THIS LIST HAS SINCE BEEN HEAVILY UPDATED AND IS NO LONGER ACTIVE. FOR MY ACTIVE LIST (OVER 500 MOVIES!), ASK AWAY.
62 movies reside in my CinemAce home collection.
But first, some housekeeping.
Several motion pictures are on the bubble for this or that reason (mostly financial and time). Deep breath...
Big Daddy, Inception, Dazed and Confused, Chappie, The Strangers, Inglorious Bastards, Fight Club, The Way, Way Back, Bruce Almighty, Taken, Fruitvale Station, The Big Lebowski, Edge of Tomorrow, Bull Durham, Mr. Deeds, The Conjuring, the OG Planet of the Apes, Warm Bodies, Office Space, Hell or High Water, Kong: Skull Island, Room, Schindler’s List, Nacho Libre, 99 Homes, Let Me In, Gifted, The Social Network, Step Brothers, The Incredibles, Rookie of the Year, Sinister, Cop Car, The Soloist, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Boyhood, 12 Years a Slave, Hot Fuzz, D2: The Mighty Ducks, What We Do in the Shadows, Zombieland, each Austin Powers, Snakes on a Plane, Holes, Jurassic Park, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Gift, Dirty Harry, The Waterboy, Titanic...
...as you can see there are more than 62 great movies in the world. I just can't fit them all on a shelf. Maybe I'll get two shelves! 'Til then...
...I’ll stick to what I have sitting in the closet.
After so many fumbled X-Men and Wolverine movies with the great Hugh Jackman, his last outing as the man who does things that aren’t very nice is very, very nice indeed.
61. The Disaster Artist
James Franco’s impeccable Tommy Wiseau is funnier than Wiseau himself (or maybe I just feel better about laughing along). The Room is such a ridiculous film, with horrendous acting, numerous lengthy sex scenes and the now-infamous repeated establishing shots of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (At least there was some sort of misdirection redemption with Room.)
60. Get Out
I often see movies twice out of sheer joy for the product, or because I had to take a leak at some point. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is one of the few movies you actually rethink and appreciate in new ways with each viewing.
59. Thor: The Dark World
The stepsibling (along with The Incredible Hulk) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe --because all anyone cares about anymore is a Rotten Tomatoes score-- the second Thor is actually great. Sure...too much Jane. Too much Darcy. Too much Darcy’s intern. That was a whiff. However, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston together is where the movie shines. Also, Brian Tyler’s score is, as the kids say, lit. Double also, I’m always around for Stellan Skarsgård.
58. The Longest Yard
Mean Machine! In theorem, comedy legend Adam Sandler shouldn’t be able to pull off sexy, ex-con, quarterback jock. He and good friend Chris Rock as Caretaker anchor a star-studded cast that includes excellent performances from Nelly, Michael Irvin, Terry Crews, Burt Reynolds and more.
57. Thor: Ragnarok
Taika Waititi's Marvel shakeup was not what I was expecting. Why they even kept the Ragnarok comic plot attached is beyond me. Is Thor: Planet Hulk too obvious? So yeah, completely unexpected Thor experience. But such a great one. And Waititi is a comedy genius. I love New Zealanders.
56. Lion King
I’ve obviously grown up all the way to a mean 5 foot 6, but some childhood darlings have remained some of my all-time favorites. As a kid, I was all about Lion King and even earned the family nickname “Cuna,” which my brother accidentally shortens to something not as friendly.
55. School of Rock
Jack Black is my type of humor. Plus, his appreciation and knowledge of rock history makes him the best substitute teacher slash rock star in the history of ever.
I’ve always thought Jake Gyllenhaal was pretty creepy. In a good way. Even in another film I love, Prisoners, where he plays the protagonist detective, I couldn’t help but keep an extra eye on him. Well, in Nightcrawler, Maggie’s brother was let loooooose. Plus journalism!
53. Big Hero 6
From the Greek Fire sung trailer (“On Top of the World”) to some in-movie Fall Out Boy (“Immortals”), BH6 is just a lot of fun. Baymax/Stan Lee 2020.
52. High School Musical
Cue the eye rolls but I’m sticking to my guns. I sang every track from these movies through the high school hallways, wishing my life could be anything close to the cinematic utopia Zac Efron and friends lived in.
