Like many others, I love movies. There’s just something about sitting down and getting lost in a story for a couple of hours. To me, the most wonderful thing about it is that movies can produce immensely strong feelings, both positively and negatively so. With a combination of image and sound they manage to take us along and make us feel whatever they want us to feel. Even after we forget what exactly happened in the story, we’ll still remember the feelings it provoked. Was it happy? Sad? Scary? We don’t need to look at a summary to remember, we just do.
Today I’ll talk about a few movies that everyone should watch (according to my favourite source, my own experience). I kept on adding more so here’s a list of 10 movies – I might make a part 2 some other time. The movies are ordered by year and each is described by a single adjective for the feeling it provokes, at least to me. I won’t give detailed descriptions for each and every movie, but just tell what makes them so remarkable. A link to a trailer is included for more information.
Something funny: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
There’s a lot of different styles of comedy, and I almost gave this spot to Deadpool (2016), so that movie deserves an honourable mention for being absolutely hilarious. That being said, it’s hard to beat Monty Python with their sketches that just don’t stop being funny – even decades later. Their movie about King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail has a storyline of course, but each scene is a sketch on its own and can be viewed separately because of that. If you aren’t used to the style it may take a bit of getting used to, but you may soon be repeating lines from certain sketches since it’s all so memorable.
Something shocking: The Deer Hunter (1978)
After seeing the Deer Hunter, I couldn’t do anything but stare for a couple of minutes straight. This movie about the Vietnam War is a classic and I expect a lot of you have seen it already. For those who haven’t, expect a brutal look into the war that messed with so many people’s lives and minds, divided into three parts: before, during and after the war. To some people the first part can make it seem like the movie is going to be long and boring, but trust me, it gets better and better. With amazing actors like Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep, you can’t really go wrong anyway.
Something stressful: Das Boot (1981)
Das Boot is a German movie about the crew of a submarine in World War II. I think I was on the edge of my seat for about 99% of this movie, maybe because the idea of being stuck in a tiny space under water is already something I can’t deal with, maybe because the whole movie just felt so very real. The characters are amazingly well written and believable and it’s very impressive that they managed to take politics away from the movie. It doesn’t matter who’s the ‘bad guy’ or the ‘good guy’ in this war, you just get to experience what it may have been like for those people at that time.
Click here to view the trailer (it’s a dubbed trailer but please just watch the German version with subs……..)
Something sad: Hotaru no Haka / Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Movies never make me cry, but there’s a few that got me very, very close. Grave of the Fireflies definitely deserves the mention, for two reasons. Firstly, it of course happens to be a heartwrenching story: a young boy and his sister struggle to survive after they get separated from their parents in World War II. Still, this isn’t just another war movie. It’s about innocence and the bond between siblings more than anything else – and that’s what it makes that much more sad. The characters are incredibly loveable and there is no way you won’t feel bad for everything that happens to them. The second reason is that this movie is indeed an anime and a must-see for anyone who thinks ‘cartoons’ can’t be taken seriously. Give it a try.
Something scary: the Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I must say I’m not a big fan of horror, so to me a good scary movie is a good old thriller like the Silence of the Lambs. The movie is about an FBI trainee working on a case concerning a creepy serial killer, and to really understand the way he works she has to consult another creepy serial killer who has already been locked away for a while. The surprising thing about this movie is that it isn’t really about that case, but more so about the manipulative mind games the detained killer plays. He is intelligent, psychopathic and intensely creepy. Many, many credits to Sir Anthony Hopkins for freaking me out that much.
Something historical: Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Want to watch something real yet horrifying? Hotel Rwanda will do the trick. It tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who saved over a thousand people during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. A story about heroism, of course, but also about race, inhumanity and politics. It’s not just a story about a man, but also about an actual episode in the history of human beings. The harrowing images of genocide combined with the disappointing lack of actions from the West who could’ve and should’ve helped will make you wish something like this never happened. But it did.
Something musical: Across the Universe (2007)
Time for something a bit more cheerful! Who doesn’t love a musical movie? A lot of people don’t? Oh… Well, I do! Set in the sixties, this movie is about Jude (from Hey Jude), Lucy (from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds), Max (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), Prudence (Dear Prudence) and – for those who didn’t pick up on the trend yet – another couple of characters with names from songs by the Beatles, which of course makes the main theme of this movie ‘love’ (cuz that’s all you need). The movie is a piece of art on its own with great choreography and art direction, amazing performances and of course music by the Beatles (surprising, no?). If you like movies with hippies, love, psychedelics and of course a lot of music, this one’s for you (or watch Hair (1979), if you hate the Beatles that much).
Something adventurous: Into the Wild (2007)
If you want to feel like packing your bags and leaving everyone and everything right now, watch this movie. It’s a true story about a young man who decides that society doesn’t work for him, so he leaves to go – you guessed it – into the wild. Isn’t that something we’ve all wanted to do at some point? Or is that just me? Anyway, sit down, play this movie and enjoy adventure from the comforts of your own home. Oh, and I can’t finish this part without mentioning the music, written and performed for this movie by Eddie Vedder, which fits the story incredibly well and really drags you along.
Something energetic: Whiplash (2014)
It was hard to find a single adjective to describe Whiplash, but I guess ‘energetic’ will do. The movie is about a drummer who dreams to be the best and his instructor who pushes him incredibly hard to make that happen. You say you’ve had a terror-teacher? Watch this and reconsider. It’s a fast paced movie in which the music and camera work together perfectly, which turns the movie into one big immersive experience. I rewatched this movie another two times in the week I first saw it, just because I wanted everyone else to see it too.
Something dramatic: Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Some reviews jokingly recommended taking antidepressants before watching this movie, Manchester by the Sea. It’s an incredibly heavy story about a guy who gets custody over his nephew, and that’s all I can say without giving away too much. You get to find out more and more about the main characters’ lives along the way, and like everyone’s life there’s both good and bad things. But maybe just mostly bad things in this case, since it gets quite depressing at some point. Luckily there’s some humour involved so both the characters and the viewer can deal with everything that’s going on…
PS: For some of these trailers it may be better to read the comment section of the video than to watch the actual trailer, lol.