‘Tis the season to be thankful! No matter who you are, being surrounded by Thanksgiving cheer (and turkey) will cause you to reflect some on what you’re thankful for in life. Since we love movies so much here, enjoy a list of 10 movies–5 a piece by our contributors, John DiBiase and John Underdown–that we are grateful exist.
John DiBiase’s Picks
1. Ghostbusters (1984)
It’s tough not to choose my all-time favorite film as the one I’m most thankful for. I first saw the original 1984 film in the theater as a kid and have been a big fan ever since. The film spawned a cartoon show I loved as a kid (and the toys!) and a decent sequel that I loved as a kid (and realized its flaws more so as an adult). As an adult, it’s still a go-to film when I need a pick-me-up and/or a dose of nostalgia. And with new merch and comics and such still being produced, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. (We’ll pretend last year’s reboot doesn’t exist.)
2. Star Wars (1977)
If this were to be my top movies list, 1980’s Star Wars sequel Empire Strikes Back would be number 2. But for this list, I have to give props to the film that started it all in 1977. This truly has been a gift that keeps on giving (in spite of the sequels), with a new film just weeks away and other goodness like last year’s Rogue One.
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
I still remember seeing this one on vacation when I was a kid. I love this film, as well as the spiritual elements surrounding the Holy Grail and Indiana’s leap(s) of faith. I also love the comedic aspects of this adventure film. It’s just an all-around favorite.
4. Back to the Future (1985)
This one I’m thankful for for no other reason than just I’m happy this franchise exists. It’s another one I grew up on and still love to this day. And I still love revisiting them regularly.
5. Roman Scandals (1933)
I realize this is totally out of left field, but I have a vivid memory of sitting on a chair in my grandparents’ house with my Grandfather lounging in his recliner, showing us this oldie-but-goodie. He LOVED the movies he grew up on and he shared them with my mother and us growing up. His appreciation for them was infectious and, to this day, I have a great love for old classics, including just about anything you’d find starring Cary Grant, Eddie Cantor (who is in this film, Roman Scandals), William Powell, Myrna Loy, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, The Marx Brothers and many others. Roman Scandals is still a beloved comedy for me, along with many other films from Eddie.
John Underdown’s Picks
1. Toy Story (1995)
I feel old saying this, but I saw this film in the theater as a kid. And it changed my life. I had always been an imaginative boy, but Toy Story blew the doors of my mind wide open and dared me to push the boundaries of creativity. The movie also ages well and is a master class on balancing humor, heart, characters, plot, etc. It gives me a level of creativity and artistry to look up to and holds a cherished place in my heart.
2. Batman Begins (2005)
I remember a schoolmate raving enthusiastically about this movie coming out. My brother took me to see it shortly after it released in theaters and it, like Toy Story, also changed me. This time, it gave me a new perspective on how superheroes could be shaped. I grew up watching Batman on the ’90s animated show and held that memory as my standard. Christopher Nolan’s film showed me a different kind of Dark Knight and a unique way of telling an origin story. It also got me back into superheroes in general and drew me deeper into geeky culture.
3. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
It’s rare to have a spiritual experience at a movie, but I had one while viewing this. Regardless of what you think about its bloody content, Mel Gibson, or even portraying Jesus on screen, this film packed a punch in reminding me that Christ’s death wasn’t clean, sanitary, and painless. It might be an odd (even morose) choice, but I am thankful for this movie.
4. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Believe it or not, I had heard about Harry Potter before I ever knew of Tolkien’s world. A friend introduced me to this movie and it brought about an imaginative shift in my mind. I had never seen fantasy like this and the mix of drama, action, and epic speeches inspired me to take my writing in a similar direction. For years I was constantly drawn to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and drew from its rich wells of inspiration.
5. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004)
This movie is goofy, pointless, and utterly stupid. And that’s what makes it so great. No spiritual or imaginative epiphanies here, just a movie that made me laugh until I was crying. This indie film was written as a loving spoof of old sci-fi/horror movies of the ’50s and it does not disappoint. It also reawakened a love for old monster flicks, for better or worse.
There you have it! Ten films we are thankful for. What are some movies that you would put on your list?