1. Pan's Labyrinth
Guillermo Del Toro's 2006 film of a young girl who uses a magical world to escape the horrors of war has held the top spot of my favorite film pretty much ever since I first saw it in theatres. In fact it's the film that I cite as being the film that made me fall in love with film. Everything about this moved me and I became obsessed with it ever since. The magic realism present in the world Del Toro created moved me in ways no movie had before. I knew after seeing Pan's Labyrinth, that making movies is what I wanted to do.
2. The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy
Now I know what you're going to say, "Walker, you can't have three films as your second favorite movie!" and to that I say screw you, I can do what I want. Also It's not like they're three radically different films. If Guillermo Del Toro holds the honor of directing my favorite film, Edgar Wright holds the honor of being my favorite director. He has not made a film that I've disliked. In fact, he hasn't made a film that I haven't loved. But his trilogy dubbed Blood and Ice Cream consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the World's End are what gives him the top honor. Sorry Scott Pilgrim vs the World. What I think Wright excels at so well is the amount of thought, craft, and care he puts into every aspect of his films. Edgar Wright is a director who you can tell truly and unabashedly loves film. The man puts so much detail into every second of his film that you'll notice something new every time. Now I am not afraid to admit that I am a huge sucker for meta filmmaking and I think Edgar Wright nails it. He's able to put so many jokes and references in his films but still allow them to breath on their own. Each film in the B&IC trilogy serves not so much as a genre parody but a love letter to each genre as he lampoons, subverts, and follows every trope present in each. Having seen each film many times I have found it near impossible to choose one over the other two for this spot so I'm letting them share it.
If you couldn't tell by #2 on the list, I'm a sucker for black humor and violence. The Coen Brother's film Fargo heavily delivers on both. Chock full of midwestern charm and horrific acts of violence, Joel and Ethan Coen deliver a story that manages to find heart, laughs, and a person being shoved in a woodchipper. Corny "back of a DVD review" aside, I don't remember when I first saw this movie but I do know that even since I saw it I've been "you betcha" entirely too much. As with Edgar Wright's works, the film had a particular impact on my style of writing.
4. Attack The Block
Before he was Finn in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, John Boyega starred in another movie called Attack the Block. Released in 2011, Attack the Block was director Joe Cornish's film debut, and only film to date. Attack the Block follows a group of south London teens who must fight off an alien invasion. The film explodes with energy from its fantastic cast of mostly unknown actors and its chaotic editing. the film manages to write characters with real depth and make them very likeable despite the first scene involving them mugging a woman. The film works as an interesting look at an alien invasion, going smaller rather than bigger. Smart humor, some original and legitimately scary aliens, and a cast that pops Attack the Block is everything a low budget sci fi film should be.
5. Frances Ha
I've always said that Noah Baumbach writes the best assholes. The Squid and the Whale, While We're Young, and Mistress America prove that. My favorite Baumbach film however, lacks a real asshole character he's known for. What we get in it's place is a slice of life story of a friendship and someone in their mid twenties who doesn't really know what they want to do or where they are going. I think as I enter the age of the main character, I find myself relating to her more and more. There is no major antagonist or darkest moment present in Frances Ha. What we get instead are a series of episodes of someone's life as they step out into the real world. When I first saw Frances Ha I didn't care for it that much but it stuck with me. After each watchthrough I've found myself liking it more and more. It's short, honest, and funny in all the right ways. Frances is clearly a flawed character, but we're drawn to her awkwardness and indecisiveness.
Honorable Mentions (Stuff that's later down the list)
There Will Be Blood
No Country For Old Men
Mad Max: Fury Road