MY FAVORITE SILENTS
"The Kid" with Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan. The little tramp finds himself caring for adorable waif Coogan. The Rube Goldberg contraptions Charlie invents to help him are hilarious, and all goes well until someone tries to take the kid away. In true silent movie melodramatic fashion, Charlie saves the day. I cry every time.
"Beyond The Rocks" with Gloria Swanson and Rudolf Valentino. This was the only time these two silent icons appeared on screen together. The film was thought lost for many years, before a copy was unearthed and restored, including a magnificent new sound track which makes the film. I wasn't honestly expecting much, but it blew me away.
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
"Portrait of Jenny" with Jennifer Jones. A struggling artist whose work lacks passion meets the mysterious Jenny, who inspires him. Taken from the Robert Nathan novel, this is both a magical love story and a chance to see fantastic views of old New York.
"Sunset Boulevard" with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. You know this one. Down on his luck Holden ends up in a strange relationship with faded movie queen Swanson. She's ready for her close-up, Mr. Demille!
"Strangers When We Meet" with Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak. From the early 60s, this is the story of two married people, an architect and a housewife (Novak. What a housewife! Raawwrrrrrrrr!) who have a bittersweet affair. I just adore it. A bonus is seeing Walter Matthau as a real slime bucket of a neighbor.
"The Bridges of Madison County" with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. A National Geographic photographer comes to Iowa to photograph covered bridges, and asks directions from housewife Streep, whose family is away at the state fair. Soon, it's true but impossible love. If you don't cry at the stop light scene near the end, you haven't got a heart.
"Spitfire Grill" with Ellen Burstyn. Percy Talbot is just out of prison, and gets a job at the Spitfire Grill, owned by Burstyn. She slowly wins everyone over except one man, who is determined to undo her. The Maine setting is nice. Ayup.
"Steel Magnolias" with Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Tom Skerrit and many others. Southern wit and perseverance at its best. You really will laugh and cry.
"The Four Seasons" with Alan Alda and Carol Burnett. Couples who have been friends for years traverse the seasons of their lives, in this sometimes hilarious, sometimes very touching film from the 80s. The Vivaldi music is wonderful, too.
DICK FLICKS (yes, even little femcentric me has one movie in this category!)
"Get Carter" with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine. In this remake of the earlier Caine vehicle, Stallone is a legbreaker who comes home for his brother's funeral. He thinks things are not quite right and unravels a world of trouble. What I love most about this is how he treats his niece. He listens to her and sticks up for her when she needs him. The boy who drugged her and took advantage takes a fast trip off a balcony. As it should be.
"Pleasantville" with Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon. A brother and sister are magically transported into the black and white 1950's tv show world of Pleasantville. What begins as a delightfully imaginative lark, ends up being a moving story with a deeper message. Great 50s music, too!
"Ordinary People" with Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore. The disintegration from within of a family. From the Judith Guest best seller. Directed by Robert Redford.
"Jacob's Ladder" with Tim Robbins and Elizabeth Pena. Postal worker Robbins is with Pena, but keeps dreaming he is still with his ex-wife and his dead son is still alive. Soon, reality and illusion become hard to distinguish, as he seems to be being pursued by demons...or are they government agents? A real brain twister.
"Witness" with Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford. You know this one. Philadelphia detective Ford has a murder on his hands, but the only witness is a little Amish boy. Pssst, Harrison....in real life, Kelly likes girls. Just thought I'd let ya know. Hehehehe.
"The Crying Game" with Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson. IRA terrorists kidnap a British soldier from a fair. Knowing he is probably going to die, the soldier asks soft-hearted Rea to go see his girlfriend after it is all over. He does, and she's a beauty, but a beauty with a secret.
"The Producers" with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Looking for a sure fire flop as part of a scheme, Mostel and Wilder produce the wildly offensive "Springtime For Hitler." Guess what? It doesn't flop.
