OK, so in reference to my last post regarding Jim Emerson’s list of 102 movies you need to see to consider yourself movie literate, I thought that I would respond in kind. Several commenters said “PSHAW” to Emerson and said that Shane’s list would be better.
So today, I present to you my list of Shane Literacy. This list represents a list of movies that are important to me and what I’m about in one way or another. If you want to know more about me (or if you want to be able to laugh along when I start going into random movie quotes), you should watch these…let me know in the comments how many that you’ve seen.
Now, without further adieu…the list (alphabetically listed because it’s easier than ranking them):
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
My brother does the best Ace impression. The whole dolphin trainer bit…it’s hilarious. If you can catch him doing it (he refuses to do it on request), you’ll laugh very VERY hard.
Robin Williams as the Genie was a geinus bit of casting. Aladdin really sparked a resurgence in animated movies…it was one of the first to incorporate more adult humor, which was a smart move on Disney’s part.
- Almost Famous
This movie is inspiring to all aspiring writers. Cameron Crowe very obviously put his heart and soul into the movie and it is genius.
- American Flyers
When I was a kid, we used to watch this movie over and over and over again. It’s a random flick about cycling. Kevin Costner is in it and it is pretty bad. But when I was 12 or 13 or whatever when it came out, I thought it was the bees knees.
- American Pie
Perhaps one of the best ever movies about high school males. Also really REALLY funny. We watched this movie once (and ONLY once) with my mother-in-law who has two daughters and two sisters and NO BOYS. She turns to me during the movie, completely appalled, and says, “is this what boys are really like?!” We all laughed.
- Back to the Future (I & II…not III)
The first two were awesome. When Michael J. Fox played Marty McFly in the first movie, he was 24 years old and completely understandable as a high schooler. The second movie occurs the day after and he was 29 when it was released. I wanted a DeLorean when I was a kid. Also the introduction of the creepy Crispin Glover as George McFly. And it has the Flux Capacitor.
- Batman Begins
I love me a superhero movie. I even liked Daredevil a lot. (Not many could say that). I know it is recent, but I think that this is the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen.
- Beavis & Butthead Do America
This is just a representation of just how low I will stoop to see a movie. I absolutely love Beavis & Butthead with the full realization of just how stupid they are. That stupidity is in fact what makes them genius.
- Before Sunrise / Before Sunset
Richard Linklater’s brilliant films where nothing really happens except two people talking and falling in love. The dialogue in these movies (particularly the second one) is so natural and perfect. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is so perfect.
- Better Off Dead
My favorite of John Cusack’s early movies. A terrific, funny flick about teenage angst and feelings of failure.
- Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
One of the first sermons I ever gave outlined the brilliance of Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan’s credo: Be Excellent to Each Other…and Party On Dudes! This is Keanu Reeves at his pre-Matrix best.
- The Breakfast Club
I had a college teacher that had us do a report on this flick and how it related to stereotypes. It is the 90’s Brat Pack at their best. Emilio Estevez is even good. For once.
Noonan. Chevy Chase is one of the greatest comedic actors of his generation. He has fallen by the wayside lately, but his brilliance is evidenced in this movie, the best movie ever about golf.
- Chasing Amy
My favorite Kevin Smith movie. Oh, how I wish I could write dialogue like this guy. He’s so brilliant and this movie was so great because it was smart without being pretentious, a rarity in the indie world.
- A Christmas Story
I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. And while I own this movie, I still watch it when they play it for 24 hours straight on TNT.
I really enjoyed this movie and it has one of the best lines ever for arguing FOR the presence of extra-terrestrial life: “If there isn’t life out there, that seems like an awful waste of space.”
- Cool Runnings
This is the first movie that I ever really bawled while watching. Sad, I know. But the scene when they are carrying the bobsled over the finish line…it really got to me. It’s a great movie about believing in yourself and not allowing others to tell you what you are or are not.
- The Cowboys
OK, I love John Wayne. This is my favorite John Wayne movie (mostly because I was around the age of the kids in the movie when I originally watched it). I loved this and it made me want to be a cowboy.
