My Questionable Classic Movie Advice

Apparently there are people who are under the impression that cause I watch a lot of TV and movies and talk a lot about them it means what I think about them matters even a little bit. Cause I was asked to come up with a list of classic films I’d recommend to someone who’d like to get up to speed. So I made a list of American movies.

At first I was going to just send them the list (which I compiled with the help of the American Film Institute cause my memory isn’t as good as it used to be) but then I figured it might be nice to share it in a blog post. With trailers where possible.

Though I’ve numbered it, the list is in no particular order, it’s just a list of movies I think are essential watches. It’s not a list of my all-time faves, and no, it’s not the most inclusive list. It’s not about social or cultural significance or popularity either. Basically, if you’re going to call yourself a movie fan, these are the ones I’ve seen and loved that, in my mind, exemplify the joy and artistry of the medium of film.

I’ll get around to International films…eventually. Baby steps.

Now I want to watch all of these movies.

You wanna fight about it? We can do it in the comments. Or not.

1. Lawrence Of Arabia

2. All About Eve

3. On The Waterfront

4. Laura

5. Sunset Boulevard

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

7. Doctor Zhivago

8. Double Indemnity

9. A Clockwork Orange

10. Chinatown

11. Apocalypse Now

12. Taxi Driver

13. A Streetcar Named Desire

14. Annie Hall

15. High Noon

16. Goodfellas

17. The Unforgiven

18. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

19. The Philadelphia Story

20. Some Like It Hot

21 & 22. Godfather Pt. I & II

23. Psycho

24 .Rebecca

25. The Manchurian Candidate

26. Bringing Up Baby

27. The Deer Hunter

28. The Maltese Falcon

29. Wuthering Heights

30. Giant

31. North By Northwest

Eleven Romantical Films I Actually Like

So recently, TimeOut London published a list of 100 Best Romantic Movies that they collected by surveying various famous actors and directors. There were some interesting entries that I agreed and disagreed with, some obvious, some not so much.

Since all I seem to be doing is spinning my wheels these days when it comes to even marginally original ideas, I challenged myself to come up with my own list. I don’t like rom-coms. Nor do I like sappy lovey-dovey movies. But when I read the list, and thought about it for awhile, I realized that a lot of my favorite movies are actually pretty romantic. Or at least I think so.

Some Interesting Facts about my list you may or may not notice:

  • It’s got not one, but two Jane Austen adaptations.
  • Also two John Hughes-related movies.
  • Lots of angst.
  • It’s debatable whether most people would consider two or even maybe three of them to be “romantic” but I do so they’re on the list.
  • I like old movies
  • None of the films were made after the 1990’s

So here it is, and I actually made an attempt to rank them in order. And yes, there are eleven. Also I placed a (*) next to movies that are also on the TimeOut list.

1. Laura

It’s Preminger’s film noir classic, a murder mystery, not a romance you say. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. Or at least not exactly right… Laura Poster

Laura Portrait

2. Party Girl

A girl on the Lower East Side just wants to dance to House Music so what happens when a new falafel cart guy shows up and why does the Dewey Decimal System have anything to do with anything?

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“What’s up buttercup?””The rent. And I’m not paying.”

“Can I have a falafel with hot sauce, a side order of Baba Ghanoush and a seltzer, please?”

3. Gigi

When I watched Gigi over and over again as an eleven-year old in Texas, I had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was really about. Then again, I was listening to Prince’s Lady Cab Driver on repeat so it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

gigi

3. Pretty In Pink

See this post for more details. But in the meantime here’s a song from the soundtrack:

4. The Princess Bride

“As you wish was all he ever said.”

5. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not any other adaptation of Wuthering Heights THIS ONE only. Olivier and Oberon. I really liked Andrea Arnold’s new version a lot, but when it comes down to it, this is the Cathy and Heathcliff that matters.

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wuthering-heights

6. Black Orpheus

A yearly tradition in our family, I was always surprised to find out that so many of my friends had never heard of it. Greek tragedy in Brazil. The African Diaspora. People who looked like me not speaking English or Spanish. Being beautiful all over my tv screen. It mattered. A lot.

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I still wonder why I’ve always had a soft spot for the villainess. It’s actually not so surprising.

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7. Clueless

There’s so many reasons for this to be here, but it makes it just cause of Paul Rudd.

8. Wings of Desire*

For some reason I thought that twenty years later I’d think it was overwrought and corny. I don’t.

wingsofdesire

9. Some Kind of Wonderful

I would bet cash money that this movie would never get made today. Not with this ending. In a way, I’m kind of conflicted about the fact that Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty and Pink happened when I was a teenager. Because while on the one hand it’s cool that the weirdo girl gets the guy, and that’s why I love them, middle-aged me sometimes wonders if maybe they lied to me.

Also, Eric Stoltz.

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10. His Girl Friday*

It was between this one and Bringing Up Baby and the decision was soooo hard to make because I adore Katherine Hepburn. But it came down to this one cause of the quick banter, and the witty repartee’. And Rosalind Russell’s damn hats. So these two are newspaper reporters and they’re divorced but they just can’t shake each other.

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11. Persuasion (1995)

I’d rank this higher if it didn’t leave me utterly shattered. Out of all of the movies on this list, Persuasion connects with me the most personally. So you think it would be #1, or at least #2. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do, but this adaptation of the novel, like the novel itself, is too hard, even with the second chance, the happy ending. Because I suspect that’s the part Austen added to make the rest go down more easily. Cause the rest was the truth.

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