I am not a movie critic, nor do I want to be or claim to be, but I have always known what I like.
This list is a curated collection of movies that meant something to me or changed me. It doesn't have to be a monumental change or an EPIC movie, just movies that were important in my life and in the shaping of me as a human. It was my goal in writing this that once you reached the end of the post, you'd be like, "Yeah all of those choices make sense for her" so without further ado, here are 20 of my favorite films, in chronological order.
“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way to the castle beyond the goblin city to take back the child you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me!”
This spoke to me on a spiritual level. I saw it around age 3 or 4? So a lot of the dialogue went over my head, but I fell in love with the characters and the strong female lead. This was also one of the first fantasy style films + musical + creepy cool things that I had seen and it definitely left a mark.
“You are an animal! AWOOOOOOO”
Somewhere, there is a video of 3 year old me quoting this movie word for word. Nevermind the fact that this movie flirts with beastialty in a very weird way, I loved this movie for some reason. Boof was my favorite character, her boring brown hair and bangs spoke to my tiny heart. A classic.
“Dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the earth.”
The film that started it all for me. I was 5 or 6 when I watched this in my living room, ducking behind the recliner any time the t-rex or raptors were in frame. Good grief, this movie was a thrill and my love for dinosaurs (and Jeff Goldblum) only grew from there.
Stacy: Happy anniversary, Wayne.
Wayne Campbell: Stacy, we broke up two months ago.
Stacy: Well that doesn't mean we can't still go out.
Wayne Campbell: Well it does, actually. That's what breaking up is.
One of the best Mike Myers movies to ever exist, my uncle first let me watch this around age 8-9 and I watched it so much after that the VHS broke. I love this movie so much, it made me love hair bands, goofy humor, chuck taylors and Rob Lowe. Rob Lowe forever. It
Hillary - “Aren’t you afraid you got him by default?”
CiCi - ”Maybe I am, but at least I belong to myself, which is more than I can say for you.”
Good grief this movie brings me to my knees and my feet at the same time. It is a story of friendship through the years and all the stresses of life that come along with growing up. Distance, fame, envy, grief, love, babies, husbands. It made me want a best friend just like this. It will make you cry.
“I am a princess, all girls are!”
This movie gave me a lot. Sara was incredible, smart, pretty with a daddy who loved her, even though he had to leave her in a girl’s home while he went off to war. The girls in the home loved her and clung to her as a beacon of hope for them all, her father loved her, she was a light wherever she went. I wanted to be like Sara, and I still do.
“If you scream once more, I'll smother you with a pillow.”
I own the book, I have seen the films, but this weird Hallmark version was my favorite. The lead reminded me of myself in look and attitude- after losing her family and moving to a scary manor with distant, frigid relatives, Mary is bored and grieving. She somehow stumbles across the garden and tends to it with new friends and it just…I loved it. My life goal is to have a secret garden of my own.
“You’re a pretty little square.”
This movie single handedly planted the “bad boy” seed into my heart. Johnny Depp (crybaby) was everything. He dressed well, he drove a cool car, he sang, he danced, he played guitar, and he wasn’t afraid of his feelings. DREAMBOAT. and he liked Allison, a cute but boring, straight laced chick with an overbearing grandmother. When she licked the tears from his face, I lost my shit. I still do. I’ve been weird ever since.
“That's cool baby, you know how it is, rockin' and rollin' and what not.”
Once the bad boy thing started, there was no slowing it after I saw Grease. Danny Zuko and Kenicki made my heart drop to my toes. Men who can dance, I swear, it is like a siren’s call. I didn’t like that she completely changed at the end…but I like to think that maybe it was less of a “let me change everything for you” and more of a “hey, relationships are about compromise, so let’s start.” It is just the feminist in me.
“Why don’t you have me arrested? I mean it. I am a dangerous criminal person. I do bad things to honest people.”
The first Julia Roberts film but not the list. I loved everything about this movie, from her 90’s business casual style to her psychotic frantic plotting to her “I am one of the guys” attitude. The high speed chase scene with her in the stolen bread van, screaming into the phone still makes me laugh. Her character is selfish, conniving, underhanded, but throughout it all, endearing.
My mom never let me watch scary movies, so I didn’t see my first one until I was 14, and that movie was Scream. I sat on the floor with my back against the wall (so no one could sneak up and murder me) and oh my god, I hated and loved it so much. Since I lived out in the middle of nowhere and was frequently left home alone, this movie terrified me. The thought of a masked murderer lurking in the shadows and taunting me on the phone, rendering me helpless and trapped. I still cant watch this movie alone.
“You’re a wizard, Harry!”
I feel like this is on everyone’s list, but it means more to me because I almost missed out.
One day, my dear friend Bruce handed me a copy of HP and told me I should read it because it was amazing. I flipped it open and saw words like “muggle” and “hogwarts” and I was like, “nah man, I’m good” and I never read it. Two years later, my friend Kim and I were at the mall with her parents and we decided to see a movie. Well, the only kid-friendly movie in the theater was the first HP. I went in thinking I’d probably fall asleep, and I left that theater a changed person. Though this isn’t my favorite of the franchise, it is the one who started it all.
