More and more animated films will leak onto my list. Just a heads up.
30. Rebecca (1940)
This is one of the few times where I loved the movie more then the book. Based on French author Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, many critics and Hitchcock fans consider this film to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best. I have to agree with them. It is the way Hitchcock handled the material. He changed the ending and kept the main antagonist Rebecca hidden throughout. Not even a picture of the chilling beauty appeared.
The tragedy of this story is the fate of the main character, the new Mrs. De Winter. Despite her love, there was the nagging omen Rebecca causing her to doubt her worth. By the end, it is too late to bring back her far away lost look and innocence. The love story takes a long time to unfold but by its end it feels so real. Not everything is what it’s seems but that is where the brilliance shines the better.
1. Maxim de Winter: I can’t forget what it’s done to you. I’ve been thinking of nothing else since it happened. It’s gone forever, that funny young, lost look I loved won’t ever come back. I killed that when I told you about Rebecca. It’s gone. In a few hours, you’ve grown so much older.
2. Maxim de Winter: You thought I loved Rebecca? You thought that? I hated her!
3. Mrs. de Winter: [about her father] He had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing, or place or person, you should stick to it. Do you think that’s very silly?
Maxim de Winter: No, I’m a firm believer in that myself.
29. Life of Pi (2012)
This film is impossible to make without computer effects. Yet, it does not feel computer generated. The story is meant to make you believe in God. I think “make” is the wrong word. There is nothing in this world that can make one believe in God and stay true to Him. No, it does it into another way. But that is the personal journey.
It is rare for a film to be so openly spiritual. Yet, I believe there is beauty hidden in it if only people will lift their eyes from the shield of doubt. It is obvious why I love this story so. To believe takes an open heart. And those who go through such hard trials come out the stronger if they endure it well. I know to believe is not popular but when has popularity ever supported truth?
1. Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer?
Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.
Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God.
2. Santosh Patel: We will sail like Columbus.
Pi Patel: But Columbus was looking for India!
3. Adult Pi Patel: Faith is a house with many rooms.
Writer: But no room for doubt?
Adult Pi Patel: Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested.
28. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Technically this is a miniseries commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church. There were many big name actors and actresses throughout including Laurence Olivier and James Mason. But I did not know those famous people when I saw it as a child. This a powerful watch. Some may say it is a bloated push to force Christ at people. But again, this is a situation where the message and beauty is there if people are willing to see it.
Though it is impossible to truly portray Christ, because only imperfect people can play him, there is power in revisiting his life and ministry. My family and I watched this every Easter and it implanted deeply in me a spiritual perspective on the season.
1. Pontius Pilate: Do you realize I have the power to release you or have you crucified?
Jesus Christ: You wouldn’t have had that power over me if it hadn’t been given to you from above.
27. Song of the Sea (2014)
Though I also like Secret of Kells, the beauty and innocence of this film struck me hard the first time I saw it. There is no antagonist nor any impressing doom. What permeates, is this sad feeling that old things are passing away. I have always had a strong love of old tales and cultures. Irish folktales have a particularly somber tone. Yet, there is reprise and happiness found at the film’s end.
There is beauty in childhood innocence and true love. It is funny how alongside great sadness there is always found great happiness. Perhaps that is why I love this story. I watched a show once called Kino’s Journey (2003). The premis is “The world is not beautiful therefore it is beautiful.”. I think the same can be said about this movie. Bronagh must leave behind her husband and son for the sea. But there’s love still there. That is much makes the journey in this film so memorable.
1. Bronagh: My son, remember me in your stories and in your songs. Know that I will always love you, always.
26. Hotarubu no Mori E (2011)
Before I saw this movie, I saw a short video on YouTube dedicated to it. I wept. Then I saw the movie and cried again. It had been a long time since a story had touched me so. The story centers around a girl named Hotaru who meets a young man Gin who is trapped between life and death. He cannot touch her or else he will disappear from her world.
This film shows that love is not dependant on physical interaction. The fruit of love is companionship and friendship. It was hard to see two people growing together and loving yet separated by unimaginable forces. But there was more beauty and love shown in this obscure animated film then I have seen in a long time. Though I cried for their inevitable parting, something in me knew it was a wonderful thing. In The Return of the King (1955) Gandalf said, “I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” In seeing this film, I believe him.
