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BraedenG33's Top 50 Favorite Films of All Time

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The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road were two of the best big pictures of last year. Other two were Sicario and Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation.
Still have to see Sicario and I haven't seen any of the MI films yet. Thanks everyone for the feedback and rep



12. Wall-E

This is my favorite Pixar film. Wall-E is a spectacular feat in animation. Compelling narrative, a beautiful opening half (and not quite as good but still excellent second half), strong positive messages, Wall-E exemplifies a lot of the best that Pixar has to offer. The story of a little robot who falls in love and ends up on a journey through space to save the human race. Simple enough. The first half of the film is probably the best 40 minutes of animation I've ever seen. New animating technologies were applied for lighting in this film (consulted with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins) that helped really make this film feel so organic and so gorgeous.

I remember falling in love with Wall-E as a kid, he (it technically, but for convenience sake I'm calling Wall-E a he) was drawn all over my notebooks in the animation camp I used to go to over summers back in the day (I was a nerd, it was a camp dedicated to animation and comic book illustration and I loved the sh*t out of it, it was held by a guy who used to illustrate Wonder Woman comics back in the day) and in my school notebooks for the next year. Pixar has a way of manufacturing cuteness that is just unbelievable. Not just in Wall-E (though him above all), but in all the robots they all have unique quirks and bugs and sounds that really portray such adorable personas in non-human non-verbal characters which is d*mn impressive.

The film is also really powerful in its environmentalist messages. It paints a pretty scary picture of the future, a world that we destroyed through our rampant consumerism, and the only reason we survived is because artificial intelligence came along and kind of pampered us into subservience on a ship designed to feed into that same consumerist culture, to the point that humanity has become a bunch of 700 pound useless blobs recreating to death. It's important to realize that this isn't just science fiction though, these environmental changes are what's coming years and years down the road if we don't change the way we treat the planet, and the film does a great job of addressing that.

Beautiful, powerful, adorable film, Wall-E is a classic and in my opinion the best movie Pixar has ever made.




11. The Lion King

Other than maybe the original trilogy of the Star Wars films, I don't think there's a single film I've seen more than The Lion King. It's the highest ranked animated film and the highest ranked kid's movie on the list. It's a movie I've been watching probably since before I could talk I don't remember a time when I hadn't seen The Lion King. The animation is beautiful, the performances are great, Scar is among the best villains ever in movie history in my opinion, and overall it's just a spectacular film.

It follows the story of a lion cub named Simba who is set to be the heir to the current king of the lions, Mufasa, however Scar, the brother of Mufasa, has other plans as he wants the throne. After arranging the death of the king in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in movie history, especially for a kids film, Scar scorns Simba and tells Simba the only way for him to repent for his father's death (designed to look like an accident or even Simba's fault) is for him to leave the pride and never return.

Simba leaves the pride and ultimately ends up being raised by a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa, from whom he learns the philosophy of hakuna matata, meaning no worries. He is raised in relative paradise and everything is going well when his royal past finally catches up to him. Nala, his childhood friend and technically fiance shows up and they fall in love, when it is revealed that the pridelands have fallen into catastrophe under Scar's rule. She convinces him to return and take his rightful place as king of the pride. (basically, as has been said a million times, it's Hamlet but with lions).

It's a fantastic film that is ingrained in my childhood. The animation, the characters, the performances, the music (oh my god the music!), everything is so incredibly well done in this film and it's one of the best animated films ever made.




Honorable Mention - Big Hero 6

Since we're on a bit of a run with these animated films I might as well give some shine to one that just missed out on the list in Big Hero 6. It's great animated film and while I go back and forth between it and the lego movie (which almost got this HM too), like at the academy, I'm giving the edge to Big Hero 6 because, while the Lego Movie might have been great, I loved the characters in Big Hero 6 more and also because of how the film deals with treating grief and loss, which I think is important and I really liked that a kids film was willing to tackle that subject matter.




