Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Twenty-Five (or so): Another List

I have been tagged once again by my friend Kelly, from Property of Kelly, who now demands I list my Top 25 Movies. I don't really have a list of favorite movies in a set order, but I'll certainly give it a try.

  • All About Eve* Joseph Mankiewicsz's writing is snappy and superb and the entire cast shines, especially Bette Davis. This film has some of the best lines ever written, bitter and brutal
  • Sunset Boulevard* In my humble opinion, there is no finer performance recorded on film than the one provided by Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. Every inflection, every twitch, every gesture is calculated and serves a purpose. Simply amazing
  • Meet Me in St. Louis* This one is purely sentimental. The Christmas scenes near the end always make me cry. Judy Garland is wonderful, but the true winner in this film is little Margaret O'Brien, who won an Oscar for Best Juvenile Performance that year
  • The Royale Tenenbaums I can't think of a finer ensemble cast. Each performance is stunning, the writing is clever and poetic and I love this film even though almost everyone I know is bored by it
  • Until the End of the World A film about dreams and our culture's addiction to images, which become a kind of paralyzing disease. Beautifully filmed and directed with an international cast, this one is one I could watch over and over
  • The Color Purple Sure it's manipulative and sentimental, but I think I have cried every time I've seen this film since I was 15 years old. It will always be a favorite
  • Peter Pan Who wouldn't want to be a flying child who never grows up?!
  • Bambi I was born to be a Bambi fan. I had no choice in the matter. My grandmother quilted my baby blanket with Bambi on it, took me to see the film and bought me the soundtrack. I have mighty memories of her and can not watch this movie without thinking of and missing her terribly
  • Gone with the Wind* It's almost unbearably long, but this film is amazing and couldn't be a minute shorter. Vivian Leigh's performance, while a bit theatrical, is stunning. The grandiosity of the entire production is a marvel. I've watched three times this past year alone
  • Magnolia Another one of those films in which people claim "nothing happens." If by nothing happening they mean the final fifteen minutes of the film when the most shocking and surreal thing I've ever seen occurs, sign me up for lots more "nothing."
  • A Star is Born* "I was born in a trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho..." This is a wonderful flim and the story of its restoration is just as intriguing. The FBI became involved and after nearly 70 years you still can't watch it in its entirety. This film became the film that inspired the world to preserve our celluloid history
  • Boogie Nights This film is not about pornography so much as family, and with the 70's backdrop, a terrific ensemble cast and sharp directing by Paul Thomas Anderson I can't help but love it as much as I loved my Charlie's Angels lunch-box
  • Fight Club This one had the poorest marketing campaign of any film I've seen. It's not about beating people senseless, it's about politics and society and should be required viewing for every college student in the country
  • Brokeback Mountain Not because it's in the manual and I'm supposed to say that, but because it shows how truly fluid and ambiguous sexuality and love can be, even in the most unlikely of people
  • Fiddler on the Roof A huge production with wonderful music, a great cast and "Tradition!" My sister and I used to watch this when we were kids, and had memorized my grandmother's soundtrack album by the time we'd entered elementary school
  • Life is Beautiful A moving film that literally left me speechless for well over an hour after we left the theater. Ken, April and I were unable to speak without sobbing–not crying or sniffling, sobbing. This film is about courage and sacrifice and should be, I believe, watched by everyone
  • Pulp Fiction No one does dialogue like Tarantino, except perhaps Mankiewicsz and no one delivers it better than Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis
  • The Music Man All those trombones and a fun soundtrack make this one fun to watch and great to knit along with
  • Moulin Rouge Another musical with a killer soundtrack and excellent performances by the entire cast. This was the film that made me finally like Nicole Kidman, who is far more talented than she's been given credit for
  • Waiting for Guffman Christopher Guest and cast deliver an amazing improvised story of a small town putting on a show for a New York theater critic. I can't help but laugh almost all the way through
  • Monty Python and Holy Grail I don't know of a funnier film. I memorized it during college and spent months doing little more than quoting it, recreating scenes with my friends, trying desperately to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow and saying "ni" until my mouth was bruised.
  • Star Wars A New Hope Although its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, is the best of the franchise, this is the film that made me fall in love with movie-making at the age of six. Every time I put it on I get goosebumps and remember what it was like to be a child and in awe of the universe and the magic of storytelling
  • Rebel Without a Cause Not because of James Dean and his style of method acting, but because of the impact it had on film making and culture. It changed everything and gave teenagers a voice that still rings out in films such as Breakfast Club, Dazed and Confused and countless others
  • Red River* The only Western I own. This was Monty Clift's first film. Cast against John Wayne he looks a bit like a wet puppy, but delivers the strongest performance in the film. And watching it it's fun to know that sometimes a gun is not always a gun
  • This is Spinal Tap 'Nuff said
  • American Beauty "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."
I think there's one extra in there, but who cares. It took far longer than I expected. If you haven't seen all of them, I strongly encourage you to do so. They're pretty good.

*As recommended by my good friend, and Movie Mentor, David, who has taught me more about movies than I'll ever remember and far less than he knows. Quite often David feels that when recommending movies to me he's casting "pearls before swine," but my life has been tremendously enriched by his efforts and would be quite empty without him. Thank you, sir! Don't give up hope and keep the lessons coming!

1 comment:

NodakJack said...

I think your Mom and I saw Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid on our first six or seven dates and a few times thereafter. And, IT'S not on your list....go figure.
I just watched watched "Mystery
Alaska." A hockey movie. Not a Top 25er, but sentimental, exciting and introspective....with sticks and blades.