When I got the notification about our ten most influential films, I have to say, I immediately panicked. Ten best films, I could go on for hours. Ten worst films, even longer. However, when it comes to the most influential, that’s much harder. Do you focus on the movies that formed you as a human, because if so, I’ve based my entire personality on the Greek Choir from Mighty Aphrodite singing “When You’re Smiling” and that only takes up one spot, or do you focus on the movies you associate with specific memories, like the last time I ever saw a friend before moving away was at a screening of Ghostbusters (2016).
I chose something of a mix, and I’ll admit that some of these were hard to come up with. You don’t realize how few movies that actually matter until you’re forced to compile a list of them. So without any more meandering, let’s talk about the ten most influential movies to me.
10. Justice League
Starting with one that even I don’t know what it’s doing on this list, Justice League is a terrible movie that, having watched the released Darkseid scene from the Snyder Cut, may actually have a good version coming soon. However, this film presented something somewhat memorable to me, and that’s the fact that it was the first movie I ever saw by myself. 171 solo trips to the cinema later, it’s almost weird to go to the movies with someone else. However, I still remember walking into Theatre 14 alone on November 17th, 2017 and feeling like an adult. Let me tell you, while the movie is bad, the fact that I had that solo experience during it made the film much more memorable.
9. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
I know, yet again, what is this doing on the list? Well, again, I put this on for a reason pertaining to a memory with it. This is the first cinematic experience that I remember. I was actually called out of school to go see it in a theatre with four other people. My mom and three strangers, and we all talked before the film actually started. The film itself is… mediocre. An improvement over The Mummy Returns, but still really bad. Whenever I do see a clip from it though, I am still instantly nostalgic with scenes like the Yeti attacks or the opening to Shangrila. Overall, it’s just like Justice League on this list, as while it’s a bad movie, I’ll always remember it.
8. Baby Driver
Why does the universe hate my love for this movie? I kid you not, right before I was about to send this into Adam for review and publication, Ansel Elgort gets reported as a sex offender. Well, never mind that. This movie is still one of my favorites ever made. I went on and on about it in the site’s first Celluloid Clash, but this is on here because it was this film that really got me into rating movies. It was after watching Baby Driver that I downloaded my app to compile my lists of movies, organizing them into specific years and decades.
It’s because of the app that I know the exact amount of movies I’ve seen (1677) and Baby Driver is the reason I know that. It also kickstarted my love of Edgar Wright, so this may movie might actually fall into the personality section. I also own a replica of the jacket Baby wears in the movie, so it’s definitely a personality thing now that I think about it.
7. Incredibles 2
Incredibles 2 is a great movie. Not quite as good as the original, but still fantastic. The reason it’s on this list however, is because it began my summer of 2018 movie streak. In roughly two and a half months, I watched 126 movies for the first time, with even more rewatches in that pile. I also began writing for Movie Metropolis in that time, so that’s another point in the 2018 summer column. I saw Incredibles 2 three times that summer, along with going to the theatre forty three times that summer to see a movie, really using the free passes my job gave me to the fullest extent. So Incredibles 2 stands in the seven spot for the reason that it started a huge time in my life.
6. Toy Story
I believed I talked about this fact briefly in my article on Disney animated movies, which I definitely should have waited on, but I watched this movie almost daily at two times in my life. One is recently with my screaming bowling ball of a brother known as Maclane, as before Disney Plus came out, he watched one of the Toy Stories every day. The other time was back when I was his age, and I watched Toy Story everyday. It was the first movie which had a major impact on me, so it definitely deserves to be on the list. I will admit though, that I believe Toy Story 4 is probably the best of the franchise.
5. Casino Royale (1967)
The only James Bond movie on this list, which is surprising being that Bond is not only my favorite franchise, but also possessed my favorite movie for years, Die Another Day, and yes, I am being serious, I love that movie with all of my heart. However, I put the second best version of Casino Royale, released the same year as You Only Live Twice, on this list instead for a reason. I mentioned in my retro review of Goldfinger that I both watched this film and wrote a screenplay for a Bond film called More Time to Kill. It was after watching Casino Royale that I really got into a flow for writing the script, as I really just went nuts with my ideas.
