14. Before Sunrise (1995)
I know, I know. You’re looking at this poster and you’re either thinking A) This makes perfect sense (if you know me) or B) What the hell is this guy thinking (if you don’t.) The truth is, despite how absolutely shitacular this poster makes “Before Sunrise” look, it really is one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made, as well as one of the best films ever made. Period. No film I have ever seen has been more real than this one. Both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy completely disappear into their characters and become two strangers who meet and fall in love in the span of a day and night. It’s the dream story of every hopeless romantic in the world, because not only do two complete strangers fall madly in love, they do it in the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in all of the world, Vienna. I could go on and on about this film, not only about how great it is, but how it’s influenced my own life. It’s a movie that actually changed me. And that’s why it’s one of the best.
13. The Exorcist (1973)
Long known as “the scariest movie ever”, there’s no other film more deserving of that title. “The Exorcist” is simply terrifying. You can watch it with the lights off, you can watch it with the lights on, alone or with a group, happy or sad, no matter what the situation you find yourself in while watching this movie, you’ll find yourself slowly more and more pulled into the narrative and before you know it, you’ll be shaking in your boots (or warm and comfy slippers, oh yes you will). No one is safe from this movie, and the visceral reaction it draws from 99% of the people who watch it is all the reason I need to put it this high up the list.
12. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
If ever there was a movie that could be classified as a “symphony”, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is it. Stanley Kubrick’s film is more of something you experience than actually watch. You sit there and let the images and sound wash over you, transporting you into a completely different world than the one you currently inhabit. “2001” will never really win anyone over with its story or its characters (though HAL is pretty bad ass) but there is absolutely nothing else like it ever made. You don’t watch this film because it’s entertaining (though it is), you watch it because it’s the closest thing to a work of true art that has ever been committed to celluloid.
11. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
If there was ever a horror movie that I’d want to live in (with the guarantee that I’d survive of course) it’d be George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”. Killing zombies and setting up shop in a mall? How awesome would that be? Really? (I’ll answer that for you, more awesome than the word awesome allows room for.) Top off this interesting premise with some precise and spot on social commentary and truly excellent zombie attacks and you’ve got a classic horror films that trumps even its innovative original film.