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 get started with the first of ten…
The Star Wars Saga
This is a no brainer to have on the list. Like a lot of people I lean to ‘Empire Strikes Back’ as my favorite of the films. But the original holds a special place in my heart because that’s where we were introduced to these lifelong friends.
Now some will say “I deny the existence of episodes 1-3.” To that I cry fowl because they are bird brained. They do exists and they do have some good qualities. The biggest positive quality is that they reinvigorated a franchise for a younger generation. If you are honest you know those movies weren’t made for the adults who grew up on the originals. No, they were made for their kids… and to line George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch with more money.
However if you haven’t seen any of these, start with the original trilogy and then movie to the new set of three. Watch them, enjoy and remember to do it before 2015 when the continuation of the series hits theaters.
I know some people can’t handle black and white movies let alone a silent one. But if you can bring yourself to sit through a silent B&W film this should be on your watch list. Metropolis is the basis for many of our favorite Sci-Fi classics. Including the inspiration for a beloved golden protocol droid. This was an epic undertaking at the time with over 37,000 extras, massive sets and over a year and a half of filming. If you adjust for inflation the movie would cost $200,000,000 if it was shot today. Find this and give it a try.
We nerds need to have our hearts educated too. Sometimes ‘I know’ just isn’t enough. When that’s the case may I recommend turning to this beautifully woven tapestry of love stories. I’m man enough to admit this makes me cry every damn time. With the brilliant performances from the ensemble cast and the fantastic script from Richard Curtis, how can it not warm the cockles of your heart?
This movie is a must see for all the lovers out there. Hell even if you’re not in love you might be after this movie is over. Warning, this one isn’t for the young nerdlings…. Not yet anyway.
Again a black and white movie, but it is the genius of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. That trumps color for me any day. Plus this is a send up of the old school monster movies. They actually got most of the original laboratory props from Boris Karloff’s turn as the monster.
This may be Mr. Brooks’ best film and a must watch for people who love to laugh. Everything and everyone in this movie works to perfection.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Speaking of the brilliant Gene Wilder… if you look past the obvious plot holes in this one and you just allow yourself to take the journey with Charlie and his Grandfather, then you will get something very special out of this. Also as a kid, you will have nightmares and possibly may need therapy years later after seeing the acid trip gone horribly wrong on the boat. Gene Wilder made this movie into a classic. Tim Burton nearly ruined a fond childhood memory, but then I watched the original again and all was well in the world.
For the most part the special effects hold up, but more importantly, the humor is timeless. This movie is endlessly quotable. It’s really a comedy rite of passage. I even love the sequel. I may have seen the second one more than the first… I should try and do the math on that one. This is a great 80’s comedy starter movie to show interested nerdlings.
Grosse Pointe Blank
This movie makes it on my dessert island with electricity and a DVD or Blu-ray player list. A reoccurring theme that you will see with this list is quotability. This movie has it in spades for me. My friends and I will go back and forth endlessly quoting this brilliant movie. Not only that, it also may be my favorite John Cusack movie. He has tons of memorable roles and has been a part of many classic films but this sleeper hit from 1997 always pulls me in. Another reason to love this movie is the fantastic soundtrack. If you don’t care to see the movie at least check out the soundtrack. You won’t be disappointed. (I can’t guarantee that, but I am pretty darn confident in my statement so I am standing by it!)
Again this movie is for the older nerdlings due to some violent content and of course the colorful language. And by colorful I mean they swear… lots.
I love this movie. It really shows how hard the brilliant people at Pixar work creating a great story and build memorable characters. To someone who hasn’t seen the actual movie, just a trailer, they would think it’s about this grumpy, eccentric old man who flies his house around using a bunch of balloons… oh and also there’s a young kid and a talking dog. But in reality it’s a story about an old man who lost his everything and gave up on living his life and a young energetic kid trying to overcompensate for never having a father around. The two find each other and go on the adventure of a lifetime while on that adventure the old man discovers a purpose in life and the boy finds someone to fill the void left by his absent father.
This movie makes me cry each and every time I watch it. And they do it without much dialog. It is brilliant and beautiful. Out of all the animated movies I have seen (and I’ve seen lots and lots) this ranks at the or very close to the top. This one is for nerdlings of all ages. Parents sit down and watch this one with your kids… you will be very surprised.
Stand By Me
This is one of the best coming of age movies out there. It has everything that those types of movies need to be good; Great cast, good villains, a bonding experience, adventure etc… It is all there and wrapped up with a neat Richard Dreyfuss narrated bow. This movie will transport you back to a simpler age. Good times… Good times indeed.
Another classic 80’s comedy and another of those endlessly quotable movies. For years there have been phrases I have said that upon rewatching this movie one day I realized that is where they come from. The quotes had just become part of me, just like the movie. Val Kilmer is possibly at his comedic best in this movie. (This is probably my second favorite Kilmer role… my favorite is still to come.) Real Genius needs to be seen by nerdlings of most ages, and it needs to happen quickly. Yes, it is a quintessential 80’s type movie, but it is very worth it.