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Mission Impossible: 75 Movies

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I like to be "in the know." I read a bunch of different publications, I watch the news, and I keep up on must-see television. For some reason, however, many of the most iconic movies in history just haven't hit my radar.

Sitting at dinner one night with my mom, dad and older brother, I got my inspiration for this endeavor. My older brother, Max, and I discovered that neither of us had seen The Godfather. My parents were both shocked. How had we not seen such a classic? We moved on to discuss other films I had yet to see and the list just kept going and going, on and on. I swear to you, after that meal, I was certain that my whole life was a lie and that I'd never once seen a movie. They named so many titles that my head was spinning. I felt so... ignorant. Oblivious. The three of them were mentioning these names that I'd heard so much about -- yet they were still so foreign to me. I felt like I'd wasted my whole life watching fluffy romantic comedies and crude Seth Rogan movies. Finally, after years of faking my way through Forrest Gump references and Star Wars jokes, I decided to take the plunge.

I've made a list of 75 movies, and it's still growing. My mission is a tough one. I am to watch all of the films on the list. Originally I set the due date for the end of the summer, but I soon realized that such a feat would take a lifetime. Below, you'll find a copied version of the list.

Randomly, I chose to start with Risky Business. I suppose that the zillions of references to a barely-clothed boy sliding across wooden floor confused me for far too long. The overall premise is... endearing. Watching the college interview scene had me literally laughing out loud -- I suppose because it was actually the most relatable for me. Other than that, though, I wouldn't call the acting anything spectacular. I'm not sure how challenging it would be for a young Tom Cruise to play such a role.

I moved on from there to watch The Silence of the Lambs. I know, it's a complete shift in mood and style, but I was just so curious. I couldn't watch this one alone, so I employed Max to sit by my side to protect me from Hannibal Lecter. And boy, did I need protecting. I was scared out of my mind. It's that type of suspense film that really gets my blood pumping. Obviously I knew what was going to happen, but it somehow kept me on my toes. Jodie Foster's intense hiding scenes bordered on comical but were still hard to watch (in a good hide-under-the-blanket sort of way). The true gem of this film, though, was Anthony Hopkins. His stunning portrayal of a bona fide psychopath kept me cringing and gasping throughout. It is this sort of acting that I respect so greatly. Now, the one issue I had with the film was this nagging question in my head, "How did they turn this into a musical?" That's right. Silence: The Musical is a real thing. I heard they even had a lamb chorus. Oh, the things people in show business will do. But really, this was a fabulous piece of movie history.

Perhaps I am being unfair to Risky Business or overly admiring of The Silence of the Lambs. If you've seen either of these two movies, let me know what you thought. Also, don't be shy about suggesting more movies for my list... at this point one, five, or 50 more wouldn't make a difference. Also, if you're like me and you have some issues with ignorance about movies or television or books or anything else, make your own list. I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye.

Adaptation
Almost Famous
American Beauty
American Graffiti
American Psycho
An Education
As Good as It Gets
Blood Diamond
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Burn After Reading
Cast Away
Crash
Crimes and Misdemeanor
Dazed and Confused
Deer Hunter
District 9
Driving Miss Daisy
Fargo
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fight Club
Forrest Gump
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Frost/Nixon
Gangs of New York
Garden State
Gone with the Wind
Good Will Hunting
Goodfellas
Hotel Rwanda
Into the Wild
Kramer vs. Kramer
LA Confidential
Leaving Las Vegas
Letters from Iwo Jima
Man on Wire
Memento
Michael Clayton
Million Dollar Baby
Mystic River
No Country for Old Men
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Panic Room
Philadelphia
Pulp Fiction
Rain Man
Ransom
Ray
Rebel Without a Cause
Risky Business
Rocky
Saint Elmo's Fire
Schindler's List
Shakespeare in Love
Sideways
Star Wars
Terms of Endearment
The Birdcage
The Departed
The Fighter
The Godfather Trilogy
The Hours
The Hurt Locker
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Outsiders
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
The Silence of the Lambs
The Sting
The Usual Suspects
The Wrestler
True Grit
Up in the Air
Winter's Bone
Witness
Working Girl