Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week's topic takes us out of the book zone for a hot second into one of my other fondest hobbies: movies! I'm on a never-ending quest to watch every movie that's ever won the "major" Oscars, as I see them (Picture, Director, all four Acting, Documentary, and Foreign Film). I've actually made it through many of them and let me not recommend it to anyone else, as I've seen some real duds. Also, I worked at Blockbuster in college and I watched a bunch of movies that way, too. Here are ten of my all-time favorites.
City of God: My all-time, hands-down favorite, this movie is definitely worth turning on the subtitles for. Sent in the favelas outside Rio, this movie parallels two stories of growing up: that of Rocket, who is mild-mannered and keen-eyed and looks to journalism to escape, and that of Lil' Ze, a drug lord whose criminal life begins early. It's just incredible film-making and so compelling.
American Beauty: This was the movie that got me thinking about movies as film, as artistic statements rather than just simple entertainment. Looking back, it's less deep or cutting than I gave it credit for initially (suburban dysfunction isn't exactly brand new territory), but it's still powerful, mostly because of really wonderful performances.
Clueless: A witty take on Emma that I think Jane Austen would have approved of, this is a pop culture delight that's aged beautifully despite the dated cellphones. Alicia Silverstone is so perfect as oblivious but good-intentioned Cher Horowitz and it's so fun and vibrant. It's really hard to do breezy comedy well but this is right on the money.
Shattered Glass: Hayden Christiansen might have gotten some well-deserved blowback for his take on Anakin Skywalker, but his kind of whiny, obsequious quality works great for his role as disgraced news magazine editor Stephen Glass. Watching him desperately try to fend off the skepticism of his new boss, Peter Sarsgaard's brilliant portrayal of Chuck Lane, as the walls collapse in around him is just incredible. It's also a triumph of editing...it's quite short and there's not a wasted moment in it.
Lord of the Rings: I'm cheating and counting it as all one movie, because I love the whole series and they really are all one story. There's not a bad casting decision in the bunch, and the real chemistry of the actors shines through.
Election: This is a deliciously dark satire about politics, seen through the frame of a high school election. The ways that power and desire and ambition twist behavior are all front and center, and I still think this is Reese Witherspoon's best work.
Annie Hall: As a general rule, romantic comedies are not for me. I just don't find them entertaining. However you might feel about its maker, Annie Hall's merits speak for themselves. Dazzlingly clever and honest and just so good.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Marilyn Monroe tends to be thought of as a bombshell alone, but she's actually a very talented comedic actress. And nowhere are her gifts of timing and charisma more on display than this frothy, fun musical. She and Jane Russell are just a hoot together.
Y Tu Mama Tambien: Before Alfonso Cuaron directed the third Harry Potter, he directed this odd, delicate blend of teen sex comedy and exploration of life and friendship and politics. It works, because like this movie, life is not just one thing at a time.
Can't Hardly Wait: A sentimental choice, this is a movie my friends and I have watched and loved and developed drinking games for since high school. It's not great cinema by any stretch, it's just silly and easy to watch.