Ethan Anderton's Favorite Movies Of All Time: Re-Meet /Film's Weekend Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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."

10. Good Night and Good Luck

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there were many films made that directly depicted and recalled the horrific events of that day which not only changed America, but the world. George Clooney's approach was more subtle, focusing on the fear mongering and false patriotism that followed the attacks. But he didn't do this by chronicling these actual years. Instead, he wound back the clocks to the time when Senator Joseph McCarthy used fear to root out Communists in America in a haphazard and dangerous way.

Communism may have been perceived as a big threat to America, but it was no more threatening than losing our freedom from fear. This historical drama is an allegory for our then-present-day struggles of the mid-2000s, depicting fear and patriotism and how the two shamefully came to be in bed with each other thanks to the rise of political drama in the news, rather than the hard-hitting journalism of Edward R. Murrow – who I may add is played perfectly by David Strathairn.

My favorite line: "The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his, he didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right. The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck."

9. Annie Hall

Annie Hall

It's no coincidence that Federico Fellini is my favorite foreign filmmaker when it's his work that has influenced the many films of Woody Allen. If there's an American equivalent to Fellini, it's Woody Allen. He even goes so far as to reference the filmmaker director in one of the best scenes in Annie Hall, which is essentially Allen's version of 8 1/2, albeit with the central character struggling more with love than with filmmaking. But is there really a difference between the two in the end? There was a time in my teen years before I was educated and appreciative of filmmaking as art that I hated Annie Hall (having never seen it) for beating Star Wars for Best Picture in 1977. Oh, how naive I was in my younger years. This is a masterpiece.

My favorite line: "I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That's the two categories. The horrible are like, I don't know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don't know how they get through life. It's amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you're miserable, because that's very lucky, to be miserable."

8. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

When I started this countdown, I said that not enough comedies got an all-time level of love from cinephiles, and this is my second straight-up comedy on the countdown. The script is flawless, the characters are real, and the story is simple. This can be said about every single John Hughes movie ever produced, and that's what made his work so great to watch. But Ferris Bueller is a film I've been watching since grade school, and it shaped not only my love for Chicago but also (somewhat unbeknownst to me in my earlier years) for the value of life, or more specifically, just living your life. We should all have a day off like Ferris Bueller every now and then.

My favorite line: "I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car."

7. Rain Man

Rain Man

This is one of those movies that I stumbled upon at a surprisingly young age. Maybe it's because my developing mind was fascinated by a grown man seemingly acting like a child. Or maybe it's the fact that I also had an early affinity for Tom Cruise, thanks to a childhood love for Top Gun, mostly due to an obsession with jets. But Rain Man influenced by childhood so much that I would make my parents laugh and then slowly become annoyed by repeating "97X. Baaaaaaang. The future of rock and roll." I also was obsessed with finding a pull-back toy car that looked like the Buick Roadmaster Charlie and Raymond Babbitt cruised around in.

Bu beyond this strange early appreciation for a very adult drama, my more grown-up tastes have come to love this movie for the dysfunctional family drama that it is. The relationship between Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman is so magnificently developed over a couple hours, and the improvised moment when Hoffman presses his head against Cruise's towards the end of the film is completely earned and easily one of the most tender moments I've ever seen on film.

My favorite line: "What you have to understand is, four days ago he was only my brother in name. And this morning we had pancakes."

6. Almost Famous

Almost Famous

After Jack Giroux delivered his all time favorite movies, which also included this Cameron Crowe film, someone in the comments asked whether it was mandatory that writers at /Film declare Almost Famous as one of their favorite films. I'm happy to carry on that tradition, because this is a movie about passion as much as it is about rock and roll.

The reason this movie seems to strike a chord with so many film bloggers and critics is that the professional path of William Miller (Patrick Fugit) isn't too far removed from what we have experienced in this strange and surreal career. But beyond that obvious relationship some of us have with the film, it's a prime coming-of-age tale that blends excellently with the evolution of rock and roll during the time depicted. Plus, the wisdom offered by Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs is priceless.

My favorite line: "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

How can a movie be so hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time? That's the magic of this wholly unique and crowning achievement of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman. This visceral romance uses quaint production design to bring to life a sci-fi concept that could've easily strayed from being used so simply. But instead, we get this intimate, raw portrait of love and all its ups and downs.

The film contains one of Jim Carrey's most reserved and spectacular performances, coupled with a stellar turn by Kate Winslet. Their romance plays out in reverse, thanks to a recreation of Joel's memories, complete with some incredible practical effects that give the film a quirky feel without going overboard. Despite the totally surreal setting of the mind and the sci-fi concept that drives it, Eternal Sunshine actually is one of the most realistic depictions of love and all that comes with it.

My favorite line: "I wish I'd stayed."

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Adventure has a name, and it will always be Indiana Jones. This hero is a product of classic serials that came before him, but he's since influenced an entire genre and inspired countless characters. Raiders of the Lost Ark is where the action adventure found new life, and it's all thanks to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford. They crafted a story that was fun and thrilling, and it defined the modern blockbuster. That's really all that needs to be said. You know why I love this movie so much.

My favorite line: "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

3. The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

Despite being the middle chapter of a trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back could actually work on its own without either the preceding or following movies. It throws audiences into a story in progress straightaway, but it also offers enough details to where we don't need to know anything beforehand to follow it competently. It's a true ensemble story, with our heroes spread across the galaxy and dealing with one of the most threatening villains in cinema history. Our hero's rushed training forces us to question his validity as a savior of the universe, and a harrowing twist throws everything that we thought we knew into upheaval. It's a soap opera, but in the best way possible.

My favorite line: "Never tell me the odds."

2. Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Not only is this the best film that Robert Zemeckis has directed (as I determined in my ranking of every film from the director's career), but it's also one of the best films ever made. Time travel is somehow made simple and even lighthearted by way of a flawless script and compelling characters. There are so many strange pieces to this cinematic puzzle that it's a miracle that this movie even exists. It's almost as if Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis each hit their head on a toilet and came up with this movie that has influenced cinema in countless ways.

My favorite line: "Chuck! Chuck, it's Marvin. Your cousin, Marvin Berry. You know that new sound you're looking for? Well, listen to this!"

1. Ghostbusters


They just don't make movies like this anymore. Nowadays, writers seem to make their stories far too complicated, shoehorning in plot elements and story arcs where there don't need to be any. All things considered, Ghostbusters is a fairly small-scale story, despite the fact that New York City is threatened by the unleashing of innumerable spooks and specters. We don't need a rich history of Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) to understand their relationship. It all comes through in their interaction. And we don't need a complicated plot device to get them into the business of busting ghosts. They're just doing it for the money, and they become makeshift heroes in the process. Oh, and this movie is absolutely hilarious. Any movie that can be cool and funny is just fine by me.

My favorite line: "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick."


So there you go. Now hopefully you know a little more about me, and maybe we'll be internet pals. Hopefully you enjoy what I bring to the site, which includes my new Saturday Night Live reviews, my inheriting Superhero Bits, and a fondness for new flavors of Oreos.