All year long we’re sharing content around the theme of ten, as we promised you in our Anniversary Blog post. For example, last month we dove into the things we love about working a Shift. Naturally, we had a lot of praise to share about our team, our work, and our clients!
This month, the Shift team took inspiration from the 95th Academy Awards, and we each thought through an extremely important question: which movie deserves the honor of being our favorite movie?
Grab some popcorn, settle in, and remember to silence your phone before the viewing begins. Here’s our team’s top ten(ish) favorite movies (in alphabetical order by first name).
As a fan of the romcom, I have to go with the iconic “Pretty Woman.” This charming movie involves major character transformations, is set in Hollywood, has a classic 90’s soundtrack (“Wild Women Do” anyone?) and has, perhaps, the best Rodeo Drive shopping montage of all time, capped with the classic line “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”
There is also a really interesting backstory regarding the original script, subsequent significant rewrites, and how Gary Marshall came onboard to create a commercial success. Though it wasn’t her first film, it introduced the world to Julia Roberts, who received her first Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role (Kathy Bates took home the actual award for her performance in “Misery”).
I like too many fictional movies to pick any favorites. But I love to spend time with a 2005 documentary directed by Philip Gröning called “Into Great Silence.” The filmmaker was allowed to film the contemplative lives of monks in the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France.
To give you a quick idea of what it entails, he originally reached out to that community with his idea in 1984, and they took 16 years to think about it before responding. He beautifully filmed their great skill, the intimate architecture, the mountain light, and the eponymous silence broken only by routines of shuffling, brushing, and chanting. It transports you to a world full of practice and removed from distraction. Everything builds up to introduce a very old blind monk — the only one not vowed to silence. He shares with the audience an inner peace he has found through decades of contemplation and community.
I’m not really a movie person, but I absolutely loved “Get Out.” Jordan Peele’s directorial debut focuses on Chris as he travels with his girlfriend to meet her parents. Sounds simple enough – but as the weekend progresses Chris makes an increasing number of disturbing discoveries, which build to a horrifying (but funny) conclusion. This movie has a little bit of everything – again, it’s a great blend of horrifying and funny – but I was especially a fan of all of the iconography, as well as how each character and event was connected. This movie made me appreciate horror and was actually a gateway into the genre for me.
So many movies are my favorites, for many different reasons. But one movie I’ve seen probably more than any other is “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” This classic 1981 American action-adventure film was directed by Steven Spielberg, and is considered one of the original popcorn summer blockbusters. It’s an adventure movie, with mysteries, treasures, fantastic characters and dialog, and so many twists and turns. And it’s so quotable! “They’re digging in the wrong place!”
It’s difficult to narrow down my favorite movie (it can change from week to week), but the one that has always stuck with me is “Django Unchained.” It’s a classic love story set in the stylized American South during the 1860’s, in which the main character, Django, has to break free from his metaphorical and physical chains to reunite with his long lost wife.
This movie has stuck with me as a favorite because of my love for the Neo-Western genre, and how well the soundtrack was woven into the plot, not to mention the stunning acting all-throughout. It’ll always be my favorite Tarantino movie, and ranks near or at the top of my all time list.
When asked to name my favorite movie I immediately thought of “Coco” by Pixar Animation Studios. “Coco” is an animated fantasy film about a young boy named Miguel, who dreams of becoming an accomplished musician—despite being from a household that has banned music outright. Miguel accidentally finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead, where his efforts to connect with an idolized musician reveal unknown and forgotten details about his family’s history.
“Coco” is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen, both in terms of its animation and the emotions felt as Miguel reconnects with his family. I’m guaranteed to spot new and gorgeous details when I rewatch it—and will probably sob through its perfect ending again, too.
“Clue” is my favorite movie because it not only makes me laugh, but it employs great storytelling techniques. Any whodunnit, or at least any good one, needs to thread a very small needle between giving clues and giving the answer away. “Clue” understands all of the rules of this classic genre well, so it also knows when to break them. The setup could come out of any Agatha Christie novel, but it is the cast of phenomenal comedians and actors that is able to breathe irreverent and hilarious life into these stock characters.
And the most fun part of “Clue” is that it has multiple endings, reflecting the original board game, where the killer changes each time you play. And in a fun but apparently unsuccessful marketing tactic, which unfortunately I never experienced, when it was in theaters the ending and the reveal of the killer was different based on what theater you went to.
I don’t necessarily keep a “favorite” movie, and I might give you a different answer to this question on different days. But the movie that comes to mind currently is “No Country For Old Men.” Based on the hit book by Cormac McCarthy, of an illegal drug deal gone awry in the Texas backcountry.
I’m a sucker for neo-Western thrillers. The Coen brothers’ willingness to allow characters to play their archetypes lets them rely on narrative devices they can lean into and subvert, making for a compelling performance of an ages-old story. This approach to moviemaking is their bread and butter, but “No Country For Old Men” is their best implementation of it.
Though my go-to movies are typically documentaries or biopics, I think my favorite movie is either “The Grand Budapest Hotel” or “Little Women” (2019) because I can remember how inspired I felt when watching each of them for the first time.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is set at a mountainside resort in a fictional Eastern European country, as a comedic-drama storyline unfolds around a concierge and his protégé. The film has so many visually beautiful moments—as to be expected when under the direction of Wes Anderson—but it’s really the work of graphic designer Annie Atkins that leaves me swooning. Her attention to detail when creating artwork for props truly takes a scene to the next level.
Greta Gerwig’s 2019 remake of Jane Austen’s “Little Women” is the story we all know, but produced in such a way that feels modern and inspired. Among my favorite parts are Jacqueline Durran’s period costumes, the exterior of the March home, and the Christmas breakfast scene food styling—they get me every time!
I tend to read books or binge TV shows rather than watch movies, so answering this question is a bit tricky. The mark of a good movie for me is that whenever I see that it’s on TV (or in my streaming suggestions), I will stop and watch it. Any of the Harry Potter movies, “Clueless,” and “Father of the Bride” fit the bill. Those movies are all pretty different from each other, but humor perhaps is a common thread. I enjoy a bit of drama or mystery with a helping of laughter.
And there you have it! We’ve reached the end of our list of favorite movies. Each member of Shift clearly enjoys a good story, although we’re likely to gravitate toward different genres.
We’d love to hear from you about your own favorite movies – and, more importantly, about how we can help you with your website, design, branding, campaign or marketing projects (in Pittsburgh or beyond). Contact us and let’s get chatting (not at the movies)!