I was thinking about this last night because, for whatever reason, the old film Summer Magic sprang to mind. I love that movie, but I almost never remember to put in on any of my favorites lists.
So I started thinking about other movies I’ve loved, ones that might not always end up on obvious lists. The Innocents, for example. Rope. Okay, that one could be obvious.
So here, in no particular order, are my all-time favorite movies . . . At least the ones I could think of while sitting here.
- Summer Magic–I spent a summer when I was 9 or 10 watching this repeatedly on the Disney Channel. I sing “On the Front Porch” to my daughter at bedtime each night.
- Rope–so tightly written and directed; a Hitchcock classic.
- The Innocents–Deborah Kerr stars in this old take on “The Turn of the Screw” and the result is awesome.
- Now, Voyager–I get sucked in every time.
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil–while I can’t love the choice to create a love interest for John, thanks to the stellar cast this film stands as one of the rare moments when the adaptation is as good as the book.
- Young Sherlock Holmes–probably the most influential film of my childhood; I used to come home each day and pop it in the VCR while I did my homework.
- Clue–still a go-to for stormy nights.
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels–such a funny, clever little movie.
- The Uninvited–by which I mean the old 1944 film, which is truly spooky.
- The Haunting–the 1963 one, of course. So chilling.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade–okay, obvious again, but these two films were also backbones of my childhood. Raiders is the first film I can actually remember seeing in a cinema.
- All the fantasy films that came out around the time I was eight, including Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, and The Last Unicorn. These became sleepover staples.
- Anything starring Cary Grant.
There are others. I know there are. I keep wracking my brain over which movies I feel I absolutely have to own, you know, the ones I had on VHS and felt the need to convert to DVD and then (when available) Blu-Ray. That’s sort of the gold standard, isn’t it? Spending that kind of money repeatedly on something?
I could add more recent films that had an impact on me: Jurassic Park, The Matrix . . . These two hold the record for films I’ve seen in a cinema, 10 times and 7 times respectively. In high school it became a bit of a gag for my friends to take me, yet again, to Jurassic Park. That was back when movies stayed in the theater for more than two or three weeks.
And Gone with the Wind is what I curl up with when I’m sick. I tuck up on the sofa and sip tea and watch Scarlett manipulate everyone around her, everyone but Rhett because he’s her match. Too bad she doesn’t see the truth of that until he walks away.
In college my friends and I used to rent a bunch of movies at a time–we’d pick a genre and rent one or two films from each decade, then have a marathon as we worked our way through chronologically. I discovered a lot of great movies this way.
I knew pretty early on that I wanted to work in film and television (thanks, Mr. Spielberg!), and the above are just a handful of the reasons why. I’m lucky to do what I do, even in the modest amount that I do it.