Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Own 100 Best Movies 1 - 25

A few weeks ago I came across Entertainment Weekly's top 100 movies (starts here). Obviously these types of lists are subjective, so I decided to do my own list. They're not in any particular order because if I did that, I'd never get this post done. Also, I'm going to have to break it down to 25 at a time because The Son hogs the laptop.

Here is my (very) subjective list of 100 movies that have truly entertained me, or makes me think of it years after seeing it. Remember that. This isn't based on critical acclaim, this is based on the question "has it left me truly entertained?"

Who knows, this might be an interesting peek into my psyche.

Of course, a staple of my high school years:

1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

During this scene while Susan Sarandon sings Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me, all the guys in the audience would rush the screen and jump up to try and touch her boobs. Until the time the screen ripped. After that, the movie theatre hired security to come out right before the song started and stand in front of the screen.

2. Phantom of the Paradise

Brilliant film (according to moi). One of the best soundtracks. All written by Paul Williams, who plays a Dick Clark-type character who has signed a pact with the devil to always stay young and successful. Yes, this is the musical version of Faust. I can repeat almost every word of the dialogue as I watch it. This is such a fun movie!

3. Quadrophenia

Jimmy has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he can't live life solely on his Mod ideals. I first saw this movie as a teenager, so I could relate to some of what he was going through. This movie also has Sting, as leader of the Mods, and his way cool Vespa. I wanted a Vespa for a long time after first seeing this movie.

4. Paths of Glory

Three soldiers in WWI refuse to attack during what seems to be a suicidal battle, and are therefore court martialed. Excellent suspense in this movie. Also in this movie - a shirtless Kirk Douglas scene. Apparently he had it written in his contract that he gets at least one shirtless scene in his movies.

5. Mrs. Miniver

Keeping the British upper lip stiff. One family's story on how they cope with the war. Keep your hankies close, because your lip may twitch.

6. The Sound of Music

Love the movie. Love the music. It stays with you for the rest of your life. Even when you watch the opening scene of The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring. I learned it was bad form to softly sing, "The hills are alive ..." while in a theatre.

7. Pulp Fiction

What is there not to love about this movie? Uma Thurman ODs, Christopher Walken hides a watch up his ass, John Travolta shoots a kid's face off, there's The Gimp, and Peter Greene. Fantastic actor.

8. Natural Born Killers

This is one of two movies that sums up the 90s  - violence became more mainstream, and cameras (or a camera) following killers on their prison breakout as a precursor to "reality" tv. Fucking cool movie.

9. Serial Mom

This is the second movie that sums up the 90s for me. Beverly Sutphin. Perfect wife. Perfect mother. Perfect serial killer. This movie is absolutely hilarious, and Kathleen Turner is brilliant. Once she goes on trial, the son immediately starts courting movie and book deals, which happened all too often in the 90s - anyone with any kind of story to tell immediately got those types of deals. This movie shows the ridiculousness of a voyeuristic society.

10. Sophie's Choice

Heart wrenching. The whole thing. The movie prompted me to read the book. It's a really good book. I also learned Sophie was a real person, which makes it even more sad.

11. Like Water for Chocolate

Swoon. The most romantic movie ever made. A gifted cook can make people feel her emotions when they eat the food she cooks. Watch it on a full stomach, otherwise you will crave every dish that is made in this movie. (Maybe not the wedding cake.)

12. La Gloire de mon Père

This is such a charming movie. About a schoolteacher who takes his family to Provence for the summer, and his one dream is to bag a grouse (or some bird like it). But the real focus of the movie is the son. Beautiful scenery of Provence.

13. Irreversible

Intensely disturbing. The movie starts off with a rape, then tells the story of the life of the affected couple before the rape happened. Very difficult to watch.

14. Platoon

A hell of a lot more realistic than Apocalypse Now. It's a lot closer to what my uncle experienced when he fought over there with the American Army.

15. The Deer Hunter

Friends who go off to fight in Vietnam, and how it affects them. Beautiful cinematography.

16. The Seventh Seal

It's been a very long time since I've seen this movie. Minimalist and philosophical.

17. Weekend at Bernies

Hilarious movie! It really is so much fun to watch.

18. The Woman in Black

Not the recent remake with Daniel Radcliffe. I'm talking about the tv movie from the UK. A young lawyer has to close out the estate of a much-reviled woman. He sees a woman in black, and every time he does, a child dies. Spooky. This movie has the best ending for a horror movie. Something that we normally don't see.