Care for some gopher?
I absolutely love Wall-E and The Lion King. Big Hero 6 was only average to me.
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10. Saving Private Ryan

In terms of production quality, this might be Spielberg's most technically well-made film. Really bringing you into the battles, the opening scene on the beach sets the bar for intense battle scenes. It's such an astonishing scene. The handheld high shutter-speed look really adds to the real, gritty (in a good way) feel to the scene. It's unlike just about any other large scale battle scene I've ever seen.

When most people talk about this film they stay on the battle scene and how great it is but I think this film is more than just one really phenomenal action sequence. It's a deeply powerful film that shows the atrocity of war on the human level. There is a scene in which we see two American soldiers have an enemy soldier who has put down his arms in surrender only to be shot down by the soldiers, and then along the same line, later in the film when the Americans do spare the life of an enemy soldier he ultimately ends up fighting against them later in the film. There are no heroes and villains in war, no good guys and bad guys on the front lines, only soldiers, only survivors.

The premise of the story is simple. A squad of American soldiers are sent behind enemy lines to save a private who is to be sent home because his brothers have died. Tom Hanks plays the leader of the squad and he is spectacular as always. The sound design of the film is great and pairs well with the bleak, realistic visual portrayal of war that brings it to horrifying reality without glorifying it in the process (save for some of the sentimentalist flag waving at the beginning and end of the film, but hey it's Spielberg).

In spite of a little sentimentality, it's a phenomenal film that sticks with you and is in the upper echelon of Spielberg's incredible works as one of the best directors of all time.




9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In my opinion by far the best marvel film, and one of the best if not the best superhero films ever made, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an unbelievable film that balances intensity and intelligent storytelling with incredibly entertaining and well-shot action to create in my opinion one of the instant classics in the superhero genre as well as the spy genre (as this films is arguably more a spy film than a pure superhero one). Taking inspiration from the cold war-era spy films of old and bringing forward that story in a new way was a genius move by the Russo Brothers, who I'm ecstatic to have running the show under Kevin Feige from now on over at the MCU.

The story is a suspenseful twisting narrative of secrets and lies as we see Steve become more and more distrustful of the people in power because of the lies and misinformation. Things aren't like what they were, or at least they didn't seem that way back then. Ultimately, this film deals with the ultimate conspiracy that SHIELD has been compromised and is now under the control of something more sinister.

The scene in which Nick Fury and Steve are talking while Fury introduces Steve to project insight is a critical one for Steve's character and I think it sets up everything else that has happened in the Captain America films since, including Civil War. Steve says a line "This isn't freedom, this is fear." in description of Project Insight and it's plans to wipe out potential threats before they happen. It's a signal of the beginning of the distrust he build towards authority, that it is corrupt and will never have the right discretion to protect the world. This moment shows where his character is headed and why he ultimately decides in Civil War to be against the Sokovia Accords.

He sees as the film progresses that he was right and the people in power aren't to be trusted (as Hydra has taken over SHIELD) and having seen the potential consequences of leaving the decisions of right and wrong to the government and cannot justify putting that discretion in their hands. The Steve Rogers character of the course of the MCU films has developed so well into one of my all-time favorite characters in film (honestly I find him way more appealing than the comic book version, especially in his current run where he himself has become a hydra sleeper agent).

On a technical level, this film is brilliant. It has in my opinion the best sound design of any film I've watched (particularly with Cap's shield), the score is well done, and the action scenes are amazing. The choreography of the fight on the highway between the Winter Soldier and Cap is unbelievable, however I think the scene that takes the cake for me is the elevator fight. That scene is so intense as we see this whole fight take place inside the confined space of an elevator and it's all directed and shot so well so you feel right there in the action and can still keep track of everything and never feel lost. Chris Evans is at his best in this film as Cap and overall the entire cast does an amazing job.




8. The Matrix

So here's a funny story about the Matrix. I only saw this film for the first time in I think November of 2015. Now, last summer, in June of 2015, I wrote down a treatment for a story idea I had for a film I would love to make when I'm older. I'm gonna leave that here and let you guys read it and see what you think it sounds reminiscent of (bearing mind I had no knowledge of anything about the Matrix until months later).

