Five Favorite Films

Josh Gad's Five Favorite Films

The star of Artemis Fowl and Frozen shares the movies that opened his mind to what filmmaking can be... including a Tarantino flick he snuck into. Twice.

by | June 9, 2020 | Comments

Josh Gad

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Josh Gad is fast becoming Disney’s go-to man when the Mouse House finds itself in need of a hilarious sidekick. He’s played everyone’s favorite sun-loving snowman, Olaf, in the Frozen films, and stole the live-action Beauty and the Beast as Gaston’s bumbling buddy, LeFou. Now, he’s back to steal more scenes as kleptomaniac, over-gown dwarf Mulch Duggins in Disney’s adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, an action-packed fantasy about a child criminal mastermind, a world of fairies, and the bond between a father and his son.

The movie was supposed to hit theaters this year but is going straight to streaming service Disney+ following disruptions to the release schedule on the back of COVID-19, something Gad has mixed feelings about: on the one hand, this spectacle-filled family flick will bring some joy to people at a time when they need it, but on the other hand, “nothing will ever replace the cinema,” he told Rotten Tomatoes.

Ahead of the movie’s digital release, Gad shared his five favorite films, with a big caveat. “I want to preface this by saying I have my five favorite movies to watch of all time, which are Back to the Future, The Goonies, Groundhog Day, The Wizard of Oz, and probably Ratatouille,” he said. “Those are the five movies that I watch over and over again.” He says the movies below are the ones that opened his mind about film: “These are the movies that I think really gave me a perspective on what cinema can be.”

There Will Be Blood (2007) 91%

Number five, I would say is There Will Be Blood. I was in a SAG [Screen Actors Guild] screening. The movie had gotten no attention at that point. I saw it before it had come out. I was a massive fan of [writer-director] P.T. Anderson. Obviously, anybody who goes to conservatory – like, Daniel Day-Lewis is core curriculum. I sat there and I watched as this movie began with 20 minutes of silence, basically. And I have never, in the modern era, I have never felt so mesmerized watching a contemporary film in my life. It was so unbelievably daring and brave and phenomenal, and the performances were so bizarre that I couldn’t understand what I was watching. So I would say that would be number five for me.

Pulp Fiction (1994) 92%

Number four would be – it’s almost cliché to say this now – but Pulp Fiction. So 1994 was an insane year for cinema. As a kid, I probably saw Lion King six times in the theater that year; as a son, I probably saw Forrest Gump five times in the theater, because my parents kept taking me to it. But as a person coming into my own and realizing what moviemaking could be, that movie was a movie I snuck into and it was called Pulp Fiction. I had never seen anything like it before. It just completely blew my mind wide open with the possibilities of storytelling and introduced me to a filmmaker that wasn’t yet on my radar because, frankly, my parents never allowed me to watch Reservoir Dogs at that time. I remember walking through the looking glass and just having this jaw-dropping experience.

You mentioned you snuck in to see Pulp Fiction. Was that because you were underage? And how did you get in?

Oh yeah, I was under age, and I was with a couple of friends of mine and we were at the AMC theater in Hollywood, Florida, where I grew up, and we bought tickets to another movie and we snuck in. We were bad; we did that a couple of times. I actually got kicked out of Demolition Man for doing that, but Pulp Fiction, somehow I didn’t get kicked out. And I think I did it twice, because I was just so like, “What the hell did I just see? This is incredible.” So that definitely rocked my world.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) 98%

Number three is a movie that I think is a perfect film and it’s a film that it doesn’t matter whether I saw it for the first time at 2, or revisited again at 10, or 22, or 32, or this past year when I took my kids to see it on the big screen. And that’s The Wizard of Oz.

The word “timeless” is thrown around a lot, and very rarely does it actually feel like it applies to as many motion pictures as are branded with that title. But The Wizard of Oz is one of those films that it truly doesn’t matter when you see it, it’s still timeless. It remains timeless. And that experience is proven by the fact that my own children, seeing it in a movie theater after seeing it on the small screen when they were very young, are still as awestruck by every single moment of that film as they were the first time they saw it. And it’s a movie that was made during the Great Depression. So that is a testament to great cinema. That’s a testament to the power of film.

Have you done The Wizard of Oz on stage yourself?

I’ve never done The Wizard of Oz on stage. Man, wouldn’t that be great? No, never had that opportunity.

We’ll just put that out there into the universe for now.

We’ll put that out there. We’ll will that into the universe. I don’t know that I’m going to be doing any stage anytime soon, but one day.