51. Like Mike
There’s a musical theme running through a lot of these movies, obviously the movie with “musical” in its title among them. I think a good soundtrack can make a good movie great and a bad one decent. In this case, I think it made a great movie excellent. I miss the pre-Twitter sports world. Plus, Dirk’s cameo gives Stan Lee a run for his money.
50. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Prior to The Last Jedi, things looked good in the recontinued Galaxy Far, Far Away. TFA obviously ripped off way too much from A New Hope and is full of wasted plot threads (Phasma, Starkiller Base and the First Order in general, Luke frikkin Skywalker), but it still feels like a Star Wars movie. I mean, it seems like a carbon copy of the original trilogy aesthetic was required by Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy. If it ain’t broke, I guess. (Until it broke.)
49. Superman II
Outside of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Detective Comics movies have not been quite as good. Prior to the MCU, Marvel movies weren’t great either so I’m not taking sides here. I want a great Flash movie just like you. The first two Superman movies from Richard Donner have been an exception, starting the superhero genre off with two great movies. Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder are perfect as Clark and Lois and the sequel in particular stands out to me for excellent villains: Gene Hackman’s returning Lex Luthor and Terence Stamp’s General Zod.
Yay origin stories! The MCU officially exploded with Captain America: Civil War, making it nigh impossible for a true origin story. Paul Rudd’s comedic Ant-Man made it just in time for a pretty straight-through origin. Rudd and his motley crew of friends give us a legit superhero comedy and demonstrate yet again the brilliant casting choices of Marvel Studios. Plus, a very cool Christophe Beck score.
Critics damned Benchwarmers for its kiddy violence and corny plot. I guess they didn’t come for the laughs. Or a successful three on nine baseball team. Rob Schneider, David Spade and Jon Heder star with endless sexy supporting acts from Jon Lovitz, Nick Swardson, Tim Meadows, many more but none more important than Amaury Nolaso’s Carlos. I am 12.
46. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The best Star Wars movie to come from Disney (in my opinion), Rogue One is gritty, dirty and narratively daring compared to the other three Mouse House Star Wars films. Despite (supposed?) behind-the-scenes drama and (supposed?) extensive reshoots, the end product is a perfect addition to Star Wars canon and gives us the best we’ve seen of Darth Vader.
45. The Amazing Spider-Man
Rebooting Spider-Man after just a decade looks like a heinous choice in hindsight by SONY. It looked like one at the time, too. Despite its questionable existence --and transparently empty promises of an “untold story”-- the movie is great. Andrew Garfield is a very different Peter Parker/Spider-Man than his pre and post successors Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland, but Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy paired with her (former) real life honey is something great.
44. Iron Man 2
There’s an absolutely amazing movie under the surface of Iron Man 2’s reality. Tony discovering a new element to cure his ailing heart, his father’s warmongering (pun potentially intended) legacy coming back to haunt his son and the addition of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has all the makings of a jam-packed sequel. Even more was attempted here including Sam Rockwell’s Yang to Tony’s Yin and Mickey Rourke’s Russian Yin to Iron Man’s Yang. Plus Thor’s hammer, Cap’s shield and even a Wakanda shoutout. It was a lot to ask, but the end result is still memorable thanks to Robert Downey Jr.
The Thor franchise never registered with fans, as Hemsworth’s modelesque Asgardian Prince never got the care and attention that Iron Man and Captain America got. It’s hard to balance an Avengers universe sometimes. The first two Thor’s almost look like archive footage now with the reinvention of the character in Ragnarok, but I’ll always have an appreciation for the first Thor, which shines through the titular character, his mysterious brother and we also get a nice big helping of Phillip J. Coulson. Colm Feore’s Laufey also underrated.
42. John Wick: Chapter 2
Keanu Reeves is such an intriguing actor. There are moments you wonder how he ever got past a producer, and some that make you think he’s just as memorable as Sylvester Stallone. In the Wick sequel, there’s some serious world building done that promises us a third one (which we’re getting) and perhaps even more from this slick, brutal universe.
41. Don’t Mess With the Zohan
My favorite Adam Sandler movie, edging out Big Daddy and Waterboy, Zohan is actually a very honest, comedic telling of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Just put through a silky smooth filter. Skip the history class and watch Scrappy Coco.
