My Life In Movies (Half Century Edition)

A few years back, when Twitter was still a reasonably okay place to hang out, the hashtag #ThisIsYourFilm was making the rounds where you had to choose your favourite movie from every year you’ve been alive. As I’ve just reached the major milestone of 50, I thought it might be fun to look across half a century of cinema and list my favourite movies from every year I’ve been alive. Remember, it’s favourite movies, not ‘best’ movies otherwise this could have ended up being a bit controversial. So, without further ado, for better or worse, here is My Life In Movies:

My Life In Movies

1974 Blazing Saddles

One of Mel Brooks’ earliest efforts is still one of his very best. Generationally amusing, it rewards repeated viewings as you get older as more and more jokes reveal themselves to you. Start with the cowboy bean feast and go from there.

My Life In Movies

1975 Jaws

Responsible, to this day, for my wariness whenever I swim or wade or paddle in the sea, anywhere.

My Life In Movies

1976 Logan’s Run

Weirdly timeless and yet hopelessly dated, Michael York seems an odd choice for a leading man but this is smart sci-fi that only resonates more as you get older. Also, Peter Ustinov.

My Life In Movies

1977 Star Wars

As if I could pretend there would be any other choice for 1977. I was too young to see it when it first came out – it would be on the 1978 re-release (the one which added the “Episode IV” to the opening crawl) that I’d finally see it but it would shape cinema for the rest of my childhood.

My Life In Movies

1978 Grease

This was a close run choice between “Grease” and “Superman: The Movie” but given Randal Kleiser’s 1978 musical forms the basis of my earliest memory of going to the cinema, the man of steel will have to sit this one out, and it’s not the only time he’ll miss out on the number one spot.

My Life In Movies

1979 Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian

I may only have discovered it in my teenage years but that doesn’t stop Life Of Brian from being my favourite 1979 movie. He may not be the messiah, but this was a very easy choice.

My Life In Movies

1980 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

This is the first year that really gave me a tough choice. It could easily have been “Airplane!” and maybe it should have been “Superman II” (and when I say “Superman II” I mean the theatrical Richard Lester version. [Blasphemy!]) but there’s no resisting the power of the darkest of Lucas’ original trilogy.

My Life In Movies

1981 Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Not even the cynically trenchant observations of the writers of “The Big Bang Theory” can diminish the fact that this is peerless swashbuckling adventure cinema. One of those films which, when you happen upon it, regardless of how much you’ve missed you’ll want to watch the rest.

My Life In Movies

1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

One of my favourite movie of all time. Yes, it’s Star Trek, which for some seems to prohibit it from being considered a true great but it’s a masterclass of screenwriting, the epitome of how to successfully bring an old TV series back to big screen life and features career best performances from the entire cast.

My Life In Movies

1983 Trading Places

Hilarious, archly satirical and still painfully relevant, Aykroyd and Murphy are on top form, Jamie Lee Curtis is on mischievously topless form and veterans Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche class up the joint. Director John Landis gets the best from his top drawer cast and Star Wars finally misses out on being the best thing released that year.

They say that it’s around the age of 12 that you start to firm up your personal cultural touchstones, the things you watch, listen to and do at the cusp of your teenage years forms the benchmarks against which you judge everything from then onwards, especially anything which attempts to riff on your childhood favourite. That may go some way to explaining why I found 1984-1994 trickier than almost every other year. Were there just many more great movies in that decade or is it the rosy glow of nostalgia?

My Life In Movies

1984 Amadeus

For the longest time, this is the film I claimed was my all-time favourite movie but then I grew old enough not to care if people got sniffy about The Wrath Of Khan. Still, I do adore the sumptuousness of Milos Forman’s lavish adaptation. It remains one of my favourite movies of all time (even if my family weren’t similarly wowed when I finally shared it with them) and it made me a fan of F Murray Abraham forever. 1984 was an epic year, though, and could easily have gone to “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom”, “Ghostbusters”, “Gremlins”, “The Last Starfighter” or “Police Academy”.

My Life In Movies

1985 The Goonies

Indiana Jones junior shenanigans, its appeal is often alleged to be based more on nostalgia than quality, but that’s deeply unfair. The Director/ Producer/ Writer team of Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg and Christopher Columbus gives it a timesless quality that still plays well for kids these days and while it’s a bit ramshackle in places, it’s just so much fun it’s irresistible. Sorry, “Back To The Future”, “Rocky IV” and “Teenwolf”

My Life In Movies

1986 Aliens

Actually a better benchmark for ‘superior sequels’ than “The Empire Strikes Back”, Cameron’s follow-up to Scott’s original monster movie ramps up the actions and the aliens while underpinning it with themes of motherhood and corporate greed. Just the right amount of cartoonish tropery means you care about each and every grunt who meets their heroic or deservedly grisly death. Whether you’re watching the original or Director’s Cut, there’s simply too much here for “Big Trouble In Little China”, “Labyrinth”, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and “Poltergeist II” to overcome.

