Movies, am I right? They have people in them. Sometimes they talk, sometimes they don't talk. Sometimes they run, sometimes they don't move at all. Sometimes it's just a couple people in a room, sometimes a traveling brotherhood of representatives of varying fantasy-based races fighting against the forces of evil to destroy the One Ring.
It wasn't terribly hard to pick my top three--those never change. Four and five were harder to commit to. I even considered being very lazy and just making this a top three list, but a challenge isn't a challenge if it's easy.
Here we go gang! Drum roll please?
Who's da best widdle drummer in da world??
My top five favorite movies:
#5: Bridget Jones's Diary
I think we're all thinking the same thing here: devil's three-wayy. AmIright?
Bridget Jones: the Godfather of romantic comedies, except the sequel is not nearly as good as the first. The third...remains to be seen.
I recall seeing the trailer for Bridget Jones... and I knew I was going to love it. When I saw it, I loved it even more than I thought I would. Like a lot of young women I think I saw a lot of myself in the heroine of the movie: dead end job, smokes too much, drinks too much, no partner, disapproving mother, and an under-appreciated full bottom.
All the way from her serenading her answering machine with no messages to go out on a Friday night to pratfall after pratfall, I saw little bits of myself. When she pulled herself up by her stiff, British, upper-lip after being brutally dumped and she took control of her life and changed her story, she spoke to me.
It's it silly to take life advice from an early 2000's romantic comedy? Maybe. So what? I've seen grown men cry like children when their football team loses. Shut-up.
Who doesn't want someone to love them just as they are? Wobbly bits and all.
#4: Waking Ned Devine
DRINK! (If you've never watched Father Ted you haven't lived)
I imagine this one is a little out of left field. Anyone I bring this movie up to has never really heard of it, but it had to go on the list. I watch it once a year with some rich food and a giant bottle of Scotch ale.
I know it's Scotch but I hate Guinness--let's stay on track here.
Two life long friends find the winning lottery ticket of their recently deceased friend. Their tiny little Irish town is brought in to the fold and the varying characters with their own fascinating stories help make the dream come true. They are all darling and lovely and keep the story moving in their charming, small-town Irish way. There's also an abundance of old man tush.
The overall theme of commitment and friendship touches my heart every single time I watch it, and as the final scene swells with The Parting Glass, I can't help but cry and pray I have friends I can grow old with.
Just...come on. Don't tell me you don't think this is all they do in Ireland--
standing on green hillsides and toasting their friends.
#3: Almost Famous
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes...
I defy anyone who says they didn't watch Almost Famous and want to jump in a time machine and be a rock journalist in the seventies.
There is little not to love about Almost Famous. The changing music scene of the 70's, women feeling empowered to do what they want with their bodies, the ensemble of protagonists with their own angels and demons. Nobody is perfect, and nobody is bad--they all just fucking love music--because music is to bond.
Kate Hudson's O.G. pixie manic dream girl Penny Lane, Patrick Fugit's wide-eyed writing ingenue, and Philip Seymour Hoffman's drug-addled sage wisdom are the best pieces of this movie set to the seventies soundtrack capturing moments of humanity in a sometimes inhumane business.
This is also the movie that motivated me to go back to school, because I wanted to get a degree in journalism and write for Rolling Stone. Two major switches later and no degree, I did manage to get in Rolling Stone: in the Letter to the Editor section in their 9/11 issue. They pulled a quote from me on one of their message boards. The day I saw my name printed in Rolling Stone Magazine remains one of the greatest days of my life.
Just shut-up and sing.
#2: The Color Purple
That unmistakable silhouette.
I believe I was seven years old the first time I watched this movie with my mother. I wanted to watch it with because I loved Whoopi Goldberg from her comedy, and I loved Oprah Winfrey from after school T.V. watching. There were a few scenes that stayed with me.
Oprah Winfrey's Sofia emerging from behind stalks of corn after fighting her husband. Her face bruised, she shames Celie for telling her stepson to beat her--after fighting men her whole life she shouldn't have to fight her own husband.
Another scene with Celie and Shug Avery after they escaped from the gin joint fight. Shug dressed Celie up and taught her how to love her smile. When Shug gingerly kissed Celie on the lips, my mother covered my eyes telling me that it was disgusting and girls don't do that--but there they were--doing that.
Then the final scene. After a lifetime of abuse and struggle Celie stands on her own front porch of her own house looking over a field of purple wildflowers. A car pulls up and four heads emerge followed by beautiful fabric being swept up by the wind against the setting sun. Celie knows it's her sister. Just recalling her gut-wrenching cry of her sister's name brings tears to my eyes. Then meeting her children for the first time since they were born. The bond of sisterhood over years and miles never broken as they resume their clapping chant from their childhood...
And I'm crying now.
I watch it probably twice a year and I still see things that I never noticed before. It's unbelievably quotable:
Nothing but death can keep me from it!
See daddy? Sinners have souls too.
I think it pisses God off when you walk passed the color of purple in a field and don't notice it.
Til you do right by me, everything you think about gonna fail. (The prayer of every spurned ex)
Just watch it. Bring the tissues.
Ugly-face crying here you guys. Ugly. Face. Crying.
#1: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Before Gollum came and fucked it up for everyone.
I'm a geek right? My favorite movie is a fantasy adventure of a bunch of fantasy characters banding together against evil to destroy the One Ring.
If that's all you see when you watch this movie then you're clearly not watching close enough! Where's my inhaler?
Friendship. Love. Devotion. Faithfulness. Leaving the nest. Going on an adventure. Letting go. Taking a chance. Overcoming grief and fighting against the odds when the odds are so obviously stacked against you.
Come. The freak. On.
This is so much more than a fantasy adventure.
I saw this in the theater with my friend six times. I bought the original DVD release and the extended box set. I watched all thirteen hours of extras and my friend and I would sit in a bar and quote them. Not the movie--the extras. We even went on a road trip to California to see the third movie--which remains one of the greatest trips of my life.
I will leave you with this scene. The devotion that Sam has for Frodo wrecks me every time--and while I think about my top five, that seems to be a common theme. I guess that speaks to my values, or at the very least what I want the most: a friend who would walk with me through fire.