Top 10 Movies You Can’t Turn Off
So you’re flipping through the channels, trying to find that out of market sports game (or trying to find something that doesn’t have “Reality” in the title) when it happens. You land on a movie, and within a second of seeing the first frame a smile smacks you in the face – “Ah ha! What a classic” you say “I’ll watch this for a second”. An hour (or two, or three) later and you’ve watched the whole thing, forgotten about whatever that game was, and the dopamine boost from the joy that has just transpired reconfirms in your head that you could totally punch the spots off of all the “Real Housewives” leopard print shirts with one swing if they ever tried to invade your tv again!
The following movies all specialize in awesome, and due to the transitivity property make you more awesome by watching them. And how could you not, they’re all classic. So when your significant other is wondering why you’re not ready to go out yet on a Saturday night, feel confident that needing to hear Harrison Ford yell “Get off my plane!!” is a desire shared by many, and that the night can wait for the more awesome you to meet it head on.
Before we go on, this was by far the hardest “Top 10″ list we’ve done to date, and we have already decided that their will be a second list in the nearish future (A Second/Next Top 10 Movies You Can’t Turn Off?) continuing to celebrate the magnetic attraction great movies have; how they can take over your night and make you damn happy about it.
10. See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
When two comedy juggernauts join up as Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor did in See No Evil, Hear No Evil, all you have to do is show up and you’ll a good time. While they worked together before in Stir Crazy and Silver Streak (arguably the two better movies) the premise for See No Evil, Hear No Evil is so ridiculous – and so well executed – that it’s impossible to turn away. Wilder plays a deaf man who owns a newsstand and gets by by reading peoples lips and Pryor plays a blind man looking for a job. Together they, more or less ‘witness’ a murder they are accused of committing, only to escape and be hunted down by the actual murderers (played by a young, deadpan Kevin Spacey and 80′s pinup Joan Severance). Hijinx ensue with a wonderful blend of physical and situational comedy and fantastic one liners and comebacks from the bold Pryor character. If you’re lucky enough to catch it on a fancy movie channel you get to see why Gene Wilder’s character was glad he wasn’t the blind one as he holds Severance at “gun point” when she gets out of the shower. It should be noted that Wilder had no gun; he was just happy to see her. Gene Wilder! Richard Pryor! It’s so great!
9. Independence Day (1996)
If you haven’t watched this movie at least ten times then chances are your nephew showed you how to use the internet and you have no idea what you’re doing here. Welcome anyway! Let’s recap: Bill Pullman is President and an Air Force hero, Will Smith is a crack pilot with dreams of flying for NASA, Jeff Goldblum is a genius technology and data analyst who is squandering his MIT brain by working for a cable company, and Randy Quaid is drunk. Just when everyone thought they were going to enjoy a nice fourth of July weekend – boom! Aliens invade. What follows are many hours of great quotes (“I coulda been at a barbaque!!!”), high flying action, conspiracy theories getting confirmed, Aliens attacking people, people attacking Aliens, Jeff Goldblum drunk then magically sober, digitally sneezing on a mothership, fat ladies singing, cigar smoking and Harry Connick, Jr exploding. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon this with friends I’m sure it wont be long before someone suggests that it’s beer o’clock, and a lazy Sunday quickly turns into Fantastic Funday and your neighbors call the cops because you all keep yelling “Welcome to Earth!” louder and louder while making lazer noises with your mouth.
8. Road House (1989)
Patrick Swayze is at his best when he’s kicking butt outside the law, and as Dalton in Road House he performs his opus. The debate between this and Point Break is endless (Busey vs Elliot? Lynch vs. Reeves? Who could choose?!) so we wont go down that road. Suffice it to say having the job title of a ‘cooler’ and declining local anestesia while getting stitched up by Kelly Lynch’s Dr. Elizabeth ‘Doc’ Clay after surviving a knife wound because “pain don’t hurt” might be the single most badass thing anyone could hope to say to a hot chick you just meet. Add to that Sam Elliot being bearded in all black and breaking bottles over peoples heads, chicks in Wranglers, dodging explosions, Swayzes hair, a monster truck named ‘Bigfoot 7′, and ‘throat rips’ (the art of ripping someones trachea out with your bare hands; Dalton has PhD in throat ripping and demonstrates so expertly) all set to the ripping guitar of calm, cool and crazy-blind Canadian Jeff Healey leading the house band and you’ve got yourself a solid action movie. But this is an action movie with heart, made obvious when Swayze takes Lynch into a musty barn and get down on it while listening to a beat up radio . That’s how you spell romance. It all ends with a deadly confrontation with a Polar Bear too. Were they trying to rewrite what awesome meant while making this thing? Because they did. Congratulations to everyone involved
7. The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Dude. The Zen Master. Jeff Bridges single most recognizable role to date, and the ultimate cult hit that has spawned ‘The Dude Abides’ parties all over the world and countless quote-offs between college friends. It’s rare that every single line in a movie is endlessly quotable but that is exactly the case in The Big Lebowski. It’s not all that surprising when you know that it came from the Coen Brothers, whose creative depth makes the Mariana Trench look like the pot hole on my street that kids riding their bikes find with their front tire. There’s too much to cover here in a few sentences, but the music, characters (especially the perfect work turned in by John Goodman as Walter Sobchak), situations, creative writing, and at times psychadelic directing make it a truly unique experience. Plus, the Sam Elliot factor that we’ve already discussed (he lends himself to the roll of narrator and ‘The Stranger’ here). The Big Lebowski semester (or year, or four years) of college is a right of passage for everyone. When you OD on it, watching the movie every night and only having conversations that you can explosively interject “AM I WRONG? AM I WRONG?!” into should be chapter in everyones glory days. Who doesn’t like revisiting that time in their life, especially when it’s an unexpected surprise on AMC at 3am. Mark it Dude!