If you’re wondering why I decided to go nuts after watching the film, just watch the linked video with the final scene of the movie. I remember watching it and… there’s no possible way to explain how the movie ends without taking several hallucinogens. Overall, this made it onto the list because of its massive impact on my first feature length script.
4. Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead, another Edgar Wright film which worked its way onto the list, is a great film. It’s funny, great performances, and fantastic dead makeup. The reason this one hits the list is because it was the first horror movie I ever saw. Nowadays I’m completely desensitized, but Shaun of the Dead was a fantastic introduction to the genre that compiles into fourteen percent of every movie I’ve ever seen. The film also helped me create the “Daulton Meadows Guide to Showing Horror Films to Kids”.
Naturally, you start at age fifteen with horror comedies, such as Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. Then you slowly ease into Science fiction horror like Alien or Overlord, it’s through this that the kid can disassociate with the characters because it’s obviously not real. Then you go to Scream because it’s amazing and boom! Your family can now watch Saw for a family movie night. (Disclaimer: Do Not Watch Saw For Family Movie Night, especially if dinner that evening was ground beef or spaghetti) Overall, a great entrance to a genre that I now watch all the time, which seems pretty influential to me.
3. La La Land
I know I’ve been talking about this movie a lot lately, but can you blame me? It’s amazing! The movie that got me into prestige film, La La Land is a beautiful masterpiece with two great lead performances and some of the best cinematography in recent years. I also hold it responsible for being the reason I enjoy musicals like Chicago, West Side Story, and Singing in the Rain. Yes, Damien Chazelle, my dad blames you. But overall, La La Land was the first movie that got me into the Oscars, and that has definitely shaped my taste of film, so it earned its spot on the list.
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service
On Valentine’s Day of 2015, I went to see Kingsman. I didn’t know walking in that through seeing that movie, my entire life would change. It was after seeing it that it became not only my favorite movie, a spot it still holds tied with The Edge of Seventeen and The Nice Guys, but it started something to what I spoke about with Baby Driver. It was after seeing it that I started to compile a list of my favorite movies.
It was mainly just whatever just came out with a few things I vaguely remembered liking, but it still started that phase of my life. I also began taking an interest in things like IMDB after that, which I now regularly use. I also started to regularly read and watch reviews, which definitely had an influence on my current style. So overall, Kingsman is a huge influence on who I am. So why isn’t it number one? Well that’s because number one is…
1. Captain America: Civil War
While yes, Kingsman is my favorite movie. It’s got the action and comedy that I love and has stayed at the top spot for over five years now. However, the reason Captain America: Civil War tops my most influential list is that this was the first movie I ever wrote a review for. Back in September of 2016, I started a long deleted account on Instagram about superhero films and reviewed Civil War for my first post. Looking back, it was a terrible review.
A paragraph at the most, I basically just talked about cool action and the somewhat disappointing ending, then gave it a nine out of ten. Naturally, since writing that almost four years ago, my opinions and writing skills have changed. I no longer think that Civil War is a five star film, and my articles exceed one hundred words now. Still, Civil War started my entire writing habit. So for that, it earned the highest spot on my most influential list.
So that ends my list of the most influential films for me. I honestly don’t think there will be a whole lot of overlap with everyone else’s list, unless the other writers on the site also are big fans of watching Woody Allen getting kicked out of heaven, which ended up being a move that was thirty years ahead of its time. So overall, I think my list of films was pretty well rounded, with terrible action movies, great comedies, fantastic animated movies, and the best made movie of the 2010s. So next time you watch any of these movies, think about how they all lent themselves to form the person I am today. That is, if you’re looking for anyone or anything to blame.
To see Adam’s most influential films, be sure to read his article.