Top Ten movies “cinephiles” can namedrop to assert their dominance over casual film viewers

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Illustration: Siloam Yeung / The Peak

By: Sara Brinkac, SFU Student

  1. The Shawshank Redemption (Dir. Frank Darabont, 1994)

If you’ve got a heartbeat, you like The Shawshank Redemption. Name-dropping this film in conversation not only shows people that you can recognize a good story, but that you are also capable of Googling “IMDB top 250 movies of all time.”

  1. Pulp Fiction (Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

It’s 2021 and no one has heard of Quentin Tarantino. It is your duty as a cinephile to bring up this film as much as humanly possible. You need to prove your worthiness as a moviegoer and spread the gospel of an underrepresented director. Bonus points if you can quote any part of the film because you are definitely the first person capable of retaining information for two hours and 58 minutes.

  1. Apocalypse Now (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

Let’s face it: even for cinephiles, films like Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption can be a little too mainstream. Apocalypse Now is a great way to communicate that you know the name Francis Ford Coppola but aren’t so mainstream that your favourite film is The Godfather. Name-dropping Apocalypse Now tells people that you have a lot of interesting thoughts about The Vietnam War, imperialism, and Robert Duvall’s acting.

  1. Any Wes Anderson Movie. Ever.

If it’s pastel and has symmetrical shots, it’s art. Throw any Wes Anderson movie title to the wind and you’re sure to prove to everyone around you that you truly appreciate beauty. If you haven’t seen his entire filmography, no worries! Simple phrases such as  “I need to wear more black eyeliner” or “Bill Murray was great in it!”  or “You know what’s cool? Smoking” are sure to prove to anyone that you are a master of all Wes Anderson films and, consequently, aestheticism.

  1. Psycho (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Many people cannot withstand the unbearable dullness that is black and white film, but you can, because you have immaculate taste (besides that fact that you chose to attend SFU). Psycho is great to name-drop anytime you need to communicate that you like good horror movies. Just make sure you don’t mention that the only reason you watched this film is because Ashton Kutcher’s parody of the shower scene on That 70s Show was your sexual awakening. No? Just me? 

  1. In the Mood for Love (Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)

A great option if you ever need to show someone that you like more than just Western cinema. In the Mood for Love proves not only that you can watch a film, but that you can read subtitles at the same time. (It may also prove that you just took CA 135, but we’ll keep that as our little secret.)

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

A great film to prove to anyone that you have an attention span. An attention span so dominant that any film they like in comparison is trash. An attention span so strong that even 20-minute-long non-dialogue scenes of poorly costumed apes, indistinguishable shots of strobing colours, and weird space babies can’t deter you. Your attention span is so superior that frankly, you’re just a better person. I bet you don’t even leave three-hour lectures during the break.

  1. Citizen Kane (Dir. Orson Welles, 1941)

Let’s be honest: you probably don’t remember much about Citizen Kane except for the fact that Rosebud is a sled. However, people say it’s a good movie and you aren’t about to let your fellow cinephiles down. On the plus side, name-dropping this film lets you brag about watching a 1940s film, a considerable and harrowing achievement.

  1. Inception (Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2010)

Name-dropping Inception in conversation tells people that you are an intelligent person who enjoys decoding cryptic messages in your spare time. You have very little patience for the basic, predictable Hollywood flick that spoon-feeds you a plot and relies on rehashing old storylines. You have an infinite knowledge of stories and Inception is a fresh, original idea. Hey! Here’s a fun activity: Google “Inception Paprika similarities” and see what you learn!

  1. Fight Club (Dir. David Fincher, 1999)

The majority of people have already seen Fight Club. However, where you as a true cinephile can set yourself apart from the dreaded mainstream is by claiming the ending was predictable. This is a classic dominance assertion technique and one commonly used by cinephiles everywhere. By telling people you saw the twist ending coming a mile away, you let people know that 1) you are smarter than them 2) you’re better at art and 3) you’re an all-around great person to hang out with.