Jeff's Favorite Movies

As of today, I've watched and rated 2,800 movies, assigning each a numerical rating 1 (a waste of life) and 10 (loved it). Of course, this rating took place over many many years and I can't claim that my ratings have been consistent over the long haul; I'm sure that my tastes have changed during this journey. But although I'd like to, I can't watch all 2,800 movies over again to try and be more consistent, so for what it's worth, here is the list of the 70-or-so movies I've rated 9 or 10, followed by the 320-or-so-next-best films I've rated as 8.

I generally favor movies that are heavy in the plot department; there are many movies which are highly regarded on the Internet Movie Database or by critics which I don't like at all. Breathless is one such example. To me, it felt like nothing happened, and I rated it a 4 (I've since re-rated it as 7, because I now better appreciate it's allure, but it's still not a favorite). Even the highly-regarded Citizen Kane falls into that category; I rated it a 7 since although it might have introduced lots of new film techniques and had many interesting perspectives, the plot itself was totally boring to me. I didn't ever really care what "Rosebud" meant, so the rest of the film's goodness was lost on me. So those are two movies that don't quite make it onto my list of favorite movies. If you strongly disagree with both of these non-recommendations, you might as well stop reading here because my tastes don't align with yours. But if you tentatively agree, keep reading.

To rate a movie highly (that is, rate it as if I'd really enjoy watching it again, which is what my rating of 8 means), it has to have at least one of the following: a great plot, gorgeous photography, be a musical, contain beautiful music such as the way Kubrick used music, be a great science-fiction movie, or include anything about Italy, or especially Rome, for which I'm a total slut. I'm not at all adverse to non-American films; many of my 300-or-so-next-best films are black-and-white subtitled films. So if you're still reading and these things also tickle your fancy, here are my favorite 300-or-so movies out of the 2,319 I've watched.

I welcome you to email with any comments on my choices.

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My Favorite 60 or so Movies, listed alphabetically

  1. The King and I: I just love the songs in this musical. The story is cliche, the acting might not be the best, but wow I do love the music.
  2. The Pianist: A terrific holocaust movie that will leave you a changed person. Beware that this will be depressing and disturbing, but it's a film you won't forget.
  3. Schindler's List: The very best holocaust movie ever made. You will never forget this one.

In case you agree with my list of favorite movies, here are my 300-or-so-next-best films that you might also enjoy, again listed alphabetically
(The best 34 in this bunch are in bold font)

  1. All the President's Men: Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein expose a 'dirty tricks’ fund controlled by Haldeman which was used to sabotage democratic candidates and was eventually brought to light because of the Watergate Break-in, and which led to Nixon’s resignation.
  2. Amadeus: Mozart's life story
  3. Awakenings: Long-term catatonic patients are cared for by a new doctor who takes a sincere interest in trying to figure out how to help them.
  4. (subtitled) A Beautiful Mind: Genius mathematician accepts a job as a government code-breaker but is actually going mentally insane, and he fights this illness until death.
  5. Breach: An aide in the Pentagon is charged with exposing his boss as a spy.
  6. Cinderella Man: A boxer, who is apparently washed-up due to age and persistent injuries, loses his boxing license and is forced to take some time off during the depression, and becomes motivated to make a comeback when he cannot feed or shelter his family due to lack of work. His manager happens upon a last-minute fight he could fit into, and that gets him back into boxing.
  7. Dog Day Afternoon: A suspenseful bank robbery goes bad and becomes a media circus
  8. (subtitled) Downfall (Der Untergang): Powerful story of Hitler's last days in the bunker, and the surrender of Germany.
  9. Finding Vivian Maier: A woman's lifelong street photography is discovered after her death.
  10. Hotel Rwanda: A hotel manager houses over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the genocide being commited by the Hutu militia in Rwanda, Africa.
  11. In Cold Blood: Two drifters murder a rural family because they think that family has a stash of cash in their home, then the police try to catch them.
  12. Into the Wild
  13. (subtitled) Jacquot de Nantes: The story of Jacque Demy (Varda’s husband) as a child, including events during his childhood that went on to appear in each of his movies, written and filmed while he was dying of AIDS.
  14. (subtitled) The King of Kings: Cecil B DeMilles' legendary silent film about Jesus Christ's oppression, death and resurrection.
  15. (subtitled) Il Postino: The Postman gets an education about poetry, love and friendship.
  16. The Railway Man
  17. The Right Stuff: The heroic story of the 7 original astronauts for NASA
  18. Something the Lord Made
  19. The Sound of Music
  20. Spartacus: Kubrick tells the story of Spartacus, a slave of Rome who becomes a gladiator trainee, then escapes the training camp and leads an army of freed gladiators and other slaves in a revolt against a decaying Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.
  21. 12 years a slave: A free black man is sold into slavery.

And finally, a few TV series which I've especially enjoyed, again in alphabetical order

  1. I, Claudius: 1000 bonus points for being about the Roman Empire

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