Be it that I wasn't allowed to watch many movies when I was younger, but I still had my favorites that I remember to this day. I grew up with the TV on for the majority of the day, where I would come home after school and my dad would have Cartoon Network already running, or my mom would sit with me after I ran out of the shower to watch a movie in Korean, while she sighed and detangled my hair. As a toddler and growing kid going into elementary school, I didn't have many friends to have over and play with. I felt connected to the characters in the shows and movies I watched, which helped me feel less lonely at times. Going into middle school into my teenage years opened new opportunities in exploring the film world, and it was then that I found my love for action, thriller, classic, and documentary movies. Here is my list of the top movies that I remember, resonate with, and hold in my heart in all artistic and sentimental ways.
The Avengers Series
Almost three years ago, my dad dropped me off to school, excited that the movie that he was going to the theaters to watch a movie he had been waiting to see for two years— Avengers Endgame. I scoffed, nodding to myself, thinking that he had lost it.
Just a few weeks after the theaters broke out because of this movie, my dad opened a package with the last Blu-ray DVD of his Marvel collection. He held it up to my face, and did his best to persuade me to watch at least one of the movies. I sat at the dinner table, staring at him and his precious collection, and finally gave in. We started with Captain America: The First Avenger, and no surprise—I absolutely loved it.
Movies that have you on the edge of your seat are the ones you remember the most—and movies that bring you to tears are the ones that you know you loved. The Avengers movies are the most pure, dramatic, and cinematic series I've ever watched—because it could've been so much less than what it was. It could've just been superheroes. They save the universe, bad guys get defeated, and so on—we've all seen it before. But every single movie of the franchise has its own personality, its own contribution, its own heart. I wasn't always satisfied, but that's because of my connection to the characters, and my love for each one in a different way.
The part that stood out about this series is ,of course, the computer graphic effects. Seeing Captain America and his vibranium shield shoot by the camera, Iron Man exploding into the air and blasting beams at enemies, Black Widow gracefully performing her combat and taking down villains, The Hulk, emerging from Bruce Banner and destroying everything in his path, Hawkeye's arrow sniping the air and traveling at the speed of light, Thor sending electricity from above and sending enemies flying through the air with pure madness in his eyes, and so on. Truly, the battles that we see before us on a screen, the sounds and explosions from the unbelievable sounds effects and effort that was put into every single film is a step ahead from anything we'll be seeing for a while. My respect for the many years to come, Wakanda forever.
I had been waiting desperately for this movie to come out back in 2019, right before COVID 19 struck the following year. It being the last movie I watched in theaters, I hold a sentimental love for Rian Johnson's Knives Out. This film is not even an inch short of perfect. The cast acted incredibly and brought lots of laughter, the scenery and setting of this movie was unique and rightfully suiting, and most of all, the way the story was written, and how it unfolded, was impeccable. Although this movie did not win an Oscar, if it wasn't against such incredible films, it would have won best original screenplay.
I am a fan of both murder mysteries and comedies, and the fact that this movie had it both was surprising from the start. Back when I had just watched this movie, I texted my friend right away and told her that she had to watch this movie immediately. She responded by asking what genre it was, and once I told her, she took a while to process what I had just said.
"Those don't mix. Like at all."
Me, the movie still fresh in my head, tried my best to explain it to her, but all that came out was, "You've got to watch it. Trust me."
I believed that my heart would go on from this movie.
It's clear that this movie is no joke, even to those who are not fans of romance films. Titanic was the first romantic based story I've ever watched—and I loved it. This is one of those movies that I can recite and pretend to act out because of how many times I've watched it.
Titanic is directed by the filmmaker I look up to most—Jim Cameron. The process and behind the scenes of this movie, the effort that went into it, and the risks the team took throughout the process were legendary. Seeing the scene where the boat was tipped over, sinking in the icy waters was one of those moments where your eyes don't blink. Everything is locked on the screen because you're in pure shock, your heart dropping and fingernails digging into the sofa while you're on the edge of your seat.
Although there is much to say about these films, I could ramble on all day about how these cinematic masterpieces changed my view of film, and improved my creativity. Knowing that there is such a competitive world of film out there is a bit unsettling, but at the same time, reassuring because of the endless limits of inspiration from directors, actors, screenwriters, producers, editors, and more. I cannot dream of a world without these remarkable films that have created an opening for new possibilities—and I'm sure I'll remember them for the rest of my life.