Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Ten Films I Love Best As Of This Writing

Inspired by a Twitter discussion, here’s a list of 10 favorite films, not necessarily in order of importance or quality, as of right now, subject to revision when someone jogs my memory of something even better that I’d forgotten seeing but somehow actually loved even more than anything already here, and this sentence may have run on long enough, and carries too many commas, don’t you think?

  1. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind – Miyazaki has made “better” movies, but I don’t love any of them the way I love this. No, not even Spirited Away. This is the movie that made me fall in love with anime.
  2. The Princess Bride – Put aside for a moment that this is a painfully over-quoted cult favorite. (Guilty as charged, m’lud.) It’s still one of the great action comedy satire romances of all time.
  3. Die Hard – I’m less enthusiastic about the franchise it turned into, but that first out-of-nowhere movie is utterly brilliant. There are zero missteps, and almost every action movie since owes this film a huge debt. It’s silly, it’s clever, it’s over-the-top where it should be yet subtle at just the right places.
  4. The Incredibles – It’s not that this is one of the most fun, clever, family-friendly, exciting, and funny animated features ever made. It’s that this is one of the most fun, clever, family-friendly, exciting, and funny features of any kind ever made.
  5. The Bourne Identity – I’m not putting the whole “trilogy” in here but I do really like the three Damon-led movies quite a lot. (I have Thoughts regarding the fourth movie which I’ll have to post soon, come to think on it.) This first movie is a revelation, though. Very little bumbling going on, lots of smart people versus smarter people, and for once the trend toward “gritty realism” (well, such as it is) doesn’t drag down a story and make it too grim & depressing.
  6. The Hunt For Red October – Still the only Tom Clancy “Jack Ryan” movie I actually like, this one is chock full of great character actors chewing marvelous scenery marvelously. And Alec Baldwin is a genuine hoot, too. “Some things in here don’t react well to bullets…”
  7. The Castle of Cagliostro – Look, it’s no less absurd than any number of other caper flicks out there. Lupin III as seen through the lens of Miyazaki, this movie’s a charmer through and through.
  8. The Fugitive (1993)We’ve grown used to Tommy Lee Jones’ schtick in the years since, and the “henhouse, outhouse and doghouse” riff spawned some parodies indeed, but you have to admit he absolutely steals this movie. Also notable for Andreas Katsulas, otherwise known as Babylon 5’s Ambassador G’Kar, as the one-armed man. Oh, I guess Harrison Ford’s in it, too. Shrug.
  9. Iron Man – Remember back before the whole multi-picture pyramid leading up to The Avengers was a “thing”, and this was pretty much just one of the best superhero movies ever made? Simpler times, simpler times indeed.
  10. Chicken Run – “We’ll either die free chickens, or die trying!” “Are those the only choices?” While the rest of the Aardman run of feature films is a bit hit-or-miss (I wanted to like the full length Wallace & Gromit movie, but those characters just don’t seem to work in anything beyond short films), there’s almost nothing wrong with this movie. The peril, the heart, the cleverness, the references to other movies, the madcap contraptions… it’s all there.

And there we have it. You have opinions, I have comment threads. Fire away!


  1. Kim

    On the strength of this, I just bought Nausicaa 🙂 And I am totally in agreement about the Incredibles.

  2. Wonderduck

    I dislike Miyazaki. He’s overly preachy and I find the animation to be about what you’d expect in movies with big budgets like his. I do love me some Laputa, however, though that’s probably because The Librarian and I riffed on it non-stop when we watched it.

    Princess Bride is on Wonderduck’s List of Five Favorite Movies, somewhere between #2 and #5.

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