1.)One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
As a person who lives with OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, this film means so much to me. Not only is One Flew Over masterfully directed film with memorable characters, but also delivers clever social commentary regarding the mental health world. The film almost plays like a war between the tyrannical Nurse Ratched, and McMurphy, who representing the voiceless members of the mental health community. In a way, McMurphy does win the battle, but in a way that is unexpected- he inspires hope and freedom in an oppressed community.
2.) Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Aside from being the one of the most controversial films to win the Oscar for best picture, Midnight Cowboy boasts a huge heart. The fact that the protagonist, Joe Buck s a male prostitute is only a fraction of the story. It is the relationship between Joe and his best friend turned pimp, Ratso Rizzo that really tugs at the audience’s heart strings. More than anything, the film is a captivating cocktail of the emotional and the tragic.
3.) Peter Pan (1953)
This is probably my favorite childhood story. When I was little I constantly watched this film, and it was then that I fell in love with not only all things Peter Pan, but all things Disney. In my opinion, there is no film that captures the art of Disney magic like Peter Pan. Every time I watch it I feel like a child again, like I’m being whisked off to Neverland with the Darling children and Peter Pan. The magical elements in the film are also very well done, like Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and of course Captain Hook and Smee. It’s my favorite adventure and I can’t wait to go on it again.
4.) The Big Lebowski (1998)
The crazy misadventures of Jeffery “The Dude” Lebowski, has resulted in The Big Lebowski garnering a massive cult following, which I am proudly a part of. The story of an unemployed bowler who gets caught up in a kidnapping is just a fun and surreal as it sounds. This is a film that that has great characters, i.e., The Dude, a crazy Vietnam Veteran named Walter, and timid man named Donnie, and of course, the eccentric bowling competitor named Jesus, just to name a few. The film is very surreal and bizarre, so the cult following makes sense. Aside from that though, is crazy enough to make me laugh upon every viewing.
5.) Meet the Robinsons (2007)
There are few movies that mean more to me than Meet the Robinsons. As someone who has had her share of bumps in the road, the film’s message: “Keep Moving Forward” really resonates with me. Aside from the touching message, the film entails a captivating story, and interesting characters. When I first saw the film, nearly ten years ago, I immediately fell in love with the suave boy of the future, Wilbur Robinson (and admittedly still feel the same way today). But the real reason the film is so powerful is because the message -“Keep Moving Forward”- really sinks into the main character, Lewis, in that, despite his failures, he continues inventing, thus providing a brighter future for himself.
6.) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
This film ideals with racial equality, but also packs an emotional punch. The story of a black man, Tom Robinson, being wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in the 1930’s Deep South, seems dark and even a little twisted. Yet, this slice-of-life story is told through the eyes of a child, the protagonist, Scout Finch, and through the admiration of her father, Atticus, who is the lawyer defending Tom Robinson. But really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Scout also has encounters Jem (her brother), Dill, and of course, Boo Radley, as they all help her transition into a new level of maturity. Through Scout’s confusion about race, the south, society, love and life in general, a timeless masterpiece is born. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic mainstay for a reason.
7.) Jaws (1975)
When I first saw Jaws in my high school film class, I was completely enthralled. The entire time I was on the edge of my seat, particularly during the last third, I couldn’t even breathe. The story of a shark terrorizing a beach town and the journey of the team that has to defeat it doesn’t seem very engaging, but the atmosphere and the amount of seriousness that they give this world makes it an unforgettable experience. Steven Spielberg’s suspenseful directing and very likable characters make Jaws a horror classic.
8.)The Blues Brothers (1980)
Few films match the energy and excitement of The Blues Brothers. The story of two blues musicians reassembling their band in order to save their childhood home, fires on all cylinders. There’s great characters, especially in the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood, as well as some memorable side characters. The film also contains excellent musical numbers, impressive car chases, and a captivating story. In short, The Blues Brothers is a bucket of fun upon every viewing.
9.) Up (2009)
Up is easily Pixar’s finest offering. An old man, Carl Fredrickson, loses his wife, and in effort to keep her spirit alive by flying his house via balloons, to Paradise Falls, is just as exciting as it is endearing. Along the way, Carl comes across a hyper boy scout, a loveable dog with a voice box, an exotic bird, and even his childhood hero, ad all this results in a hair-raising adventure. Up is a story that never ceases to win me over with its bright colors, unforgettable characters, and thrilling adventure, it’s suffice to say that adventure will always be out there.
10.) Legally Blonde (2001)
There is one word to describe Legally Blonde: feminist. Elle Woods, the protagonist, is a woman who wants to defy stereotypes, by going to Harvard and interning under an esteemed lawyer, despite her boyfriend breaking up with her. Elle wants to be her own woman and not be judged based on her looks. Through many twists and turns, Elle achieves her goal, but does so through the support of other women. Legally Blonde not only boasts a feminist icon, but is a story about women supporting women. It’s a chick-flick, but is definitely one worth bending and snapping for.