18. Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)
“Rushmore” is a wonderful ode to youth, friendship and young love. Making only his second feature film Wes Anderson managed to capture a very special story with his usual style and quirks already developed, but also somewhat channeling Truffaut in his sensibility. “Rushmore” is the story of Max Fisher. He is a young student at Rushmore, a school he absolutely loves though his grades don’T really reflect that.
During his studies there he befriends the depressed businessman Herman Blume and falls for Miss Cross, an elementary school teacher. When Blume falls in love with her too emotions take hold of everyone involved. The film is wonderfully shot, acted and scored. It’S probably a tough watch if you really dislike Anderson’s style, but otherwise the film is an absolute joy to watch again and again.
19. Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956)
In the 1950s the probably wildest and riskiest Hollywood director (except for maybe Samuel Fuller) must have been Nicholas Ray. Ray has always been most famous for directing “Rebel Without A Cause”, yet leaving at that would really be insulting to the filmography of one of Hollywood’s great directors.
Ray was especially good at directing darker films and understanding the youth like no other director in that time. “Bigger Than Life” falls into the former category.
It’s about a school teacher (James Mason), whose life completely goes south after he becomes addicted to cortisone. While the film surely is outdated and cheesy, it still has an impact nowadays. It’s well directed, James Mason gives a strong performance and although it doesn’t end as dark as it could, it has moments that even shock nowadays.
20. Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
With “Trainspotting 2” approaching and trailers already hitting the web, it’s a good time to rewatch
the first film. Directed by Danny Boyle “Trainspotting” is a film about a group of heroin addict starring Ewan McGregor. Many still consider this to be Boyle’s best film and it’s not hard to see why.
Transporting has some unforgettable scenes (the world’s grossest bathroom and some frightening nightmare sequences), a great soundtrack and the cast is wonderful. Not only those elements are great though, the film really conveys an atmosphere and goes from hilarious to deeply heartfelt. From the famous opening scene, to the somber, yet beautiful ending the film takes you on an emotional journey in a way, that not many movies can.
21. Love & Friendship (Whit Stilman, 2016)
The most recent film on this list is Whit Stilman’s “Love & Friendship”. It’s certainly one of the funniest movies of the year and Jane Austen seems a perfect fit for the director. This comedy of manners centers on Lady Susan, a flirtatious widow, who is trying to find a rich husband for her daughter, but can’t quite keep herself from flirting with possible suitors herself.
Kate Beckinsale has never been better and is a wonderfully sharp Lady Susan. A character, who does despicable things, yet you can’t really hate her, she is enormously charming, yet wickedly manipulative. The entire ensemble is magnificent and Tom Bennet as Sir James Martin is one of the funniest film characters in a long time. All in all “Love & Friendship” is an absolutely entertaining film that is definitely worth watching.
22. Thank You For Smoking (Jason Reitman, 2007)
Jason Reitman’s “Thank You For Smoking” is one of the funniest and darkest films to come out in the 21st Century. It’s hard to believe this was Jason Reitman’s first film, since the film wonderfully balances it’s satirical humor with it’s dark subject matter and never slips off into full darkness always maintaining some sort of heart.
It’s about as sly as it’s main character (Aaron Eckhart gives a wonderful performance) and the writing could be considered extremely offensive, but the movie manages to pull it off and even make you laugh. That and it has one of the most cynical and funniest closing scenes ever put to film, that might make you panic if you’Re reading this on your phone.
23. Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich & David Silverman, 2001)
Of all the great films Pixar have given us, “Monsters Inc.” is depressingly rarely mentioned. The concept of Monsters powering their city by scaring human children at night is wonderfully inventive and surreal. It might be, that for some the world is a bit too much like New York (the casting of Billy Crystal as Mike hammers it in a bit), but the surrounding is used wonderfully for some great humor and the entire cast also gives a great performance (a particularly sleazy Steve Buscemi is a highlight).
Once the story finishes introducing us to the world it’s built, we get a warm and sweet story, that thrills and entertains throughout the film and then tops it all off with an ending, that can make grown men fight with tears.
24. Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010)
Back before Gareth Edwards was doing huge blockbusters like “Godzilla” and “Star Wars: Rouge One”, he did a smaller independent film, which instead of lots of money used cleverly placed effects an world building to create a sci-fi environment that seems scarily believable.
Starring an unknown Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, “Monsters” is set in a future, where the Mexico-United States border is a quarantine zone. From there on Edwards stages some wonderfully handled monster attacks, which don’t show much, but still leave viewers satisfied. When we finally do get a good look at the Monsters, it’s not in a scary moment though, instead it’s in an oddly beautiful one, which is a nice change of pace in contrast to many other monster films.
25. Midnight In Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)
“Midnight In Paris” is the last great film Woody Allen has made so far. While it doesn’t have the emotional maturity of some of his work in the 1980s, it’s undeniably charming and light-hearted. Owen Wilson does his best Woody Allen impression as a writer fascinated with the Paris from the 1920s.
When he actually gets the opportunity to travel back in time and meet his idols (Picasso, Hemingway, Dali etc.) the movie really takes flight. The scenes set in the 20s are lots of fun and all the actors do a fine job. The soundtrack is jazzy joy as usual with Allen and the moral of the story is quite a good one too. All in all the film isn’t really serious or has lots of substance, but it’s a relaxing and fun watch for sure.
Author Bio: Sebastian Bobik was born in New York but moved to Vienna in an early age . After being dazzled by the likes of Kurosawa and Tarkovsky amongst others he decided to become a filmmaker , so far a handful of rather miserable short films stand claim to that . You can also follow his ramblings on Twitter at @SebastianBobik.