Movies, a list


As an opening aside: a student just walked in here and was looking for her teacher. Do you know that she didn’t even know his name, now three weeks into the semester? What the eff is wrong with these kids today??

Ok, I had to just get that out; I don’t want to sound like an old fart whining about “kids today.” It’s freezing here and making me grumpy. So I shall try to offer you some substance today, in spite of my foul mood.

Digg this morning had this article, which explains President Obama’s top 5 movies and what they say about him. I was surprised by his choices (Come on, Godfather III was not THAT bad!) but not necessarily the “what they say about him” commentary. So, without further ado, my top five movies (not in any particular order) and what I think they say about me.

1.) Groundhog Day – 1993 – Bill Murray, Andie McDowell

I have always loved this film. Bill Murray is funny as ever, the plot is intelligent yet reveals a side of humanity that we often forget about; if given the right chances, anyone can change. I find that I could never get sick of this movie because each and every time I watched, I found myself wondering new thing about the characters, the plausibility of events, and the chronology and possibility of time, etc. Plus, there’s a pretty good little love story beneath it all, which I am a total sucker for.

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2.) The Dark Knight – 2008 – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger

Since the last two Batmans have been wildly successful, it seems sort of cliche to claim this in my top five but nevertheless, I was moved by this movie. I have liked all of the Batmans in some way (though, maybe not Batman and Robin; even George couldn’t salvage that one) but this movie was raw, was real, and endlessly entertaining. I saw it in Imax at midnight while we were in Chicago and I was wide awake the entire time. This is a feat of great strength for me. (LOL: “What we need is a great strength of feet.” Tell me where that’s from and I will totally send you a package of cookies. No joke.) Anyway, Ledger as the Joker was brilliant and Bale turned your neighbourhood vigilante hero into something so much more than a surface character. I am drawn to movies with flawed heroes and even in some small way, I think the Joker and Two-Face could be considered types of heroes. To some anyway.

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3.) The American President – 1995 – Michael Douglas, Annette Bening

Ahh, one of my most cherished “political” movies. I love this movie because it depicts a “normal” guy as president whose wife died and he is raising a daughter and juggling presidency at the same time. It is, in essence, a love story but there’s also so many great scenes about his presidential duties as well. Written by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing) this image is idealistic at best but what I would like to think his life is like. I would love to see a president like Andrew Shepherd in this movie. Plus, there’s a great speech towards the end. Here’s the second half of it. I get goosebumps and tear up a little every single time I watch it.

“I’ve loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other ’cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now. Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It’s White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I’m throwing it out. I’m throwing it out writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the guns. We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you’d better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I *am* the President.”

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4.) V for Vendetta – 2005 – Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman

This is another one of those “gives me goosebumps” movies. I’m a total sucker for those! I list this in my top 5 because it gives me hope that as a people, we will someday realize that we’re all in control of our own destinies and we will follow our ideas and ideals, not listen to some far away government and let them infiltrate our lives so deeply that we forget how to feel. (Much like Equilibrium, which won’t make this countdown). There are some wonderful scenes in this film where someone is hiding something as beautiful as a rose or a painting or a book, and I feel so happy, able to be who they yearn to be, even in a world where we fear such artistic outlets. Artists have probably always been downed for their free attitudes, etc but what would we do without them?

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5.) Nightmare Before Christmas – 1993 – Written by Tim Burton

I debated whether or not to put this up there but time and again, I realize why I am so endeared to this movie. It’s not so much that it deals with two of my favorite holidays (and I take them SERIOUSLY) but that the characters, though stop-motion clay figures, are so incredibly detailed and their personalities shine through, as if real. Of course, there’s a love story too but not in a very traditional sense. Sally and Jack were “meant to be” but we don’t ever get any sort of traditional romantic anything. I love that. I also like that Jack is searching for something – perhaps his true calling – and when he thinks he finds it, he realizes that all along he already had it; he just had to look past his own front door to see that it was actually right at home in the first place.

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Honorable Mention:

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 1996 – Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton

An Affair to Remember – 1957 – Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr

So, tell me yours. Why do you keep coming back to those movies again and again?

6 thoughts on “Movies, a list

  1. I’m kind of a sucker for the last good movie I saw. I don’t like watching movies over and over and will only do that when confronted with an occasional bout of insomnia. One of insomnia faves for a while there was Butterfly Effect with the entirely delectable Ashton Kutcher. Which defeated the whole watch a movie to relax intention since 1. Ashton (OMG!! SQUEAL!) and also 2. keeps me on the edge of my seat every time.

  2. The Dark Knight was just a sick movie all around. I loved the Joker. I always catch myself asking people why so serious?

  3. There are two paragraphs at the beginning of Shepard’s press conference speech I have always enjoyed:

    For the record, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is “Why aren’t you, Bob?” Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago.

    America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

  4. I love Dave, too, in terms of political everyman movies. Good stuff.

    Let’s see. Top 5 movies. Just 5? Sigh.

    Gone With the Wind — Can’t help it, I’m a southern girl.

    Dr. No — Nobody does it better.

    Urban Cowboy — I’m kind of a sucker for white trash.

    Cinema Paradiso — Just lovely.

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