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 second of ten…
This is a brilliant film. It perfectly parodies the cult space TV show genre then threw in a ‘real life’ twist. It is solid as a comedy. It is solid as a sfi-fi space adventure. It is solid all around. The cast is epic; Alan Rickman, Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long, Missi Pyle, Daryl Mitchell, and Enrico Colantoni is brilliant as the alien leader. This ticks all the nerdy boxes and should be shown to nerdlings of all ages.
The Fifth Element
There have been countless quote threads spawned on my Facebook because of this movie. Again a solid comedy but it is so much more. A perfectly engineered script from the writing team of Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen who have penned ‘The Professional’, The Transporter series, ‘Taken’, ‘The Gladiator’ and ‘The Karate Kid’…. To name a few. They knock this one out of the park. It is a must see for all nerdlings.
There are going to be several of these entries on the list; this is the first of them. The Monty Python catalog is large and wonderful. But they aren’t for everyone. There are four films to choose from: ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ and ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’. They do have a couple concert films and of course the 45 or so episodes of ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ television show. But I I am going to stick with their main films.
‘Holy Grail’ is probably the most popular of their theatrical releases. It is a brilliant comedy and all the lovable Pythons perform splendidly. You may want to start your nerdlings with that one but, as with all their comedy, you might want to wait till said nerdlings are young adults. Besides the nudity and swearing, some of the more subtle jibes will be lost on the young ones. I personally lean towards ‘Life of Brian’ as my favorite feature in the Pythonverse. If intellectual slapstick comedy is your thing these guys are your deities.
The Coen Brothers
Here is another of thee afore mentioned entries. Joel and Ethan Coen have been turning out genius hit after genius hit since the mid 80’s. With over 20 recommended watches, they could have a list to themselves. As with all forms of consumable media, their movies are subject to personal taste. Personally I love them all but I’m easy like Sunday morning.
Use your discretion when exposing your nerdlings to the Coens. They are fans of inappropriate language, situations and a bit of violence throw in for good measure. Each movie has merit and it is hard to choose where to start in. You could go to the beginning and watch ‘Raising Arizona’, move on to ‘Miller’s Crossing’ then toss in ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’. Or you could start with ‘The Big Lebowski’ go to ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ and continue on to ‘Crimewave’. Or you could just start with their big Oscar movies: ‘True Grit’, ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, ‘A Serious Man’ and ‘Fargo’. (13 nominations with 4 statues claimed, but sadly none of the wins were for directing.) So many choices… You will just have to dive in.
Credit super producer Robert Zemeckis with the making of this into a feature film. The story and initial script were supposed to be for an episode of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ but Zemeckis enjoyed it so much he tasked writers Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson (Yes that Peter Jackson) to expand it into a full length script. Jackson also pulled double duty and directed it. It would be that last film he would direct before taking on Tolkien.
I love this movie. From the award winning special effects to the great performances to the funny yet creepy enough script. It is a need to find and watch movie. This should have been a bigger box office hit but the studio decided to put it out during the jam-packed summer of 1996. Just in July it had to contend with ‘A Time to Kill’, ‘Phenomenon’, ‘Kingpin’, ‘Trainspotting’, ‘Courage Under Fire’, ‘Multiplicity’ and the big one “Independence Day’. It got lost in the mix. If they would have waited and released it in October when Jackson and Zemeckis wanted there would have been a much different history written.
Joe Versus the Volcano
Of the three Hanks/Ryan movies this is my favorite. ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail’ are great but ‘Joe Versus the Volcano’ is very quirky and has wonderful nerdy little elements in it that stand above the other two. The characters are so memorable. I love the heck out of this movie. Hanks’ journey in this story is epic and it’s a bit sad that this film gets lost in the wonderful acting catalog of The Hanks. He is such a talent. This film shows his subtle brilliance alongside his ability to play broad comedic characters. Yes there are great moments of cheese in this one but they all work. Find this and watch this with your nerdlings today.
With all the movies, TV and other things I have going on in my life there are certain genres of movies that I slack in or fall behind with watching. I just don’t have the time to watch everything that comes along even though I really want to. Horror is one genre that I really slack in and Anime is the other. There is just so many of those types of movies that come out each and every year there just isn’t time, so I let those slide by me. That’s where my friends come in.
I have my coconspirator Scuzz to thank for this movie. I am far from an Anime expert. My knowledge of the arena consists of Hayao Miyazaki (who has made some beautiful movies) but that is far from the scope of the art form; granted it may be the precipice of the mountain. Here is a quick synopsis:
“Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job – passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake.”
Besides Miyazaki’s movies I highly recommend any interested nerdling check this movie out. You will get drawn into this quick, fast and in a hurry.
Big Trouble in Little China
You know what old Jack Burton always says: Watch this damn movie. And who is Jack Burton you ask? He is one of the best unwitting heroes in movie history. He is gets pulled into a world of mystery and ancient magic. Gun fights, high flying sword fights, a beholder type creature and one liners fill this piece of 80’s action goodness. This is probably my favorite John Carpenter directed movie and defiantly high in the top 10 favorite Kurt Russell movies. Plus I am pretty sure this is where the game ‘Mortal Kombat’ got the idea for Rayden. Grab a big bowl of popcorn, sit your nerdlings down, snuggle up under a blanket and watch this movie. It delivers every time.
Westerns are really a lost art. In the last 30 years there have only been a handful of really good efforts. This is one of them. The cast alone is worth the price of admission: Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, John Cleese, Rosanna Arquette, Brian Dennehy, Linda Hunt, Jeff Goldblum, Jeff Fahey, and Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor’s next door neighbor Earl Hindman. This movie is brilliant, it is funny, it is dramatic it hits every beat it needs to hit. I love this movie.
I know there are a few of my readers who are avid book readers and I have no doubt that some of you have read the Stephen King ‘Gunslinger’ series. Now when I read those books there was only one man I pictured in the lead role of Roland and it was because of his performance in this movie. That man is Scott Glenn. Go back in your head, those who have read those books and have seen this movie, and try not to picture Mr. Glenn from this era as The Gunslinger.
If you have nerdlings who show any interest in the western genre this needs to infiltrate their eyeballs and brains.
A Mighty Wind
Christopher Guest almost singlehandedly developed the mockumentary into a genre of movie making. He and his select players have made five of these movies. Each wonderful and unique. From the first ‘This is Spinal Tap’ to ‘Waiting for Guffman’, to ‘Best in Show’ and finally with ‘For Your Consideration’ they have all been wonderful. But my favorite is this one; ‘A Mighty Wind’. It is endlessly funny but I think it is the fantastic music in this film that makes it my favorite. Hell one of the songs was nominated for an Oscar! And the in character rendition of it on the Academy stage was beautiful:
That’s wasn’t the best quality video but it was the only one that I could find of that performance. You get the point… I hope. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are so damn talented and that was such a wonderful moment. Use this movie to introduce the nerdlings to Christopher Guest and his band of merry players. Then you can dive into the others.