The Big List

Not all recommended titles will be given equal weight. Lists are incomplete but will continue to be expanded. The list is currently updated through to the fifteenth page of this forum thread.

Recommended Movies

12 Angry Men
2001: A Space Odyssey
48 Hours
A Knight's Tale
A League of Their Own
A Nightmare on Elm Street
An American Werewolf in London
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Angel Heart
Animal House
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Any Given Sunday
Back to the Future
Batman Begins
Better Off Dead
Beverly Hills Cop
Big Fish
Big Trouble in Little China
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Blade Runner
Blazing Saddles
Blood Simple
Blue Chips
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Buckaroo Banzai
Bulletproof Monk
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Dark City
Die Hard
Ed Wood
Enter the Dragon
Escape From New York
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
Five Deadly Venoms
Flash Gordon
For a Fist Full of Dollars
Forbidden Planet
Galaxy Quest
Ghost in the Shell
Groundhog Day
Hard Boiled
High Planes Drifter
Howl's Moving Castle
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Iron Man
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
James Bond series
Jeremiah Johnson
Jurassic Park
Kelly's Heroes
Kill Bill
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Kung Fu Hustle
L.A. Confidential
Legend of the Drunken Master
Lethal Weapon
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Love and Basketball
Love, Actually
Lucky Number Slevin
Major League
Mean Girls
Men In Black series
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Much Ado About Nothing
Near Dark
Necessary Roughness
Night of the Living Dead
O Brother Where Art Thou
Office Space
Once Upon A Time in the West
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Pulp Fiction
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raising Arizona
Red Dawn
Remember the Titans
Repo Man
Reservoir Dogs
Romancing the Stone
Run Lola Run
Say Anything
Shanghai Noon
Shaolin Soccer
Silence of the Lambs
Silent Movie
Space Jam
Spider-Man 2
Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Streets of Fire
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The 13th Warrior
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Avengers
The Big Lebowski
The Blues Brothers
The Company of Wolves
The Dark Crystal
The Dark Knight
The Descent
The Duellists
The Four Musketeers
The Gift
The Godfather series
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Goonies
The History of the World Part 1
The Hunt for Red October
The Incredible Hulk
The Iron Giant
The Killer
The Lion in Winter
The Lost Boys
The Matrix
The Mummy
The Muppet Movie
The Natural
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Princess Bride
The Program
The Rocketeer
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Sixth Sense
The Shawshank Redemption
The Terminator
The Thing
The Three Musketeers
The Untouchables
The Usual Suspects
The Wild Bunch
Thor: The Dark World
Time Bandits
Wayne's World
Who Framed Roger Robbit?
X-Men 2
Young Frankenstein

Recommended TV Series

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake
Arrested Development
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Babylon 5
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Battlestar Galactica
Bob's Burgers
Breaking Bad
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Doctor Who
Freaks and Geeks
Game of Thrones
Good Eats
Justice League/Unlimited
Mad Men
Moral Orel
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Person of Interest
Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated
Star Trek
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Prisoner
The Shield
The Sopranos
The Spectacular Spider-Man
The Venture Brothers
The Wire
The X-Files
Veronica Mars
Young Justice

Recommended Anime

Azumanga Daioh
Black Lagoon
Code Geass
Cowboy Bebop
Cromartie High School
Cutey Honey
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
Love Hina
Mazinger Z
Mobile Suit Gundam
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Paranoia Agent
Ranma 1/2
Record of Lodoss War
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Sailor Moon
Tenchi Muyo
The Big O
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Recommended Games

Chrono Trigger
Dragon Age: Origins
Fallout series
Final Fantasy series
FTL: Faster Than Light
Half Life 2
Left 4 Dead
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Megaman series
Megaman X
Phantasy Star IV
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Street Fighter II Turbo
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Bros. series
Super Metroid
System Shock
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Secret of Monkey Island
The Sims 3
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Recommended Books

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Culture series
Discworld series
Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser
Harry Potter series
HP Lovecraft (assorted works)
I, Robot
Ray Bradbury (assorted works)
Rendezvous with Rama
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Forever War
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games series
The Lord of the Rings
The Sandman
V For Vendetta
Watership Down


  1. Eye gore warnings: Kill Bill vol. 2 has a couple of scenes with eye gore, the movies are pretty good, but you should be warned.

    Any Given Sunday has one scene.

    The Dark Knight has an infamous scene.

    Repo Man might be close enough to affect you. Depending on how sensitive you are to it it might trigger your nerves. The Mummy has a similar scene (more graphic IIRC).

    Game of Thrones has at least three scenes until season 4. At least two of them are quite graphic, as at no point does the show try to glamourize violence.

