May 19, 2010

Fifteen Movies

from Ladies in Lavendar
Since I am blogging about movies over on LLB, I thought today I'd share with you that old meme that went around about 15 movies that "stuck with you".  Movies affect us very profoundly. I re-watched Batman, with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, and I was surprised to see how many images kept with me since I first saw it as a kid (yes, I saw it as a kid. And loved it.) In fact, I am pretty certain that I hate the color purple simply because of this film. I also think it's the reason I love the look of blondes in teal.  It surprised me how much this film affected me subconsciously--how much it stayed with me.

Anyway, without further ado and in alphabetical order, these films I just love love love, and will always stay with me.

101 Dalmatians: this may be strange, but so much of my taste in interior design was shaped by this film.  By far my favorite cartoon--and I'm not even a dog person.

Apollo 13: I get goosebumps when I watch this film, and worry that they won't make it back, and am filled all over again with love and wonder for the Heavens.

Babe: I saw this with my grandmother. I thought I was too old for it. I was wrong.

Blues Brothers: the first R rated film I saw. (I think I was two.)  It taught me that Nazis were bad and music was good.

Bringing Up Baby: I can't give you anything but this-really-awesome-screwball-comedy-with-Cary-Grant-in-a-feather-bathrobe-and-not-one-but-two-leopards, baby.

Charade: I remember first watching this film when I was 10, and at every twist Dad would say with glee: "Another twist!" till the very end when all is made clear with the funnest twist of all... Also, this movie influenced my sense of style more than even Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Henry V: both versions. I can't even begin to express how much these two films formed my mind and imagination. The Laurence Olivier version was my very favorite when I was 3...because of the horses running across the fields of Agincourt.  And, to the detriment of my English major judgement, I won't let anyone make Hal a villian for me.

High Society: Frank, Celeste, Grace, Bing, Louis, and lots of champagne; plus a Cole Porter score: it is my very favorite film.

Kolya: the 2nd best post-communist film ever made (from Czechoslovakia) Really, it's about fatherhood.

Ladies in Lavender: a lovely and underappreciated film about age, wisdom, and grace, with the masterful Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. A truly modern fairy tale.  Of course, this came out just a few years ago--I honestly don't know if a child would enjoy it (though certainly there is nothing to object to in it).

The Lives of Others: the best post-communism film I've ever seen. the last words of the film made it perfect. Really, it's about beauty.  This is a film for adults--the themes are much to hard for a child.

Ran: Kurosawa's pagan medieval Japanese interpretation of LEAR made me understand that Shakespeare's really does have hope. 

Rear Window: witty and thrilling, this is Hitchcock at his creepy charming best.  One of our very favorite films as a family.

When Harry Met Sally: Because of a certain scene I didn't watch this till I was in college, but I think it is by far the best of the Meg Ryan romantic comedies. And that's not just because I adore Billy Crystal.

Finally, there was this incredibly powerful German film I watched at TMC about an elderly German couple who adopted a little Jewish boy during WWII. It was called something like The Trial of Job but I can never remember exactly what the title was. It was quite profound, and I don't know why it is not more well known.

As long as we're on the subject of movies, this is a great piece from Inside Catholic which will likely spark much debate, but which I really enjoyed.


  1. 101 Dalmatians?! Really? That movie stuck with me, but in a bad way. Cruella DeVille...if she doesn't scare you no evil thing will.

    I totally agree with "Rear Window" being Hitchcock's best, though! Blues Brothers is awesome...and Apollo 13. I prefer Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" (even though it's a remake - I think it was done brilliantly)

    The rest...I haven't seen?

  2. Oh, yes, Cruella is terrible, but I'd rather have a real honest villian than many of the wishywashy villians in other disney films. After all, as Checterton says: we learn our morals from fairy tales (and by extention, all literature).

    If you watch any of the others, please let me know! I'd love to know what you think!

  3. A top movies list. I think I'd have a hard time. Not because I love so many, but because I don't. However! I love Bringing up Baby! Because, even though she is always her same fiesty self, I enjoy watching Katherine Hepburn! Too fun!

    Why is Much Ado About Nothing not on this list?!

  4. Apollo 13 is a good call: heroics are completely underrated these days. And this film is even better because it's true. (I'm reminded here of John Glenn explaining, " I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.... You go with me to the space program and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn't hold a job!")

    But I've got to quibble with Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others). I thought it gave a very naive portrayal of the role of art. The Stasi agent's conversion was unconvincing and the protagonist (or main character, at least) was a fool who knew far too little of how the world really works. Perhaps I missed something; perhaps it's more of a fairy tale that I took too literally. But I can't say it did much for me...

  5. Hey Aaron: Thanks for the quote! I love it.

    I don't actually think THE LIVES OF OTHERS is about art, I think it is about beauty, and, more specifically, about the beauty of a good action and a good man. The final line completely changes the film, it seemed to me. Without it it would have only been a moving but hard tale, grasping at profundity.

    But I will say, I only saw it once, and while it did make a huge impression on me, I haven't had the opportunity to mull over it after a second viewing.

  6. Ditto Maggie's reply, down to the fact I've only watched it once.