The 100 Best Movies Challenge

1 Feb

It’s Friday! So let’s set aside the self-publishing stuff for a second and do something fun.

On Wednesday Nathan Bransford posted his personal list of 100 Favorite Movies and challenged others to do the same. Now as you all know I never met a procrastination activity I didn’t like, and I love movies as much as I love books (well, almost…), so today I’m posting my list.


One hundred movies sounds like a lot, and will seem like a lot when you first start trying to think of all your favorite films. You’ll enlist the help of friends and family, look up Best Picture nominees on Wikipedia and frantically browse your DVD collection. But soon you’ll be saying, “Oh! How could I forget that?” and “But what about—?’ and “I feel like there was something else amazing he was in too…” and then suddenly you’re up to 149, you need to start whittling them down and you’ve Argo in twice because you’ve Ben Affleck on the brain.

Now I’ve cheated ever so slightly with mine because I’ve counted series like Toy Story and the first two Home Alones as one entry, but so what? It’s my list! I’ve also picked my favorite movies, many of which would never have had a shot at Best Picture, so don’t hate me for loving Spacecamp. Or Dirty Dancing. Or 17 Again.

I also know I’ve left some out and will think of them as soon as I click the Publish button on this post…

(Yeah. There’s a chance I’m over-thinking this.)

Okay, so here we go. 1-10 are my all-time favorite movies, but 11-100 are in no particular order.

(Yep. Definitely over-thinking this.)

My 100 favorite movies of all time are (I think!):

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. Contact
  3. Apollo 13
  4. American Beauty
  5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  6. Adaptation
  7. The Truman Show
  8. Stranger Than Fiction
  9. The Departed
  10. The Usual Suspects
  11. Primal Fear
  12. Spacecamp
  13. The Silence of the Lambs
  14. Wall-E
  15. The Lives of Others
  16. The Secret in Their Eyes
  17. The Shawshank Redemption
  18. 17 Again
  19. The Terminal
  20. The Mist
  21. Catch Me If You Can
  22. Any Given Sunday
  23. Contagion
  24. Elf
  25. Dirty Dancing
  26. The Town
  27. Return to Oz
  28. Office Space
  29. The Cable Guy
  30. Midnight in Paris
  31. Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  32. Best in Show
  33. The Devil’s Advocate
  34. Thank You For Smoking
  35. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
  36. Seven
  37. Jaws
  38. Forrest Gump
  39. Cast Away
  40. Schindler’s List
  41. The Toy Stories
  42. Independence Day
  43. Armageddon
  44. The Sixth Sense
  45. Fight Club
  46. Gladiator
  47. The Insider
  48. Training Day
  49. Amelie
  50. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  51. Titantic
  52. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  53. Bicentennial Man
  54. Mission Impossible
  55. Tropic Thunder
  56. Misery
  57. 1408
  58. Inside Man
  59. The Game
  60. A Perfect Murder
  61. Jagged Edge
  62. The Life of David Gale
  63. Cinema Paradiso
  64. Minority Report
  65. The River Wild
  66. Twister
  67. The Informant!
  68. Zoolander
  69. The Other Guys
  70. All The President’s Men
  71. The Others
  72. Bridesmaids
  73. Arlington Road
  74. The Vanishing
  75. Pretty Woman
  76. Argo
  77. The Reader
  78. The Remains of the Day
  79. Quiz Show
  80. Jerry Maguire
  81. Good Will Hunting
  82. Speed
  83. Closer
  84. Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil
  85. Clueless
  86. The Wedding Singer
  87. The Holiday
  88. The TV Set
  89. For Your Consideration
  90. Senna
  91. In The Shadow of the Moon
  92. The Hangover
  93. Bad Santa
  94. Supersize Me
  95. The Hoax
  96. Grizzly Man
  97. Recount
  98. Stepbrothers
  99. Kiss The Girls
  100. I Love You, Philip Morris.

Agree? Disagree? Never going to trust me again because I love Return to Oz? (Guess what? I DON’T CARE. It’s amazing.) Or have you spotted a glaring omission? And don’t say The Godfather II, because even though it’s like the greatest movie ever made, it’s not a favorite of mine, really. Ditto for 2001. And Apocalypse Now? I’d rather Tropic Thunder any day. And I know many people have a scary obsession with The Princess Bride—I like it, yes, but it’s not one of my favorites. Also not a fan of anything Star Warred, Star Trekked or Lord of The Ringed.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or read Nathan’s list here.

Have a good weekend!

UPDATE: It’s happened: I remembered others! Here are a few that I didn’t think of when I was compiling the list: A Few Good Men, The September Issue, Easy A, The Cutting Edge, Enchanted, Top Gun (hello? HOW could I’ve forgotten that? I love that movie…), The Social Network and Superbad. Not sure if they’d have squeezed their way into my Top 100 but alas, we’ll never know (because I’m not starting this again!).

36 Responses to “The 100 Best Movies Challenge”

  1. Lawrence Grodecki February 1, 2013 at 08:10 #

    Well now how do you do that?

