10 Classic Movies from the Modern Era That Never Got Old
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I Don't Wish I Could Quit You: 10 Classic Movies from the Modern Era That Never Got Old

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | April 25, 2013 | Comments ()


Around here, we tend to like movies. Or haven't you noticed? When people love an art form enough to turn it into a hobby or a job, there's a pretty good chance those people like to make that art apart of their lives as much as possible. Watching the same movies over and over, our favorites, is no different than watching a favorite sporting team compete every Sunday. Sure, the latter may have different outcomes every week, but we're ultimately rooting for the same things -- victory for our protagonists. Some times those victories are thrilling and nail-biting, other times they're assured, and even other times they're just too dull to instill much passion, anymore. And some times our protagonists lose, but if we really do care, we'll always be back for more.

No sports team is ever perfect, no matter what Miami Dolphins fans tell you, and I hesitate to say that any movie is ever perfect, but some movies come mighty damn close. These aren't necessarily the most "re-watchable" movies, as those tend to be mostly harmless confections, but these are movies that are nearly impossible to turn off should you chance upon watching them on. Movies like the first two Godfathers or All The President's Men or Once Upon a Time in the West; movies that are so self-assured that they immediately suck you in; movies that may leave you emotionally spent, but you never want them to end because the tales, and the way they're being told with the accretion of meaningful details, are simply that compelling. Every. Single. Time.

Objectively, in terms of craftsmanship, what's rendered onscreen is precisely what the filmmakers set out to achieve and that confidence makes it easy to latch on. They are what we want all movies to be - good stories, well told. In sports, we just want the teams to play hard and put on a decent spectacle. When either miracle happens in either medium, I imagine that's how characters in "Game of Thrones" experience real magic for the first time. (As long as they aren't on the receiving end of, say, dragon- or wildfire.) It's why we come back for more, again and again. And again.

Without further ado, here are 10 Classic Movies from the Last 15ish Years That Just Never Got Old:

L.A. Confidential


Boogie Nights

Jackie Brown

Out of Sight

True Grit

The Prestige



Children of Men

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He changed this list a dozen or more times before finished, and he'd probably add Lincoln or Argo in a few years.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jezzer

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but "Rushmore" got old about 30 minutes in.

  • AudioSuede

    I'm really disappointed not to see Eternal Sunshine on this list, and really confused as to how anyone thinks True Grit manages to survive in three years better than The Social Network or Black Swan or Winter's Bone from the same year, and I didn't really like Gladiator or The Prestige, and if you're going for one movie per director Inglorious Basterds was Tarantino's best movie post-Pulp Fiction and only gets better on repeat viewings, and since you have such an affinity for tense crime dramas I can't believe you didn't include The Departed, but after saying all of that, I am so happy to see love heaped on Zodiac, Rushmore, Children of Men, LA Confidential, and Boogie Nights, I'll give you a solid thumbs-up.

  • Funny–NONE of these make my list of rewatchables. Which is probably why I don't own any of them. They are mostly good flicks, but they lack the depth and/or creativity to merit multiple viewings.

  • DNAchemLia

    I've only seen one of the movies (The Prestige). I think O Brother, Where Art Thou should be on that list.



  • El Gavilan Pollero

    Me gustaria que bajen la pelicula completa y no los trailers

  • Ian

    Good list glad Gladiator was on it one of my favorites!

  • Eva

    I really liked both Zodiac and The Prestige, but still found both of them to be too long and slow to ever rewatch.

  • BlackRabbit

    Were the Zodiac subtitles screwed up for anyone else?

  • BWeaves


    I hated it when it first came out. I recently saw it again, and I was surprised, not only on how well it has held up, but on how prophetic it was for its time.

  • TK

    While Network is, in fact, a terrific movie, the list is flicks from the last 15 years. Not the last 35.

  • BWeaves

    The older you get, the fast time flies.

    Didn't Einstein prove that or something? Anyway, it's true.

  • Chris

    I would remove Gladiator, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight from this list and replace them with Shawshank, Pulp Fiction, and Inception. Not sure yet about True Grit.

  • kirbyjay

    2 Russell Crowes? Don't care what it is, I'm in.
    LA Confidential and Gladiator are in my all time top 5, so thanks for that.

  • Archie Leach

    While Ima gonna get a LOT of disagree'ers here.... BUT a lot of agree'ers....sorry but, with apologies to Mr. Scott, "Gladiator" just don't hold up no's more...... whereas "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is pretty much agreeds upon by the film snobs over at elitist "Sight and Sound" as well as (very similar polled) "they shoot pictures" as amongsts the best of the new millenia....

