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Ask the Mary Sues: What Are Your 5 Perfect Movies?

Okay, but how are we supposed to pick just five?

Westley and Princess Buttercup in the Princess Bride

If your friend group is anything like ours, few topics dominate the conversation quite like our pop culture favorites. Who among us doesn’t maintain an ever-updating list of top films, television series, books, games, etc. Recently, the conversation around movies is making the rounds on social media (honestly when isn’t it) with folks listing what they consider to be their five perfect movies.

I love the designation of “perfect” in this context. We’re not talking about the best films we’ve ever seen, or the most critically acclaimed. And since perfection is an ever-moving target, out picks are sure to change as the years go on. Plus, everyone’s definition of perfection is entirely subjective. For some, the perfect movie may not be the best film ever, but the film they most enjoy watching. Or it may be their go-to comfort movie when they’re feeling down.

It’s been fascinating to see what films keep coming up on people’s lists. Usual suspects like Back to the Future, The Princess Bride, and Goodfellas show up, as do more modern picks like The Dark Knight and Parasite. Each list is a window into someone’s personality, their likes and dislikes, and their sensibility. We had a tough time whittling down our picks, so we added some honorable mentions because who can stop at just five?

Dan Van Winkle:

Back to the Future
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Matrix
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Jurassic Park

Rachel Leishman:

American Psycho
I, Tonya
Inside Llewyn Davis

Honorable mentions: Hell or High Water, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Kaila Hale-Stern:

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Shakespeare in Love
Donnie Darko
Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Honorable mention: Clueless, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Do the Right Thing, Spirited Away, Blade Runner.

Briana Lawrence:

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Mortal Kombat (the 90s one)
Adolescence of Utena
Office Space

Chelsea Steiner:

Singin’ in the Rain
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
Death Becomes Her

Honorable mentions: The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Long Kiss Goodnight, Working Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Josie and the Pussycats. Oh, and Titanic (shut up it’s perfect).

Vivian Kane:

Jurassic Park
Paddington 2
The Fugitive
10 Things I Hate About You

Honorable Mentions: Birds of Prey, Ready or Not, Drop Dead Gorgeous, That Thing You Do

What makes your cut for 5 perfect movies? Let us know in the comments!

(image: 20th Century Fox)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.