Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Picks

Today I am taking part in Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Blogfest (hence the very creative and clever title) where participants are asked to list their top ten movies (hence the blogfest's very clever title).

This seems like a very easy blogfest (click on the logo to the left for a complete list of participants), but the real trouble comes from having to narrow down your favorite movies to just ten titles. I solved part of this problem by posting lots of my favorite movies all last week, but really all that did for me was leave me with a list of new movies to watch (Mystery Men, Time Bandits and more!). Not that this is a bad problem to have. It's just a time consuming one.

Anyway, I'm delaying. So here it is, after hours upon hours of careful deliberation, my current top ten favorite movies of all time...

(All movie images come from imdb.com)

10. The Avengers (2012, written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn. Directed by Joss Whedon)

I know I just raved about this movie last Thursday but the truth remains that this is one of my favorite movies, and I will watch it constantly (much to the delight of my significant other) so, for now, it gets a spot on the list. I don't want to rehash my favorites moments (but if you look at my last post, you can read them) so here are a couple more...

Steve Rogers: Are you nuts?
Tony Stark: Jury's out.

Bruce Banner: Captain America is on the threat watch?
Natasha Romanoff: We all are.
Tony Stark: [to Steve Rogers] You're on that list? Are you above or below angry bees?

9. Stranger Than Fiction (2006, written by Zach Helm and directed by Marc Forster)

This is one of the two Will Farrell movies I actually like (Elf is the other) and the only one I built a lesson plan around so I could show it  in my classroom.

It's the story of an IRS auditor named Harold Crick (Will Farrell) who suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear as he's the main character of a novel being written by Kay Eiffel, an author (Emma Thompson) known for killing her main characters. Queen Latifah is Penny, Kay's assistant. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the object of Harold's affection and Dustin Hoffman plays the literature professor who attempts to help Harold figure out which story he's in.

Some favorite lines:

Penny: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay: No. They came pre-smoked.

Professor: Little did he know. That means there's something he doesn't know, which means there's something you don't know. Did you know that?

Kay: Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, written by the Monty Python Guys. Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones)


King Arthur and the knights of the round table go on a quest to find the holy grail. Hilarity ensues. This is another movie for which I created a lesson plan because I really wanted to show it to my students. It was a good lesson plan, too, I swear. It's hard to pick a favorite scene but I think I have to go with Arthur's encounter with the Black Knight (Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!)

Some favorite lines:

Black knight: It's only a flesh wound!

French soldier: Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

Arthur: What are you going to do? Bleed on me?

7. Dead Poets Society (1989, written by Tom Schulman and directed by Peter Weir)

This movie is about an English teacher (Robin Williams) who inspires his students to love literature, think for themselves and challenge society. It all goes horribly wrong, of course, but it's a beautiful film that makes me cry every damn time. And yeah, I liked showing this one in school too. (Please note that there were days in which I did not show movies in my classroom) My absolute favorite scene in this film is at the end... it's the O Captain My Captain! part where Ethan Hawke and a bunch of the other boys stand on their desks. Awe. Some.



6. The Princess Bride
(1987, written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner)

Early on last week, I talked about my favorite 80's fantasy films and this particular title was conspicuously absent from that list. This is the reason why. Even though it's a kissing story (or maybe because of it...), this movie has been on my top ten list ever since I first saw it. If the other 80's fantasy films didn't already make me love the fantasy genre, this one would've done it on its own. The entire damn movie is awesome and quotable, and I love to reference it.

And though I firmly believe there is no bad part of this movie, some of the best of the best are... the rhyming scene (would anybody like a peanut?) on the boat. At night. In eel-infested waters. Inigo and Westley's sword fight, and the visit to Miracle Max.

Miracle Max: Have fun storming the castle!
Valerie: Think it'll work?
Miracle Max: It'll take a miracle.

