Next to books, I love the movies! I’ve kept this list for years and added to it as I watched a new DIK. I’d love to hear about your favorites. What ones on this list make your list too, and what ones are stinkers in your estimation. I have 1 movie that I think is as good as or close to as good as the book on this list. Anyone like a movie better than the book? Not sure how I’ve ended up with 13!
- Ang Lee’s 1995 Sense and Sensibility is my all-time favorite. From the music to the casting to the costumes to the script. The acting was superb as was the cinematography. Is there a more nuanced depiction of love and love’s foes, money and power, ever told? Emma Thompson’s screenplay triumphs.
- A&E’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice originally aired as a six part television series on the BBC. Wonderful casting and a story line faithful to Jane Austen’s original. And I realize this was never a movie, a real movie, shown in a theatre – don’t care! It’s a favorite!
- To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 is the only movie that I liked as much as the book. Gregory Peck’s subtle strength showed and didn’t tell and Scout’s narration still makes me feel like she was talking directly to me. This is an American classic.
- Parenthood 1989. I know. This is a real curveball. But rarely do you see such a raw and funny depiction of a family – all their warts and all the joys when families merge and grow, inevitable when introducing unknowns to a closed group with a single uniting strand of love.
- It’s a Wonderful Life 1946. This Christmas classic reminds us that doing the right thing, even in a trivial circumstance or setting, are the bricks that build our character. No one could have portrayed the value of the Everyman like Jimmy Stewart.
- Godfather 1972.Brutal film examining the relationships of power showcasing performances by arguably one the best casts ever assembled, including Brando, Pacino, Caan and Duvall.
- Annie Hall 1977. I can’t remove this movie from my list even knowing the creep level of Woody Allen. Brilliant and hysterical adult dialogue with a sprinkling of the absurd.
- Million Dollar Baby 2004. Eastwood’s piece de résistance of a long career. While Gran Torino and Unforgiven were perfect vehicles for Eastwood’s personal brand of heroic isolation, MDB is all about Eastwood and Swank’s relationship and their love for each other. I can honestly say that no movie has ever made me cry as hard or as long as this one.
- Gone with the Wind 1939. What more is there to be said? Could there be a more conniving, mean-spirited heroine than Scarlett O’Hara? Vivian Leigh managed to make us admire and root for this survivor, quite a feat. And seriously folks, Clark Gable was flat-out gorgeous.
- Open Range 2003. I’ve always been a sucker for a good western and they are so rarely made. Settlers in the West were depicted realistically as independent and inter- dependent. Costner’s no Pacino but he is easy on the eyes and delivers a subtle believable performance with the help of Benning and Duvall.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981. This action adventure had me in the opening scene watching Harrison Ford be chased by a massive stone ball. Speaking of Harrison Ford, not classically beautiful, but so handsome and MASCULINE, whether he was in his professor bow tie or in an open neck shirt, leather bomber jacket and fedora.
- Lincoln 2012. Spielberg and Kushner’s adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of the 16th President may or may not be accurate but it was a glimpse of what ‘probably was’ during the worst crisis our country has ever faced. Spielberg focused on one piece of legislation as it made its way through Congress and how important that vote was as we look back at history. All this woven through the life of a man carrying significant personal burdens.
- Singin’ in the Rain 1952. I know all the songs and most of the words. Watching Gene Kelly and Donald O’Conner dance makes me smile and I think one of the all-time funniest scenes ever is when Lina Lamont is doing her first ‘talkie’ and they sew the microphone into her dress.
Interestingly enough, Robert Duvall is in three of my top movies. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather and Open Range.