#3 Greatest Movie of All Time

ZOMG! We are in the TOP 3 of our Greatest Movies of All Time List! How exciting! These are going to be heavy with meaning for all of us. Who is all of us? Just check here to see who is behind this fun countdown. If you haven’t seen the rest of the top movie list,  here are #4#5#6#7#8#9, and #10.

Kai – “The Matrix”

I’ve watched The Matrix more than any other movie on this list. I also haven’t watched it in years. It’s very similar in message to two other movies that came out in 1999: Office Space and Fight Club. All three movies portray the bland corporate normalcy of the 90s as a life-killing dullness that must be escaped. The difference is that the Matrix provides a true escape, a reality where everything you believe to be real is fake.

Between the anti-corporate, pro-hacker message, pseudo-Eastern philosophy, and awesome special effects, the Matrix hit my middle school brain like a ton of bricks. I probably watched it 5 times the year it first came out on video. The effects and style now seem a little silly, but the movie was just too meaningful to stay out of my top 3. The Wachowski brothers created a beautiful world to play in, which unfortunately is not quite delivered on in the 2nd and 3rd movies. That’s no reason not to watch and enjoy the original, which still works as a slightly outdated hacker action movie.

Andrew – “Masters of the Universe”

No, this is not a joke. It was hugely important to me growing up.

Sophie – “Almost Famous” (2000)

Directed by Cameron Crowe, the film is based on his own experiences writing for Rolling Stone as a teenager. A look into the 70’s music scene, it is filled with sex, drugs and the perils of being on the road. While it is humorous, it also takes a more sincere look at how the band treats each other and the people around them as they rise to stardom.

Po – “Ikiru”

When the woes of work have got you down, and you wonder if anything you do even matters…watch this film. You will discover purpose, and you will certainly cry. My favorite Kurosawa for sure.

Randy – “Casablanca”

Warner Bros. never thought this picture was going to be anything special. But its release turned out to be perfect timing – this WWII picture came out in January 1943 – three weeks after Eisenhower’s Allied forces marched into Casablanca, which gave the film a generous amount of publicity. It’s set in – where else – Casablanca at Rick’s Cafe starring Humphrey Bogart as cynical yet patriotic Rick, a glowing, tender Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa – Rick’s old girl friend from Paris with Claude Raines as the wry-but-romantic French police chief Renault. Casablanca is the essential Hollywood WWII picture. I still get emotional when I hear La Marseillaise passionately sung by a roomful of real WWII European refugee extras. That’s the runway at Burbank Airport in the last shot where Bogart and Claude Rains are walking away from us in the fog as you hear Bogart’s classic line, “Louie, I think this is beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Scott – “The Dark Knight”

Hungry – “Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler”

I’ve written this a few times in a few ways because it is truly hard to put into words. We’ve gotten to the point that the movies this high in the countdown are about so much more than acting, scripts, soundtracks and even stories.

Everyone has their horror stories from growing up… whether it is dealing with not being good enough, being bullied, not having friends, not fitting in, etc–everyone dealt with their issues, especially in the transitional years through middle school into high school. Everyone also had their way of coping with it and for me… it was anime. I’d rush home from school to watch Toonami because I could escape into these different worlds and act like I was one of the crew. I felt like I could relate to the characters from these anime because… I could.

While Outlaw Star, G Gundam, Dragonball Z, Tenchi, Yu Yu Hakasho, and Rurouni Kenshin were the ones I watched most during these after-school blocks from 1998-2002, Inuyasha (which aired on Toonami Latin America… yes, I watched the entirety of Dragonball Z in Spanish in my youth) was arguably my favorite one of all. Fortunately, Inuyasha succeeded where many of these either failed or didn’t venture… in movies.

The third film, Swords of an Honorable Ruler stood out as my favorite by far. The soundtrack can be found in my car because I usually listen to it while I drive in LA. It soothes me. It combines my love for the culture of Feudal Era Japan with fantasy characters. This became more about me and less about the movie, but that is exactly why this movie is number three. It is me in so many ways.

Fit – “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988)

If my heart was a movie, it would be My Neighbor Totoro, if that makes any sense. This movie was a close companion of mine all throughout my childhood. My dad would put it on every time it rained (it didn’t rain too much in sunny Los Angeles, so these were special times) and I would be transported into the movie. I always saw myself as Mei, the wild, unruly, and imaginative little sister in the movie. It’s about a father and his two girls moving into a new house (this house happens to be haunted by friendly spirits). While exploring the nearby forest, Mei discovers a giant “Totoro” (a spirit of the forest) who basically becomes her guardian.

This movie is full of comedy, family love, woes, adventure, imagination, and encourages one to always keep believing. The soundtrack is wonderful and brings me right back to rural Totoro-inhabited Japan every time. I watch the first English-dubbed version (not the Disney 2005 version) as it’s what I grew up with. This movie also represents the larger Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki masterpieces that are so important to me as well (Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and so on). The message Hayao Miyazaki brings to each movie he creates lasts a lifetime. My Neighbor Totoro will always hold a special place within me and I know I can always come back to it if I ever need comfort. 

Those were some incredible movies and also beautiful write-ups conveying how much meaning each has with the reviewer. I can’t believe we’re already down to the Top 2 next week! Do any of these movies hold a special place in your heart? Let us know in the comments below. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

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