what makes a great film? for me it is one i could watch two hundred times and never tire of. one that i want to share with friends, family and strangers. one that makes me think. one that changes me. one that makes me see a person in my life in a different light. one with characters i want to meet, share a cup of coffee with, have sex with, fall in love with, run away from, cry with or laugh with. and sometimes it’s as simple as a line that stays with me for a long time. here are some of my favorite films-leave a comment and share yours.
saving private ryan (1998)
this one is personal. my grandfather landed on the coast of normandy-june 1944. he survived. after that experience he had a nervous breakdown. many months later he left the hospital, returned home, to a life that no longer made sense. he was a man of very few words. there was a real darkness about him. i did not understand him. two months after i graduated high school, i remember standing at his bedside looking at a body destroyed by cancer. he weighed no more than 80 pounds. i fed him bing cherries- it was all he wanted to eat. he never said a word. oh, how i wanted him to. i wanted to hear his stories. after his death, i mourned a man i hardly knew. years later saving private ryan was released. and it all made sense. sure, the first 3o minutes were powerful. i had no idea. really. nothing i read ever remotely described what it must have been like to land on those beaches. but what i remember most from this film would be the scene with the much older private ryan visiting a cemetery in normandy. i picked up on something so simple, and burst into tears. still do. he was walking about 25 feet ahead of his family. this is something my grandfather did. this is something i do. friends and family always ask me to slow down. they question why i am not walking “with” them. i know why. and knowing why i now understand my grandfather. i want to hold him and tell him i understand. i can’t and i miss him terribly.
fabuleux destin d’amelie poulain, le (2001)
this might be my favorite of favorites. where to begin? it’s beautifully shot. it’s the ultimate love story. i have seen this one many, many times. amelie is a character i get. in so many ways. and nino- where are you?
a film i will always remember. and share with many.
eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004)
ah, the genius of charlie kaufman. clever, wacky, random. and oh so funny and real. life is not easy. love is not easy. it can be painful. beautiful. crazy. there are many days i want to erase someone from my mind. and i am sure many would love to erase me. i am both clementine and joel—if you have seen the film, you will know why i’m single. very few want to be around a joel and a clementine. every single scene is perfect. every single line i get. just thinking about this film makes me want to believe in love again .
michael myers. i will admit i have seen this film at least 75 times. it gets better every time. horror films today are crap in comparison.
all about eve (1950)
“fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” you’ve gotta love bette davis. the film is wonderfully bitchy and witty. a nice look into the film and theater industry. marilyn monroe makes her film debut here.
a place in the sun (1951)
monty clift- oh my. and shelley winters, brilliant. i love this film.
ordinary people (1980)
a film i never hear anyone mention. and i’m not sure why. it picked up four oscars, including best picture. best director to robert redford. the first time i saw this film, i cried. i think i went through an entire box of kleenex. really. this film hurt. it was painful. powerful and real and beautiful. i will not get into why here, simply because i want more people to see this film. you should. rent it.
the jerk (1979)
steve martin at his best.
if i could only pick one hitchcock film, this would be the one.
annie hall (1977)
woody is insanely brilliant-and i adore diane keaton.
like i said earlier, sometimes it takes one line:
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
mr. smith goes to washington (1939)
i’m a capra/stewart fan and this one is my favorite.
silence of the lambs (1991)
i would love to tell you why this is one of my favorites but i must go now, “i’m having an old friend for dinner.”