Making this list was borderline painful. I need to include these honorable mentions:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Back to the Future
  • Blue Valentine
  • Casablanca
  • Gone Girl
  • Kill Bill
  • Moonlight
  • Whiplash 

Okay. With that out of the way, here are my (very tentative) top five films:

5. Silence

Silence

My favorite Scorsese (so far) isn’t Raging Bull or GoodFellas. It’s Silence, his soul-shaking passion project. I’m not religious, but this film really moves me. Scorsese captures gorgeous landscapes, too. Silence is profound; I felt like a different person after seeing this for the first time.

4. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

2049 appeared on Chi-Tsung Chang’s list already, and for good reason. Denis Villenueve’s sequel to the 80’s classic was an absolute joy to see on the big screen. Roger Deakins gave us visuals to die for. Ryan Gosling gives a great performance. The story unfolds before our eyes just wonderfully. The most immersive sci-fi I’ve ever seen. Patient, masterful filmmaking.

3. Vertigo

Vertigo

I saw Vertigo on the big screen with one of my best friends and it was one of the best movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. This is Hitchcock’s best work and probably the greatest mystery movie of all-time. James Stewart and Kim Novak are fantastic alongside one another. This is probably my number one recommendation for movie lovers.

2. The Graduate

The Graduate

I watched The Graduate for the first time during my first year in college, and I don’t think it could have come at a better time. I found reassurance in Ben, our protagonist. There’s comfort in witnessing Ben’s journey and coming to understand that life is just a continuous process of figuring everything out as you go.

1. La La Land

La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s bittersweet concoction had me fully invested from the very first scene, and I never turned back. It’s one of my most-rewatched films, and its magic hasn’t faded a bit for me. The ending is particularly breathtaking; one of my favorite scenes in any movie. It seems only right to place this at number one.

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