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There’s no time like quarantine time to catch up on movies. So where to begin?
Well, each year on Reddit, movie fans weigh in on what they think are absolute must-see films.
In 2019, there were so many recent films (49 of 250 on the list) that Reddit put out a second list that excluded movies from the past five years (to avoid recent bias).
The following entries for your viewing pleasure are the top 10 from the edited list.
If you’re not that knowledgeable about film history, these critical successes are a good place to start. If you are, check it out and see if you agree.
And the top 10 from Reddit are:
1. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan: 2008)
Batman is determined to finally clean up the streets of Gotham. The problem is a psychotic criminal that’s unleashing chaos on the entire city: The Joker. In case you didn’t know, Heath Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Actor in this role after his death from a prescription drug overdose.
Considering Joaquin Phoenix’s recent win for the same part, it could be interesting to watch (or re-watch) this film to compare how the two actors tackled this obviously dark but meaty role.
2. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson: 2001)
In the first film of this epic series, young Frodo starts off on his quest to destroy a mysterious and dangerous ring in the land where it was first formed.
The film is deemed a landmark in the fantasy genre and won 4 of the 13 Academy Awards it was nominated for: Best Makeup, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects.
3. Inception (Christopher Nolan: 2010)
The second film on this list from director Christopher Nolan will definitely make you think. In this sci-fi thriller, a thief steals information by infiltrating the minds of his victims.
But now he’s tasked with an even bigger challenge. To have his whole criminal history erased, he has to implant an idea into the subconscious of his target.
Based on the idea of lucid dreaming (a real practice in which the dreamer is aware that they’re dreaming and has some measure of control), this critically praised film will have your head spinning.
4. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino:1994)
Widely considered Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, Pulp Fiction was remarkable for its combination of comedy and graphic violence. (I vividly recall covering my eyes, as I laughed my butt off the first time I saw it.)
It not only received a ton of critical praise but also influenced many movies that came after it. Most impressive of all, it did something that seemed almost impossible: it brought John Travolta’s career back from the dead.
He also has an absolutely iconic dance scene with Uma Thurman. That alone makes it worthwhile.
5. No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen: 2007)
In this neo-western crime thriller, a man stumbles across a load of money and drugs and decides to make off with the goods. The only problem: he’s being pursued by a psycho killer played brilliantly by Javier Bardem.
No Country For Old Men won the Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bardem), Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Obviously, there are plenty of reasons to see this movie. But be warned. Dark, tense and violent, No Country for Old Men is no movie for wussies.
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Peter Jackson: 2003)
In the third installment of this critically acclaimed series, Frodo and Sam travel ever closer to the heart of the evil kingdom Mordor while the rest of the broken fellowship fight desperately to save the kingdom of Gondor.
This beloved movie about seemingly impossible quests accomplished an amazing feat of its own: it won all 11 of the Academy Awards it was nominated for and holds the record for the highest clean sweep at the Oscars.
7. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner: 1980)
Long before Lord of the Rings, the original Star Wars Trilogy pitted good against evil in a fantasy space opera that embedded itself into popular culture.
In The Empire Strikes Back (the 2nd film in the original trilogy), Luke learns the ways of the Jedi from the aging master Yoda while Han, Leia, Chewy and the droids are off on their own misadventures.
Though reviews were mixed at the time, the film was hugely popular and is now widely considered to be the best in the entire series. Guess hindsight about futuristic sci-fi films is 20/20.
8. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola: 1972)
It’s hard to imagine there’s a film buff out there that hasn’t seen what can easily be considered the godfather of all mobster films (not to mention one of the greatest films of all time). But if you exist, see this movie immediately even if you don’t like gangster movies.
This gripping tale of an Italian American crime family follows the transformation of youngest son Michael Corleone as he goes from an innocent outsider to a ruthless head of the family.
Although executives originally wanted Warren Beatty or Robert Redford for the part, Al Pacino was eventually cast and put himself on the Hollywood map forever.
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrik: 1968)
When an alien monolith is found on the moon, astronauts are sent to investigate with the help of a supercomputer named Hal 9000. As it turns out, the supercomputer is also super creepy.
2001 is renowned for its pioneering special effects and its accurate depiction of space flight. Definitely ahead of its time in 1968, the film was a critical success and is still considered one of the greatest movies in film history.
10. The Social Network (David Fincher: 2010)
This biopic stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (who, by the way, was not involved in the project). We follow the programming genius as what starts as a small site created in his dorm room turns into a global phenomenon.
There are lawsuits and controversy along the path to success. But like the film poster says: you don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.
Praised for its acting, direction, editing, screenplay and score, the film picked up a slew of awards. And no matter what your opinion about Zuckerberg is this flick is just downright entertaining.
You might also be interested in: The 9 Greatest Animated Movies for Adults