Xander’s Top 6 Films (as of 2014)

The last time Peter, Elizabeth, and Xander were in the same place they each made a Top Six Movies of All Time list. Obviously The Shawshank Redemption topped mine (as it should every Top movie list), but Peter insisted that including a movie so universally loved was “boring” and “a chumpy chump answer for chumps”.

Let’s just say there’s a reason that was the last time we three were ever together*.

However, the point was taken and so the list was changed from “My Top 6 Movies” to “My Top Six Distinct Films” (“distinct” here meaning dissimilar in tone or genre). For example, note that The Green Mile isn’t on the list, simply because it’s too similar to Shawshank (which I’ve decided transcends my list, and is officially at “position 0”).

*Travel costs and busy schedules mainly.

Xander Top

1. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Austin Powers is one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen. Fun, funny, and above all silly: this is a fairly obvious number one for me*. Growing up with it probably changes my love for the movie, but I’m really not sure by how much. It really doesn’t set out to do much more than “be a funny movie” – a mark it it hits flawlessly, again and again. With the exception of the opening titles to The Spy Who Shagged Me the sequels haven’t ever impressed me nearly as much, which is a pity.

*remembering that The Shawshank Redemption is too chumpy to get the #1 position it deserves.

2. Sin City
I only saw in Sin City this year, after hearing that Joseph Gordon Levitt would be in the sequel, and holy shit. It’s completely packed with over-the-top cartoonish nonsense and I love it. Over the months since I first saw this little piece of cinematic magic I’ve rewatched it a bunch of times, and I’m still blown away every time. From the opening vignette (“The Customer is Always Right”), Sin City had me hooked in a way that I haven’t been since Cloud Atlas.

While the actual stories of Sin City are hardly Shakespeare, they’re presented in such an interesting and stylised way you don’t even notice. For a film shot almost entirely in black and white on a green screen, Sin City is bursting at the seams with colourful characters and locations. So far reviews of the sequel (A Dame to Kill For) haven’t been super great, but taken on its own Sin City will leave you happy and quite possibly a little bit murderous.

3. Spider-Man 2
When the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy came out I was too young to really be interested in film, so while I probably saw at least the first one it was easily forgotten. In 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man was released to lacklustre reviews. I seemed to be alone in how much I loved it. Every time it came up people would complain about how poor it was compared to Raimi’s version, and the hype reached a point where I just had to watch the originals. I’ll say: as good as they are, they don’t make Amazing Spider-Man any worse by their existence.

Spider-Man 2 quickly became my favourite superhero movie. The first time I watched it, I was enjoying the film so much that when they introduced an actual villain I was worried it would get in the way of the “Peter Parker doesn’t want to be Spider-Man” storyline. Nope – the villain storyline isjust as good and merges seamlessly with the other plot. Spider-Man 2 has a lot going on and absolutely none of it is wasted. (And, just like Austin Powers and (supposedly) Sin City, Spider-Man 2 is vastly superior to the other films in the series. The first Raimi Spider-Man film is just average and the third is exactly as bad as people say, but Spider-Man 2 is stupendous.)

4. Turbo
Kids films would be a guilty pleasure for me if I actually felt any guilt about watching them, but children’s media as a whole is a bag of tricks that has always dazzled me. 2012 brought My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic, 2013 gave me Ruby Gloom, and 2014 dropped Turbo onto my doorstep.

I really wish I could pinpoint why I enjoy this film so much. It’s profoundly silly (the premise is a snail going to race in the Indy 500) but the animation and voice-acting is on point from start to finish (Turbo was the second Dreamworks film to have Ryan Reynolds as a lead, the second being The Croods – a film whose absence from this list will be discussed in further detail some day.) Turbo isn’t a film I expect to last the ages like Toy Story or Ice Age, but I’m glad it exists and right now there’s no other film that deserves its spot on my list.

5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off were almost tied, but this one narrowly wins out because of how truly great Matthew Broderick is in it. Practically the daydream of bored student in school, Ferris Bueller’s antics in this film are consistently as hilarious as they are implausible. Without the second concurrent storyline Ferris’ sister gets and the emotional arc explored by Cameron (Ferris’ best friend) the film would probably fall flat, but they managed to tie everything together to create an unforgettable experience.

I’ve heard claims that this movie is only considered good because of nostalgic reasons. I wasn’t around when the film was made (literally – I was born 10 years after it was released) so I can’t speak for those who were, but this movie has earned a place on my list because of just how well the silliness and the seriousness come together to form something great, no matter which decade you first saw it.

6. Malcolm
Malcolm is great. Following an emotionally crippled inventor living in Melbourne (the titular Malcolm) and his more criminally minded housemates, both the character and the film delve into the territory of quiet genius. Each and every joke gives the feeling of complete delight, and the plot development is fantastic. This is a weird and off-beat movie that probably appeals to a very particular sense of humour, but if you’re like me and you have that same sense of humour, Malcolm is deserving of your time.

And so there you have it! That’s my top six films as of this moment. I plan to remake this list some day – right now, I’m 18 years old. When he was my age, four of my brother’s Top Six Films didn’t exist, and the other two he hadn’t even seen yet. In the next few years I’m anticipating regular changes in taste, and of course each year brings a collection of brilliant new films. For now though, this my list – and I love every film on it.

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