Ryan Scott's Favorite Movies Of All Time

Good day to you, /Film readers. Ryan Scott here, the guy who you may have noticed writes a lot about box office happenings and movie business goings-on, in addition to handling our Superhero Bits column and, when the opportunity strikes, "Star Wars" or "James Bond." Today, I bring you a list of my favorite movies of all time, and the list says just about everything you need to know about the kind of movie lover I am.

I find that a lot of people who write about movies (or any form of entertainment for a living) can get cynical and jaded. I just haven't found that to be the case in my adventures in this field. I do this because I absolutely love it. I love movies, and I love that I get opportunities such as this one, on a professional level, to talk about them with fine people such as yourselves. Beyond that, I am a blockbuster junkie, and a self-described popcorn-eating rube. I like to like stuff and would watch a Michael Bay movie over a Terrence Malick movie any day of the week. I value movies as entertainment and make no apologies about it.

15. From Dusk Till Dawn

"From Dusk Till Dawn" is an absolute magic trick of a movie if you're lucky enough to see it completely blind as I was. My mom told me to watch it one fateful weekend morning in my youth, refused to tell me anything about it, and for this I thank her. It starts as one expertly crafted thing and becomes another expertly crafted thing, in a completely different genre, out of absolutely nowhere. I thank Robert Rodriguez silently in my head not infrequently simply because this movie exists.

14. The Dark Knight

I am not a Batman fan. I have never been a Batman fan. I fall into the camp that doesn't truly consider him a superhero and he doesn't interest me. That said, I love the world the character inhabits, and nobody has ever captured that world better than Christopher Nolan did with "The Dark Knight." More articulate men than I have spilled much ink in praise of this expertly-crafted crime drama that just so happens to occasionally have Batman in it, but I cherish it so. I believe Heath Ledger's Joker is one of the greatest performances ever put to film and I think this is the greatest comic book movie ever made, despite personal feelings placing a different movie higher on this list, for various reasons.

13. The Shawshank Redemption

I love absolutely everything about "The Shawshank Redemption." I love to revisit movies and there are few (if any) movies that are as endlessly rewatchable as this one. I also, being a bit of a box office buff, love that one of the most roundly cherished movies of all time was a downright flop in its day, but has since found its audience in a big way. This is just an expertly-crafted, wholly satisfying journey on every level, and easily the greatest adaptation of Stephen King's work for the screen. Even if "IT" and "The Shining" are more horror-heavy examples that we would more closely associate with King, this buddy picture disguised as a prison drama takes the cake.

12. Hot Fuzz

I don't know if I can say confidently that "Hot Fuzz" is the funniest movie ever made for my sensibilities (See possibly: "The Other Guys"). That said, Edgar Wright's masterful action/comedy is my favorite film in the genre, and for oh so many reasons. It is genuinely a great cop flick that just happens to be hilarious. The humor is so poignant, singular, and constant that it's impossible not to admire the skill that goes into making something this perfect. I'll go so far as to say Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel and Nick Frost as Danny Butterman both rank as some of my favorite performances ever put to screen. I view this as the best of Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, and the best movie he's made to date. And Wright has a near-perfect track record up to this point, so that's truly saying something. Also, not for nothing but the commentary track with Wright and Quentin Tarantino may be the best commentary track for any movie, save for the in-character commentary track Robert Downey Jr. did for "Tropic Thunder."

11. Good Will Hunting

There are certain movies that just connect with you on a level, and explaining that connection to others is difficult to explain. Such is the case with "Good Will Hunting" for me. Fortunately, this isn't like trying to explain why "Jurassic Park III" is the worst movie I've seen the most times, as "Good Will Hunting" is widely considered (rightfully so) to be an absolutely excellent flick. Yes, the story of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck riding this movie to stardom is a nice Hollywood tale, but it doesn't hurt that they wrote and starred in such an impactful and heartfelt drama. Not to mention that this may well be Robin Williams' finest hour in a career littered with fine hours. Quotable, rewatchable, affecting, timeless, and relatable on a human level, this might be as close as mainstream cinema will ever get to perfection.

10. Aliens

While many could pretty safely make the argument that "Alien" is the better film, I am firmly in the "Aliens" camp, though I would further argue that both movies are downright perfect. In any case, the action-packed sequel to Ridley Scott's sci-fi/horror classic contains just about everything I love when it comes to cinema. A rag-tag group of characters, lots of action, kickass creatures, great one-liners, and Bill f***ing Paxton. Not to mention cementing Sigourney Weaver's Ripley as one of cinema's most iconic badasses. If there is one thing James Cameron knows how to do, it's make a sequel that outdoes its predecessor, much like he also did with "Terminator 2." It is within "Aliens" that I find a shred of hope that "Avatar 2" might actually be worth watching. I believe in Cameron's sequel skills that much.

9. X2: X-Men United

While "The Dark Knight" certainly helped push the superheroes as serious cinema narrative to new heights, 2003's "X2" deserves a great deal of credit as well. I can't rightfully say it's better than Nolan's take on Batman but what I can say is that it deserves its place in the conversation of all-time great superhero movies, and it holds a special place in my heart. I grew up at a time when it wasn't cool to like this stuff. I distinctly remember being in a movie theater opening weekend with my good pal who didn't dig this stuff the way I did. Watching Hugh Jackman's Wolverine tear through those dudes in truly violent fashion in Xavier's mansion was a religious experience. I distinctly remember thinking at 15 years old, "Everyone is going to understand now." This movie helped make costumed heroes cool in the modern age, and I love it for that. It is important to me on a deeply personal level, and I feel it holds up remarkably well nearly 20 years later.

