Top 10: Favorite Movies

It’s really hard to narrow down my exact favorite movies, there are so many I love that it’s hard to choose from. Sometimes these picks change throughout the years, but most of these have remained constant.


1. The Lord of the Rings

I was in 4th grade when the trilogy began, but I wanted nothing to do with them. I wasn’t a fan of Harry Potter (I know, blasphemy…) so I didn’t think anything fantasy would be up my alley. But one day I borrowed them from a neighbor’s house, and now nearly ten years later they still remain my absolute favorite films of all time. (I count them as one, because after all, that’s what Tolkien intended with the books!) As a whole, I really am not a big fan of the fantasy genre. But something about this good vs. evil story absolutely captivates me. I can’t put into words how much Frodo’s journey means to me.


2. King Kong

A lot of people don’t like Peter Jackson’s remake of the classic monster movie. Perhaps I am a bit biased, with him being one of my favorite directors, but I absolutely love what he does with the story. Jackson creates a deeper relationship between Kong and Ann.The classic monster movie is turned into a beautiful love story. The CGI technology is absolutely breathtaking, Andy Serkis’ incredible motion capture work as Kong allows for an infinite range of emotions for the character. I can’t help but cry at the ending every single time.

Tom Hulce in Amadeus.

3. Amadeus

I first saw parts of this in high school, on a whim during a vocal class. When I rented it at home I was floored by the story of Salieri’s jealousy and Mozart’s incredible music. I had never really explored his music before, and it is quite a marvel to hear it in this film, along with Milos Forman’s exceptional directing.


4. Raging Bull 

Something about Raging Bull really captivates me. Not only is the directing so artistic, nearly operatic at times , but Robert De Niro’s performance is nothing short of stunning. I’ve written about it before here, but that scene where Jake LaMotta is in jail touched me for so many reasons. Robert De Niro does an incredible job of portraying the lonely boxer that spirals into his own self-destruction.


5. When Harry Met Sally

It’s one of the most charming and funniest romantic comedies of all-time, what’s not to love? And Billy Crystal is absolutely adorable as Harry Burns. I think everyone wants a relationship like theirs.


6. Big Fish

I think this is one of Tim Burton’s best work, perhaps because it is so un-Tim Burton-y. I saw it when I was younger, but loved it upon rewatch. The scene where Billy Crudup tells a story to his dying father, after hating his dad’s stories for so long, will always touch me. Big Fish is fantastical fun but also an emotional story of family mortality.


7. Jaws 

As I wrote in my childhood movies post, Jaws was one of the first movies that really got me into the movies. The perfect summer movie, I watch it every 4th of July. This classic never fails to thrill, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.


8. Paper Moon

Paper Moon is a mix of an old-fashioned caper, funny road-trip movie, and a heartwarming family drama. It is the perfect mix of all those different genres. Ryan O’Neal is a charming thief, and has such sweet chemistry with it’s daughter. It’s actually quite heartbreaking to watch if you know their real life relationship.


9. The Godfather

I had put off watching The Godfather for a really long time, and I don’t know why. I obviously knew about it from the hundreds of pop culture references in other films or television shows. I knew it was highly regarded, (It was #1 on the IMDb Top 250 for years, has 100% on rottentomatoes.) But I just never got around to seeing it until I  was in college. I quickly grew a great appreciation for Al Pacino’s work and the film itself. With incredible filmmaking, and a powerful story on a captivating Mafia family, it’s a cinema classic for a reason.


10. An American Werewolf in London 

For as many of the scary moments this film has, it has an equal amount of hilarious moments. Making this not just a horror film but a black comedy was a perfect choice, because the film does both so well. You can also appreciate Rick Baker’s incredible makeup work and practical effects. That ending nails the perfect genre mix – a tragic death cut to The Marcel’s bopping “Blue Moon”.


Top 10: Lord of the Rings Scenes

It’s nearly impossible to pick the best or most memorable scenes The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s hard to even write about them because I love it so much and have way too many feelings. But I’ll try.

1. Sam Carries Frodo 

The test of true friendship, and Sam passes with flying colors. How can you not feel emotional as the Into the West Theme plays as Sam carries Frodo up the mountain? (Howard Shore’s brilliant score “The Black Gate Opens”)

2. The Death of Sauron

The moment we’ve all been waiting for- for nearly 10 hours now- is finally here. The journey ends, the fellowship’s quest fulfilled. This finale is exhilarating and emotional.

3. Gandalf’s Advice to Frodo

Possibly one of the greatest quotes from the trilogy. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Gandalf’s wise and comforting words not only echo back to Frodo when he makes his choice to go and destroy the ring, but also stay in our hearts.

4.. You Shall Not Pass

This scene is simultaneously awesome and heartbreaking. We go from Gandalf being a total badass to the moving aftermath of his death. And that music, have I mentioned how brilliant Howard Shore’s score is?

5. Gollum vs. Smeagol

We get to see Andy Serkis’ brilliant acting and motion capture work in this integral scene into understanding the psychology of Gollum’s character. We see the dueling hero and villain that wrestles within him, but this time it’s Gollum who finally wins.

6. Boromir’s Death  

Yes we know the joke, Sean Bean always dies. But his work in this emotional scene is powerful. It’s sad to see him feel like a failure because he was tempted by the ring. But he’s not a villain, the ring was just too strong for him.

7. There’s Some Good In This World 

Sean Astin really shows some of his finest acting as Sam in this speech. Not only is it a crucial moment for The Two Towers, but it is the crux of the entire story. What are they fighting for anyway? Why is the battle for Middle-Earth so important? There is good in the world, and even in the darkest times there is still hope for it.

8. Pelannor Fields

Hands down, the best battle scene on screen. Everything about this, the CGI, the fight choreography, the music, is incredibly thrilling. And obviously Eowyn’s badass I AM NO MAN moment.

9. Grey Havens

This scene just breaks my heart. There has not been one viewing where I haven’t cried. When he hugs Sam goodbye…I CAN’T.

10. Helm’s Deep Charge

The entire Helm’s Deep battle is fantastic, but the charge at the end wins it all. When all hope is nearly lost and they are at the darkest point, Gandalf returns. A fantastic and visually spectacular moment.

Really, this isn’t even scratching the surface of the best parts of the film. Anyway, I think I’m due for another LOTR marathon. How about you?