My Life In Movies

1987 Robocop

What about “The Lost Boys”? you may howl but for me, “Robocop” is the movie of 1987, just edging out “Predator”. It wasn’t an easy win, though, as I had “Spaceballs” pencilled in here for a while too. Peter Weller’s far too sincere performance in Verhoeven’s schlocky and gratuitous satire, though, gives this a rewatchability which sets it above its contemporaries.

My Life In Movies

1989 The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!

My overriding memory of seeing this in the cinema is my sides literally aching from having laughed so much only to nearly fall out of my seat at that last visual gag of Nordberg (O J Simpson) in his wheelchair careering down the bleachers and pin wheeling over the railing onto the baseball field right at the very end. And that’s my justification for choosing it for 1988 over “Die Hard”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Coming To America”, “Beetlejuice”, “Crocodile Dundee II” (my favourite of the Crocodile Dundee movies or even one of my guiltiest pleasures: “My Stepmother Is An Alien

My Life In Movies

1989 The Little Mermaid

The beginning of the Disney Renaissance and my personal favourite of Disney spectacular 1989 – 1994 run. ‘Under The Sea’ remains my showstopper benchmark for every subsequent Disney musical. Sorry, “Batman”, “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade”, “The Abyss”, “Back To The Future Part II”, “Lethal Weapon 2” and “Parenthood”.

My Life In Movies

1990 The Hunt For Red October

The first Tom Clancy Jack Ryan adaptation remains the best (the last one the worst) and it’s a shame Alec Baldwin didn’t continue in the role rather than the effective but workmanlike turn by Harrison Ford. 1990 was one of the toughest years to choose, too, and Red October may have squeaked through due to the crowded field: “Total Recall”, “Die Hard 2: Die Harder”, “Arachnophobia”, “Kindergarten Cop” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” would all have been good choices too.

My Life In Movies

1991 Beauty And The Beast

Robbed of the Best Picture Oscar (up yours, “Silence Of The Lambs”), my favourite movie of 1991 is a tale as old as time, which may go some way to explaining why the recent remake left me cold. If Belle and the Beast hadn’t got this year in the bag it could easily have gone to “The Addams Family”, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”, “Hot Shots”, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” or “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. And maybe “Silence Of The Lambs”…begrudgingly.

My Life In Movies

1992 The Muppet Christmas Carol

Sorry, Prince Ali Ababwa, but Kermit & Co’s note perfect Dickens adaptation is the only film I could have chosen for favourite of 1992. Nothing else even comes close

My Life In Movies

1993 Jurassic Park

An adventure 65 million years in the making and my current record holder for ‘most times seen in the cinema’, 1993 belongs to the Spielberg/ Crichton collaboration, despite “Mrs Doubtfire”, “Addams Family Values”, “Demolition Man”, “Cliffhanger” and the vastly underrated “Last Action Hero”.

My Life In Movies

1994 The Shawshank Redemption

Who couldn’t choose Shawshank in this year? Well, nearly me thanks to “The Lion King”, “True Lies”, “Stargate”, “The Mask” and maybe even “The Santa Clause

My Life In Movies

1995 Apollo 13

Free of the golden decade, the choices become easier again. Houston, we have no problem in choosing Ron Howard’s gripping true life drama as my favourite film of 1995.

My Life In Movies

1996 Scream

It may not be my favourite scary movie, but it’s my favourite movie of 1996 and catapulted Neve Campbell into my affections.

My Life In Movies

1997 The Devil’s Advocate

I’ve got a real soft spot for this satanic legal satire; there’s deliciousness to the acting prowess imbalance of Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino sharing the screen which adds to the fun. In the current age of remaking movies as TV series, this is one I’m genuinely surprised hasn’t been plundered for a new series. “Hell-A Law” anyone?

