To celebrate our site’s wonderful rebirth, Carl decided the writers should re-introduce themselves to the readers, through their top five favorite films of all time.
And it’s a monumental undertaking.
I love a great many movies for many different reasons. Each of them excelled in its own unique way, I could not begin to compare them all. I have a problem ranking the best fives movies released in the same year, let alone of all time! And now I’m going to choose five movies that represent me?
But damn the potential judging glares, I’m going to pick five movies that connect with me on a personal level.
5. Flirting Scholar directed by Lik Chi
Stephen Chow’s movies (pre-CJ) are insanely popular in Taiwan; flip to an Asian movie channel in Taiwan, chances are it is playing a Stephen Chow movie. His movies are hilarious and infinitely quotable. And Flirting Scholar is the most popular of them all. The highest amount of re-runs it received in a single year was approximately 800 times. People quote these movies from decades ago all the time on the internet and in real life conversations. Any historical period Stephen Chow movie gets plenty of airtime over here (Hail the Judge was probably second in popularity). The constant re-runs turned them into part of my family’s Chinese New Year tradition, and I think it’s the same for many others in Taiwan.
4. Columbus directed by Kogonada
I saw this during a flight due to Carl’s recommendation, and the first thing I did when I got to a hotel was to connect my phone to WiFi and buy this movie (there is no physical release, unfortunately). Columbus is a movie about the connection between two souls who were out of their elements. Watching the two main characters exploring their identities with each other was a beautiful and engaging experience. I guess deep down we all desire emotional intimacy.
It is the strongest directorial debut I have ever seen, and I look forward to more of Kogonada’s work.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road directed by George Miller
Like the Glock 17 in Max’s hand, Mad Max: Fury Road is an expertly crafted piece of engineering. It has few parts, and every part serves its purpose. Fury Road did not have a complex story, but George Miller accomplished rich world-building and character development with a minimal amount of lines. It’s accurate and durable. Every element in Fury Road lands where it should, and the masterly choreographed blood-pumping action made it so very re-watchable!
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King directed by Peter Jackson
I remember learning about DVD ripping and file conversion for the first time as a kid just so I could put Extended Editions of LotR movies on my iPod Nano. And I would lie in bed on weekend mornings to watch them. The Fellowship of the Ring may be a more consistent movie overall, but the highs don’t get quite as high as RotK.
The Rohirrim Charge on the Pelennor Fields never gets old.
1. Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve
I am a big fan of the sci-fi genre, and I’ve seen stories about artificial beings across many media. Robot/AI is a well-trodden path, and if these stories couldn’t at least keep pace with the unapologetic Roy Batty from decades ago, they are a waste of time.
But who knew the cult classic Blade Runner would get a true-to-the-original sequel thirty-five years later?
Blade Runner 2049 expanded upon the essence of the original Blade Runner by bringing in even more complex themes. It complimented the original, but at the same time, it has the confidence to be its own thing. I just love everything about Blade Runner 2049: the story, Denis Villeneuve’s ability to mine humanity from a desolate world, the awe-inspiring cinematography from Roger Deakins, the atmosphere-dripping production design, and Ryan Gosling’s stoic presence.
I could not get the contemplative and hauntingly beautiful instant-classic out of my head for months. I had the soundtrack on repeat virtually every day until I received the sweet release of the 4K Blu-ray.