.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Who does this?
I put The Room in my top solely based on its reputation... of the worst movie ever.
In the strictest sense lesbians can't have sex at all period.

Who does this?

Some solid films here . My favourite so far is North By Northwest.
I can't speak for them but I don't think they were referencing anyone specifically.


23. Drive

I only saw this movie quite recently, within the last week or so, and it was instantly one of favorite films. Something about it just really got me into it right away. I really like the style of the filmmaking in it. There's a driving sequence near the beginning of the film shot almost entirely from the inside of the car that completely blew my mind and was instantly one of my favorite scenes in any film.

The premise of the story is fairly simple, a guy, known to the audience only as The Driver, is a mechanic and stunt driver by day and a getaway driver by night. I wouldn't want to reveal anything else about the plot, though, because I feel like it's best to go into the film not knowing what to expect, like I did. I knew nothing about the plot of the film and it really surprised me.

Ryan Gosling is great is the nameless driver, with a rough exterior, but he's clearly a good person underneath. Carey Mulligan is a great, compelling love interest, and Oscar Isaac's performance is also very good. The rest of the all-star cast features Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman in supporting roles. Every actor is at their best in this film.

One of the best parts about the film is it's score, which features many different lyrical songs as opposed to a more conventional instrumental score. One of them, A Real Hero, is a song that I'll always equate to the film. The music is very well used and adds to the really cool and unique visual style of the film.

A film that I immediately fell in love with, Drive is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

22. Interstellar

When I first saw this film I was absolutely floored, stunned, and my mind was completely blown. It was a film I immediately thought would be in the top five and stay there for a long long time. I've now seen the film 4 times and I still absolutely love it, but just not as much as I did upon initial viewing. It's still a cinematic experience unlike any other, however there are definitely some flaws to the film and people have addressed them ad nauseum, as it's one of the most scrutinized films in recent memory, people either absolutely loving it or hating it. I think it's gotten a bad rap since then and it's really underrated.

The visuals of the film are truly unparalleled. Nolan really outdid himself in that regard, and the science is for the most part accurate (save for the inside of a black hole stuff, which is entirely speculative). Space has never felt so grand, which is saying something since it's, y'know, space. The way he was able to visually display some really mind-bending an abstract concepts was pure cinematic excellence.

The performances were solid and while they're is a lot of exposition dumping in the dialogue it didn't bother me too much, let alone dampen the experience of the film. The overall story, while not perfect, is still incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. The score of the film was beautiful (Hans Zimmer at it again) and while I haven't seen 2001 so I wouldn't understand the homage that it pays to that film specifically, I understand that the music was also part of that homage.

Truly an exhilarating cinematic experience, in spite of it's flaws, Interstellar is a movie that I love and appreciate. Deep, cerebral, and emotional, Nolan brings a lot of his best qualities to this film, and a few of his shortcomings, however I don't see them as ruining the experience of a truly great and absolutely underrated film.

21. The Iron Giant

This is the first of a few animated films by Brad Bird that will appear on the list that were huge parts of my childhood. The Iron Giant is such an amazing, beautifully animated film that tugs at the heart strings for me. The story of a troublemaking boy named Hogarth who befriends a giant alien robot. One of the most well-done and emotionally powerful family films ever made and a criminally underappreciated one, as not nearly as many people know about it as they should.

Set in the midst of the Cold War, with fear being commonplace in America, a giant robot is not exactly something the American public would have taken kindly to. The film does a good job of commenting on the paranoia of the time through a modern lens and there's a lot that hasn't changed about society that probably needs to be. The concept is also so beautiful in that it has a degree of irony to it, you take a giant weapon and you give it feelings and emotions. "What if a gun had a soul?" is how Brad Bird pitched the film to Warner Brothers.

Brad Bird's feature film debut is a classic in the world of animation and Bird is no doubt one of my favorite directors. The Iron Giant is so much more than it gets credit for and it's a film that has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. If you haven't seen it, please do yourself the service of seeing it. You won't regret it (well maybe you will, it's a tearjerker for sure).

Honorable Mention - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A fantastic, intense gripping film with so much to say about the world we live in and the nature of war and humanity. I loved the first film in the new series and I love this one even more so while it doesn't crack the top 50 it's worth giving an honorable mention to.

Not the biggest fan of comic book movies but there are some pretty darn good choices. My favorite so far is Reservoir Dogs, which was number 3 on my list. Looking forward to the rest!

