Lists. Everyone loves lists, especially top 10 lists. I love top 10 lists so much that I have more than one for my favorite movies. I’ve got a list of top 10 favorite films of all time, but I also have a top 10 list of films that I love right now. In my opinion, there’s a good solid nine or 10 films that I love with all my heart that will never leave my top 10 list of my top 10 of all-time, and I think not only is that sad but also not very interesting. And that’s why I made my second list: 10 films which reflect my current taste in cinema. The list will change, my tastes will change, but it’s a list where if you asked me right now, I could tell you exactly where my cinematic taste lies. This is that list.
Here’s a film I watched because it was bad. I expected it to be bad. A 2.5/10 on IMDB tends to indicate films of low quality. I love this movie despite it not being very good. It’s weird, sometimes it makes no sense, it ends abruptly, and the acting is often poor. However, at the same time, it’s quirky as hell and oozes passion.
The story centres around two girls who visit a secluded town to recover their dead uncles’ things and end up running into a mysterious Aunt May, as well as a husband and wife duo who kill girls in his tanning salon. Afterwards they skin them so they can make purses. Some of the acting could be called terrible, but I say it’s quirky and adds to the off-beat charm of the film. To me, it’s not as much a “so bad it’s good” as much as it is a “so good despite being bad” film. Jared Masters (After School Massacre, Ballet of Blood) is an indie filmmaker worth keeping an eye out for.
When Constantine came out and I saw it in theatres I was at a time in my life where my opinions on film were just starting to develop. It was a weird phase where I didn’t like fun films because I they were bad and I wasn’t allowed to like them. Fast forward 11 years and now I’m so far down the rabbit hole that I can’t decide the difference between fun and bad (see: Slink). Constantine is not just a fun movie, it’s just a great movie overall. The cinematography stands out as some of the best looking I’ve ever seen. Keanu Reeves is perfect. The entire cast can only be described as one giant scenery chewing monster in the best way possible; Reeves, Peter Stormare, and Tilda Swinton all give some of the best performances of their careers, in my honest opinion. The mythology is also wonderful; deep and rich, which I am an absolute sucker for. Not to mention the action is bad ass and the whole film – all the designs, the wings and Hell – is gorgeous to look at.
Lazer Team (Theatrical Cut) (2015)
I am slightly biased with this one being the huge Rooster Teeth fan that I am. Rooster Teeth made their very first feature length film after an outrageously successful Indiegogo campaign and made a wonderfully fun sci-fi comedy. For me, Lazer Team benefits by having typical humor that you expect from a Rooster Teeth production, so if you watch their stuff you’ll love it. The film is incredibly unique in how it tackles not so unique genre tropes. It’s also has a lot of heart and the relationships between the four main characters, who have to learn to work together after putting on different parts of an alien weapon suit designed to help stave off an alien invader despite hating each other, as well as the character who the suit was originally meant for having to train them after they stole his birthright, are all amazingly well-written and well-acted. It’s a fun, kick ass, heartfelt movie with tons of humor, heart, and a great soundtrack. I just love it to pieces.
Bloodsport is a movie I would not have loved if I had seen it earlier than 2015. The epitome of a fun film and arguably Van Damme’s best, Bloodsport is one of the best films of all time. With a great fun 80’s soundtrack (“Kumite” is one of the best songs ever), lush cinematography, and the most fun acting a Van Damme flick can have, you really can’t go wrong with Bloodsport. The only thing I can’t stand is the horrendous acting by young Frank Dux, but this movie is just a wonderful amount of cheese. It’s fun, uplifting, and makes you feel like you can do anything, just like Frank Dux can! If you haven’t seen this movie then shame on you and go fix that immediately.
Scream is my second favorite Wes Craven film and possibly his best film. Before seeing Scream I’d only seen A Nightmare on Elm Street out of Wes’ filmography. While I think A Nightmare on Elm Street is the best horror film ever made and my personal favorite, Scream is a very close second. It’s the one movie of his that I could watch repeatedly and never get bored. Between the gorgeous use and color of the blood used, the creepy mask, its self aware sense of humor (“I’ll be right back!” is one of my most used movies quotes), and its phenomenal acting by both the incredibly underrated Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich in one of the greatest film finales of all time, it’s just an overall perfect film and a certified horror classic.
I was told not to go into Chef on an empty stomach because it’s a film that will make you hungry. I went into Chef immediately after dinner and that still didn’t help. I wanted to gorge myself on any and all food possible as long as it was cooked and filmed by Jon Favreau. This man made a simple grilled cheese sandwich look like a work of art (my mouth is watering as I type this). As a fan of dark, bleak, depressing movies where everyone dies at the end, walking out of Chef feeling happy and satisfied was amazing because this film is almost devoid of all darkness and conflict. It’s one of the happiest and best feeling movies I’ve ever watched.
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (2009)
Having not really enjoyed Neon Genesis Evangelion when I watched the series, I expected to not like the movies that much either. But what the movies do is get rid of anything that made the show slow and throw in some amazing music to boot. When it comes to Eva 2.22 it is hands down one of the most fantastic movies I have ever seen. As previously mentioned, the film features one of the greatest and most grandiose fun soundtracks ever, some incredibly emotional scenes (the attack on Asuka’s Eva unite as well as the entire finale), and some of the coolest giant monster fights created. I may be in the minority of people who love this series compared to the anime, but this movie is just pretty darn perfect.
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
Gamera 3 might be the greatest kaiju film ever made: Some amazing suits, crazy monster designs, and the best kaiju finales ever. I love this film for its darkness, yet how it also somehow manages to show us the goodness in humanity, which is something I need to be reminded of sometimes. It’s a film about one giant monster who loves humanity and wants to protect it. Two opposing sides, two destructive forces (featuring an appearance by the classic Gamera villain Gyaos), climaxing in one of the most amazing close combat and personal kaiju fights ever. This film just has some of the best things to ever grace the kaiju genre.
In the grand scheme of watching all of Guillermo del Toro’s films one year, this was the last one I needed to see before I’d seen them all. Nowadays it’s probably my favorite of his films. It’s a dark fairy tale that also plays like a horror film, a monster film, a comedy, and a drama.
A movie about a man who finds an ancient metal beetle-looking object which has a creature inside that makes the owner younger but gives him a lust for blood, a sweet family drama between a grandfather and his granddaughter, a hilarious family comedy between an old man and his nephew (Ron Perlman giving my favorite performance of his), with some pretty gross moments, wonderful cinematography, and the right kind of tragic ending.
A Bittersweet Life (2005)
My list would not be complete without a Kim Jee-woon/Lee Byung-hun film. Arguably my favorite director/actor combo (even better in my opinion than combos like Scorsese/DiCaprio and Tarantino/Jackson) work wonders with their first film together. A beautiful piece about an enforcer for a crime boss who is told to murder his boss’ girlfriend but instead falls in love with her and tries to protect her at the expense of both their lives. It’s got drama, humor, romance, and some absolutely fantastic fight sequences. South Korea has produced some of the finest action thrillers ever and there is no better person to have as your main actor in those films than Lee Byung-hun. This film has a wonderful ending and one of my favorite title screens of all time. Watch it and also watch the two other Kim Jee-woon/Lee Byung-hun films The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) and I Saw the Devil (2010).