- Dazed and Confused
When I was in college, all of my friends designated a character from this movie that they represented. I was Bennie (played by Cole Hauser). This movie also was a game to us during my freshman year. Those who played the game know what I’m talking about.
- Dead Poets Society
English teacher. Robin Williams. Poetry. All good stuff. This movie actually made me think long and hard about being an English teacher. In fact, most movies about English teachers made me think about that. Maybe I should have thought more about doing that for a living.
- Die Hard
This is just a great action movie top to bottom. Bruce Willis in one of the roles that made him famous and Alan Rickman is geinus as the bad guy. Also, every time, I think of how Joey (on Friends) thinks watching Die Hard II means watching Die Hard twice.
All religious movies tend to be controversial. Kevin Smith manages one that is controversial, entertaining and contains some very poignant thoughts on religion and Christianity. I particularly like what Rufus (the 13th apostle) has to say about organized religion.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
One of the most creative romantic movies that I have ever seen. Charlie Kaufman is certainly eccentric (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, etc.), but here he catches Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet at their best.
- Fight Club
The first time I saw this movie, I was like, “huh?”, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are absolutely brilliant, as is the script.
My #3 movie of all-time. The most quotable movie. EVER. Having read the book, I don’t know if Chevy Chase was actually the right person to play the main character, but without the book, he’s perfect. And so is this movie.
This movie actually made me want to dance. And I can’t dance. Think of me as Chris Penn (without the whole being dead thing) and this movie was my Kevin Bacon. The tractor chicken scene…genius.
- Forrest Gump
Rich will hate that I put this on my list because he has attitude toward this movie, but I thought that it was a great adaptation of a “just OK” book. Tom Hanks is so good in it that I almost feel bad for not liking him that much anymore. The two-disc soundtrack to this movie is one of the most enjoyable soundtracks I’ve ever purchased.
Bond. James Bond. One of the greatest film characters of all-time. Despite the fact that he wasn’t the first, Pierce Brosnan was a terrific choice. He served the role well and this movie led to the second best Nintendo 64 game ever (the very best of course being MarioKart). Subsequently, Brosnan was the second best Bond ever.
Bond. James Bond. Played by the greatest Bond ever, Sir Sean Connery. And a guy who turns women into gold. What a cool movie. We used to go out to Wyoming every year for a ski week and this was before satellite dishes were a cheap option. They lived in the middle of nowhere and had a HUGE movie library. This is where my obsession with movies may have started. It is certainly where my appreciation for James Bond (and John Wayne) originated.
- Good Will Hunting
My favorite movie of all-time. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s brilliant script is wonderfully acted by the whole cast, Robin Williams, in particular. I actually saw this movie in the theater 7 times. No, seriously. The most times I’ve paid to see a single movie.
- Great Expectations
Alli’s favorite movie ever. Significant for many reasons, not the least of which is that it features an artist and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Only the single greatest soundtrack. When I was in college, we drove to U.S. Open Nationals in Dallas and we had this soundtrack, Garth Brooks’ Greatest Hits, and the Forrest Gump soundtrack in heavy rotation. I still remember my friend Mike D singing “Sandy” at the top of his lungs. I think we even did well in the tournament.
- Groundhog Day
Bill Murray makes this movie work. Sure, Alli, it’s the same story over and over again, but it is the subtle differences in Phil Conners’ personality from day-to-day that make this movie so funny. You can’t help but laugh when he steals the groundhog and lets it drive the truck.
- High Fidelity
High Fidelity is one of my favorite books of all-time. I thought that despite the fact that it was moved from London to Chicago, it still held up. And Jack Black is absolutely BRILLIANT. Plus, it served as the basis for the name of me and Jake’s freelance design company (and the address of this site…plus the /shane of course).
One of the greatest sports movies of all-time (I seem to be saying that a lot). Terrific in every way. Not at all predictable. And I had a hard time figuring out why that play was called the “swinging fence”. Any help would be great.
