Five Favorite Films with Aaron Johnson

The star of Kick-Ass and this week's John Lennon film Nowhere Boy shares his favorites.

Aaron Johnson

Stepping into the shoes of a musical icon is never an easy role, particularly when that person is none other than The Beatles' singer-songwriter John Lennon, a bonafide 20th-century pop giant. Yet in this week's Nowhere Boy -- which explores the rocker's turbulent teenage life before he was famous -- British actor Aaron Johnson manages to move beyond mere impersonation, giving an affecting performance that captures the young Lennon's essence. That Johnson was just 18 at the time is impressive, as is the fact that he went directly from filming his lead in this year's superhero riff Kick-Ass to the very different role of a tortured teenager in 1950s Liverpool.

We spoke to Aaron recently about playing Lennon, and whether there'll be a Kick-Ass sequel; but first, we asked him to run through his five favorite films. "Obviously these are all a bunch of classic, cult movies," he points out. "It?s probably not that interesting for people to hear me say them, because they?re like the best f**king movies anyway."

Pulp Fiction (1994, 94% Tomatometer)
Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction was probably one of the first films I ever saw that really kind of took effect on me. I was about four years old -- obviously wasn?t supposed to be seeing that film; my sister kind of sneaked it out and we got to see it. She?s older than me. That was something I always used to watch. I loved the scenes with John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson; when I was older I could understand a little more. It was funny, me and my sister would have this little running thing where we?d know the lines to Ezekiel 25:17. My sister actually bought me a wallet that had ?Bad Mother F**ker? written on it. But yeah, Tarantino. That was where my appreciation of directors began. It was beyond the actors at that point. Everything he?s touched I?ve loved. I became a huge fan of him and his work.

Fight Club (1999, 81% Tomatometer)
Fight Club

David Fincher, man -- Fight Club, Se7en, those things. This was another film that when I watched it at the time I had to watch it again, to understand it almost. I was just entranced with it. The performances were fantastic -- Helena Bonham Carter, Brad Pitt, Ed Norton. I just thought it was brilliant and shot beautifully.

Apocalypse Now (1979, 98% Tomatometer)
Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola, man. Just the stories that happened on that set. And the soundtrack that they use in that film is so f**king cool. Great performances and a wonderful, entrancing movie -- Brando and Dennis Hopper and Duvall. ?I love the smell of napalm in the morning? -- what a great quote.

Boogie Nights (1997, 92% Tomatometer)
Boogie Nights

Paul Thomas Anderson -- what a fantastic director. These are all directors that I would love to work with, you know. I doubt any of them could give a sh*t. [laughs.] Boogie Nights. Pretty epic. It just captured that era so brilliantly. Mark Wahlberg, man -- great role. Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman -- they just blow me away. I could watch it again and again. Great movie.

The Big Lebowski (1998, 78% Tomatometer)
The Big Lebowski

I mean, Jeff Bridges, John Turturro -- so f**king funny, man. The Coens too.

Next, Aaron talks about a Kick-Ass sequel and how he got into character as John Lennon..


Matt Cuffe

Matthew Cuffe

Best list yet

Oct 8 - 12:59 PM


Ben Tracy

I think this is my list. Dude stole my freakin' list.

Oct 11 - 06:56 AM

Chris B.

Chris Beffa

Good list.

Just from a directing standpoint he has:

1. Quentin Tarantino
2. David Fincher
3. Francis Ford Coppola
4. Paul Thomas Anderson
5. The Coen Brothers

Hard to get much better than that...

Oct 8 - 01:08 PM

Peter W.

Peter Winters

Uwe Boll

Oct 12 - 09:31 AM


Steven Bada

yea, man.

Oct 8 - 01:13 PM


Omar Siddiqui

Was JUST thinking that. Lmao.

I need to see Kick-Ass.

Oct 8 - 01:33 PM


Danny G

One of the best lists I've seen while on Rotten Tomatos...outstanding.

Oct 8 - 01:16 PM

Matt the Hat

Matt The Hat

Nowhere Boy is a an excellent family drama about John Lennon's early teenage years. His mother and aunt are just as important to the film as much as he. In fact at some points he is almost a secondary character. Kristen Scott Thomas as Aunt Mimi is the stand out in a strong cast. Recommended to all Beatles fans and fans of dramas. 8/10.

Oct 8 - 01:23 PM


Omar Siddiqui

Was JUST thinking that. Lmao.

I need to see Kick-Ass.

Oct 8 - 01:33 PM

jeff l.

jeff lebowski

HOLY SHIT, he just listed 4 of my 5 favorite films....
the man is a god!

Oct 8 - 01:33 PM

Phillip K.

Phillip Kissell

Should I be ashamed to say that I haven't seen any of these?

Oct 8 - 01:37 PM

Tyler S.

Tyler Schwab

YES!! haha

Oct 8 - 01:48 PM

Tyler S.

Tyler Schwab

I mean other than Apocalypse Now all the movies on his list are some of the most well known/liked modern films (Apocalypse Now is also really famous of course... just not as modern.)

Oct 9 - 06:25 PM

Coach McGuirk

Desmond Hume

wtf HAVE you seen? I'm sorry, but if you haven't seen ANY of those films, you really don't need to be on a film site.

Oct 8 - 02:08 PM

duke elliot

elliot edgington

You should watch them all over the weekend

Oct 8 - 04:16 PM

Lando Griffin

ben keesing

??? you cannot be serious.

Oct 8 - 04:30 PM

Phillip K.

Phillip Kissell

I know, I know, I'm terrible.
I'll get around to seeing them someday...probably...

