Tyler Christiansen ’21
Whenever I tell people that I love movies, I am always asked the same, impossible question: “What is your favorite movie?” I could say ten different ones on any given day. The “Star Wars” and “Toy Story” films are always brought up, so, to avoid franchise clutter, I am just going to ignore films that have sequels; in other words, only original films with no other baggage. To limit the pool even more, I am only going to talk about my favorite films from 2000- present day. It’s also in alphabetical order, since ranking these would be like ranking family members. Here we go.
Honestly, the first time I heard that Jordan Peele was going to make a horror film, I vastly underrated him. I could not have been more wrong. Peele created an instant classic with his directorial debut on a shoestring budget with only a handful of actors. The “Sunken Place” imagery is already iconic, as well as the twist at the end: “You know I can’t give you the keys, right babe?” Please keep making films, Mr. Peele.
Who knew Pixar could make a movie about depression and sadness while still making it fun and enjoyable? Not only is this top-tier Pixar, but it’s arguably one of the most original and insightful films in recent years. If the “Toy Story” films did not exist, this would be #1 for Pixar.
No one on Earth speaks like the characters in Juno do. Diablo Cody wrote the great character Juno, played perfectly by Ellen Page, who is a pregnant high schooler who decides to put the baby up for adoption. Both hilarious and smart, “Juno” tells us not to rush into adulthood, bur rather to savor the moments of our innocence.
“La La Land”
My personal favorite on this list, Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” follows two characters trying to fulfill their dreams in LA. One wants to be a movie star and the other wants to own a jazz club. The many dance sequences and music playing are delightful (Justin Hurwitz’s score is my favorite) and the last 15 minutes of the film are heartbreaking, but ultimately right. In order to achieve your dreams, you have to sacrifice something. Also, Ryan Gosling’s piano playing make the film that much better. “It’s conflict, it’s compromise, and it’s new every time. It’s very, very exciting!”
“Little Miss Sunshine”
While “The Departed” is a good film made by a great director, “Little Miss Sunshine” really should have taken that top prize back in ‘06. Written by “Toy Story 3” writer Michael Ardnt, the film follows a dysfunctional family on a several-day road trip to get to a beauty pageant. The film’s message surfaces when the grandfather, played by the excellent Alan Arkin, says to his granddaughter, “You know what a real loser is? A real loser is someone who is so afraid of losing, they don’t even try! You’re trying, right? Then you’re not a loser!” While depressing at times, it is an ultimately uplifting film that deserves to be in the conversation more.
“The Social Network”
The opening scene of David Fincher’s “Social Network” sets the tone for what is to come: fast-paced dialogue, quick editing, and a character that we kind of have sympathy for, but also really dislike. It’s a fine line, but Fincher walked it perfectly and created a fascinating story about the creation of Facebook (which should have been a snooze fest) and how even though Zuckerberg made a platform where millions of people could connect, he was left a lonely millionaire. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield give their best performances here and even Justin Timberlake is great. The scene where Eduardo finds out he only owns 0.03 percent of Facebook after Mark sold millions of shares of stock is emotional and frustrating, making it the best scene in the film.
After seeing “Whiplash” for the first time, I immediately put it in my top ten films of all time. My only regret with this film is that I did not see it on the big screen. The film’s 10-minute drum solo finale is one of the great endings and proved that Chazelle knew what he was doing. He addresses the conflict between success and sacrifice, and how far people are willing to push themselves in order to achieve their dream or goal. I felt exhausted by the end of it, but in the best way possible.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Midnight in Paris
Toy Story 3
No Country for Old Men