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

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