20. The Strangers (2008)
Although this 21st century film uses a lot of cliché scare tactics, it definitely meets a thriller/horror movie’s expectations. Set, basically, in a house in the woods, two lovers find themselves terrorized by three masked “strangers.” Horrors have been mediocre during the last few decades, but this one serves its purpose. If you’re looking for a good scare, this well-done horror is perfect to watch on any given night.
19. Hitch (2005)
I’m not head-over-heels for romantic comedies, but this one is a must-watch. Will Smith and Kevin James make this movie hilarious. Will Smith plays a “Date Doctor” who gives the perfect advice in order to help men attain women who seem to be out of reach. However, when “Hitch (Will Smith)” meets a business woman at a bar, he falls for her. The movie is full of twists and keeps the viewer engaged while including many laugh-out-loud and quotable moments. It’s 2 hours well spent.
18. Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr. plays “Tony Stark” in this well-known superhero movie. After being forced to create a mobile and destructive suit of armor to save his own life, Stark goes on to fight evil and crime using this stylish creation. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect for the ‘playboy billionaire genius’ role of Tony Stark and makes the movie into a masterpiece of action and suspense. It is definitely one of the better superhero movies.
17. Disturbia (2007)
Shia LeBeouf stars in the present day masterpiece known as Disturbia. Personally, I think this is one of the most underrated movies of the decade. A teenage boy, Kale, is under house arrest and needs to find ways to pass the time. He starts spying on his neighbors and finds out disturbing secrets. The cute girl next door gets drawn into Kale’s discovery that there very well may be a serial killer living next door. This movie is a thriller at its finest.
16. Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the 2010 box office hit. At first I thought that the movie was going to be confusing and boring, jumping through time zones and places. However, after watching the movie, I was left with an unexplainable feeling. The feeling this movie gave me is a one of a kind feeling. I guess the best word to describe this movie is “mindf*ck,” but in a great way. Inception is action-packed and filled with twists. I definitely suggest putting your mind on a journey and watching this “alternate-reality/dream-level” film.
15. I, Robot (2004)
This movie takes an interesting view on how technology is taking over a lot of human to human interaction. Set in 2035, robots have become a huge part of ordinary life and are accepted great-fully by almost everyone. However, Del Spooner (Will Smith) investigates a crime and is convinced that a robot murdered somebody. However, no one seems to believe that a robot could be capable of something like that until they see it for themselves. If this movie sounds cheesy, it isn’t. It’s a great action movie that puts emphasis onto what technology can never take from humans.
14. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, exceeded expectations on so many levels. A “top-dog” defense attorney (Mick Haller) finds himself forced to defend a wealthy man who attempts to beat the system and remain a free man. However, a struggle of conscience ensues when Haller discovers jaw-dropping evidence, involving a past and present client. This movie has an incredible twist and surprises around every turn. It has to be the best movie I’ve watched in a long time. It kept me engaged the entire way through and left me extraordinarily satisfied at the end.
13. Transformers (2007)
Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay combine to bring one of the greatest action films of the decade. Transformers doesn’t disappoint in film form. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should. It’s pure action and special effect genius, but if you’re looking for a movie to make you think, save this one for another time; possibly when you’re feeling destructive.
12. Insidious (2010)
I’ve always been a “scary movie” fan. But most “scary movies” of the past decade have been utterly disappointing. Insidious, however, combines many different scare tactics and a unique storyline to piece together a very creepy and interesting movie. A couple moves into a new house with their kids and the wife is soon convinced that the house is haunted. Unfortunately, they discover their little in a coma is being haunted, not the house. His father must enter “The Further” to save his him. Trust me, this is a must watch if you want to be freaked out.
11. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
An Indian street-kid is arrested under suspicion of cheating on an Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” He takes you through his life story, basically explaining how he knows all the answers. It got me really involved as a viewer and the story was unique and touching. This film won 8 Oscars for a reason. A must-watch if you haven’t seen it.