- The Incredibles
Pixar is quite possibly one of the best movie studios in the world. The Incredibles was awesome. A wonderful flick for kids and adults alike. And Jason “My Name is Earl” Lee as Syndrome, the bad guy…completely great voice casting.
- Indiana Jones and…Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade
Indiana Jones was another one of my idols when I was a kid. This is one of those movies that we watched over and over again when we were kids.
- Jerry Maguire
Cameron Crowe is probably my favorite filmmaker. If I was to make movies, I would make movies like his. Possibly one of my favorite Tom Cruise roles.
- Just Write
OK, so my favorite actor in the world is Jeremy Piven. This is an independent movie that I stumbled upon that really isn’t that great, but it has him in it and he is really funny. He’s got fantastic comedic timing.
Who wouldn’t love a movie about a family of kids living on a farm who start selling manure to make money. I loved this movie as a kid.
- Lilo & Stitch
One of my favorite hand-drawn Disney animated flicks. I SO didn’t want to watch this movie initially, but I totally cried. It’s a great story about the importance of family, even family that isn’t “traditional”.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Epic flims. Wonderful story. DESPITE Elijah Wood.
- The Lost Boys
A lot of people might put this on some sort of list. There is a very weird reason that this is on mine. When I was young (around the time this movie came out on video), I had some serious nightmares spawned by this movie. I had nightmares that all my friends were vampires and I was the guy they were all chasing and tyring to convert to vampirism. I actually saw a therapist (only time in my life I did that) for my nightmares and eventually got over them. I still haven’t watched it since.
- Major League
Such a great movie. We had a taped copy of this movie from TV and it was edited for content and it was WAY funnier. I particularly like the part where the old pitcher drinks Jobu’s rum before going out on the field and he says “Up your BUCKET Jobu” (in the actual movie it says “butt” instead of “bucket”…back in the day when “butt” was a bad word).
Kevin Smith. Jason Lee. Totally funny. Ben Affleck is completely hilarious as a jerk. I could watch this movie over and over again and it has perhaps one of the best movie posters ever, which is prominently displayed in our movie room.
Pre-Sex and the City Kim Cattrall as a mannequin (which is consequently equal to her acting ability). It is a horrible horrible movie that I loved when I was a kid for some reason. I think it might have been on the same tape as Star Wars and so I would watch both of them.
- The Matrix Trilogy
The Matrix is #2 on my list of all-time movies. And I also liked the other two movies (I may be the only one in the whole world who liked Matrix Revolutions, but that’s OK).
- Moulin Rouge!
Baz Luhrmann is a total genius. He spent $10 million on song rights for this movie and it was all worth it. Ewan McGregor brought that movie to life with his voice and the story was so creative and the imagery so vibrant…it just was great. And I don’t even like Nicole Kidman that much.
- The Muppet Movie
I’ve professed my love of muppets before. But right now, I ask you this: Is there a greater character in the world of the Muppets than Fozzie Bear? I had the vinyl of this movie soundtrack. I must have listened to “The Rainbow Connection” about a thousand times.
- Napolean Dynamite
Such a completely funny movie about absolutely nothing. Jon Heder brings the title character completely to life. EVERYONE had a Napolean in their school. They just couldn’t all dance that well.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
This is not just one the funniest Christmas movie of all-time, it is one of the funniest MOVIES of all-time. Period. Chevy Chase is legendary as Clark Griswold. Alli’s family watches this movie every year at Christmas, too…a great tradition, if you ask me.
- Ocean’s Eleven
When this movie came out, it was one of the first times that I realized that movies can just be cool for cool’s sake. So many great actors in a wonderfully scripted, beautifully directed movie about a casino heist. There aren’t a lot of people out there who don’t like this movie. At least not many that I’ve ever met.
- Office Space
Having worked in corporate America full-time for the past 6 years, I can’t help but sympathize with this movie. It takes office life under the microscope and smacks it across the face with a red stapler.
