For any creature of the internet, GIFs are a language that makes it possible to communicate solely through references to pop culture that are as hypercurated as the rest of our lives. Jonah Hill, Judd Apatow, and Perfume Genius are fully aware of this, which is in part why they have chosen to participate in social media’s latest challenge: picking 4 films that define oneself.
The Twitter trend started when FilmStruck, the streaming service that’s a collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, invited people to share the movies that have most shaped them over the years. “We want to celebrate the personal nature of cinema and fill your timeline with the films that define you,” the company’s initial tweet read. Within 24 hours, celebrities obliged.
Hill, who rarely tweets, was one of them. “Challenge accepted @filmstruck!” he wrote. “Four films that define me are: King Of Comedy, The Master, This is England, [and] Ratcatcher.”
Judd Apatow, the comedian, director, and, specifically, the producer who helped spark Hill’s career with Superbad, later weighed in. “Accepting the #FilmStruck4 challenge,” he tweeted, before listing off his favorites: “Terms Of Endearment, Being There, Dr. Strangelove, [and] Young Frankenstein.” Apatow also roped in actress Gillian Jacobs and comedian Pete Holmes to do the same.
Holmes’s picks? Fantastic Mr Fox, There Will Be Blood, Finding Joe, and Ram Dass: Going Home.
Kumail Nanjiani, whom Holmes passed off the challenge to, later shared his favorites, which include Before Midnight, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Silence of the Lambs, and Casablanca.
Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro was also quick to tweet his favorites, in two separate installments.
Likewise, director Ron Howard went long on his choices. “Hmm – ok but so many more than 4,” he tweeted, “But…The Graduate, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Road Warrior/Bridge on the River Kwai (can we create double bills?) oh hell! The Godfather! Godfather 2!! Citizen Kane. Dog Day Frickin’ Afternoon!! Butch/Sundance!.”
Not everyone who shared their four favorites came from the film industry, though. Perfume Genius, aka songwriter Mike Hadreas, shared his, although he couldn’t limit the films that most influenced him to just four. Instead, he shared 12.
Mark Hoppus, Blink-182’s bassist, also shared his choices, before nominating his bandmate Travis Barker.
As of today, the challenge has spread to celebrity chefs like Momofuku mastermind David Chang.