~ the best-est films I have ever ever seen and also ones that I re-watch on the regular because THEY’RE JUST SO GOOD ~
Do you ever ever have those moments where your inner dialogue goes something like this:
*a dramatic re-enactment*
YOU: let’s watch a movie
INNER YOU: omg, you know, we should watch that one movie that, like, is the single most perfect film ever in the history of the Earth
YOU: but we literally just watched that yesterday
INNER YOU: yeah but don’t you just love the nostalgia of knowing every little inch of dialogue inside out and being able to further appreciate the nuances of a film because you’re not solely focused on plot?
YOU: … yes.
*Cut to YOU watching the exact same movie you watch pretty much every time because it’s just so amazing and nothing can compare*
~ END SCENE ~
Relatable, right? We all have a couple of films that we gravitate to almost immediately when someone says “Let’s watch a movie!” Whether it be because of its ties to your childhood, its inexplicably clever structure, it features your favourite actor’s best and most heart-wrenching performance or simply because it’s damn hilarious, it usually means that that movie has become one of your favourite films. I am only human, and I too have been guilty of suggesting pretty much the same movies at every single sleepover/party/hangout/gathering ever.
Here are a few of those:
The Social Network, 2013 (dir. David Fincher)
While the rest of this list is shuffled around in whatever order I thought of them in, The Social Network easily takes the top place. This film has probably the single most genius team behind it ever; David Fincher, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg and post-Westwing (aka. peak of his entire career) legend and all round genius Aaron Sorkin. The latter’s dialogue is like music throughout the entire film; hilarious and gut-wrenching in just the right moments. Right from the very first scene, where the audio level is just below the background chatter, it literally draws you in – forcing you to concentrate on how the words are constructed and how they interact with those of the other characters. I’m always a sucker for stories that jump between time, and the way this narrative does it is stunning; giving the audience just enough clues as to where they’re taking the next scene so that they can make their predictions – but only a second after the cut has already occurred. This film is pretty much a perfect example of “show don’t tell” in any kind of story writing; the characters are developed through their actions and reactions rather than them telling us exactly what they’re feeling – the infamous beer-grabbing scene stands out as one of my particular favourite examples. This creates a clever, subtle film that has both a subdued and feverish atmosphere in particular points in the storyline, but it never felts choppy – the crescendos of both literal sound and character intensity swell over many scenes to form smooth emotional arcs. To be honest, I could probably talk about this movie for years, and I’m planning to make a seperate post about why it is indeed my favourite of all time, but basically, the film is genius. Don’t miss it.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, 2012 (dir. Stephen Chbosky)
A movie that’s feel-good and makes you sob uncontrollably at the same time may sound like a paradox, but yet I give you, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. This touching yet hilarious coming-of-age story features a brilliant cast and incredible performances by all of them. This is the type of movie I watch whenever I need to have a good cry, but it also makes me feel unbelievable happy. It’s almost as if after I watch it, I have been through all the emotions my brain can possibly experience – and then I am sufficiently relaxed and content until the next existential crisis. This movie is so good, watching it is a crucial part of my mental health cycle. The story is essentially character driven, which allows the individual actors to really shine. Ezra Miller in particular gives a potent, moving performance as the extravagant Patrick, and Lerman delivers a delicate, nuanced and instantly likeable protagonist that you are more than willing to laugh and cry for. His thoughtful narration as the estranged yet brilliant Charlie guides the audience through the film with subtlety – never feeling excessive or forced. In addition, the film tackles some important issues – homophobia, slut-shaming, sexual abuse, domestic violence, mental health, sexuality and more – in a way that’s authentic and never patronising. 100% adorbs and a must-watch for any teen who’s ever felt a little out of place.
The Craft, 1996 (dir. Andrew Fleming)
If The Perks Of Being A Wallflower sounds far too sentimental and pretentious for your taste, then this next one is for you. The Craft is a complete 180 from the cutesy, touching film above, instead it’s badass, magical, a little creepy and completely – in the words of anti-hero Nancy – punk-rock. However, despite it’s grunge-y premise, The Craft has some surprisingly dark twists. What starts out as a fun, rebellious girl-gang tale quickly spirals into a terrifying, reality-defying battle of wits, magic and revenge. The tone of this film is quite unique, it technically falls under the horror genre, but still maintains its cool, indie teen drama vibe throughout – even in the petrifying last 15 minutes or so. If you are a teenage girl (spoiler: am), this film will make you want to join a coven instantly – its depiction of the Wicca religion is super interesting, and all of the spells, mantras and laws we hear during the movie are all real Wiccan rules and rituals. The ideas of sisterhood and empowerment that come with this coven theme also shine through beautifully – from the dagger trust exercise to the Metamorph-esque sleepovers – the film gives you a strong sense of girl power. Despite their more evil intentions later in the movie, seeing the Nancy and the gang stride down the corridor, making their way fearlessly to their lockers dressed in all black, or wrecking havoc on the jackass Neanderthals that plague their school will forever make me feel like a badass, practising witch or not. The film also doesn’t shy away from the more intense stuff – racism, sexual harassment and peer pressure (even if it is of the supernatural kind) are all tackled. Not to mention the killer one-liners; I could hear Fairuza Balk say “We are the weirdos mister,” honestly, all day.
The Usual Suspects, 1995 (Bryan Singer)
Did you love Kevin Spacey in House of Cards? Maybe you saw his Masterclass ad on Youtube and thought, wow. This guy is cool. Well, now you should watch Kevin Spacey IN THE COOLEST FREAKING ROLE HE’S EVER HAD (‘cept American Beauty, maybe). I was introduced to The Usual Suspects by my step-dad – and believe me, this is such a dad film – and instantly fell in love. Its quippy dialogue and thus hilarious interactions between the main five characters will make this movie the most fun you’ll have in a while. The kickass gunfight scenes – to say nothing of that thrilling final sequence – make you feel like a suave, dirty-dealing business man with a penchant for danger just from watching them. It’s a very morally grey, money and guns, backstabbing and trust-no-one kind of movie, so if you like films with that kind of cool mystery around them, this is the one for you. Be prepared to use a fair bit of brainpower though, it’s not all cargo ship explosions and briefcases full of cash (although there are a lot of those). The cuts between police interrogations, flashbacks and real time plot events make the storyline increasingly complex, and some high quality cinematography only further enhances the aura of mystique. I can’t say too much though, its best to go into this movie knowing very little, and come out with your mind completely blown. Trust me though, when I say you will never see another heist movie like it again.