Because it’s the rainy season. Which, when you are in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia means you have a lot of down time. And I love movies. A lot.
This list was nearly impossible to write, as evidenced by my honorable mention list that continues to grow. The movies I watch repeatedly are almost entirely comedies, but this list needed to be different. So I asked myself a question that became the criteria for choosing the movies.
If I could only watch 20 movies for my time in Peace Corps what would they be?
I needed a good mix of humor and heart. Movies that bring up good times and good memories. Movies that make me laugh and movies that make me not cry because I don’t cry during movies. ever.
Here they are:
20. The Bourne Trilogy: Pure entertainment. Carly could leave me for Matt Damon and I would congratulate her and ask for his autograph.
19. Remember the Titans: In my opinion, the best sports movie ever made. Also it came out when I was a star receiver at a high school near the featured TC Williams. And by star I mean that I’m pretty sure the Head Coach thought my name was Neiman.
18. Superbad: Michael Cera plays the awkward teen to perfection. I think he’s the reason I have a girlfriend because he made dorks cool. I watched this with Brian Yost and a bunch of other idiots and I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater ever. Mom, don’t watch this one.
17. The Lives of Others: Maybe not the most re-watchable film, but one that I think everyone should see. It’s in my top ten all time movies and it makes me look cool that I like a movie that you might not have heard of.
Quick tangent: I think three Nazi WWII movies would make my best movies list. I love sad movies.
1a. The Lives of Others
1b. The Pianist (Best acting job I’ve ever seen. Best scene as well, (when he plays for the soldier near the end)
1c. Schindlers List (The red dress. Liam Niesen. The second to last scene when Liam chokes up before getting in the car.)
16. Rounders: I love Poker. I love Matt Damon and Ed Norton. How could I not love this movie? Teddy KGB? “Pay dat mayn hees mahney” Plus I can’t watch this movie without thinking of my favorite family.
15. Home Alone: Some families watch the Christmas Story every Holiday Season. We seemed to always watch Home Alone. Good memories. Great movie.
14. Anchorman: Strangely, I didn’t like this movie the first time around. Since then, if I watch it, I’m quoting Ron Burgandy for a week.
13. Death at a Funeral: I’ve heard that some people found this movie to be awful and entirely unfunny. Those people suck. It’s one of the funniest movies ever.
12. The Green Mile: This was the first movie that made me tear up. And it happened twice. The first time I watched it was with my old roommate Ben Hawkins. We were pretty sure that it changed our lives for a good year.
11. Fight Club: Edward Norton might be the most underrated actor. Brad Pitt is cool too I guess. I’d put American History X on this list but it’s too sad to watch more than a few times.
10. LOTR Trilogy: I’m a nerd. My family and I love these books and movies. Especially the two towers. Moving on…
9. Office Space: Even funnier after having worked in an office. The boss kills me. Same with the interviews, the stapler guy and the smashing of the equipment.
8. The Sixth Sense: I’m rarely in the mood for horror movies. That changes if The Sixth Sense is on TV. Its masterful, suspenseful and the twist at the end kicked my ass.
7. Good Will Hunting: Classic film. “Do you like apples?” Matt Damon is awesome. The scene where Ben Affleck tells him the best part of his day is hoping Matt doesn’t come to work? Brilliant.
6. Happy Gilmore: I was the perfect age when this (and Billy Madison) came out. “I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.”
“You eat pieces of shit for breakfast??”
5. Gladiator: The greatest Historical Action Drama. Narrowly beats out Braveheart as the most badass movie of all time. I’ve probably watched it ten times, and I’m always entertained.
4. Groundhog Day: This certainly isn’t the funniest movie I’ve seen, but I could never turn it off if it was on. Is there a better actor for any character than this movie? Imagining this movie without Bill Murray is scary. This is my dad’s all time favorite comedy as well.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: If this is on TV, I’m not moving until its over. Ferris is my hero.
2. Forrest Gump: The most quotable movie of all time, and the movie that made me wonder if Tom Hanks is actually Jesus. It’s the perfect mixture of humor and heart.
1. Shawshank Redemption: This is the single greatest movie ever made. It is truly perfect. I think I know every line. Morgan Freeman was brilliant. The depth, acting, storytelling and pace are incredible. I’m truly jealous of everyone who has not seen this movie because they get to experience it for the first time.
- Up/Finding Nemo/Ratatouille: I tried to narrow it down to one Pixar movie but instead I picked my three favorites.
- The Sandlot: FOR-EV-ER
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Golden. Reminds me of College.
- Swingers: My favorite people love this movie so therefore I do too.
- Mighty Ducks: Makes me miss being a kid and Mike Jennings as does:
- Back to the Future: classic.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Mostly I just love
- Robin Hood, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Disney’s animated Robin Hood: all three are classics.
- The Dark Knight, Batman Begins: Great movies but not ones I’d watch over and over.
- Top Gun: well its on every day and I always watch it. Great soundtrack.
- Hot Shots Part Deux: and you can’t mention Top Gun without Hot Shots.
- Almost Famous: Almost cracked the top 20
- Rain Man: I love this movie. I love quoting it.
- Napoleon Dynamite: Definitely a love/hate movie. I love it.
- Dazed and Confused: I’ve probably watched this 15 times. Couldn’t tell you what it’s about.
- There’s Something About Mary: My favorite part about this movie is Matt Dillon’s hilariously politically incorrect statements.
- Airplane: also came close to cracking the top 20
- Step Brothers: like anchorman, I didn’t love it the first time around. I was a little Will Ferelled out. Since, it’s been gold everytime. The first 45 minutes are incredible.
- Tommy Boy: RIP Chris Farley
- Avatar: Only makes the list if I could watch in 3d. Blew me away the first time. Also it was the first movie date Carly and I went on.
- Pulp Fiction/Kill Bill Volume 1/Inglorious Bastards: I’m not a huge fan of this genre. But I can always watch these three Tarantino gems.
- Stranger than Fiction: I LOVE this movie.
- Star Wars trilogy: Close to making the final list but I only like certain parts in each movie.
What did I get wrong/right? What are your top 5, 10, 20?