Five Favorite Films

Spider-Man: Homecoming Director Jon Watts' Five Favorite Films

by | July 6, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

Spider-Man: Homecoming may mark the re-launch of a beloved character on the big screen, but it also marks the emergence of an exciting up-and-coming filmmaker in director Jon Watts. In what seems to be becoming a familiar Hollywood story, Watts was discovered following an independent film of his that made a splash when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The name of the film is Cop Car, and Watts’ honest and grounded handling of the film’s young leads is what put him on Marvel’s radar for this latest take on the well-known webslinger – one that would find Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, back in high school, navigating the complexities of coming of age while also having super powers.

“What’s important is to just try to remember what it was like to be that age,” Watts told Rotten Tomatoes. “For me, it was like if I was 15 and I could do what Peter Parker could do, that would be so much fun. That would be so amazing, and there’s no way around it. Drama will come and dramatic things definitely happen in the movie, and there’s a lot of awesome action and all of that. But fundamentally, I wanted to approach this from the perspective of enthusiasm and excitement.”

Watts devoured every coming-of-age movie he could get his hands on while prepping to make Spider-Man: Homecoming, and when Rotten Tomatoes sat down with him to discuss his Five Favorite Films, the director insisted we stay on theme, natch.

Here, then, are the Spidey director’s five favorite coming-of-age movies.

The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) (1959) 100%

I would say that’s the first quintessential coming-of-age movie. It felt so real, and it just captured the freedom, danger, fear, hope, and everything that comes with being a kid. It’s one of the best movies ever made. It was such a shock to the world when it came out, too, and it was, like, “Oh, wow. You can make movies like this?” It stands up, too.

Leolo (1992) 90%

This is a really obscure one, but there’s a really weird French-Canadian movie called Leolo. Roger Ebert loved it. He gave it a four-star review when it came out. The filmmaker, Jean-Claude Lauzon… He made two movies and then he died. It’s a really tragic story. It’s this surreal, messed-up story about a kid whose family is going insane, and so he comes up with these fantastical stories to escape from his world. I saw that movie when I was in high school, and it just made such an impression on me because of the way it balanced humor and absurdity, and surrealism, and then just tragedy. It’s great. I should probably see it again. I haven’t seen it in a couple of years, so I want to make sure it still stands up. That movie is another very particularly strange coming-of-age movie that will always be a reference for me.

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) 90%

Welcome to the Dollhouse is great. Even though it’s about a girl in middle school, to me, that feels like the most honest reflection of what being a kid around that age feels like. It’s just so bad. It’s like that movie captures the very worst moments of being that age so perfectly. Everything is unfair, everyone hates you, and the world is totally against you. It’s such a good coming-of-age movie.

River's Edge (1987) 86%

I love River’s Edge. River’s Edge is one of those movies like… I grew up in Colorado. When I saw it, I was like, “That’s more like where I’m from than a John Hughes movie.” It’s like seeing that, and then seeing Gummo. That feels more like where I’m from than Can’t Hardly Wait.

Mazes and Monsters (1982)

This one isn’t a high school movie, but more a college-age movie. It’s called Mazes and Monsters and it stars Tom Hanks. It’s about the dangers of role-playing games, and if you play these role-playing games, you’ll lose touch with reality. Tom Hanks is a kid who gets too into their version of Dungeons and Dragons, which they call Mazes and Monsters. He loses touch with reality and thinks he really is on the quest, and disappears into New York City. His friends have to try and find him. It’s definitely worth checking out if you can find it. It might be one of those movies that just disappeared. I think it was a made-for-TV movie, but it’s always affected me. I saw it when I was a kid on the Saturday afternoon matinee movie, and it just has this ending that is so bleak that I’ll never forget.


According to Watts, he hopes Homecoming will serve as a launching pad for more Spider-Man stories that, like the movies mentioned above, are honest and respectful of what it’s like growing up, but also captivating and wildly exciting because, well, Spider-Man!

Spider-Man: Homecoming opens everywhere on Friday, July 7.

