Five years ago I put together a list of 10 "Desert Island Films", movies that I considered my absolute favorites. I thought it was time to re-assess the list and see if any changes needed to be made. It turns out that two films dropped off the list. One of them was a suprising choice to get the axe. Okay, not completely surprising.
It turns out that for the first time in my life I can honestly say that not one "Star Wars" film is on my list of all time favorite movies. The last time I tried to watch one, "The Empire Strikes Back", I couldn't even make it halfway through. The prequel trilogy has simply done too much damage to the story of the original trilogy for me and the magic is gone. So "Empire" gets the axe from my list of Desert Island Films.
The film I'm replacing "Empire" with is a very surprising one for me. I didn't expect to like "Marvel's The Avengers", much less love it. But love it I do. A lot. I have seen it about 20 times since last summer (I actually watched it twice in the last week) and it never fails to bring me the same joy I felt after that first viewing last May. It may be premature to add it to a top 10 list so soon after its release, but I feel fairly safe in my choice. I love this movie, every second of it, all the way through the credits and right up until Thor takes that giant bite of shawarma.
The other change to the list comes in the form of swapping out one Hayao Miyazaki film for another one. In 2008 I was uncertain of which film to choose. I knew I had to include one of them and I had four to choose from that I thought I liked equally. It turns out that there was a clear winner and it wasn't the movie I had chosen five years ago. Last year I had the chance to see any of the Miyazaki films on the big screen during a theatrical retrospective of his films at a local cinema. I only had time to see one and I chose "Kiki's Delivery Service". So "My Neighbor Totoro" gets bumped for "Kiki".
So here is my revised list of 10 "Desert Island Films" (in alphabetical order):
Marvel's The Avengers
The English Patient
Kiki's Delivery Service
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
When Harry Met Sally
The eight films that remain on the list all safely retain their slots. I've watched them all at least once since 2008 and I even saw two of them at retro showings on the big screen last year. I could sit down and watch any of these films right now and they would feel as fresh as they were on the day I first saw them. Feel free to list yours. Not the 10 movies that you think are "the best", but the films that mean the most to YOU.
There are no "best" films, anyway. In the end, there are only stories that mean more to you than other stories.