My Life In Movies

1998 The Wedding Singer

Yeah, an Adam Sandler film. Don’t @ me. I’m only joking; of course you can @ me. In fact, I’d love to hear what your favourite movie of 1998 is, but for me it’s this loving homage to the eighties powered by the almost immesurable chemisty between Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

My Life In Movies

1999 Fight Club

Fincher’s, Pitt’s and Norton’s finest. This nihilistic masterpiece of self-congratulatory masculinity may have a queasy edge of toxic machismo nearly twenty years later and its twist, like “The Sixth Sense” loses its impact after the first viewing, but there’s still so much to enjoy, not least of all the sheer number of people who embrace the movie while completely missing the point.

My Life In Movies

2000 Pitch Black

Gravel-voiced action megastar Vin Diesel gets his big break in this gritty, imaginative indie sci-fi horror which spawned two sequels of varying insanity and quality.

My Life In Movies

2001 The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Arguably the best of the trilogy (or sextology if you include “The Hobbit” films) – and what an argument to have – it’s everything that was great about Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth odyssey and like nothing we had seen before at this stage.

My Life In Movies

2002 Blade II

Another superior sequel, better in every conceivable way than its predecessor even despite the slightly awkward need to retcon Whistler’s ‘death’ in the first movie. Marvel has never been darker or as badass as this again.

My Life In Movies

2003 Big Fish

It was a close run thing, with “Kill Bill Vol. 1”, “X2” or “Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World” all vying for attention but there’s something about Tim Burton’s kooky and sentimentally sunny biography of tall tale teller Edward Bloom. Seeing as I couldn’t choose “The World According To Garp” for 1982, this is the next best thing.

My Life In Movies

2004 The Incredibles

Simply the finest version of “The Fantastic Four” ever brought to cinematic life. Not just a perfect animated family movie, but a perfect comic book/ superhero movie too. How Brad Bird has not yet been snapped up by either Marvel or DC simply beggars belief. He’s the one man I would trust to rehabilitate Superman within the current DCEU.

My Life In Movies

2005 King Kong

Christopher Nolan’s gritty and much needed retooling of the Batman mythos gets pipped at the post here by Peter Jackson’s sumptuous remake of the 1933 classic.

My Life In Movies

2006 The Devil Wears Prada

Bitchy with performances to die for, Streep is magnificent while Tucci, Hathaway and Blunt give as good as they get. I’ve watched this multiple times and love it every single viewing.

My Life In Movies

2007 Hot Fuzz

The definite high point of The Cornetto Trilogy, Edgar Wright’s sharply observed and affectionate spoof of overly macho action movie tropes is perfectly realised in the idyllic English countryside, magnifying the comic potential.

My Life In Movies

2008 Iron Man

Yeah, I chose “Iron Man” above “The Dark Knight”. Both are great movies in their own right, both were followed by sequels which failed to live up to them but only one launched an unparalleled cinematic franchise while the other arguably crippled an attempt to create another. This is probably also a good time to reiterate that this is a list of my favourite movies from each year, not my list of the objective best movies of each year.

My Life In Movies

2009 Watchmen

There is nobody finer than Zack Snyder when it comes to bringing the panels and imagery of a comic book to painstakingly recreated life on the big screen. Where he’s working from an established text and therefore doesn’t need to take responsibility for story and character, he’s phenomenal. For me, “Watchmen” remains his benchmark.

My Life In Movies

2010 Inception

Christopher Nolan finally claims a top spot with three movies in one. This sci-fi thriller our-Bonds Bond and manages to deliver both kick-ass action and philosophical food for thought in equal measure.

My Life In Movies

2011 Arthur Christmas

Aardman brings their magic to bear on Christmas with a twinkly and imaginative spin on the legend of Santa Claus, providing a satisfying explanation for almost every aspect of the myth.

My Life In Movies

2012 Avengers Assemble

It seems so obvious now, but it’s worth remembering just how huge it was that not only did this film work, it worked brilliantly. Still one of the best cinema experiences of my life, the theatre was buzzing from start to finish and I came out of seeing it on a high I don’t think I’ve ever really come all the way down from.

My Life In Movies

2013 The Wolf Of Wall Street

Gratuitous, foul-mouthed and gob-smackingly true, this is the film Leo should have won the Oscar for. Absolutely flies by despite its three hour run time, and packed with great performances from the entire cast.

My Life In Movies

2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel

Like a cardboard theatre brought to ideosyncratic life, it’s simply exquisite to look at and listen to. Sublime.

My Life In Movies

2015 Tomorrowland: A World Beyond

A movie hill I am willing to die on, this movie was ahead of its time and cruelly rejected. It’s deeply Ironic this movie failed to find an audience with its message that negativity and nihilism breeds its own self-fulfilling prophecy but I adored its pro-science, pro-intelligence optimism. Little wonder the world which rejected this movie and its moral ended up voting for Brexit and Trump.