  2. Modern excellent karate / fantasy genre: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero.

    Modern drama: Inception.

  3. Rather than "Inception", I'd strongly recommend Nolan's earlier "Memento". Without giving anything away, the story is told in reverse and the whole point is to reconstruct how the previous scene makes sense given new information. I think it would really fit well with your "lemme guess..." and "wtf did I just see" style of analysis.

    1. I suggest adding both to the list. :)

  4. I recommend adding Rome, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific to the tv list. It's great storytelling, acting and production of the very highest quality.

  5. Not sure how mobile Jeremy is, but if he can get to a movie theater, it seems like it would be good to get him caught up on some franchises (X-Men or Marvel) so that he can enjoy seeing some of these big movies as they come out as well.

  6. I'd suggest adding Planescape: Torment. It should be available from Good Old Games I think.

  7. I am surprised '300' isn't on the list of Geek Movies.

  8. I'd add Hunt For Red October and Legend to the Geek movie list.

    1. Added bonus, since he liked the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack -- Basil Poledouris does the soundtrack for HfRO.

  9. I know some of these are already on the grand list but since you have been reviewing more of the classics of nerd movie culture, and less of the more modern stuff, I highly suggest Robin Hood Men in Tights, Spaceballs (especially relevant since it parodies a good bit of Star Wars and Star Trek), Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and History of the World Part 1. All of these movies are by Mel Brooks who is hands down the greatest comedy film producer to have ever lived.

  10. I highly recommend "Brazil", "The Royal Tenenbaums", "Moon" and "District 9" for movies.

    Thank you so much for this blog and documenting your journey, quite a few posts have made me a little emotional and made me remember why I love these movies so much. I hope all goes well for you!

  11. Your book list needs Neuromancer and Snow Crash, the defining works of cyberpunk.

  12. No mention of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Because it's more for kids?

  13. Is there some kind of thing you have in place for letting your readers nominate and vote on movies and other media anywhere? Because 1) alphabetical order doesn't cut it; it jumbles together amazing, iconic films with crap and 2) there are a lot of things not even on the list that are better than things on the list.

    I think the simplest way to go would be a wiki. How about a wiki for the list?

  14. After the reaction to Alien, I heartily suggest Event Horizon. In the dark, with friends.

  15. Consider adding "Gladiator" to the list? It's basically an opera, and without a doubt the best thing that either Russel Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix ever did.

  16. Spirited Away!

    One of the best animated movies of all time. I'm being serious. It was the highest grossing movie in japan in 2001 (knocking Titanic down to #2) and held that title until this month (almost 13 years later) when Frozen finally beat it.

    It's a great movie to go into without knowing a thing about it.

    And, it's also just a really lovely movie.

  17. If Aliens was so unpleasant to watch, I'd recommend taking H.P. Lovecraft off of your reading list.

  18. Troll Hunter for your movies and Buffy - how can you have Angel and no Buffy for TV shows???

    1. ah, no, I blind. I see Buffy now! GOOD!!!!

  19. Ah I suggested Labyrinth in another comment, but I hadn't seen this list then..... Its already in there.

    However, from a british perspective "a clockwork orange" should be on there........ And if you really want something to twist your noodle, "trainspotting", although I think you'll need the subtitled version they had in the states rather than the unsubtitled one in the UK

  20. Film recommendation: The Warriors. It's a terrible/wonderful 70's film retelling of The Anabasis by Xenophon as a gang war (of sorts). The blatant sexism and racism are a bit grating, but it's worth it just to see all of the *insane* "gangs"--like the ones who wear clown makeup and Yankees uniforms. Also, a couple of classic one-liners.

    Most entertainingly viewed as the first film in a double feature, followed by Escape from New York.

  21. Also, The Great Escape, from 1963. It's a movie about one of the biggest breakouts from a WWII PoW camp, and the cast is amazing.

  22. This list needs Silverado immediately.1985 Western written and directed by the man who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

  23. How is The Fifth Element not on the list yet?

    1. Yeah, given your reaction to other movies, The Fifth Element should be near the top. I think you'd get a real kick out of it.

  24. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz - british comedies, both parodies - the former a parody of zombie films (the name being a play on Dawn of the Dead), and the latter of buddy-cop movies. Possible either of them might have eye gore, none is coming to mind but they both have their share of gore (its not designed or intended to scare the shit of you though, don't worry - more for shock humor).

    Actually, perhaps watch some zombie films and buddy-cop films first, haha. I'm sure you'll have some on the list. They're good films in their own right, but definitely better if you know the tropes they're using and subverting.

