Uh... me? I sincerely enjoy looking at the way a director chooses to shoot a film. What kind of shots and cuts they use and why. As a very simple example, my daughter writes me notes and draws pictures for me. And these mean a whole lot more to me than fabulous paintings hanging up in museums around the world, but that doesn't mean my daughter's pictures deserve anything more than a spot on my fridge or a scan into my computer for preservation. Emotional value does not equal mastery of an art form, nor does technical quality equate emotional resonance.
I'm reminded of the scene in Dead Poets Society (which will make my list) where Mr. Keating has them rip out the section about what makes a poem truly great. I think there's some truth to this. Several things factor into my list: rewatchability, emotional impact/connection, technical quality, performances, and theme. Lincoln is an example of a film that I enjoyed, but really have little desire to rewatch. Although, I don't rewatch many movies often, so if I do rewatch one, it has to be worth the investment of time.
One last thing: the list changes from time to time. Even AFI has updated their list of top 100. How do you even put a handful of films you absolutely love one above another? You can't do it, really. So I don't think anyone's list is static. With that, for today, here's mine:
1. Dead Poets Society - Carpe Diem.
2. Shawshank Redemption - this movie is on most people's top lists, and for good reason. It's a wonderful film. I wish Morgan Freeman would narrate my life.
3. Rear Window - I prefer this film over Vertigo. Masterful filmmaking by a masterful director. Great premise, strong acting.
4. Hero - stunning (and I mean insanely jaw-dropping beautiful) visuals, moving story of sacrifice, haunting musical score.
5. Watchmen - "Who watches the Watchmen?" A tale of humanity, faithfully based on perhaps the greatest graphic novel of all time. Zack Snyder's best movie to date.
6. Lord of the Rings - Can I just list all 3 movies in one? Because really it's one long 12 hour film. Extended Editions only, of course.
7. Mary Poppins - Sigh... I love this film. We need more like it.
8. Kick-@$$ - I have a love affair with this movie. The action scenes are unlike anything else I've seen. They are emotional, vibrant, and breathtaking. This movie is just WOW. It has inspired me in my writing to make action scenes meaningful instead of just fluff.
9. Cast Away - Tom Hanks has always been one of my favorite actors, ever since I saw BIG when I was a kid. This movie showcases his talent and wrenches my heart every time.
10. Warrior - I can't remember the last time I cheered watching a movie. Oh wait, yes I can, it was watching Warrior. Even if you hate MMA or boxing, give this movie a chance.
Honorable Mention: Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Departures, Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., The Godfather Parts I and II, Singin in the Rain, My Fair Lady.
So hit me up? What's in your top 10?