  • googergieger

    I know I saw Zodiac but for the life of me I can't remember much about it. I just remember watching it and thinking Memories of Murder was much better. Honestly a lot of Korean flicks should be on here. They've cracked out the best movies of the "modern era", by far. I mean basically everything Park, Bong, some Kim(Tale of Two Sisters is still probably his best), Save the Green Planet, The Yellow Sea and The Chaser are top notch though granted a bit flawed, the Housemaid remake was amazing, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, come to mind. Welcome to Dongmakgol. Etc...

    In any case, True Grit? Not even the best Coen flick of the modern era. Though kudos for not putting up every Nolan flick which I'm sure was a possibility.

  • AudioSuede

    I'm right with you on True Grit. I liked it, but I just watched No Country For Old Men again the other day, and damned if that movie isn't better every single time.

  • Harris K Telemacher

    Yeah Memories of Murder is a masterpiece. Didn't care much for Tale of 2 Sisters though. Loved HOST also.

  • googergieger

    Basically love that it is a horror turned drama by the end of it. Not to mention one of the greatest soundtracks of all time.

  • googergieger

    Like the tattoo on my penis reads, "Oldboy>"

  • Maguita NYC

    This movie is older than your mandatory 15 years: The Big Blue. Luc Besson. Jean Reno. Rosanna Arquette. And for only that one time, a very endearing and lovely looking Jean-Marc Barr (he lost his appeal soon after).

    I could never get enough of that movie, even if I know every word by heart... Which starts racing whenever Enzo says, "Roberto, mio palmo".

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I remember being enchanted with this movie but dear god, did Rosanna Arquette annoy the hell out of me. I was never a fan of hers to begin with and she was absolutely terrible in this. However Jean-Marc Barr's beauty helped a great deal.

  • Maguita NYC

    Rosanna was simply a tool, a conduit if you would, to highlight more of Jacques Mayol's endearing gauche interaction with females. Even though she started as the protagonist, her existence became secondary once we got hooked on Barr.

    Besides, the bigger love story was between Enzo and Jacques. I still tear-up whenever watching Enzo's final dive.

  • junierizzle

    Quiz Show

  • junierizzle

    Rushmore and Boogie Nights are in my top 10 all-time.

  • YeahButNoBut

    Toy Story, anyone? Any of the three.

    I hope you aren't going to pretend you don't still get chocked up in those films.

    Even though no-one else has seen it, my personal list would be topped by a little film called Toy Soldiers (1991) which has one of the best race-the-clock sequences I've seen on film. Gets me every time. Also contains baby Samwise Gamgee and Wil Weaton. Fuck yeah!

  • junierizzle

    I'm calling it now, 21 Jump Street

  • poopnado

    Eternal Sunshine.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Good choice.

  • Michelle

    A thousand times yes to The Prestige.

  • Hell yes for Jackie Brown. I love that freaking movie so much and watch it all the time. I think it's my sentimental QT favorite. Ah damn it...now I'm gonna have to postpone studying and watch it.

  • LexieW

    No love for Amelie?

  • Sometimes I'll put on Amelie just as background music of whatever I'm doing because it's just so damn pleasant.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Sense and Sensibility.
    Fight Club

    I disagree with several of your choices, but that's kind of the point. A chacun a son gout.

  • duckandcover

    Mulholland Falls. :|

  • PerpetualIntern

    Damn I love LA Confidential and Gladiator. Ironically, I don't like Russell Crowe.

  • hippyherb

    I started watching Out of Sight, but had to stop because of Jennifer Lopez. Her voice drives me batty. Apparently I missed a good movie.

  • DoctorDouchebag

    Fuck this noise! With the exception of Children of Men and True Grit this is one of the worst "best" movie lists I have ever seen.

    Oh and also, I did not care for the Godfather.

  • The Godfather is so overrated.

  • Karen

    i still like this site even if i have never seen any of these (or any of the tv series you all wax poetic) and no i have no idea who that Kevin is that did a kickstart....get me more c*nt punts please!

  • Some Guy

    5th Element. Chris Tucker and all.

  • minxy

    Sean of the Dead. But still a good list.

  • Sosumi

    Out of Sight and Jackie Brown, definately. And, while we're on Elmore Leonard, let's through in Get Shorty. Which reminds me, how about Pulp Fiction?

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Elmore Leonard fan here. *waves*

  • BWeaves

    In my house the list is:

    Local Hero
    The Princess Bride
    A Christmas Story
    And anything with Wallace and Gromit in it.

