Top Ten Standalone Movies
Top Ten Standalone Movies
With so many streaming services and movies at our fingertips, it can be hard to decide what to watch next, especially something that's not part of a series or franchise. Today, I'm giving you a list of my ten favorite movies that aren't linked in any way to trilogies, franchises, or series. Note that these will all be live action, as there are too many animated movies to include. There will also be SPOILERS ahead as well, so bear that in mind. So, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.
~ Number Ten ~
The Dark Tower (2017)
Based off Stephen King books by the same name and lead by the fantastic Idris Elba, this wasn't the biggest hit of 2017. And that's a shame. Dark Tower is a sci- fi fantasy journey and a classic use of good vs. evil. It features an original plot, great acting, and plenty of action scenes that will leave your mind reeling. If that's not enough, it also has a perfect dash of tender, familial relationships that will make you want to cry. It's also great if you're looking for something that won't take too much time out of your day, as it runs at only 1 hour and 35 minutes. Don't let the timestamp full you; this is a hidden gem of storytelling.
~ Number Nine ~
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Here's a film that got the praise and laud it deserved when it released in 2017. With literal show- stopping musical numbers and an all- star cast, this movie can't fail. It's a beautiful, imaginative, and whimsical journey that makes you believe in dreams again. It took me way too long to get around to actually watching it and I kick myself time and again that I never got to see this in theaters. It's hard for musicals to make a proper mark in modern cinema (personally, La La Land fell short for me), but this one sung and danced its way into our hearts from day one. And, it's based off a true story to boot.
~ Number Eight ~
Train to Busan (2016)
I don't watch foreign movies. However, boredom drove me to watch this Korean film on Netflix one night, and I never regretted it. Train to Busan is a zombie thriller, but done in a fresh, interesting way in which zombies actually hunt but sight. It's bloody and violent, so it's not for the feint of heart, but it takes a fairly large cast of characters and gives them all stories and motives that make you cheer for them through the entire ordeal. The story follows the main characters as they board a train just in time to avoid a zombie breakout in the city, then must fight to survive as the train slowly becomes infested. The ending is also not your average zombie movie ending. So, if you're fine watching a movie with sub- titles, or looking to expand your horizons, go for it.
~ Number Seven ~
The Meg (2018)
Shark movies. We all know the kind. Trying to copy off of the hit Jaws, they usually contain cheap effects and cheesy dialogue. So, what sets this shark movie apart from the rest? Jason Statham, decent dialogue, plausible plot line, and Hollywood budget effects is what. The movie features an extinct, real- life shark called the Megaladon, that gets free into the open ocean and of course, wrecks havoc. It's a very fun movie with well- placed humor and a few surprises. A lot of thought went into the design of the shark itself, so it's actually believable. Of course, it's also just enough over the top to make it a 'shark movie', but somehow it makes it work.
~ Number Six ~
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
If I were to name my three favorite movie directors, James Cameron would certainly be among them. I don't think I've seen one of his movies that I didn't like. He directs Alita, which tells the story of a cyborg girl who is built for combat. The movie relies heavily on CGI, but it makes the fight and chase scenes nothing short of spectacular. But it's not just all fight and no heart. It tells a compelling story of a post- war society that is oppressed by the elite who literally live on a floating city above everyone else. Not only that, it tells one heart- wrenching love story between the heroine Alita and a young man named Hugo. I think James Cameron has a particular theme of creating romance and then utterly ripping them to shreds.
~ Number Five ~
Ah, another James Cameron classic. I know there are a lot of mixed feelings for this movie, what with its heavy political message, but it wasn't the highest grossing movie of all time for nothing. While the politics are present, not going to lie, there's juts so much more to it that I can't help but absolutely love this film. The design and sheer world building effort that went into the moon of Pandora alone is worth a watch. The floating mountains, the banshee flights, the glowing plants..... I'm very in love with it all. It also tells a compelling story, building to a climax that makes you cheer every time you watch it. The final battle is probably one of the best within the realm of fiction. You do have to commit yourself, because it's nearly three hours long.
~ Number Four ~
War of the Worlds (2005)
Two words. Tom. Cruise. This movie is a modernized (and by modernized, I mean early 2000's) adaption of the book by the same name. Now, don't hate, but I was incredibly bored by the novel. This movie actually makes the plot interesting, and Tom Cruise catapults it from good to fantastic. I think it's his best acting role, and he deserved an Oscar for it. Why? Because for once, in an alien invasion movie, the main character is normal. He's not ex- military, or some sort of survivalist, but just an average guy trying to keep his family safe. And the best part? He has normal reactions. He cries, screams and shouts, and has more than one mental breakdown in the midst of everything. The raw emotion this movie conveys almost makes you forget about the terrifying, unstoppable Tripods stomping around. Almost.
~ Number Three ~
Magnificent 7 (2016)
To be clear, I am talking about the remake of the classic Western film. True to its name, it features a group of cowboy gunslingers who are hired to liberate a town from the clutches of a greedy, wealthy man with a virtual army at his disposal. It's a fast paced, shoot 'em up movie driven by great names like Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. It's diverse cast is backed by an accurate depiction of a Western town and a sprinkling of humor. The entire time, it makes you question who is going to live and who will die. And trust me, you will pick favorites before it's over, so hang on tight. You will also hate the villain almost as fast as you came to hate Umbridge from Harry Potter, so there's that.
~ Number Two ~
For my last two picks, you will have to clear your schedule because they will eat up you time at around three hours a piece. 2012. The concept that brought around this movie is admittedly a bit dated, considering that actual date was nearly eight years ago. However, the ways its told makes you forget about dates and it just sucks you in. It's not your typical disaster film, either. It doesn't have a well- known cast, or a well- known director, but that doesn't matter. The effects used to show the literal ending of the world is very real and very terrifying. If that alone won't get you to watch it, there are so many subtle hints and foreshadowings that by the time you figure out that it's basically a retelling of Noah's Ark, they will have already told you. It's really too bad that, by the time 2012 passed, this movie lost a lot of its steam. Highly, highly recommend giving it a watch.
~ Number One ~
A timeless classic romance and disaster film that will probably never lose its shine, Titanic is one of the best movies to watch if you have the time. I haven't met anyone who didn't love it. The reconstruction of the ship and its sinking is so life- like you'll be gaping in awe. At least, I did. This runs parallel to the love story/ tragedy of Jack and Rose, whose death will make me cry every time. Before you know it, you'll be looking up Titanic facts on Wikipedia for the upteenth time afterwards. A movie is nothing without music to back it up, and that's where James Horner and Celine Dion come in. He creates one of the most beautiful soundtracks of all time, so much so that I nearly cry juts listening to it.
Do you agree with my choices? What are some of your favorite standalone films? Comment below! If you would like to see what's next for this blog, head on over to my Upcoming page.