Thirty-Eight Films (Favorite Movies from Each Year of My Life)

I’ve found these exercises so fascinating. Other people’s lists have made me reconsider movies I’d decided not to investigate (should I watch Motel Hell???) and notice my own tastes: When you force me to choose, I often pick horror, comedy-horror, and children’s movies, and I very frequently rank stories about girls and women higher than my guy film fan friends. Neither of which are claims of aesthetic superiority. But hey, if I throw my list out there, maybe those patterns will lead you guys to suggest movies I really should seek out? eve_tushnet@yahoo.com My Netflix queue is maxed out but I keep a list in my commonplace book so I can replenish it every time it drops below 500. (My Netflix queue and my stacks of unread books testify that I have not fully accepted my mortality.)

Links are to my reviews.

1978: Animal House. (I haven’t seen Killer of Sheep.)

1979: Oh, fine, Apocalypse Now. (I haven’t seen Nosferatu.)

1980: The Elephant Man.

1981: The Great Muppet Caper. (Huh, Wolfen and The Howling came out the same year! Both good.)

1982: The Last Unicorn. There is no competition here. One of my favorite movies of all time. Lyrical, touching, funny; gave me the only movie-induced childhood nightmares I can remember, so it is obviously beloved.

But let me take one second to say it kills me that this entry can’t be Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, a truly great movie.

1983: Something Wicked This Way Comes. Or maaaaaayyyybe The Hunger.

1984: Gremlins. And now I have the theme music in my head.

1985: Return to Oz. (I haven’t seen Come and See, even though it tells you what to do right there in the title.) WAIT NO Netflix thinks My Beautiful Laundrette was 1986 but Letterboxd says 1985! So okay, My Beautiful Laundrette. Few movies could beat Return to Oz but Hanif Kureishi is a hard-working man.

1986: Therese/Labyrinth. Total split, cannot choose. These just aren’t comparable movies and I love both of them intensely.

1987: Withnail & I. No question. My favorite alcoholism/addiction movie. (I haven’t seen Babette’s Feast but come on, you guys know me, that wouldn’t change things here.)

1988: Okay, the h*** with it, Lair of the White Worm. (I haven’t seen Decalogue.)

A year of truly great runners-up: Coming to America, Heathers, Tapeheads. Who Framed Roger Rabbit! What a great year. No wonder we won the Cold War.

1989: Roger and Me, speaking of global economic/political ideologies, although it might’ve been Do the Right Thing if I’d seen that more recently.

1990: Paris Is Burning. Also, the first ten minutes of The Witches.

1991: Barton Fink. This is the year where I start remembering a lot of these from their theatrical releases! The Commitments, Fried Green Tomatoes, Dead Again. I wonder which ones would hold up. (Sadly, I bet FGT doesn’t. I should reread the book though.)

1992: Raise the Red Lantern. Although whoa, Candyman is ’92? Tough call.

1993: Farewell My Concubine.

1994: Either Heavenly Creatures or Barcelona. Neither leaps out at me. (I haven’t seen Ed Wood.)

1995: The Addiction. Sorry, Casino, I gotta do me.

1996: The Craft. This year is rough, man. (I haven’t seen Breaking the Waves. I haven’t seen Lone Star sober.)

1997: Grosse Pointe Blank. Classic example of, “This really is a good movie, but also, I saw it at the exact right time to focus on its virtues and ignore its flaws.”

1998: The Last Days of Disco. Here we go, a Stillman I’m very happy to see in the #1 slot. Sorry about Ringu and, frankly, Dark Harbor. That’s an underrated one. The marriage/”until you’ve done the time” speech is glorious. A real B-movie gem. (I haven’t seen Prince of Egypt.)

1999: The Blair Wi–arrrrrggghhh fine, Eyes Wide Shut. I had serious problems with EWS but it’s powerful and distinctive. Has a strong vision of the world and a weird angle on that vision. (I haven’t seen The Iron Giant.)

me, whispering: (but really Galaxy Quest)

me, in the confessional: (but really Cruel Intentions)

2000: In the Mood for Love.

2001: Donnie Darko. (I haven’t seen Together.)

2002: 28 Days Later. (I haven’t seen Frailty or Lilo and Stitch.)

2003: Weird, Letterboxd definitely doesn’t put movies in the same place that Victor did. So, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring. Oh man, I hate to lose Tokyo Godfathers though.

2004: Since we’ve moved Spring, Summer I can put Shaun of the Dead here! But I’d rather have Tokyo Godfathers back.

2005: The Descent, although I hate to lose Nobody Knows. (I haven’t seen Ushpizin.)

2006: The Queen. There is significant kneeling in this movie!

2007: Ratatouille. (I haven’t seen Into Great Silence.)

2008: Rachel Getting Married. (I haven’t seen 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days or In Bruges..)

2009: Police, Adjective.

2010: Of Gods and Men. (I’m using the IMDB year here because I can.)

2011: Damsels in Distress (switching back to Letterboxd.)

2012: Beyond the Hills .according to IMDB. (I haven’t seen Planet of Snail.)

2013: We Are the Best!

2014: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night or maybe What We Do in the Shadows. Or Creep, honestly.

2015: The Fits. (More.) Using the Letterboxd date here. Another easy choice and all-time favorite.

2016: Tickled. What a strange note to end on!

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About Eve Tushnet