It’s Oscar season when they select the best movies, actors, etc. of the year. But when’s the last time you’ve seen an Oscar movie over and over again? Here’s the metric that I think all movies should be judged by: If you die and go to hell, and are stuck watching the same movie over and over again, what would it be?
That’s how I define a great movie and NONE of this year’s Oscar films fit into that category.
So here it is… I present to you my list of Top Ten Movies I’d Watch In Hell
1) Goodfellas. My college roommates and I had this movie going constantly at our apartment, so hell would be an extension of college for me. The way this story is told is amazing and the visuals are stunning. The Copa scene alone is to die for. I can’t wait for my sons to grow up so I can share this movie with them. Is 14 old enough for them to watch the “you’re so funny” scene?
2) The Godfather. This movie is a work of art. I call it the Sistine Chapel of movies. Coppola was able to turn a basic mob movie into magic. I think of this movie every time I renew my baptismal vows.
3) The Godfather II. I know what you’re thinking now. I just like mob movies. No. This movie is a work of art in its own right. How Coppola juxtaposes Vito’s life with Michael’s is a cinematic editing masterpiece. Every editor and screenplay writer who watches this movie wants to kill themselves because they’ll never be that good. Ever.
4) Shawshank Redemption. I must have seen this movie a million times thanks to TNT and if it was on TV right now I’d watch whatever scene it was. Any movie where some guy can crawl through five miles of shit and make me feel good about it deserves to be in my top ten. You want to feel like there’s hope? Turn on TNT and watch this movie. Perfect movie for living in hell for eternity.
5) The Sixth Sense. Seriously, did ANYONE see the ending coming? I totally pissed myself when that ring hit the floor. This story was beautiful. Get the DVD and watch the deleted scenes. The original ending of the movie makes it even more magical.
6) Rear Window. I first saw this film in a college class. The room was 10 feet by 20 feet and the screen was as wide as one of the walls. It was like I was looking right out of Jimmy Stewart’s window. By the end of the film I had develop three things: claustrophobia, a smoking habit, and a crush on Grace Kelly. If you want to experience this movie the way Hitchcock intended, place your nose inches from your TV screen and don’t move your head from side to side.
7) The Wall. It’s not a music video or a rock concert. It’s a transcendent orgy of music, film, and animation. Every shot of this film is a moving painting of deep rich colors that along with music takes you on the journey of stardom. It’s kind of like the rock star version of Goodfellas, pulling you into the excitement of being a musical king then flipping you to the dark side.
8) Swingers. This movie is so money and it doesn’t even know it. It was shot as an independent film on a shoestring budget. Every character is amazing and each actor nails the part. This is the original bromance movie that all other try to emulate. While I’d watch this forever, the answering machine will always make me feel anxious. I feel for you Mikey.
9) Elf. The beauty of this film is the humor never gets old. I can watch it on December 24th or July 4th and it’s still funny. It’s Will Ferrell’s masterpiece because he’s playing the most human character amongst all of his movies. Next to Shawshank and Goodfellas, it’s the most quoted movie on facebook. (I just made that up, but it sounds true doesn’t it?)
10) Leaving Las Vegas. This is the most depressing and darkest movie that’s ever been made. Period. After you watch it, you want to slit your wrists and bleed all over the living room. But here’s the thing, 5 minutes later the movie actually makes you feel better about yourself. Because no matter how miserable and pathetic your life is, at least you’re not a washed up script writer that’s drinking yourself to death or a prostitute who can only find love in a suicidal drunkard. Hell is like a Sandles Beach vacation compared to this movie. So smile and change the channel to TNT. Shawshank’s on you’ll discover there is some hope in this world.
Now it's your turn. Comment below and let me know what films you'd watch in hell.
Wal Ozello is the author of Assignment 1989: The Time Travel Wars and is the lead singer of the Columbus hairband Armada. He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and graduate of the Ohio State University Photography & Cinema Department.