It’s occurred to me: one thing I haven’t shared on this blog is my lifelong love of movies.
From the time I saw my first movie at age six, I’ve been a big fan. I appreciate how books allow you to use your imagination more, but it’s more of an investment of time, whereas a movie only demands, on average, a couple of hours.
And, on a huge screen, in a theater with several large speakers, the whole audiovisual experience just overwhelms you. For those couple of hours, you’re totally captivated. You, and an audience of complete strangers, which usually enhances the experience. Together, you laugh, cry, cheer, scream, jump or, in some cases, sleep.
So, here’s a list, in no particular order, of some of my favorites; some that I really enjoyed, or that made an impact on me in some way:
Mary Poppins – First movie I ever saw. (first one I remember seeing, anyway) It was magical; live action and animation played together, and I loved it.
What’s Up, Doc? – Still the funniest movie I’ve ever seen. Barbara Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, the late, great Madeline Kahn, and plenty of slapstick, laugh-til-it-hurts comedy.
Young Frankenstein – Close runner-up for funniest movie. Director Mel Brooks at his hysterical best. The whole cast is hilarious.
The Sting – My all-time favorite. Because it pulled off the neat trick of making the audience members believe they were in on the con, and when they found out at the end they were conned, too, they weren’t mad about it! Slick.
The Godfather, Parts I and II – Part III gets an honorable mention, but it doesn’t approach the quality of these two masterpieces. Even to criminals, family means everything. So many great performances, with Marlon Brando and Al Pacino at the front of the pack.
The Birds – To this day, any time I see several birds congregated together in one spot, I think of this movie. Some images just stay with you.
The Odd Couple – Another great comedy, with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau both owning it. Terrific writing from Neil Simon.
Jaws – Waited over an hour in the hot Texas summer sun to get in to see this movie. Absolutely worth it.
Star Wars – Another long, hot wait. Again, totally worth it. This was completely unlike any outer space movie I’d seen before. The special effects were amazing!
Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Watching that enormous mother ship rising over Devil’s Tower on a big screen, there wasn’t a jaw in the whole theater that wasn’t on the floor.
The Deer Hunter – The most nerve-wracking and, in the end, moving film about the Vietnam war, and its aftermath, I’ve seen. Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken are incredible. Also, early in her career, a great performance from Meryl Streep.
Platoon – Another Vietnam war movie. You know how, when people walk out of the theater at the conclusion of the movie, you’ll hear them having random discussions – that was great, that sucked, where are we going for dinner, blah, blah, blah?
When I walked out with the crowd at the end of Platoon, I heard…nothing. We all shuffled out like zombies, in complete silence, thoroughly stunned at what we had just witnessed. I’ll never forget that.
Well, there’s many more, but I think we’re gonna have to have a sequel, so this doesn’t stretch out forever. So, be on the lookout, and you can turn your cellphones back on, now.