...Crazy? "25 Favorite Films"
Sharing my “25 Favorite Films” list is an absurdly personal thing to do. I’m quite protective of revealing my favorite “anything” – but most especially my favorite art. I see it as revealing a part of my soul – and who wants their soul to be in any way criticized, or left on the table for all to view. I prefer to keep something for myself. I see on social media profiles a place where you can enter your favorite movies, books, etc. I love seeing what others have written. And I envy their putting it out there. But me? I feel I’d be revealing too much. Call me a common phrase “crazy.”
This now brings me back to the below list. WHAT AM I DOING?! Am I going against what I’ve always felt so strongly? I say “yes” and “no.” I list this list for three reasons: (1) It was fun to crystallize my favorite films and delve deeper into the reasons why each film is “a favorite.” (2) I also want to support these films as unique works of art. (3) Lastly, I hope to bring smiles to the faces of the folks (you) who read my movie taglines.
I’ve watched A LOT of movies. And I’ve written A LOT of reviews in my life – film, restaurant, theater. I’m a walking-talking vessel of research and hopefully good-hearted commentary. I prefer to write about art I’ve enjoyed – and try to steer clear of highlighting negative experiences. If I can recommend a great movie to someone that I think they will personally like for ‘xyz’ reasons pertaining to their ‘xyz’ personality – I'm all about that. I like to connect with people through movies. Quite simply, it's fun. What resonates with them in a film? Or what do they consider a well-made film versus a rotten-egg Templeton stink-bomb? Hello, animated tearjerker classic "Charlotte's Web" (1973). To me, it's all fascinating. Let the gory dissection begin. Operation!
Still, I haven’t gone against my strong convictions completely. This movie list, although I’ve left it on the table for all to see, does still leave a bit for myself alone. Because I’ve decided to focus my taglines on you (the reader), I’ve purposely left out all first-person “I” pronouns. Thus, I do not reveal why certain movies on this list connect with me so subconsciously. Movies like “Romancing the Stone” and “Between Strangers” and unnamed others – you know who you are, and why I love you even more than the taglines below testify. Until the day I’m ready to share you further with the world – I’ve kept your beautiful mysteries intact.
I’ll leave by saying, “AFI lists, IMDb snapshots, DVD, Blu-Ray, and even that lovely MGM roaring lion – you have brought me joy.” Film is a special medium. I for one am grateful to sit in that darkened movie theater with a tub of popcorn (who am I kidding, I don’t eat that stuff) and watch a new tale of life unfold on a gigantic screen. Or, even better, I like to cozy up on the couch on a Saturday night. The warmth of my blanket is appreciated, though forgotten, once I’m immersed in the warmth of a film. I want all movies to bring me in, and make me “think and feel, laugh and cry.” The magic of art connects us to so much.
THE LIST… AND WHY THEY’RE A FAVORITE
1. The Way We Were (1973) / Romancing the Stone (1984)
A tie for first place… could never choose just one
The Way We Were (1973) – a legendary “opposites attract” romance that rips your
tender heart out… leaves you depressed and singing beautiful Barbra Streisand music for days
Romancing the Stone (1984) – simply the best action/adventure romantic comedy movie set in New York City and South America EVER!
2. Scarface (1983) - Al Pacino in this oft-described “over the top” ‘80s Miami drug film… so palpably crazy that skeptics become the converted
3. Out of Africa (1985) – an exotic, hypnotizing love story that sweeps right through you… makes you cry at nature, at beauty, at life 4. 9 to 5 (1980) – the ultimate “POWER" chick flick... it has something important to say, and yet does so in such a hilariously fun, clever way
5. An Affair to Remember (1957) – quite possibly the most PERFECT romance movie ever made… enough said, full stop.
6. Dead Again (1991) – an excellent neo-noir “past lives” thriller with European on-screen and off-screen pair Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh in their first big American hit
7. Jaws (1975) – nothing else like it, one-of-a-kind, an unparalleled classic thriller that will forever make children afraid to swim in even a swimming pool, let alone the ocean
8. Annie Hall (1977) – modern New York City love story… so comedically sharp, neurotic, endearing that you’ll want to cheer from your couch, and give a standing ovation, at the end
9. Two for the Road (1967) – precious “swan song” romance movie… sparkling France, sparkling Henry Mancini musical score
10. Stranger Than Fiction (2006) – Will Ferrell ROCKS with a clever premise, ensemble cast, and director… so good this movie can be watched a hundred times
11. Doctor Zhivago (1965) – breathtakingly poetic epic love story of the winter wonderland variety… “Nobody loves poetry like a Russian” 12. Contact (1997) – astronomer Carl Sagan would be extremely proud... an “awe-some” and “awe-inspiring” sci-fi flick with fierce Jodie Foster at the helm 13. The English Patient (1996) – haunting World War II love story that explores the landscape of the body, soul… and our drifting memories of it all
14. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) – 1969 "couples kookiness" on full, delightful BLUSH-worthy display!
15. Beloved Infidel (1959) - an obscure gem starring two actors in their prime... Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr are absolutely beautiful portraying two famous writers doomed in their affair
16. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) – so slick, so steamy, so sexy… a sophisticated love caper made even better since the couple is “over forty”
17. The Abyss (1989) – early “under water” James Cameron film… hints at his future success in absolutely captivating an audience with plot and special effects
18. Ordinary People (1980) – Robert Redford directorial stunner… beautiful in its subtlety, realism, and heart
19. Black Narcissus (1947) – Deborah Kerr tour de force that leaves you breathless... an insightful "nuns on the edge" story full of emotional depth and stunning cinematography
20. Between Strangers (2002) – indie film finesse… so thoughtfully done, an interesting intersection of characters
21. The Remains of the Day (1993) – quintessential “English countryside” film that drips with repressed passion and regret
22. Dances With Wolves (1990) – epic story of America that needs to be told… sprawling, grand, gorgeous
23. Irreconcilable Differences (1984) – one of the sweetest, most touching movies about families and “the good, the bad, and the ugly”… Frank Sinatra’s song, “We Wanted It All”
24. Mon Oncle (1958) – the ultimate “artsy French film"… if you love Picasso’s bright colors, visual comedy, and crave some mid-century nostalgia
25. Grease (1978) / The Sound of Music (1965)
Another tie… could never choose just one
Grease (1978) – an American musical treasure… always a “guilty pleasure” sing-along that you never outgrow, even at age forty
The Sound of Music (1965) – a dazzling musical juggernaut... heaven truly exists in the Alps Mountains, and in a tasty dish called WIENER SCHNITZEL