Why do we like the movies we do? Substitute for the word “movies” in that last sentence with music, art, TV shows, books and it's still a pretty good question. And I don't think there's really an imperical answer. Oh, every discipline has its snobs, people who enjoy detailing that they like this movie because of it's pacing or that song because of it's intricate progressions, but the reality is: we like what we like because we like it. It reached us on some visceral level first, and then we decided we liked those other elements of it.
We've all seen a movie and told a friend about it, who went to see it and hated it. We've had a friend gush about a great new movie and have gone to see it ourselves and then wondered about our friend's taste in movies ever-after. Blatant grossness aside, we just like different things and—sometimes--we'll never understand each others' tastes.
41. The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
While all three of the movies in this trilogy are improved in their extended editions, the theatrical version of this one stands up the best. A travelogue through Middle Earth, while getting the hobbit from here to there (which isn't really anywhere, yet), a much larger story is established and characters that are introduced that will drive the story forward in subsequent chapters. I briefly thought about listing The Hobbit as one movie and Lord of the Rings as just one, but decided I do have a preference for them even while enjoying all 6.
I want to go to Hobbitton!!
42. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
A ground-breaking movie that melded cartoons ('toons) and live action people in a way never seen before on the big screen. What a lot of people forget, though, is that amongst all the spectacle and jokes there's actually a finely-crafted murder mystery.
And I still remember my niece Emily (probably 6 or 7 at the time) shouting out, “Look out Eddie!” as the weasels snuck up on the hero.
43. High Noon
It's been rumored that John Wayne turned down the lead in this movie because he didn't like the way the townspeople are portrayed. Maybe the Duke would have done a good job, but can you really picture anyone other than Gary Cooper playing Will Kane? No less than Tom Hanks says this is one of the greatest performances ever because in the last fifteen minutes of the film Coop only utters 7 words yet conveys so much with just his expressions. It's a silent film with sound.
I love the theme song (sung by Tex Ritter) but the downside is that it's running through my head for days after each viewing.
44. Muppet Christmas Carol
There have been many cinematic tellings of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a man who is shown “the true meaning of Christmas” but not only is this one of the most faithful to the actual book, it's also the funniest. OK, so they doubled the number of Marlys, still, it's a pretty close adaptation. Another movie my family quotes from—and not just at Christmas.
“It was the frog's idea.”
45. Star Wars – Attack of the Clones
Some of my fondest memories are of seeing this movie in the theater on opening day with my very young sons. (I have seen 7 of the 8 movies on opening day.) We loved the spectacle and we still do. What really bugs most of the haters of the prequels, I am convinced, is that George made the movie he wanted to make and not the movie they wanted him to make. Fans have taken such ownership of the franchise that they feel personally afronted when things don't go their way.
The battle in the arena is, for me, one of the seminal moments in Star Wars, if not all of cinema.
46. Flash Gordon (1980)
I love that this movie takes itself seriously while clearly being campy and giving the audience a wink now and then. The sets are over the top, the acting harkens back to the old serials, and—of course—there's that music. This movie would be nothing without Queen's music.
“Do you, Ming, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded queen until such time as you grow tired of her?”
47. The Lone Ranger (2012)
Yes, I know a lot of people didn't like this movie … but I also know I'm not alone in liking it. The score is fantastic, the vistas are grand, the action is superbly choreographed and the story is … exactly what the Lone Ranger is supposed to be about. Go back and watch the earlier iterations and see to what great lengths the Lone Ranger has always gone to avoid firing his gun fatally. He has always ridden for justice and not revenge.
And when I drive my car through Cimarron Canyon, NM, I'm taken back to the scenes that were filmed there.
48. Rear Window
My second-favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie (wait for #35 to see my favorite) and a tour de force for Jimmy Stewart. This movie is claustrophobic, voyeuristic and almost action-free (except for a few moments at the end) but Jimmy and Grace Kelly bask in a movie so taut it still makes me sweat.
Kids today (meaning anyone under 45) may be thoroughly confused as to why Jimmy has to keep loading bulbs into his camera.
49. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
It's silly, it was produced on a shoe-string budget, and there are plot holes large enough for a laden swallow to fly through, but it's one of the funniest movies of all time. There's barely a line in it I haven't quoted at some point in my life, and my family quotes it almost as much as I do.
Strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords didn't look like such a bad way of picking a leader when we were looking at Trump vs. Hillary, now did it?
50. Funny Farm
Most people don't even remember this little Chevy Chase gem but it's still one of my favorites. Maybe it's because I identify so closely with Chevy's protrayal of a failed author. Or maybe it's the witty writing set against some of the prettiest scenery on film. Whatever, I pull this one out every couple years and watch it, usually while doing work around the house for some reason.