Age 5 (1988): Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out that year, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see that until later. However, The Land Before Time also came out that year and it was one of my three favorite films growing up. (The other two were Robin Hood, which just had its 40th anniversary - ooh-de-lally, and the Secret of NIMH.)
Age 10 (1993): Okay - Jurassic Park was a big one for me. My parents made me read the book before I could see it in theaters, which is hilarious because they are the first to admit that books are always scarier. But I did, I loved every moment of seeing it on the big screen, and I went on to devour the rest of Michael Crichton's oeuvre.
However, I think it has to be Nightmare Before Christmas. I loved that movie so much. I still do. (One of the best gifts I ever received was a box with Lock, Shock and Barrel in it and no other explanation. I still have them.)
Age 15 (1997): Okay. I may have seen Titanic more than once. I blame the tin whistle in the soundtrack.
This was about a year before I started to get really, really into movies. But L.A. Confidential came out that year and I loved that. I remember going on a school trip to the movies to see it and being absolutely blown away.
But I would have to say that my favorite movie for that year was The Fifth Element. My father taught me to love crazy Gary Oldman early (I saw the Professional at about 10 or 11). I loved that Ian Holm was in it. And I still giggle everytime I think of Multipass.
Age 20 (2003): Oooh, fun year. And by this point I was really into film. I'm going to cheat and say Angels in America. It was an HBO film, but that is my favorite play, and I think Mike Nichol's adaptation is wonderful. It makes me feel better about people.
(Also great that year? Return of the King, the Triplets of Belleville, 28 Days Later, Finding Nemo, the Magdalene Sisters, Whale Rider, Young Adam, Monster, and Japanese Story. And for fun: the first Pirates of the Caribbean and X2.)
Age 25 (2008): Other recommendations from that year: Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Frost/Nixon, Let the Right One In, Waltz with Bashir, Snow Angels, and Cloverfield. Let the Right One In - SO GOOD.
Third runner up: In Bruges. I adore Martin McDonagh. I think he is the most brilliant playwright around. His first film is hilarious, dark and whip-smart.
Really, really close runner-up: The Escapist. A GREAT performance by Brian Cox. And I love the rest of the cast. It's a taught thriller, nearly entirely shot in Kilmainham gaol.
In the end, I think I have to go with The Fall here. I love beautiful films, and this film is just so lush, and so gorgeous, and so expansive, it is one of my all-time favorites. I just adore it.
Age 30! This year! Hmm, I'm quite behind on a few things I've been meaning to see (Upstream Color, Mud, Short Term 12, the Hunt, Something in the Air, Blancanieves, Fill the Void, Lore, In a World, A Hijacking, Fruitvale Station, Byzantium, Europa Report, Ain't Them Bodies Saints - which I swear to god did not get an SF release, I'm seeing 12 Years a Slave this Week... (OH MY GOD I AM SO BEHIND AND I'M NOT EVER GOING TO CATCH UP BEFORE THE OSCARS) Not to mention there are bunch that have yet to release that I am excited for - Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street...
This one is probably the hardest, as we are in its midst. It's easy to say Land Before Time stuck with me, because I can still recite chunks of that film two and a half decades later.
So. I have seen some entertaining and wonderful things so far. These are all delightful and worth your time: the Kings of Summer, Much Ado About Nothing, Prince Avalanche, the Last Step, the East, Side Effects, This is the End, the World's End, Iron Man 3 (it's no Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it was the best of the tent-poles this year), and Rush. Gravity gets a special mention for being very wonderful, beautifully shot, and I'd be happy if it won a lot of awards this year.
I think so far the ones that have lodged in my brain are these: Spring Breakers, Leviathan, the Act of Killing, and Stoker. Schizophrenic, to say the least. We'll see where I land come January.