Angie Han’s Favorite Movies of All Time

The Big Lebowski

10. The Big Lebowski

The first time I saw The Big Lebowski, I didn’t care for it at all. The plot was complicated and hard to follow, the characters were weird and exasperating, and I just couldn’t understand what the point of any of it was. But that is the point, as I realized when I revisited it years later. The Big Lebowski is the story of a guy (a Dude) who abides no matter what the world throws at him. And the world throws a lot at him — it might be a sad movie if it weren’t such a funny one. The second to last scene sums up the movie perfectly: the Dude, covered in his friend’s ashes, arguing with Walter before they decide, “Fuck it, man. Let’s go bowling.”


9. Ikiru

Is there anything more horrifyingly tragic than the notion that you may have wasted your entire life? Based on Ikiru, no; also based on Ikiru, it’s never too late to turn it around. You just have to make sure the cynicism of the world doesn’t drag you down with it. This is a movie breaks me down into a teary mess — it is quite possibly the hardest I’ve ever cried in a theater — but it’s ultimately an uplifting one, as he finds a renewed purpose in a modest quest. Takashi Shimura‘s lead performance is a wonder to behold, especially if you’ve seen him in other films like Seven Samurai — he is a man of endless versatility, apparently.

Gone Girl

8. Gone Girl

This is the most recent film on my list by a comfortable margin, but I’ve rewatched it several times already and each time I find myself unable to shake it for days afterward. David Fincher isn’t a director who’s generally known for telling stories about women, but his collaboration with writer Gillian Flynn and star Rosamund Pike turned out to be one of the most scathing cinematic indictments in recent memory of the way our society treats women. It’s also just fucking funny, so long as you like your humor pitch-black.

The Apartment

7. The Apartment

One of my favorite genres not recognized by Netflix is comedies that’ll make me cry. The Apartment perfectly fits the bill. It’s a grown-up romance about people who’ve been ground down and spit out by the rat race, and who have finally, gradually come to realize what they do and don’t deserve. The dialogue is sparkling and the chemistry between the leads is satisfying, all the more so because they don’t feel like a Hollywood-perfect couple — they’re just two lonely souls trying to find a bit of joy and decency in this world.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There’s another Charlie Kaufman movie coming higher on the list, so I debated whether I should include Eternal Sunshine. But to categorize it as a Kaufman film wouldn’t be giving nearly enough credit to director Michel Gondry, whose whimsical and increasingly poignant visuals are half the magic. Eternal Sunshine also works as a weird litmus test about your outlook on life in general and love in particular. When I first saw it as a jaded college kid, I thought the ending was simply tragic. Rewatching it in my 30s, I see something courageous, even admirable, in their willingness to jump back in.

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