You’ve seen all these must see movie lists that clutter up your newsfeed on the Facebooks and other pages on the interwebs. I know I’ve seen a ton of them. Usually the parenthetical to the title of the piece is ‘[Insert number of movies here] you need to see before you die’. The problem I have with the vast majority of these lists is that they are compiled by film school snobs who think French new wave or some other pretentious crap is the bee’s knees.
Where are the lists for the hard working masses? Where are the lists for nerds who are trying to teach their nerdlings about the wonderful world of movies? Where are the lists for the hard working non-nerdy masses who happen to be raising a young, enthusiastic nerdling?
The answer to those questions ladies and gentlemen is right here. I am going to gather together a list of 100 movies that you don’t necessarily HAVE to see before you shuffle off this mortal coil, but rather a list of 100 movies that should be seen to further broaden one’s soul. Some maybe obvious and I’m sure some you won’t have heard of, but all will be worth it. I’m just here to help.
These will be in no particular order and they won’t be numbered (Why number them if they are being counted down and you already know there’s going to a total of 100) and broken down into ten easy to digest segments. So let’s keep going with the third of ten…
Shaun of the Dead
The first of the brilliant ‘Blood and Ice Cream’ trilogy. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg penned a great script and they crafted a relationship story out of a zombie apocalypse scenario. The signature directing and editing style that sets Edgar Wright apart is fully realized in this film. It is funny, it is bloody and it has heart. Depending on how much blood and violence you want to subject your nerdlings to, use your discretion at what age you show this one to them.
Keanu gets a lot of flak for a lot of things. And the comic book community was all a tither when this movie was announced and that Mr. Reeves was to play the title character. And they were still pitching fits after it came out. I was never one of those poo-pooers. I really enjoyed this adaptation. It has a very specific look and feel to it. I’m still holding out hope that there will be a sequel. The story works and everything plays for me in this one. Constantine has a pretty solid R rating so leave this one to the older nerdlings.
After years of working as a writer and bit player on some of the greatest variety shows in television history and then becoming one of, if not thee most popular stand-up comedians of the day, Steve Martin wrote a feature film. In 1979 he got the opportunity to make that script a reality and ‘The Jerk’ was born. Genius is almost too light of a word. It was precise. It was polished. It was perfection. Steve Martin hit a smashing homerun his first time out. This movie spawned a brilliant feature film career that spans nearly 40 years and is loaded with classics. But this is the first and one must pay homage to the beginning. This does have some strong language and different situations that may not be appropriate for the younger nerdlings.
Back to the Future
When the 1980’s are brought up in any sort of pop culture discussion this movie is usually one of the first to get mentioned. It is a true classic. Robert Zemeckis wrote and directed this piece of cinematic history. From the wonderful characters to the cutting edge special effects this was a huge film. And it was everywhere that year. It came out July 3rd 1985 and took not only the box office but the entire country by storm. The massive cross marketing that took place around this movie was epic. From shirts, to hats to Diet Pepsi commercials ‘Back to the Future’ was there. Nerdlings of all ages need to see this if they haven’t already. Then move on to the second and third chapters of the story. They’re all pretty darn good.
The Princess Bride
Out of all the movies on this list, this one might be the biggest no-brainer of them all. I ❤ this move so much that I just went ‘less than three’ on this puppy. Start to finish it has it all and it has it all in spades. The acting, the dialog, the fight scenes, the R.O.U.S.’s… whatever you are looking for it has it. Yes, even kissing. Heck it even has a giant! Please share this with all the nerdlings and non nerdlings of the world. This needs to be seen. I know it will be loved.
Few know about this movie. Even less know that it is a remake of a 1960 film with a very similar title “13 Ghosts”. Really the only similarity between the two is the title and that regular people need to wear special glasses to see the ghosts. Almost everything else is different. But it is different in a good way.
I really like the plot of this movie. An eccentric rich man dies and leaves his weird glass house to his long lost nephew. Unbeknownst to the whole family crazy old uncle has been collecting all the ghosts on the Black Zodiac to conjure up some portal to something or somewhere.
The movie is conceived and executed quite well. The house of course is almost all CG but, and this is the thing that I really appreciate and love about this movie, all the ghost effects were done practically. Yep, they sat real people in real make up chairs and other real people made them look like that. Not video captured and rendered in a supercomputer somewhere… nope real people acting and everything. Yes even the Torso ghost. He was a double amputee who wore a special hood so they could remove his head in post-production. Find this and watch this. Might want to save this for the teen nerdlings because there might be some nightmare inducing moments for the young ones.
It’s a Wonderful Life
How can you make a list and not include this Jimmy Stewart classic? I guess it would be easy, you just don’t put it on the list. I can’t imagine not having this on here though. It is a Christmas/Holiday time staple, but really this can be viewed anytime of the year. When said out loud the plot of this story can come off a bit depressing; in reality it is. But the sincere way Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey sucks you in each and every time you watch it. Frank Capra caught lightning in a bottle when he wrote and directed this one. It has endured for nearly 70 years as a great film and it will go well beyond that. All the nerdlings are welcome to watch this black and white masterwork.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 – The Movie
From their humble beginnings as a cable access show in Minnesota all the way to Comedy Central, Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and Mike…. Or Joel, have left their mark on the world. The snarky jibes and barbs they hurl at a movie screen in an empty theater onboard the spaceship ‘Satellite of Love’ shaped a generation’s sense of humor. Not to mention the generations yet to come.
They have since parted ways but they still put out companion tracks called ‘RiffTrax’ to movies and a couple years ago they did a live via movie theater production for the best bad movie of all time ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’. It was brilliant, but MST3K – The Movie is their crowning glory. It is endlessly quotable and entertaining. Plus it is a great introduction to the TV show. I love it. Grab your nerdlings and enjoy.
The Great Outdoors
This is one of the best family comedies that came out of the 80’s. John Candy and Dan Aykroyd were in their comedic prime. They played off each other so well. Not to mention the great supporting families. And even a bald headed bear.
I have so many great memories of this movie. I remember sitting around watching this with my parents on VHS for the first time. My Dad and Mom were in tears during the whole skiing sequence. My Mom almost fell out of her chair she was laughing so hard. Sometime later I watched it with my brother-in-law. He has one of the most infectious laughs so I love to make him laugh. When John Candy was being chased by the bear, he was literally rolling on the floor laughing the hardest I had ever seen him laugh. I physically hurt from laughing not only from the movie but from watching my brother-in-law watch and enjoy this movie. Then the last memory I have of this movie is when I got to show it to my two nephews and two nieces. The joy on their faces was priceless.
Make those same types of memories with your family; buy this movie and watch it with them. You won’t regret it.
This man may be the single largest influence on Western cinema that has ever existed. His movies inspired many other filmmakers. Filmmakers have borrowed, copied and out right stolen ideas, shots and plots from this great man. Guaranteed a majority of the movies on this list have some element from a Kurosawa film. The man was a genius.
Take your pick what movie you want to start with here; ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘Yojimbo’, ‘The Hidden Fortress’ (which most believe is where George Lucas got the idea for Star Wars), ‘Rashomon’, ‘Ran’, ‘Kagemusha’… There are many to choose from. Just start exploring. That’s the great thing about movies, there are always more out there.