5. Amadeus (1984, written by Peter Shaffer, directed by Milos Forman)

This movie chronicles the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as seen through the eyes of his jealous rival, court composer Salierai. It's pretty damn amazing and takes my breath away every time I watch it. My favorite scene takes place at the end when Salerai helps a dying Mozart write the La Crimosa. I don't know if you've seen this movie or know of this particular song, but this scene is a perfect example of how music can take a story to a completely new level. My favorite line would probably be anytime Tom Hulce (who played Mozart) giggles and/or laughs. If you've seen this movie, you know what I'm talking about.

4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003, written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens (based on Tolkien's works) and directed by Peter Jackson))

Yeah, I know. I'm totally cheating by including all three of these films into one spot on this list, but it's damn near impossible to watch one without watching the other two, so I'm counting them as one. My favorite scene is probably in Return of the King, at the end where everyone's in Gondor watching Aragorn be crowned and he tells the hobbits "My friends, you bow to no one."  But I also love Pippin at the secret council meeting in the first movie when he asks "Where are we going?"

3. Shakespeare In Love (1998, written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, directed by John Madden)

William Shakespeare meets his muse and writes Romeo and Juliet (in which the first draft was called "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter) Delightfully witty and did I mention it stars a very swoon-worthy Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare?

Favorite scene: There's a scene where an inspired Will writes pages and pages and pages and, as a writer, I love it quite a lot, but I'm going to go with the moment he convinced Ned Allyn to perform the part of Mercutio by telling him that the play is titled "Mercutio."

Favorite line:

Henslow: No, no we haven't the time. Talk prose.

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the short story by Stephen King)

A story about two imprisoned men and the bond they form. And a pretty awesome jail break. Just really gorgeous storytelling from beginning to end. My favorite scene is when Red plays the harmonica given to him by Andy. The symbolism that can be found in that snippet of a scene just makes my head explode with happiness.

Favorite line(s):

Red: I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

1. Serenity (2005, written and directed by Joss Whedon)

C'mon. Did you really think the Big Damn Movie wouldn't be my #1?

Some favorite lines:

Mal: I aim to misbehave.

Jayne: Shiny. Let's be bad guys.

Zoe: At last we can retire and give up this life of crime.

And last, but not least, here's my favorite scene...




Thanks to everyone who made it through my entire list. I tried to keep it short; I really did. And a big shout out to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting today's blogfest and giving me a reason to drone on about my favorite movies. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's picks!


115 comments:

  1. I had Princess Bride and LOTR on my list as well. I went with movies I watch over and over for comfort or a laugh or to work out aggression. I LOVE your list though and thoroughly enjoy each one of these movies, too.

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    1. The Avengers and Serenity are my current go-to comfort films. Something about kicking ass that never fails to make me feel better. =)

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  2. Hrm... Darn! I forgot about Holy Grail! Well, at this point, I actually prefer to just be around while someone else is watching it. That way, I can hear it without actually having to sit down and watch it. So... I guess it's okay it's not on my list.
    "We are all individuals!"

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    1. I'm probably very annoying to be around (you know, just in general) when Holy Grail is on because I can't help but recite lines and sing along and other things. I did manage to contain myself a little better when I showed it in the classroom, but not by much.

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  3. That reminds me, I must get a copy of Stranger Than Fiction and watch it again ...

    Great picks. Though I'm not in the blogfest, LotR, The Avengers and The Princess Bride shall always be on my top list. I loved that rhyming scene. ^_^

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    1. I feel like I need to spend the next month watching all the movies I've been reading about today. This does not bode well for my edits.

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  4. I love Serenity! It's been so long since I've seen it I may have to dig it out now. Great list.

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    1. It makes me very happy to see Serenity show up on so many lists today. Browncoats unite!

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  5. I picked Shawshank as well, but didn't think about Dead Poets Society until I was done. That is one great movie. As a former teacher, I loved the ending.

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  6. Good choice on Python :) I had The Avengers on my list too :) I completely forgot about Serenity though; damn! Great list :)

    Jamie

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    1. I've had several "I can't believe I forgot..." moments and I haven't even gotten to all the posts yet.

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  7. All I can say is, when can I sit in on your class?

