d. i. richardson
A Subjective List: Top 10 Movies
As a writer, I can appreciate a good movie as well. The writing, the cinematography, the score; it all factors into the grander story. As a movie lover, I figured I should rank my personal top ten list of movies. Yes, some of these are not “good” movies. Maybe some of my favourites didn’t win Oscars or critical claim. But this is my list. Make your own if you’re gonna be a cinema snob about it.
Oh, fair warning, none of these movies are before the year 2000. I have a thing where I tend not to like older movies. Yes, I’ve seen some classics and do enjoy them, but I do not seek them out. I just like new movies, I guess. I get a lot of flak for that. Sorry not sorry.
10. The Revenant
I love a good period piece, for one. This story, inspired by the real-life story of Hugh Glass, stars everybody’s favourite Leo DiCaprio as Glass, a fur-trapping frontiersman who gets left behind by his party when he gets mauled by a bear.
There’s a lot more to say about the movie, of course! If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely should. It’s a slow-burning masterpiece, with wonderfully crafted shots of landscape and beautiful scenery throughout. It can be gruesome at times. Also, Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson are both in it.
What stood out for me was the rawness of the whole ordeal. The grueling fight for Glass to get back to his settlement and to hunt down the man who left him for dead. Truly something worth watching. I loved every second of it. It’s much better in a theatre on a massive screen with surround sound though.
9. The Wolf of Wall Street
This movie made me want to become a stock broker, simply put. Martin Scorsese helm’s this film about Jordan Belfort, a real person who became infamous for his rampant corruption on Wall Street. This one is another Leo DiCaprio film, which he should have won an Oscar for.
This movie is a trip, through and through. From the humble beginnings of Jordan’s time as a penny stock trader to his full-blown empire. Trips on drugs to trips to Italy, this movie has all of the wealth fantasy you could imagine. It also stars Margot Robbie (drop-dead gorgeous, duh) and Jonah Hill (also drop dead gorgeous, duh).
This movie was like watching my dream be lived by someone else, not gonna lie. The power and the charisma DiCaprio exuded on screen was palpable. This was, in short, a truly amazing movie to watch from start to finish.
8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
What. A. Movie. This movie is a truly beautiful and wonderful piece of cinema. Spider-Man is and has always been my favourite superhero. And this movie dials up my love to a new level.
The movie follows Miles Morales, primarily, learning how to become a Spider-Man. I say *a* Spider-Man because this story follows more than one Spider-Man. Peter Parker dies in Miles’ timeline and he becomes Spider-Man. Kingpin is trying to bring back his family through the multiverse, but instead pulls other Spider-Men in. They have to team up to take him on. There’s a lot more to the story too and I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t gotten around to seeing this masterpiece.
The movie has amazing costume designs for the characters. Miles and Gwen stand out as spectacular (duh). The colours and art style used in this movie are breathtaking. There’s a reason this movie won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.
Something about silent protagonists make me enjoy the movie more. I like a person who can get shit done without worrying about talking it out all the time. Ryan Gosling plays the Driver in this movie. A stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night.
Over the course of the movie, he begins to fall for his neighbour who has a son with Oscar Isaac’s character. The Driver gets involved in Isaac’s criminal business and viola, we have a web of people screwing each other over. Toward the end of the movie, there’s a scene where the Driver gets the character Nino on a beach and that scene is *chef’s kiss* so good.
This movie is dripping with nighttime aesthetic and neon lights and an ’80s soundtrack to boot. I love it. It appeals to everything I want from a movie. It should be higher on the list, but the other movies are just better.
This one might not appeal as intensely to many of you as it does to me. As a cook, I feel a sense of duty to watch any and all cooking-related movies. It’s my humble duty to suffer outside of the kitchen by watching these types of movies. The movie stars Bradley Cooper as the lead as well as Daniel Brühl, Sienna Miller, and Uma Thurman.
Anyway, why is this movie so good? It tells the story of hotshot chef trying to turn his 2 Michelin Stars into 3. Why is that so good? If you’ve ever been in or around a kitchen, you know how stressful it can be at times, and that’s just for chain restaurants and mom-and-pop places. Imagine what it’s like to be dialled up to 11 with professional chefs and cooks buzzing around you, trying to aim for absolute perfection. Everything from the dollop of sauce and the fork placement must be measured and immaculate. Under the guise of the kitchen story, it’s a story about obsession and perfection, betrayal and regret.
If you like food, if you work in a kitchen, if you want to experience a story about the obsession a chef could face, I recommend this one. It’s not 100% realistic, obviously, it’s a fictional movie, but my goodness, is it ever a ride.
If you’re on this list and haven’t seen Interstellar, go change that. This movie is one of the most amazing movies I have ever witnessed in my entire existence. Am I biased because I love space? And melancholy? And feeling existential dread? Yes. But Christopher Nolan’s direction takes this movie to another level. With a line-up of Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, and Michael Caine, how could you say no? Casey Affleck is also here. And Topher Grace.
