Editors' Picks: Favorite Movies

Moving Pictures, Cinema. Film. Whatever you call it, movies have been the staple of pop culture conversation and enjoyment for the past 130 years. It can be a high brow art in which people question their existential existence of life through the life of a donkey (Real movie called Au  Hasard Balthazar) or it can be as low brow as a bunch of produce in a grocery store engaging in mammal lie behavior. Movies explore the truths of our lives and reflects it like a mirror for us to see, warts and all. But, more importantly, it is simply entertainment. 

Our staff, consumers of all things culture, loves movies. So here are our staff picks for our favorite films, ranging from a Spaniard wanting to engage in a three way with Americans to backstabbing magicians from the 19th century. 

The Prestige: 19th century magicians are pitted against one another after an illusion goes wrong. Starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, this perfect mix of thriller and historical science fiction portrays bitter rivals, intense love and well known personalities such as Nikola Tesla. If only watched once you’ll miss the minute details that make this movie what it truly is, a mind bender. What you believe you are watching may not be what it is portrayed as. After all, that may be the biggest magic trick of them all. - Jake Davis, Society Editor


Love and BasketballMy favorite film is Love and Basketball. This is a classic film that is still celebrated to this day because of its distinguishable plot and excellent directing. It is the first film that details the struggles of being a female athlete from the perspective of the female herself. The plot is based on a love story between two athletes who grew up together, overcoming various obstacles in their sports career and love life. As an athlete growing up playing basketball, I could relate to the adversity that Monica, the main character, must face throughout her career. She has a competitive streak that makes her so engaging as well as a witty personality. She is a rare leading lady: She plays with the boys, challenges gender stereotypes, and always says whats on her mind. The performance was absolutely amazing. The on screen chemistry is wonderful because at the time, the two leading actors were a couple in real life. Fun fact: The director did not know this until casting them for the role. The movie is broken up into four quarters and it only gets more intense as the film progresses. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps put on an incredible performance that everyone can relate to. A childhood friendship grows into an intense relationship between two aspiring athletes who give up everything to be the best. Not to mention, the term "couple goals" these days has been used very loosely, mostly describing a perceived idea of perfection. This couple has been endlessly challenged and stood by each other through pretty much every lull in life, making them the ultimate couple of the 90s. Monica and Quincy forever. - Sara Eljouzi, Health & Sports Editor


The Shining: This movie hits on all levels for me.  Favorite director, writer and actor; enter stage left Jack Nicholson.  Jack Nicholson has long been a staple of Hollywood, but never more so than in 1980 where he landed the starring role in this horror classic.  Nicholson left his mark on the 70's with iconic roles in Chinatown and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  He brought in the new decade by finding himself starring in legendary director Stanley Kubrick's latest epic The Shining.  Kubrick made a long and proud career out of adapting classic novels to film (Lolita, 2001, Clockwork Orange), and The Shining was no exception.  The novel was written in the 70's by Horror icon Stephen King, another favorite of mine.  Kubrick took some artistic liberties with aspects of the film's screenplay and plot, but when it was all said in done it was no less a classic.  The film was artistically mastered from the ground up, from the writing, directing and acting, and even today still provides an immediate chill down your spine from the ominous opening credits to the suspenseful chase in the end. -  LJ Hilberath, Music Editor


La Belle et La Bete (Beauty and the Beast): Of course I have the most snobby pick of the list but I cannot help myself. There are no films that mean more to you than those that captures your imagination when you are of the right age. For me, that was when I was 12 in middle school when my English teacher showed the class inexplicably La Belle et La Bete aka Beauty and the Beast. This adaptation was directed by Jean Cocteau, an experimental filmmaker, artist, and designer and this film showcases all of his various professions. Filmed in beautiful black and white, the film represents the widest scope of the magical realist imagination of Cocteau. Every image of this film is iconic and influential. The scene above of Belle coming into the castle for the first time is one of the most famous scenes in filmic history. This is a beautiful film whose imagery transcends language, age and time. There is also a beautiful restoration on the Criterion Collection. - Patrick Hao, Entertainment Editor


The Shawshank Redemption: One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption which is movie based on the novella by Stephen King, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.” While it is known to be one of the greatest movies of all time, I enjoy this movie because no matter how many times I watch it, I always get this sense of excitement from the progression of the story. The best part about The Shawshank Redemption is the irony and the amount of clues the movie gives the audience about the ending without being blatant. Couple this with fantastic character development and a twisted villain and you have the formula for movie success. - Andrew Kratochwil, Lifestyle Editor


Vicky Christina BarcelonaOne of my all time favorite movies is Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It is my favorite because of the story’s perspective on art; it really spoke to me. Also, I have had many opportunities to travel, it is something that I love to do and I think the movie depicts the romance of traveling and experiencing life in different cultures. Plus, the movie is very funny, the screenplay is well written and the actors had really good chemistry on camera together.  - Valerie Mcphail, Style Editor


Human TrafficHuman Traffic is one of the greatest explorations of club/rave aka EDM culture ever to have appeared on the silver screen. The British film takes you through an entire 24 hour experience of of the underground scene. Where a group of friends are driven from their mundane daily lives to want to let loose during the anticipated night of their lives. The cast of characters is real and as relevant as ever to those who know what the EDM scene is about. It also introduces those unknown to the EDM what is going on, minus the media driven negativity outlook. Plus, it should be noted that "true" members of the EDM scene understand the nuances of the people, the places, the music and overall experience at an event. - David Adam Nole, Publisher


Pan's LabyrinthPan’s Labyrinth tells the story of a little girl trapped in a village under siege during the Spanish Civil War, while simultaneously dealing with a grim fairytale featuring prophecies, fauns, and magical gateways to other dimensions. The movie deals with the loss of innocence and constantly questions reality—as the war-torn Spanish countryside bleeds into the dark fantasy, it becomes increasingly difficult to decide where the story ends and real life begins. Ophelia, the main character, observes the world around her and tries to make sense of it all through the rose-tinted glasses of youth; but as the movie unfolds, it begins to ask a difficult question of whether relying on stories to offer hope in a bleak world is something that should only be left to children. Pan’s Labyrinth is beautiful, dark, imaginative, and I love watching it now just as much as when I first saw it. - James Wohr, Copy Editor