I often lie that I can never run out of ideas as I’m too lazy to run. But this stupid joke doesn’t help me much, especially when it comes to blogging. My mind is mostly blank and I dread clicking on the “New Post” option. But today I’ve come up with something related to my first love. Cinema.
I’ve compiled a list of 20 of my favouritest movies, in no particular order. It’s impossible to pluck just 20 names when there are thousands out there, equally befitting and deserving. Anyway, when it comes to movies, writing/typing is always a pain; true to my very own adage “Watching is the easiest thing to do after sleeping!”
I’ve tried to pick up movies from across the world cinema. For the record, these movies (and many more) shaped me into the deformity that I am today. I won’t be revealing too much of the movie plot and spoil the joy for you.
By the way, this post is dedicated to my dearest Moni who inspired me into writing this post and somehow helped in updating my usually dormant blog.
Okay, here we go!
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
There is a reason why this movie has been at the top of IMDb list for such a long period of time and is in no imminent danger of getting replaced by something else. This movie has everything one can hope for. Good script, great casting, strong storyline…everything. The story is set in a prison and shows us how human fortitude can overcome time and defeat hopelessness. Hats off to everyone associated with this gem. And if you haven’t watched this movie, you don’t qualify as human.
2. Stalker (1979)
Whenever I mention Andrey Tarkovskiy, people usually go ‘huh?’ and that’s a gigantic shame. On us. Here is the movie and the director himself who literally segued direction with cinematography. He, like many masters of cinema, changed the way we look at our screens. Stalker is like an expansive canvas of dreams converting into reality. It covers almost everything out there to behold and lets us close our eyes and go back to dreams, for a change.
3. Fight Club (1999)
This champ is a poetry in commotion. The intensity with which it seeps into your psyche and troubles you is beyond words. Its rich philosophy and in-your-face dialogues shake the very fundamentals of whatever you hitherto believed in. A super book converted into a superb movie doesn’t happen very often but FC is a happy exception. There are many who became insomniac after watching this movie. Anyway, it isn’t a mere movie. It’s a cult, for all the obvious reasons.
4. The Woman in the Dunes (1964)
We all want to escape and we all want to get trapped. What if you escape into a trap? And what if the trap becomes an escape again? Not sure? Then watch this one. That’s exactly what happens in this Japanese masterpiece. The emotions conveyed will stay with you till amnesia takes over or kingdom come.
5. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
This Argentine thriller is epic from the word go. Though the movie revolves around a crime, every character is so interlinked to all the human aspects be it expression, deception, sacrifice or redemption. This is one of the finest Spanish movies I’ve ever seen. It’s impossible to remember the entire movie no matter how many times you watch it. We are only capable of remembering few beloved scenes. For me, the final moments of this beauty is simply unforgettable.
6. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Martin Scorsese smuggled mafia into Hollywood and made some of the finest mafiosi movies but this Italian comical drama has nothing to do with that. On the contrary, this one reeks of nostalgia. It’s about a small kid who is madly in love with cinema and eventually becomes an acclaimed director. You’ll fall in love with cinema, if nothing else. Well, personally, I relate to the kid and I’m sure most of you will. You better watch it.
7. Anand (1971)
Bollywood and I don’t get along very well but then I can’t deny the existence of some marvelous work of art in golden olden days and Anand is definitely one of them. It’s about a guy detected with terminal disease but is too bubbly to fade away with despair. This movie is a salute to undying human spirit. Almost every single dialogue is meticulously intertwined with the flow of the movie. In other words, Anand was way ahead of its time. And still is.
8. Hunger (1966)
To be honest, Danish movies are not always appealing, if you cut out Dogme. But this classic is way above par and one of the most poignant yet engaging experiences of all time. Sad movies often leave you depressed but this one won’t. It will raise your appetite for respectful cinema like never before. You will relate to the character and his struggles even though he is not you.
9. A Clockwork Orange (1962)
I better not say anything about this cinematic rebel. No, seriously.
