So looking back over the list, what have we learned? Almost nothing. I mean, if you look at the breakdown, there are almost no patterns. Surprisingly (at least to me), the director that appears most often is Rob Reiner, who directed 4 of these movies (including 3 of the top 6). No one else appears more than twice, and the 6 that do appear twice are very random: Apatow and Brooks, who do comedy; Tarantino and Fincher, who do sort of violent crazy stuff; Coen, who does quirky, offbeat stuff; Coppola, who does Godfather movies; and Sidney Lumet, who I'd never even heard of until I realized that he directed Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men when I was writing this list.
What about actors? Well, I was glad to see that my list backed up what I've told a lot of people--that my favorite actors are Al Pacino, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey. Pacino was in 4 of the top 50 (and 3 of the top 10), and both Jackson and Spacey were in 5 each (including SLJ's really small supporting role in Goodfellas). The list of actors who are in 3 of my top 50 is as diverse as the directors: John Cazale, Steve Buscemi, Keifer Sutherland, Bruce Willis, Gene Wilder, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Seth Rogen. There are quite a few that are in two, but they're not really worth listing. (Incidentally, I'm not aware of any women that show up more than twice. Hmmm.)
And if we try to examine genre? Equally unhelpful. The top 10 has a little consistency: I'd say that the Godfather movies, Goodfellas, and Glengarry Glen Ross are somewhat similar, but where do The Breakfast Club and Stand By Me fit in? And what of It's A Wonderful Life?
But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe there doesn't need to be a unifying element. Or rather, maybe the unifying element is just watchability. Because as I was making this list, there were so many times that I wanted to stop and go watch one of them. In fact, right now I think I'm in the mood to hear Verne tell everyone that if he had to eat one food for the rest of his life, it would be cherry Pez. God bless Rob Reiner.