I am a troublesome female.
When it comes to entertainment, I am terminally demanding.
If I spend money on it, the expectation is that it should entertain. Beyond that, it must make me feel better. If I cry during the piece, I damn well better be laughing or smiling at the end.
The guys in the white hats had darn well better win.
Cuz I paid for it, dangit, and as the song says, she works hard for her money."
And I did not pay to be depressed.
I know, I KNOW....LOTS of people pay for entertainment which leaves them melancholy or contemplative. Some of you may be okay with those kinds of stories.
But I have life for that, thank you. If I'm paying to escape, I want to smile. This is not a surprise. Y'all know this about me already.
A number of films are guaranteed to evoke that smile for me. I come back to them time after time. I own them because I watch them over and over. Today I will share them with you.
This is the top five for today. Tomorrow it will change because I can't pick just five.
1. Practical Magic
This is an underrated film. I know people who didn't get it. They didn't understand the plot. They were lost the whole time.
When I press them for why, I find out that they got to the theater 15 minutes late.
If you miss the first five minutes of this film, you're screwed. The whole plot rests on the opening. Rent it. Make the popcorn before you turn the lights out. And don't be adjusting your pillows during the first five minutes.
Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman do a great job as sisters-at-odds in this flick. I am a Bullock fan, but not necessarily a Kidman fan. Still, they have a cool on-screen dynamic. I can quote this film almost word for word, and I can sing the soundtrack, and yet I lose myself in it every time. It has a yummy hero, too.
Maybe it works for me because it has a bit of everything. An unexpected plot. Well-developed characters with deep and believeable inner and outer conflicts. A super love story, a gorgeous heroine and a hot hero. Oh, and a hot but nasty villain too. One most of us would like to have a fantasy about BEFORE the undead experience. I will say no more until you've seen it.
Oh and the setting! Check OUT out the house!
If you're looking for an awesome Halloween flick, this is the one.
2. The Abyss
I was in college when this came out. Yes, it's old. Ancient. Like me. But it's still good.
I remember my roommate, Debbie, walking into our dorm room and saying in an awestruck voice, "I just saw the BEST movie. I heard about it, and I thought, 'Oh, a creep show underwater', but it was SO much more."
She was astonished.
When I saw it a few months later, so was I.
It's a James Cameron film, which explains a lot of its awesomeness. It's still awesome even though it's 20 years old.
But Ed Harris (slurp) and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio have such angst and chemistry on screen for me. I ache for them through this film. You can almost hear the echo from the depths of the hollows in their lonely souls. Okay that's a bit melodramatic.
They do a good job. And hey, it's a Cameron film. You will not be disappointed. The director's cut is kind of lame and a bit preachy. Avoid that one. The regular film is the one to see.
3. While You Were Sleeping
This is another Bullock film. An old one.
No question about why I love this film. The Abyss has action and lots of it. Here, it is absolutely the chemistry between the two main characters which makes this movie sparkle. Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock make magic on the screen.
Add to that the fact that Bullock does such a convincing job of playing an ordinary girl. The girl most of us ARE, but one who actually finds the hero we all dream of. Look at her in this picture. She looks ordinary, doesn't she?
Ordinary people in an ordinary life who find something extraordinary when a weird thing happens.
Dang. Wish I had thought of that.
4. Bottle Shock
Most of y'all probably have not seen this movie. It's the underdog of the bunch, for certain.
I love wine. Many of you know that already, but I would like this film even if I didn't. This is a story centered around wine. But not really. It's actually centered around conflict, as is any other good story. But in this one, wine makes a fantastic setting. The wine in this film becomes a character, very nearly.
It's Bill Pullman again (are you beginning to see a pattern here?) But even better, it's Alan Rickman. Rickman is fast becoming one of my most admired actors just for the sheer breadth of the roles he's played, and for the mastery he has of his craft. From the villain in Die Hard to the British wine snob in Bottleshock, Rickman is impossible to ignore. And he is the hinge on which this film opens and closes with surprising grace.
Chris Pine does a great job too. And he's nice to look at.
The most amazing thing about his film is the secondary characters. So critical and so well drawn that they almost don't seem secondary.
Y'all should really find this film and watch it. If they have one at your local movie store, they will have ONLY one. But it's worth the effort to get it.
5. The Muppet Christmas Carol
That's right. I said MUPPETS. Do NOT laugh.
Okay, laugh a little. But then go get this and watch it.
I would lay down money that it is NOT what you expect.
I have observed something rather consistent over the years. No big star that I know of has ever refused to guest with the Muppets. I'm thinkin' there's a reason for that. They're so cool that Alice Cooper was a guest on their show. And that's pretty dang cool.
Yes, we all know how this story goes. A rich miser, a poor guy with a sick Tiny Tim. Three ghosts with attitude. A MAJOR character arc and a changed life.
Well...Jim Henson's crew can twist anything.
The venerable Michael Cain stars in this film as Scrooge. Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit. It's narrated by none other than Gonzo the Great, with Rizzo the Rat as his sidekick.
Yes, you will laugh. You will also cry. I bawl my eyes out every time I see this film, and I KNOW how it ends. That's the Marley brothers over there on the right. You know...my favorite first line of all time...Marley was dead, to begin with. That's them.
The legendary Paul Williams wrote the music for this flick, and even he says it's some of his best work ever. I don't have the soundtrack, but I want it.
The days are getting shorter. The Holidays will soon be upon us. Get in the spirit. Go get this film.
6. Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Ah, shoot. I said I'd stop at five. Dangit.
Okay, I'll stop.
So tell me Banditas and friends...HAVE YOU SEEN THESE FILMS?
Did you like them? Hate them? What?
What are your top five?
Can you pick just five?
Or are you like me and it fluctuates?
What do you look for in a movie that you actually BUY to keep at home?
Do the movies you like shift throughout the year, with the seasons? The weather? What?
As we move into fall, are you thinking about a particular film you want to see?
Any film traditions out there? What do you watch for the Holidays?