"Ruthless People" with Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, and Helen Slater. Devito's plans to poison his wife are made moot when hare-brained kidnappers snatch her instead. They keep threatening to kill her, and he keeps gleefully urging them to do so. But when Midler and her kidnappers become friends, the tables turn.
"Better Off Dead" with the usual 80s cast. Dumped by the girl he is obsessed with, Our Hero tries several ways to kill himself and they all fail, rather hilariously. Then a pretty French exchange students appears on the scene, and maybe things don't look so bad after all.
"The Shining" with Jack Nicholson. Heeeeeeere's Johnny!
"Session 9" with David Caruso. A team of hazmat contractors has a week to clear the asbestos out of the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital. As they all gradually feel the effects of the creepy place (the actual hospital was used), one worker becomes obsessed with tapes of sessions between a murderess/patient and her doctor. When he gets to Session 9, it gets messy.
"Dead Birds" with...nobody anybody knows, lol. A band of confederate deserters (and one very comely gal) rob a bank and then hole up in what turns out to be a very cursed farm house. Watch it on a rainy night.
"Love Me If You Dare" (Jeux D'enfants). This French movie follows a boy and a girl who start a game of dares in childhood which escalates through adulthood into something out of control. Turns the romance genre on its ear. The French understand l'amour fou, or "crazy love."
"Talk To Her" A Spanish movie in which two men love two women who are in comas. Directed by Pedro Almodovar, this is wayyyyyyyyyy better than it sounds, exploring the nature of love itself.
"Ma Vie En Rose" A French film in which a little boy assumes he will grow up to be a woman and marry his best friend. This, of course, makes everyone around him crazy. He wants nothing more than to live in "Le Monde du Pam" or Pam's World, a tv show presided over by a very feminine, very beautiful lady. Will he make it? You'll have to watch "My Life In Pink" to find out.
"Breaker Morant" An Australian film based on actual events during the Boer War. Three soldiers are put on trial on trumped up charges of war crimes, as a political strategem to try to end the war.
"Picnic At Hanging Rock" Another Aussie film, it is about a group of private school girls at the turn of the last century who go on a Valentime's Day picnic to Hanging Rock, from which some never return, including the beautiful Miranda. What happened? Well....not anything you think.
"Last of The Mohicans" with Daniel Day Lewis and Maddy Stowe. From the Cooper classic. Lewis and Stowe find love in the dangerous wilds of early America. Gorgeous cinematography and a very romantic plot. Action too.
"When Night Is Falling" A professor at a religious college falls in love with a circus performer who shoots her phone number through her window tied to an arrow. Add a very charming dog and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and this is my second favorite movie, ever. (After Love Me If You Dare)
"Lost And Delirious" Sort of "Dead Poets Society" for girls. A fierce and heartbreaking love story.
"D.E.B.S." with Jordana Brewster. A total guilty pleasure. A Charlie's Angels style group of schoolgirls go up against Lucy Diamond, criminal mastermind. But then their leader and Lucy fall for each other. Lucy (Jordana) is soooooooooooooooooo swoon-inducing. Oh my. *fans self*
"A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)" with Jude Law. A robot boy is invented who can love, and is adopted by a couple whose real son is in a coma. Saying a sequence of words activates this boy's love, and after that happens, the real son miraculously wakes up. Now what? Now a long long search for his destiny and for the love he was quite literally created for.
"Mulholland Drive" I warn you, you'll watch this the first time and go "Huh???" But if you have the patience to watch it again, this very twisted tale of Hollywood, and the difference between what is wished for and what is, is one of the greatest movies ever made.
"Northfork" with James Woods and Peter Coyote. It is 1955 and the little town of Northfork is about to be covered in water, after the building of a new dam. Full of weird and endearing people, angels and oddballs, this one is one of a kind.
"A Little Princess" (1990s remake) Sarah Crewe's father leaves for WWI and leaves her at a boarding school. When he goes missing, the cruel headmistress makes her life miserable. But an Indian servant from next door, and her own belief in herself ("ALL girls are princesses!") see her through to a remarkable conclusion.
There you have them. My favorite movies, ever. :-)