I was recently invited to participate in a “10 Days, 10 Movies” meme over on another social media platform. Unfortunately, my unpredictable work schedule would have made it difficult to stick to the proper format… so I decided to just lump all of my choices into one big post. I’m actually fairly pleased with the result, and thus felt it would be worth sharing. Without further ado, here is my list of the ten films that most significantly shaped my cinematic tastes, in more or less chronological order:
Babes in Toyland, (a.k.a. March of the Wooden Soldiers): One of my mother’s favorites; watching it with her is my earliest movie memory.
Jurassic Park: Along with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Hook, introduced me to the concept of the director.
Predator: The first “scary” movie that my father ever shared with me; certainly broadened my horizons at a young, impressionable age.
Sin City: The exaggerated, hyper-stylized presentation is what first made me aware of the power of film as a purely visual medium.
The Thing: Showed me that even genres that are considered less important by “serious” critics are capable of saying something meaningful about the human condition.
Evil Dead II: Gave me a deeper appreciation for the scrappy, do-it-yourself charm of low-budget filmmaking.
Taxi Driver: Seeing New York City through Travis Bickle’s eyes made me realize that movies can present a subjective perspective of reality.
No Country for Old Men: Proved that a film could break nearly every narrative “rule” and still tell a damn good story.
Seven Samurai: Taught me so, so much about the importance of conflict; as long as there’s a source of tension, the plot will never drag—even with a 3.5-hour running time.
Inglourious Basterds: Back in college, I wrote a thesis paper about this one (while it was still in theaters!); in the process, I learned that I really love dissecting movies.
[Originally written April 26, 2018.]