20. Return of the Jedi

The epic finale to one of the greatest trilogies in film history. I am an unabashed star wars lover, it is by far my favorite film-based fictional universe. Return of the Jedi was everything it needed to be in terms of a great conclusion to the story of Luke Skywalker. While the film is far from perfect especially in comparison to the original film, it is arguably the most fun of the three. The ewoks are silly and I hate what they represent as far as focusing on toy sales over story (that's what happens when the producer owns the merchandising rights *glares angrily at George Lucas), I also would love to have one as a pet.

What really makes this movie for me is the sequence in the Emperor's throne room, which I would argue is the greatest single sequence in the entire series to date. The cinematography of that scene is unbelievable, particularly in the moment of indecision when Luke is in hiding right before Vader goads him into attacking by threatening Leia, in which Luke's face is lit so that half of it is red and half of it is blue, showing the conflict he has between the pull of the dark side and the light. This is a technique used in another film on my list later that I will discuss in that review and that there's an interesting parallel to be drawn there.

I love what this film did for Luke as a character, as his journey is finally complete from just a whiny farmer boy at the beginning of a New Hope all the way to the capable Jedi Knight he is at the start of this film, and ultimate succeeding where his father fails by resisting the seduction of the dark side of the force and ultimately sparing his father, providing Anakin the chance to redeem himself by killing the emperor and bringing balance to the force as he was destined to.

While this film was definitely flawed in its narrative structure, the film has enough good moments to make up for it. As far as the original trilogy goes, it's the film with the highest highs and the lowest lows of the three, however there are definitely more highs than lows on the whole and is still a movie I love, just more so as a star wars lover than as a film lover.

Not the biggest fan of comic book movies but there are some pretty darn good choices. My favorite so far is Reservoir Dogs, which was number 3 on my list. Looking forward to the rest!
Thanks for the feedback, a majority of the top 20 will not be comic book films (I think there's only 3 as opposed to 7 in the first 30) working on the next write-up right now

19. Captain America: Civil War

Speaking of comic book films, here's the biggest comic book film of the year and in my opinion the best.

Honestly this movie would have had to have been complete dogsh*t for me not to love it. For it to appear on my top 50 let along this high? Well that required a lot more, and it had a lot more. It was a fantastic film. The Russo Brothers did a great job both in balancing all the characters and giving them all a decent amount of development and time to shine, and in striking just the right tone where things were still dire but not without levity (this was the big issue both with Batman v Superman, which didn't have enough levity, and with Avengers: Age of Ultron, which didn't commit to the dire circumstances enough and ended up feeling tonally inconsistent).

Following a mission in a foreign country for the avengers that goes awry, the UN determines that leaving the Avengers to operate unchecked, unilaterally, and of their own discretion is not something they can allow anmore. The governments of the world then create the Sokovia Accords, which give the UN authority to dispense the avengers as they deem necessary rather than letting the Avengers act of their own volition. Some members of the team are in support of this and some are against it, those against it led by Captain America and those for it led by Iron Man, who is partially motivated by guilt he is feeling after meeting the mother of someone who died as collateral damage at Sokovia (the site of the attack in Age of Ultron).

This is the beginning of the divide between the team, however things get worse when the UN building is bombed at the signing of the Accords, and the likely suspect is Bucky Barnes, the winter soldier. Steve, who is skeptical and doesn't believe Bucky would do it, chooses to go after Bucky behind the UN's back to figure out what happened. It's not long before he finds Bucky and then ends up apprehended, by the King of Wakanda, T'Challa, the Black Panther, and things only get worse from there as more conflict builds between team members and it is revealed that there is a greater threat pulling the strings behind it all. it's actually even more complex than that but that's a fairly comprehensive synopsis without getting into spoilers.

The action in this film is the best action in any of the Marvel films to date, and it's also probably the darkest and most emotionally compelling of the films, as you could argue that they're really isn't a happy ending. The philosophical conflict between Tony and Steve is also really interesting, and it's easy to be on either character's side during the film. Personally I was team Cap (well really I was team Bucky, which makes me by default team cap, Bucky is the real victim in all of the hullabaloo that goes on in the film).

A smart and complex thrilling story with high flying action and great characters, Captain America: Civil War is one of the best superhero films of all time without a doubt in my opinion.