Ten great things

For those who haven’t heard, The Great Digital Film Festival is currently presenting “Most Wanted Mondays” at Cineplex Theatres. Most Wanted Mondays is an initiative to present the films most recommended by the public every Monday night, according to a set schedule.

To date, this includes movies titles like Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Top Gun and The Godfather, although there is still lots of time to vote on which movies you want to be shown on Monday nights to come. In fitting with the Most Wanted Mondays theme, the following is a list of my personal favorite films (in no particular order) that definitely deserve another run in theatres.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It definitely is a wonderful life when watching this movie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do almost everything in between. The first time I watched this film I expected it to be a little bit lame (I mean, come on, it was made in the ’40s!), but it exceeded my expectations times about 1,000. My aunt and uncle used to watch this movie on Christmas Eve every year. I can’t think of a more fitting movie for watching in front of a warm fire place while the snow drifts down outside. That being said, snow is not a prerequisite for the viewing of this movie; it’s good anytime, anywhere.

2. Mary Poppins (1964)

This is one of those great films that allows you to be a kid again, if only for a couple hours. Julie Andrews is charming and original, while Dick Van Dyke does what he does best, adding some great comedic value. Pair that with sidewalk drawings that come to life, buoyant laughter and kite flying, and you’ve got a movie that never fails to amuse. But if you’re all about the logic (“Wait a minute, laughter doesn’t actually make people levitate!”), don’t ever watch this movie with me. For those precious two hours, everything is real and possible — thus, the greatness of Mary Poppins.

3. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

This movie gives us a valued look into the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. The massacre lasted 100 days, and by the time international news sources got wind of the reality of it, the worst was over. Don Cheadle portrays Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who shelters over 1,000 Tutsi refugees from the Hutus. The film is a true-life story — inspiring, heartbreaking and incredible all at once. It reminds us of the depth human character is capable of, and inspires us to attempt to achieve this depth ourselves.

4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

One of my favourite movies of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the personification of every high school kid’s dream, only better. Ferris Bueller became one of my heroes when I saw this film for the first time. Seriously, who else can ride around Chicago in a Ferrari, impersonate multiple authority figures and become the hit of a parade, all while dodging the high school principle? It’s easily one of the best high school rebellion movies out there. If you didn’t immediately start thinking up a scheme that would get you out of school or work (involving a mannequin, clammy hands and a recording of someone snoring) after you saw it, you didn’t watch it correctly.

5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The storyline is the opposite of linear, the characters are ridiculous and the interweaving narratives leave the audience completely blind as to what might happen next. It’s quirky and frustrating at the same time. But even though it’s a “what-the-hell-just-happened” kind of movie, you’ll be left with a satisfied feeling, as if the film has actually accomplished something.

6. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Personally, I’m a huge fan of films that get us cheering when the “bad guy” outsmarts the “good guy,” especially when the “bad guy” is a youthful underdog I can relate to. In Catch Me If You Can, we’re along for the ride as Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) forges cheques across the country and passes himself off as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, all before he turns 20. The FBI agent chasing Frank proves inadequate each time he gets close to catching the elusive youth. The plot isn’t exactly linear, which helps the story a lot in my opinion, as it builds some great suspense. Even if you’re not into in-depth analysis, you should still have fun watching the little guy outwit the big guys.

7. Schindler’s List (1993)

An amazing, heart-felt tribute to the millions who lost their lives during the Holocaust, to the ones who made it through, and to Oskar Schindler himself. Nobody could have done it better and with more feeling than Steven Spielberg, who took the time to speak with survivors of the Holocaust and dutifully record their testimonies. At three hours and 17 minutes, this film isn’t short by any metric, but it’s definitely worth the time.

8. The Jerk (1979)

This is an absolutely terrific comedy, one that both stands the test of time and showcases why Steve Martin is such an onscreen talent. If the near perfect ukulele scene with Martin and Bernadette Peters weren’t enough, it would be worth it for the youth of today to see this film in theatres just for the knowledge that Martin was once above dull family schlock like the Cheaper by the Dozen and Pink Panther remakes.

9. Modern Times (1936)

If you don’t think a silent film can be hilarious today, you need only to watch Modern Times and you’ll be proven beyond wrong. There’s a reason Charlie Chaplin is still known for his performances in silent films, and Modern Times makes this obvious. From comic roller blading to dealing with the tedium of factory work, Chaplin proves himself the kind of star that helped build the film industry in the early 20th century. His facial expressions alone would be enough to make us giggle, but paired with his ability to physically throw himself into the scene, we get a timeless, uproarious film that I’m sure will live on for generations to come.

10. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

This one is pretty recent compared to the other movies on this list, but I just thought I’d put it in here to reiterate its greatness. Slumdog Millionaire follows three kids (two brothers and their friend) as they grow up in the slums of Mumbai. Sometimes the lives of the children intersect, and sometimes they are separate. The movie is entertaining in itself, but above all, it shows us that everyone has something to offer in society, and that in the very end, money doesn’t matter as much as a person’s inner strength and character.