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 fifth of ten…
Little Shop of Horrors (The Musical)
This is one of my favorite musicals and it happens to be one of my favorite movie musicals. For the nerdlings who like musical theater this is a must see play and a must watch film.
The cast does a great job and they have a lot of fun making the characters broad and entertaining. Pop this movie in and sing along. These tunes get stuck in my head frequently. They might as well be stuck in yours too!
This movie pretty much invented the fusion between live action characters and CGI. In 1982 using computers was so new that the Academy denied Tron any nominations because they considered the use of this new tool “cheating”. Little did they know this was the start of a runaway freight train. You can’t watch a movie now without it having some sort of computer based graphics injected into it somewhere. For being over 30 years old those first CGI frames still hold up pretty well. This is in the Sci-Fi Pantheon and should be watched with reverence by you and your nerdlings.
Howard the Duck
This movie was a bonafide box office flop. So much so that because of his personal investment and the newly constructed Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas had to try and liquidate to stay afloat. Steve Jobs offered Lucas a boatload of money to purchase the new Lucas animation studios. George jumped at the offer and sold off what eventually became Pixar Studios. Say what you will about the success of this movie, but we have Howard to thank for the modern animated movies we know and love.
Speaking of love; I love this movie. If you couldn’t tell by now, I tend to enjoy some cheese in my movies. This one has it. But it also has a great cast (This is my second favorite Jeffery Jones movie) and one of my favorite 80’s soundtracks by a fake band; Cherry Bomb. Sit your midsized nerdlings down and watch the crap out of this one. Get lost in the 80’s clothes and music.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
Being a fan of bad movies I am always on the lookout for things I haven’t seen. When I came upon this movie it was if I had found the Holy Grail. I couldn’t believe I had never seen this wonderful piece of science fiction. Then to my surprise and delight I found out that this wasn’t 50 years old. No Sir! This brilliant film was made in 2001 by a group of people who I would love to be friends with now and forever. They not only wrote a beautiful script that was a perfect send up of the classic B movies of the 50’s and 60’s but they did everything themselves. This is a perfect homage to the black and white B movie genre. They pay great lip service to the originals. Grab your nerdlings and watch another movie that will provide you with inside jokes and quotes for years to come.
When Harry Met Sally
This might be my second favorite movie written by the late, great Nora Ephron. It is by far my favorite of her romantic comedies. She had a wonderful feel for all her characters. She knew them inside out. In this classic film her characters were properly realized by the four leads; Bruno Kirby, Carrie Fisher, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal. With a little help from the genius that is Rob Reiner in the directors chair, this movie spans many years and an on again off again relationship that plumbs the depths of interpersonal connection between men and women. There are iconic moments and unforgettable lines throughout. Grab your significant other and dive into this one. Might want to wait to show this one to your nerdlings… wait until they can appreciate the relationship humor and connections.
I should just put the name Mel Brooks in giant bold letters for one of these posts and have it be the only thing there; but I won’t because there are so many other great movies out there. Even though Mr. Brooks is on the comedic Mt. Rushmore. From his days writing and acting on ‘Your Show of Shows’ to his upcoming voice work in the animated movie “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” his genius shines through. And when he teams up with Gene Wilder, not much can stop them.
I enjoy this movie every time I see it. There are so many quotable lines in this film my friends and I are constantly pulling one or two quotes out of this in our conversations. Show this one to your older nerdlings because of the off color language and situations.
The Last Starfighter
Just like ‘Tron’, ‘The Last Starfighter’ paved the way for the modern sci-fi movies we know and love. It took us from a fictional video game where you try and save the universe to a real situation where you are actually trying to save the universe. The plot was a stroke of genius. Back then I know when I played those first arcade games I dreamed that I was really out there flying a spaceship fighting aliens. This movie brought my daydreams to the silver screen. For that alone it has a place on this list. But it also is just a fun flick to enjoy. Nerdlings of all ages would get something out of this movie.
This is probably my favorite western. Historical accuracy be damned. This is all about the characters and the actors who brought them to life. Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton portray the Earp Brothers and they do it wonderfully. Then there’s Val Kilmer. His rendition of Doc Holiday was perfection. Personally I think he was robbed of at least an Oscar nomination. Granted it was a jam-packed year for actors. Tommy Lee Jones won for ‘The Fugitive’. The other nominees were Leonardo DiCaprio for ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’, Ralph Fiennes ‘Schindler’s List’, John Malkovich for ‘In the Line of Fire’ and Pete Postlethwaite for ‘In the Name of the Father’.
This is also a favorite for my Dad, Mom, and both my nephews. We have watched this movie countless times. If you enjoy westerns or you just like great characters check this one out. This is rated R so use your discretion when showing it to your nerdlings.
Grumpy Old Men
This is a modern retelling/retooling of the ‘Odd Couple’ with the original “odd couple” Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. (And yes these two were in the original ‘Odd Couple’ movie in 1968. Tony Randal and Jack Klugman’s version came two years later in 1970.) This is one of 10 movies these two did together in their careers. Also it stars one of the most beautiful women to ever live, Ann-Margret. I love this movie’s heart. Yes, it has fantastic slapstick comedy and great quotable one-liners but where this movie wins over audiences is with its heart. That comes from two actors who are masters of their craft. Oh yeah, also the great Burgess Meredith steals every scene he is in. Which is saying something when you are in scenes with Jack and Walter. Have no doubt when sharing this with your nerdlings. It is a great family comedy ready to watch for all. If you enjoy this one check out the sequel ‘Grumpier Old Men’.
This was back when Tim Burton still made good movies. It was also the first of three movies in a row that he directed that I liked. This was his golden age for me; from 1988 to 1996. On to the movie itself. This is a must watch for comedy/horror nerds. It leans way closer to the comedy side but the visuals in this one are classic Burton. Michael Keaton as the titular character was a stroke of brilliance. The stop motion effects don’t quite hold up but it still works within the tone of the movie. This is one of those movies that I will get a hankering for and not know that this is what I want to watch, so I will watch something else and not be satisfied. Then I toss this in and it hits the spot each time. Keep some of the real young nerdlings eyes covered for a few scenes in this one but let the older ones enjoy this fully.