While the act of engaging in cultural criticism usually brings with it a risk of sounding pretentious, when it comes to the subject of film I find myself confronting a different dilemma. Without hesitation and in unequivocal order, my five favorite movies are the following.
- Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs
- Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2
- The Incredibles
- Kung Fu Panda 2
Though my unorthodox list makes a handy icebreaker when shamelessly rattled off (and inevitably chortled at) during parties, my selections also align my emotional maturity with that of a fourth-grader. Just as my passion for barbecue ribs has always exceeded any concern for personal dignity, however, my genuine love for these films outweighs any social considerations. Eclectic though they may be, I believe my choices reflect my commitment to liking things just because I do, not because I should. And despite my inexplicable fondness for talking animals and food puns, I also count films like Boyhood, Looper, The Artist, and Silence of the Lambs among the best I’ve ever seen.
By contrast, my tastes in TV shows are decidedly more mainstream. Dark and dramatic mystery programs like How to Get Away with Murder and Sherlock have kept me up many a night hypothesizing, debating, and “respectfully disagreeing” with my friends. Sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and Parks and Recreation also top my favorites list, each show featuring winning storylines and lovable characters I find myself returning to time and time again.
If my favorite programs have anything in common, it’s probably their attention to detail. In some ways, I suppose my love for the deeply textured and vibrant universes conjured up by fantasy and science fiction novels I read as a kid manifests itself in the well-imagined worlds and characters of these films and shows. To me, intricate detail shows a creator’s willingness to go above and beyond. Though commitment to authenticity often goes unnoticed, when observed it can spark an immensely powerful connection between audience and art.