10. Amélie (2001)
French with their rich names and substance know how to make a movie and Amélie is one such glaring example of it. A story about a good-hearted girl who helps in sorting out other people’s life but has very little idea on how to sort out her own. Beautiful is the word.
11. Children of Heaven (1997)
Often called the best children's movie of all time. And it has nothing to do with animation. Iranian cinema is famous for churning out society-centric movies. This one deals with the innocent relationship between a boy and his sister. The boy has made a promise to his sister and wants to keep it at all cost, even at the cost of losing. Cute is the word for this one. Long live Iranian Cinema!
12. Downfall (2004)
This German movie captures Hitler's final days. One thing that strikes after watching this movie is HOW COME GERMANS' MAKING SUCH GREAT MOVIES? EUROPEAN CINEMA WAS ALL ABOUT FRENCH NOIR! HOW COME THEY ARE IMPROVING BY LEAPS AND BOLLYWOOD BOUNDING DOWN BY DEEPS?
13. Into the Wild (2007)
All young hearts dream of breaking off from the society and moving to a jungle or some faraway land and build a hermit of peace. The character in this modern masterpiece tries exactly the same. And dies in the process. Premature. Emile Hirsch is the one-man army in the entire movie and Sean Penn did a commendable job behind the camera.
14. A Bittersweet Life (2005)
Korean movies are famous for their rawness. Bittersweet Life will take you through cinema’s history with lots of scenes paying respect to the old masters of filmmaking. The movie is about a I-don’t-give-a-damn guy who is torn between his unassuming love for a girl and loyalty to his boss. There are many other Korean pearls like “Old Boy” and but I chose this one for selfish reasons.
15. In the Name of God (2007)
This was the first (and till-date, only) Pakistani movie I ever watched and it was just remarkable. With an international casting and story so relevant in today’s Islamophobic world, it cut through many issues that modern as well as not-so-modern Muslim world face on a daily basis, post 9/11.
16. In the Mood for Love (2000)
Magic is the word. Kar Wai Wong is the name to reckon. Love is just an excuse.
17. The Man from Earth (2007)
Independent movies usually don’t witness independence. They mostly get lost in the path due to weak promotion and weaker distribution but TMFE was quite different. It made its present felt thanks to its unprecedented success among torrents users and became a sensation on internet. Thankfully, the movie was worth the hype. In fact, its out-of-the-box storyline was a subtle killer. In a good way.
18. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Jack Nicholson as we know today doesn’t like to share screen. He believes in devouring the entire frame for himself. In this classic about sanity and insanity and chasm separating them, we see young Jack doing exactly the same but with subtlety. The movie is one of the finest movies on the correlation between freedom, humanity and mental problems.
19. In Bruges (2008)
In Bruges is a dark movie which deals with guilt, promise and love. You will watch this one again and again. The dialogues keeps pace with wits. Story is strong. Acting fulfilling. And background music won’t haunt you.
20. Angela's Ashes (1999)
One of the finest Irish-theme movies. An impoverished family trying to survive bad days and how its affects everyone in the house, especially the eldest son who is also the narrator of the movie, is beautifully woven into one simple, heart-warming story.
21. Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
20 is NEVER enough. Though I've already mentioned my dislike for failing Bollywood standards, i'd rather make an exception here. This movie literally kick-started the entire GenNext Bollywood era with its free-spirited urbane middle class colour. Spunky storyline with measured mix of joy and sadness and lessons in life in between. Just like "Andaz Apna Apna" is synonymous with humour in Bolly, this movie is the preface of neo-modern Hindi cinema.
Needless to say, it's impossible to have do justice to the list. As expected, I missed on a lot of my favourites like The Big Lebowski, Se7en, Godfather Trilogy, LOTR Trilogy, Goodfellas and Martin Sorcesee’s geniuses as well as Woody Allen’s verbosity and of course Tarantino’s eccentricity and THOUSAND more!
I have respect for those who have disrespect for cheap cinema. And this post is just a token of appreciation to some of the finest out there.
On a side note, I had a job to do. I had to update my blog. And I’m running out of ideas, you see?