Chris Evangelista’s Favorite Movies of All Time

the new world

5. The New World

First thing’s first: Terrence Malick’s The New World is not historically accurate. You know that, I know that. Let’s move on. Few films take my breath away like this one, a sun-dappled dream made real, full of moments of astounding beauty and pure poetry. This film was perhaps the last time Malick even bothered with something resembling plot or narrative before deciding to make…whatever it is he makes now, and boy what a way to go out. The entire ending sequence of this film is a transcendent experience; something that grabs hold of your very soul and pulls it from your body. That probably sounds hyperbolic but I’m being 100% serious.


4. Zodiac

David Fincher, an obsessive filmmaker, makes a film all about obsession. Not your typical serial killer thriller, Zodiac is an intricate examination of the ways people can destroy their own lives in the seemingly never-ending pursuit of something. This is one of those long movies that I wish were even longer; I’d like to spend an entire day just watching this thing. Haunting, funny and altogether satisfying, this is a film that I don’t think Fincher will ever be able to top. I just re-watched this a week ago and I think I might go re-watch it again right now.


3. Blow Out

Brian De Palma’s Blow Out is C I N E M A. I’ve seen some people criticize De Palma as being too overly-stylish. Hey, what a dumb complaint. Film is a visual medium, which is something a shocking number of directors seem to forget. Not De Palma – his camera is always moving, always vibrant. Here he crafts one dynamite thriller about a movie sound man who becomes an “ear witness” to a political assassination. Anytime someone wants to tell you John Travolta isn’t really a good actor, point them to this movie, where Travolta gives one of the best performances of his career. As a bonus, this film is set all over Philadelphia, my hometown, which gives me a weird sort of pride.


2. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

You thought you’d get through this list without one Spielberg movie? Dream on. Steven Spielberg’s E.T. is movie magic; a pure, unadulterated experience that cemented Spielberg as the foremost purveyor of dreams. Spielberg’s images combined with John Williams’ score still have an almost holy power over me. No matter how old and jaded and miserable I get, my eyes light up when I see E.T. make those damn bikes start flying just as Williams’ score kicks in. And don’t even get my started on that final scene because I’ll start weeping and it’ll get ugly. Good lord, what a movie.


1. GoodFellas

Okay, here’s the thing: I’m not even sure anymore if I think GoodFellas is Martin Scorsese’s best film. He’s made so many more since then, and some of them are pure masterpieces. But GoodFellas was the first film that I really noticed the power of movies. Yes, I had obviously seem tons of movies before I saw GoodFellas, but up until that point I had always taken their power for granted. They were just entertaining images – a director would point a camera and shoot, and that was it. Then I saw GoodFellas, and it was like seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in person after only seeing it for years via reproductions. The way Scorsese moves his camera here, the way he combines visuals, editing and sound to create a wholly unique experience – it was (and is) stunning. I was probably 7 or 8 when I first saw GoodFellas (yes, that’s probably too young, I know), but once I saw it, that was it. There was no turning back. I knew I had to start consuming every movie I could get my hands on. I had to not just watch them, but study them. And I have been ever since.

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