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 and star-studded movie musical — but they all share Derbez's favorite quality: each film is one of a kind.
For Derbez (whose groundbreaking 2013 movie, Instructions Not Included, is the most successful Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.), cinema is about transporting audiences to another place and time. And, as an actor, living out endless possibilities.
"I love that I can become so many different human beings in every movie," he says. "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 wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be so many things. So, I wanted to be an actor."
Below, Derbez breaks down five of the films he's most enjoyed as a viewer.
Directed by: Roberto Benigni | Written by: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni
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 Life Is Beautiful was my inspiration to write Instructions Not Included.
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Written by: Guillaume Laurant
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, and I haven't seen anything like that anymore.
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris | Written by: Michael Arndt
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.
Directed and written by: Christopher 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.
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann | Written by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
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, I'm a big fan. As far as musical comedies, this is, for me, number one.