10. Garden State (2004)
While I'm not really a fan of Zach Braff, he did stumble upon a hit in his writer/director debut, Garden State. It tells the story of Andrew "Large" Largeman, a struggling actor in LA who travels back to his hometown in New Jersey for the funeral of his crippled mother. He was essentially the cause of her crippling, but the medications his doctor father has had him on forced him to float through life as an unfeeling zombie. As he mingles with his old high school friends, he meets the eclectic charms of Sam (Natalie Portman), who is adjusting well to life despite her own damages.
9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best book to movie adaptation I've seen. It should be, considering that novel author Stephen Chbosky was chosen to direct the movie. And boy, did he get it right on so many levels. Perks tells the story of Charlie, who is writing to an unknown friend the travails of his lonely existence. Through his sister's mix tapes from her abusive boyfriend, he's discovered the soul-changing music of The Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fleetwood Mac for the first time.
8. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Vanilla Sky is a love story in the guise of a psychological thriller. There's certainly a lot to unpack here, but Vanilla Sky tells the story of magazine CEO David Aames and how his life came crumbling down after a fateful accident. He meets Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at a party and falls head over heels in love with her. But, he's been courting Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) in a fruitless relationship. Julie takes David's new love interest to heart and attempts to kill both of them in a kamikaze car accident, leaving her dead and David disfigured. David finds that there is a lot more going on under the surface as he lives out a lucid dream, trying to reconnect with the society that has forsaken him.
7. Seven Pounds (2008)
Of all the movies I've cried in, I've devoted the most tears to this one. It's an unassuming movie, and I went into the experience of watching it blind. Will Smith has been known to put out some tearjerkers in his day, but there are none quite so heavy as Seven Pounds. The title refers to the seven pounds of flesh that Ben Thomas (Smith) feels that he must pay back due to the lives he has accidentally taken. While looking at his phone when driving, Ben takes the life of his wife and six other drivers around him. He now lives his life to atone for the grievous error he has made, giving back the life he has taken away.
6. High Fidelity (2000)
Much like myself, Rob Gordon likes to compile lists. Except his go beyond the world of music and movies and apply directly to his life. He's a man-child to be sure, but one that is funny and endearing, a record store owner on the outs with his girlfriend, Laura. He comes up with a list of his top 5 girlfriends of all-time, and he arranges his extensive record collection in autobiographical order.
5. Say Anything (1989)
I have a theory that Say Anything, High Fidelity, and Gross Pointe Blank are all connected. They're all Cusack films basically portraying the same character (but not really) at three different times in his life. I'll have a later blog post about that very thing, but for now, we focus on the ultra INFP Say Anything. John Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, a quirky, fast-talking, lovable soul who falls head over heels in love with high school valedictorian Diane Court. It's your classic two different worlds/wrong side of the tracks love story set to the tune of Peter Gabriel.
4. Amelie (2001)
I fell for Amelie the first time I saw it back in 2004. It's a French-speaking delight from the brilliant mind of writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, scored by the brilliant mind of world-class musician Yann Tiersen. The film features Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain, a lonely, whimsical girl who gets her personal kicks out of making people's lives better, though often discarding her own. She brings childhood nostalgia to strangers, serves up justice to evil-doers, and watches contrived news reels of her own dwindling life as she makes everyone else happy but herself. She's essentially the cutest, most adorable superhero the world has ever seen.
3. Wicker Park (2004)
Like Vaniila Sky, Wicker Park dabbles in the psychological sphere as it jumps all over the timeline of lovers Matthew (Josh Harnett) and Lisa (Diane Krueger). It's a remake of the French film L'Appartement (The Apartment) starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci. In Wicker Park, Matthew's lover Lisa has mysteriously disappeared after he asks her to move in with him. Little do either of them know, Alex (Rose Byrne) has fallen in love with Matthew and is willing to do anything to keep him for herself.
2. Bright Star (2009)
Bright Star probably best falls into the category of the Jane Austen adaptations, but don't let that fool you. It's based on the life of John Keats, a posthumously famous poet who fell in love with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne, at the end of his consumption-ridden life. This is the best piece of Regency-era cinema I have seen, complete with a dwindling view of the magic that was the work of famous INFP John Keats.
1. Charlie Countryman (2013)