' ' Cinema Romantico: A Life In Movies

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Life In Movies

Andy of Fandango Groovers whose inspired blogathon last year, Desert Island DVDs, went platinum ten times over, has conjured up a new awesome blogathon idea for our lives in movies. This time bloggers are asked to name their favorite film from each year of our lives thus far. This wound up being more difficult than expected. It turns out certain years are stacked and certain years are not. Nevertheless, I think I could survive on these 33 films.

1977: "Star Wars: A New Hope." If everyone has "their" Beatle, then I believe everyone has "their" "Star Wars" film. Me? I'm totally a "New Hope" man.

1978: "The Deer Hunter." I recently read film historian David Thomson's fantastic "The Whole Equation: A History Of Hollywood" and near the end he had some revelatory words on this Oscar winning Vietnam opus. Such as, "Political details aside, I saw an epic and tragic vision about America's determination to overawe rather than understand the alien world - indeed, the historical errors rather proved that point."

1979: "Manhattan." On Saturdays "Annie Hall" is my favorite Allen picture. On Sundays it's "Manhattan." (What?)

1980: "Airplane!" "The life of everyone onboard depends on just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

1981: "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." A cannonball filled with confetti, electrolytes and awesome sauce.

1982: "Dead Men Wear Plaid." Kinda the "Airplane!" for noir lovers. Ah, to be a slipped a mickey by Ingrid Bergman.

1983: "The Keep." This early period horror film from Michael Mann, my favorite director, is considered a failure and it sort of is. It shows he had not yet figured how to tell a story but also indicates that when it came to visuals and atmosphere, well, Mann was already Mann.

1984: "Ghostbusters." Mad props to Venkman, Stantz and Spengler. The (almost) end of the world never was and never will be more fun.

1985: "Better Off Dead." Even at the risk of ensuring John Cusack never reads this blog again.

1986: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." "The Breakfast Club" didn't change my life. "Ferris Bueller" did.

1987: "Roxanne." I think the name of my blog gives away the fact that I am a certified hopeless romantic and this film is hopeless romanticism at its funniest, richest, and finest.

1988: "A Fish Called Wanda." If you will indulge my (truthful) hyperbole, I contend this is the greatest straight up movie comedy ever made. All hail Otto.

1989: "Glory." In the years since I first fell for this Civil War film I have realized the themes are made a bit too simple and the writing is often quite convenient but, still, it has the look and feel of a mighty epic and it still swells with that old-fashioned movie magic.

1990: "Goodfellas." It shouldn't be so much fun to watch De Niro and Pesci beat Frank Vincent to within an inch of his life while "Atlantis" by Donovan plays on the soundtrack but, as we all know, it really, really is.

1991: "JFK." Never mind Oliver Stone's facts or politics, filmmaking-wise this is as pure as Sienna Miller's ethereal beauty.

1992: "Last of the Mohicans." If you didn't guess this one, please advance directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

1993: "Mad Dog and Glory." A low key, wonderfully strange little film that 1.) Manges to make the inherently unlikable David Caruso likeable and 2.) Features the only scene in Robert DeNiro's vast canon in which he sings Louis Prima directly over a dead body.

1994: "Heavenly Creatures." Not only Kate The Great's first film but Peter Jackson's one stone stone cold masterpiece. If you haven't seen it, please remedy this situtation immediately. It really rather boggles the mind.

1995: "Before Sunrise." I believe we just established I was a certified hopeless romantic and this is hopeless romanticism at its most lyrical. It has no action? Please. It has more action than "The Matrix" Trilogy.

1996: "Jerry Maguire." "This is Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Stockholm, two masters of freedom playing before their art was corrupted by a million cocktail lounge performers who destroyed the only true American legacy......jazz."

1997: "The Myth Of Fingerprints." Despite the fact I once triggered a bar brawl (slight exaggeration) when someone dared question the immense quality of "Titanic" I'm still selecting "The Myth Of Fingerprints" as my '97 fave, which should let you know just how serious I am about this film. And if you tell me it's like "The Big Chill" I'll aim my throw up at you.

1998: "Without Limits." My favorite actor as Prefontaine. Or: the Bio-pic done right.

1999: "Cookie's Fortune." As discussed a couple weeks ago, I can never get my thoughts on this marvelous film just right. An Altman-ed mint julep? A comedy of southern manners gone partially wrong? I don't know. I give up.

