15) Donnie Darko (2001)
Karen Pommeroy: This could be the death of an entire way of life, the end of an era...
Donnie: Why should we care?
Karen Pommeroy: Because the rabbits are us, Donnie.
Donnie: Why should I mourn for a rabbit like he was human?
Karen Pommeroy: Are you saying that the death of one species is less tragic than another?
Donnie: Of course. The rabbit's not like us. It has no... keen look at something in the mirror, it has no history books, no photographs, no knowledge of sorrow or regret... I mean, I'm sorry, Miss Pommeroy, don't get me wrong; y'know, I like rabbits and all. They're cute and they're horny. And if you're cute and you're horny, then you're probably happy, in that you don't know who you are and why you're even alive. And you just wanna' have sex, as many times as possible, before you die... I mean, I just don't see the point in crying over a dead rabbit! Y'know, who... who never even feared death to begin with.
Donnie Darko follows an intelligent and confused Donnie (Jake gyllenhaal) who sees visions of what seems to be an imaginary friend, prophesying the end of the world... the plot follows the concept of alternate realities.
14) Taxi Driver (1976)
Travis Bickle: June twenty-ninth. I gotta get in shape. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on there will be 50 pushups each morning, 50 pullups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
Travis Bickle (Robert Deniro) is a loner from NYC who has trouble sleeping nights and gets a job as a taxi driver. During this period he comes to focus on the worst in people, driving him further into alienation. After meeting a woman and failing to gain her affection, he finds a young prostitute in need of help. Lost in his own confused existence he struggles to find a way to do what is right in his own mind, eventually going on a murderous rampage all in an attempt to save the young prostitute, in the end being regarded as a hero.
13) One Hour Photo (2002)
Sy Parrish: Family photos depict smiling faces... births, weddings, holidays, children's birthday parties. People take pictures of the happy moments in their lives. Someone looking through our photo album would conclude that we had led a joyous, leisurely existence free of tragedy. No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.
Sy (Robin Williams) is a knowledgeable photography developer in a large, well known department store. A depressed, older man who leads a life of solitude, Sy knows most of his customers well - and even the lives they lead due to the pictures he develops of them. After taking a liking to one of the families, Sy becomes obsessed. Wishing he had a larger part in their lives, he seeks them out, and finds faults in their seemingly flawless relationship. Trying to set things straight, he does more harm than good, showing signs of sociopathic behavior.
12) Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Brooks: [narrating] Dear fellas, I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called "The Brewer". And a job bagging groceries at the Foodway. It's hard work and I try to keep up but my hands hurt most of the time. I don't think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello. But he never does. I hope wherever he is he's okay and makin' new friends. I have trouble sleepin' at night. I have bad dreams like I'm falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun, an, an rob the Foodway so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus. I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense anymore. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me.
[carves "Brooks was here" into wood. Admires his work for a moment. Then kicks out the table beneath him and hangs himself]
The focus is mostly on main character Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker who has been accused of murdering his wife. Andy understands the ways of the system, abides by them, gets his foot in the door and soon becomes a well known, trusted inmate. Using the time and respect hes been given, he plans for days when he sees freedom once more.
11) SLC Punk (1998)
Stevo: Posers were people who looked like punks but they did it for fashion. And they were fools, they'd say "anarchy in the UK." What the fuck's that? Anarchy in the UK. What good is that to those of us in Utah, America? It was a Sex Pistols thing. They were British, they were allowed to go on about Anarchy in the UK. You don't live your life by lyrics.
When the movie starts you're expecting these young punks to live by the saying "drink, fight, fuck". Stevo (Matthew Lillard), the main character is looking for ways around his well planned, well schooled, future as a lawyer. The movie lands face first in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bored and anarchists at heart, these kids waste their days away downing the government and everything else restraining them from living and breathing free speech. Soon enough, the movie twists and some needed deep thinking leads Stevo to reevaluate his future.
10) The Warriors (1979)
Cyrus: You're standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there's over a hundred more. That's 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and twenty-thousand more, not organized, but ready to fight: 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain't but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it?
Philosophical and well known leader of the most powerful New York gang, Cyrus (Roger Hill), plans a meeting to unite all of NYC's gangs together to fight against the real problem; authority. After being assassinated during his speech, Cyrus' killers have blamed the fired shot at the closest gang in proximity, The Warriors. The gang has to make it through the night, back home to Coney Island, Brooklyn, by foot, without being killed by any of the other surrounding gangs.
9) Memento (2000)
Leonard Shelby: I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different.
Leonard (Guy Pearce) has anterograde amnesia from a violent struggle in his home in where his wife was raped and murdered. He set out on a quest with nothing but notes and leads he's left for himself (on his body and in notes and pictures), revenge being his only reason to live. The movie plays its scenes in reverse chronological order to give the watcher a more in depth look at Leonard's condition.
8) Gangs of New York (2002)
Bill: How old are you, Amsterdam?
Amsterdam Vallon: I'm not sure, sir. I never did quite figure it.
Bill: I'm forty-seven. Forty-seven years old. You know how I stayed alive this long? Fear. Fearsome acts. A man steals from me, I cut off his hand. If he offends me, I cut out his tongue. If he stands up against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike and lift it up for all to see. A spectacle of fearsome acts. That's what maintains the order of things. Fear.