    Here it is, 2:00 in the morning and I’m just sitting down at my screen after a 10 minute popcorn break. Of course I turned on the TV to check for movies during this break, and now I have “You’ve Got Mail” on in the background!

    So I will return to the television when I hear one of my favorite scenes coming up…and now that’s an interesting exercise…favorite scenes as a separate list.

    Please add that to possible procrastination practices! Nice list by the way…love the finger poking in the jelly light (Contact). :)

  2. jjtoner February 1, 2013 at 08:31 #

    I’ve seen only 3 out of your top 10! I haven’t checked the rest yet, but I bet the result will be the same. We’re obviously incompatible :) Maybe this would be a good way of chosing a partner/wife. LOL!

  3. bridget whelan February 1, 2013 at 08:34 #

    Hmm interesting but a bit – how can I say this – recent. Lawrence mentioning favourite scenes reminded me of a classic that every writer should look for its sheer not-a-line-wasted story tellingness and that’s The 39 Steps – the Hitchcock one with Robert Donat. forget the others. And the best scene has to be in the crofter’s hut with the grasping crofter played by John Laurie (nearly half a century before his Dad’s Army days but still looking the same) and his sad wife by Peggy Ashcroft. A lesson in How to do minor characters in a few minutes. And the dialogue – haven’t looked this up but something like
    The crofter’s wife: ‘Have you ever been in sauchiehall street on a Saturday night? And the girls in London, do they all paint their toe nails?”
    And the poor young wife’s face lit up and the gorse covered highlands with no sign of other human habitation in the background, and the forbidding face of John Laurie looming from the shadows….and suddenly in our heads we know all about their history and we can imagine their future and then the film moves on, they are only bit parts and yet they live with you forever…
    …you can tell I really like, can’t you.

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 11:01 #

      I prefer the term “contemporary”! ;-D

      I have to say I’m not big into “classics” — I’m the same with books…

      (Do love Psycho & The Birds though.)

      As for not a line wasted, I think the same of Jurassic Park. If you read the book and compare how much they got into a 2 hour movie via the script, it’s pretty amazing.

      • bridget whelan February 1, 2013 at 11:06 #

        Know what you mean – don’t think of it as classic, just “good”. But honestly if you get the chance compare the 1930s 39 steps to the remakes and you’ll see what I mean.

  4. jjtoner February 1, 2013 at 08:44 #

    It’s even worse than I thought. I’ve seen / recognized only 24 on your list. Cancel our wedding plans and send me back the ring. :)

  5. Helen February 1, 2013 at 09:00 #

    Contact – my all time favourite movie. I’m glad somebody else thinks it is a great movie I thought it was just me.

    I especially love the scene where Jodie arrives on another world and finds herself on a stunningly beautiful and surreal beach where she is met by her father. Breathtaking and moving scene. Love it!

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 10:58 #

      I LOVE Contact. Don’t even know how many times I’ve seen it. Just brilliant and as far as I’m concerned, the only realistic portrayal by Hollywood of what would actually happen if there was a message from space. Ooh, I want to go watch it now… :-D

  6. Abby Geiger (@AbbyGeiger) February 1, 2013 at 10:11 #

    What a fun idea! I think the last time I tried to list favorite movies it was for my Facebook profile, and was surprised at how many I could come up with. Reading these lists also prompts me to check out movies I’ve heard of but haven’t seen. I’ve already seen a few that are on your list as well as Nathan’s, so there must be something good going on there that I’m missing!

  7. denise deegan February 1, 2013 at 10:15 #

    What? You have Zoolander, you have Elf, you have Stepbrothers, you have Tropic Thunder and YET you do not have Mean Girls. How can it be?

  8. denise deegan February 1, 2013 at 10:18 #

    PS – I’m still printing off the list for next trip to Xtravision. And wasn’t Senna brilliant? I put money on Good Will Hunting for a best movie Oscar. It got best screenplay. Hang on – you have Clueless and not Mean Girls.

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 10:56 #

      I *had* Mean Girls on my full list (of 149 or whatever it was!) but it didn’t make the 100 cut for me. Sorry! ;-)

  9. writerlyderv February 1, 2013 at 11:07 #

    Agree with quite a few of those. Would add Shirley Valentine and Shadowlands.

  10. Ellen February 1, 2013 at 11:51 #

    I love your list! So glad to see Midnight in Paris up there – I watched it just before I went to Paris last year and this speech just thrilled my little city-girl heart:

    “You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.”

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 12:04 #

      I love that movie, and I love Paris. GREAT quote! (That also needs a re-watch, me thinks!)

  11. Devil's Chasin Me February 1, 2013 at 13:20 #

    Love this idea! And I will give my top 100 some consideration today!! Have you heard of the American Film Institute top 100 films? I know there are a ton of lists, but I’ve been watching films from that list and blogging about them as I watch. Do a oogle search for AFI 100 of 100 years. I worked in a video rental store and took a film class in college and was surprised that I had only seen 28 of the 100!

