THE ALT-SELF THEORY: My 25 Favorite Films, and how to determine yours

What’s your favorite movie?

It’s a question I eventually ask everybody I meet. It’s often a better way to get to know them than “What was your major?” because it opens up broader discussions about their tastes and values. It informs me of things we might have in common that would have been difficult to otherwise unearth. If I’m lucky, I might even find out about an awesome movie that I haven’t seen yet.

That said, it’s a tricky question for some. Hell, I have a hard time qualifying my own taste, and I write film opinions as a hobby. There are so many movies out there to love, some clearly more deserving than others, but that’s never the whole picture. After all, the question isn’t what the “Best” movies are, it’s about what resonates with you as an individual. Personal taste is a finicky and amorphous thing. How does one definitively quantify that?

And then I realized.

What if there was a possibility that I might never have seen any of my favorite movies? What if, in an alternate universe, I was growing up for the first time, and there was a possibility that I wouldn’t ever come across Star Wars? This event kickstarted my enjoyment of films into something deeper, something I loved so much that I had to build a career around them. In this universe, Star Wars would have still existed and inspired other filmmakers to advance the technology of the film industry and build similar rip roaring adventures, but I wouldn’t have been coming from the same place as they were, even if I did eventually stumble into a higher appreciation of film.

What if my only way to save this young alt-Daniel from almost certainly pursuing a real job was to declare to the universe that my love for Star Wars surpassed that of all other films, and that the God of alt-dimension had to ensure that I got around to seeing it in a timely fashion?

What if alt-God let me pick two films?

This made it surprisingly easier to make the following list. The films on this list aren’t there just because they are good (although I personally see every one of them as an unquestionable masterpiece). They’re on the list, and ranked, in order of the influence they had on me as an individual.

I’ll be following up this article with a series of TOP 25 editorials about each of these films. These will delve deeper than my typical review to discuss what each of these films mean historically and to me personally. I wanted to preempt the discussion with this qualifier though, because I think the Alt-Self Method is the best way anybody could possibly quantify what art actually impacted them the most meaningfully as a human being.

And that’s why I like to talk about movies.

So, without further ado, here is the list of my 25 favorite films of all time (for the moment)!

  1. Star Wars (1977)
  2. Up (2009)
  3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
  4. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
  5. The Avengers (2012)
  6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  7. Alien (1979)
  8. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  9. Back to the Future (1985)
  10. Seven Samurai (1954)
  11. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
  12. The Matrix (1999)
  13. The Iron Giant (1999)
  14. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  15. The Great Dictator (1940)
  16. Amélie (2001)
  17. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  18. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  19. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
  20. Adaptation. (2002)
  21. Inside Out (2015)
  22. Mary Poppins (1964)
  23. Rear Window (1954)
  24. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  25. Gravity (2013)

What are your favorite movies? Does the Alt Self Theory confirm your previous suspicions? Call ’em out in the comments section below! Bonus points if I haven’t seen ’em yet.

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THE ALT-SELF THEORY: My 25 Favorite Films, and how to determine yours
What's your favorite movie? How do you pick? Here's how to decide the answer to this deceptively complex question.
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