I couldn’t just have ten, so here are my favorite fifteen movies in no particular order.
2. The City of Lost Children, 1995 — directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet: French language surrealist fairy tale in which an evil scientist is kidnapping children and trying to steal their dreams so that he can finally dream. The best visuals I have ever seen and an absolute work of art.
3. Chinatown, 1974 — directed by Roman Polanski: Polanski’s greatest movie and the last he’s ever shot on American soil, this is a complex thriller filled with suspense, oozing with character, and the grace of a classic movie from the 1940s or 1950s.
4. Amelie, 2001 — directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet: An incredible treat for the eyes, again from Jeunet, this time telling the story of a young woman who wants to be a do-gooder and has yet to find happiness, but in the course of events little things are to take, will find both, and not just for herself. Beautiful and touching.
5. The Fifth Element, 1997 — directed by Luc Besson: Gautier’s style with Besson’s direction create this incredibly stylistic vision of the future in which the fate of humanity is in the hands of a divine being. Great characters, some of the best special effects of the decade, a wonderful cast, and a visual style that is impossible to forget.
6. Brazil, 1985 — directed by Terry Gilliam: 1984-esque dystopian vision of Gilliam in which massive bureacracy, tyranny, and other matters have virtually locked everyone into place, under constant watch, and terrified of not filing the proper paperwork! Hilarious, surreal, and wonderfully imaginative.
7. Amadeus, 1984 — directed by Milos Forman: What better way to combine music and sound than by way of a colorful pseudo-biopic of Mozart? Told through a third person as a lamentable confession, Forman creates a movie nearly as appreciable as much of the music for which Mozart is famous.
8. Memento, 2000 — directed by Christopher Nolan: Innovative and clever, this movie’s unusual manner of reverse organization, narrative and intrigue keeps you guessing and even when you’ve seen it once and know what’ll happen, you can keep watching it over and over and pick up more things each time. Great, great work.
9. L.A. Confidential, 1997 — directed by Curtis Hanson: Another of the film noirs, this time the story of the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles in the 1950s filled with massive police corruption and a plot that’ll keep you guessing until the very end.
10. Schindler’s List, 1993 — directed by Steven Spielberg: Absolutely astounding. This movie has had such an impact on how many view the Holocaust that it can scarcely be adequately described. A jewel of a movie that somehow manages to portray the absolute horrors and worst things humanity is capable of while at the same time highlighting the power that one person can have in trying to bring out the very best that humanity is capable of. I doubt this movie will ever budge from my top 10.