My Favorite Films List (part 1)
So many films to choose from, so many good pictures out there, I have seen a lot of movies and documentaries and even then, some films I won’t watch, mainly because of who is in them. Well, let’s get started with my list and we will do the details later.
- ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’: A World War 2 picture that tells the story of a man taken prisoner by the Germans. What makes this film so good is the filming techniques, the acting, and above all, the story and plot. Based on a book by Kurt Vonnegut, it is basically his story of being a POW in Dresden during the firebombing in February 1945 as seen through fictional characters (who are based on real people Vonnegut saw during the war). OK, I will admit, the book was better, yet the movie shines in a portrayal of a man (Billy Pilgrim) whose life is just dragged along by outside circumstances, until the end where he finds his true self. This movie is a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, science fiction, anti-war, documentary all rolled into one. Made in 1972, it still holds up well today.
- ‘2001:A Space Odyssey’: Kubrick’s masterpiece film based on Arthur C. Clark’s book, is a movie that broke the mold in film making altogether. What a story, what a beginning, the music is masterful and the filming is incredible. Made in 1968, it also still holds up well and influenced a lot of sci-fi-fi films we see today. One of my favorite aspects of this film is the computer screens and the way they are presented, just everyday programs running through everyday tasks and the graphics are just plain cool, way ahead of its time. And of course the HAL 9000 is the precursor to the Terminater films and other stories where the computers take over from their masters.
- The Bank Dick: W.C. Fields at his best. Just plain funny and smart at the same time. I enjoy all of his films, but this one is just plain great. ‘Tillie and Gus’ is a close second. Made in 1940, this is a just a good movie today as it was back then.
- In Cold Blood: 1967 version. One of the best true crime movies ever made. The actors who portrayed killers Perry and Dick ( Robert Blake and Scott Wilson), do a fantastic job of showing a human side to the killers, and their evil side while in Holcomb, Kansas when they slaughtered the Clutter family. The book by Capote is also a masterpiece and should be required reading by all. The filming, the music, the editing are all superb, as is the screenplay.
- Lolly Madonna XXX: Also known as ‘The Lolly Madonna War’ is just a good film on a Saturday night with some popcorn and a Coke. Excellent cast, excellent story. Jeff Bridges and Season Hubley both shine. Also stars Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan, Gary Busey, Scott Wilson, Randy Quaid, Ed Lauter and Paul Koslo. Wow, what a cast.
- Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation: A comedy starring James Stewart. He plays Mr Hobbs, a St Louis banker who goes on a vacation with his family to a California beach. He interacts with his family, fellow tourists, the locals and his son in law’s future boss and his wife. Very funny stuff, Maureen O’Hara plays his wife spot on. The house they stay in provides many comic moments, the pump is a recurring joke. Fabian plays the role of the local ‘cool’ kid. Released in 1962.
- Spirit Of St. Louis: Generally panned upon it’s release (1957), I still enjoy this movie. Most of the criticism is based on the fact that 47 year old Stewart is cast as 25 year old Charles Lindbergh. The movie is obviously based on the solo trans Atlantic Lindbergh made in 1927, in a plane named ‘The Spirit of St. Louis’. Good story, lots of drama with some comedy thrown in, and I just like James Stewart.
- The Hot Rock: Robert Redford, George Segal and Ron Leibman star in this film about crooks who steal a valuable gem from a museum, then lose it, then repeated attempts to get it back. Lots of funny scenes in this film. Released in 1972, it is still relevant today. Watch for the scenes of the Twin Towers in NYC still under construction.
- Three Days Of The Condor: Released in 1975, this films centers on a CIA employee (Redford), who gets drawn into a fatal drama with the company. Great cast with John Houseman, Max von Sydow, Cliff Robertson and Faye Dunaway.
- Don’t Make Waves: A comedy set in 1967 California with Tony Curtis. Just some silly stuff but entertaining. The late Sharon Tate makes an appearance in the film.