1. Hotaru: Gin, I thought of you during the winter. Even during autumn and spring. Gin, don’t forget about me.”
2. Hotaru: Time may separate us someday. But, even still, until then, let’s stay together.
3. Gin: I can’t wait for summer to come around. When I’m away from you, even though I can’t be around crowds, I want to go see you.
4. Hotaru: I probably won’t be able to look forward to summer for a long time. My chest will hurt. My tears will be overflowing. But this warmth in my hands and these summer memories will live on in my heart.
25. Coraline (2009)
I love creepy children’s films like this. I believe that is my German soul speaking to me. I think this is because I love to see evils like the other mother be defeated. The original novel written by Neil Gaiman painted a startling picture of a more modern day boogie man. It also shows that children are often more perceptive than adults to the evils that surround us. That is the tragedy of our age. The child is being driven out by our media and grown ups become all the more oblivious at an earlier age.
The imagery is so colorful and out of all the still motion pictures made I think this is the most beautiful visually. I also like how “not” childish this movie feels. It does not rely on corny jokes or dating references. It tells a story about temptation and finding that what we always wanted is more often sitting right in front of us.
1. Coraline Jones: How can you walk away from something and then come towards it?
Cat: Walk around the world.
Coraline Jones: Small world.
2. Miss Forcible: [reading tea leaves] Well, not to worry, child: It’s good news. There’s a tall, handsome beast in your future.
Coraline Jones: A what?
Miss Spink: Miriam, really, you’re holding it wrong. See? Danger!
Coraline Jones: What do you see?
Miss Spink: I see a very peculiar hand.
Miss Forcible: I see a giraffe.
Miss Spink: Giraffes don’t just fall from the sky, Miriam.
Coraline Jones: Well, what should I do?
Miss Spink: Never wear green in your dressing room.
Miss Forcible: Acquire a very tall step-ladder.
24. The Incredibles (2004)
Ahhhh I remember when this came out. This is yet another film I watched with my brother Spencer. The trailers made us laugh so hard! A sign of a great movie is one that makes you never forget the first time you saw it. There was something so human about this one. It is about a man stuck between a life he used to have as a superheroe and the daunting, dull life he thinks he has.
One of the most powerful moments is when he hears his wife on the receiver at Syndrome’s lair and his family’s supposed death. There, he thinks he has lost everything he loves and unashamedly weeps. That was the time when he realized his family was the treasure he had been seeking all along. It is funny, cleverly written and a remarkable addition to the super hero film genre.
1. Lucius: Honey?
Lucius: Where’s my super suit?
Lucius: Where – is – my – super – suit?
Honey: I, uh, put it away.
[helicopter explodes outside]
Honey: *Why* do you *need* to know?
Lucius: I need it!
[Lucius rummages through another room in his condo]
Honey: Uh-uh! Don’t you think about running off doing no daring-do. We’ve been planning this dinner for two months!
Lucius: The public is in danger!
Honey: My evening’s in danger!
Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
Honey: ‘Greater good?’ I am your wife! I’m the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!
2. Bob: Weren’t you in the news? Some show in, Prayge… Prague?
Edna: Milan, darling. Milan. Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them… spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh! I used to design for *gods*!
3. [Bob is explaining an insurance policy loophole to a Mrs. Hogenson]
Bob: [whispering] Listen closely. I’d like to help you but I can’t. I’d like to tell you to take a copy of your policy to Norma Wilcox on… Norma Wilcox, W-I-L-C-O-X… on the third floor, but I can’t.
[Mrs. Hogenson scribbles details of Bob’s loophole on a small notepad]
Bob: I also do not advise you to fill out and file a WS2475 form with our legal department on the second floor. I would not expect someone to get back to you quickly to resolve the matter. I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do.
4. Mr. Incredible: Wait here and stay hidden. I’m going in.
Elastigirl: While what? I watch helplessly from the sidelines? I don’t think so.
Mr. Incredible: I’m asking you to wait with the kids.
Elastigirl: And I’m telling you, not a chance. You’re my husband, I’m with you – for better or worse.
Mr. Incredible: I have to do this alone.
Elastigirl: What is this to you? Playtime?
Mr. Incredible: No.
Elastigirl: So you can be Mr. Incredible again?
Mr. Incredible: No!
Elastigirl: Then what? What is it?
Mr. Incredible: I’m not…
Elastigirl: Not what?
Mr. Incredible: Not… I’m not strong enough.
Elastigirl: Strong enough? And this will make you stronger?
Mr. Incredible: Yes. No!
