These are not in any order, nor are they necessarily the greatest movies of all time. Just the ones I enjoy returning to time and again.
(I am leaving out the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Trek movies (though the latest one was surprisingly good), and the Star Wars movies. While I admit there are six of them out there, I insist that Han shot first, Special Edition or not).
So, grab some popcorn, and here we go:
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): I'll admit I want to add Last Crusade as well, because it's THAT good. But Raiders was first, and it's still a lot of fun.
- Freaky Friday (2003): Before Lindsey Lohan became a public train wreck, she did this film with Jamie Lee Curtis. I was amazed when I first saw it - I'd expected to be entertained, and I wound up being moved. I still choke up near the end.
- Die Hard (1988): I agree with Dayton Ward and EW on this one. This is a fun movie to watch. From a writer's perspective, it's a lesson in storytelling. Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman stand out in a good cast.
- A Few Good Men (1992): The courtroom confrontation between Jack Nickleson and Tom Cruise alone is worth the price of admission in this one. Whenever I spot it on TNT, I almost always have to stop what I'm doing to watch it. Even if you don't like Tom Cruise, you should check out this film.
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day: I love time travel stories in general, and this one is amazing. The first one sets up the premise, but in my opinion this sequel surpasses the original and is far and away the best of the series.
- Jurassic Park (1993): Breathtaking in its time, and a fun ride even today. The first look of the dinosaurs was jaw-dropping, and the thrills kept a'coming.
- The Princess Diaries (2001) and The Princess Diaries 2 (2004): Something about these films is so charming and engaging I can watch them over and over again. They led me to Meg Cabot's excellent books (And if you ever get the chance you should listen to her talk about the whole book to movie thing, because it will have you laughing out loud).
- Apollo 13 (1995): Even knowing how it turns out, you are caught up in the suspense of this well made film. Tom Hanks and company do an outstanding job of telling this tale.
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946): The tale of a man who questions his life at a critical moment affirms the value of ordinary people who touch the life of others. We may never know how we affect those around us, and this film reminds us that we do.
- Beauty and the Beast (1991): It was cheated in the Oscars (I don't care what anyone says, it should have won Best Picture that year). Visually gorgeous, its telling of the fairy tale is enchanting.
- Chariots of Fire (1981): And we follow with one that Oscar got right. The story of two runners who participate in the 1924 Olympics is profound. Ben Cross and Ian Charleson portray their characters with depth and complexity. And the music is awesome.
- The Prestige (2006): This is a movie you HAVE to watch more than once - the second time to catch all the clues you missed the first go round. Very different from the book, but excellent - you will be tossed curve ball after curve ball, and kept guessing right to the end.
- 1776 (1972): A delightful musical that takes a humorous look at the founding the the United States. Lots of funny lines, great singing, and while it takes some liberties from the facts it's so much fun you don't care.
- Lilo and Stitch (2002): A funny tale of what a family is and full of laughter. Stitch is a riot. Elvis Presley fans will get a kick out of the music.
- The Emperor's New Groove (2000): The story of a bratty ruler who gets turned into a llama and must rely on the peasant he's threatening to evict from his land. A hysterical buddy movie. And who doesn't love Kronk?
- The Incredibles (2004): So what if there were superheroes and they got sued out of their jobs? This film answers this question with a lot of laughs and some funny takes on some of its components.
- Miss Congeniality (2000): Sandra Bullock stars as a tough FBI gal who must go undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. William Shatner is hysterical as the pageant's MC and the rest of the cast is delightful as well.