Movie buff or not, you've likely been asked this question: "What's your favorite movie of all time?" It's a tough one, but some folks have no problem answering. In fact, I never hesitate when someone drops the question on me. It's 'Jurassic Park', hands down. First off, it was one of my very first truly memorable moviegoing experiences, not just for the film's entertainment value, but for everything Steven Spielberg, Michael Crichton, the cast and crew accomplished. Well, that and because I'll never forget my younger sister, who was four at the time, bolting out of the theater during the T-Rex attack. Now, what makes it my favorite of all time is how well the film holds up on every level. Seventeen years after it hit theaters, 'Jurassic Park' is still my absolute favorite film to watch.

Before we start a battle of the favorite movies here, let's get into the real topic of discussion, namely: Is it valid to name your favorite movie of all time? Nearly every time we've been asked, "What's your favorite movie of all time," someone else always has to chime in not only to criticize our choice, but to trash the concept all together. And, as eager as we are to defend 'Jurassic Park,' you've got to admit those favorite movie scrooges have a point.
How can you call something your favorite film of all time when new ones are always coming out? Isn't that basically putting every new film at a major disadvantage by comparing it to your favorite and not as a standalone production? Then there's the issue we discussed the other week: What if you fall out of love with a movie? Should we just keep naming new favorites every time we get sick of an old one? This is kind of like asking the question, "If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Sure we name things, but is the answer really honest? If you legitimately had to sit down and think of the thing you'd be eating until you die, we bet most people would consider other options.

What it comes down to is just taking the topic lightly, but also handling the question with care. If you're giving an answer, you better not blurt out your favorite film if you don't have the reasoning to back it up. Be respectful; everyone's favorite movie is their favorite for a different reason. Personally, I always struggle with this when working on top ten lists. Do I go for the film that I truly enjoyed the most or the one that was the best made? A happy medium is ideal, but I do tend to side with entertainment value.

And that's not to say that your choice can't be based purely on acting, writing, editing or any one element of the filmmaking process. This is really more of a personal question than anything. Back in college, during sorority recruitment, it was nearly impossible to remember all of the girls who came to rush. Not only did this question help me sort them all out, but knowing someone's favorite film tells you quite a lot about that person, too.

What do you think? Is asking someone their favorite film of all time so grand a question it is virtually meaningless, or does the answer to the question have value?