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 13:24 #

      I found it here:

      Great list—and happy to see a few of my picks on it!—but that’s really a “best” list, which doesn’t necessarily translate into “favorite”. The movies above are ones I’d watch again and again. E.g. I don’t doubt Citizen Kane’s brilliance, but I think with that, once is enough! ;-D

  12. Lindsay Edmunds February 1, 2013 at 14:12 #

    Nice to see QUIZ SHOW. That movie has a superb screenplay and Ralph Fiennes is great in leading role. But this list mainly reminded me that I don’t see many movies.

  13. denise deegan February 1, 2013 at 14:46 #

    BTW, when I said you had Stepbrothers, Zoolander etc, I meant yes, yes, yes, you pick well, Grasshopper. Not that you’d selected ones I didn’t like. if you get me.

  14. Coleen Patrick February 1, 2013 at 20:37 #

    Oh, The Cutting Edge. I really liked that movie. Tequila shots and Pamchenko! :)

  15. alisonwells February 1, 2013 at 21:44 #

    So glad to see so many of my absolute favs on here, esp in the top ten and things that might have been a bit obscure – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for instance. I’m eager to look at some you recommend that I haven’t seen. I adore Eternal sunshine and Amelie and the Truman Show but you haven’t mentioned perhaps my fav film ever, Moon. Vanilla Sky is another one that for me goes with Minority Report. Bunny and the Bull was also terrific.

    • catherineryanhoward February 1, 2013 at 22:13 #

      Oh, Moon was in there! But again, cutting down to 100 was SO difficult it had to go. I do love Moon though (and its soundtrack). 100 is not enough! :-(

  16. sarahsolmonson February 2, 2013 at 00:49 #

    After reading your blog for the past few months, I can’t help but think of you whenever Jurassic Park comes up. Since it (obviously) made your top 100 movie list, I think/hope you will appreciate my random Jurassic Park encounters over the last 18 months: When my husband and I were honeymooning in London, we passed by a theater that was playing JP. We went back to it the next day, both of us very excited to see it on the big screen again, but alas, it was no longer playing. On our 1 year anniversary we were staying in a hotel and turned on the tv while unpacking. JP was on, and even though the tv was a crappy model from the early 90’s, we got sucked in and ended up watching the whole thing, commercials and all. Finally, a few weeks ago we were in the theater, and a preview came on for an upcoming re-release of Jurassic Park in 3D!! I think the universe is telling me it’s time to cave and read the book… :)

    • catherineryanhoward February 2, 2013 at 02:18 #

      Um, YEAH! You definitely should. The book is amazing and so many people are missing out because they think it’s “all about dinosaurs”. Whatever! ;-D

      So looking forward to JP in 3-D… Roll on April!

  17. Swimminhill February 3, 2013 at 11:40 #

    The Gods are smiling on me today. I’m on day 6 of a 21 day post-op mandatory ass-sitting and am I’m desperate need of distraction. First off, I’m intrigued and will make my own list. Second, I have only seem a handful of your movies and feel compelled to cover at least the top 25. Maybe top 50… Depends how the crocheting goes. Bless you lady, bless you.

  18. Shannon O'Neil (@shanwrites) February 4, 2013 at 21:32 #

    This is too funny — just a couple days ago I caught a marathon of PBS specials about the history of NASA’s manned spaceflight programs which of course led me to dig out my copy of Apollo 13 and give it a watch. Man, I love that movie and I always have the same thought when watching — where can I get a kid-sized replica of the moon lander and Apollo rocket like Jim Lovell’s kid has when he’s explaining what happened on Apollo 1?? That would make my life (and I’d totally play with them too, it wouldn’t just be a display thing, come on). Also, I have to recommend October Sky (I’m assuming you haven’t seen it because surely if you had it would be in your top 100) it’s definitely in my top 5!

    • catherineryanhoward February 5, 2013 at 11:14 #

      You can totally get one in the KSC gift shop! (And you don’t have to go to KSC; they have stores at Orlando Airport as well and they’re landside you don’t have to go through security to get them or anything). I’m afraid though it might be a scale model/display only type that’s a bit on the pricey side, but you never know. Maybe I could get a Saturn V and we can have an Apollo game! :-) (But never tell anyone because that would be quite embarrassing…!) They have an online shop here:

  19. javierduenes February 5, 2013 at 03:45 #

    I’ve only seen some of the movies listed here, some I’ve only heard of for the first time. shame, I love movies but I am so in my own little universe!!! Waaaa! But I HAVE to agree, Jurassic Park rocks!

  20. shortstack930 February 15, 2013 at 03:54 #

    Great list! Glad to see that Clueless made the top 100, it’s my #1!

  21. kitkatfoley February 16, 2013 at 06:58 #

    Reblogged this on kitkatmoore and commented:
    I have a HUGE amount of respect for Catherine, Caffeinated. I absolutely do. She is a brilliant wordsmith; offers insightful advice; and, never bores. However, I am SO NOT in agreement with her list of the 100 greatest movies. What do y’all think. It’s going to take me a spot to compile my own list. I have to choose between Dirty Dancing and The Lost Boys for the number 1 slot…


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