In college, my focus was literature and film, as I wanted to be a film critic. I also got distracted by other focuses like nutrition, archaeology, interior design, data processing... I liked EVERYTHING! The one consistent thing since 6 years of acting and childhood dreams was to enter the film industry. More on this in coming months -
For now, I'll be sharing my favorite films by category and why. I'd love to hear what y'all have on your lists!
favorite love story
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1947)
A terribly romantic setting, a worthy heroine, a most impossible love story. It's witty, it's cinematic, it's beautifully written and acted out. I dare you to not shed a tear.
"The Haunting" (1963)
Shirley Jackson's book "The Haunting of Hill House" was my favorite horror novel of all time and Robert Wise did a brilliant job in preparing a horror film that contains no actual ghost and no gore, yet true terror. Robert Wise, upon reading the book, considered portaying it clearly as a mental case, whereas the author wanted this to be a ghost story. Ironically, the marrying of the two things showed a most genuine situation in which the weak member in the home creates a window of ghostly opportunity.
technically most perfect movie category
There is not one aspect of this film that suffers technique, from acting to cinematography, scoring and direction, to script. It's one of the most thorough tales told that offers character studies, conflict, terror, and humor. It's so deftly performed that it's impossible to watch and not feel both affiliated with the characters and amazed by the setting.
favorite romantic comedy
"The Holiday" (2006)
As a female and a writer of romance, finding the perfect romantic comedy to pin on a board is nearly impossible. I had to really whittle away favorites like "You've Got Mail," "While You Were Sleeping," and even "Friends With Benefits" and determine what it is that struck me as both realistic of the process of falling in love, the inconvenience, the unlikely match, the overall theme of love as an action and not just a promise. There are two fantastic couples portrayed in this film with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, but it's Judd Law and Jack Black that cinched it for me as the ideal fellas.
"The Jerk" (1979)
As I share my favorite movies of all time, it was super hard to figure out what comedy was at the top of the list. I love some classics like "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and today's movies like "Bridesmaids" and "The Hangover," but the classic that I go back to all the time, repeat lines from, and find fresh every time I see it is the 1979 movie, "The Jerk." Comedy actors like Ben Stiller and Bob Newhart make the sane-man in a goofy world situation work, but Steve Martin nailed the goofy-guy in a sane world scenario best.
favorite movie of all time
"The Secret Garden" (1993)
This version of The Secret Garden from 1993 is the best. That little girl is so me, even the face is identical to me as a chlid. Emotionally, she was me as a child, a bit shy, guarded, and determined. I also spent all my waking hours outdoors in the massive gardens on our estate. Even today, all I need is my little piece of land, to be alone with nature. We always had veggie gardens and orchards at both homes, the regular and the summer home. I still marvel at a sunflower seed growing into a massive structure with a giant face or a squash ripening on the vine, bees buzzing, pollen floating, rain drenching, and the cycle repeating. In the renewal of springtime, I see potential. Bringing life to the landscape is a gift and a symbol: Rebirth. Hope. Beauty. Animation.
"Planet of the Apes" (1968)
The Scifi category has a lot of great ones and for me most of those are 1950s classics. I'm not a fan of space travel themes as I don't relate to them and not a big technology freak, like nature too much. But, for an all-around amazing message, total tension, fantastic scoring, brilliant acting, you just can't beat "Planet of the Apes" (1968). Even today, the themes resonate.
"True Grit" (1969)
This was actually a really hard pick and mostly because it's "True Grit" but I adore both versions - the original and the remake. Technically, the remake added a lot more texture and cinema to the story, but the original felt historically made with "true grit." Just like it's hard to compare Michael Douglas with Kirk Douglas, I tend to go to the source. The source was John Wayne and the original rendition.
favorite children's/family movie
"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968)
This category might be the hardest as there are some excellent childhood movies that really got to me like "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music," and "My Side of the Mountain." When it comes down to it, I have to ask myself which movie as a kid ignited my imagination, created laughter, singing, and even terror at times? I know the answer right away - "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." There was fantasy, reality, tough subjects, scary situations, but it was Dick Van Dyke that won my heart as an indomitable dreamer and inventor and father of two precious kids.
"Rear Window" (1954)
This was an easy pick for me because I honestly watched it a few times a year. I think it's a very classic cat and mouse theme. No big budget setting or special effects needed to make this a real nail biter. There are other suspense thrillers that come to mind that are very good, as well like "Cape Fear" and "Body Double." I also really loved the more modern movie, "The Perfect Getaway." There is just something so slick and beautifully executed about "Rear Window" and who doesn't adore Raymond Burr, Grace Kelly, and Jimmy Stewart?
This one surprised me. There were some great animations as a kid including Christmas specials, Cinderella, etc., but I was not a big animation lover until more recent years when visually I felt completely lost in the artistic worlds created. Films like "Encanto," "Tangled," "Shrek," and "Frozen" really got me lost in the watching, entering a truly believable animated world. But, the story of Moana and my adoration for the South Pacific, her brave character, and her devotion to family and tradition just put me over the edge! Love! Love! Love!
Feel free to share your faves!
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