8. The Thing

John Carpenter, though beloved, may go down in history as the most underrated master filmmaker of all time. While "Halloween" is a close second, "The Thing," perhaps the greatest sci-fi/horror movie ever made — right up there with "Alien" — is his crowning achievement. If ever there was an argument that not all remakes are bad, this is it. If ever there is an argument that movies that don't fare well in their day can find their audience over time, this is it. A lean, mean, tense, violent machine, this film boasts some of the best practical creature effects ever put to film, one of the most brutally stressful scenes ever produced (see the blood test), and has one of the most memorable endings in movie history. Timeless and transcending the genre space, "The Thing" is cinema at its finest. Also, Kurt f***ing Russell. That is all. 

7. Star Wars: A New Hope

I often joke that "Star Wars" is as close as I get to religion — and it's hardly a joke. I was thankfully indoctrinated by my rad mom at a young age and don't have memories that date back further than my love of a galaxy far, far away. George Lucas' 1977 space epic "Star Wars: A New Hope" is the beginning of the religion I subscribe to, and remains (for good reason) one of the most iconic and beloved blockbusters in history. What can I possibly say about this movie that hasn't already been said by far more articulate men than I? What I will say is that this might well be the most rewatchable movie in history, and I'll leave it at that.

6. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Sticking on the "Star Wars" train, we have what is probably the greatest sequel ever made, "The Empire Strikes Back." Sure, "Godfather II" lovers might have a thing or two to say about that, and they've sure got a sturdy leg to stand on, but for my money, this absolute masterpiece of a sci-fi epic takes the cake. Directed by Irvin Kershner, this movie ups the ante in just about every way imaginable without sacrificing a thing. Arguably the most quoted (and misquoted) line in cinematic history with "No, I am your father," one of the most exciting battles ever conceived with the Hoth sequence, and the ever-iconic exchange between Han and Leia, "I Love you/I know" — just to name a few things that make Episode V the objective greatest (though not my personal favorite) "Star Wars" movie to ever do it.

5. Pulp Fiction

There is nothing quite like Quentin Tarantino's 1994 masterpiece "Pulp Fiction." Or, at the very least, there was certainly no equal to it before 1994. In any event, when I was first discovering my deep love for movies in my teens, and when my family first got a DVD player, I was treated to my first viewing of this non-linear, totally engrossing classic, and it was a defining moment for me. I didn't really understand that movies could be like this before seeing "Pulp Fiction" and it was eye-opening in a way that maybe no other movie I've ever seen has managed to be. If there is a movie singularly responsible for putting me on the path that I ultimately found myself on. For that, I thank you, Mr. Tarantino. Also, not for nothing, but Marvin getting shot in the face may still be the most surprising moment ever captured on film.

4. Skyfall

"James Bond" is one of those things, for those who love it, that transcends movies and becomes a thing. While I grew up playing "Goldeneye" on the N64 and appreciated my share of the films, it was 2012's "Skyfall" that changed everything for me. I remember seeing the teaser trailer and thinking to myself, "Oh, okay. Yes." And it couldn't have possibly prepared me for the transformative experience this movie ended up being. While it is easy to argue that "Goldfinger" is the quintessential "Bond" movie, and that "Casino Royale" is perhaps the better of Daniel Craig's entries, this globe-trotting, cinematic feast of a movie cannot possibly be supplanted for me. This is why I go to the movies. This is why I worship at the altar of blockbuster cinema.

3. Die Hard

Everyone has their respective experience seeing "Die Hard" for the first time. For me, I was unburdened with expectations as my previously referenced rad mom plopped me down in the living room one fateful evening when this bonafide action classic, perhaps the greatest action movie of all time, was gearing up to play on cable. Rarely have I ever been so transfixed. Time has been impossibly kind to this pitch-perfect, deceptively simple yet expertly executed entry in the '80s action canon. It's the best Bruce Willis has ever been, and Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber is probably second only to Darth Vader as the greatest movie villain of all time. This movie's reputation endures for a reason. 

2. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

There are "Star Wars" fans out there who will blasphemously try to say that "Return of the Jedi" is somehow a lesser entry in the franchise. I simply won't hear. I love this movie deep in my bones and it goes far beyond movies for me. "Star Wars" is encoded to my DNA, and this has always been and always will be my favorite of the bunch. The climactic battle between good and evil. The greatest space battle in the history of space battles. One of the best first acts in a movie ever, as the Jabba the Hutt stuff absolutely owns. Plus, Admiral Ackbar is far more than a meme, and a greater character than he may ever get credit for being. I say this as the man who literally wrote Ackbar's obituary. Lastly, I'll say Ewoks are good, actually, and the subtext implies they are murderous, vicious forest moon bears. I'm here for it always will be. May the Force be with you, dear reader. Always.

1. Jurassic Park

For as much as "Star Wars" is perhaps the thing that is closest to my heart, nothing can supplant "Jurassic Park" in terms of being my favorite movie of all time. I talked earlier about the intersection of art and entertainment making for the best movies, and nobody has ever done that better than Steven Spielberg. And I would argue this is at the very least tied with several other crowning achievements as his finest hour. It is remarkably entertaining to this day and, maybe most impressive, the effects still mostly hold up nearly 30 years later despite being the movie that truly pioneered CGI. It's a masterclass in less is more, and a master of the craft leveling the playing field, bringing the entire audience that childlike sense of wonder. Are they scientifically accurate? No, but that's not the point. "Jurassic Park" made dinosaurs real, marrying the past to the present in a way only movies can. This is everything I will ever love about movies assembled in perfect order. I am so thankful this movie exists. My strongest position on the matter? The T-rex breakout sequence is among mankind's greatest achievements, right up there with the likes of going to the moon and inventing fire. It's that good.