40. Eddie the Eagle
Kingsman helmer Matthew Vaughn produced the Michael “Eddie” Edwards and brought along breakout star Taron Egerton with him to play Eddie. Egerton and his coach, played by the unrivaled Hugh Jackman, have brilliant father-son like chemistry and Egerton’s over-the-top goofy portrayal either makes you laugh or want to give him the biggest hug ever.
39. War for the Planet of the Apes
The third movie in the modern Apes trilogy ends with a bang. Literally, the movie feels like a boiling pot up until the explosive final act. That’s good, but also slows down the pace and narrative of this one compared to its two predecessors. Still, it’s a beautifully shot movie with a heartfelt, dedicated Andy Serkis in the lead as one of cinema’s best characters ever, Caesar.
38. District 9
Neill Blomkamp’s low-budget sci-fi hit that earned him Elysium (solid), Chappie (awesome) and almost Alien (damn), D9 rides the scaly back of its Johannesburg aliens. Blomkamp wanted to make an alien movie that has no invasion, no global war, but real-world issues. It’s not overly exciting on paper, but remarkable in execution.
37. Tarzan (1999)
Back to the music theme, Phil Collins’ Tarzan track is an all-timer for me and the character of Tarzan will always be...wait for it...in my heart. Plus, with *NSYNC involved, come on. Tarzan is inherently relatable and the nostalgic brilliance of this movie is probably why I liked the 2016 take on the character, too.
36. Spider-Man: Homecoming
A coming-of-age picture, inspired directly from John Hughes' cornered market. Spider-Man went to the MCU after the SONY hack and while I’m a big fan of the Amazing films, as well as enjoying more superhero universes to play with in the Hollywood landscape, the move to the MCU gave us Tom Holland and I am thankful for that.
35. Doctor Strange
I didn’t have overly high expectations for Doctor Strange. I always appreciated the comics because they were so very different from everything else. But I didn’t know how it would play on the big screen. Thankfully the handsome devil that is Benedict Cumberbatch (who they delayed production to cast) turns a potentially goofy, outcast character into a total stud to rival Tony Stark. Also, Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack is absolutely...magical.
34. Sing Street
If only I could sing and get the girl and all that. Sing Street has awesome original music, including a hit from Adam Levine, and the teenage band members from Ireland are...charming. Two jokes in a row.
Mere years before the movie came out, the character of Kick-Ass was conceived on paper Comic legend Mark Millar ("Civil War," "Old Man Logan," "Kingsman") invented the character as a passion project and the rest, as they say, is history. The sequel disappointed and halted the property, but we still have the first one to hold on to.
32. The Greatest Showman
I quite like musicals and Greatest Showman boasts some of the best, catchiest, addicting tunes I’ve ever come across. Paired with magnetic dancing numbers and a dazzling Hugh Jackman leading performance, this movie earns its spot amongst heavy hitters.
31. The Replacements
Adam Sandler had his turn as the quarterback. Now Keanu Reeves. The Replacements is my favorite sports movie and one of the best comedies of all time, in my humble opinion. The jail scene. The bar scene. The parking lot scene. The every scene. First I was afraid, sh*t I was petrified.
30. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Speaking of composer Michael Giacchino, he’s all over this list. All three Apes movies, Doctor Strange, Homecoming, Rogue One...all Giacchino. Dawn, the middle episode of the trilogy, is the true Caesar tale of the three. Rise introduces us, War concludes the tale, but Dawn is alllllllll about the Apes. Toby Kebbell’s mocap and portrayal of Caesar's rival Koba is a huge addition.
29. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Definitely in the minority here, but this is my fourth favorite Spider-Man film to date. I realize SONY pleaded insanity and overstuffed the movie a la not-really-Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, and we definitely don’t want any more of Paul Giamatti's Rhino. However, I liked Electro (minus the bumbling apartment scene that was almost and should have been cut) and really liked Dane Dehaan’s portrayal of Harry Osborn/Goblin. Again, in the minority. At the very least, do yourself a favor and check out the incomparable Hans Zimmer’s work here.
Sometimes movies come out of nowhere for you. Sometimes fate puts you in contact with a trailer that looks like something you’d enjoy. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. I did.
27. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The much-maligned Marvel team-up, there was a ton of behind-the-scenes drama, mostly centered around director Joss Whedon. Whedon starts the blu-ray director’s commentary with a big sigh, which is a shame. The film tried to juggle a lot and doesn’t have the same crisp, charming dialogue that the other Avengers movies do, whether it be Whedon’s own predecessor or the Russo brothers successor.
26. Ex Machina
See: Sicario. Except sci-fi! And Alicia Vikander!
25. Black Panther
The cultural phenomenon also happened to be a crazy good movie. As a white person, I love movies that properly use their platform to shed light on our world’s extremely troubled history. Like, can you believe we had slaves? At least we have Chadwick Boseman now to soothe our souls.
24. John Wick
The best hand-to-hand combat movie ever? The cutest beagle ever. I’m not even asking about the beagle, I’m just telling you. I’m thinking Keanu Reeves is back.
23. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Apes movie that didn’t come from Matt Reeves --Rupert Wyatt started one of the best ever “reboots”-- is actually my favorite. Dawn comes close, but witnessing the rise of Caesar, and a really fantastic James Franco act, puts Rise at the top of an esteemed trilogy.
22. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Before Awakens did the Death Star again, Jedi did it. To be fair, George “The Maker” Lucas never wanted the Death Star in Episode IV anyway. I don’t mind the Ewoks. At all. They’re killing machines. Where Return of the Jedi falls behind the other five episodes ahead of it is a pretty slow pace through the middle act.
21. Spider-Man 3
I feel like I have a Spider-Man weakness. I mean the guy swings from webs! From this list, I know that my loyal readers are going to hate this rank. Goth dancing Tobey, I know. Even with SONY breaking Sam Raimi’s balls, the director still manages to give his historic trilogy a heartful and exciting conclusion, even though it clearly was not supposed to be the end.
20. Captain America: The First Avenger
The first Captain America movie is so good you almost don’t believe it wasn’t directed by the Russo’s. Introducing their future poster boy, Chris Evans shows why he became the perfect choice to match up against Downey’s Stark for Marvel. Red Skull. Bucky. Zola. A very engaged Tommy Lee Jones and Hayley Atwell is fantastic as Peggy Carter.
19. Iron Man 3
People don’t remember the third Iron Man movie fondly. Maybe it was the twist? The involvement of a bumbling U.S. President, no matter how fictitious? Iron Man 3 does something no Iron Man or Avengers movie has done: give Rhodey something to do! Iron Man 2 doesn’t count because he was mostly just a plot device. It’s a shame that Iron Man’s best friend and sidekick never got a whole lot to do. Except here. Plus RDJ is full RDJ.
18. The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan’s Batman movies are perhaps the most stellar, breathtaking movie trilogy ever. That dude loves his IMAX cameras and his hand-picked crew, not muddled with studio interference, pretty much threw a perfect game. TDKR has plot holes for days but there’s so much care for the Batman property on display that you just kind of let it slide. And let’s not forget Tom Hardy’s Bane, though I don't see how you could.
17. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Oh boy. Here come the prequels. Here’s where I lose all my credibility. Episode II gave us the long-awaited Yoda duel, and even though we dearly miss Darth Maul, Christopher Lee is so conniving as the Count. Hayden Christensen didn’t have many fans, and there’s no defending some of his dialogue, but I think Anakin Skywalker is the best role he ever played. Whether it was on purpose or not, I love the performance.
16. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Critics seemed to go into the Kingsman sequel ready to bash on the over-the-top, daring venture from Vaughn. Especially given a certain resurrection that usually wouldn’t happen in big budget movies. The irony, of course, is that there wasn’t supposed to be a sequel. But we demanded one! At least I did.
15. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Where it all began. Where movies, not just the sci-fi genre, changed forgodamnever.
14. Batman Begins
Not as long as you thought after Joel Schumacher's abomination, Nolan and his Syncopy squad took the best of Batman’s brooding comic legacy and put it on screen. Christian Bale as Batman is a big win and other genius casting choices among legends Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson ground the comic world just as planned. It’s as good as origin tales get and sets the stage for the Dark Knight Trilogy that changed movies...forever.
13. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
We got a hint of the Empire’s wrath in A New Hope, but in Empire we get the full brunt of Darth Vader and also get to meet the real man behind the curtain, Darth Sidious. Considered the crown jewel of the saga, everything in the original’s middle act is truly epic.
