When it comes to Eugenio Derbez's taste in movies, the more unique, the better. The Mexican actor’s favorite films include everything from a beloved indie drama to a neo-noir thriller to a star-studded movie musical – but they all share Derbez's favorite quality: each film is one of a kind.
For Derbez – who tells A.frame that one of his favorite movies actually inspired his groundbreaking 2013 movie Instructions Not Included (which is the most successful Spanish-language film ever in the U.S.) – cinema is all about transporting audiences to another place and time. Or in his case, as an actor, living out endless possibilities.
"I love that I can become so many different human beings in every movie," he explains. "When I was a kid, I remember one of the reasons I chose this career was because they asked me, 'What do you want to be?' 'I want to be a pilot, I want to be a doctor, I want to be so many things.' So I want to be an actor."
Derbez gets the chance to embody yet another role in The Valet, streaming now on Hulu. Below, he breaks down five of the films he’s most enjoyed as a viewer.
Life Is Beautiful, to me, was one of the things that inspired me to write Instructions Not Included. When I saw Life Is Beautiful, I said, “This is the perfect combination between comedy and drama. It can flow between art house and commercial easily. You can win a festival with that movie, but also, the audience would love it.” And I wanted that for a movie. When I started writing Instructions Not Included, in my head, it was not written for a girl. It was a boy, because I had seen the kid in Life Is Beautiful. But I didn't find a boy of that age who could play the character. So the character ended up being a girl. But yeah, Life Is Beautiful was my inspiration to write Instructions Not Included.
Amélie is so unique visually. It's like candy. It's beautiful. Also, I haven't seen any other movie like that. It’s so original... so different. It really is a masterpiece, I believe, and I haven't seen anything like that anymore.
It’s such a beautiful independent film. Low budget, no special effects. That's the perfect example of how to do a great movie without a big budget. I love the tone, the way it’s directed. The actors are so grounded, so natural. It’s so uncomfortable -- but at the same time -- that's what makes you laugh a lot. And this one is different, really different.
Chris Nolan. I fell in love with Christopher Nolan when I saw that movie. I've never seen a movie that's directed backwards. I loved it. I was intrigued all the time. And it was just so different. I loved it.
It is so different, so unique. It's just magic. I can’t even describe it. I mean, you need to watch it to understand how amazing it is. I was shocked. It's so beautiful. Visually original; the way that they reinvented every song was really great. And the director [Baz Luhrmann], I'm a big fan. So -- musical comedies -- I think this is, for me, number one.