Sunday, February 13, 2011

Final Favorite Movie Post

A colleague of mine--who reads my blog-- was getting after me the other day for my lack of timely writing. Obviously, it's been ages since I wrote the last post and I'm sure everyone is "on pins and needles" awaiting my top 50 movie choices from my Top 100 list. So, let's get right to it-- and this time in reverse order...oooh...Can you feel the suspense?

49. Saving Private Ryan
48. My Fair Lady
47. Clue
46. Twelve Angry Men
45. Cool Hand Luke

Interesting mix in #49-45. I remember seeing Saving Private Ryan in the theatre when it came out and was just floored by the first 45 minutes of action. It was incredible. Also, it was one of the first movies I'd ever seen where the audience sat stunned throughout and applauded at the end and you could just feel the emotion throughout the entire movie. Clue was a movie my sister and I had on VHS. We thought it was hilarious--plus I liked the board game. My Fair Lady, Twelve Angry Men, and Cool Hand Luke are just classics, and Paul Newman was gorgeous.

44. Brassed Off --Interesting movie about the suffering of mining communities in Britain as mines were being closed due to the lack of profitability. The "Brass" part reflects the plot line surrounding the brass bands that were made up primarily of miners. I was introduced to the movie by my uncle--and I guess I feel a connection to the movie because my great-grandfather was a miner in Wales.

43. Raising Arizona--Surprisingly, Nic Cage actually makes more than one appearance on my list, as does Holly Hunter, but she's great in this and in a movie that falls in my top 10.

42. The Truman Show--Classic movie that is a bit dystopian with a humorous touch. I love the premise of this movie--it was basically reality tv before all those crazy shows exploded on our televisions.

41. The Fugitive
40. Rear Window
39. Searching For Bobby Fisher
38. Glory
37. Back to the Future

Of #41-37 Searching For Bobby Fisher is probably the least known--best movie about chess that I've ever seen. I love the thrill of The Fugitive, the anticipation of what will happen in Rear Window, the patriotism and history lesson presented in Glory, and Back to the Future is one of the best science-fiction-comedies of all time.

36. Beauty and the Beast--I love this story and can sing every word of every song. "Little town, it's a quiet village. Every day, like the one before..."

35. Pretty Woman
34. Tin Cup
33. Singing in the Rain
32. Four Weddings and a Funeral
31. Benny and Joon

#35-31 are all romantic comedies of some sort. Of course, Pretty Woman made Julia Roberts famous. Tin Cup made taking a 12 on the last hole of the US Open plausible (sortof). Singing in the Rain has the best/classic/light-hearted singing and dancing numbers. Ever. Four Weddings and a Funeral is funny and touching with a unique storyline. The ensemble players in the movie were fabulous. Benny and Joon stars the quirky Johnny Depp in yet another interesting role.

30. The Dirty Dozen--Who doesn't love a movie where a ragtag bunch of soldier/convicts come together as an elite team to take out Nazis on the eve of the Normandy invasion? I mean come on...

29. Fried Green Tomatoes
28. The Sound of Music
27. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
26. Good Will Hunting
25. Sleepless in Seattle

#29-25 are all popular, feel-good movies, and I would guess that all of the folks who read my blog have at least one or two of these on their favorite movie lists as well. Fried Green Tomatoes is a great story, and I actually really enjoy eating them too. :) I didn't actually see The Sound of Music until adulthood, and it can't outshine Julie Andrews first movie...but it is terrific. Ferris Bueller's Days Off has inspired students everywhere to embrace their inner charismatic charmer. Some of the best scenes ever are in this one movie. Wrigley Field, The Art Institute of Chicago, the parade through downtown, and the scenes at school--makes me want to be truant...why isn't this movie higher on my list? Good Will Hunting is my favorite movie about a slacker-genius. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck definitely deserved the Academy Award. And Sleepless in Seattle isn't my favorite Tom Hanks movie or my favorite Meg Ryan movie; but it's the best Tom and Meg movie, even though they only share a couple of scenes.

