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 finish with the final ten…
I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for this one but I don’t care. His early work was brilliantly funny. ‘Billy Madison’ in all of its goofy and silliness has some great quotable lines. Then you have the classic ‘Happy Gilmore’. That is on a lot of all-time sports movie lists. Then you have ‘Mr. Deeds’, ‘Big Daddy’, ‘The Wedding Singer’, ‘The Waterboy’, and ‘Little Nicky’ (which always makes me crack up). Lest we forget about ‘Bulletproof’ where he co-stars with Damon Wayans which is a fun buddy, action, road tirp type movie.
Now we haven’t even talked about ‘Punch-Drunk Love’. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson this little indie film shows us the serious side to Sandler and has one of the strangest and prophetic lines in a love story:
I always get sucked into ‘Spanglish’. I don’t know what it is but it has happened at least 6 times where I’m flipping through the channels and it is on and I just can’t change the channel. Same thing with ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’ and ‘You Don’t Mess with the Zohan’. Those two are easily explained; they are really freakin’ funny. Then lastly ‘Bedtime Stories’ is just adorable. So cute.
If you have the same sense of humor I do then you will really enjoy sharing these and other Adam Sandler movies with your nerdlings. Granted keep in mind the age for a couple of these can be a bit crude with the language and some situations.
Dazed and Confused
Alright, Alright…. Really that may be all I need to say about this movie. No? Ok. So other than being the big screen debut of one of my favorite people in Hollywood, Matthew McConaughey, it really has an ‘American Graffiti’ set in the 70’s feel to it. A very young cast of mostly unknowns thrown together and magic happens. It has one of the better movie soundtracks if you’re a fan of 70’s music. Even if you’re not it has some great tunes in it. This has an R rating so save this for your graduating nerdlings.
The Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal Lecter the quintessential sociopathic movie villain. Heck he may be the most terrifying movie villain of all time. Why? Because there is a chance that someone like him actually exists. That’s what makes him so terrifying. He is brought to life perfectly by Sir Anthony Hopkins. At the time there was no one else who could have pulled that character off as well as Mr. Hopkins. Jodie Foster played the innocent balance to Lecter’s immorality. It played on every level. There is some very graphic scenes and a bit of language in this one so reserve it for the older nerdlings.
The Vacation Movies
Growing up everyone wanted to have a Griswold family vacation. This series of films is a concert of calamities with some life lessons and idiocy thrown in for good measure. They are always around for a laugh or three. Personally my two favorites are ‘Vegas Vacation’ and ‘Christmas Vacation’. The original is a classic. Granted all of them are classics to me. Thank you again John Hughes for creating these great characters. There is some language and different situational things that may not be appropriate for the younger nerdlings.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
‘Anchorman’ gave us a glimpse of Steve Carell; this movie showed us all of him and just how funny he could be. I’m a big Carell fan. He is one of those actors that if I see he is in something I will see it. I could easily turn this into a Steve Carell post… maybe I should. No I am going to stick with this film and maybe later I will do a ‘5 Or More…’ about Steve.
Back to this movie. It has a great cast beside Carell; Paul Rudd, Catherine Keener, Seth Rogan, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch, Romany Malco, Kat Dennings, Lesilie Mann. All work their parts perfectly. Entertaining and quotable this movie is great. Even with all the different cuts of the film that are out in the world. I have seen this movie dozens of times and depending which channel I am watching each has their own version of the movie. It is fun to see which parts they leave in or switch out. I love this movie despite the continuity inconsistencies, maybe I love the movie BECAUSE of those inconsistencies. Unless you are catching this on basic cable, save it for your older nerdlings.
Dead Poets Society
This has popped up before in the ‘5 Or More… Coming of Age Movies’ that I did awhile back. At the time this really had an impact on me. I was right in the age range for this to imprint on me and affect me and shape me. It may not have the same impact on your nerdlings but maybe, just maybe, it might resonate in some way with them too. Share this with your mid-range aged nerdlings and see if it speaks to them.
The Shawshank Redemption
What can be said about this movie that hasn’t already been said? Nothing really except; watch it. It is truly brilliant. There is strong language and some harsh violence so again save this for the older nerdlings. But do make sure they see it.
There are three keys to the staying power of this movie Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis. Those three together create a magic that is nearly unrivaled. If you want to have a few good laughs with your nerdlings sit down and watch this with them. Granted there are a couple scenes with some naughtiness but your older nerdlings will enjoy that. Besides it’s all about the aaaaaaaaaaarmy training Sir!
This movie locked in on the underdog story and perfected it. Sly Stallone did a superb job writing this classic film and then brining the lead character to life. I like the subtle sense of humor he peppers in throughout the movie but I love the heart that runs the entire length of the film. For a writing debut this ranks as of the best. It also has the gold to back that up. Sadly not for screenwriting (network took home the Oscar that year) but it did get the Best Picture statue and two others.
Plus it spawned a movie franchise for the ages. Each film being exactly what each one needed to be. Especially the last one, “Rocky Balboa’. That was the closest any of the sequels have been to that original magic. If you want to take your nerdlings on an epic journey, marathon all 6 of these movies.
The Muppets Take Manhattan
What would this list be without Muppets? Incomplete is the answer to that rhetorical question. I could have put the original ‘The Muppet Movie’ or the very entertaining ‘The Great Muppet Caper’ or even ‘Muppets from Space’ (the first Muppet film since the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt) but I had to go with my favorite. There is no other way to explain it so I will just use these four words:
I love this movie.
All nerds and nerdlings need to own this movie. The beautiful human being, Jim Henson, gave these pieces of felt a heart and soul. He had such a huge influence on my generation and it will continue to for many more to come.