I have some shocking news that you may not have known about me, but it’s time I reveal it to the world. I love movies! I hope this doesn’t cost me the few followers I have managed to attract over these last few months with my sparse contributions to the blogosphere, but I can no longer keep this part of my life a secret. (I also love television, but I will save that secret for a future blog post. Don’t tell anyone!)
I am not too picky when it comes to enjoying film. There are only a few genres that I generally refuse to watch, and even then I can sit through some of those movies if I’ve been convinced they’re good enough. I love comedy, romance, drama, indie, studio blockbuster, thriller, action, and many more. The only movies I have a hard time with are horror, particularly slasher flicks. I just don’t like being terrified and grossed out all the time. It’s too much for my delicate psyche, I suppose. That said, I’ve managed to get through and actually enjoy and appreciate movies like Alien, The Exorcist, Blair Witch Project, and even Scream because they had qualities that put them above the standard horror films that seem to be so popular these days.
All that said, there are a few films that I absolutely adore and watch over and over again. Some are considered excellent films by the general populace and experts all around. Others are movies that apparently speak only to me and a handful of others. I thought I’d share them with you. These are in no particular order. They are like my children, and I would never claim to favor one over the other.
The Sound of Music — I was enraptured with this film from early childhood whenever it would come on TV. I insisted on watching it every year. I am still in love with it all of these years later. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are simply perfect. Her angelic voice, his smoldering looks, beautiful scenic shots of Austria, and nuns fighting Nazis. It don’t get much better than this.
Soapdish — There have always been movies with all-star casts, and they always end up being disappointing. That cannot be said for this one. Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jr., Cathy Moriarty, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue, Teri Hatcher, with smaller roles filled in by Garry Marshall, Kathy Najimi, and Carrie Fisher. Yeah. It’s a parody of the soap opera genre and very broad, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying the ride. It came out in theaters when I was a senior in high school. I saw it in the theater three times in one week, paying with change the third time. It’s hilarious. Watch it.
Bullets Over Broadway — I am a fan of Woody Allen films. I know he’s a filmmaker that people have strong feelings about on both extremes. I do think this movie is so funny that it could woo over even the strongest haters out there. Maybe I’m too optimistic. Anyway, I love it. It’s a great cast, and they all perform brilliantly. However, Dianne Wiest is the true star and deservedly won an Oscar for her performance as Helen Sinclair.
Spirited Away — Anime tends to be a genre that has not had a huge reception in the US. I think this film changed a lot of people’s minds when it was released here and rightfully so. I’m a pretty big fan of most of Studio Ghibli’s work and I do believe Hayao Miyazaki has a brilliance that cannot be touched, so no one needed to convince me to see this one. When I did see it, I was still blown away. The story is so touching and the animation is beautiful. It is truly magical.
Young Frankenstein — Ah, Mel Brooks. Always good for a laugh. This is by far my favorite of his films. I know people will strongly argue with me on this one, but if you are going to see one Mel Brooks film, this is the one to watch. While everyone is quite hilarious, Cloris Leachman is absolutely perfect as Frau Blücher.
Sense and Sensibility — I am a sucker for British period pieces such as Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Brown, etc., etc. More specifically, if it’s a movie or television show based on anything by Jane Austen, I will watch it. So it’s no surprise that this masterpiece directed by Ang Lee and adapted by Emma Thompson is at the top of my list. I have watched it so many times and I still cry every time. Everything about this film is bloody brilliant.
Dangerous Liaisons — Oh, Glenn Close and John Malkovich, how deliciously devilish you are! This film is worth watching just for the costumes alone, but they can’t outshine the razor sharp wit and intrigue of the script and performances. This is just one of many roles that proves no one does evil quite so well as Ms. Close.
Moonstruck — I know today’s generation would probably balk at seeing any film starring Cher and Nicholas Cage just because they’ve become such caricatures of themselves over the years. However, they are funny, endearing, and, oh, so charming in this incredibly romantic film by John Patrick Shanley. If you’re looking for the perfect movie to get you in the mood for falling in love, this is the one to watch.
Kill Bill, vols. 1 & 2 — I’m sure you’re looking at the first eight films I’ve listed and thinking, “Wait. Kill Bill?!?! I thought this 45-year-old single woman living in Iowa with her bevy of cats only liked sappy romantic films!” Not true, my friends! This 40-year-old gay man living in Brooklyn, NY, loves Quentin Tarantino. He is a master of filmmaking; there’s no question. I love his scripts because he actually writes dialogue! His visuals are always incredible and his use of soundtrack is delightful, but his words are what keep me coming back over and over. And if you know me fairly well, you’ll know that any movie that has a strong female character who kicks ass is always going to get me into the theater. This movie satisfies my inner ass-kicking girl’s bloodlust, so I have to watch it on a fairly regular basis or else my temper gets a little out of control.
Prizzi’s Honor — I love Kathleen Turner. I could have chosen War of the Roses, Serial Mom, Romancing the Stone, Peggy Sue Got Married or even Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as showcases for her talent, but I figured this might be a movie you’re not as familiar with and should be. It’s a John Huston film, so the pedigree is already there. Then you add in Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson, and Ms. Turner and you’ve got something very special. I’m generally not a big fan of mob movies, but this dark comedy is an exception. Check it out.
That’s it for this list, but it is not comprehensive by far. In fact, I’m thinking a “sequel” will have to come out pretty soon because I keep thinking of more movies that I love and want everyone to see. I’m certainly happy to hear some of your favorites, too, so feel free to share!