The Godfather (1972) 97%

The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II

So, then you get into the top two, which is just so damn hard to pick two movies that you can share to be the most perfect films of all time, but I’m going to do my best. I was 12 years old. and I had only been told in passing about this “saga,” these films that had been described as perfect. Then I went to Blockbuster Video and took a deep breath and grabbed a large case of two VHS tapes called The Godfather. And I took it home and I watched it and I was so unbelievably mesmerized that I made my mother drive me to the Blockbuster the next morning and I got Godfather II. And I put that in and watched it and then went and got Godfather III, which I wish I hadn’t gotten because I would have loved to have just kept it at those two films.

But it was this moment of, again, an awakening where you realize the power of cinema – you realize what true moviemaking is. I’m going to cheat and say that Godfather 1 and II are in my number two spot together because they are just so absolutely perfect and brilliant and almost act as one piece. And the level of filmmaking, the level of acting, the level of craftsmanship is just on another level that I don’t know will ever be surpassed. It really is just something to behold.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 93%

Up until recently, I would have told you that Godfather I and Godfather II would probably be number one for me. And I have to go back and revisit them because frankly, it’s been about five years since I’ve done so. But I had an experience right before COVID that was pretty remarkable.

It was a movie that I’d seen plenty of times, in all the wrong ways. And frankly, it wasn’t even in my top 10. I found it a little boring, I found it a little hard to muster through, and I found it difficult at best. And then I went to the ArcLight Cinerama Dome, and I sat down, and for the next four hours I watched Lawrence of Arabia with an audience, the way that it was meant to be seen. And I’ve got to tell you in this moment right now, that movie is the movie that I would probably put number one on my list of most influential films for me as an artist.

It’s haunting. It’s absolutely crazy to think that it came out when it came out, and that it takes the kind of risks it takes with its lead character. It was so unbelievably complicated and not easily digestible in terms of some of the choices that are made. And the complexities of his character are stripped away in real time, against the backdrop of some of the most incredible cinematography to ever be captured on a lens. It just really slayed me.

Joel Meares for Rotten Tomatoes: You mentioned seeing Lawrence on the big screen… What are your feelings about the fact that Artemis Fowl, because of what’s happening, isn’t going to premiere on the big screen, but is going direct to Disney+? 

Josh Gad: My feeling is that it is rising to the moment and I couldn’t be more grateful. I would so much rather the audience get to experience this movie than sit at home and wish that they could have the opportunity to see something right now. I think, frankly, the fact that we get to share it with people at a time that is so difficult to find any joy, to find any light, to find any hope… There are millions and millions of families that are stuck between four walls right now, trying to not lose their minds, and if we can give them a two-hour respite from that, a break, then I absolutely support this decision to give a movie like this to families who so desperately need it.

Does it hurt that I can’t celebrate this film with others on the big screen? Absolutely. Nothing will ever replace the cinema – nothing. Movie theaters have been a part of our collective experience for so long, and it binds us together. And it’s why even in this most desperate time, people are still making a trek to drive-in theaters, because they want that communal experience. So yes, it is, to some extent, a mixed bag, but I’m eternally grateful that we have an opportunity to share what I think people need most.

Artemis Fowl is available to stream on Disney+ on June, 12 2020. 


Artemis Fowl (2020)

Adjusted Score: 19554%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

Thumbnail image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney, ©Paramount Vantage/courtesy Everett Collection