12. Marvel's The Avengers
The project of a lifetime that Marvel head and perhaps Jesus reincarnated Kevin Feige always dreamed of. I almost can’t believe they pulled it off. But I can. Except for Captain America’s onesie. Avengers Assemble.
11. Kingsman: The Secret Service
It pains me to leave Eggsy, Harry, Merlin and company out of my top 10. Kingsman looked like something right up my alley. From there, it either became a disappointment, something I liked, or a CinemAce classic. You can see the result. Samuel L. Jackson, as usual, is the man. Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson’s score here is probably my favorite ever sans Star Wars.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn, prior to his exile, delivered another Marvel genre-bender. Awesome Mix, awesome casting and awesome writing were all on display in the underdog hit Guardians. Chris Pratt became a household star and yet again, pinpoint casting, especially with Dave Bautista’s Drax.
9. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Jar Jar Binks is obviously annoying, but he doesn’t infuriate me as I can imagine he does to the OG 1970’s Star Wars fan. He may be historically over-the-top, but he serves a story purpose. (And an even bigger one, if you believe the hype.) Jake Lloyd’s baby Ani doesn’t bother me in the slightest and the additions of Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Maul, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, Chancellor Palpatine and a whole new take on the Star Wars saga registers this despised movie as an all-timer for yours truly.
8. Avengers: Infinity War
The most recent addition to the top of my treasured list, Infinity War only works as the culmination of all that came before it. And because all that came before it worked, the payoff is magnificent. The heroes get various levels of screen time due to an insanely packed story, but Thanos steals the show and proves worthy of the immense build-up.
7. Iron Man
Where the MCU started. If Guardians of the Galaxy was an underdog, Iron Man was an afterthought. Jon Favreau insisted on casting Robert Downey Jr. and thank the stars he did. RDJ literally carries a franchise extending beyond dozens of five star actors playing four star superheroes, and it all began in that cave.
6. Captain America: Civil War
The MCU has obviously been popular for years, especially taking off after the first Avengers flick. But Civil War was the Big Bang for Marvel Studios, introducing Spider-Man to this world, Black Panther at all, but most importantly splitting up the Avengers into factions led by the two big dudes in charge. In-between the Cap and Iron Man beef is The Winter Soldier, continuing the narrative from the previous Captain America movie. Age of Ultron tried to tackle a lot and mostly did it. Captain America: Civil War did it, and expanded the Marvel Studios playground to the dreamland it is today.
When superhero movies weren’t mainstream, and only the biggest comic titles like Batman, Superman and the X-Men got movies at all, there was also Spider-Man. Developing for years, finally Sam Raimi brought the wall crawler to motion pictures. Perpetually relatable Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane are just the tip of the iceberg. Willem Dafoe, Rosemary Harris, James Franco and J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson bring Stan Lee’s prized possession to the screen with a THWIP.
4. The Dark Knight
The non-Batman Batman movie that is the best Batman movie. To no fault of Christian Bale, who continues to growl his way to our hearts, the movie belongs to Heath Ledger and his iconic Joker performance. It’s almost easy to forget that Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent/Two-Face was even there, but Nolan balances all his players, heroes and villains alike, to such perfection that you can only drop your jaw at what he did with his second Batman film.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
A movie with personal reverence for so many reasons. I classify my life in two stages: “Before I saw The Winter Soldier” and “After I saw The Winter Soldier.” Nuff said. I’m with ya ‘til the end of the line. Now nuff said.
2. Spider-Man 2
My first movie experience I really remember, I returned to the theaterplex with a good friend to watch the second Spider-Man installment more times than I can count on one webbed hand. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia or the inexplicably good tie-in video game for PS2, but my heart skips a beat or two simply remembering how great this movie was and still is. My superhero passions began right here. Now you know.
1. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
The prequel that you’re allowed to like. At last, we see the culmination of Anakin Skywalker’s story and the beginning of Darth Vader. It was a crucial moment for the franchise and the entire Mustafar sequence is arguably the best bit of Star Wars in the entire series. George Lucas’ last film is visually scintillating, a narrative treasure and remains my favorite movie in the history of the world.
Thank you for your time.