DISCLAIMER: This is not a list for all ages. Not even the comics I’ve listed.


The Lord of the Rings – I still feel like these movies were better than they had any right to be. I’ve thought more than once that God must have had a hand in their production. I don’t know of any other films that retain such a sense of place. When I watch them I feel like I’m returning to a beloved country.

Unbreakable – A train crash survivor discovers he may or may not be a superhero. But it’s not about the heroics. It’s about a man who is desperate to fight his calling and live in the comfortably mundane, no matter how soul-crushing he knows it to be. It’s easily M. Night Shyamalan’s best.

The Avengers – Was it everything I’d hoped it would be? Absolutely, and how often can we say that about a franchise movie? I felt like decades of comic nerd life choices were validated in two hours. It was also, hands down, the most fun I’ve ever had in a movie theater.

The Shining – The scariest movie ever. You feel a pervasive dread from the first few seconds of the opening score as you take the winding road to the Overlook Hotel. But it’s got surprising nuance as well, as it presents a picture of unchecked male frustration and the havoc it can wreak on those around them.

Sophie’s Choice – This film makes me think about the nature of God like no other. Sophie is no hero – she survived the Holocaust through pure selfishness, and was probably a Nazi sympathizer before that. Her post-war choices make you want to scream. And yet, she’s a victim in the truest sense, making the ending all the more devastating.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – I love all Edgar Wright’s movies, but this one is in its own class. The world wants a renewable power source? It should find a way to harness the energy of this movie – it could light up Los Angeles for a year.

L.A. Confidential – Within the first few minutes you know exactly who the main characters are and where they’re going. I’ve never seen it done better. And what characters they are! There’s a reason Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce went on to huge things after this movie.

The Conjuring – I love the fact that a) this movie is relatively new, proving horror is still alive and well, and b) it’s pretty darn scary. The clapping scene belongs in the all-time greats. Lastly, c) it’s unabashedly Christian in its presentation. This is what I think of when I hear about “faith-based entertainment.”

Superman the Movie – One of the first movies I ever saw in a theater. Even at six years old, I remember thinking, “Um, flying around the world to make time reverse itself? That’s silly!” And yet, the whole package is still incredibly satisfying. The helicopter save is still my favorite movie scene of all time.

Gladiator – We saw this movie in a theater with a few other couples. Right as the Germanians were about to attack at the beginning, my wife leans over and whispers, “I hope the ladies won’t be too put off by the violence.” I remember very clearly thinking, “I don’t give a *^&% about the ladies.” I was enthralled. That’s what it looks like when great writing, acting, directing, production value and score are firing on all cylinders.