24. Life is Beautiful--Another WWII movie. I'm fascinated by this time period in history. My grandfather served in the Royal British Marine Corps and I enjoy reading about WWII endlessly. Life is Beautiful took a look at the Holocaust through the eyes of a Jewish Italian and his son. It is a sweet story of love and sacrifice.

23. Rudy--I always cry at the part where the starters march into Coach Devine's office and place their jerseys on his desk in order to give Rudy a chance to play in his last collegiate game. Then the tears come again when the crowd starts chanting his name. "Rudy. Rudy. Rudy..." You know the rest.

22. An Affair to Remember
21. While You Were Sleeping

I suppose it would have been better to have An Affair to Remember matched with Sleepless in Seattle, but I wasn't really thinking about the connection between the two when compiling my list. Anyway, these are two more wonderful romantic comedies.

20. Little Man Tate--Not many folks have seen this Jodie Foster directed movie about a boy genius and his relationship with his mother.

19. Notting Hill
18. Bull Durham

Hugh Grant and his pals in Notting Hill--brilliant. Bull Durham is the second-best baseball movie starring Kevin Coster and has some of the greatest lines in sports movie history. For example, I love this visit to the mound by Larry the pitching coach:

[Larry jogs out to the mound to break up a players' conference]
Larry: Excuse me, but what the hell's going on out here?
Crash Davis: Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster?
[Jose nods]
Crash Davis: . We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.
[to the players]
Crash Davis: Is that about right?
[the players nod]
Crash Davis: We're dealing with a lot of s**t.
Larry: Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em.

17. To Kill a Mockingbird
16. The Sandlot
15. Mary Poppins

Three great ones at #17-15. I hadn't read To Kill a Mockingbird until college, and hadn't seen the movie either. But when I did, the novel jumped to the top of my list and the movie to the top twenty. Atticus Finch may be one of the greatest characters of all time, and the portrayal by Gregory Peck was perfect. The Sandlot is a another movie with classic lines that represents that innocence of childhood. And if you had asked me for a top ten list when I was a kid, my number one movie would have been Mary Poppins--still love it.

14. A League of Their Own--Aha...the last Tom Hanks movie on the list. Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Geena Davis playing a little baseball...great movie. And I have now proven that I have an overwhelming affinity for sports flicks.

13. National Treasure--I love history. I love mystery. And Nic Cage doesn't ruin it.

12. Groundhog Day-- I could watch it over, and over, and over, and over again. . . repeat.

11. Dances With Wolves--As a high school student we actually missed school and went on a field trip to the movie theatre (72 miles away) to see this fictionalized account of the west in the late 1800's. It was a social studies assignment and I was riveted. I think that living so near the Wind River Indian Reservation gave me a different appreciation for the movie. And, the music was absolutely fabulous; it perfectly fits the sweeping landscapes and the narrative. Well done Mr. Costner.

10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail--Another movie introduced to me by my Uncle Steve. I think that makes 4 total on this list. Who doesn't think that the Monty Python boys are comic geniuses? Anyone? Nope.
Some Quotes:
"I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."
"It's just a flesh wound."
"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

9. When Harry Met Sally--I love romantic comedies and this one is simply one of the best ever. Rob Reiner's direction and the collaboration with Nora Ephron was superb--and I love that he gave his mom the best line in the movie: "I'll have what she's having..."

8. Pleasantville--Another utopian/dystopian vision of American suburbia. Director Gary Ross said, "...when we're afraid of certain things in ourselves or we're afraid of change, we project those fears on to other things, and a lot of very ugly social situations can develop." Indeed, the theme of Pleasantville is a great one for all of us to learn from and remember.

7. Always--Not a well-known movie, but one that I've watched a number of times. The romantic drama was Audrey Hepburn's last film appearance. "The film follows the same basic plot line: the spirit of a recently dead expert pilot mentors a newer pilot, while watching him fall in love with his surviving girlfriend." (Wikipedia) I think it's the only firefighting movie on my list.

