My Top 50 All-Time Favorite Films (Part 2)*

A’right. I think it’s time to go back to my countdown of my most-adored movies. If you missed the first set (50-41), click here. Anyway, I have to remind you again that this is not a list of the greatest films in history but my favorites. This list is very personal. And of course, my taste may not jive with yours. You can rant all you want if you find anything disagreeable, see if I care. (Taray!)

Anyway, on with the next batch. Popcorns ready? Here it goes.

40. Batman Movies: Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman and Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005)

Genre: Adventure, Action
Director: Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger; Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny deVito; Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman; George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Christian Bale, Katie Holmes
Plot: Billionaire Bruce Wayne walks the fine line between justice and vengeance as he fights crime as the Batman.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 59%

“It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.?

The best of all Batman movies, definitely, is Batman Begins. My friend and movie buddy, Ayn, (ay, may ganun?) wrote on her own list: “Oh, I admit it. I just wanted to put a Batman movie in the list because I love Batman. I’ve been in love with Batman ever since I was a little kid. I think I actually wanted to be Batman at some point. Yes, I even love Batman Forever, if only for Nicole Kidman. One thing I love about Batman movies is the absence of America-as-the-world’s-superhero theme that is present in the Superman and Spiderman franchises… I’m so excited for next chapter of Batman (The Dark Knight) coming 2008 with Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman.”

Howkeeey. Ayn already said pretty much EVERYTHING I want to say. Fine. But I disagree with her about something. She deliberately excluded “Batman and Robin” from her list because she didn’t like it. (How could you, Ayn?! How could you?!) I liked it. And oh, this is the second Nicole Kidman-starrer in my list.

Christian Bale, you are my superhero. I mean, Batman.

39. Harry Potter Movies: The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), The Goblet of Fire (2005), The Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Genre: Adventure
Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Plot: A young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 83%

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are… it is our choices.?

I’ll be lying if I say that I didn’t like the first two Harry Potter movies. I liked them, too. But I was not as crazy over them as I was over the last three adaptations. But the best in the series is the third installment, The Prisoner of Azkaban. It is the only movie that I can say “better than the book.” But then of course, it’s not fair to Newell and Yates because they had to adapt such a thick book to just a two-hour magical experience. But still, Cuaron is really the best. One thing that amazes me is how they would cast people who actually look like the way I imagined them to be when I was reading the book. Luna Lovegood, for example, I swear, that was exactly how I imagined her. I loove her. She’s adorable. Anyways, sometimes I wish this whole Potter thing not to end. At least, I have something to look forward to every year. Oh well, that’s life.

38. Pirates of the Caribbean Movies: The Curse of Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At World’s End (2007)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom
Plot: Damn, this is hard. According to Ayn: a pirate’s life.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 47% Aaaw

“You’ll have the chance to do something… something courageous. And when you do, you’ll discover something. That you’re a good man.”

I don’t like Johnny Depp. But I loooooooove Captain Jack Sparrow, and for that, okie, I like Johnny Depp. (Agh, can’t make up my mind. Help!) And what do I like about these movies? Hmmmm. Do I really have to say anything? Whatever I say, it won’t change the fact that you LOVED these films. And that you will still watch the next Pirates films…. Er, and yeah, I just can’t think of anything to say. Ehehehehe.

37. Ying Xiong | Hero (2002)

Genre: Action
Country: Hong Kong / China
Director: Yimou Zhang
Starring: Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang
Plot: An unknown warrior accounts the story of how he defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.
Top Critics’ Mark: 100% <<< WOW

“A warrior’s ultimate act is to lay down his sword.”

If you think that filmmaking is an easy job, then watch Hero, arguably Zhang Yimou‘s best work. (Hey, I said “arguably!”) Flamboyant production design. (Did I spell it right? Flamboyant?) Excellent cinematography. Incredible fight scenes. Breathtaking locations. Magnificent costumes. And they come with a beautiful story. I’m not really into sword-fighting or kung-fu or whatever martial arts movie (that’s why I never really loved Jackie Chan) but when it’s Zhang Yimou who directed it, I have to see it. (Like House of Flying Daggers, wonderful.) This is the best (only?) Jet Li-starrer I’ve seen.