TITLE: Into the Nexus

Set in the not-too-distant future. The world’s economy has become consolidated into a single private corporation that controls nearly all of the world’s wealth. This corporation is known as NexCorp, and has developed a global network of all electronic information, known as the Nexus. This corporation essentially controls the entire world through its immense wealth and hold on cybernetic information, as well as control on nearly every major industry, with subsidiary companies that control everything from fuel to agriculture. Governments have all but been eliminated as NexCorp is essentially the sole world power. While technically not a government with set laws per se, it is clear that they exercise a great deal of control over all people, restricting rights and privacy. While petty crime has been all but eliminated, it is clear that this world is still a scary place to live in wrought with oppression underneath its shiny bright surface. NexCorp is essentially tyrannical in its operation, the people are essentially powerless to do anything about it. There is, however, one last hope for mankind and its liberation from the tyranny of NexCorp. A select group of people have banded together to form a rebellion, however with no chance to take down NexCorp in the real world, terribly outmatched by the Peacekeepers, a powerful diverse group of soldiers which function as both the military and the police force of NexCorp, though they are described as ‘free privatized security’ for all people. The rebels needed to find another way to fight NexCorp, and they do. They fight back against NexCorp by bringing the battle into cyberspace, hacking into the Nexus.
I basically wrote Mr. Robot meets the Matrix in reverse (starting in the real world and going into the fake one instead of starting in the fake world as the default, which in all fairness their version is wayyyyyyyy better) but without the AI, without having seen anything of either Mr. Robot or the Matrix. My first reactions when I watched the matrix were 1) Holy f*ck that was amazing! and 2) That's like the treatment I wrote last summer but in reverse and with robots. Now seeing as my aesthetic choices for the film were going to be way different and the plot would have differed in many ways because I wouldn't have had it based on like CyberJesus I'd like to think I would ultimately be able to make a unique film from this concept if I were to ever get the chance.

Anyway back to reviewing the film. The Matrix has in my opinion the best first act of any film I've ever seen. It's really just a flawless first 30 minutes or so leading up to the moment of selecting the blue or red pill. The rest of the film is great too but that first act is just a cut above everything else really. The action is great and seeing Neo's rise to CyberJesus is great. Agent Smith is a fantastic villain and the whole premise is just awesome. As a philosophy nut, the whole your world is not real premise is always fun and appealing to me, and I think this is one of my favorite uses of that premise.

The way this film impacted visual effects is also spectacular. Really in terms of Sci-Fi action it's hard to get much better than this film. The premise is cool, the action is phenomenal, the story is good and has some really fascinating thought provoking thematic elements to it as well. If you haven't seen it well (Cyber)Jesus Christ go see it and if you already have well than you know how great this film is (unless you're not a fan of it which is cool too).



7. Whiplash

The film I felt deserved the academy award for best picture in 2014. One of the most intense films I've ever seen (much more intense than most action movies even). What's unique about how this film builds tension is that most films use big stakes to build tension and get you on the edge of your seat but this film it's tense but it's really personal psychological tension like there's no life or death scenarios (well he gets hit by a car but other than that) here's it's just tension from the mental battle between JK Simmons's character and Miles Teller's character (both of whom are great in the film but Simmons's performance is among the best I've ever seen) the teacher and the student in this war to achieve perfection.

The film is about the story of going after perfection, after genius, after excellence, no matter what. Teller's character wants more than anything to be a great drummer and JK Simmons wants more than anything to train the next great drummer and they're both pushing each other to their limits and beyond trying to reach that goal and it's clear that Teller's character is destroying himself going after this goal (and Simmons is destroying him too).

This film really puts into perspective the ideas of genius and how far is too far to achieve a goal and do the positive ends justify contemptible means. JK Simmons character is a psychological abusive *sshole of a teacher but he gets results, but at what cost. That's the question the film ultimately puts forward, is it worth it? And it's up to you as the viewer to answer that question and I think the answer really depends on what you value as a person. This film has stuck with me for months on end since I saw it more than a year ago and I've rewatched it once since.

