Oh what a challenge


May 28, 2008


The Bottom Line I love movies and I love a lot of them. I think all of these are quality films. They all move me!

How does one pick the ten best movies ever? What a subjective judgement! Well, as I can only present my own opinion, I'll just have to get after it! Because I have such a darned sense of what constitutes "fair" I will throw in as much objectivism as I can.

I'll have to rank them in no particular order. I will letter them so that I know when I've got to ten. When I get to "J" I'll stop. I'm going to have to reflect here. The ten best movies ever, or MY ten best favorites. It's going to be some hard calls.

A. The Maltese Falcon: The performances by Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are seminal Film Noir. There are so many movies that "borrow" from this film. The action twists and turns and the performances stun the viewer. "I don't know" said Mary Astor as Ms. O'Shaunnessy in a line that will burn forever in my mind.

B. Contact: Jodie Foster brings in a world class performance as a bewildered wounded girl who seeks to reach the stars. Technology gives her a chance to reach the ends of the universe. Will her own world believe her? The bottom line is that we have to have faith.

C: Little Miss Sunshine: I had to throw in a newer release. I just love this movie for so much understatement and such rich characters. The performances are stellar. Steve Carrell is bizarre and quirky (I love how he runs) Abigail Breslin shows that she's going to be around for a while. Alan Arkin, Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear are just fun. Paul Dano as Dwayne hits me on such a gut level as the ultimate emo kid.

D. The Breakfast Club: I love a great movie that doesn't cost a lot. The money for this movie was spent on talent as a good portion of the "brat pack" shows the viewer the twisted angstful parts of each of us. I watch this and I see myself in all five characters. I think I'm mostly a "basket case" but some days I'm a criminal. Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall show so many angles of the experience of high school. It's amazing. (One of my friends went to the school featured in the film)

I go sit on the porch and talk to my son who is about to be 21. We have different views about what makes a great movie. I've determined that I can rule out anything with Leonardo Di Caprio.

E. War of the Worlds: (the old one) I can remember watching this as a small child. Very few movies have moved me so much. The story is classic, Gene Barry gives a wonderful performance and the aliens are about as creepy as aliens can get in color in 1953. It's chilling and thrilling and not even very cheesy more than fifty years later.

F. Inn of the 6th Happiness: How can you go wrong with a true story staring Ingrid Bergman? I watch this every time it's on. It's a touching story with quality performances that leave the viewer with a sigh. The story of Gladys Aylward as she seeks to do God's work as a missionary in China is bittersweet and heartwarming.

G. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Those women were sobbing, sobbing fit to be tied. . . I love musicals and there are a lot of really good ones but again, I watch this one every time it is on. The dance scene at the barn-raising is one of the best ever on film. I love West Side Story, but I like having warm fuzzies at the end. This film ultimately pleases and leaves the viewer with a happy heart.

H. The Fifth Element: I need to get out of fifty years ago to be fair. This is one of my feel-good movies. I watch this when I'm blue. The effects are well done and the acting is genuine. Bruce Willis is not my favorite anything, but I love him in this. Gary Oldman does about the best Arkansas accent I've ever heard (not bad for a Cockney gentleman). Chris Tucker blows my mind in this as Ruby Rhod. The blue diva is interesting and the vocalist behind her is mind-boggling. Silly at times, this movie always makes me feel better.

I. It's a Wonderful Life: This movie has it all, great acting, directing, script. . . It's beautifully directed and visually striking. I almost died when I realized that Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street surely were inspired by this movie. My favorite line. . . Jimmy Stewart asks Donna Reed if their baby to be is a boy or a girl and she nods and says "Uh-huh." Clarence the guardian angel is wistful and sweet and Lionel Barrymore as the bad guy is wonderfully wicked.

J. The Fountainhead: I grew up knowing that my older womenfolk thought Gary Cooper was hot. I was grown and had read this book before I watched the movie and when I saw Gary Cooper using the jackhammer, I knew where my womenfolk were coming from. That fella was hot. I love this because The Fountainhead is one of my top three favorite books and because Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay. It is very well crafted visually and the performances are stunning.

Ask me again next week. At least five of these will be the same, but being a Gemini, my own evil twin might choose something different (wink).


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