“Joely? What if you stayed this time?”
I was folding laundry in my bedroom one night and my ex boyfriend called to tell me, “You have to watch this movie, the girl reminds me of you.” I watched it three times in a row. I’m still not too sure if he meant this as a compliment or an insult, but I am happy to have seen so much of myself in Clementine. She was fiery, quick to anger, selfish, impulsive and said horrible things when she was upset…she was also fun, outgoing, spontaneous, passionate and sweet. Loving her helped me love me a little bit more too.
Charlie Stewart: My parents say my future is right on the horizon.
Connie Baker: Tell them the horizon is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it.
Art, sisterhood, love, life… Julia Roberts makes the list again in this beautiful film about going your own way and leaving your mark. All the women in this film are brave, funny, smart and likeable and they learn and grow together and then separately. It made me want to be smarter and stronger and kinder.
I'm tired of everything else, for that matter. But I don't ever seem to get tired of you.
A gritty, grimy love story with humor, good music, top 5 lists thrown in. Rob is me and I is Rob, or at least I was at the time. Aimless, motivationless, in love with falling in love, in love with the fantasy tied to love, weird friends, and navigating heartbreak and figuring out what he wants out of life. I don’t know, he resonated, and I love John Cusack and how he plays passionate roles. I like it when men aren’t afraid to emote.
“creating chaos and uproar wherever she went. Divorced as many times as she married, she leaves only good wishes behind.”
Ok, Ok, every girl in the scene wanted to be Edie Sedgwick for a brief period, but when this movie came out I wanted to be Sienna Miller being Edie Sedgwick. I chopped off my hair not too long after binging this for days. She was just so sad and chic and I was into it.
“I saw remarkable things but the only mystery I never solved was... why my heart couldn't let go of you.”
Yet another film that played into my romantic ways. I also have a weird crush on Edward Norton, so that helped fuel my interest in this film. He is hot, she is hot, they manage to fall in love, stay in love through a lot of shit, and then disappear together to be in love forever. There is no deeper meaning here, I just loved the movie and I wanted someone to love me in such a way. I am disgusting lol
“Have the courage to fail big and stick around, and make them wonder why you’re still smiling.”
Don’t even get me fucking started on how badly I want to be Kirsten Dunst’s character. I bought a red hat for crying out loud. She and who she was for Orlando Bloom quite literally saved him, gave him something to smile about and a reason to stick around. I was enamoured with her, and him, and them, and omg this movie was cute and funny.
“The rain on my car is a baptism, the new me, Ice Man, Power Lloyd, my assault on the world begins now.”
John Cusack again, John Cusack forever. He really just nails these roles where he is over the moon for someone, in his feels and narrating it the entire time. I respond to it. I loved this film, it felt real, it felt plausible. When Sheila asked Diane how Lloyd got her to go out with him and she just smiled and said, “he made me laugh” it was so simple and sincere. I love this movie so much.
“There's a lot of attitudes going on around here... don't let me get one.”
I watched this with a friend at their suggestion and we all know I don’t really do that often, but I love this movie. The soundtrack is good and fun, the jokes are well timed and delivered, the foxes are precious and fun. I love it and Ash is my favorite character, naturally. You cussing at me?
“I’m afraid of being afraid.”
This movie came into my life at a time that it needed to, sometimes things just happen like that. I have a huge girl crush on Michelle Williams (every so often when she chops her hair off, I do the same) I love her as just a human existing in the world and her character Margot made so much sense to me at a time that I felt like nothing else did. This movie was cute, beautifully shot, sexy and fun but heavy with just…life. Lovely film and story.
“That’s the point about beliefs, they don’t change the facts. Facts, if you’re rational, should change your beliefs.”
This is a documentary about atheism and free thinking. As an atheist myself, I enjoy this movie for obvious reasons. I plan to discuss my atheism more and more but as of now, I will just say that while I love being an atheist and feel more free and important without religion than I ever did with it, sometimes it can be hard just because you feel so alone in it- especially in the bible belt. So on particularly weird days, I like to work as this movie plays in the background. It is a nice reminder that there is no shame in being logical and it helps me feel braver in my own ways of thinking.
“If people only spoke when they had something to say, the human race would soon lose the power of speech.”
Hey Edward Norton, nice to see you again. I saw this movie a couple years ago for the first time, and it quickly made the list. I loved it, a story about marriage of convenience, infidelity, cholera, feeling trapped, falling in love, GAH it was just epicly intense and good. It is a good rainy day movie to watch under a blanket by yourself. It spoke to me.
“Your battle is my battle, we fight together.”
These days, I don’t really watch movies. I don’t know what happened, I just can’t sit still and I don’t want to. My mind needs to stay busy so I usually just put a podcast on in the background WHILE I am doing 20 other things. This movie though, it was the first one I got into in a while. I was forced to watch it and I loved it. A story about love, loss and perservering through it all (and boxing, good lord yes) I loved Rachel and Jake’s chemisty, the story was loveable and endearing. I enjoyed it. In a few more years, maybe I will have a new movie to add to the list.