Elastigirl: That’s what this is? Some sort of work out?
Mr. Incredible: [shouts] I can’t lose you again! [calms down]
Mr. Incredible: I can’t. Not again. I’m not s-strong enough.
Elastigirl: [kisses him] If we work together, you won’t have to be.
Mr. Incredible: I don’t know what will happen…
Elastigirl: Hey, c’mon. We’re superheroes. What could happen?
23. Ratatouille (2006)
I did not like this movie as much the first watch. At the time, it never struck a chord with me. With further contemplation though, I came to love it. A movie about acceptance, companionship and family, it is told from the perspective of a rat Remi, who feels out of place with his family.
I think I love it most for its end. Gusteau’s restaurant gets closed down, most of the workers abandon them and Anton Ego loses his place as France’s top food critic. All for believing in a rat. But where there is glitter there is gold. Remi, Linguini and Collette open a new restaurant, Ego visits often, a changed and happy man and Remy’s family finally embraces his talent. Sometimes what we need is not immediately apparent. More than not it is waiting behind a closed door.
[when the restaurant is empty Linguini and Colette bring Remy to meet Ego]
Remy: At first, Ego thinks it’s a joke. But as Linguini explains, Ego’s smile disappears. He doesn’t react beyond asking the occasional question. And when the story’s done, Ego stands, thanks us for the meal, and leaves, without another word. The following day, his review appears:
Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
22. Stairway to Heaven (1947)
A funny sort of story is attached to this film. The first time I saw it, I was sitting next to my younger brothers who were playing a computer game. I started the movie and gradually within the next five minutes they forgot the game and squeezed next to me to find out what happens. A war film on the surface, what it is really about is a man who challenges his fate to be with a woman he came to love.
The man, Peter Carter, falls from a burning plane into the ocean after talking to June, one of the workers for the USAAF. He survives because his angel misses him in the London fog. Once he wakes up he meets June, whom he had never personally met, and they both recognize each other and fall in love. This is yet another powerful love story I adore for its genuinity. There is definitely more to this movie then initially meets the eye and it is a deep look into humanity’s perspective on death and the mind.
1. Peter: [over radio] Where were you born?
Peter: That’s a place to be born, history was made there. Are you in love with anybody? No, no don’t answer that.
June: I could love a man like you, Peter.
Peter: I love you, June. You’re life and I’m leaving you.
2. The Judge: Members of the jury, as Sir Walter Scott is always saying… In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed; In war, he mounts the warrior’s steed; In halls, in gay attire is seen; In hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below, and saints above; For Love is heaven, and heaven is Love. Will you please consider your verdict.
3. Abraham Farlan: You claim you love her.
Peter: I do love her!
Abraham Farlan: Can you prove it?
Peter: Well give me time, sir. Fifty years will do.
Abraham Farlan: But can you prove it?
Peter: Well, can a starving man prove he’s hungry except by eating?
Abraham Farlan: Would you die for her?
Peter: I would, but, er, I’d rather live.
21. Wizard of Oz (1939)
1939 was an incredible year for films. Classics like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Love Affair are considered some of the greatest films ever done. My favorite however is The Wizard of Oz. The book really is not that memorable for me. It is this movie that established my dreams for adventure and magic.
Timeless in its music, effects and acting I believe this is one of the few movies that is nearly perfect. This is not because there were no mistakes made here and there with the backgrounds or costume design. No, it is an enchanting, universal almost indescribable feeling that rests throughout it. Roger Ebert put it best in his review.
The elements in “The Wizard of Oz” powerfully fill a void that exists inside many children. For kids of a certain age, home is everything, the center of the world. But over the rainbow, dimly guessed at, is the wide earth, fascinating and terrifying. There is a deep fundamental fear that events might conspire to transport the child from the safety of home and strand him far away in a strange land. And what would he hope to find there? Why, new friends, to advise and protect him. And Toto, of course, because children have such a strong symbiotic relationship with their pets that they assume they would get lost together.
. . . its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them. As adults, we love it because it reminds us of a journey we have taken.
That is also why The Heroes Journey works so well for us as people. It is the idea that when all the war and hardship is over there is a place we all can go to for peace. That is how I feel about this movie. It’s magic lies in its heart and it means the world to me.
1.Scarecrow: First they [the Flying Monkeys] took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!
Tin Woodsman: Well, that’s you all over!
2. Auntie Em Gale: Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn’t mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now… well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!