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Archive for the ‘Top Five Favorite Films’ Category

HeathersIf I had seen this film while I was in high school, it might have made those four years a wee bit more bearable.  Heathers is an awesome dark-comedy (and now cult-classic) that changed the way that people spoke in the early 90’s – words like damage and Eskimo took on a whole new meaning.  A movie that does that without making me vomit, is a winner in my book.  Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is a member of the most powerful clique at Westerberg High, led by the evil Heather Chandler who gets her kicks making the lives of other students as miserable as possible.  Veronica confesses in her diary (in all her monocle-eyed glory), her misgivings about the clique’s power and her hatred of Heather C., but doesn’t have the cajones to do anything about it until she meets the ever-sexy JD (Christian Slater) – “God Heather, drool much“.  Once she and JD team up (in more ways than one), that is when the film starts getting dark.  In my opinion, this is Winona Ryder and Christina Slater at their best.  5 out of 5 monkeys

Side Note: There are so many lines that I would like to quote with glee from this film, but her are a few of my favorites:

“Choas was what killed the dinosaurs, darling.”

“Well, f*%k me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa?

“You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a Bluebird. You were a Brownie. You were a Girl Scout Cookie.”

“I don’t patronize bunny rabbits.

“Did you hear? School’s canceled today cause Kurt & Ram killed themselves in a repressed, homosexual, suicide pact.”

“Greetings and salutations… you a Heather? (and pretty much anything that Christian Slater/JD says)

heathers2

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RushmoreMovieMaybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.”  Some of the favorite people in my life are scarily similar to the character of Max Fischer in the movie Rushmore.  Max is a young man way ahead of his time, a creative genius and an academic loser and you just can’t help but love him (and envy his ability to be himself, most of the time).  The movie sums up the character Max in so many great ways (“I wrote a hit play!”), but my favorite is probably this dialogue between Max and Herman Blume (played brilliantly by Bill Murray):

Herman Blume: What’s the secret, Max?
Max Fischer: The secret?
Herman Blume: Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out.
Max Fischer: The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore.

Max is one of the few characters in film who actually wants to stay in high school (scary thought), but for a completely legitimate reason – the atmosphere of Rushmore feeds his creative tendencies. Certain supporting characters in the film see that creative potential because they are odd balls themselves (Herman is a self-made millionaire who hates his kids because they like to wrestle, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) is a teacher who lives part-time in a fantasy world comprised of her dead husband’s childhood room, and the various high school misfits that he has acquired along the way) and their interactions make the film all that more fun to watch.

When Max is forced to attend public school it crushes his soul at first, but he comes out from under the depression with even bigger ideas and creative potential.  The music in this film is a perfect mate and well as the wonderful Wes Anderson flare for slowing down images to create added tension and humor.  This is a film that you can watch over and over again and still experience something new (take for example all of the details in the Vietnam theme play’s after party – can I just say there is more too it than boobies).  Yea for Max Fischer for given high school students everywhere an oddball hero!  5 out of 5 monkeys of course!

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amelieI will always watch this movie.  It is amazing on so many different levels, that I get excited just thinking about it.  Amelie is the story of a young woman who struggles between her reality in the “real” world and the world that she created as a child (and still often lives in as an adult). Now, THIS is something I can completely relate too.  Who hasn’t wanted to create their own safe little world to live in?  I live in my own little world called Fantastica about 45% of the time – it keeps me sane.

So much of the films greatness revolves around the commentary that she makes about the people around her (in her head of course, and we as the audience have the pleasure of observing it).  Why does Amelie specifically create this world do you say?  If you were very rarely shown affection in your life and never allowed to run and play like a normal child, wouldn’t you create a world of your own?  Throughout the story, Amelie continues to live mostly by her imagination until a series of events cause her to become a crusader for all of the sad people in her life.  Who better to be a crusader for pathetic souls than someone with an active inner life?  This is the center of what makes Amelie amazing and why people are attracted to her.    Oh yes, and it is a French film, so you will have to read while watching it (unless you are fluent in french of course).  Watch this film and create an inner life of your own.  Just don’t steal my name.  Rating:  5 out of 5 monkeys

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TheGodfatherPartIThis is the film that started Al Pacino’s career, reinvigorated Marlon Brando’s and revitalized the “gangster” film for a new generation.  It is well directed, acted and edited.  From the opening scene of “I believe in America“, to “on the day of my daughter’s wedding“, until finally “they killed my boy“, you will find new scenes to love and new layers to appreciate.  Marlon Brando is cast perfectly as Don Corleone, with his method style and exaggerated cheek bones.  Brandon, like the character he was playing, commanded respect, but has had a venerability to him, that would eventually became his weakness.  Al Pacino is grows slowly on you as Michael Corleone, but by the restaurant/ toilet tank scene he’s got you.  What a great character, so central to the plot of the film.  What if Michael had stayed away from the family?  Would he have gone on to be a politician, representing the family in a different way?  What would life have been like for him if he had stayed in Sicily?  The change in his character from the beginning of the film to the very end is mesmerizing – when he says to his wife “All right. This one time I’ll let you ask me about my affairs” and you see the gleam in his eye and hear the answer, then you know the transformation is complete.  The end scene where they are pledging to the new Godfather and then gently shut the door on Kay (and us), gives me goose bumps every time.

With a cast of great supporting actors (Robert Duvall, James Cann, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton – although her part doesn’t really reach it’s full potential until part II), you get a complete picture of this family and as an audience member are forced to face the fact that you are sometimes rooting for the Corleones (that is until they deliever a horse head to your bedroom).  “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” is the most famous line from this film (and also a tagline), which speaks a lot about the Don and his family, but the quote that speaks the most to me as a fan of the film is “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” This line said by Michael Corleone, has the same sediment, but in a more direct way.  If only the Corleone family truly believed this, their outcome may have be very different.  5 out of 5 monkeys

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