There are so many films that I enjoy, so this was a very hard list to make. Let’s get started on the list before I change my mind and make this 10 films, instead of 5.
5. Dirty Dancing (1987)
Do not shake your head to this movie. It is really good. Almost as good as watermelon in the summertime (movie reference). I do not tend to enjoy films that are the traditional “rom-com” type, but this film is different. The characters are real, the stakes are realistic and the story does not unfold in the exact way you would predict it to. The acting really pushes this story forward and makes it even better.
When I watch this film, I feel true emotions. I go on the rollercoaster with the characters, and by the end, I am exhausted, but happy and content. In addition, Patrick Swayze (Johnny) really seemed like he was a great, genuine guy, so I really enjoyed watching him play this character.
4. Shutter Island (2010)
Wow, I was obsessed with this film when I first watched it. I was shocked by the ending and I immediately had to watch it again. I actually have a story about the first time I watched this film because something specific happened on that day. But that is a story for another time.
This film is suspenseful, well-thought-out and just brilliant to watch. Incredible acting (Ruffalo, DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley), story-telling, and directing (Scorsese). The mystery plays well throughout the movie and the audience is engaged by trying to put all of the pieces together. Just to find out that we were looking at the pieces through the wrong lens.
I learned a lot from this film, it makes me think how I can make my own films and screenplays better. I definitely recommend watching this film if you have not seen it. It will surprise you, unless you are insanely great at mysteries and finding clues that many might not notice. This film shows how perspective is very important to consider when telling a story. Watch this film with a magnifying glass (figuratively, or literally if you feel like it).
3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
This movie makes me cry! It makes me feel, which is what I like most about films. Most of the films I enjoy watching are dramas, with a hint of funny, that also tell a very meaningful story that changes perspectives.
The acting in this film is just incredible. DiCaprio (Arnie) was so young, yet he gave an unforgettable performance, and Depp (Gilbert) is just awesome. The story is sad in many ways, but the story is beautiful. I first watched this film a week before I went on a trip to Italy. Then, while I was on a bus traveling between Italian cities, you best believe I was watching this film on my phone with my headphones on, while I was watching Italian towns go by. Now, that is what I call a vibe.
This story has such heart and I enjoy watching it every time.
2. Gifted (2017)
This is one of the films I have watched recently, but it still made it on my list. Chris Evans (Frank) and Mckenna Grace (Mary) help tell an incredible story of family and life. Things do not always go as planned and sometimes we make mistakes. But we are trying our best, and that is all we can do.
I cried many times throughout this film, but I also laughed a lot too. The story is heavy and light at the same time. It is realistic in some ways and extraordinary in others. I like the comparisons and contrasts in this film, particularly between Mary and Frank. They are very different people, but also very similar. This film makes my heart happy and sad, but happy in the end. You can read the full post I wrote on this movie here.
1. The Judge (2014)
No one I talk to about this film has watched it, but I have seen it over 10 times. I watch it often when I want to watch a film that I know is good and that will make me think of my past and present.
Downey (Hank) and Duvall (Judge Palmer) have a complicated relationship. Hank is getting a divorce and some unfortunate things have just happened to the Judge and his family. I can personally relate to this story a lot, which may seem unlikely because I have not had a divorce and I am not a 40 year old man. But Hank experiences some emotions that I know very well.
I saw a part of me in Hank, even if at first he does not seem like the best guy. By watching how he treats his father when he truly needs his help, I was overcome with emotion. This story is pretty heavy, but it has everything a good movie has: a great story, great actors and emotion.
BONUS: Another Happy Day (2011)
I know I said 5 films, but I just had to mention this last film. I will be writing a blog post entirely on this film, but here are some brief thoughts. The biggest thing I took away from this film is that I am not alone in the way I feel. One of the reasons I love films is that they can make you realize that other people have gone through the same situation you are in, and they have found their way out. This film does that. The characters are relatable, sad, but true.
I will say that this film has a lot of bickering, misunderstanding and sadness, but sometimes it can be nice to comprehend that you are not the only person who experiences these emotions. I love this film for that. It made me feel understood and not alone in a time I really wanted to be a part of something.
Here’s to great films that make us feel and learn. Films that change the way we think and act. Improve our lives in one way or another. Cheers to feelings, crying and laughing, because they are all valuable in our pursuit of happiness. If you want me to do a more in-depth post on any of these films, let me know in the comments.