The New Classics

The New Classics

Movies have and will always be a huge part of my life.  A huge part of who I am.  My love of movies led to a deep passion for screenwriting.  I spent some time as an independent filmmaker.  My movie obsession can even be credited with my eventual career as a professional editor.

But it all started on rainy weekends when I was younger renting movies from Popcorn Video in my small town.  I used to rent a movie I definitely wanted to see and then close my eyes and point at something random.  There wasn’t a genre I didn’t enjoy.

That adventurous spirit can be attributed to my dad.  He wasn’t ‘obsessed’ with movies but he still watched hundreds with me growing up.  Through him, I learned to trust in a story and not to judge a film based on ‘boring’ black and white aesthetics or an aging cowboy on the case.  He would simply ask me to give something a chance and his recommendations never missed.

My dad showed me why old school musicals are so special.  To this day, I still catch myself humming songs from The Music Man.  I often quote lines from John Wayne movies and keep quiet to see if anyone picks up on the reference.

‘I don’t feel like watching that movie’ wasn’t a part of my vocabulary because I understood that ANY movie could become a lifelong favorite.  In a way, the love of a good movie is a lot like finding love in the real world.  You could walk past the love of your life and never say a word.  Or you could give it a shot and experience something exciting and new.

As the years passed, I began recommending movies to my Dad.  The highest recommendation being the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Guarantee.  If I slapped that label on a film, my Dad would sit down and watch the movie.  No questions asked.  There is trust between us.

A while back, I asked my Dad to list his ten favorite movies of all time.  I’ve been a movie blogger for nearly 10 years in one form or another and I’ve never tackled my Dad’s true top 10.  And so I’ve begun watching the films I missed on his list.

The Wizard of Oz

Friendly persuasion

To kill a mocking bird

How Green was My Valley

Gone with the wind

The Music Man

The Quiet man


The Sand Pebbles

The Hustler

Truthfully, the whole process got me thinking about my daughter.  She turned three this year and every Saturday, I show her a new cartoon.  It’s my way of showing how to appreciate a good story.  During the winter, we get up when it’s still dark, eat cereal on the couch surrounded by blankets and watch movies.  It’s my favorite part of the week.

What will I show her when she’s older?  (In some cases, a LOT older) I want to make sure I earn her trust when it comes to movie recommendations.  They can’t just be MY favorites.  They have to be movies we can love together.

My Dad was very selective with his recommendations.  I’ve never seen many films on his top 10.  He recommended the movies he knew I would like if I gave them a chance.  There’s a subtle art to recommending movies to your friends.

And so I began compiling a list of the NEW classics.  Movies I absolutely adore.  Sure she will still get exposure to the Westerns of old in time and maybe even experience some of my Dad’s favorites.  But what about the classics of my generation?

What follows are the 10 films I consider to be amongmy favorites.  My personal cinematic hall of fame.  Not necessarily ‘daughter picks’ but a list of my classics.  (To clarify, there are several OBVIOUS and violent films on this list I wouldn’t show her for a long time.)  Not my absolute top 10 all time.  There are quite a few superhero movies that would make that list.  Just simply a list of 10 films that I’ll never forget. A new generation of favorites.  Classics I’ll never forget.

For reference, I was born in 1983.

10. Twister/Jurassic Park/Speed

I couldn’t decide so I cheated.  It’s my list.  I love all these movies!

9. Pulp Fiction

A film that literally changed everything I knew about structuring a story.  Pulp Fiction was all about breaking the laws of filmmaking and it still inspires me to this day.

8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Insert VHS tape.  Rewind. (Who really rewound tapes back then?) Watch Roger Rabbit.  Rewind.  Watch Roger Rabbit again.  To this day, this is the only film I’ve watched back to back without a break on multiple occasions.

7. The Shawshank Redemption

An absolute legendary film with a legendary ending.  Even with a title that spoils it.  Finding out HOW Andy Dufresne escapes Shawshank is what makes the film so compelling.

6. Gladiator

A true classic that still holds up in every way.

XTRA | Sometimes, I Feel Like Watching Gladiator Three Times In One Week

5. Crimson Tide

Still one of the most intense films I’ve ever seen.

4. Forrest Gump

It’s really hard to describe the emotions Forrest Gump allows you to experience.  That’s the genius of Robert Zemekis’ grand adaptation highlighted by one of Tom Hanks’ greatest performances.

3. Goodfellas


2. Good Will Hunting

Today, every film is released accompanied by 76 trailers, TV spots, posters and more.  All easily accessible on YouTube.  That wasn’t the case years ago.  I had absolutely no idea what Good Will Hunting was about.  Watching it today reminds me of how amazing it is to experience a movie with zero expectations.

1. A Few Good Men

In my opinion, A Few Good Men is one of the finest screenplays ever written.  I love every nuanced moment in this film.

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