The movie follows Cooper, a former NASA pilot, as he tends to his dying crops. The world has been hit with blights and dust storms. So the solution? Well, send them into space to search for life, of course! The story then follows Cooper as he leaves his daughter behind to go to the stars. That’s where the story hits a nerve for me.
The movie really hits on time and how it stretches and movies. When Cooper leaves, his daughter is young, when he gets back… Anyway, time moves differently depending on gravity, so time is a currency-like entity in this movie. Also, you’ll love the robots CASE and TARS. They’re pretty great. I could go on for hours about this movie. Just watch it.
And this isn’t even to say that Hanz Zimmer did the musical score for this movie, so the soundtrack is also out of this world. Every piece of music you hear in the film is masterfully crafted.
4. That Awkward Moment
A guilty pleasure of mine, to be honest. I rank it so highly because it’s a movie I watch whenever I’m sad or stressed. Starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan, it follows the three young men on their journey through being young and single in New York. It’s quite the romcom, but I do enjoy it. It’s like a romcom made for bros, really.
Efron’s character meets Imogen Poot’s character and though he swears to stay single in support of his recently divorced friend (Jordan’s character), Poot’s character makes that much harder. Both Jordan’s and Teller’s characters have their own intricate stories weaved into the main narrative of Efron’s character in a way that feels natural and authentic.
This movie really hits for me. I can see myself in these characters to some respect. The dread about doing everything right and still being wrong, the idea of not looking for love but finding it anyway, and the general bromance between the three mains. This movie is special to me.
3. Requiem for a Dream
This movie used to hold the number one spot until I saw spots 1 and 2. This movie is, without a doubt, the most miserable piece of cinema I’ve ever seen. And I don’t mean it’s bad. I mean it’s literally miserable. It’s sad. It’s dreadful. It’s gritty and real. It’s disgusts me and makes me depressed. And I love it. This movie features Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly, as well as Ellen Burstyn and Marlon Wayans.
What can I even say about this movie? This movie is about addictions and how it ruins your life. This is probably the single reason why I won’t do hard drugs. This movie scared me straight. The ending is miserable for all four characters. This movie only runs for 100 minutes, but watching it makes me feel likes hours are passing. Time slows to a crawl.
The ending is heartbreaking and emotional. The journey to get there is raw and depressing, like rubbing salt into an open wound. This movie hurts to watch, but that’s why I love it. The frantic editing might make some turn away, but I think it adds to addiction storyline and theme. Just watch this movie. Another note to make is that the soundtrack is amazing as well.
Holy hot damn, this movie is amazing. Staring Miles Teller as a jazz drummer Andrew Neiman and J. K. Simmons as abusive instructor Terence Fletcher. This movie paints a tale of obsession and addiction to being better. And wow. I was floored when I watched this one the first time.
The movie gets its name from the song Whiplash, played in the movie as the central piece. The scene where Andrew is playing for Fletcher and Fletcher yells about tempo is an iconic scene. Same with the ending scene where Andrew absolutely loses it on stage and busts out a massive performance. Both Fletcher’s madness and his own eating themselves and each other.
This movie, I think, speaks on the lengths people can go to when they get obsessed with their craft and want to be better and better. They’ll withstand the abuse and want to prove to the abuser that they can in fact do it. The entire movie is wonderfully put together with a spectacular soundtrack and sound editing to match.
Honorable Mentions (I have so many!)
Blade Runner 2049
The Big Short
Captain America: Civil War
Lord of War
1. Ex Machina
This is my favourite movie of all time. Period. This movie is about artificial intelligence being tested for humanity, starring Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb and Oscar Isaac as Nathan. Alicia Vikander plays Ava, the artificial intelligence.
The movie focuses on Caleb testing Ava. He can see that she is robotic, so the test is not a true Turing Test, but more of a humanity and free will test. Nathan’s character surmises that if he can make Caleb see Ava as “human” then he would essentially be God, which goes to say that the movie must be driving a point at there being a God who fine-tuned all of us in some way. Consciousness doesn’t just happen on its own in the case of Ava. Nathan created her, gave her intelligence, and then free will. Ava is scared of being erased, proving she has self-preservation at least. But what is programmed behaviour and what is free will and free thought? I don’t know, but this movie makes you think about it.
The musical score in this movie is amazing. The conversation around AI is amazing. The sweeping shots of a futuristic house amidst a forest is amazing. The isolation. The minimalist design of the house. Everything about this movie is beautiful and haunting and enchanting all at once. A sort of liminal space, exploring what we are and where we are going in terms of technology.
So, what do you think?
What are your top 10 movies?
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And have a good wander, friend.