This is the movie that made me fall in love with…errr…really like…Jeremy Piven. Now, granted, he was in One Crazy Summer with John Cusack and Demi Moore, but PCU really showcases him as an actor. This is my generation’s Animal House and Piven (aka Droz) is PCU’s Blutarski.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Steve Martin and John Candy have such great chemistry in this movie and it is so great. One of my favorite parts is where Steve Martin is trying to rent a car and can’t and he goes off on the rental desk lady. Everyone feels that way sometimes. “Those aren’t PILLOWS!”
- The Princess Bride
I’ve read the book (long after I saw the movie) and it was so awesome. Not many movies can claim to have gotten a perfect performance out of Andre the Giant, but this movie accomplishes that and more. Inconceivable? I think not.
When Alli and I were dating, we went and saw the traveling performance of RENT in Des Moines in what was a pretty elaborate date for college. I fell in love with the musical and I was so pleased when they didn’t screw it up when the took it to the silver screen. You can’t help but sing the songs and I absolutely love the message of the movie.
- Robin Hood (Animated Disney Version)
When I was growing up, this was a favorite in our household. What made it so good was how they took a terrific story and attached barnyard animals to the characters. How genius is THAT?
- Rocky III and Rocky IV
Rocky IV has possibly the best ’80s movie soundtrack and Rocky III has Mr. T AND Hulk Hogan in it (Hulk’s name? Thunderlips…awesome). The scene where Apollo Creed and Rocky are training in Rocky III and they are running on the beach is one of my favorite training scenes in all the Rocky movies (save maybe the Russian snow training scene in Rocky IV). Good stuff.
- Romeo + Juliet (the Luhrmann version)
I’m sure there are people out there that who would say I’m crazy for including this version instead of the Zefferelli version, but I like what I like. Remember, I’m from the MTV generation and Luhrmann’s adaptation of the Shakespeare classic rang totally true to me. Leonardo DiCaprio was so great as Romeo, one of the most annoying characters in all of literature. Naive and annoying…he fit the bill. Plus, Michael from LOST plays Mercutio and he is a bright spot in the whole flick.
This movie pre-dated the current poker craze. It was way before its time and it is an awesome movie. Matt Damon is great as Mike McD and Edward Norton is so unbelievably perfect as his smarmy friend Worm. Oh yeah, and John Malkovich is AWESOME as Teddy KGB.
- The Rundown
When I go to the movies, I like to be entertained. This movie entertained me so much that I have to include it on my list. People have called The Rock the next Arnold Schwarzennager, but I think he’ll be bigger than him. He has more charm and charisma and he can actually be understood saying his lines.
- Shakespeare in Love
This is a very original look at Romeo & Juliet. Not only that, but it gave me a better appreciation for the play, Twelfth Night. All of the acting is superb and Gwyneth (Alli’s favorite) turned in an Oscar-worthy performance.
This is a significant movie because oftentimes, we’ll call our dog “Donkey” because of his tendency to turn around in circles before he lays down. Eddie Murphy’s Donkey is one of the greatest animated characters ever. And you can’t help but appreciate the genius of this movie.
I so wish that there was a better movie about volleyball out (the scene from Top Gun does NOT count), but unfortunately, this stinker is all there really is. C. Thomas Howell and some clown with long hair…awful movie, but it’s about volleyball so it can’t be all bad.
- Star Wars (all of them, even The Phantom Menace)
Seriously. I don’t care if everyone hated the newer of the trilogies…to me, they were all awesome. I grew up wanting to be a part of this galaxy and I idolized all of the heroes of the original flicks. As I grew up, my taste certainly improved, but I was able to suspend that enough to completely enjoy every bit (except Jar Jar Binks, but that goes without saying) of the new movies too.
- Super Size Me
This movie seriously changed the way that I eat. I can honestly say that since I saw this movie about , I have eaten fast food from McDonalds or anywhere else less than five times. That’s huge because fast food is so tasty and I’m a guy who likes his food. This movie made me never want to eat McDonald’s again. It was really well done.
