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MOVIES1. A list of best movies and television could really just begin and end with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. Released in 2001 and starring Audrey Tautou, Amélie is everything I could want from a movie. It’s a little dark, a little weird, and really happy. The film’s tagline, “she’ll change your life,” says it all - Amélie travels around Paris anonymously making strangers lives better with random acts of kindness. The movie boasts an eye-popping red/yellow/green (with an occasional splash of blue) color scheme and a mesmerizing soundtrack that gives the whole story a dreamlike quality. It’s really a perfect movie.
2. My favorite movie of 2013 was so great; it also makes my top five favorite movies. Short Term 12 is a quiet story of at-risk teens in a foster facility. Brie Larson stars as Grace, a counselor who is barely masking pain and is not so far removed from the kids she’s responsible for. I really can’t say anything about this movie better than The Dissolve’s Nathan Rabin, who spent much of his adolescence in a similar situation.3. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was actually the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the title screen fading away to reveal Belle stepping out of her house, singing the opening lines of her song. In 1991, Beauty and the Beast kicked off a decade of filmmaking that’s known today as the “Disney Renaissance.” It was the first and only animated feature to be nominated for best picture (that is, until the academy upped the number of nominees from 5 to 10 in 2009 when Pixar’s Up was subsequently honored). I also highly recommend the documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty which chronicles the resurgence of creativity within Disney’s animation studio after a series of flops in the 1980s.
4. A modernist masterpiece, Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind manages to capture the essence of memory and imagination. The movie begins after the relationship between Joel and Clementine (played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, arguably doing some of their best work) has long since soured. Clementine seeks the help of Lacuna Inc. and Dr. Mierzwiak to erase all her memories of Joel and when Joel finds out, he does the same. We follow Joel through his memories of his relationship with Clementine, beginning with the most recent – the quiet bitterness and resentment – and traveling back to when they first started to fall in love. What is especially great about Gondry’s direction is, as Joel’s memories get older, they get less clear. For example, during an argument with Clementine, she goes into the bathroom, but when Joel follows her, she appears in the kitchen. It’s as if he just can’t remember where exactly their fight took place.5. Today, it’s JLaw’s world and we’re just living in it, but back in 2010, Jennifer Lawrence was just making her starring debut in Winter’s Bone. Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a tough as nails girl from the Ozarks responsible for her caring for her younger siblings and her catatonic mother. One day she finds out that her father, in jail for cooking meth, has skipped bail. Worse, he put their house up for collateral and if Ree doesn’t find him, they’ll lose the only thing holding the family together. Shot on location in Missouri, director Debra Granik uses the most of her surroundings. The desolate, barren woods nearly become a character in itself and Granik populates the film with locals instead of actors. But the film belongs to Lawrence, who wholly inhabits Ree turning a performance that I personally think is her best.
That's my top five movies, tune in next Tuesday for the top five television. It will be worth it!