Tag Cloud

DGA Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Anna Paquin Paramount Network Discovery Channel hispanic golden globes Winter TV 24 frames series Apple TV+ Peacock Lionsgate Awards Netflix Christmas movies screenings Sony Pictures Binge Guide anthology 2018 true crime Chernobyl breaking bad Comics on TV FXX NYCC facebook spain screen actors guild animated LGBTQ strong female leads Masterpiece 71st Emmy Awards indie Teen A24 Reality cancelled TV series biography Sundance Now Kids & Family cancelled TV shows Video Games diversity Pixar Superheroe CBS Shudder FX Universal jamie lee curtis DC Universe anime cinemax disaster Photos E3 Vudu TV Writers Guild of America OneApp Mary Tyler Moore YouTube Premium Brie Larson ghosts X-Men A&E Box Office BBC BBC America Sci-Fi politics OWN Netflix Television Academy Mary poppins Podcast Disney Plus Tubi science fiction 2015 Heroines versus HBO Max Adult Swim PaleyFest YA Family canceled sag awards Thanksgiving period drama Paramount APB Apple TV Plus Martial Arts Animation Disney Channel casting cats Trophy Talk crossover dragons game of thrones cars Hulu Marvel Studios Schedule SDCC Rocky TNT Lifetime Christmas Crackle elevated horror Marathons ABC Family Red Carpet latino crime thriller streaming zombies El Rey nature NBC name the review Lucasfilm justice league travel psychological thriller unscripted Drama zombie mockumentary 007 spanish language blaxploitation First Look Captain marvel Black Mirror social media SundanceTV toy story foreign kids The CW crime Reality Competition Starz Arrowverse Awards Tour Western TruTV teaser Emmys E! Hallmark Classic Film 2017 Polls and Games TCA 2017 TCA Winter 2020 MSNBC composers Comedy Central halloween talk show Endgame MTV Cartoon Network psycho Pirates Ovation Certified Fresh CNN free movies Calendar thriller 2016 YouTube canceled TV shows Spring TV National Geographic Comedy Disney police drama PBS Winners Character Guide Musicals Pride Month Mystery Set visit children's TV CW Seed Dark Horse Comics Avengers BET USA Network discovery rotten movies we love Disney streaming service 20th Century Fox mutant Oscars Logo Spectrum Originals zero dark thirty 2019 what to watch Marvel Creative Arts Emmys Spike GIFs YouTube Red HBO Warner Bros. Academy Awards crime drama 21st Century Fox Showtime movies comiccon ABC Amazon Prime San Diego Comic-Con adaptation award winner President 2020 miniseries DirecTV Britbox spinoff Chilling Adventures of Sabrina joker See It Skip It witnail First Reviews Ellie Kemper Star Wars Marvel Television Superheroes renewed TV shows CMT directors Nat Geo Cannes RT21 History Election Fantasy christmas movies Toys Mindy Kaling Musical TLC Trivia Syfy historical drama Pet Sematary 45 Rocketman TCA Pop Turner Classic Movies Summer theme song Nominations adventure book political drama robots VICE Apple American Society of Cinematographers Nickelodeon Stephen King Country based on movie The Purge GLAAD Food Network Turner TV renewals TBS WGN VH1 Song of Ice and Fire Grammys technology MCU Amazon aliens Women's History Month Watching Series transformers Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures TIFF Super Bowl doctor who Holiday Amazon Prime Video Film IFC Infographic Best and Worst reboot Mudbound TV Land finale Trailer romance CBS All Access stand-up comedy quibi Cosplay harry potter supernatural New York Comic Con hist richard e. Grant Hallmark Christmas movies comics Emmy Nominations Tomatazos Walt Disney Pictures ratings spider-man LGBT Opinion Biopics Acorn TV boxoffice cartoon comic dc vampires Interview Film Festival Horror cancelled television ESPN werewolf DC streaming service video cults Esquire Shondaland DC Comics The Arrangement Lifetime Christmas movies sports AMC television cooking Rom-Com cops singing competition sequel Crunchyroll Sundance TV Valentine's Day RT History binge IFC Films cancelled documentary spy thriller festivals Tarantino Action dceu docudrama The Witch space Year in Review Star Trek USA revenge Disney+ Disney Plus SXSW batman Elton John Sneak Peek Sundance Rock war ITV Baby Yoda independent Music blockbuster medical drama serial killer TCM GoT dramedy Freeform Tumblr Comic Book Mary Poppins Returns Fox News WarnerMedia game show tv talk romantic comedy Holidays slashers sitcom Epix Extras FOX Premiere Dates natural history Countdown Bravo south america Quiz The Walking Dead green book Fall TV