  25. I notice a distinct lack of a category for Musicals. Jeremy, if you grew up liking musicals, then there are some good ones out there on DVD that you should consider adding to your list Grease, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, Rent, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Jekyll and Hyde, Little Shop of Horrors (which oddly enough is a comedy), The Music Man, and Sweeney Todd (please watch the version with Angela Lansbury as opposed to the one with Johnny Depp...or at least watch the Angela Lansbury first as it is the most true to the Broadway Production.) There are others that would constitute classics that don't quite make my list of favorites that include A Chorus Line, Cats, Gypsy, Company, Carousel, Oklahoma, and Phantom of the Opera.

  26. Then there are also some mini-series out there to explore including Band of Brothers, The Day After, The Stand, Dune, and (maybe) Avalon.

    Also in the WWII category: Saving Private Ryan and The Great Escape.

    Other films that may need to go on the list are Castaway, Ever After, and Forrest Gump.

    I don't know what type of comedy you enjoy but The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates may be worth adding to your list. As is Clue, which I saw was mentioned by someone else as well.

  27. Oh and how could I possibly forget on of the best productions of a work of Shakespeare that I have seen on film: Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

  28. If I may make a recommendation: "Birdemic: Shock and Terror." What is unique about this movie is that it is so terrible, so bad, so heinously, abysmally, painfully awful that it unintentionally became one of the funniest movies ever made (same goes for the more famous "The Room"). It must be seen to be believed.

  29. I recommend you find Godzilla. The original 1954 version (NOT the 1998 version). And then see if you can track down Pacific Rim.

    If you're looking into Doctor Who, I'd suggest you have your friends consider very carefully how they're going to ease you in, and whether they start you off with the Classic Series (which started back in 1963), or the revival (which started off in 2005). I'd be interested to see your reaction to the big reveal in the second ever story, which had people hiding behind the sofa. Of course, you've seen Alien now, so I imagine you won't feel the impact.

  30. Hey, start knocking off or put notes on when you've seen the movies on this list. (or better yet, links to their articles. :)

  31. More "old games"

    Grim Fandango

    The Ur Quan Masters (the free remake of Star Control 2)

  32. Game of Thrones, both the books and the tv series, should wait until you are jaded. It's primary purpose is to shake up jaded people who think they've figured out how all stories work, and that they can't be shocked any more. There are more "That did NOT just happen" moments in it than anything else, which is why everyone raves about it, but this includes gore and squick in addition to story points.

  33. You should play Half-Life 1 before 2, its not essential to play it before the sequel but it is one of the best FPS's ever made

    also The Truman Show is an amazing movie, i think its on Netflix

  34. So you mentioned having a problem with stories that have parental abandonment/death in them. Here are the ones I've seen that might hit you there; I've starred ones that have it as a specific plot point.

    Austin Powers*
    Batman (the entire backstory, really)
    Batman Begins
    Captain America (ditto backstory)
    Iron Man (OMG BACKSTORY)
    Labyrinth? more accidental abandonment and rescue
    The Iron Giant?
    The Lion in Winter (well, it's historical, Eleanor of Aquitaine…)
    Thor (again, OMG BACKSTORY)
    Avatar: The Last Airbender (in various ways, all of which end well, it's a kids' show…)

    I want to add Warehouse 13 to your list, with the caveat that there are parental issues, but they are resolved in a way that makes you feel proper goodbyes and or reunions have been done.

  35. As a fellow music lover (of all sorts), I'd like to suggest that you taste some Broadway musical-type movies. I've only a few in my collection, but I love them. Great music, and good voices.

    Cabaret (the one with Joel Grey and Liza Minelli)
    A Chorus Line

    And a very popular, long-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera. There's a recording of the 25th Anniversary Gala performance out there, which is amazing. I never liked the play until I saw this performance.

    Real Broadway aficionados (friends of mine) would add Into the Woods and Company. I think the music is great, but these represent what I think of as the "New York voice", which I find unappealing.

    It's been a real pleasure to read your accounts of your movie experiences.

    Just a PS. Make sure to start rehab as soon as possible. My experience is that it's harder if one waits too long. If you haven't already been assigned a rehab specialist, I suggest that you pound on your doctors to get one assigned. Get well soon.

  36. How is Apocalypse Now not on the list?! One of the best movies ever made and a huge contribution to pop culture. You should fefinitely watch it at some point.

  37. Enders Game. Definitely the book, not the movie! The movie is apparently a half decent movie on its own, but a terrible adaptation, if that makes any sense. If it were on the list, it'd be a looong way down. The book, on the other hand... even if the author is a bit of a dick, hes one hell of a sci-fi writer.