The cinematography of the film is also just absolutely gorgeous and the entire look and style of the film just fits so well with the tone and the story. The music, as one might expect for a film about drumming, is fantastic as well and my hats off to everyone involved especially director Damien Chazelle who looks to be one of the next great young directors with another interesting project coming up with La La Land which could be a potential Oscar film (and I'm so excited to see it).

An instant classic and one of the most affecting and intense films I've ever experienced.




6. Star Wars

Perhaps the most iconic and culturally ubiquitous film ever made, Star Wars is the first film in my favorite film franchise of all time, and many would argue that it is the best. It's the quintessential hero's journey tale, following the story of a farm boy named Luke who will go on to save the galaxy. I mean I'm sure all of you know the story of the first Star Wars film so I'm not going to give a full synopsis.

I've already reviewed two of the Star Wars films on my list so you all already know my thoughts on the franchise as a whole so talking about the movie that started all this 40 year long hullaballoo I think the thing to realize is that this film really just sets the standard for every film that has come since it in the big budget hollywood film industry. Everyone wants a big franchise and this is the grandaddy of them all. And for good reason. This film was phenomenal. It's narrative was so well paced and structured the effects are unmatched for their time (and are still fairly convincing now even though they obviously are a bit dated, you know, after almost 40 years), and above all else it's just a film that creates a feeling of childlike wonder in many respects. This is a film that I've watched probably more times than i should have (hell in the last 8 months I've seen it 6 times and I've been watching it for 10 years.

The characters in the film are also fantastic. Luke is a compelling hero as he's just a kid who dreams of something bigger but he hasn't quite figured out how to get there yet. Han is a charming but selfish jerk with a heart of gold in the end (and is kind of bullsh*tting his way through life) and Leia is a capable princess who, while seemingly is a damsel in distress ends up saving the guys on more than one occasion. Obi-Wan is the quintessential sage/old mentor type and Alec Guinness brings it in this film as he just adds a whole level of gravitas to the film with his presence. Vader is imposing (though not nearly as impressive a villain as in the later films) and the Empire as a whole feels like a powerful foe.

Of course you can't talk about this film without talking about the iconic score. The original trilogy to me has the best music in film history. It's instantly recognizable and adds so much to the film. John Williams is a living legend. Binary Sunset is and always will be my favorite piece of music ever, it's just so beautiful and encapsulates everything this franchise is about so well.

Overall, there's not much I can say about the film that hasn't already been said, it's a near-flawless film (though the cinematography isn't as good as it's sequels and the dialogue isn't great, both courtesy of George Lucas--bleh) and absolutely deserves a spot in the top 10 and it's recognition as one of the great films of all time.




Honorable Mention - Kingsman: The Secret Service

Deadpool before Deadpool was Deadpool. Kingsman was a cool edgy R-rated comic book adaptation that came out in february and got rave reviews. For good reason, it's a really fun charming film that's very tongue in cheek but still serious enough to have stakes. Colin Firth is great in the film and Matthew Vaughn's direction is excellent.




I'm finally getting a chance to catch up on this thread. You've got some great movies here. I like that you love a lot of the blockbusters, rather than just a bunch of top-rated classics, arthouse and/or foreign movies.

49. The Prestige - I'm not a fan of Christian Bale, but I love Hugh Jackman. I love the way they play against each other here, and I love the twist at the end.

48. Man of Steel - I didn't like this movie, or Henry Cavill as Superman. I haven't seen Batman v. Superman yet, but I don't have high hopes for that movie either.

46. North by Northwest - One of Hitchcock's best movies.

42. Star Trek Into Darkness - It's far from the best Star Trek movie, but it has its moments.

Honorable Mention - Guardians of the Galaxy - This is a fun movie, and it should be higher than just an honorable mention.

39. X-Men: First Class - I loved the first three X-Men movies, but for some reason, I didn't have high expectations for this movie. I thought it was great, and they did a fantastic job of casting younger actors in the roles. It easily exceeded my expectations.

37. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue or Ignorance) - I loved Michael Keaton in this movie, and I liked the ambiguous ending.