2000: "Almost Famous."  Because I believe that if you play Tift Merritt's "When I Cross Over" with a candle burning you will see your future.

2001: "The Dish." This film was released in 2000 in its native Australia but was not released in the States until 2001 - so I'm counting it - where I saw it in the theater during my tour of duty in Phoenix one particuarly awful, awfully hot day even though I had no idea what it was about and left two hours later in a state of utter transcendence. I love this movie.

2002: "Sunshine State." A Floridian tale of woe that is less about the politics and commercialization of the state of its title than about how so often the dreams of adults get stranded on the sandbar of life.

2003: "Lost In Translation." The toughest year of the 33. Back then I would have told you "Kill Bill" - and I still adore that movie so - but in the years since Sofia's masterpiece has become more special to me.

2004: "Million Dollar Baby." "People die every day, Frankie. Mopping floors, washing dishes and you know what their last thought is? I never got my shot. Because of you, Maggie got her shot. If she dies today you know what her last thought would be? I think I did all right."

2005: "Elizabethtown." I'm fairly certain that - at the present time, flaws and all - this is my favorite movie. I know what you're thinking and you're probably right but, hey, the heart has reasons that reason doesn't know.

2006: "Prairie Home Companion." Perhaps the greatest gospel song ever filmed.

2007: "Atonement." This is not merely history written in lightning, this is history written in solar flares.

2008: "Rachel Getting Married." Forgiveness is a real bitch.

2009: "The Merry Gentleman." Sure, it made $749,418,162 less at the box office than "Avatar" but I urge you to get to know Kate Frazier. It'll be good for your soul.

2010: "Black Swan." I have employed numerous words about this movie in the past few months so today I will only employ one to describe it completely: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.


Anonymous said...

Hey...we are born in the same year ;)

There are so much love toward Star wars and Indiana Jones.We have similarity in the beginning but different in the end.

I haven't seen many of those movies in your list. Thank you for sharing it

Anonymous said...

Love that not all your selections are obvious ones. Thanks for taking part.

Thomas said...

While we have somewhat different taste in movies, I think this is a really good list. You've inspired me to throw my own hat in the ring.


Jack L said...

nice list, I like the "different" choices.

A Fish Called Wanda is hilarious, I would have chosen it as well if I had been born then...

I'm glad to see JFK as well, I really admire that film and think it's a high point in Stone's career despite what people may say.

I've been meaning to see Million Dollar Baby, I really should get around to it.

Nick Prigge said...

Bokunosekai: My choices in movies have certainly become more eclectic over the years which I think accounts for that difference.

Andy: Thank you so much for setting this up! I loved it! You are the king of the blogathon!

Dan: Glad you threw your hat in. I will read your list momentarily.

Jack: You should TOTALLY see "Million Dollar Baby." It's my 2nd favorite movie, after all.

Castor said...

Yes, one of the less obvious list out of all the ones I have read. Of course, those of us who know you aren't surprised at all to see The Last of the Mohicans, Glory or Elizabethtown in there ;)

Nick Prigge said...

I think that's what is so crazy, Castor! I'm kind of predictable in my non-obviousness. Or something.

Anonymous said...

I am completely thrilled to see "Heavenly Creatures" on here ... it remains my favorite Peter Jackson movie (not even "LOTR" tops it). "Creatures" still chills me to the bone every time I watch it.

Nick Prigge said...

Amen! Thank you! I really, truly believe "Heavenly Creatures" is one of the best films ever made and it so often anymore gets lost in the face of Jackson's movies about those rings.

Fletch said...

I think you're the only other person I've seen besides me that chose Mohicans. How could that happen?!?

Love love love your 80s choices. I would have loved to have taken Better Off Dead, but 85 was too filled with other flicks (and Fletch) that I had to put ahead of it.

Nick Prigge said...

How COULD that happen?! There were other good movies that year I suppose but, seriously, it's "Mohicans."

I've always enjoyed "Fletch" but I guess I'm just more of a Cusack man than a Chevy man.

Alex Ramon said...

Great choices. LOVE Sunshine State, and the Altmans.

Nick Prigge said...

A fellow "Sunshine State" fan. All right. We need to get the word out. That movie needs to be seen by all.

blahblahblah Toby said...

how serious were your picks? merry gentleman is a superb piece of cinema and doesn't deserve to be joked about.