While I’m no true student of film, I watch a lot of movies. I read about them, about how they were made. As a still photographer, I look at how cinematographers use visual elements as part of the filmmaking process. As a writer, I look at how screenwriters employ words and create a rhythm of dialogue. Many films get multiple viewings to see what I missed previously. That’s not to say that I don’t just sit down and watch a movie to be entertained. I do that all the time. But really watching and studying the intricacies of a film is enjoyable to me. I’m also not a movie critic, and I’m not trying to compile a list of greatest films. These are not reviews, and some of the commentary includes spoilers. Some are classics and some are not. But they are the films that are my personal favorites, and I attempt to explain why they are on my list. I also have a section on my favorite filmmakers, and why I enjoy their works.
I must be an old soul when it comes to movies. Or maybe I’m just old. Whatever the case, my list all-time favorite films doesn’t include many contemporary movies. There are some that could eventually end up in this top tier, but for now, only “Michael Clayton” has made the cut. It’s no surprise that there are two Hitchcock films and a Stanley Kubrick film here. They are two of my favorite filmmakers. Sydney Pollack, Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplain aren’t too bad, either.
Like with my favorite music, my favorite movies cover a wide range, and don’t necessarily represent the all-time greats. But they do have particular meaning to me. I lean to sci-fi, comedies, smart thrillers, quirky art films, intelligent animation and even monster movies. That’s not to say there aren’t some classics on the list. I love movies from the “Golden Age.” I anticipate adding a few more recent movies to this group from a new crop of talented filmmakers.
This list really shows me how much time I’ve spent watching movies. I’ve seen them each multiple times. If I see them pop up on the TV guide, I’m probably going to sit and watch, or I might even pull it up on a stream somewhere, just because. There are quite a few comedies listed, and several dark comedies. The sci-fi list is shorter than I would have expected, but I have a pretty high standard in that genre. Among my favorites are political and psychological thrillers.
There are many parallels between the films that are among my all-time favorites and the directors who produce them. Again, this is a personal list, but many of the works of the ones on this list can be considered classics. There are two legendary directors with Kubrick and Hitchcock, and contemporary directors with the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson, both known for their offbeat productions. There is a new crop of filmmakers making some very good movies that could soon be on this list.