There are so many ways that we can judge what makes a movie "great": the acting, the direction, the script, the importance or significance of the movie, how many awards it's won . . .
My personal definition of a great movie is one that I love to watch over and over again without getting tired of. Therefore, this list of my favourite movies is not meant to represent anyone but myself. You can agree or disagree. Here are my favourites, along with a little bit about why I love them so much. Also note that this list is continually evolving. So here they are, in no particular order:
If one movie has defined the nineties, I'd have to say it's Clueless. Sure, it's cheesy, and the outfits are only slightly more atrocious than the acting. But that's the point! I can watch this again and again . . . in fact, I have. In terms of its importance or cultural impact, just think: without this movie, nobody would say "Whatever". Not only that, but making comparisons to Clueless was the only thing that motivated me to get through Emma without falling asleep.
Dead Poets Society
The original movie about how a teacher can inspire students, it's been copied dozens of time and never quite as well. Robin Williams is at his best in this classic about how poetry can convince a group of students to live their lives according to "carpe diem". The only thing better than the acting in this movie is the message.
I could tell as soon as I saw Almost Famous that it's one of those rare movies that really borders on greatness. I know almost the entire thing by heart and still love it as much as when I first saw it. For more details about it you can read my review. Suffice to say that it's brilliantly written, intelligently acted, and has all my favourite elements: rock and roll, moral dilemmas, and tons of heart.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a mush. I freely admit that I'm a sucker for cheesy movies. This one's got some of the most beautiful scenery, sets, and costumes of any movie made this century. Oh, and Drew Barrymore's acting isn't half bad either. Ever After has that fairytale magic that makes it one of those movies that I could never watch enough.
This is the movie that inspired a huge portion of the adolescent population to apply for a job working at a record store. One of the funniest, craziest movies ever with a great soundtrack, Empire Records achieved cult status and with good reason.
The Wedding Singer
Adam Sandler is hysterical in the ultimate make-fun-of-the 80's movie of all-time. This one's got a winning soundtrack, some great lines, and, like my other favourite movies, it can be watched over and over and over again.
Enemy of the State
For anyone who was thinking that my entire list is only of mushy movies, Enemy of the State is great edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Sure, it's plagued by being based on a conspiracy theory. But it's got great lines, a great pace, and Will Smith. Need I say more?
It's got a great soundtrack which is the first point in its favour. Anyone notice a pattern here? Aside from that, it's at times funny, at times depressing, but it's a brutally honest look at the confusion that I am currently facing now that Iíve graduated from university and am forced to go out into the real world and *gasp!* get a job. Maybe I just like this movie because itís my worst nightmare come true. Whatever the case, Winona Ryder is in her element in this one.
10 Things I Hate About You
I'd be hard-pressed to justify liking what is essentially a blatant teen movie, but, well, I can't help it. I love this movie! It's got some great character acting, namely by the father, and it's funny to boot. Besides, who can resist a school where a band performs on the roof? And to think it's based on Shakespeare!
It's a look at the frustration of being stuck in a cubicle, working for a nightmare boss, and trying to survive the rat race. Irreverant and funny, I think anyone contemplating a career as either an employee or a manager should see it. Also has a great scene with a fax machine.