The movies takes place from 1846-1860s. New York is piecing itself together as a city, yet civilization is just as easily crumbling under pressure. The Irish are looking to settle in America and the fights between the natives and immigrants seems immanent due to dividing differences. Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) the leader of The Nativists savagely takes respect, killing anyone who thinks unkindly of him. Amsterdam, (Leonardo DiCaprio) is set on a course for revenge, aiming to even the score against The Butcher for killing his father.
7) American History X (1998)
Danny Vinyard: So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'
Set in Venice Beach, CA in the late 90's, Derek (Edward Norton) and Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong) are two young men feeling the effects of their ever changing neighborhood. What used to be a Caucasian community is now predominately African-American. Tension is mounting between the younger members of each race, making it harder and harder to live amongst one another. During a period of being incarcerated, Derek realizes the good in all people, regardless of their ethnicity, and how wrong he was to be an outspoken, cold hearted human being. After changing his own ways he tries to help his brother change his, as Danny has already started down the same dangerous path that landed Derek in prison, in hopes to save his family.
6) Rescue Dawn (2007)
Dieter: Empty what is full. Fill what is empty. Scratch what itches.
Dieter Dangler (Christian Bale) is a German born American pilot, who, during his first mission of the Vietnam war, gets shot down over Laos. What starts off like another war film quickly turns into an all out survival for Deiter in the jungles of southeast Asia completely weaponless and thirsty under hot and humid conditions. He is soon picked up by the enemy, tortured and sent to a camp where he spends all of his time thinking of a way to escape not only the confines of the walls, but the jungles around it. The film is based on a true story.
5) Waiting... (2005)
Monty: With women, it's always one of two things. Either they won't sleep with you, and then there's really no need to ever call them again. Or they DO sleep with you... and then there's really no need to ever call them again.
Waiting is a movie about a bunch of colorful 20 somethings working at a place by the name of Shenaniganz. The story focuses mostly on Dean (Justin Long) who seems for the most part to have his head on straight, and his coworkers who have no real ambitions (namely Monty, played by Ryan Reynolds) outside of their job and the following weekend. Funny comedy about everything that shouldn't go on at your favorite restaurant.
4) Sunshine (2007)
Capa: Our sun is dying. Mankind faces extinction. Seven years ago the Icarus project sent a mission to restart the sun but that mission was lost before it reached the star. Sixteen months ago, I, Robert Capa, and a crew of seven left earth frozen in a solar winter. Our payload a stellar bomb with a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island. Our purpose to create a star within a star.
Capa: Eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb. My bomb. Welcome to Icarus Two.
It's 2057 and our sun is dying. The last hope for Earth and all mankind rest with the team of Icarus Two, a spaceship traveling to the star to deliver a massive nuclear bomb in hopes to reignite it. This is not the first attempt to do so (the original Icarus and her crew disappeared during their mission), but it is the last. With the fate of an entire planet resting on their shoulders, everything that could go wrong for the team does; but not all hope is lost.
3) Castaway (2000)
Chuck Noland: We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and... knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had... lost her. 'cos I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So... I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I - , I couldn't even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*. And that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?
Chuck (Tom Hanks), a Fed Ex executive finds himself stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes over the ocean killing everyone else on board. Living through the accident is only the first of many problems to come. Being one of the only characters in the movie (with little dialog throughout) the movie is considered unusual for Hollywood cinema. A story of struggle, hope, and survival. It showcases all of the things that we take for granted on a daily basis, and shouldn't.
2) No Country for Old Men (2007)
Anton Chigurh: And you know what's going to happen now. You should admit your situation. There would be more dignity in it.
Carson Wells: You go to hell.
Anton Chigurh: Let me ask you something. If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?
Carson Wells: Do you have any idea how goddamn crazy you are?
Anton Chigurh: You mean the nature of this conversation?
Carson Wells: I mean the nature of you.
Country sheriff, Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is no longer in his prime. It's June 1980 and he's older, ready to retire and having trouble keeping up with the changing times of a region becoming overwhelmingly violent. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across a drug deal gone horribly wrong in the deserts of west Texas and makes off with the 2 million in cash left behind. This sets into motion a dangerous game of cat and mouse as professional hitman, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) attempts to hunt down and kill Llewelyn, all the while Sheriff Bell is one step behind. Some of the scenes in this movie are straight from my nightmares, I swear.
1) Stand by Me (1986)
Narrator: It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives like busboys in a restaurant.
I dont know, maybe it's just nostalgia, but I love Stand by Me. It's 1959 and four pre-teens search out another boy who has gone missing somewhere on the outskirts of town, beyond the fields and woods of Castle Rock. On the same mission (with a more selfish motive), a gang of teenagers led by Ace (Kiefer Sutherland) are willing to go to any lengths to get to the body first. It's a coming of age film expressing great emotion, innocence, loss, happiness and connection between the boys and shows how friends will never come along in our lives ever again - like the friends we had when we were young.
It wasn't easy coming up with only 15 movies. So, here's a bunch of close calls.
28 days later
The Darjeeling Limited
Dumb and Dumber
Into the Wild
Requiem For a Dream
Saving Private Ryan
There Will Be Blood
The Wedding Singer