Does anybody else have this issue of deciding what movies/anime/books/tv shows should be in your top 10 lists?
While my favorites for animation, books, and tv series tend to be relatively perpetual, with movies I struggle a bit. Aside for my top 3 favorite films of all time, I have a harder trying to think of a film that perfectly fits my 4th place on the list, so making blog posts on what I consider to be my top 5, let alone top 10, aren’t usually what I’d set out to do every so often.
It mostly has to do with a number of aspects. Sometimes it’s the rewatchability, other times it’s how relatable the messages and aesops speak out to me as a viewer. Occasionally when I have my top 4 laid out on Letterboxd, I’d visit it another day to log some films I’ve watched only to reflect on whether I actually liked that 4th film enough to put it on that spot. Because of this, I tend to fluctuate between Taxi Driver, Ikiru, The Dark Knight, Manchester by the Sea, Tale of Two Sisters, and Snowpiercer, often due to a newfound appreciation for a certain one of my self-perceived masterpieces.
But, my top 3 are relatively stable and everlasting I would say:
No film has ever got my blood pumping and my heart racing as much as Whiplash has. Damian Chazelle has crafted a masterpiece that serves as a true representation of art. A work of artistic merit should strive to simultaneously spread your message to an audience and make them react to it in an intended manner. Whiplash does this flawlessly as it tells the story of an aspiring musician who attends a class taught by an abusive and ruthless professor. The professor expects his band players to be perfect, hence why he lashes out constantly at the slightest of errors. The message really hits home for me as its one that dictates that determination is what gets you to the point of being a successful person. True art is generally made with sweat, blood, and tears; nothing but hard work and perseverance to get that core message out to the world. Also, J.K Simmons nails it as the violent and irate music instructor, giving a standout performance that gives his character such an impactful demeanor and upfront presence throughout the entire duration of the movie. It’s heavily influential on me for inspiring me to stop idling and actually do something with my dreams.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
If you’ve seen my Letterboxd profile recently, you’d see The Fellowship of the Ring listed as my 2nd favorite movie of all time, but truth be told, I’d rank all of The Lord of the Rings films at that same spot. While Tolkien’s story may seem a little generic nowadays, one should realize that he was the pioneer of epic fantasy fiction involving adventure, bloodthirsty orcs, and nature-worshipping elves, so he kind of gets a pass for that. Its story is simple, but it’s the execution that makes it a journey that’s absolutely unforgettable. It’s also one of the most well-produced films in existence, with set and creature designs all made with a mixture of practical and CG effects, leveraging both to its own advantage in creating a world that feels authentic and concrete to the audience. Themes of comradery, humanity, corruption, and war also run rampant through its plot. Sure, the villains may be cheesy and cookie-cutter, and the story having been done to death in this generation, but remember, it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey itself. And this journey was one spectacular ride throughout that kept me hooked to the screen and my emotions let loose. I never fail to ugly cry at the finale, with Howard Shore’s phenomenal soundtrack matching the mood of the scene and that feeling of having experienced a long adventure finally come to a close.
Lost in Translation
This is the kind of film that I can just relax to when I’m feeling down, soaking in the bustling nightlife and serene atmosphere of Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to travel to Japan mostly because of how beautiful and spotless it looks. I want to visit the gardens and sleep under a canopy of sakura trees, embark on a journey to the populated feline island known as Ao Island, and snap elaborated and pristine photographs of the legendary Mount Fuji with its snow-topped peaks, jagged slopes, and towering height. But, the plot itself speaks volumes to me. The film follows Bill Murray and Scarlet Johannsen as two strangers fed up with their current lives and feeling a degree of loneliness in a country far away from home. They find solidarity in their relationship and are able to temporarily resolve some of their dilemmas as a result. As somebody who also longs for the company of others, this particular film speaks out to me. Sofia Coppola does a wondrous job at trying to portray Tokyo as this clean, immaculate, and mysterious city with long shots of its sprawling streets and a high degree of fixation on the busy, brightly lit areas of its arcades, night clubs, and markets. The film also captures how awkward it is to interact with people that don’t speak your language or experience a far different culture that you’ve got limited knowledge of. It’s a realistic depiction of culture shock when traveling to an entirely new country with its own set of customs and norms.
So yeah, consider this a secret recommendation post. But what are your thoughts on top 10 lists? Do you have trouble deciding on what should be added to the list and what shouldn’t? What are your favorite films in general?