Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Hey there! We haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Ethan Anderton. Back in May, I joined the /Film crew as the Weekend Editor, and while some of you have gotten to know me and my film tastes over the past few months, I never got a chance to truly arrive here at the site like our new writers Jack Giroux and Jacob Hall.
Therefore, I figured I’d follow suit by delivering my own favorite films of all time. These are the movies that have stuck with me over the years, some more recently than others, and have defined and changed my life in a variety of ways.
15. Wayne’s World
No, wait, come back! This might not be where you expected this list to start, but first let me say that I don’t think comedies get considered enough when it comes to cinephiles compiling their favorite movies of all time. We all want our list of favorites to be indicative of our movie tastes, and comedy has always been a genre with which I am obsessed. Therefore, Wayne’s World begins this list because it’s one of the first adult comedies that I encountered and at an age when I really shouldn’t have been interested in this kind of movie.
This is a movie that I quote anytime and all the time. I used to watch this movie on video tape at my extended family’s house because for some reason I didn’t have it at home. It’s because of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey‘s characters, who are simultaneously definitive of the 90s and also in many ways timeless, that I have an unending love for Saturday Night Live. My fondness for meta comedy that breaks the fourth wall that stems from this movie as well. Basically, this is where my comedy tastes started (along with one other film a bit higher on this list), and it’s a film that delightfully plays with the medium and is full of classic moments.
My favorite line: “Or, imagine being magically whisked away to Delaware. Hi. I’m in Delaware.”
14. The Social Network
In a couple decades, this will be the movie that defines a generation. Mark Zuckerberg, played masterfully by Jesse Eisenberg, is a vessel for all of us in a film about our endless journey to be recognized and appreciated. Facebook is how many have come to seek attention and gain acceptance and approval from their peers, and in the film presented by director David Fincher and scripted eloquently by Aaron Sorkin, that’s exactly where the invention of Facebook comes from.
The movie slyly criticizes the internet, the dawn of Facebook and how it has crippled interpersonal relationships by becoming a crutch for those who have trouble developing a personality outside of their perceived achievements. Zuckerberg is driven by his desire for praise from those he has turned off, a flaw that we all have had and acted on in some way or another. The Social Network is about all of us, and it’s only made more perfect by the fact that it’s about the founding of a social media service that we all use for the same reason that Zuckerberg created Facebook to begin with.
My favorite line: “You write your snide bullshit from a dark room because that’s what the angry do nowadays. I was nice to you, don’t torture me for it. ”
13. 8 1/2
By far, Federico Fellini is my favorite foreign filmmaker, and this movie is the Italian director at his best. Fellini puts forth the circus of Hollywood and his own life in this movie that sees Marcello Mastroianni playing a version of the director himself as he gets lost in a combination of fantasies and memories from his life, struggling to come up with a new idea for a movie.
It’s wholly peculiar and masterful, abstract and yet grounded, and it’s also one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The term Fellini-esque has been used to describe plenty of films, including many by Woody Allen. This movie is a Fellini-eqsue presentation of what Fellini-esque came to mean, and it’s brilliant without being overly self-indulgent.
My favorite line: “I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything at all. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.”
12. The Shawshank Redemption
There are plenty of prison escape movies, but none touch the heart with such rich characters as The Shawshank Redemption. But to call this movie a prison escape movie is too simple, because it’s so much more special than that. It’s uplifting, powerful and so full of hope without being insincere. Each of the prisoners struggles with the limitations of their imprisonment, both in the titular prison and in the cell they’ve figuratively put around themselves, compromising who they were before jail in order to fit into a corrupt system that is meant for rehabilitation but only makes things worse. Hope really can set you free.
My favorite line: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. ”
11. American Graffiti
This 1973 film went for the nostalgia of the previous generation of teens by asking “Where were you in ’62?” But rather than merely soaking in love for the previous decade, George Lucas‘ coming-of-age tale looks at the some of the real struggles that came with being a teen in this decade, and in many ways any decade, blemishes and all. There’s the kid who seems to have his future all set in stone, but doesn’t know how to move forward, the kid who will always be stuck at a dead-end job in the small town where they grew up, the kid who tries to hard to grow up. These are all people we know, people that our kids will know, and so on. Like the struggle of teenagers, this movie is timeless.
My favorite line: “You’re the most beautiful, exciting thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I don’t know anything about you.”