Thursday, May 11, 2017

Name A Favorite Movie For Every Year Since You Were Born

Oh, what the heck. I skipped my yearly "fill out a survey" freebie post last fall, and every movie lover on my social media seems to be doing this one. So, below, please find my list of favorite films for every year that I've been alive. I've seen enough films from the eighties now that I could do Top Ten lists all the way back to 1980, so this is good timing anyway.

Note that the challenge specifies "favorite." Not best. Not top. Not most worthwhile. Just favorite. So here we go.

1980 - The Shining
1981 - Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982 - Poltergeist
1983 - Return of the Jedi
1984 - Amadeus
1985 - Return to Oz
1986 - The Fly
1987 - The Princess Bride
1988 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
1989 - Kiki's Delivery Service
1990 - Edward Scissorhands
1991 - The Silence of the Lambs
1992 - Death Becomes Her
1993 - Groundhog Day
1994 - The Shawshank Redemption
1995 - Seven
1996 - The Birdcage
1997 - Princess Mononoke
1998 - Pleasantville
1999 - The Matrix
2000 - American Psycho
2001 - Spirited Away
2002 - Punch Drunk Love
2003 - Kill Bill Vol: 1
2004 - Shaun of the Dead
2005 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2006 - Children of Men
2007 - Hot Fuzz
2008 - Synecdoche New York
2009 - District 9
2010 - Inception
2011 - Midnight in Paris
2012 - Cabin in the Woods
2013 - The Wolf of Wall Street
2014 - Gone Girl
2015 - The Martian
2016 - Manchester by the Sea

So, as you can see, I'm a populist genre-loving gal at heart. Lots of science-fiction, fantasy, action, and animated films. Lots of happy endings, pretty colors, and fuzzy, feel-good stories. And the farther back in time I go, the more my childhood nostalgia takes over. There's nothing listed before 1997 that I didn't watch a dozen times on basic cable as a youngster. I might appreciate the hell out of "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men," but at the end of the day I'd much rather watch Edgar Wright spoof action movie conventions with "Hot Fuzz." And I love the Coen brothers to death, but I'd still rather watch "The Birdcage" than "Fargo."

This was a lot harder than I thought, because I'm so used to evaluating movies based on artistic merit instead of pure entertainment value. There were still a couple of cases like "Synecdoche, New York" and "Manchester by the Sea" where I wound up picking the films that had the greatest amount of personal impact on me from that year because nothing else that I'd seen was memorable on the same level. There are a few entries like "The Shining" and "Children of Men" that I would legitimately call the best movies made from that year. Or there's "American Psycho," which came out in a year with a lot of great films, but few that I really have much interest in watching again. "Favorite," to me, means a movie that you'd actually want to watch over and over again, instead of maybe once every couple of years.

A lot of my favorites also aren't on this list because many of them came out in the same years. So
"Spirited Away" won out over "Amelie," and "Amadeus" won out over "The Company of Wolves." There aren't nearly as many Disney films as I expected there would be, and somehow only one Steven Spielberg film (well, maybe two with "Poltergeist.") 1992 was the hardest year to pick something for, because most of the movies I remember from that year are mediocre kids' films. It came down to "Death Becomes Her" or "My Cousin Vinny," and "Death Becomes Her" won out because I just adore the unrepentant bitchery of Goldie and Meryl.

I'm also less sure about the most recent entries on the list. In my experience, it takes a couple of years and multiple viewings for some films to emerge as perennials. I don't know if "Manchester by the Sea" is really going to stick with me in the long run, or if I'll find myself getting more attached to something like "The Witch" or "Zootopia."

Well, I'm off to read some other critics' Favorites lists and compare notes. This was fun, and I should definitely check in on this aspect of my movie geekery more often in the future.


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