10. Short Term 12
At a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, a young counselor tries to do her best for those pulled out of the worst situations. This movie’s wit and emotion tugs at your heartstrings without being depressing, and isn’t that all we could ever want in a movie?
9. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I’m sorry for your existence if you’ve never seen this movie. Based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” this movie shows three escaped convicts who wreak havoc across the deep south in pursuit of hidden treasure. George Clooney’s best, in my opinion.
8. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about his Father
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when he finds out that the friend’s ex-girlfriend is expecting a son. The result is a hauntingly beautiful account of this terribly true story.
Orlando Bloom’s tragically-overlooked romantic comedy, this movie follows a nearly-suicidal man as he travels back to his hometown to plan his father’s funeral and the quirky woman who helps him find his way.
6. Midnight in Paris
Owen Wilson. Rachel McAdams. Paris. Time travel. Hemingway. Baguettes. Need I say more? Yes? Well, Owen Wilson nostalgically envies Paris in the 20’s and the community of famous writers that co-existed there – he envies it so much that he ends up there at midnight, and hilarity and life lessons pour out in equal measure.
5. 12 Angry Men
Now I’m going to throwback all the way to the 50’s with this black and white adaptation of Reginald Rose’s play. One juror for a murder trial has to convince the other jurors that this case isn’t as opened-and-closed as it may seem. This movie makes you think and then makes you think again.
4. how to Train Your Dragon
Unfortunately overlooked by other animated movies of the time – Tangled and Toy Story 3 come to mind for some reason – this movie is one of my all-time favorites. Brawny (but secretly cuddly) vikings, a dragon who acts like a dog, and a main character named Hiccup…it’s like all they needed was an all-star comedy cast (Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller)…oh wait, nope this movie was perfect, everyone go watch it.
3. Begin again
This indie film follows the life of a struggling musician and a burnt-out record-label executive who find each other when they’ve both hit rock bottom. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley are so sweet together (and shockingly non-romantic), and Keira Knightley’s tumultuous relationship with Adam Levine is really touching, but the best part of this movie is by far the music. They actually use Knightley and Levine’s voices to create a wonderfully genuine soundtrack.
2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Despite this movie starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, it’s actually pretty good. Ben Stiller’s character, Walter Mitty (duh), works at LIFE magazine, but he always dreams of doing more. This movie is a must-see for anyone who loves to travel, and is life-affirming to just about anyone – it’s never too late to start your life. Also, the soundtrack to this movie is mind-blowingly awesome.
1. About Time
At the top of the charts for me sits this epically underrated film, starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson (you know, Bill Weasley!!). If you want adorable, romantic, hilarious, heart-wrenching, action-packed, and awkward all wrapped into one, this is entirely the movie for you.