A Peachy Diary #14: My Top 10 Favorite Movies

Who doesn’t love movies? And lists?

10. Hercules (Disney, 1997)

Alan Menken is undoubtedly one of the greatest songwriters of all time, writing music for multiple Disney classics, such as Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. Hercules isn’t necessarily up to par with some of the aforementioned titles, but it’s the one on that tiny list I can watch over and over again and never get tired of it. The music here is definitely some of his best, and aside from the incredible animation, an irrevocably charming protagonist, and an unforgettable performance from James Woods as a smooth-talking Hades, it’s predominantly the reason I keep returning to this movie.

9. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Warner Bros., 2000)

Like all Batman fans, I love Paul Dini & Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series. However, none of us were prepared for how good its sequel series would be. Batman Beyond isn’t good, it’s sublime, and it spawned a straight-to-VHS video, and in tandem, one of the greatest Batman stories ever written, once again from the dynamic duo of Warner Bros. animation. Emotionally poignant, beautifully animated, and once again, another fantastic Joker performance from Mark Hamill, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is as under-appreciated as it is brilliant.

8. Kung Fu Panda (Dreamworks, 2008)

I know, it’s another animated movie. Oh, well.

Kung Fu Panda is definitely one of the best ones. Dreamworks should be commended for producing a movie that’s beautiful on par with some of Disney/Pixar’s best, with a simple story and charming characters. The action is also unbelievable, and it’s as funny as it has heart. Not only is Kung Fu Panda one of the best, it’s also one of the most under-appreciated trilogies of all time. It’s one of those of which that gets better with each sequel, all are infinitely re-watchable.

7. Back to the Future (Universal Pictures, 1985)

Infinitely quotable, one of the best scores in the history of film-making, chocked to the brim with iconic clips and characters you can’t help but absolutely love by the end; Back to the Future is an essential watch and one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time. I have this entire film memorized word for word, beat for beat, and I’m laughing just as hard as I was when I first saw it when I was a little kid.

6. The Empire Strikes Back (LucasFilm, 1980)

The Empire Strikes Back, in my opinion, is the best Star Wars movie. Usually when you strike fire on a brand new idea, it’s practically impossible to make a sequel that’ll do it justice. This, as we all know, is not the case. It’s bombastic, it’s explosive, it’s tear-jerking, and the stakes are infinitely higher than they were in the original movie. Yoda training Luke on Dagobah, the confrontation with Darth Vader in Cloud City, the Battle of Hoth: all of these scenes are iconic and incredibly beloved. You owe it to yourself to grab the Despecialized Edition of this to watch it in its full glory!

5. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros., 2008)

After watching disaster after disaster spewing out of DC’s Cinematic Universe, I’ve been rewatching Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy a lot more as of late. Just like Back to the Future, I have this entire film memorized beat for beat, and while this was in theater, I went to go see it 10 times. Heath Ledger’s performance of the Joker still gives me chills, and every time my friends and I watch his found footage clip, you can hear a pin drop in the room. This is how you illustrate the perfect villain in a film, one that completely decimates the protagonist’s greatest weaknesses and creates a challenge that seems almost impossible to overcome. It’s an epic, and it’s the greatest comic book movie of all time.

4. Akira (TMS Entertainment, 1988)

“Now you’re king of the mountain, but it’s all garbage!”

Akira is perfect. This is the zenith of traditional animation, the inspiration of dozens upon dozens of anime/manga, as well as a huge influence on bringing anime over to Western audiences. Also, Johnny Young Bosch, the Black Ranger, voices Kaneda in the Blu-Ray release, so..

Akira is one of those films that evolves into something completely unexpected as you continue watching it. The narrative will leave you winded, breathless, and hyped up beyond belief. I honestly hope this classic will remain untouched by the reboot stick, I’d hate to see a live-action adaptation of this.

3. The Incredibles (Pixar, 2004)

Brad Bird’s animated masterpiece oozes one thing above all else: style. The music, the character design, the setpieces, the story, we all know this story right down to the individual fabrics of the spandex these heroes wear. For a children’s film, there is a lot of adult material here: infidelity, the main character having to deal with his mid-life crisis.. rewatching this as an adult made me further appreciate its subplots and themes, and where I projected myself onto the kids when I was younger, I find myself projecting onto Bob now that I’m in my twenties. There’s a sequel on the way and I have every confidence that Brad Bird will strike gold yet again. He always does.

2. School of Rock (Paramount, 2003)

Do not watch the show. The show is terrible. The original movie written by the brilliant Matt White is a love letter to all those who rock, and harbors Jack Black’s greatest role of his career. I usually hate the liar’s revealed trope that plagues dozens of movies, but the ride to get to that point is a treasure. Dewey Finn bringing the vibrancy and color of rock into the grayed out dullness of conformity to these kids is the stuff of legend. You grow such an attachment to all the characters involved, and the titular song at the end is the icing on the cake for a movie I’ve watched literally over a hundred times. You can blatantly tell how much fun all the actors are having here.

  1. Shaun of the Dead (Universal Pictures, 2004)

This is it. Shaun of the Dead is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Really, I could’ve stuffed this list with the other two films of the legendary Cornetto Trilogy (that being Hot Fuzz & The World’s End), but those two simply are topped in every single way with this romantic comedy (with zombies!). Every single line is a slice of fried gold, and comes back into play in one way or another. This is what comedic horror is capable of, and it isn’t surprising at all that no other director/writer has even come close to touching Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s masterpiece. Words simply cannot truly express how much I love this film, and if you haven’t watched it, you’re honestly doing yourself a disservice. Don’t like zombies? Watch it for the jokes. Not a big comedy fan? Watch it for the excellent shots and characters that are impossible not to like.

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