While discussing my recent movie reviews that were less than favorable, my friends
were suggesting I make a list of memorable and meaningful movies I would still
recommend despite sad, unusual or discouraging endings. This will help you to get
a better idea of my movie entertainment tastes and interests. Hopefully, this will
also spur some additions or explorations into movies you have not yet experienced.
I think that I may have overdone my expressing ‘dislike’ for “Gone Girl.” In the past,
while a younger and more adventurous woman, I may have hung on tightly to the
‘roller coaster ride’ of this fine, well-received movie. After all, Jack Nicholson was
hugely entertaining in the suspenseful thriller movie, “The Shining.” Rosamunde
Pike was chilling in her portrayal of Amy, in “Gone Girl.” Reminds me how I did
enjoy Glenn Close’s psychotic character in 1987’s “Fatal Attraction.”
Lastly, I hope to shed some light on the subject of movies, for ‘drop-in’s’ or new
visitors to my posts, who may think I am all sunshine and happy endings only!
Here is my List of Favorite Movies which are varied in subject matter, ‘genres’
and widely spaced in their production and release dates. They include ‘gooey’
love stories, star-crossed lovers, along with ‘gory’ and intriguing plot lines.
1. “Deliverance,” a fine movie which featured great performances from both Ned
Beatty and Burt Reynolds. It was not pleasant, but it was informative and held my
interest throughout this feature. I am sure it won awards, too.
2. “Dr. Zhivago,” which probably did win an award for best song, “Lara’s Theme.”
If you loved this one, it may have been because you cherished the book, too. Julie
Christie was gorgeous, the scenery was captivating and I could not take my eyes off
of Omar Sharif. The historical element and the details were perfect, along with the
war-torn, epic love story.
3. “Diary of Anne Frank.” (No need to explain why this movie was significant. Along
with many of my mother’s friends thinking they chose exactly who should play this
role and Millie Perkins did an excellent job in the 1959 classic. The 2009 mini-series,
for television was a good one, to help bring awareness to another generation.)
4. “Casablanca,” made me fall in love with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
This iconic love story included historical features and another war story.
“Play It Again, Sam,” although a friend informed me, it never was included in the
movie. It is implied by both the main characters asking for him to play the song,
“As Time Goes By,” more than once. It became a common expression, most young
people even know where it (sort of) comes from…along with Woody Allen using it
later, in his film title.
5. “Flowers in the Attic,” recently remade, done well for television. This is an example
of a fascinating, dark subject, including incestuous behavior. It was a great book with
a well written script. Louise Fletcher, who did an outstanding performance in this
movie, also portrayed Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
6. “Love Story,” which brought my Dad and me together, reading it, first in the Reader’s
Condensed Version, which came to our house. Then, he went right out and bought the
full hard book version. Our whole family went to see the movie, knowing we would need
tissues, enjoying Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal, in their roles. “Not a dry eye in the (movie
7. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which I jokingly say is to blame for my vastly
inappropriate husbands. Paul Newman and Robert Redford played the bank robbers, who
up until the very end, did not use guns to hurt people. The last freeze-frame of the partners,
coming out of their hiding place, to the Mexicans shooting their guns, is unforgettable. I
also, surprised my parents, by taking our Encyclopedia Brittanica out when we got home,
finding the “Hole in the Wall Gang” article there. They had thought it was a fictional story,
and later, proud of the efforts of both Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s philanthropic
projects: “Newman’s Own” foods (sauces, dressings and other products) and “The Hole in
the Wall” children’s ranch for those disadvantaged kids, other benefits like scholarships
8. “Saving Private Ryan,” which is another sad story but it is more realistic than most
war stories. I point this out due to my brothers and others who enjoyed John Wayne’s
versions of war while growing up. The Viet Nam movies, such as “Apocalypse Now”
and “Born on the Fourth of July,” include violence, drugs, Agent Orange and some
powerful, memorable characters.