6. Hoosiers--The greatest underdog movie of all time, and it's about basketball--you knew it would make my list, right?!

5. The American President--Again, a Rob Reiner directed movie earns a place on my list. (He also directed #9 and #3.) The American President became the basis for the Emmy-winning series, The West Wing. Michael Douglas and Annette Bening have great chemistry, and although I'm one of the least political people you could meet, I enjoyed the political banter and the idealism.

4. The Cutting Edge--Yeah, so this hockey player gets injured and can never play again...he thinks he has another shot at the big time when a coach approaches him with an offer involving, wait for it, figure skating. :) It's silly, yes. But I love it. DB Sweeney and Moira Kelly have that love/hate competitive relationship perfected in this movie. "Toe Pick!" But when Kate and Doug complete the ridiculous Pomchenko at the winter Olympics...I get a bit teary-eyed. "Just remember who said it first."

3. The Princess Bride--A wonderful frame story involving the reading of an adventure-romance-comedy novel by a grandfather to his grandson who has stayed home sick. The actual Princess Bride is a girl named Buttercup who falls in love with Wesley a humble farm boy. Great story, great characters and eminently quotable. Andre the Giant as Fezzik, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, and Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, basically steal the movie, although Billy Crystal as Mad Max is pretty hilarious as well.

2. The Shawshank Redemption--Ah the voice of Morgan Freeman. Narrating the story of his friend Andy Dufresne, Freeman's character Red, tells the story of a man wrongly convicted of murder who must adapt to life in Shawshank State Prison. I won't give the plot away to anyone who hasn't seen it and strongly suggest that those who haven't had the pleasure do so posthaste. It is one of the most satisfying endings to any movie I've ever seen.

1. Field of Dreams

So, when I was in 7th grade, I read a book called Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella. Two years later, on the advice of my friend Hailey, I saw Field of Dreams. The book was so special to me that I was a little afraid to see the film based on the novel. I wasn't much of a reader, so the fact that I loved a novel and read it more than once was somewhat memorable. Anyway, I watched Field of Dreams on VHS in 9th grade and it made the top of my list immediately--even though I didn't have a tangible list at that age.

The Voice (as himself) delivers some of the most important lines in the movie...starting with "If you build it, he will come." Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella perfectly and James Earl Jones is author Terrance Mann--a character that in the novel is originally written as famous recluse J.D. Salinger. Jones has the best monologue of the movie: a turning point nearing the end of the film.

"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."

For me, Field of Dreams is the most chill-inducing movie I've ever seen. There are at least 4 different moments in the movie where chills run up my spine, including the end when Karin falls from the bleachers and Moonlight Graham transforms into Doc Graham to save her. Awesome.

So, that's the list. Feel free to leave your comments--whether you like some of my picks or believe them to be ridiculous--I'd love to hear from you.


  1. Aaahhh... Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"... definitely a classic!

    I was glad to see "The Sandlot" made the list though I think it should have a higher ranking than 16? :) And I think you should add this movie has some of the best quotes of all time.

    On "Fried Green Tomatoes"... don't forget the two big questions:

    1) Are Ninny & Idgie Threadgoode the same person? I think not.
    2) Did Ruth & Idgie really serve up Frank Bennett as BBQ at the Whistle Stop Cafe? I think so. I'll stick with the fried green tomatoes and skip the BBQ!

    Impressed... "The Cutting Edge" made the top 10! I love that movie. "Toe Pick!"

    Lastly, thanks for the reminder that I have yet to watch "The Shawshank Redemption" (I could possibly be the only person that hasn't seen this movie) and need to add to my Netflix queue.

  2. Great list! Love Field of Dreams and Shawshank. I can't believe it wasn't more recognized when it first came out.

    Ummmm The Cutting Edge... #4?