Hey! It’s my birthday! Today as of the publishing of this Mega 5 I am turning forty-one years old. I’ve done a lot of things in my four plus decades on this planet. I’ve listened to a lot of music, played a ton of video games and I’ve seen thousands of movies. Going to the movies or having a movie night at home has always been one of my favorite things to do. The escapism and sheer entertainment I get from a good movie sits with me for a long time. So as I celebrate another lap around the sun I wanted to share with all of you my five FAVORITE movies of all time.
Now when I say favorite I mean exactly that, “favorite” does not always necessarily mean “best”. So if you see a movie or two on this list that causes you to scratch your head, don’t jump to conclusions and hear me out as to why it’s on my list of favorite movies of all time.
Now if there’s one film on this list that I would cite as a “perfect” movie it would probably be Back to the Future. Released in 1985 and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the story of Marty McFly being trapped back in time and his crazy adventure to make his way back home with the help of his mad scientist companion Doc Brown is one of the most iconic adventure comedies of my childhood. This movie made me want to learn to skateboard, made me fall in love with Huey Lewis and the News and as any good film does, gave me quotes to last a lifetime.
“Lou, get me a milk… Chocolate.“
From the action, to the lovable cast to the absolutely brilliant soundtrack, Back to the Future is an unforgettable film that only gets better every time I watch it. You might say it’s timeless.
Speaking of being able to watch a movie over and over again, Twister is the one film on this list that I will watch without fail EVERY single time I come across it while channel surfing. Released in 1996 and directed by Jan de Bont, this movie tells the story of a group of storm chasers led by Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) as they attempt to launch a one of a kind storm tracker during the busiest tornado season in Oklahoma.
I distinctly remember going to see this movie when I was a teenager and coming home that night and opening the windows of my bedroom as the hot summer air blew my curtains throughout the night. The pace of this movie never lets up as the storms increase in intensity and the dangers that Jo and Bill encounter become more perilous. One scene in particular that I love is when the two are driving down the highway trying to outrun the twister and an entire house cartwheels out into the middle of the road. The truck barrels through the front door, drives up the stairs and comes smashing out the back wall without skipping a beat. It’s the ultimate ‘turn off your brain and enjoy’ movie and I adore it.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy released in 2004 was directed by Adam McKay and immediately made Will Ferrell my hero. I completely lost control when I saw this film and brought tears to my eyes as I laughed from start to finish. I don’t know that any movie in my life has given more hilarious quotes than Anchorman and it’s also one of the rare comedies that no matter how many times you see it it doesn’t lose any of its polish.
It’s not so much the jokes of Anchorman but the sophomoric delivery of the cast that sells each laugh. You can tell how much fun the stars and crew had making Anchorman because it comes through in every scene. Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrel and David Koechner are all excellent and match Ferrell laugh for laugh as they deliver one of the dumbest stories ever put to film.
The greatest science fiction action film of all time is 1986’s Aliens, directed by James Cameron. The white knuckle descent into terror starring the never-better Sigourney Weaver is such a ride. The follow up to the heralded horror film, Alien, Aliens takes a brand new approach by introducing the concept of “What if we just kicked their asses?”. Weaver’s Ripley is coerced into returning to the location of the first film where her entire crew was massacred around her and in short order the fate of her companions in this film begin to suffer the same fate at unsurmountable odds. However Ripley through grit and determination takes charge and systematically charts a path to not only escape the doomed planet, but to wipe out every last on of the horrendous monsters that haunt her nightmares.
This movie is just pure badass cinema from the word go and it inspired so many of the films and games we see today in the genre. Aliens is not just a groundbreaking film it’s the best movie sequel ever made.
Which leads me to my all-time favorite movie, and one made probably before many of you reading this were ever born. Airplane! released the same year I was born, 1980, and was directed by the trio of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. This is the ultimate goofball comedy and takes absurdity in film to all new heights. One thing that I’ve always appreciated in movies is what I call ‘stupid comedy’. The jokes and the hilariously deadpan delivery of the cast are forever burned in my brain after seeing this movie no less than twenty times at this point.
The film follows a troubled flight as the passengers and the crew become sick putting their lives in the hands of a select few misfits who must safely land the plane and save them all. Among them is an air force pilot named “Stryker” who has a peculiar drinking problem. It’s not that he’s an alcoholic, it’s that he literally misses his mouth anytime he tries to take a drink and splashes water all over his face. This movie is wall to wall dad jokes and absurdity. You might be saying to yourself surely he can’t be serious. I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley. It’s my favorite movie of all time.