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    1. Unfortunately, I don't teach anymore. But if you're just hanging around within earshot of me, chances are you'll... well, probably dismiss me as a crazy person and walk quickly in another direction.

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    2. Sorry, I'm new here. But geesh, what those kids are missing out on!

      'Cause really, such a great list. Haven't seen Avengers, but I love the scene in Stranger Than Fiction when he brings her a bouquet of flours, loved that most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rabbit in The Holy Grail, loved Dead Poets so much I read the book, read Shawshank before I saw the movie and then read it again and watched it again, loved giddy Amadeus and how stunning it is at the end, and of course I adored Shakespeare in Love.

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    3. Oh, the flours scene is awesome. I have to go watch that scene right now! And the part in Holy Grail with the rabbit (what? behind the rabbit? No, it is the rabbit!)

      The end of Amadeus is such a gut punch and I love it.

      And then Shakespeare in Love just makes me swoon.

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  8. Yay for Shawshank and The Avengers! Stranger Than Fiction was one of the most original and touching films I've ever seen.

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    1. Harold Crick lived. That line/scene gives me chills. The good kind.

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  9. Serenity! That's turned up on so many lists this morning. The Princess Bride just missed my top ten. And who can't recite Monty Python line for line?
    Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

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    1. Seeing Serenity on so many lists today has made me so happy.

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  10. You have some real classics here! Avengers is leading the way as rue most popular movie. Great show and one I wish I would have thought of.

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    1. Just as I love seeing Serenity on so many lists, I'm thrilled that The Avengers has had a very healthy showing.

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  11. i am all up on your list... well played! well played!

    Jeremy [Retro-Z]
    Howlin' Wolf

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  12. I see Serenity on so many lists. Why did I forget that?

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  13. I adore Princess Bride, of course (the book and the film). Sooooo many great quotes...Amadeus too!

    "I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." :-D

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    1. I think I could devote an entire week of posts to my favorite quotes from The Princess Bride.

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  14. So far almost every list has turned up a movie that has me groaning because I should've but it on my list (of at least 50 by now). On yours it was Shakespeare in Loooooove.

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  15. This blogfest is reminding me of all the movies I forgot about! Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Dead Poets Society. Excellent. I'm not a Will Farrell fan, but Stranger Than Fiction was definitely a good one.

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    1. I usually have to follow Alex's blogfests with a post called "The Ones I Can't Believe I Forgot"

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  16. I love Stranger than Fiction too! If It wasn't for the little info-dump at the end of the movie that would have made my top-ten as well!

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  17. I didn't even think of any of the Monty Python's and I love those guys. Great list. This was rally hard to narrow down.

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    1. There are just too many great movies out in the world. =)

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  18. I love that you have Shakespeare in Love on your list too!! I just watched it again a month ago and was still in love with it. And I should have put The Avengers on my list. I've only seen it once though -- a crime, I know!! -- so it didn't fit with the criteria I used. Great list. :)

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    1. I've only watched it like...once a week since it came out. On Blu-ray.

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  19. I seen every movie on your list--some good ones here. I'm glad to see Amadeus on someone's list.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. I saw Amadeus on another list today too. I was thrilled to see it there.

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  20. Shawshank Redemption was on my list, as well as several others. So interesting, isn't it?
    Karen

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  21. Seen them all too and enjoyed most at my zoo, Shawshank Redemption is on many a list, as well it should be.

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    1. I have seen that movie a lot today. It's been nice to see it so appreciated.

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  22. Lots of great picks there. While I don't care for it, Shawshank Redemption is one of my dad's favorite films.

    Spot on with The Avengers and the Princess Bride, though :)

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    1. Well, so long as you like The Avengers and the Princess Bride. =)

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  23. I LOVE Tony Stark/Ironman. He's one of my faves in the superhero department!

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    1. A sarcastic superhero is stops every time where I'm concerned. =)

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  24. I like seeing that some on my list made other lists too. Shawshank never dawned on me though. Best and worst part of Serenity was Wash's last moments. "I'm a leaf on the wind."

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    1. I agree with you on Wash's last moment. I love it because it's brilliant, but it breaks my heart every damn time.