Tag Cloud

TCA Awards documentaries adenture psycho Comic-Con@Home 2021 Universal blaxploitation royal family dc The Witch mob posters Netflix harry potter venice razzies archives Exclusive Video Vudu popular cancelled television Comedy Central Awards Tour south america CBS 2016 Box Office streaming movies mission: impossible spanish language Mary poppins TV One Instagram Live YA YouTube Premium TBS TNT scary movies Tumblr Turner Pop psychological thriller Red Carpet spanish Trailer wonder woman Opinion stand-up comedy Endgame comic book movies Sundance sag awards war universal monsters Spike Creative Arts Emmys scary ESPN 007 Wes Anderson Television Academy BBC One series anime Pacific Islander mockumentary Trivia asian-american CW Seed name the review animated 2017 Peacock monster movies E3 Election Apple TV Plus art house Schedule crime drama dreamworks Comedy TCA Winter 2020 Hallmark Christmas movies Family comic Ghostbusters disaster 2015 cops new star wars movies screenings blockbuster PlayStation adaptation Black Mirror ratings TCM Showtime diversity The Arrangement international Apple Paramount social media cooking Warner Bros. know your critic National Geographic TruTV Nominations Pirates Masterpiece BBC Amazon Studios Holiday WGN doctor who Trophy Talk 93rd Oscars travel book adaptation NBA Brie Larson Classic Film NBC comic books debate Amazon Prime Martial Arts Mary Tyler Moore halloween laika films docuseries scene in color 24 frames Reality Competition MCU Tokyo Olympics Best and Worst nfl TCA fresh Ovation facebook strong female leads Musicals ghosts IFC Films remakes jurassic park renewed TV shows Nat Geo sitcom Song of Ice and Fire period drama Lionsgate football scorecard Disney Plus mcc 1990s SundanceTV zero dark thirty MSNBC Binge Guide Women's History Month Year in Review deadpool President book critic resources reviews The Purge Rom-Com die hard Sony Pictures Avengers Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix Christmas movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blockbusters TV movies reboot new york GoT The Academy 72 Emmy Awards supernatural discovery Shudder medical drama Disney Channel Thanksgiving comic book movie all-time stop motion Britbox rom-coms dogs golden globe awards comics Film Pop TV space independent BAFTA stoner talk show El Rey Pet Sematary OWN 2020 game of thrones ABC Family Awards game show Disney streaming service Amazon Quiz Emmy Nominations hollywood twilight BBC America Emmys Podcast dramedy robots LGBT FOX cars television miniseries TV Land theme song DC streaming service Extras sports child's play dragons Disney+ Disney Plus History DC Comics Marathons godzilla toy story james bond screen actors guild slasher Marvel Rock cults Biopics A24 sequel superman dark First Reviews Kids & Family Toys Heroines Shondaland Teen elevated horror obituary DirecTV legend aliens FXX TCA 2017 2018 GLAAD Universal Pictures Image Comics cancelled DGA aapi rt archives marvel comics Rocketman superhero Syfy adventure RT21 Fall TV video on demand VH1 TV renewals Comics on TV Walt Disney Pictures hispanic heritage month Pride Month Star Wars australia joker finale Christmas Television Critics Association WarnerMedia Musical Logo serial killer Star Trek CBS All Access festival composers 2021 Mudbound critics political drama boxing BET streaming rt labs CNN X-Men free movies Dark Horse Comics Marvel Television Music Oscars Marvel Studios canceled cartoon pirates of the caribbean Hallmark Mystery live event San Diego Comic-Con french 73rd Emmy Awards unscripted Countdown revenge marvel cinematic universe Legendary breaking bad crime thriller richard e. Grant boxoffice festivals canceled TV shows vs. Funimation halloween tv The Walt Disney Company transformers Certified Fresh USA Chernobyl Food Network anthology Mary Poppins Returns fast and furious Alien new zealand FX on Hulu crossover Winter TV award winner 2019 spider-verse Discovery Channel high school Comic Book 20th Century Fox saw Rocky HBO Max genre American Society of Cinematographers lord of the rings Stephen King Academy Awards action-comedy APB crime Ellie Kemper jamie lee curtis Baby Yoda BET Awards Lifetime 4/20 E! golden globes Set visit PBS worst movies TV Photos science fiction Captain marvel a nightmare on elm street 21st Century Fox biopic HBO VOD Pixar Anna Paquin Premiere Dates black olympics Fox News news nbcuniversal kong movie directors Cannes VICE movies Spring TV Esquire 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards binge Spectrum Originals USA Network SXSW king kong Tomatazos Nickelodeon batman Elton John rotten AMC Plus YouTube king arthur A&E suspense Watching Series kaiju hispanic The CW green book Action Freeform Superheroe Starz YouTube Red Epix FX feel good mutant Neflix casting what to watch japanese Film Festival versus MTV true crime video Crackle zombies Writers Guild of America The Walking Dead worst women sopranos Animation docudrama live action foreign Travel Channel zombie japan italian Sneak Peek Disney Holidays Horror nature Fantasy Sundance TV Calendar Superheroes justice league Acorn TV cancelled TV series cancelled TV shows 90s witnail satire Arrowverse werewolf GIFs ABC Bravo See It Skip It rt labs critics edition Grammys historical drama chucky Black History Month Valentine's Day romantic comedy Columbia Pictures vampires latino based on movie Interview Polls and Games comiccon Sci-Fi rotten movies we love franchise Adult Swim TLC Western 71st Emmy Awards Winners SDCC spain ITV Sundance Now thriller spy thriller Infographic Fox Searchlight quibi Tarantino dceu Tubi parents classics 45 Paramount Plus police drama Reality Lifetime Christmas movies Hear Us Out Amazon Prime Video young adult RT History heist movie ID technology CMT Apple TV+ kids black comedy documentary ViacomCBS New York Comic Con HBO Go Mindy Kaling romance hidden camera biography indiana jones best slashers Crunchyroll AMC dexter Turner Classic Movies children's TV Country IMDb TV cinemax Cartoon Network criterion OneApp hist toronto indie Character Guide trailers concert ABC Signature First Look Cosplay natural history DC Universe TIFF Super Bowl Paramount Network gangster Lucasfilm IFC tv talk comedies 99% telelvision christmas movies NYCC politics spinoff basketball Drama teaser singing competition prank Broadway spider-man Hulu PaleyFest sequels Summer LGBTQ cats emmy awards Video Games target