9. “Brian’s Song,” which won a few awards, I am sure. Brian Piccolo, along with
his best friend made sports and cancer a household subject to talk about. If it could
happen to a young, vital athlete, it could happen to . . . anyone.
10. “Flowers for Algernon,” which had the futuristic subject of how drugs could
potentially raise a person’s I.Q. If you never saw this one, it is very well done. This
makes you appreciate the way science fiction can be gently inserted into a movie,
without being overdone. Matthew Modine plays the man with retardation, in the
newer 2000 version, Cliff Robertson was the fine actor to watch in, “Charly.”
Both were based on the short story, “Flowers for Algernon.”
11. “Clockwork Orange,” which was a book I was required to read in high school. Our
class went to see the movie together. It is not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but it was a break-
through movie with fantastic performances by a young Malcolm McDowell and directing
by Stanley Kubrick. Anthony Burgess’ science fiction book was disturbing, but has
significance and meaning. Visualizing the book did not match how powerful the film was.
Our classhad great discussions after viewing this, about what personal rights criminals,
particularly juveniles, deserve. Where the boundary of “Big Brother,” (government and
courts) also begins and ends.
12. “Romeo and Juliet, ” which broke the ground rules of lack of male nudity prior to
this movie in the 70’s. I think you may know why anyone would like all versions of
this movie, since it is considered ‘classical’ to love Shakespeare.
13. “West Side Story,” with the Hispanics and Caucasians fighting over their areas
of the city or ‘turfs’ among rival gangs. A beautiful love story, with music and great
choreography. The movie’s ending could disappoint you, if you did not know it was
based on #12’s book and movie themes.
14. “Out of Africa,” which was absorbingly written by Isak Dinesen. It has Robert
Redford, Meryl Streep, many British actors and the scenery is outstanding. What a
magnificent love story! The ending made my Mom and me weep in July, while we
watched this for our ‘umpteenth’ time. What I could not get over, this recent viewing,
was how young the two leading actors were, when they made this movie.
15. “White Fang,” other Jack London stories, have the naturalistic side of ‘survival of the
fittest,’ along with beautiful Alaskan and other frontiers featured. The 1991 movie, with
Ethan Hawke was ‘panned,’ by critics, given the “Rotten Tomato” award.
16. “Dallas Buyers Club,” AIDS and Matthew McConahey, along with the wonderful
supporting actors and actresses, made this a rich, intelligent, humor-sprinkled movie
about a serious subject. I liked Jared Leto’s sympathetic portrayal of a transvestite.
17. “Philadelphia,” with Tom Hanks. Need I say more? Fantastic movie, need your
tissues but I watched it again recently, it still ‘holds up’ to the test of time, my gauge
or ‘thermometer.’ Wide variety of actors, along with exploring our fears of HIV and
Aids in a movie. Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Philadelphia,” is hauntingly beautiful.
18. “Fargo,” the Coen brothers have done funnier, (“Raising Arizona” with Holly
Hunter and Nicholas Cage) but this one is the ONE that hangs in my mind, lingering.
If you were to compare it to anything else, in the way of ‘thrillers’ they would ‘pale.’
Great writing skills! Frances McDormand is excellent in capturing the Minnesota
accent and delivering a pregnant police woman realistic, classic lines. William H.
Macy and Steven Buscemi are outstanding in their quirky parts.
19. “Steel Magnolias” had Julia Roberts dying. What else do you need to know? Many
famous actresses, including Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, and Shirley Maclaine bring
the comic relief. Good support from the male actors in this movie, also.
20. “Terms of Endearment,” with Shirley Maclaine, Jack Nicholson. Debra Winger
is dying. The family dynamics and the careful writing is a good combination, realistic
and gritty at times. Jeff Daniels plays the husband, who is not likable, a switch from
his typical roles.
I did not add a lot of old, classic and Iconic movies, since I know there are much better
critics of these, so please share… (like “The Count of Monte Cristo” or “In the Name of
What melodramatic movies do you enjoy, despite not always being popular with the
How do you like to escape into movies? Through romance, drama, action or historical
fiction or ??