Binge Watch: Favorite Films of All Time, Pt. 4

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 next 10 films on my list, going from 20-11.

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.

20. Children of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuaron does a beautiful job of telling this story. I love Clive Owen in the lead role and the dystopic depiction of the future. But this isn’t doom-and-gloom, it’s a story of redemption and hope and it’s deeply resonant.

19. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
: Another story of hope and redemption in a dark place, this one is based on the novella from Stephen King. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are great and their friendship is iconic. I love a lot of the beats in this film and the poignant exploration of hope.

18. L.A. Confidential (1997)
: Curtis Hanson delivers this hard-boiled crime story set in Los Angeles in the 1940s. I love the cast and the mystery, while the final shoot out is great, too. I’ve loved it since I first saw it.

17. Simon Birch (1998)
This film is based on the John Irving novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love the novel, so it makes sense that I would enjoy the film, though it really only takes a portion of the story. I remember when I saw this one and how much I enjoyed it. It’s stuck with me over the years and remains a film I love to revisit. It never fails to get me emotionally, either.

16. The Hunger Games (2012)
I wasn’t a big book reader, nor do I love the whole film franchise. But this first film, the way it sets the world and weaves the story is incredibly engaging. It’s a great statement on popular culture, too. And I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.

15. Arrival (2016)
This is a film that grows in my esteem the more that time passes. Amy Adams is great in the lead role and the way the film plays with the nature of time and choice is fascinating and heart-breaking. Denis Villeneuve does a beautiful job of telling this story visually. It really resonates with me emotionally as well.

14. Doubt (2008)
John Patrick Shanley wrote and directed this film based on his stage play. It features an incredible cast and it features a very poignant story. There is a lot to unpack here and I’ve seen this film around a dozen times and read the stage play. It always moves me. I also enjoy the performances from Adams, Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. There are some great moments here in a film that deeply moves me.

13. About Schmidt (2002)
: We all want to feel like our lives matter. We want to know what we do matters and that our lives and work make a difference. This film is an exploration of that idea. Jack Nicholson gives one of his finest performances, and Kathy Bates is quite good as well. It’s the ending of this journey that always gets me in the feels and is one of the reasons I have long loved this film.

12. Heat (1995)
: Michael Mann delivers a spectacular crime drama with Heat. There’s a great cast and the first on-screen scene between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. I love the way the film is constructed, the cat-and-mouse game. It also has an incredible action set piece around the bank robbery. I have long loved the craft and storytelling here.

11. Gettysburg (1993)
I love the Civil War era. It’s something I’ve studied and read about. This film, which meticulously follows the defining moments of the war’s biggest battle is filmed on the actual battle site. It’s a great exploration of this turning point in the war and of the men on both sides who fought there.

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.

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