Saturday, October 9, 2010

Top 100 Movies Part I

So, a new friend of mine is an avid-blogger. . . and we discuss blogs we should/could/would write and read. Many of our conversations have sparked thoughts about topics I could blog about and just whether they'd be very interesting to read. However, part of me doesn't actually care about the readability of my blog, because, oftentimes, I blog for myself (but don't stop reading--'cause part of me loves that too).

I like to record events or experiences or just minutia so that I can look back and remember whatever it is I've learned and experienced. My blog is sortof like my scrapbook of ramblings that, normally, folks would have to look at only if they came over to my house, but instead can read from their own homes. (Did that make any sense to anyone besides me?)

Anyway, I often talk about my favorite movie list--and I thought to myself--I need to publish that list in some format so that I can look back and remember just why I loved the movies I did and what made them special or memorable to me. So, I figured a few blog posts recording my musings on Mardy's Top 100 Movies of All-Time might be in the works.

For Part One of this adventure I will cover movies #100-75, with a little commentary thrown-in here and there. Now, let me say this. . . the list isn't very scientific or scholarly. A person likes movies for different reasons. Some of the movies on my list are there because they're great movies; some make the list because of circumstances surrounding when I saw the movie or connections I've made with friends/family because of the movie itself. And some just make the list because I enjoy watching them over and over again, because they're silly, inspiring, or catch my interest in some way.

So, again, here are #75-100:

75. Forrest Gump-- a Tom Hanks classic, with one of the best soundtracks of all time. Instantly quotable and a movie I could watch 100 times and it wouldn't get old.

76. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure--mentioned this one in my last blog post.

77. Gladiator
78. Dr. No
79. As Good as it Gets
80. Cinderella Man
81. The Bourne Identity

Two Russell Crowe movies make the list from 77-80. Gladiator was great, but I didn't see it in the movie theatre, and therefore, I think I lost some of the overall impact. Cinderella Man was terrific even though you feel a little like you've been beaten up by life while watching it. Dr. No at 78 is the first James Bond movie on the list, but not the last. And the Oscar winner As Good as it Gets was intriguing. I really liked Helen Hunt's performance--and I loved her on Mad About You.

82. With Honors
83. Cadence
84. The Edge

Numbers 82-84 are probably fairly obscure movies for most of you, but I really liked all three--for very different reasons. With Honors stars Brenden Fraser, Moira Kelly, Patrick Dempsey and Joe Pesci. It came out when I was a senior in high school, about some Harvard students and a homeless guy (Pesci) who "schools" them on some life lessons one can't learn even at the best university. Cadence is a movie about a group of guys in an Army stockade with two taglines: "Sometimes you've got to stand out to fit in" and "Some battles are fought off the battlefield." Kindof cliche, but I really like the movie--and Charlie Sheen stars with his dad, Martin. Then there's The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin...just a good ol' fashioned thriller with Hopkins at his best in "survival" mode--stranded in the wilderness, running from a bear.

85. Erin Brockovich--Julia Roberts Oscar-winning vehicle.
86. Meet Joe Black--Brad Pitt looking extremely handsome--and Anthony Hopkins once again. Some of my friends didn't like this movie at all; but I thought it was an interesting premise. I mean, come on, Brad Pitt as Death personified? And the scene where he eats peanut butter for the first time. . . classic.
87. Who Framed Roger Rabbit--I just love this one.
88. Legends of the Fall--Wow. I have a lot of Anthony Hopkins movies on this list. Oh and Brad Pitt is nice to look at as well. :) And, if I remember correctly, a bear plays a prominent role in this movie too. Weird.

89. Mr. Holland’s Opus--Another great movie with good music, and it's about a teacher reaching his students and making a difference. Inspiration with a little goosebump factor thrown in at the end.

90. Ghost
91. City Slickers
92. Babe
93. The Wizard of Oz
94. The Patriot

Five interesting flicks make up numbers 90-94. . . Whoopi Goldberg is great in Ghost and I loved that the bad dude gets what's coming to him in the end. Oh and the "Ditto" line between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore--gives me chills every time. City Slickers is a great buddy-pic, but also hilarious and I loved the Jack Palance character. I think growing up in good ol' Dubois, Wyoming introduced me to some guys just like Curly. Babe--best movie about a pig ever. The Wizard of Oz--classic, and yet scary too. I was totally freaked by the witch and the flying monkeys. As a nightmare kid, I couldn't appreciate the movie until I was in my twenties. And The Patriot was excellent too.

95. A Perfect World--Ooooh this is an interesting one. Many of you probably haven't heard of this little gem. The movie stars Kevin Coster (who also is in at least 4 other movies on my top 100 list), and is directed by Clint Eastwood. In the film, Costner stars as an escaped convict who kidnaps this kid, and tries to run from officers of the law. It was probably the first movie where Costner played a bad dude and he was very engaging in his relationship with the kid. I need to see this one again to see if it still holds up, since I haven't seen it in awhile.

96. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels--My uncle in Australia introduced me to this one when I was in Adelaide one summer. Lots of violence and swearing, but I found it interesting. Come to think of it, my Uncle Steve introduced me to at least 3 of my top 100 movies.

97. Pirates of the Caribbean--Johnny Depp, as Jack Sparrow, is one of the greatest characters of all time.
98. Schindler’s List--Not much to say about this one. Oscar winner and Steven Spielberg classic. Haunting movie to say the least.
99. My Dog Skip--Tear jerker but heart-warming. The dog and the kid are too cute for words.

And Finally,
100. Dead Poets’ Society--Robin Williams as a teacher who inspires his students beyond the walls of the classroom.Great movie, great message.
To quote Williams character, Mr. Keating:

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be? "

Friday, October 1, 2010

Be Excellent to Each Other

So, earlier this week I received an email from a friend that served as a reminder-encouragement message. At the end of the email he signed off with, "Be excellent to each other. . ." and I was stoked! I mean, come on-it's probably been 10 years since I watched my ol' VHS tape of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

That's right--I'm a huge Bill and Ted fan. Besides being one of the iconic movies of my youth, Bill and Ted embodied the personalities of many of the "slackers with potential" who grew up in the late eighties/early nineties. The vernacular of Bill S. Preston Esquire and "Ted" Theodore Logan, will live on forever in the minds of those of us who loved Dr. Martens, acid washed jeans, metal-heads, air guitar solos, and . . . hanging out at the Circle K. :)

There are so many great quotes in that movie. . . classic. And I absolutely loved the fact that these two characters actually used some pretty stellar vocabulary words. Even when discussing their imminent failure of history, they find a way to sound somewhat intelligent.

Bill: "We are in danger of flunking most heinously tomorrow, Ted."
"We are destined to flunk most egregiously tomorrow." Yeah, that's right. . . heinous and egregious. . . that's some serious vocab kids!

And the quips from the guys' history teacher (Mr. Ryan) are even better now that I'm an educator myself.
"What you're telling me, essentially, is that Napoleon was a short, dead dude? = = = It seems to me the only thing you've learned is that Caesar is a "salad dressing dude." Hilarious, and with a straight face the entire movie.

Bill and Ted's actual history report, after they've kidnapped all the famous "historical dudes" is too funny. "Please welcome, for the final report of the afternoon, from all throughout history, some of the greatest people who have ever lived . . . in their 1988 world tour!"

(Sidenote: The second movie, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, was. . .well. . . Bogus.)

And, so, I leave you with President Abraham Lincoln straight from San Dimas High and Bill and Ted's History Adventure: "Fourscore and... [looks at his pocket watch] seven minutes ago... we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill... and Ted. These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it's true today. Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!"