36. The Terminator - I prefer T2, but this is also a great movie.

Honorable Mention - Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Again, this should be higher than just an honorable mention.

35. Iron Man - One of my favorite superhero movies, and the role that Robert Downey Jr. was born to play.

33. Blade Runner - This is one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made, and it has some of the most amazing visuals ever.

32. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - This is my second favorite movie of the series, (behind Raiders of the Lost Ark). The combination of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery is perfect.

31. The Avengers - This is another favorite superhero movie for me. I love the way the heroes play off each other.

30. Rear Window - IMO, this is a top-tier Hitchcock movie.

29. Star Trek (2009) - As a "trekkie", I had mixed feelings about a reboot of the original "Star Trek" series, and a whole new and younger cast. This movie had some problems, but overall, I thought they did a pretty good job.

26. Inside Out - This movie is one of my favorite new animated movies.

25. Ex Machina - This is one of my favorite movies of 2015.

21. The Iron Giant - It's been a long time since I've seen this movie, but I remember liking it a lot.

20. Return of the Jedi - This is my third favorite of the original trilogy, but it's a great conclusion to the story. I love the Ewoks, and the way the little furballs fought against the Empire.

19. Captain America: Civil War - I still haven't seen this movie, but I'm looking forward to it.

15. The Incredibles - I love this movie. It's like an animated version of "The Fantastic Four", only more fun.

13. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - This is a great movie. It's not as good as the original trilogy, but it's far better than the awful prequel trilogy.

12. Wall-E - This is one of my all-time favorite movies, (and not just animated movies).

Honorable Mention - Big Hero 6 - I loved this movie when I first saw it, but it hasn't stood up as well on rewatches. But it's still a good movie.

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - This is another movie that I haven't seen yet, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

7. Whiplash - I knew nothing about this movie before watching it, and it ended up being my favorite movie of the year.

6. Star Wars - This is easily my favorite movie of the whole series.
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5. The Dark Knight

Another funny little movie story from my youth about this film: the Joker gave me nightmares when I was ten for a solid month to the point that for that time I had to go back to using a nightlight. And that was just from the trailer. When I was ten and I went to the movie theater to go see Iron Man I saw the trailer for the Dark Knight and it freaked me out so much I literally had to walk out of the theater and go see a different movie (I was 10, ignore how illogical that is). I ended up seeing Speed Racer (which, if this was a top 100 list, that film would be on it because I'm one of the only people who loves that movie) instead. The Joker in the trailer scared me so much when I was young.

Now, he's my second favorite movie villain ever. This film when I finally did watch it when I got a few years older and a few years less of a p*ssy, I got a rush of exhilaration watching this film. If Iron Man is the film that created the modern superhero film (and is responsible for so much of what came after it), then The Dark Knight became the perfect foil for the modern superhero film and it remains untouched as no film has gone for anything remotely similar in terms of a serious, grounded, respectful treatment of comic book source material. Where other films have gone mostly the route of spectacle, this film stays rooted in drama (not to say there isn't great action in this film, it's just less focused on action than other superhero films).

Heath Ledger's joker is one of the all time great performances and is deserving of the posthumous oscar it received, even more impressive when you consider that he is only in the film for 33 minutes of the film's 2 hour and 32 minute run time, but his presence is felt the entire time. Aaron Eckhart is fantastic as Harvey Dent (who I would say is probably the closest to the main character of the film, even more so than Bruce is). His fall (heheh puns) is as believable as it is tragic and it is extremely well done. The film is very well shot and the editing of the film is impeccable. The score is among my favorites of all time and one that I listen to very often.

Nolan really knocked it out of the park with one of the best films of the 2000s, and the best superhero films of all time.




"Saving Private Ryan" & "Whiplash" are two of my favorites.

"The Dark Knight" is great.

I've gone off "The Matrix" fan base and it no longer interests me.
Oh I agree the fanbase around the Matrix is frustrating but the film itself is great.



4. Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg must have made some kind of pact with the Devil before making this film because holy f*ck the visual effects are unreal. For a movie that's nearing 25 years of age it honestly looks better than most of the films coming out today. The use of both animatronic and computer generated dinosaurs (cgi that revolutionized the field and every film to come after that uses compositing owes something to this film) was incredible as it's still a film that feels so real, the dinosaurs actually feel like they're there.

The story follows scientists going to an island being made into basically a Dinosaur zoo to check things out and make sure they feel the park will be safe (spoilers: it's not). It's an incredibly well-written film with interesting things to say about the nature of knowledge and ethics "just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should" (in many ways it pulls from a lot of the same themes as one of the original monster stories, Frankenstein).

Sam Neill's character, Alan Grant, is the best character in the film, as he grows from this somewhat gruff, hard around the edges character to ultimately learning to care for the children and being more compassionate. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is the character that most directly presents the ideological conflicts of the film in his dialogue, and is also one of the more likable characters in the film.

This film also plays with suspense as well as any other Spielberg film, and the score is iconic (thanks again to the legendary John Williams), and overall it is one of those near-perfect films that will live on for decades.




3. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones is one of my all time favorite movie characters of all time. I talked about it in my Last Crusade how I dressed up as him for Halloween, and it all started with this film, perhaps the most entertaining film Spielberg film ever (which says a lot). Narratively the film is great, incredibly well-paced and action packed while still compelling. Harrison Ford as Indy is great in the film, it's the part he was born to play (along with Han Solo) as the iconic whip cracking hero, and Marion is the best female counterpart of the series. Belloq is also a great antagonist.

The story follows Indiana Jones on his journey to find the Ark of the Covenant as he travels around the world searching for it. While searching he faces difficult obstacles as the Nazis are also after the Ark, hoping to use it for power to take over the world, putting even more pressure on Indy to make sure it doesn't end up in the wrong hands.

The score is among the most iconic and memorable in any film (I mean who doesn't recognize the theme song of this film?) and the effects are spectacular especially for their time (the film still doesn't feel dated to me). I mean I really don't know if there's much else to say about the film other than it's just fantastic on every level. Spielberg as at his best with his direction of the film, everything is well shot and well edited creating this absolutely masterful and enthralling adventure that sets the standard for the entire genre (no adventure film reaches the heights of Raiders, and I will be stunned if any film ever does).

There are very few films that I would call flawless, and this is one of them. It's a classic film and in my opinion Spielberg's best film, Raiders of the Lost Ark speaks for itself in how brilliant it is and I've loved it rewatch after rewatch since I was 8 years old.




2. Inception

This is the movie that made me want to be a filmmaker. Inception had an impact on me that few films ever have in that respect. It's also an amazing film and Nolan's best film to date in my opinion. A heist film taking place in multilayered dreams, except instead of stealing something they're trying to put something in someone's mind, to achieve the ultimate challenge: Inception.

Leonardo Dicaprio is the lead in this mind-bending action film as the tortured Dom Cobb, a man who above all just wants the chance to see his kids again, unable to return home because of his crimes. He's provided a chance to return home by a businessman who is seeking to destroy his competition through the new CEO (son of the previous CEO), who he hopes to get to dissolve the company by implanting an idea in his mind.

The film also has one of my all time favorite lines in any film "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." The score is great and has been imitated (to varying degrees of success) many times since. The action is great as well, with one of the best action scenes of all time in the gravity changing hallway scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character (my favorite character in the film) Arthur.

Obviously the big question the film leaves at the end is, "Was it all real?". I think that misses the point though. I don't think it really matters whether or not Cobb is in a dream or not. I think what's important is that he believes the world he is in is real. His goal as a character is to see his children again, and ultimately he does, and he's accepted the reality he is in, whether or not that reality is actually real isn't as important (I mean our reality might not be real, but most accept it as such). I mean personally I think that it's all a dream for Cobb, a complex way for him to reconcile his grief about his wife and not seeing his kids, ultimately being able to feel in his heart admonished of guilt and moved on so he could finally see his children, but whether the story is real or fabricated makes no difference to the arc of the character.

Inception is a fantastic film and one that has had a huge impact on me and my life, and the best film from one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.