6. Groundhog Day (1993)
Billy Murray plays Phil, a sleazy weatherman from Pittsburgh who gets trapped by a snowstorm in Puxatawney while covering the Groundhog Day celebrations there. He has only his fumbling cameraman and attractive but not interested producer (Andie MacDowell) to keep him company for the extended stay. Except when he wakes up the next day to head home it’s not the next day – it’s the previous morning. Again. This cycle continues hundreds (some have theorized thousands!) of times until Phil figures himself out. It’s a case study in situational comedy as Phil goes from failing miserably at everything, to taking advantage of his knowledge of the days events a head of time to turn into a local hero many times over (often at the hilarious expense of others). Bill Murray is awesome, and the idea is so original it’s easy to say “let’s just watch for a few minutes” and end up laughing through the credits.
5. Serenity (2005)
Even if you’re not a fan of the Firefly series, Serenity works well as a stand alone sci-fi action flick. It’s not too deep and metapsyhsical or pseudoscientific (worm holes man!) to lose you in numbers or theories. It’s about people. The best action movies are character driven ones. Watching explosions is only so much fun, watching exciting, different, unsung heros blow stuff up – now that’s something to cheer about. That’s what Serenity is, a wild ride through a fully realized world from the magnificent mind of Joss Whedon, who is the most creative man working in Hollywood today. It has appeal that only a film following a bunch of underdogs and outcasts can; you’re cheering for the little guy the whole film, and they need you to cheer for them because they’re up against horrible odds. You’re emotionally invested in every character, and it pays off. It’s tight run time (119 minutes for a sci-fi action flick is pretty short) ensures things move at a good pace, while still leaving time for detours into Whedon’s imagination. Plus, Summer Glau’s character River is the best female action hero since Ripley from the Alien franchise. A smoking hot girl who can kick butt will surly make you put the remote down and enjoy the ride.
4. Air Force One (1997)
Now Harrison Ford enters the list, it was only a matter of time. As the leader of the free world he get’s kidnapped on his own plane by terrorists who want to trade the President’s family’s life for the release of General Ivan Radek, leader of a broken faction of the Russian Military who was recently imprisoned. It’s a great example of showing the hero overcoming the odds, only to be met with more adversary, which he rises above, only to be struck down again, and the cycle continues, causing you to root for him even more. It’s the constant struggle that ropes you in, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you exasperatedly ask “How’s he gonna get out of this one? I better keep watching to find out”. Gary Oldman delivers a vicious bad guy performance, and his stand-off with Harrison Ford is fraught with tension and thrills, culminating in the knock-out delivery of Ford’s famous “Get off my plane!” line which we highlighted in the introduction. Sign me up for the United States of Harrison Ford already!
3. The First Three Indiana Jones Movies (1981-1989)
He’s back! Harrison Ford is making a strong showing now, and rightfully so. He’s played some of the best characters in movie history, from Jack Ryan, to Han Solo, to President James Marshall, to Indiana Jones. These films are timeless, not because of their action but again, because of the characters involved, and the stories told. Spielberg always manages to mix the fantastic with the realistic in a believable way, taking ordinary men and putting them in extraordinary circumstances. The adventures of Indiana Jones are a perfect example of this. They are also packed with some of the best movie lines ever, that can be recycled and customize to make you sound awesome later. “What am I drinking next, Sweetheart? I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.” Boom! You spontaneous and attractive dog, you’ve got her hooked now. As a man it’s almost obligatory to watch these films if you find them on tv. Good thing they’re so enjoyable. “I unfortunately have to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and drink all these beers” said no one ever.
2. Ghostbusters (1984)
Billy Murray and Harold Ramis are no strangers to this list either. When you think classic comedy, Ghostbusters has got to be number one or two on that list. Every line Bill Murray says is comedic gold, and every time Harold Ramis or Dan Aykroyd speak you can’t wait to hear how Bill is going to make fun of them. The unsung funny man of this film is Rick Moranis’s character who is the most timid but resilient suitor ever as he goes out of his way to try and get the attention of the bodacious Sigourney Weaver. Then as his transformation into the keymaster – hilarious. A fully committed performance for sure. The number of quotable lines and expert delivery of all the actors is enough to keep you watching, even though you know the laugh is coming, because it’s funny every time (“Listen…do you smell something?”). The final showdown between the Ghostbusters and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man is hilarious as well, proving once and for all that diabetes is a killer.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
It’s safe to say that all these films made it to this list because they have great characters, great lines, and memorable action and Jurassic Park is no exception; in fact it is the perfect embodiment of all three prerequisites…and it has dinosaurs. We all outwardly agree that trying to do this in the real world would be a bad idea, but on the inside, we want to see dinosaurs so come on science! Give us the chance to at least make the same mistake! This movie is what they mean when they talk about “Movie Magic” but instead of telling you what you already know about how great this film is, we’ll just leave you with this: Hold on to your butts!
So what are some of the movies you can’t turn off? Tell us and maybe they’re show up on the second edition of this list!
Check back Wednesday as the first “Top 10″ list in our Movie Villain’s category will be posted: Top 10 Villains That Beat You With Their Minds, followed by Top 10 Villains That Beat You With Their Strength!