The Riker Scale: Top Ten Movies

    We’ve arrived at the top 10. These movies are my absolute favorites and I’ve watched most of these more times than I have fingers. What are your takes on the top 10? Did I miss any? Comment below on this post or for the whole series.


1)Count of Monte Cristo (2002), PG-13, Directed by Kevin Reynolds

The rare occasion of a movie being light years better than the book. Based off the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo follows Edmond Dantes, a young sailor in the early 19th century with a perfect life. Suddenly, he is betrayed, framed, and thrown in prison for life. Dantes loses the will to live but is revived by his overwhelming desire for revenge on the traitors. The Count of Monte Cristo has a compelling plot, outstanding acting, and is rewatchable as any movie. Take out a brief scene in the beginning of the film and this masterpiece achieves perfection.

Riker Scale Score: 99

2) Jurassic Park (1993), PG-13, Directed by Steven Spielberg

Scientists find a way to extract DNA from mosquitoes that is used to create living replicas of dinosaurs. The dinos are encased on an amusement park on an island called Jurassic Park. When the dinosaurs go crazy and escape, a two scientists, a mathematician, and two children must survive and escape from the jaws of the terrifying predators. Based off a book by sci-fi writer Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park is the best idea to hit the big screen and is pulled off perfectly. The special effects are a bit outdated, but that’s why they made Jurassic World! The only two flaws in this movie are an anticlimactic ending and a lack of rewatchability.

Riker Scale Score: 98

3) Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), PG, Directed by Irvin Kershner

The Death Star is blown up, but the Imperials, led by Darth Vader, are in attack mode and want to crush the Rebellion. Luke learns the ways of the force from Jedi Master Yoda before facing Vader and a stunning truth. When I watched The Force Awakens, I brashly declared that it was the best, but after seeing Empire Strikes Back, I can’t deny Episode V of the title of best Star Wars movie. The Cloud City sequence is my favorite, including the carbonite and dueling scenes. Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie, Princess Leia, Lando, and Boba Fett at their best.

Riker Scale Score: 98

4) The Sandlot (1993), G, Directed by David Mickey Evans

The best baseball movie of all-time. Scotty Smalls moves into a new neighborhood in the early 1960s and makes friends with a group of boys who play baseball in a sandlot all day during the summer. When the boys hit a Babe Ruth-signed baseball into a yard inhabited by a monstrous dog, the boys must get the ball without getting eaten by the dog. The movie also covers their summer antics, highlighted by a hilarious pool scene. Sandlot’s characters are engaging and entertaining and unleash an arsenal of iconic quotes. Watching The Sandlot is a summer ritual and it doesn’t and won’t ever get old.

Riker Scale Score: 98

5) The Incredibles (2004), PG, Directed by Brad Bird

Bob Parr, a retired superhero, finds trouble when his yearning for superhero work entangles him in a plot to take over the world. Fortunately, he has his family of supers by his side. This animated Pixar film is the top superhero film on the list and the top animated one. The Incredibles is incredibly rewatchable, incredibly family-friendly, and incredibly awesome. The animation may be sub-par by today’s standards, but the movie is very visually appealing. The storyline of the superheroes is captivating and enjoyable and the characters likeable. Bonus points for a great soundtrack.

Riker Scale Score: 98

6) Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), PG-13, Directed by J.J. Abrams

Decades after the original Star Wars trilogy, the Force awakens when Finn and Rey discover the Force and battle the First Order and Kylo Ren. The movie was worth the two hour wait at the movie theater and it was as entertaining as any film I can remember. Director J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job as the acting and dialogue is a step up from the other Star Wars film. The downsides are glaring similarities to the originals and an inferior villain.

Riker Scale Score: 97

7) Star Wars Episode IV: The New Hope (1977), PG, Directed by George Lucas

Luke Skywalker, a farm boy on the planet of Tatooine, learns the force and enters the galactic battle between the Empire and the Rebellion. The original Star Wars movie started the universe and the Star Wars craze, with groundbreaking special effects and sound. Good luck finding a more iconic movie, from the music to the opening credits to the lightsaber battles. It is still a notch behind the Empire Strikes Back, a sequel, and The Force Awakens, the start of the new trilogy.

Riker Scale Score: 97

8) Toy Story (1995), G, Directed by John Lasseter

Woody, a toy cowboy, is Andy’s favorite toy, but when space ranger Buzz Lightyear arrives as a birthday present, jealous Woody knocks Buzz at the window and must find him to earn back the respect and escape the crazy neighbor Sid. The first Pixar film, and first full-length animated film, is a classic and connects with all kids. The soundtrack is warming and the themes of friendship between toys and their owners is a cool dynamic.

Riker Scale Score: 97

9) Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), PG-13, Directed by George Lucas

Anakin Skywalker turns from the Jedi Order to the Sith and becomes the evil Darth Vader. When I was in elementary school, I had an unending desire to watch Revenge of the Sith, then the only PG-13 movie in the Star Wars saga. Watching Revenge of the Sith on my 13th birthday was an incredible moment, the satisfying culmination of years of patience. Yes, it is one of the infamous Star Wars prequels. Yes, it had horrible acting and dialogue, especially from its main character, Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). But Revenge of the Sith flowed with the pure emotion of Romeo and Juliet, the action of all three of the original Star Wars movies combined  with CGI effects, and an optimistic and epic ending. Hate the prequel trilogy if you must, but if you learned anything from this movie, hatred is a path to the dark side.

Riker Scale Score: 96

10) Jaws (1978), PG, Directed by Steven Spielberg

In a New England beach town, a series of shark attacks drive the city police into insanity and a band of three men go out to sea to destroy the beast. Jaws qualifies as a horror movie and is one of the most famous, but technology has rendered its effects outdated and its monster more outdated than frightening. Yet it remains one of the best movies of all-time, a testament to its plot and durability. The film would have been much better, and higher on the list, if it had cut out an hour from the shark chase, but the first hour and ending keep in the top ten.

Riker Scale Score: 95


3 thoughts on “The Riker Scale: Top Ten Movies

  1. I would like to see number 1, 4, 5 and 8. I thought saw JAWS once was scared to death- I thought I would never go into the ocean again.
    In number eight does Woody knock Buzz at the window or out the window?
    Jurassic Park – I have to keep my blood pressure down so no more scary movies for me.
    I spent years watching Star Trek and loved it – so Star Wars feels like a repeat of all the Star Trek movies that I watched.
    It’s fun to read what you’re interested in and I’m glad you found some movies you really like. As we go through life, our taste changes. I’ll try to think of my favorite movies and let you know. I really did like Schindler’s list.
    Love, GA


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