My Life In Movies

2016 The Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Packed with character and sly humour, Taika Waititi beautifully realised, quirky adaptation of the story of a kid and his foster uncle going on the run in the bush deals with weighty themes whilst keeping everything light and frothy.

My Life In Movies

2017 The Greatest Showman

It was love at first listen for this movie – for the whole Craggus family. And even after relentless repeated listenings to the soundtrack in the car and at home and multiple cinema viewings, including sing-alongs, I still love this movie sincerely and unironically.

My Life In Movies

2018 Avengers: Infinity War

Stunning, thrilling and that shocking climax – if your taste in superhero movies tends towards the MCU, then this was an astonishingly successful start to the end of a 22-movie story arc. Worth the midnight screening I went to and the three more times I saw it in the cinema in the couple of days that followed. And the two more after that. And the countless rewatches at home.

My Life In Movies

2019 The Favourite

You might have been expecting Avengers: Endgame to take this top spot but it’s my least favourite Avengers movie because it’s an ending and I didn’t (and still don’t) want the Infinity Saga to end. Instead, I was absolutely beguiled by Yorgos Lanthimos’ dizzying comedy drama which brought a touch of Blackadder to the big screen.

My Life In Movies

2020 Emma

Another period drama surprise, this updated Austen adaptation crackles with sexual tension thanks to a magnetic performances from Anya Taylor-Joy.

My Life In Movies

2021 Encanto

An exuberant, affirmative celebration of Columbian culture infused with every-one-a-banger songs, wonderful character design and an emotional payload that rewards repeated viewings. Disney’s finest of the past decade.

My Life In Movies

2022 Violent Night

Absurd, gratuitously violent, funny and still somehow heartwarming and magical, Violent Night may be the 2022 movie I’ve rewatched the most thanks to David Harbour’s flawed Saint Nick.

My Life In Movies

2023 Saltburn

In a year which featured both Barbie and Oppenheimer, it’s Emerald Fennell’s deliciously dark and twisted Saltburn that ended up being my favourite of the year. To those who only caught on to it on the small screen, you missed out by not catching it on the big screen.

My Life In Movies

2024* Dune Part Two

Epic, immersive and explosively kinetic, for once a sequel lived up to the hype and while it’s still early days for 2024, the bar’s been set pretty damn high already. By the way, this almost went to Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, a film I watched on my actual birthday and absolutely loved.

* Up to April 2024

So there you have it. Just over 50 years’ worth of favourite movies. Looking forward to updating this again in a few years’ time.

logo

Related posts

The Postman (1997) Review

The Postman (1997) Review

Back in 1997, "The Postman" - Kevin Costner’s grand American fairytale - seemed like a self-indulgent vanity project for its star/ director.I mean, who in their right mind would believe a story where 2013 America is laid waste by disease and destitution while a blowhard strongman...

Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E03 – Temporal Edict Review

Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E03 - Temporal Edict Review

TEMPORAL EDICT sees LOWER DECKS confront one of the franchise’s most absurd tendencies – its refusal to acknowledge music from any time after the early 20th century. Tendi and Mariner bring heavy metal to light entertainment as they rock out during Boimler’s staid violin recital and...

Zombeavers (2014) Review

Zombeavers (2014) Review

I had such high hopes for "Zombeavers". Okay, maybe high isn't the right word. Moderate hopes? Well, in any event I guess I was hoping for a goofy, gruesome and funny schlockfest befitting its kooky central concept. The fact that it was from the producers of "American Pie", "Cabin Fever"...

Found footage films get a wedgie and a whole load of fart jokes in A Haunted House (2013)

Found footage films get a wedgie and a whole load of fart jokes in A Haunted House (2013)

I've a real soft spot for spoof and parody movies. I enjoy the idea of taking movies, which I love and am passionate about, and holding them up to a fun house mirror to magnify and tweak their foibles.  I'm always willing to give them a shot whether they're works of genius...

4 Comments

  1. The Inner Circle April 22, 2019

    Well I have seen 30 of your 45 films…..you definitely picked some dandies in there.
    How many of these films do you own outright?

    • The Craggus April 22, 2019

      Every single one except for The Favourite. 🙂

  2. Chris April 23, 2019

    Great list. Love The Goonies. I need to check out Pitch Black

  3. Realweegiemidget Reviews April 19, 2024

    Great list, and a great post idea!

Comments are closed.