Last week I wrote about a year-long exploration of the Small Screen, but at the same time I thought it was time to update my favorite films of all time. So, this year I’m looking at my Top 50 films of All Time. Periodically throughout the year I’ll be sharing this countdown in blocks of 10 films at a time. If you’d like to take this journey week-by-week, feel free to visit here on Fridays. For now, here’s a look at the first 10 films on my list, going from 50-41.
This list is very personal. Those who follow me on Letterboxd or weekly reviews know that I am cautious with my grades. In fact, I don’t even have 50 films that I’ve given Five Stars. But all those I have reviewed as Five Stars will be in this countdown. So, enjoy my Top 50 of All Time, a list I worked hard to curate.
50. A Quiet Place (2018)
About: This film surprised me. Little about the ads made me think I’d like it, let alone fall in love with it. But John Krasinski delivers a beautiful and personal tale, one in which he and Emily Blunt give great performances. There is a moment near the climax when Krasinski is speaking to his daughter that left me a puddle and does each time I see the film.
49. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
About: I love a good comedy, especially a teen comedy. This modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew works well. It’s got a great story and sense of humor. It had a fun soundtrack for the era it was created, and the cast—led by Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles—makes it a kick.
48. The Matrix (1999)
About: I remember when I first saw The Matrix. It was a film like no other. The action sequences, approach to storytelling and the world building captivated me. I loved Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the lead roles, and I loved the way the story built. None of the sequels have really lived up to that start, but the original film remains one that captivates me.
47. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
About: Thor wasn’t my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe hero and I mostly thought his first two outings were just OK. This third film really hummed, as Chris Hemsworth was set free to add his unique skill set to the story and director Taika Waititi brought a different kind of approach to the film. This one is a lot of fun, which is why it’s always been among my favorite MCU films.
46. Batman (1989)
About: This was the first live-action superhero I remember seeing. I was a young boy, but one that loved Batman. He has always been my favorite superhero, and this Tim Burton film, led by Michael Keaton in the title role, has always held a special place in my heart. I love Jack Nicholson as The Joker and I appreciate the craft here, especially the iconic main theme.
45. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
About: This is a film that has shifted for me since its release. I always enjoyed it but I felt like it got caught in the shadow of the installment that came before. I’ve probably seen this 20 times since, and each time I do it rises in my rankings. To that point, it’s now above the first Keaton Batman film. I love Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy here, and I appreciate the richly emotional journey that Christian Bale goes on as an older, beleaguered Bruce Wayne. This is great work from Christopher Nolan, one of a few of his films on this list.
44. Black Panther (2018)
About: I wish we’d gotten to see Chadwick Boseman continue in this role. Sadly, it’s not to be. But I continue to appreciate the installment we did get, which instantly jumped up near the top of my MCU rankings. Ryan Coogler delivers a film that pops—both in terms of its look and in terms of the storytelling. Michael B. Jordan is great opposite Boseman and the look of this film is incredible.
43. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
About: There is a moment near the end of this film when Brad Pitt’s character looks into the camera and says, “I think this might be my masterpiece.” I’ve always felt that was writer/director Quentin Tarantino was speaking through that line. And you know what, I agree. This is my favorite Tarantino film. The craft and storytelling are incredible, the dialogue pops and there are a number of sequences that just enthrall me. Since I first saw it, this has been a film I’ve held in high esteem.
42. Thank You For Smoking (2005)
About: When it comes to comedy, I like something a little different than others. To that end, Jason Reitman has long enthralled me as a writer/director. This was his first feature film and it’s a delight. Aaron Eckhart is great in the lead role but it’s the off-beat sense of humor and writing that had me captivated here. This isn’t Reitman’s only film on this list, but it’s one that I have seen a number of times and continue to enjoy.
41. Wind River (2017)
About: Taylor Sheridan is a great writer/director. I enjoy his series on the small screen, but I’ve enjoyed his theatrical films as well. Wind River is his first feature film as a director and it pops. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen lead a murder mystery set on a Reservation in Wyoming. It’s cold and brutal, and the story is some of the same. But the performances pop and the action sequence, when it finally arrives, is all you’d hope it would be. This is one of Renner’s best performances in service of a film that is quietly beautiful and incredibly moving. The story stuck with me long after I saw it and continues to compel me even years later.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.