Andy Gainey

Favorites » Movies and Shows

If it weren't for my friends, I'd probably watch far fewer movies and television shows, or at least would watch them long after they were first released. Nonetheless, I have been substantially influenced, enriched, and entertained by numerous films and shows over the years, and thus I have lots to choose from when selecting my favorites in this category.

Of course, there are so many movies and shows already in existence, and more being created all the time. There's no way an ordinary person could get anywhere close to watching most of them in a single lifetime, so I expect there will be huge gaps in my favorites. Further, it usually takes me at least two viewings, sometimes more, before I have a clear sense of my appreciation of a particular movie or show, so there are plenty more than are on this list that I have seen, might really like, but I simply haven't made up my mind on yet. As a result, these lists represent only things that I like, and the absence of some item here does not necessarily imply that I appreciate it less than the items listed.

Tier 1

Due to personal sense of purpose in life, I limit my top tier in this category to works that have had a substantial influence on my perspectives and attitudes, that have contributed in notable ways to my personality and beliefs. As a result, entertainment has proven to be an insufficient attribute for inclusion in this top tier, no matter how thoroughly entertaining I find something to be.

American Beauty
Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight
Donnie Darko
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fight Club
The Fountain
Little Miss Sunshine
Lost in Translation
Punch Drunk Love
The Truman Show
Up in the Air

Tier 2

The second tier continues the themes of the first, including stories and characters that I can strongly relate to. It also is where I place the best of the movies and shows that I appreciate primarily as entertainment, hence the inclusion of lots of action films and comedies.


Children of Men
Daredevil (2015- )
Finding Forrester
The Karate Kid (2010)
L. A. Confidential
The Last Samurai
The Prestige
Reign Over Me
Road to Perdition
Thank You for Smoking
Waking Life


Babylon 5
Edge of Tomorrow
Ender's Game
The Matrix
Minority Report
Firefly and Serenity
Star Trek: The Next Generation


Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises
Casino Royale
Iron Man
V for Vendetta


The Amateurs
Be Kind Rewind
The Big Lebowski
Galaxy Quest
Ghost Town
Groundhog Day
The Man Who Knew Too Little
Napoleon Dynamite
The Other Guys
The Princess Bride
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Stranger than Fiction
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Tier 3


  • Bicentennial Man
  • Collateral
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • Constantine
  • Eastern Promises
  • Gattaca
  • Jessica Jones (2015- )
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • The Mothman Prophecies
  • The Negotiator
  • Rocky Balboa
  • Troy
  • Unbreakable


  • Avatar
  • Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
  • Dark City
  • Equilibrium
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • Pitch Black
  • Star Trek
  • Tron Legacy


  • Fist of Legend
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • The Legend of the Drunken Master
  • Lucky # Slevin
  • Shanghai Noon
  • Shanghai Knights
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • Skyfall
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming?
  • Unleashed


  • Anchorman and Anchorman 2
  • Bedazzled
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • Mystery Men
  • The Office (2005-2013)
  • The Rundown
  • School of Rock
  • Semi-Pro
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Tropic Thunder
  • Zoolander


  • The Incredibles
  • Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, and Ocean's Thirteen
  • Stardust