UPDATE: The movies I liked on this list were Groundhog Day, All the President’s Men, The Emperor’s New Groove, 10 Things I Hate About You, Roman Holiday, and E.T.
My family doesn’t naturally watch movies, so for the past two years, I’ve kind of tried to educate myself in the world of movies. In 2018, I caught up with all the Marvel movies. In 2019, I watched a bunch of movies that were either famous or ones people on the internet/in real life seemed to keep mentioning. This year I’m doing the same thing. Next year I’m thinking about watching the Star Wars movies? But that is to be decided.
Here is my list for 2020.
Note: For the Rotten Tomatoes’ numbers, the first one is the critics’ score and the second is the audience score.
Length: 2h 31m
Rotten Tomatoes: 79/96
Release Year: 1999
Two weird guys become friends and create an even weirder club for guys who want to secretly fight.
UPDATE (1/17/20): This movie was so so weird. The people behind this movie purposely tell you to expect something totally different than what this movie actually is. Have you ever heard that internet myth that if you tell somebody with their eyes closed that they’re about to drink orange juice but then give them milk, they’ll gag? It kind of felt like that.
The first rule of project mayhem is you do not ask questions.
The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about fight club.
Length: 1h 42m
Rotten Tomatoes: 96/88
Release Year: 1993
A weatherman keeps living Groundhog Day over and over and learns stuff.
UPDATE (2/27/20): I watched this movie because I had never heard of it before and then suddenly I kept hearing about it. Well, it seemed sudden because two of the blogs I always read both wrote about it in the span of a few months. One was Austin Kleon and the other was Kottke. In Austin Kleon’s post, he linked to an older piece he had written where he explained in-depth the connection he saw between being an artist and being Phil Connor. In Kottke’s post, Groundhog Day was described as being “a nearly perfect little movie.” I had to see what they were talking about. If I had watched it with none of this knowledge, I definitely wouldn’t have seen all this deeper meaning that people have found in this movie, but I’m glad I watched it.
Length: 2h 45m
Rotten Tomatoes: 87/90
Release Year: 2012
Batman is forced to come out of retirement because duh, there’s more bad guys.
UPDATE (3/12/20): School is canceled today because of coronavirus, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to watch a movie. While searching The Dark Knight Rises on Amazon, I realized that it’s actually the third movie in the Batman trilogy, so I watched the first movie–Batman Begins–instead. I liked the characters and the one-liners: “at least we’ll have spares–Yes!”, “I’ve got to get me one of those”, Gary driving–“sorry” and “YES!”. But overall, I thought it was just okay. Not the greatest superhero movie I’ve watched. However, I get why Batman is cool now! I’ve always been like, what in the world, Batman? Now I get it.
I wanna borrow it. For, uh, spelunking. Yeah, you know, cave diving.
Length: 2h 18m
Rotten Tomatoes: 93/92
Release Year: 1976
The movie adaptation of Watergate.
UPDATE (4/13/20): My one-line description of this movie is inaccurate. This movie is about journalism. It’s about two insanely determined journalists who just would not stop until they broke the story. There’s a lot of shots of phone calls, the newsroom, and talking/cajoling/slightly-manipulating to sources. The point of the movie isn’t really about what Nixon was doing and who was involved—I’m still murky on that. The real point of the movie is how Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein figured it all out. My favorite things about the movie: seeing their very different personalities; the messy notes they took; and them being so persistently persistent.
Follow the money.
Length: 1h 18m
Rotten Tomatoes: 85/83
Release Year: 2000
A jerk of an emperor gets turned into a llama and learns things.
UPDATE (5/3/20): Hahah, it felt like the animators and creators of this movie had a really good time making a Disney movie that was straightforward and basic but also ironic and irreverent.
Length: 2h 28m
Rotten Tomatoes: 96/97
Release Year: 1990
A guy in a mob finally climbs to the top but then problems happen.
UPDATE (7/4/20): I didn’t really like this one. I would describe it as what you would think of when I say “mobster movie” (aka murder, crimes, language, and more murder), but for some reason, there’s a lot of voice-over and freeze frames and what to me feels like cheesy editing. But the craziest thing is that all of it is based on a true story!
Length: 1h 39m
Rotten Tomatoes: 68/69
Release Year: 1999
Modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. A girl who seems very unlikely to date might date?
UPDATE (7/4/20): This movie has so many insanely strange scenes (maybe like twenty times I said to myself, this cannot be happening) but it is so good. SO GOOD. Ahhhhhh. This feels like a movie that could so easily be terrible (and from the Rotten Tomatoes score, it seems that some people already think it is), but I loved it. One of my top ten favorite movies.
But mostly, I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
I know that you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
And hell is just a sauna.
Well, she is or she isn’t.
Expressing my opinion is not a terrorist action.
But then, you know, there’s always drums, and bass, and maybe even one day a tambouri
Yeah, but I screwed up. I, um, I fell for her.
Length: 2h 20m
Rotten Tomatoes: 84/92
Release Year: 1989
An English teacher tries to get his students to think for and be themselves.
UPDATE (11/14/20): I was expecting this to be a huge, dramatic movie that swelled. But it wasn’t really that. The storyline was quieter, slower, more indirect than I expected it to be. The English teacher, Mr. Keating, is inarguably the point of the movie, but to me, the emphasis on thinking for yourself was less than half of the story’s moral. I think that Dead Poets Society was even more of a critique on parents unnecessarily pressuring their kids to be someone they simply are not.
