I just noticed a little thing going around: to explain America to someone who knew nothing about it using only movies and TV shows.
I'm a big fan of these kinds of challenges. They allow you to learn a lot about a lot of different things - how you view America, how the media you consume is related to that, what you want this theoretical LGM to learn about America... even if you want to include BAD movies to reflect the "bad" parts of the culture. It is uncomfortable, if phrased right.
The "your favorite N Xs" meme is not nearly as interesting, as it varies from day to day, and isn't very challenging.
For example: what are your three favorite movies? Three favorite video games? Three turn-ons? Chances are, the only challenge is limiting it to three: you've got half a dozen jumping up and down to be included.
But phrase the question differently, and suddenly the landscape is jumbled. Not "what are your favorite movies," but "what movies would you tell someone to watch in order to understand hacker culture?" Or "What games would you make someone play to understand modern politics?" Or "What turn-ons/standards of beauty would you use explain male (or female) culture in the country you are from?"
As to what media I would suggest to understand America, there's a lot of America to understand. It's rather a hopelessly big concept. But to understand my America - a phantom which does not exist, except in my mind - that's somewhat easier.
So, I suppose if you like reading these sorts of selfish little lists, you are welcome to. You're also welcome to post your own, in the comments or on your own webspace.
My lists are composed entirely out of media I could lend out to an LGM - if I don't have it, I don't list it. This leaves a lot of things out, I know, but the limit makes the problem more tractable.
Perko's America in Nine Easy Steps:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
UHF (Weird Al)
Metropolis (original) OR Dark City if you can't take silent movies
Lost in Translation
Indiana Jones (first or last)
Big Trouble in Little China
Perko's Hacker Culture in Nine Easy Steps:
Blade Runner (durrrr)
Sneakers or, I guess, Hackers
The Shawshank Redemption
The Forbidden Planet or any other 50s-60s scifi movie
1984 OR Fahrenheit 451