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  25. Stranger than Fiction has a great part at the end.

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  26. Haha, about half our lists are the same, and the other half could have easily been on mine if I could had listed a few more favorites. Ugh.

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  27. You know I recently watched Serenity for the first time a few months ago. Obviously, I've been living under a big rock. Anyway, that clip makes me want to see the movie all over again.

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    1. I practically have weekly Serenity showings at my house. It's possible I need a life.

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  28. I've seen tons of people say they love the Princess Bride, close friends even, and I have still to watch it. I may have to put it on my watch list.

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  29. Not only have I seen all of these, but I love them all. Totally agree with your list here. :)

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  30. I really want to watch Dead Poets now. Nice list!

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    1. I think I'm going to have to spend the next month watching and re-watching movies that were mentioned in this blogfest.

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  31. I still haven't seen Stranger Than Fiction (I know, I know). The problem is, I was at a party and someone blabbed the ending RIGHT after I asked him not to because I wanted to see it. So, I'm still kind of mad about that.

    It's been a few years. Maybe it's time to watch it. I almost can't remember what he said happened anyway! :)

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    1. As soon as you can't remember what he said happened, you should definitely watch it. =)

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  32. Top 10 lists are so hard. I won't do one because I'm so sure I'll forget way too many.

    The only one on your list I haven't seen is The Avengers. As soon as it comes on cable...

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    1. That's why I cheat a lot and do a "top ten things I forgot before" the day after.

      But I'm actually feeling pretty good about this list so I probably won't have to do that.

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  33. Monty Python. Ah. I love those movies. You have one of the best lists I've seen today. :)

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  34. I liked Stranger than Fiction, too, and feel the same way about Will Ferrell. And Amadeus, which inspired me to get the music. Mozart's Requiem remains my favorite classical piece.

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  35. Dead Poet's, Shawshank, Shakespeare, and Amadeus...all fantastic flicks. Especially Amadeus!

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  36. Aw, Dead Poet's Society, Monty Python, two movies I forgot (amongst probably hundreds of others). Great choices! I can't believe that, as a writer, I haven't seen Stranger Than Fiction. Then again, I'm no Ferrell fan, either, so that's probably why. I also haven't seen Amadeus, but have meant to for a looooong time. And what writer doesn't like Firefly and Serenity, eh?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. It took me a while to watch Stranger Than Fiction because of Will Farrell, but once I did, I was hooked.

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  37. It will take a long time til someone creates something as magical as LOTR....The Hobbit does not rise to the challenge :).

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    1. I agree with you. My significant other's co-worker does not. =)

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  38. You have high-quality taste, MJ. I like your list. I never saw Amadeus, but now I want to. My favorite line from Holy Grail is "Here are the 15...oops/er 10 commandments."

    xoRobyn

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    1. Amadeus is a very powerful movie. I can still remember the first time I saw it. I was in high school and was just blown away by it. Amazing stuff.

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  39. A lot of really great films on this list. I agree that The Princess Bride is a highly quotable film, though my brother got me in trouble with that as a kid. He taught me to go up to my mom and say, "I want my father back you sonofabitch!" That didn't go over so well.

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  40. I am a leaf upon the wind...
    LOVE Serenity - so many great scenes and watching River take out that whole bar is Awesome!!
    I really need to watch the Avengers soon!

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    1. Watch how I soar...

      And definitely watch The Avengers the first chance you get!

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  41. Awesome list! Yay for Serenity! It was hard for me to narrow it down to ten movies too.

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    1. I'm very pleased by the amount of love Serenity has received today. Way to go, Browncoats!

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  42. The Princess Bride is a classic, and I loved Amadeus.

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    1. I'm so glad so many people loved Amadeus. I worried that would be the title no one had heard of.

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  43. rockin mix of excellent choices!
    and speaking of kick ass, ever see that one? i actually liked it!

    princess bride shouldve been on my list! and sweet serenity!

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    1. I actually haven't seen Kick-Ass. It's on my Netflix list though, so maybe one of these days...

