Oldest Favorite Movie: The Wizard of Oz
Of course it is. For kids of my pre cable, pre DVD/VCR/DVR generation it was the yearly ritual of rituals, a movie we saw over and over until we knew it by heart. It is the only movie that I cannot remember the first time I saw it, but I do remember the first time I saw it in color. I was about 7, my grandma had a new color TV, and I was taken to her house to watch. The moment when Dorothy open the door and sepia Kansas turns into Oz is the moment I realized what movie magic was.
Favorite movie for a good cry: At one time in my life it was Terms of Endearment, but more recently its either Field of Dreams or Ghost. I can land on the last 10 minutes of either film and bawl my eyes out. (I am such a sucker for sentiment.) And speaking of tear jerkers:
First movie I knew was a great film: How Green Was My Valley
It was a stormy summer day and I sat out on our screened in front porch and watched one of the most beautifully photographed and acted films I had ever seen. I didn't know anything yet about John Ford or any of the great actors who appeared in the film, or that it was over 25 years old, let alone the still lingering controversy for many that this film beat out Citizen Kane for Best Film at the Oscars. At the age of 10 or so, I knew I was watching a great movie, and it is a favorite to this day. Citizen Kane has snappy dialogue and great camera angles, but I bawl my eyes out when I watch How Green was my Valley, because it has a heart. And it launched my lifelong love affair with Roddy McDowall, who was probably the best child actor to become and adult actor ever.
Favorite scary Movie: Psycho
This is a crowded field, because I love scary movie. (Easy on the blood and gore though folks) Psycho beat out Les Diaboliques, Legend of Hell House, & a lot of films starring Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. But Psycho is the best. Every time I watch it I am amazed how Hitchcock misleads the audience anywhere he wants them to go. I am in awe of Anthony Perkins and especially the often overlooked Janet Leigh. She projects a certain good girl conflicted by carnal desires in a lot of films, but never better than hear. When her cold fish boyfriend (who can't marry her cause he still has an ex wife to pay for ) says they can live together in his hardware store and she can lick the stamps on the alimony checks and Janet says "I'll lick the stamps" its about the sexiest thing anyone ever said on film.
Favorite Bad Movie: Plan 9 from Outer Space.
I love Tim Burton's Ed Wood but the only problem is that Mr Burton is far too talented to make his version of Ed's films look as bad as the originals. It just can't be done. There is something surrealistically fascinating about all Ed Wood's films, but nothing like the one that made his name and fame in bad film polls everywhere. Whenever I find someone who likes bad horror/sci-fi films the way I do who hasn't seen Plan 9 I have them over for a viewing. It must be seen to be believed.
Favorite Movies to quote: Ghostbusters, Men in Black & Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Everyone in my house quotes Ghostbusters. My own favorite is "If a creature asks you if you you're a god, you say "Yes". The Girl had a button made for me that says this last summer. The kids also love all 3 MiB films, and dialogue from them turns up a lot too. The Girl really doesn't quite get Python yet, but the rest of us love them, especially Grail, Lines like, "We found a witch may we burn her?" "Bring out your dead" and of course "What is the Air Speed of a coconut laden swallow" have been heard. In fact when I am at work on the 911 lines trying to extract info from callers I often feel like Tim the Wizard, "What is your name?" "What is your quest?" "What is your favorite color?"
Gotta pick one favorite movie: To Kill a Mockingbird
OK push come to shove, this might be the most nearly perfect movie ever made. Probably the best adaptation of a Great American Novel, you can actually read the screenplay and feel like you are reading the book, Perfectly photographed, amazing score. Most of the actors with exception of Gregory Peck were simply veteran character actors, the kids were plucked from auditions, all of the casting is perfect, especially a very young Robert Duvall in his film debut. I can't say anything original about Gregory Peck in this role, but I will say it anyway. Its the perfect merging of actor and role, and he clearly knows it as he is playing it. You would take him for your dad or your lawyer. He is the embodiment of a heroic idealism that America has for the most part long since abandoned, which is maybe why the movie seems to have been rediscovered lately. In 1998 when the AFI did its countdown of the best films of all time, it finished 34th, In 2007 it was 25th. But in 2003 when they picked the best heroes and villains, Atticus Finch topped the list. He tops mine too. And I can watch this great movie again and again.
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