10. The Princess Bride (1987)
I’d have to consider this one a classic. From giant rats, to sword fights, to avenging a dead father, this “fairy tale” is well put together and is worth watching if you haven’t seen it before. This is worth watching just to hear Wallace Shawn say “inconceivable.”
9. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
“I’m putting together a special team. We’re gonna be doing one thing and one thing only…killing Nazis.” – Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). The “Inglorious Basterds” are a special American team who lands in France during WW2 and makes it a living hell for the Nazis. The movies a rush and Brad Pitt plays his role beautifully. It’s a must see for anyone who loves violence or loves America.
8. Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis, is a classic hostage movie where New York cop John McClane gives some terrorists a run for their money. This movie is action packed and is, hands down, better than any of its sequels. In the mood for an action-thriller? Watch this.
7. The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck is perfect for his role in the recent bank heist movie, “The Town.” A team of good friends robs banks for a lviing, but everything changes when a possible witness could give them away. Skeptical of a witness revealing their identities, one of their team members follows her, only to find himself falling in love with her after confronting her at a laundromat. Now he must carefully balance a relationship with her and his career as he attempts to find a way out without screwing up his life or relationships. The movie is well written and action packed. One of my favorites in a while. Definitely see this one.
6. Harry and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The best Harry Potter film, in my opinion. With an unexpected twist and plenty of magic, this film along with the rest of the series is a staple in most adolescents lives. Who can dislike the magical world of Hogwarts?
5. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The first and easily the best of the “Pirates of the Carribean” series. Orlando Bloom, Johhny Depp, and Keira Knightley star in this action/adventure fantasy film. There are so many great things about this film, you just have to see it for yourself. However, if all else fails, it’s worth watching this film just to see Johhny Depp play Captain Jack Sparrow with unmatchable skill. It is arguably one of the greatest acting performances of all time.
4. Taken (2008)
You rarely hear anything bad about this 2008 action film starring Liam Neeson. A retired CIA agent skeptically lets his 17 year old daughter travel to Europe without adult supervision. After hearing his daughter get kidnapped on the phone he flies out to Europe and sets out to find her. He vengefully murders and destroys, not letting anyone or anything get in the way as he rescues his daughter from sex slavery. A MUST WATCH.
3. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Suprisingly, being the third film in the Bourne series, “The Bourne Ultimatum” is arguably the best. Jason Bourne searches to find his origins as a trained killer while the CIA tries to search for him. They consider him an extreme threat and use everything they have to hunt him down. Etc, etc, etc. Anyway, Matt Damon is a bad ass and he makes Jason Bourne look like a bad ass, which he also is. The action scenes in this film are amazing. Go ahead and watch the whole series if you haven’t.
2. Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)
There really is way too much to say about this film. Heath Ledger manages to play the joker as if he’d been doing it his entire life. The performance is so incredibly genuine it can be creepy. I’ve watched this movie over and over again. Every aspect of this film is perfectly done. Much of the mob has just been let out on the streets and the Joker tries to turn good men into bad men. Batman (Christian Bale) is faced with situations where he can’t be a hero, he can only be what Gotham needs.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Finally #1, and well deserving of it. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted of a double murder and sentenced to life, twice, without parole. He makes friends in prison including Red (Morgan Freeman) and other old time prisoners. Andy makes a lot of his life in prison, creating a new library and using his intelligence to help guards with taxes and other financial needs. However, with a corrupt warden and staff at the prison, Andy is forced to find a way out in order to live a life that he deserves.
One of my favorite quotes from this movie is “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Andy Dufresne. This movie is a staple in cinema and I’m so happy I finally got around to watching it. Clearly from my list, I’m more into a lot of action in a movie, but this movie takes you on a roller coaster that exceeds anything any other movie has done. At least that’s my opinion. If nothing else, this movie deserves to be watched.
Thanks for checking out my Top 20 list. Please feel free to share it if you like it. I know I left out some classics like Star Wars, James Bond, etc, but I just kept this list personal.