Length: 1h 32m
Rotten Tomatoes: 97/95
Release Year: 1975
A weird modern-day version of King Arthur and his Knights figuring out a murder investigation.
UPDATE (7/17/20): I don’t know how to describe this movie? If you’ve ever seen Princess Bride, it feels like that weirdness but times a thousand. There’s not really a plot. As far as I can tell, this movie is a comedic classic because it takes nothing seriously and flies in the face of all conventions. It breaks the fourth wall, it breaks timelines, it breaks between animation and acting. To give you a glimpse of how strange this movie is, King Arthur and his Knights pretend they’re riding horses, but they’re actually just galloping themselves. And behind them on-screen are people following them clacking coconuts together to simulate the sound of hooves.
Oh! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being repressed.
I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!
We are the Knights who say Ni!
Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!
Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.
A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.
What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?
Length: 3h 6m
Rotten Tomatoes: 97/97
Release Year: 1966
Two guys in the west during the Civil War are friends and then not friends and then friends again.
1. Did you know there’s a category of movies called “spaghetti westerns”? Sergio Leone (the director of this movie) was Italian, and after his westerns were extremely successful, he created a whole style of Italian westerns, or “spaghetti westerns.”
2. It’s really long and not a lot happens. I would say it’s a slow movie.
3. During the movie, there were certain instances when it felt like the words didn’t match the people’s lips, and I would think the sound was off, but then it would go back to normal. But then, while looking the movie up afterwards, I learned that the movie is dubbed?? I’m still confused which parts were exactly dubbed because I think there’s a difference between two versions of the movie, but I guess in both there are parts where it’s visibly off.
Length: 1h 49m
Rotten Tomatoes: 38/78
Release Year: 2002
A woman living in New York gets engaged but first goes back home to Alabama to figure some things out.
UPDATE (7/17/20): I’m not sure how to explain my feelings without making it sound like I didn’t like this movie or that I really did. For movies, I think I have a wide range of “good” in between “not good” and “SO GOOD.” This was in that “good” range.
So I can kiss you anytime I want.
Length: 2h 1m
Rotten Tomatoes: 98/72
Release Year: 1982
A nice alien is stuck on Earth and makes a friend. But then he gets sick and the government wants to get involved and problems.
UPDATE (1/4/21): Reese’s pieces. The biking parkour! “This is reality, Greg.” A movie about how kids are so much cooler than grown-ups.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79/82
Release Year: 2013
Guys on Wall Street cheat and lie and basically do whatever they want, but then the government starts to investigate him.
UPDATE (12/26/20): At the most basic level, this movie is weirdly similar to Catch Me If You Can, the next movie on this list. They both have Leonardo DiCaprio as the main protagonist who breaks the law and is caught by the FBI. But from there, the similarites stop. When this movie is rated R, it’s really rated R, emphasis on all four words.
Length: 2h 21m
Rotten Tomatoes: 96/89
Release Year: 2002
A FBI agent is on a mission to catch a guy who’s illegally pretended to be so many false jobs/people, but the guy’s pretty good at not being caught.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this movie is based on a true story. It’s crazy. Frank Abagnale successfully pretends to be an airline pilot and doctor, and he steals millions of dollars from check forgery. (Oh, and he does all of this as a teenager.) He’s really good at forging checks, but he’s even better at acting. I think most of us change ourselves a little bit in regular life to fit specific situations, but Abagnale takes that to a different plane. But don’t worry, this movie has a good ending.
Length: 1h 59m
Rotten Tomatoes: 98/94
Release Year: 1953
A European princess and an American reporter meet each other accidentally and then fall in love accidentally too.
UPDATE: AH THAT ENDING. This movie is so happy.
Length: 1h 38m
Rotten Tomatoes: 93/93
Release Year: 1996
A guy struggling for money sets up a pretend kidnapping of his own wife to get ransom money from his father-in-law but then things get too real.
UPDATE: I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel this way, but all the characters in the movie felt slightly off to me — kind of like they were caricatures? They just didn’t feel like real people. This movie seems like it’s going to be a tragedy, but it end up feeling tragedy/comedy by the end.
Length: 1h 59m
Rotten Tomatoes: 100/90
Release Year: 1941
A reporter investigates a famous, mysterious man who died with his last word being “Rosebud.”
UPDATE (12/31/20): How had I never heard of Orson Welles until this year?
Have you watched any of these movies?
What’s something you’ve seen recently? I watched Frozen 2 on Sunday. I do have to admit it wasn’t as good as the first one, but the first one is one of my favorite movies of all time so that’s not saying too much. I did think it was kind of weird though. (If you’ve watched it, I’m talking about Kristoff’s song and the plot in general. Anna and Olaf also felt different.)
Favorite movies of all time? I’m looking at what I put for my favorites last year, and it’s still the same. Frozen, Big Hero 6, Tangled, and McFarland, USA are my favorite Disney movies, and Three Idiots is my favorite movie of all time. I watched it again over break with my friends for either the third or fourth time, and all it did was remind me of how amazing it is.
It’s a Bollywood movie with subtitles and it’s so strange and beautiful and brilliant and Rancho and aghhhhh. If you have Netflix, it’s ON THERE. My friends who are guys think it’s funny to joke about how the first test for a potential girlfriend is seeing how well they can wash dishes. I think my test will be watching this movie.