After watching thousands of movies over my lifetime, choosing the best of all time is nearly impossible.
But here are the ones that come to mind as my favorites — the movies I loved.
The Wizard of Oz (1939): My all-time favorite. It’s the first movie I ever saw. I was 5. It set the tone for a lifetime of movie loving.
Midnight Cowboy (1969): The only X-rated movie to ever win an Oscar. Very original and a movie that set a tone and a style that literally dozens of movies have copied. The tandem lead acting of Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight is mind-blowing.
Amadeus (1984): As long as we’re talking tandem leads, acting has never been better than Tom Hulce’s, Mozart and F. Murray Abraham’s, Salieri. Both got Oscar nominations and Abraham won the prize.
The Fall (2006): One of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever. Spectacular sets and effects that aren’t CGI. And such a clever story.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012): A wonderful example of how good writing can make what should be a mundane story into a great movie.
The Station Agent (2003): Writer/director Tom McCarthy’s first film. It also introduced most of us to Peter Dinklage. McCarthy won an Oscar for Spotlight in 2015 and created the story for the Pixar flick, Up.
Up (2009): Not real crazy about the movie but the wordless four-minute girl and guy meet, fall in love, marry, have a life, grow old and she dies, is the most beautiful love story I’ve ever seen.
The Matrix (1999): Reinvented state-of-the-art special effects and invented a style that is now even being used in commercials. Plus, it was an original concept. I’ll never forgive the writer/directors and now, Wachowski sisters for ruining it and doing the two sequels.
Gravity (2013): Saw it in 3D and Alfonso Cuaron’s film is the closest I’ll ever get to being in space. I kept wanting Sandra Bullock and George Clooney to move over and act somewhere else because they were in the way of my view.
Independence Day (1996): If I’m channel surfing and this one pops up, I always stop and finish it. Had the pleasure of interviewing co-writer, Dean Devlin about his movie, Bad Samaritan in 2018 and spent most of the interview talking about this one.
From the last few films you might get that I love science fiction. It’s my favorite genre of movie. A couple from recent years: Moon, The Edge of Tomorrow and Source Code.
Oldies: The original War of the Worlds, the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Time Machine, the original King Kong (but you might also call it horror) and so many others.
Alien (1979): Ridley Scott’s original film is the most intense horror movie of them all. The sequels — no offense fans — have sucked.
Speaking of horror, you also can’t beat other favorites, A Quiet Place, Pan’s Labyrinth, Silence of the Lambs and Rosemary’s Baby.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018): The best Marvel movie of them all is this animated Spider-Man flick. The story and animation are mind-boggling.
Pulp Fiction (1994): Forrest Gump won Oscar’s best picture race. Not sure why. This one made Quentin Tarantino a superstar writer/director and, at the time was one of the most original movies ever done.
Bad Santa (2003): I can see your face now. What? This one is hilarious and no one but Billy Bob Thornton could have pulled off the most pathetic Santa ever. I interviewed him years ago about a different movie but couldn’t stop bringing this one up.
Toy Story 3 (2010): The best of all of Pixar’s movies and the only movie I’ve seen that made critics cry. I didn’t but came close.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor (2018): Knew about Mr. Rogers. This one helped me really get to know him. We need more people like Mr. Rogers today. A scene where he and a gorilla interact had me close to tears.
There are so many others: The Dish, American Beauty, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Galaxy Quest, Groundhog Day, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, JoJo Rabbit, Inside Out, Logan, Men in Black, The Hangover, One Hour Photo, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mystic River, Boyhood, Waking Life, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Free Solo.