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  44. I saw Monty Python on somebody else's list and I kicked myself. And Serenity was on my list up until the very last cut! :)

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    1. As long as Serenity came close...

      I saw Life of Brian on another list, but I guess I haven't gotten to the Holy Grail list yet. I'm trying to get to everyone; it's just taking a while.

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  45. Yay for Serenity! Also some of my favourite lines. But, if I'm honest, most of them are my favourite lines.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Yep. This is another movie in which I love all the parts.

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  46. Great list, lots of awesome movies here. I think having a top 50 might have been a more realistic way to not feel like something was left out. You ever read the short story by Tim Pratt about the video shop from another dimension? It's one of my favorite short stories of all time, you should check it out.

    Anyway, I'm nervously excited about you watching Mystery Men in the near future. Man, I can't imagine getting to see that for the first time. Time Bandits too, except I don't think that means as much to me as it used to.

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  47. I forgot the Princess Bride! How could I forget that? It's a classic. Love your choices.

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  48. Amadeus was in the back of my head, but I totally forgot to put it on my list. Another excellent movie. And yay Princess Bride!!

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  49. okay...I obviously need to watch SERENITY. I have seen it a few times listed today.

    So a fabulous list! Love me some Princess Bride! ;)

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    1. It was mentioned on a lot of lists, wasn't it? I know I keep saying this, but that makes me so happy!

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  50. I've never watched Serenity but it's seems to be popular. Need to watch it.

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  51. Monty Python - favorite color is blue, no wait!

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    1. I often used the Bridgekeeper's questions as bonus questions on tests. Half the kids got the reference and would proceed to write out the entire scene. The other half would look at me and say "is this a joke?"

      Ah, youth.

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  52. This list is just more proof that we are soul mates. (Although I haven't seen Amadeus. Is this something I need to rectify posthaste?)

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    1. Well, I would say yes, but I am in love with the film. And Joss Whedon didn't even write it. Weird.

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  53. Nice Choices. I'm seen over half of these and enjoyed them all. Nice to see Amadeus on someone's list.

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  54. Excellent choices. The only one I haven't seen is Serenity and it's mentioned a lot in this fest...I'll have to check it out!

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  55. oo some I haven't seen like Stranger than Fiction. Must watch that immediately!! SOunds fab!

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  56. I had not heard of Stranger Than Fiction but it sounds intriguing, may have to give it a watch. I have always wanted to see Amadeus but it kept getting buried by newer and newer films. I may have to dig in that pile and pull it back out. Nice list! Glad you stopped by to visit me.

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  57. Ah, The Princess Bride, how could I forget, one of the best romances ever! Even my husband enjoyed it and we still watch it today!

    Great list!

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  58. I did actually consider putting Amadeus on my list - it's definitely a great film & is in my DVD collection. In the end I passed it over but I still love it! Even if it's depressing.

    Love the Princess Bride, and it too nearly made my list - it did get a mention at least :)

    Serenity = woooo!!!

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  59. You sound like a very fun teacher and this is an excellent list. Somehow Stranger Than Fiction passed me by, but it sounds good.

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  60. You already know how I feel about THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION! :) And, oh, I cry over DEAD POETS SOCIETY, too. Love that movie.

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  61. Well...what's to say...you picked two of my absolute favorite movies!!! But..I do like your other picks too. Great job.
    Heather

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  62. #8, #6, #5, #4 yes, Yes, YES!! Absolutely on my top ten. Ain't no doubt.

    Great list. I have to stir up trouble and admit that I have yet to see The Avengers. I think I'd like to see it. It's Joss Whedon, for crying out loud. But seeing grown up movies is currently a far off pipe dream.

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  63. Stopping by from the bloghop to say you have a great list! :3

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  64. Great list. You have some of my greatest favorites on it. I think on yours, Stranger than Fiction is my biggest fave.

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  65. Hi MJ. Amy visiting from blog blitz. Great movie choices! I particularly enjoyed Shakespeare In Love!

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  66. dropping by to say hello!!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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