It is a hard and brain-aching decision to figure out what your top ten films are. How do you decide when you have watched hundreds of brilliant films over the years? But when I think of my favourite films, I think of the ones that I could watch over and over again, finding new stories, characters arcs, favourite outfits and so on. Perhaps you could call this list my top 10 comfort films, but these films make me put my phone down, give me peace of mind and allow me 120 minutes (or so) of escapism. That is all I really want out of a film, where I am wowed at the end in every which way. So, with much deliberation, here are my top 10 films!
1. 50 First Dates (2004) dir. Peter Segal
The top dog of the top 10 films is an Adam Sandler classic: 50 First Dates. Much like About Time, it is a rom-com with a twist. Although Sandler has had some questionable comedies throughout his career, this film was most definitely made in his prime. Sandler’s character falls madly in love with Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore, but soon finds out she has short-term memory loss, meaning she lives the same day, every day. Joined by his usual motley crew, Sandler brings a beautiful love-story, set in a gorgeous Hawaiian setting – with some utter madness brought along the way!
2. Father of the Bride (1991) dir. Charles Shyer
Father of the Bride makes it to the second spot on my top ten. Many will groan when this film comes out of the DVD cupboard, so I have to admit this is a guilty pleasure film for me. Steve Martin, a classic 80s comedian, leads the cast as (you might not guess it) the father of the bride! Diane Keaton and Martin Short are at Steve Martin’s side as the mother of the bride and the flamboyant European wedding planner, heightening the fun even more. Despite the easy laughs, this film really is exploring a father’s relationship with his daughter as she goes from his baby to a woman.
3. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) dirs. Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
Weird and wonderful are the best two words to describe this film. A feel-good film. The average(ish) family dynamics are brilliantly portrayed as the Hoover family journey to their young daughter’s (played by Abigail Breslin) beauty pageant. Each character is given time to grow, allowing the audience to fall in love with all of them. Laughs, tears and jaw-drops; you will feel every emotion while watching this film and that is why it is in my top three.
4. The Great Gatsby (2013) dir. Baz Luhrmann
Since first reading The Great Gatsby as a tween, I fell in love with Fitzgerald’s romantic portrayal of New York. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the book, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, only heightens this more. I feel completely taken away from the outside world and brought into a new dimension: Jay Gatsby’s world. Personally, the two-minute scene with Daisy and Gatsby enjoying his material lifestyle, with Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ playing in the background, could make it into this top 10 list without any context surrounding it. It is a truly beautiful film to watch and enjoy.
5. Hairspray (2007) dir. Adam Shankman
Unlike many Gen Z women, I usually am not a fan of musical film adaptations. The likes of Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman do not interest me in the slightest, as the questionable singing takes away from the story. However, there is something about Hairspray that makes me enjoy it more and more each time I watch it. Maybe it’s Zac Efron’s charming nature and looks, John Travolta’s dance moves, the flamboyant 60s outfits, the up-beat music, the diverse cast, and the timeless story that brings this film together to become – in my opinion – a masterpiece.
6. About Time (2013) dir. Richard Curtis
Some say there is nothing better than a rom-com. But a rom-com with a twist is something unbeatable. Realising he is a time traveller, like all the men in his family, Tim’s one desire is to find his true love. With many mistakes along the way, most notably his first crush Charlotte (played by Margot Robbie), he eventually wins American Mary over (played by the extraordinary Rachel McAdams). Births, deaths and family problems are brought together by the king of cult British rom-coms, Richard Curtis, to create one of my favourite films to watch over and over again.
7. The Way Way Back (2013) dirs. Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Steve Carrell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph are just some of the amazing cast that lead this outstanding 2013 coming of age film. A young, awkward teenager tries to find his feet on a summer vacation, meets some characters along the way and realises what the fun of life is really about. The score makes this film every teenage summer dream: a chance at freedom, love and friendship.
8. Some Like it Hot (1959) dir. Billy Wilder
A classic – that is the best way to describe this film. Marilyn Monroe is seen here in her absolute prime. Not just a pin-up beauty queen, but a comedic actress who can play off the fantastic Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. It is comedy genius, with films always aspiring for as many genuine laughs out of their audiences as Billy Wilder’s masterpiece gets. Bathing beauties and ominous Mafiosi are set in front of a glorious 1920s seaside town with a fantastic selection of music; what more can you ask for?
9. Bombshell (2019) dir. Jay Roach
This is one film on this list that most definitely does not exert comfort. Bombshell made me feel uncomfortable and frightened, as a woman, because of the story being truthful. However, there is a sense of peace that these stories are being brought to light. This film only gets better when you have three of the best actresses of the moment (Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie) leading the story. Lets hope this doesn’t get brushed under the carpet and these stories keep getting told, and perhaps there’ll be more of these films in my top 10!
10. Parasite (2019) dir. Bong Joon-ho
Tenth on the top 10 list is the 2019 Academy Award Winning Best Picture, Parasite. I did not know what to expect when I went to watch this film; I had read no reviews, not even watched the trailer. But it was one of the best films I’ve ever watched. Dark comedy mixed with a serious didactic purpose – no wonder this won an Oscar.