Oct 8 - 05:09 PM

The NewHampshire Database

Kirk McCarty

Jesus Christ.

Oct 8 - 08:56 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

Someday hopefully meaning today. Or tomorrow, at the latest.

Oct 9 - 12:19 PM


Ernie Truman

Dude, what are you doing on this site? Get off and watch these movies like tonight. They're all great movies. You're missing out, man.

Oct 8 - 08:27 PM


'schak Attack

I'm forming the letter L on my forehead...

Oct 11 - 06:02 AM

Phillip K.

Phillip Kissell

Okay, okay. I just watched The Big Lebowski. So there.

Oct 11 - 09:40 AM


'schak Attack

A good start. *removes letter L from forehead* Please continue. Chop chop.

Oct 12 - 05:40 AM


j s

Solid list. I'm curious to see how this guy's career goes, he's a good actor.

Oh, and I just read that Zack Snyder has been chosen as the director for Superman.

Some people will hate as usual. But me, I'm all smiles.

Go team Nolan-Snyder-Goyer!!! and crew.

Oct 8 - 01:37 PM


Matthew Rozier

This is a great list. Tarantino? Coppola? Fincher? Paul Thomas Anderson? Coen Brothers? All on the same list! This guy has TASTE.

Oct 8 - 01:46 PM

Tyler S.

Tyler Schwab

YES!! haha

Oct 8 - 01:48 PM

Tyler S.

Tyler Schwab

I mean other than Apocalypse Now all the movies on his list are some of the most well known/liked modern films (Apocalypse Now is also really famous of course... just not as modern.)

Oct 9 - 06:25 PM

Coach McGuirk

Desmond Hume

wtf HAVE you seen? I'm sorry, but if you haven't seen ANY of those films, you really don't need to be on a film site.

Oct 8 - 02:08 PM


Greg Guro

FANTASTIC list. All these films I've seen multiple times. They're all great.

Oct 8 - 02:41 PM

mike d.

mike dunn

fucking great list mines the same except id take out AP and switch it with Rushmore and that be my top 5

Oct 8 - 02:48 PM


Alsan Ali

No one else thinks this list is a bit too boring? Don't get me wrong, they're all great and would probably also be in my favorite movies list too, but they'd be in just about everybody's favorite movies list. I tend to prefer lists that include more personal movies, movies that really influenced the person's career or even shows a side of him/her that we as the public know nothing about, or something that I haven't heard of that they describe in such an intriguing way that I want to go out and see it. I'd rather see a more unique list than something like this that every early 20-something year old can agree with or, worse still, a regurgitation of the AFI's top movies.

Oct 8 - 02:49 PM

I Watch Movies


That was my response too. Yeah, good, solid flicks. But they're popular movies and I prefer lists that expose me to something new. But at least he's not listing crap or pretentious films.

Oct 10 - 10:52 AM


Mardia Joan


Dec 10 - 05:13 PM

Freudian Nightmare

Martin Andersson

Sure, it's a nice list, but it's not very original.

Oct 8 - 02:50 PM

Danny B.

Danny Barlow

Right, because every movie lover has to have a old black and white movie in there list for it to be a great one...i get tired of hearing that. Awesome fucking list by the way

Oct 8 - 07:12 PM


Ernie Truman

Not an original list?? Since when does a "favorites list" have to be original? If these films are his favorite, then these are his favorite. He doesn't have to list other films that he doesn't like as much for the sake of being original. BTW, Danny B., you're right: Awesome fucking list. "Pulp Fiction" just happens to be my favorite movie ever but the others are great choices too.

Oct 8 - 08:13 PM


Alsan Ali

It doesn't have to be, but it makes it more interesting.

Oct 9 - 05:39 AM


Ernie Truman

@alsanali: It might be more interesting to create an "original" list, but if the movies that are on a favorites list aren't actual favorites (or aren't his actual top five favorites) then isn't that a fake list with the intension of seeming more interesting than it actually is? It's not like his list was:

1.Citizen Kane
3.The Wizard of Oz
4.The Sound of Music
5.The Godfather

It was comprised mostly of 90s contemporaries and one 70s classic. Maybe these are the movies he identifies with now. I just don't understand the logic behind the idea of an "original" list. Lists are lists and they change all the time. I'd rather see an authentic list that tells a lot about a person's preferences (which this seems to be). If he chose any others I don't think they would be authentic.

Oct 9 - 09:06 PM


Ernie Truman

@alsanali: I read the comment you made above and I think I understand why you don't think it's the most interesting list in the world. However, I haven't seen a lot of these movies on one list (at least not from other people that have been interviewed on rotten tomatoes). I think the problem is that he doesn't go more in depth in the reasons he considers them his favorite. Had he done that, I'm sure you would have liked it a lot more. I'm looking at it in the sense of authenticity, the quality of the list, and whether or not I agree. I understand your reasoning.

Oct 9 - 09:47 PM


Glen Morgan

Of the thousands upon thousands of old black and white movies, none of them are good enough to be on a best of list, are they? The only great movies came out in the last 30 years, right?

Sad, really.

Oct 9 - 12:55 PM


Graham H.

It's a favorite list, not a best of list.

Oct 10 - 10:43 AM

Stop Making Sense

dan anderson

Shut up, Superfly.

Oct 10 - 10:18 PM


J Margo

Yea well sorry he didnt list some gay french art house movie named Le petitte beeleflour or something you idiot. Not all lists have to include a movie armond white would appreciate.

Oct 13 - 09:48 PM

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