Monday, October 27, 2014

Top Dog Billing – My Top Fifteen Favorite Movies



The Glitter Globe with S. R. Karfelt



Other writers have told me what readers really want from a story is an experience. Maybe that’s why some of my favorite books and movies aren’t really about the plot as much as those moments in the story when I feel transported. For me that can happen if the story takes me on a mini vacation or if it allows me to spend some time in my ideal kitchen hanging with a movie friend.

There was a tag post going around social media asking if you could only watch the same fifteen movies for the rest of your life, what would they be? Usually I don’t do tag posts—there’s always a novel waiting to be finished around here. (Seriously you would not believe the situation I’ve left Kahtar in.) But this time I wanted to play along. Maybe it’s therapeutic to consider what draws me to these movies and why. These aren’t in any particular order, because it would depend on my mood at the moment.

  1. Soldier, with Kurt Russell. There is one brief scene between Kurt and actress Connie Nielsen that I think is the most romantic moment in cinematic history, plus it’s just that much awesome. There are children raised to be merciless killing machines, and pioneer space travelers who’ve crashed and built a community on a planet that is an intergalactic garbage dump visited only by drones. Let’s mix those soldiers with the space travelers and see what happens.
  2. Cairo Time. Little indie movie. I could watch this over and over. It’s low-key and quiet, possibly cryptic at times, but it takes place in Egypt and I just like to go there with the main characters. I can’t help but respect respect. (That wasn’t a typo.)
  3. Pride and Prejudice A&E Version, because it sticks to the book like I wouldn’t have thought possible, although Matthew Macfadyen is a dream of a Darcy in the newer one. When a book you really love becomes a movie you really love, well, it’s so rare and so wonderful, but when the story unfolds just like it did in the book—that’s just magic.
  4. The Hobbit. Yeah, I know how purists feel, I love the book too, but I adore the movie—the singing, the quest, Thorin, Bilbo, the dragon—l.o.v.e. It’s adventure it’s fun, and this is my pure escapism recent favorite.
  5. Easy A. The dialogue. Oh my word. They hired writers that write dialogue! Thank you! It’s a teenage angst movie crossed with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter, and it’s simply a clever (thank you again!) shrewd take on high school problems, and the relationships portrayed are both witty and sharp without ever sliding into mean. What a breath of fresh air!
  6. Ten Things I Hate About You. See my comments above about dialogue. This is Taming of the Shrew in the way that Clueless was Emma. It’s so good. I love the interaction between the single father and his daughters, and the high school principal and her students.
  7. You’ve Got Mail. Why? Is it the Ryan-Hanks chemistry? Mostly, it’s the Shop Around the Corner bookstore. I watch this when I’m sick. I have soup in Kathleen Kelly’s way-too-big-to-be-NYC apartment and I miss her mother. It’s the fuzzy blankie for the brain.
  8. Star Man. Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen. I don’t know why, but I just do. We have an innocent alien, a kind-hearted tough earthling, and a government agency mucking things up. Sometimes I wish for a good remake of this. (I think there was television series that spun off this way back when, I never saw it.)
  9. The Terminator. There. I’ve said it. Out loud. I feel like when I admitted to liking the Twilight book. Out loud. For this one I like the world building, the action, the whole man against the machine, and I’ve always wanted a poster of that shot when Arnold arrives on earth. Yeah. I said that out loud too.
  10. It’s Complicated. The kitchen. Pasadena. I just like to look at this movie! It’s funny how a movie will grab me like this—and it’s almost exclusively because it is so visually appealing. There’s another movie I like due almost entirely to the kitchen (Practical Magic). It’s not like I spend much time in kitchens, but I appreciate the art of cinematic precision in all the little details. Plus Meryl Streep and Steve Martin are just fun to go out with.
  11. Raiders of the Lost Ark. It just never gets old. I’d decided in second grade after I found a wagon wheel and the foundation of an old house in the woods, that archaeology was my bag. Indiana Jones confirmed that career choice. Of course now I’m a writer so I get to dig up stories, how cool is that?
  12. Christmas Vacation. Another one that just never gets old. This is my family’s go to Christmas Eve movie. Yeah. It’s like that. Oh, how many times have I sailed upon Clark W. Griswold’s holiday expectations only to have my Norman Rockwell ideal dashed upon the rocks of Eddie Johnson realism? Can I get an Amen?
  13. Back to the Future. It’s just too much fun. And I love time travel. Sometimes I poke holes, sometimes I roll with it. But I always enjoy this one. The characters are classic, the setting is fun, and the third sequel is pretty epic too.
  14. Braveheart. Heroes. Honor. Men in kilts. What more do you need?
  15. The Princess Bride. Because you can quote it in every situation for the rest of your life. LIAR.



Are you with me? Would any of these movies go on your list if you could only watch the same fifteen movies over and over again for the rest of your life? What movies would make your list? 

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