    The rest of the series, and its 'shadow' series, are interesting if you enjoy Enders Game first, but I wouldn't recommend them otherwise.

  38. My subconscious has the idea that love for the Blues Brothers = you'd probably very enjoy Grosse Point Blank, although the music is very different.

    Action, smart comedy, a cast who appear to be having a ball, and a soundtrack that relates very directly to what we're seeing.

    On the anime tip, I'd recommend the Vision of Escaflowne (series not movie) before anything else -- a scifi / fantasy mishmash with a little something for everybody and a soundtrack (NOT including opening and closing credits, which are best skipped) that approaches Star Wars brilliance.

  39. Rocky Horror Picture Show!
    We have actually started watching the movies you do and reading your posts at the same time, it's like watching the movies for the first time all over again! Thank you and all the happy feels are coming your way from Australia

  40. I see that someone else in comments mentioned "The Truman Show" and I think that's a terrific suggestion for your list of movies to watch. It was made by an absolutely STELLAR director, but one you probably haven't encountered yet, and it benefits a great deal from being seen "cold" with no information about what's coming. It's not quite SF, and it isn't an action film, but it's ... rewarding. I think.

    I also see that "Dark City" is already on the list... but get your roomies to SKIP the opening monologue before letting you see the film proper -- they should know what I mean, and the monologue was added at the very last second before release and is widely regarded as undermining the wonderful "omg what is going on OH MY GOSH" that is the film's gradual reveal.

  41. Video Games:
    The Halo Series
    Super Smash Bros (the it with friends)

    The Fugitive (the guy who plays Han Solo is in it)
    Hook (more speilberg and williams)

    TV Shows:
    Band of Brothers (also speilberg) - perhaps one of the most impactful cinematic war experiences you could have. Not ashamed to say I cried.

  42. I don't know how familiar you are with oldies / classics, but:

    North By Northwest

    and in a totally different direction, the last of the great "screwball comedies" was made in 1972:

    What's Up, Doc?

    (and has some surprising casting, too :)

    What's Up, Doc?

  43. Oceans 11 - the one with George Clooney. Its a fun watch that always cheers me up.

  44. Fifth element must be added to the list! Brilliant movie

  45. The Karate Kid. I can't believe it's taken me this long to add The Karate Kid.

  46. There's a surprising lack of John Hughes (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and Pixar (Toy Story, The Incredibles) on this list. I know these are supposed to be "Geek Movies", but so many movies on this list are not Geek Movies as far as I can tell, they're just GREAT movies. (E.g. How is Blues Brothers a geek movie?). And what about romantic comedy, e.g. When Harry Met Sally? This list is going to give Jeremy a seriously skewed perspective on modern cinema.

  47. I mean, come on, Jeremy's 19. The John Hughes movies were made for him!

    1. Unless he was home-schooled or something? Then maybe not so much.

  48. A friend of mine recommended this blog over the weekend and it's been a lot fun to go through. I was not expecting an anime section but since it's there I've formed some immediate opinions.

    1) I don't think Jeremy should watch Higurashi.
    2) I don't think Jeremy should watch something like Azumanga Daioh or Evangelion without a bit of a foundation.

    With the purpose of getting him a little familiar with the medium, this is my combined recommendation/viewing order/anime training montage list:
    Giant Robo
    Sailor Moon
    Galaxy Express 999
    Mobile Suit Gundam Movie

    That's it. My reasons are spoilers and I will not discuss them here.

    Other recommendations are:
    Ping Pong the Animation
    Rurouni Kenshin
    SDF Macross
    Macross 7
    Future Boy Conan
    Prince of Tennis
    Princess Jellyfish

  49. I can't believe nobody's recommended Scott Pilgrim vs. The World yet. It's a cult classic, and set in Canada (Toronto, to be precise). Maybe one of the few movies filmed in Toronto where it's not doubling for somewhere else.

    Or for that matter any of Edgar Wright's other filmography. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End...all classics.

  50. Bleh, time to add a few more:

    Blood Sport (all the fighting styles are real styles)
    Old Boy (the original Korean version)

  51. Ok, next famous series:
    The Pink Panther
    A Shot in the Dark
    Inspector Clouseau
    The Return of the Pink Panther
    The Pink Panther Strikes Again
    The Revenge of the Pink Panther

    And if you want more early Sellers:
    The Party
    Dr. Strangelove
    The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu
    Murder by Death

  52. On the Computer Game Front, Grim Fandango just got remastered and came out January 26. Now is a perfect time to do a blind "Let's Play" of an old classic from 1998.