Years ago, A&E would show scary movies at Hallowe'en, and this was one of them. Unfortunately, they only showed it once, but it has stuck with me all these years.

19. Poltergeist

My favourite scene in the movie. I screamed, so my boyfriend basically put me in a headlock while hiding my eyes. He really didn't want to see this movie, but I cajoled him into it because I grew up watching horror movies. My brother and I would make fun of them together. My boyfriend was an only child, so when he was old enough to be left at home alone during the evening, he would put the lights on in every room of the house. I told him it would be a funny movie.

I was wrong.

20. Munich

I had a lot of guilt watching this movie. It's a very serious subject, one which I remember when I was 10 years old and watching it unfold on television. But there I was on the couch, in the dark, experiencing the sex-on-two-legs (or The Walking Orgasm) that is Daniel Craig, while my husband slept on the other side of the couch. Boy I tell ya, nothing like fantasizing about fucking a man's brains out when watching a movie about the real-life hunt for terrorists after a deadly attack while your husband snoozes close by.

21. The Manchurian Candidate

I'm talking about the original 1962 version about brainwashed soldiers/turned assassins, and Angela Lansbury playing an excellent villain. And I mean excellent. Very much worth watching.

22. War of the Worlds

My sentimental favourite. I love how the alien ships were fashioned after the Canada goose. Watch the way they fly before they land and you'll see.

The first time I saw this movie it was on tv, late at night, and I watched it with my brother. I forget how old we were, but we were pretty young. During one scene, someone advises the main characters which cities have already been attacked. When Montréal was mentioned, I turned to my brother and asked if Mémère and Pépère were going to die.

There was a movie theatre close to where we lived, and they had Saturday matinées. Most of the kids in the area went to the movies that day. This was one of the movies they played often. I never seem to tire of this movie. Another movie they played often:

23. Jason and the Argonauts

Ah, Ray Harryhausen. Hero of my childhood.

Before the movie started, we would go to the convenience store by the theatre and buy our "scare pills" (Pez). Whenever we felt scared, we'd pop a Pez into our mouths, supposedly to calm ourselves (because nothing calms better than sugar). I think I used half during the fight with the skeletons, and the other half during the whole awakening of Talos sequence.

24. Dances With Wolves

Despite the complete romanticism of the subject, I found this to be a very moving film. So did the guy who was sitting beside me in the theatre - when the wolf died, he turned towards me to wipe away his tears so his date wouldn't see he was crying.

Nine years after the movie came out, I got to see the broad, beautiful scenery of South Dakota myself. It did not disappoint. I just found this movie:

Dances with Wolves 1990 ( filming location... by herveattia

It spends the bulk of the time at the outpost. Check out 10:51 for a cute bit of editing, and at 16:42 is about a mile from where I was married. I was all for going to that spot, but The Husband didn't want to because, at the time, the road was all gravel and he didn't want his Harley to get dinged from flying rocks.

Our wedding trip seemed to be Costner-themed, because we also visited:

25. Field of Dreams

Every time this movie comes on, it brings a tear to my eye. I really, really love this movie. It's possible to risk everything to have your dream come true. If only I was that brave.

Having said that, I had to stop watching it for some years after visiting Dyersville, Iowa.

I was very excited to see the Field of Dreams for myself, and almost became weepy just thinking about the movie. Before we walked towards the bleacher (the famous bleacher), we had to wait for a young family - they were at the line that runs behind the diamond. They had taken off their shoes, held hands, then the mother said, "Is everyone ready?" Then they all stepped across the line. This really jolted me. I thought to myself, "It's just a movie." Then while I was sitting on the bleacher, there was an extremely obese man with a cane sitting at the bottom. His son, also obese and probably around 20 years old, said to him, "Hey Pa, wanna play catch?" in an almost plaintive way, then he half-heartedly tossed the ball towards him. The ball fell to the ground and rolled past Pa's feet. Pa watched it roll by, looked at his son, and just shook his head no. I felt really bad for the son.

There were other people there as well, stepping across the line and acting as if they've just entered Heaven. We decided to check out the other store. Key chains, t-shirts galore, and a whole bunch of other things that were very commercialized. I bought a t-shirt that was supposed to glow in the dark.

I still love this movie, and I love the message, but the visit to Dyersville made me realize just how seriously some people take movies as the truth.

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