36. Joint Security Area (2000)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Country: South Korea
Director: Chan-wook Park
Starring: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song
Plot: Two North Korean soldiers and two South Korean soldiers guarding the border find their way having the strongest bond of friendship. Until everything becomes fatal.
Top Critics’ Mark: 80%

“We’re all going to die this way.?

Imagine this: you are a soldier guarding the line (a thin red line) that separates your country from the communist other and you somehow develop a beautiful friendship with another soldier from the other side whose job is the same as yours. And of course, you can not cross that thin red line. Will you cross it? And if you did, and everyone finds out about it, what are you willing to risk to protect the lives of your friends who let you cross that line? Is your life worth it? Will your communist friends sacrifice theirs to protect you? See? Perfect, ain’t it? Perfect for a film. That’s exactly what JSA is about. It was Prof. Joven Velasco (RIP) who introduced this film to me. And that makes this film unforgettable.

35. (tied) Milan (2004)

Genre: Drama, Romance
Country: Philippines
Director: Olivia Lamasan
Starring: Piolo Pascual, Claudine Barretto
Plot: Looking for his wife, a man flies to Milan and finds himself falling for someone else.

“A door closed for him. And she opened a window.?

Unlike most some Film students or graduates, I appreciate the local mainstream cinema. I enjoy watching Star Cinema or Regal movies as much as I enjoy independent films. Maybe because I’m not pretentious. Ahem. I mean, maybe because I know that media exist to generate profit. And film is a medium. Actually, sometimes I find mainstream filmmaking as challenging as independent filmmaking. It’s hard to make a good movie with all the restrictions given by the company. The same way that it’s hard for indies to attract audiences given the unusual material.

Anyway, enough intro, Milan is one movie that most of my Film friends didn’t appreciate. But Urian was on my side when they nominated this for Best Picture two years ago. Hehehe. So I guess I wasn’t alone. There are many reasons I liked this movie so much. One is Claudine Barretto. (You may have noticed, I’m a fan.) This is her second best performance ever. (Next to Nasaan Ka Man.) Second reason is Piolo Pascual. He is very good in this film, too. Third, Iza Calzado. Very minor role, but outstanding. Fourth, cinematography. Fantastic shots. Refreshing visuals. Fifth, screenplay. Although I think it’s a little longer than usual, it’s not dragging. And last, direction. I felt what this movie was supposed to make me feel when I was watching it.

35. (tied) Got 2 Believe (2002)

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Olivia Lamasan
Starring: Claudine Barretto, Rico Yan
Plot: A bridesmaid gets desperate in finding herself a groom.

“Mr. Perfect doesnt necessarily have to be Mr. Right.”

The best romantic comedy ever to grace Philippine Cinema. And that is according to me, so if you disagree, make your own list, hehehe. Kidding. But really, I really, really, really liked this movie. And it’s not because of Rico Yan. It’s the movie itself. I’ve seen this movie so many times and it never fails to make me laugh every time. And because I really appreciate the totality of the film, I always forgive the line, “I never believe in forever but I found forever in you.” I know it’s cheesy, ‘right? But what the heck? Love. Love. Love.

35. (tied) Kailangan Kita (2002)

Genre: Romance, Drama
Country: Philippines
Director: Rory Quintos
Starring: Claudine Barretto, Aga Muhlach
Plot: A man visits his fiancee’s family but falls in love with her sister.

“Walang atin. Walang tayo. Simula pa lang alam na nating mali.”

Following the success of Got 2 Believe in 2002, another Claudine Barretto-starrer was released. A romantic drama, Kailangan Kita is a very good film. Nationalism is a bit touched but the main focus of the movie is really the affair between the two main characters: a man and the sister of his fiancee. Set in Albay and using food as motif/theme, this movie is one visual treat. Not to mention great performances by the entire cast. But the best thing about this movie is its production design. The use of colors is brilliant. The movie starts with the props and wardrobe all white, light blue and light green. But as the movie progresses and as the love story develops, reds and purples begin to emerge. It’s done so subtly you wouldn’t even notice it.

34. Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo | My Sassy Girl (2001)

Genre: Comedy
Country: South Korea
Director: Jae-young Kwak
Starring: Tae-hyun Cha, Ji-hyun Jun
Plot: On his way home, a college boy meets a broken woman who would change his life forever.
Top Critics’ Mark: No grade yet

“Fate is building a bridge of chance for someone you love.?

A hollywood remake (starring Jesse Bradford) now in production, I just wish that they will not screw up the over-all concept. It is partially based on a series of love letters posted online. During my first year at UP Film, everybody was talking about this Korean romantic comedy. And I was like, “What the fuck is that?” No theatres were screening this that time. I could not find a copy in any Video City outlet. Not even in any DVD store. I was at the brink of desperation when I realized, “Motherfucker! My brother is living his wonderful life in Seoul!” So I gave him a call and asked him to send me a copy of this film or else, I won’t send him any of our family/home videos that I edited. So there, I got my copy. And I’m telling you, it was worth the blackmail.

33. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin
Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
Top Critics’ Mark: 90%

“There’s two kinds of people in this world, there’s winners and there’s losers. You know what the difference is? Winners don’t give up.?

My bet for the recent Academy Awards, Little Miss Sunshine was a DVD sensation. I was reluctant to watch this actually, because I thought, “Oh God, not another dysfunctional family movie.” But then Tonet told me that it was the only film that received a standing ovation at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. So I thought, wow, this had to be something. So off to Quiapo I went and grabbed a copy and watched it at home, and I liked it so much I swore I would hang myself if it won’t win the Best Picture Oscar even if I hadn’t seen all the other contenders yet. The film didn’t get the Oscar. I didn’t hang myself. Hey, I’m not an idiot.

32. Bayaning Third World | Third World Hero (2000)

Genre: Comedy
Country: Philippines
Director: Mike de Leon
Starring: Ricky Davao, Joel Torre, Cris Villanueva
Plot: The untold love story of Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken is finally revealed after more than 100 years.

This is the only Jose Rizal movie that I liked. Or better yet, the only Jose Rizal movie that I endured to finish. I mean, come on, we are all familiar with Rizal’s life so films about it don’t really interest me anymore. Were Rizal not dead, he would not watch any of those films either. He would get bored. Totally. But Bayaning Third World is different. It does not just narrate his exciting days in prison or his European tour, it questions his being-THE-National-Hero. The film even questions his character and his principles as a human being. Something that even Rizal would definitely enjoy watching. But no film can destroy my love for Jose Rizal. He’s like, you know, our National Hero. Ahahahaha.

31. Y Tu Mama Tambien | And Your Mother, Too (2001)

Genre: Drama
Country: Mexico
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel Verdu
Plot: In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.
Top Critics’ Mark: 96%

“Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea.?

The second Alfonso Cuaron film in this batch, Y Tu Mama Tambien is always a box-office hit everytime it’s shown at the UP Film Institute. If your organization needs funds, all you have to do is have this film shown and the tickets will sell like you’re selling porn. Yeah. Seriously. But this film is no porn. It is substantial. It has substance and a GREAT one at that. It’s wildly erotic but you still penetrate (no, not that kind of penetrate) what the film is trying to tell you. And not to mention the not-so-straight (read: GAY) twist in the end. OK, I won’t say anything now. You’re gonna see this film. I’m sure. I know I had you at “erotic.” Or “gay.” Hehehehe.


Okiedokie. I’m tired again. Twenty down, 30 more to go. Make sure to watch out for the next batch. It includes:
— a movie that needs no translation
— a film for those who believe in love at first sight
— two movies to make you realize that you had a good high school life after all
— two local family-oriented mainstream films
— and the Devil is coming. Fashionably late. With Keyser Soze.

And more. Uh, have to prepare my dinner. Yum yum. Bye for now.