The Man of Steel represented all that was good to me when I was a kid. Plus I had some kickin’ Superman Underoos. And a cape.
This movie is so money and you don’t even know it. It took a while before I could convince my friends that this was a work of art, but eventually, they came around and understood just how great this flick is. Jon Favreau wrote a great semi-autobiographical script and we really get to see Vince Vaughn as a terrific fun-lovin’ party guy for the first time, a role that has paid dividends back to him over time.
- Tommy Boy
A fat guy that died too soon. When I was in college, we had pre-season volleyball during winter term – a period of time in early January where you took one class for 4 hours a day for 3 weeks. Now the classes were funny stuff like Food and the Movies or Friendship & Dating and they rarely ever ran their full length of time and NEVER assigned homework. So Winter Term basically consisted of volleyball and hanging out. One of our rituals was to watch Tommy Boy and Friday virtually every day. I’m not kidding. Every day.
- A View to a Kill
Bond. James Bond. A real James Bond fan recognizes that you can ignore the Timothy Daltons and the George Lazenbys of the world, but you can’t forget Roger Moore. A View to a Kill was awesome for several reasons. For one, it had Christopher Walken in it. It also featured a scene with a fight on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Only in the world of James Bond.
- Wayne’s World
Public Access television was a concept that was pretty foreign to me. But I loved this skit on Saturday Night Live. Dana Carvey and Mike Myers brought it to life during the early ’90s renewal of SNL. Plus, who can admit that they did not learn all the words to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody? I know I did.
- When Harry Met Sally
Romantic Comedies work if the chemistry between the characters is palpable. If you like both the actors, but they are terrible together on screen, it’s a tough buy. This is a tough buy only because Meg Ryan would NEVER choose Billy Crystal. But the movie overcomes that because it has a great script and is really more a flick about friendship and its importance in a relationship more than anything else.
- With Honors
I want to state for the record that I think Brendan Fraser is one of the worst actors of all-time. He’s up there with Britney Spears in my opinion. However, he was perfect for this role and Joe Pesci’s character brings this movie to life in a way that nothing else really could. I cried in front of Alli for the first time when I watched this movie, having never seen it before. I don’t know why, but it really made a lot of sense to me. I know it sounds cheesy, but it made me want to graduate life “with honors” too.
No list would be complete without this utterly ridiculous movie about being really, really, ridiculously good looking. If you don’t laugh at this movie, you have no sense of humor. At all.
So there’s my list. I hope that you enjoy it. I had a lot of fun making it and I imagine that after reading it, you’ll understand me as a person much more.
UPDATE: After further consideration, I have decided to add a few more to my list that I thought were GLARING omissions.
Jake was right. This movie is in my top 10. I can’t believe that I left it off the list. I would choose this one over Gladiator and in my opinion, you have to choose one or the other.
I don’t care what anyone says about this movie. Sure, it is typical Jerry Bruckheimer sentimental, but I’m pretty sentimental myself. And I like Ben Affleck. He is probably who I would pick to play me in a movie.
- Dumb & Dumber
If Ace Ventura is on this list, then Dumb & Dumber has to be as well. Jim Carrey’s early work was so dumb and funny that you could watch it over and over again and still be surprised in its ridiculousness. “It feels like you’re running at an incredible pace, Harry!”
I can’t believe I left off one of the greatest sports movies of all-time. When I was in college, my friend Scott introduced me to this flick and I couldn’t quite figure out why I would want to watch a 1970’s flick about hockey starring Paul Newman. But once you watch Slapshot, you realize its genius isn’t in Newman, it’s in the Hansons. “We’re puttin’ on the foil.”
- Harry Potter & the Sorceror’s Stone
I’ve actually only seen this movie once, but having just finished the sixth book (review coming), I had to include it because the movie just made me smile an awful lot. It was a pretty good realization of JK Rowling’s incredible world she created.
So that should do it for now…I’m sure that there are others I’m forgetting.