  • Tinkerville

    I'm thinking you might be using the term "classic" very liberally here...

  • I was reading this thinking "you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  • Jerce


  • Jerce

    1) Russell Crowe never gave a better performance than his turn in L.A. Confidential.

    2) Re: Gladiator: See #1. It was okay the first time around but it's the last thing from "re-watchable" unless you're in the mood to snicker at trite dialogue and Joaquin Phoenix screeching all over the place.

  • Debbie Ford

    Gladiator is rewatchable for many reasons, but I'll give you two: Oliver Reed is simply transcendent. And two, the scene where Maximus, as he is dying, imagines he is walking through the fields towards his wife and son, trailing his hand through the wheat stalks. Gives me chills every single damn time.

  • emmelemm

    But Joaquin is just so beautiful and mopey and evil.

    "Am I not merciful?"

  • Arran

    I'd personally give the edge to The Insider.

  • jzhz

    Absolutely. That movie was long as hell and Crowe's performance was riveting.

  • Monica

    RE: Gladiator - I guess we have the answer to "are you not entertained?!" I for one find trite dialogue infinitely quotable and usually watch Gladiator anytime it's on.

  • dannyexplosion


  • JH

    I hated hated HATED The Prestige. The Illusionist is a much superior film. Did I mention I HATED The Prestige? That movie was a pile of poop. Hated it.

  • Harris K Telemacher

    The Illusionist is one of the worst pieces of cinema produced by a person. There's this enormous Keyzer Soze-level reveal you know is coming, Giamatti pieces it all together in a sequence ripped from every goddamn 'twist' film ever made, but unlike those that work this fucking movie never bothers to explain HOW he did it, expecting us to just accept that he was really really really clever. Awful, lazy screenplay, one-dimensional characters. Piece of poo. On toast.

  • AudioSuede

    I totally disagree on the ending. What I actually prefer of the two films is that while The Prestige has an implausible twist ending that actually changes the plot of the entire story for the worse, The Illusionist basically sets it up so the reveal isn't the focus; they leave enough clues along that the twist isn't that surprising, and instead put the onus of the story on the "chase" of the characters trying to figure out if he pulled a trick and, if so, how he did it. I don't need to know every detail of how he did it so long as it doesn't seem like he couldn't have possibly done it at all; what matters is a compelling drama, an emotional cat-and-mouse which drives the plot with more concrete character motivations than The Prestige ever manages.

  • Tinkerville

    THANK YOU. I hate that movie with a fiery passion. Sometimes I wonder if it's irrational, then I remember just how awful it was and nope, it's rational. I get angry just thinking about it. Blech.

  • sean

    You know why they didn't get old? They are great movies. Great movies never get old.

  • PDamian

    Thanks for the Children of Men vote -- it's long been one of my favorites, and one I'll drop everything to watch, even though I own the DVD. I also thought it did a better job of describing the dystopia that the world had become than the book, fond though I am of P. D. James. I liked the ending better, too. And while Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor were terrific, it's the minor characters, like Pam Ferris as the midwife and Peter Mullan's terrifying turn as a soldier/guard, that really make the film.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I can't remember seeing Peter Mullan in anything where he wasn't terrifying.

  • Arran

    He was quite affable in Trainspotting. I mean, he did put Renton in that cab after he ODed. He could've just left him on the curb!

  • jollies

    More interesting world be a list of movies that aged poorly. Movies you absolutely LOVED when they were released, but now you can't figure out why.

  • TSF

    This is a great idea. I think for me American Beauty would make that list. I'm embarrassed now.

  • AudioSuede

    Shameful confession: I really liked Crash the first time I watched it.

    But then, I felt the same way about The Chronicles of Riddick, and then I saw it again and wondered what everyone but Riddick was yelling about the whole time.

  • PerpetualIntern

    Right there with you.

  • tmoney

    Out of Sight is my favorite Clooney film. I have rewatched it more times than I can count. A true classic.

  • prairiegirl

    I would also put Magnolia on this list. That move consumes me whenever I watch it.

    And yes a million times to Boogie Nights.

  • psykins

    Screw this, MEAN GIRLS is my classic movie...

  • KC

    hell yeah

  • gnibs

    Don't be ashamed. That movie is ultra rewatchable. And also, "I will keep you here until 4".

  • mona_sterling


  • psykins

    I'm not ashamed. Just like I'm not ashamed of my heavy flow and wideset vagina.

  • Tinkerville

    Four for you, psykins! You go, pskyins!

