When making something like a thesis film, it's easy to get caught up in all of the bullshit and forget about why you wanted to make the film in the first place and what the film is actually about. That is why, this week, I decided to take a step back and list my top five favorite movies and really think about why I enjoy watching them over and over again and why they give me with such an emotional response.
1) Shaun of the Dead (my favorite movie of all time)
Shaun of the Dead is about two slacker roommates in their late-twenties that struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse that terrorizes their small town in Great Britain. This movie is a comedy/horror. It’s funny because it follows two very unlikely heroes as they try to protect the ones they love from a zombie apocalypse. In a particular scene, the survivors pretend to act like zombies to “fit in” with the undead as they make their way to a safe place. Though this movie has a ridiculous plot with ridiculous characters, it’s filled with many messages. One of the main messages is the message of love and friendship. When everything goes to hell, the main character, Shaun, who never had much responsibility in his life prior to the zombie invasion, must protect his mother, his girlfriend and his best friend. Even through the hardship, Shaun must step up and leave behind his everyday slacker desires to keep everybody safe.
2) Cool Hand Luke
Cool Hand Luke is about a misguided war veteran who is arrested and sent to a prison camp where he refuses to conform to the prison life. This movie is very moving because, as the viewer, you fall in love with the main character, Luke. Luke is a free spirited rebel that inspires hope in the other inmates. The scene where the guards make the inmates pave a dirt road is particularly uplifting because Luke turns it into a game. Normally a physically demanding job, the inmates have fun paving the road as each side races the other side to finish first. Cool Hand Luke explores hardship and adversity but making the best of it. Though the inmates are put to hard work, Luke keeps everybody’s spirits high showing that even through a horrible experience, there is still light.
3) The Producers
The Producers is about a washed up producer who teams up with an accountant to over-sell shares on a Broadway play that’ll surely flop to make a large profit. The play that the producers choose to finance is called Springtime for Hitler. It’s supposed to be extremely pro-Hitler and offensive but the actors in the play turn it into a hilarious mockery that everybody loves. The message in this film is that though the main characters may have had a bullet proof plan to get rich, the plan was illegal, which eventually led them to jail. Though they may have had everything planned out, there were still some aspects that they couldn’t predict which led to their downfall.
4) The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is about the iconic super hero Batman as he struggles to defeat his most prominent villain – the Joker. This movie is a psychological thriller because Batman must deal with the Joker: a villain notorious for his erratic and unpredictable behavior. The scene where Batman is in the interrogation room with the Joker is extremely unnerving because it’s the first time we see Batman lose his temper. Batman is usually calm, collective, and focused but the Joker is able to get into his head and take advantage of him. There are many messages in this movie. The Dark Knight focuses heavily on the grey area of right and wrong. Batman typically overcomes his difficulties in a black and white way, but with the Joker, he needs to go against his moral code in order to defeat him.
5) (500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer is about a young man who falls in love with a girl who doesn’t believe in love. The movie is a romantic comedy. The scene where the Tom, the main character, visits Summer, the girl he falls for, at a party shortly after they broke up is particularly funny because it split screens the harsh “reality” that Tom is undergoing and the uplifting “expectations” that Tom fantasizes about. Though it may be a depressing scene, it is presented in a light and comedic way. (500) Days of Summer explores the messiness of love. The main character falls for this girl that ultimately breaks his heart and he feels like he has lost his soul mate. He’s convinced that there isn’t another girl out there that suits him better. But he eventually learns that it isn’t the end of the world and he can move on and be happy.