And now for something completely different.
I wanted to write about something fun for a change and something that might prompt someone else to write, too, so I decided I’d do a list post. 10 Favorite Movies. You can pick your own favorite 10 – songs, places to visit, words, roller coasters – whatever sounds interesting today. Tomorrow maybe we’ll all do another 10!
I think people’s favorite movies tell interesting stories about the person. The movies we watch over and over and over again are the ones that have themes in them that speak to us. Whether it’s something we watch to conquer a fear or getting lost in a romance that’s completely unrealistic, our favorite movies give us two hours (give or take) to root for the underdog, to fall in love with a character, to get our heart racing, to pretend to not know how it ends. They might make us smile or cry or want to run around and make sure all the doors are locked, but whatever they are we’ll watch them over and over and over again.
So. Here’s my list!
The American President. I don’t care what your politics are, this is a love story through and through. Annette Bening is gorgeous, smart, and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Michael Douglas is endearing and sweet, and pursues Bening in a modern-day Cinderella kind of way. Democrat or Republican or something in between, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when President Shepherd gives his speech standing up for Bening’s honor.
Pretty Woman. Yep. I’m a sucker for this one. In high school my friends and I used to have contests to see who knew the most lines by heart. Sure, it’s unrealistic, chauvinistic, and in many ways the antithesis to what I believe – that you have to find someone who tells you you’re worthy of good things before you can believe it yourself. That said, who doesn’t smile when a newly done-up Julia Roberts laughs when Richard Gere closes the jewelry box on her fingers as she reaches to touch the necklace inside? How can you not love the payback she gets going back to the store that wouldn’t give her the time of day? It’s a fairy tale for the grown up set.
Demolition Man. The root of this goes back to one of my all-time favorite books, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. The movie is essentially one giant homage to the book, from character names (Lenina Huxley is Sandra Bullock’s character and Lenina is a character in Huxley’s book) to the concept of the anti-utopian future to the lines uttered by the characters (“It’s a brave new world John Spartan!”). If I ever go back to school I’m going to find a way to write a paper on Demolition Man and Brave New World and how you can use the movie to teach high schoolers to recognize the themes in the book.
Harry Potter 1-7. Yes, I adore the books, and it was actually the first Harry Potter book that got me reading for pleasure again. But it’s RARE for movies of books to be so good, so true to the story, and so close to the images you conjure in your head while you read the books. The movies are as artful as the books are, and they’ve become part of the Harry Potter landscape so much that nobody else could play Harry, or Ron, or Hermione and make it work.
Remember the Titans. Here is where I make a HUGE confession. I LOVE SPORTS MOVIES. Maybe it’s because I have not one athletic bone in my body or maybe it’s because I see the pure romance in following your dreams or because I love the feeling of holding my breath as the ball sails through the air waiting to see if the receiver in the end zone catches it for the hail mary touchdown in the last second. Remember the Titans delivers big time. The combination of the time period and the integration of African Americans in public schools with the universal language of sportsmanship makes this one I will watch time and time again and cry every time.
Gorillas in the Mist. Sigh. There’s so much about this movie to love. The independent strong woman who ventures out on her own to study the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. The beautiful scenery. The portrayal of the relationships between Fossey and the gorillas she studied. The soaring music. Equally endearing and eccentric, Sigourney Weaver’s characterization of Dian Fossey is one of my all time favorites from her repertoire.
Monsters, Inc. Yes, I’m a sucker for Disney movies. Pretty much all of them. But my true favorites usually end up being the original stories rather than adaptations of fairy tales. Monsters, Inc is probably the one I love the most. From the concept of the storyline to the little things thrown in for the adult fans of the movie that fly over my kids’ heads, I dare you to watch this and not smile. And the bottom line message that laughter is 10x more powerful than fear? Who can’t stand to be reminded of that every so often?
Rent. Ok, so this one is kind of cheating a little. Because the reality is I love the musical like crazy. I waited two years to see the show in Los Angeles and by the time I finally saw it I’d worn out the original cast CD I had. But musicals are HARD to make into movies, and even harder to do well (I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was with Phantom of the Opera). This one was almost spot on. They had to make some storyline adjustments in order to make some of it work, but by bringing back almost all of the original Broadway cast (Idina how I love thee) and staying true to the concept of a Broadway musical, they created a movie Rentheads can use to relive the magic over and over again.
Top Gun. Tom Cruise before he got weird. Enough said.
Grease. Technically it’s the second movie I ever saw in the theater (Star Wars was the first), but it’s the one I always cite as my first real movie experience. The music, the dancing, the simplicity of it – I can watch it over and over. And I have. I’ve worn out at least two VHS tapes of it and now my daughter has discovered the DVD. One year we’ll dress up as Pink Ladies for Halloween. I love sharing my first real movie with them, and I love that at least one of them is interested in it.
What are YOUR favorite movies?
P.S. We haven’t hit 1000 comments yet, but we are oh so close!!!