  • zeke_the_pig

    You had me at Zodiac and Rushmore. Two perfect movies, perfect in such completely different ways; both made - and continue to make - me so happy to be alive in this sliver of time. And that to me is what I took from your write-up: that for one little moment - no matter what else is happening in my life or in the world - I am made purely, buoyantly happy by movies like these.

  • mona_sterling

    The slow-mo ending to Rushmore never fails to make me happily tearful.

  • That was the impetus, yeah. Zodiac, especially. I can't watch it enough. S'why it's the header, yo!

  • Feralhousecat

    Pan's Labyrinth?

  • Eva

    Not even remotely rewatchable for me - largely due to the scene at the beginning where the father has to watch his son's face get beat in. I will never watch that movie again because of that scene.

  • Harris K Telemacher

    Great film. Seriously. Not rewatchable.

  • Mrs. Julien

    FUCK NO!

  • El Gavilan Pollero


  • mona_sterling

    Mrs. J--your reaction intrigues me. EVERYone is always at me to watch Pan's Labyrinth and I can't tell if it's because I hate when people do that or I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to appreciate it. Help me out.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I really disliked the movie,as did Mr. J. My standard line is that I really have no need for fairy tales about fascism. It's not that it is dark per se, I can deal with that, but I seem to have some line of bleakness and darkness wallowing that cannot be crossed. It has magnificent production values and is clearly a work of art, but not, to me, a successful one.

    I also hated Seven and The Dark Knight because I think they confuse cynicism with profundity. I'm not some Suzie Sunshine who needs rainbows and hummingbirds, but I have deep seeded loathing of a lot of art that tells me life is a black fucking abyss and that if I don't see it that way, I am living in denial.

  • AudioSuede

    But Pan's Labyrinth and The Dark Knight AREN'T cynical! It's precisely their humanity and hope which makes them so powerful! The Dark Knight is all about the power of ideals to succeed over nihilism and chaos, and how good can be victorious even if the cynical people in the world don't understand it or see it for what it truly is. Pan's Labyrinth *SPOILER* is about the sparks of hope that can survive even in times of grave violence, and reminds us that war may stifle but it cannot truly destroy the imagination of a better life.

    Seven is bleak though, there's no doubt about that.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I respectfully disagree. I am aware of those elements in the films, but I do not consider them redemptive of all that goes before or of the bleak world view espoused, if that is, as you say, their point.
    Just because I don't like the films, doesn't mean I don't understand them. It just means they don't work for me.
    Subject: Re: New comment posted on 10 Classic Movies from the Modern Era That Never Got Old

  • Feralhousecat

    Perhaps The Big Lebowski instead? That's not much a darkness wallower.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's more the suggestion that it is more "real" because it is vile that bothers me.

  • Feralhousecat

    Using vile subject matter to garner more credibility than a film would otherwise deserve brings to mind 8MM and The Killer Inside Me.

    Though difficult and unpleasant, I think Pan's Labyrinth relies less on shocking subject matter and more on detail and production value.

    Should everyone love it? No. But it's hardly schlock.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I don't believe I called it schlock. I called it art with magnficent production values that did not work for me.

  • googergieger

    Well Irreversible. Dogtooth. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Etc.

    And all in all, Pan's is a pretty sweet movie. Even if you decide to go with the "sad" ending there is beauty to be found in it. Is it really just the ending people have a problem with? I know there is a scene or two in the flick that are pretty tough, but the ending is the only thing that ever seems to piss people off with it.

  • googergieger

    Lots of people find it depressing.

  • toblerone

    YES! But Toit is right.

  • El Gavilan Pollero

    Toblerone: Tu te ves bien buena Podemos estar toda la noche bialando ,merengues y salsa picante y boleros mexicano y pachangas Puertorriqueñas.

  • Yes to all of these (especially Out of Sight!) except The Prestige. I know I'm in the minority of one, put I actually preferred The Illusionist which came out about the same time.

  • AudioSuede

    The ending to The Prestige was like a Shyamalan twist. It bothered me so much I never watched it again. At least The Illusionist had Russian Paul Giamatti.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The Illusionist feels much more cookie-cutter to me - enjoyable, but not brilliant. I don't think The Prestige is a classic either- but it is a smart, intriguing, entertaining movie.

    Half of these are a no go. I enjoyed Gladiator once, but it is by no means a classic; half of it is unwatchable. I'd agree on Children of Men, LA Confidential and Rushmore though. Been too long since I saw Out of Sight...need to rewatch that.

  • Arran

    I respect The Prestige more than I actually enjoy it. It's cleverly constructed and well acted, but it leaves me a little cold overall.

  • $27019454

    Freaks me out too much to ever watch again.

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