Plot:, Ayn
Marks: Rotten Tomatoes Cream of the Crop Critics
*as of 8 September 2007


  1. Surprised to see Tagalog movies on your list. I don’t know, but no Tagalog movie is near my Top 50, although I would love to see Bayaning 3rd World. I missed this back in 2000. ..

    • bakit naman? there are a lot of great Tagalog films out there. And good luck with finding a copy of Bayaning Third World. ANGHIRAP NYAN. 🙂

  2. tseh. batman returns ang da best sa batman series. dark siya. dark. dark. daaaaaaaaaark.

    hoi. mali ang plotline mo sa ‘my sassy girl’. palitan mo. gawin bang the others?

  3. haha, v. copying my plot…ang hirap nga talaga isipin nung part na yun.

    i enjoyed batman and robin when i first watched it, but i never had the urge to rewatch it, unlike the other batman films. ewan ko. sayang si uma thurman.

    on milan, yeck, sumakit ulo ko dito, hindi ko tuloy tinapos (o sinimulan dahil sa gitna ako pumasok.) Iza Calzado was the only person interesting in that. I love Got 2 Believe though, and I liked Kailangan Kita, the ending was just…i won’t say bad…but not as good as it could have been.

    • uhm,yup. Uma Thurman. POISON IVY is one of my fave villains. Love na love ko character niya.

      KAILANGAN KITA’s ending. I wanted a not-so-happy ending. Sana wala na lang yung last scene. Pero oh well, hindi kikita e pag hindi happy ending.

      Hoy, credited ka sa plot ha. Hahaha.

  4. I’ve never really watched most of the movies on your list–just Batman and Harry Potter. But I have to disagree on the whole thing with the Prisoner of Azkaban movie being better than the book. In my opinion, all the books are better than the movie, the Goblet of Fire, especially. They just cannot compare to the book, and I don’t like some of the actors, but Luna Lovegood is an exception. She’s is exactly how I imagined her too. I guess I love the books too much to replace them with a movie.

    • i kinda understand how you feel. 🙂

      But I was really amazed by the third movie than the third book. Maybe because the material is very, very visual. Better shown than told. Especially when you’re dealing with TIME.

      Thanks Kendra. 🙂

  5. Batman Begins is the only batman movie i love!

    I’ve never read the HP books but the 4th, 3rd and 5th Potter movies are my faves… in that order.

    Little Miss Sunshine was really really lovely, i can’t forget the dance for the talent portion of the contest lol.

    My Sassy Girl… haha I can still remember all the ruckus between me and my friends on trying to secure a copy of this movie before it ever became popular.

  6. Eh, I hate Filipino movies even though I always cry whenever I’m watching a drama one. Like Crying Ladies, man that was good.

    I have to finish Y Tu Mama Tambien, they were showing it on TV as a series-y kind of thing. I got confused though cause we got to watch the middle part… o_o;

    Lots of scenes though, and I watched it with my mom and dad too. Yeaaaaahhh, awkward XD

    I’ve never heard of Bayaning Third World, I wonder if they have it in the Filipino stores here 😛 (I don’t think so though, most they have are the drama stuff)

    I never knew Cuaron directed Y Tu Mama, though XD Yay… learned something new! 😀

  7. i looove the batman series, esp yung edition na nandun si penguin. loved loved loved it! iniimagine ko pa yung sarili ko nun na ako si batman, hehehe, that movie brings back really nostalgic memories of my precious childhood.

    i love bayaning 3rd world too, its very insightful and so not the typical rizal movies where we watch the KNOWN about rizal. y tu mama tambien was beautiful too. as for sassy girl, i think 200 pounds beauty would be a good watch din yoshke, try it. 🙂

  8. its getting better and better.. nice to see claudine’ s movies on your list. im kind a fan. galing kasi umarte e. harry potter was nice too.. and i love jet li.
    looking forward to the next batch! im hoping to see some of my fave movies..

    thanks again! its a pleasure reading your list.. 😀

    • ahahahaha. i looooooooove Claudine. pinapanood ko lahat ng movies nya.

      and Juday actually. hehe

      shocks, ang jologs ko na. hindi siguro, ehehehe.

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