One of my favorite Youtube channels, ScreenJunkies, just released a very interesting new discussion video on what films they believe will eventually become classics. They gave an example of the film, Shawshank Redemption, as a film that came out in 1994, and is now considered a classic. Which films will do what Shawshank did, and through time will be regarded as classic films? If you would like to watch the video than you can click down below.
So, with this in mind, I would like to add 5 more films that I believe can be in this discussion and are destined to be classics in 20 years.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino is already known to have a a classic or two already. I’ve always thought this film was his second masterpiece after Pulp Fiction. There are so many memorable scenes and intriguing characters that really makes this film stand out among a lot of other recent films. Tarantino is known to create such original stories and characters from his dark, twisted mind, and Inglourious Basterds is the perfect example of this. The best character is Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa who is an intimidating nazi killer. Waltz gives his character a subtle charm, but can easily flip the switch and become extremely fierce and menacing. The first scene in this film is a perfect example of this, and Tarantino even considered it the best scene he has ever written.
Drive was a sleeper-hit back in 2011, and even though it didn’t get the recognition during awards season, it still gets constantly brought up among some of the best films of this decade. Why is this? Well, the directing and cinematography are absolutely top-notch. This film can be shown in film class, and students can learn the art of visual storytelling in film and film composition. This is filmed so well it could also be considered as an art-house film. However, this film also has a captivating story with very unique, memorable characters. The cast is fantastic, and they all give amazing performances. Lastly, the musical score has an 80s vibe to it where it is synthetic, electronic, and atmospheric. The music tells the story at times and perfectly fits into the dreamy LA setting. This film is so original and timeless that there is no stopping its impact on film and culture.
Denis Villeneuve is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves and is now considered one of the best directors working today. I have a strong feeling in 20 years he will be part of a handful of directors who defined our generation. With that being said, I believe Prisoners is the best film he has directed up to this point. Prisoners is an extremely affective thriller that is full of so many twists and turns, and really leaves a lasting impact on the viewer when it is all over. It brilliantly slowly builds and gets more tense as the story unfolds. It is masterfully directed by Villeneuve, shot by Roger Deakins, and the performances are all incredible. Hugh Jackman might give the best performance of his career in this film, and other actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, and Viola Davis all give great performances as well. This is a timeless tale that can have an impact on anyone from any generation which convinces me that it can be considered a classic in a decade or two.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The great Martin Scorsese already has a handful of classic films, and The Wolf of Wall Street is easily his best film in years, and probably the best he has directed in the 21st century. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill give the best performances of their careers and the writing and directing are incredible. This film is boisterous, electric, and gritty, but at the same time extremely funny and raunchy. That’s the best way I can describe this film. It certainly is unique and it may be Scorsese’s funniest film. There are so many memorable sequences and is just a non-stop thrill ride that exposes everything in this nutty true story of a real life stockbroker Joran Belfort. The rise and fall story of Jordan Belfort makes it very similar to another Scorsese classic, Goodfellas, and some can argue it is just as good. The key themes of greed, lust, and anguish make this film a that anyone can indulge and enjoy even though they might not relate to what is going on.
Whiplash was a small indie film that by the end of 2014 became one of the biggest films of the year. J.K. Simmons gives one of the best performances of the decade so far as the menacing jazz teacher who will do anything to get the most out of his students by any means necessary. His character might be considered one of the best villains in film in a decade or two. He’s that good. This film is masterly directed by the young up-and-comer Damien Chazelle who might have another future classic in the works with La La Land, we shall see. He sure made one hell of a film debut with Whiplash. This can be viewed as a character study which showcases what people are willing to do to be the best. It’s also super intense from beginning to end, and has one of the best endings to a film in recent memory.