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) 88%

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

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