Holy cow, I can’t believe it’s already here!
Welcome to the final installments of the epic series I call “Turning 40.” Over the last couple of months I have shared with you various Top 10 lists of things that have been important to me during my life. But sadly, now the time has come to bring “Turning 40” to an end. Then again, this is probably a good thing since I am running out of stuff to write about.
Anyways, as I write this post, I’m only a few hours away from turning the big 4-0. That means I will officially be old, but not yet old enough to get a discount at the movies. What the hell AARP, I have to wait another 10 ears?!?
But speaking of movies, on Previous editions of “Turning 40” I’ve discussed guilty pleasure movies, and movies that only I seem to like. But for the very special final edition of “Turning 40,” I’m going a step further by telling you about My Top 10 Favorite Movies of all time. And with that, here they are…
10. White Christmas
In the time before I bought DVDs or VHS tapes, the only way for me to see “White Christmas” was to wait for WCVB TV’s annual airing of the film. If I missed that, I would have to wait until the following year. Perhaps this is why “White Christmas” became my go-to holiday movie since about age 8.
Not only is the Irving Berlin music great, but everyone in the cast is terrific too. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen do some of the best work of their careers in “White Christmas.”
I just can’t get enough of them, and they are the reason I watch this movie at least 4 times every holiday season. But truth be told, I could watch “White Christmas” any time of year.
9. Die Hard with a Vengeance
Yes, I agree that the first “Die Hard” is an action classic, but my favorite in the series is “Die Hard with a Vengeance.” I still remember seeing this movie for the first time, and being surprised by the plot several times.
When I expected things to unfold one way, the movie would go in the opposite direction. I appreciate movies that do that. I also enjoyed seeing John McClane team up with others, not just Samuel L. Jackson, but with the other detectives at his precinct.
I wish the “Die Hard” franchise had picked up from this film left off, instead of going the direction they eventually did. If you ask me, the series hasn’t been the same since “Die Hard with a Vengeance.”
8. The Final Countdown
I’ve written before about how underrated I feel “The Final Countdown” is. The film is about a modern aircraft carrier that travels through time to December 6666, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Countdown stars Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, James Farentino, Katharine Ross and Charles Durning.
One of the cool things about this movie is that it was shot almost entirely on the USS Nimitz, and we get to see how the massive carrier is run day-to-day. But one of my favorite aspects of this film is that for a time travel movie, it has very little when it comes to special effects.
Everything that happens in “The Final Countdown” works because of the cast, their reactions, decisions, and motivations. The first time I saw this movie, it was their perfomances that made me wonder what I would do if I found myself in their shoes.
7. Pacific Rim
I am a sucker for giant robots punching stuff. I can’t get enough of them, as long as they are not directed by Michael Bay of course. Luckily “Pacific Rim” was directed by Guillermo del Toro, who like me is also a fan of Mazinger and other giant robot anime.
A few months before “Pacific Rim” was released, I was able to attend the Nerdist Podcast during New York Comic con. The guest of honor was del Toro, and he spoke at length about “Pacific Rim.” His enthusiasm, and his reasons for making the film got me excited to see the movie, and it did not disappoint me.
6. Love Actually
When a movie becomes an annual holiday tradition, it has to be in my top 10 list. Now, “Love Actually” was originally recommended to me by friend Ali, who told simply told me “Trust me, you’ll like it.” Ali was right (she usually was), I freaking love this movie!
Out of all the stories featured in the film, I think my favorite is Billy Mack’s. I think it’s all due to Bill Nighy’s performance, and how funny he made the character. From the film’s opening song, to his proclamation that his manager is his best bud, I just love that story.
5. Casino Royale
Being a die-hard James Bond, of course I had to include at least one of his movies on my list. And while it wasn’t easy to choose just one movie, in the end I had to go not with a classix, but with 2006’s “Casino Royale.”
This is the 007 film that rekindled my love for Bond after “Die Another Day.” For me this is the most realistic of all the James Bond movies, showing audiences you really don’t need all the fancy gadgets. And even though Daniel Craig plays Bond like a blunt object, it was nice to see the character grow once he met Vesper.
4. Fierce Creatures
What a difference a few years can make!
As recently as 2014, “Fierce Creatures” was my all time favorite movie. I even wrote a thesis in college about this movie. But, since 2014 other movies have moves up in the list ahead of this underrated comedy. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love this movie though, I do. Every time I watch it still cracks me up, and I still catch new stuff I missed before.
3. Wonder Woman
The only comic book movie to make the list is also my favorite comic book movie of all time. “Wonder Woman” was epic in every way possible. Seeing this movie on opening weekend was an event. I gasped when I saw the first shot of Themyscira.
I’ve watched “Wonder Woman” seven times, and still I can’t get enough of the world that Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot brought to life. From Themyscira, to London, to the war front, all of it was beautifully executed.
2. The Martian
When I know almost every line of dialogue to a movie, it has to make my top 10 list.
When “The Martian” came out in 2015, Matt Damon got all the attention ofr obious reasons. After all, he spends most of the movie talking to himself. But to me, “The Martian” was an ensemble film. From Jessica Chastain and her crew, to Jeff Daniels and the people at NASA, each character was there for a reason. None of them were extras, they were essential to the plot.
“Chef” is a simple story about a father and son bonding when they open a food truck. That’s it. That’s all this movie is about, and I love it!
The only problem is that I’m always hungry after I watch “Chef.” That’s probably because the food Jon Favreau makes in the movie looks sooo damn good. “Chef” is a simple movie, but I think that’s why it clicked with me. This is just a good story about a chef finding his love for food again, and more importantly, building a relationship with his son.