Thirteen Fave Movies Off the Top of My Head

In honor of Friday the 13th these movies are in no particular order because like my music, the movie I like on a particular day is determined by my mood.

  1. Billy Elliot: I once asked a close friend if he ever felt the need to dance how he felt about his mother’s death. Because dance was his means of artistic expression, it seemed to me that when tears and words failed, dance would offer peace. This movie perfectly expresses the burning need to create. The final scene never fails to give me chills.
  2. Matrix Trilogy: I discovered the first one on VHS and wondered why I hadn’t seen it in the theatres (going through the big D can do that to you). I found it though provoking in the same way as The Wall. Reloaded was eminently satisfying, Revolutions did not live up to expectations.
  3. Shakespeare in Love: Guilty pleasure with Ralph Fiennes’ baby brother in the lead.
  4. Chocolat: The beautiful Juliette Binoche is in two of my favorite movies. Her performances are haunting.
  5. Star Wars: “Popa! You’ve got to see this movie!” “Mom. Come on!” I was 11. ‘Nuff said.
  6. Man on Fire (either one): When a hero fight inner demons as well as outer bad dudes, I fall.
  7. Aliens: Badass heroine. Edge of the seat scary SF.
  8. Valley Girl: (Squeal!) Nick Cage is so totally awesome! Seriously, he was a client at a law firm I worked at in Century City in 1992 and all the secretaries said he was the soul of politeness and likability.
  9. ImageThe English Patient: I keep watching movies with Ralph Fiennes, hoping… He was great in Red Dragontoo, but playing tortured Hungarian royalty was his finest role. I often think that actors should just act and maintain their mystery, and I don’t really want to know their thoughts on life, because being belivable in front of the camera does not necessarily make them great interview subjects. Of course Mr. Fiennes is an exception:“Success is all about being able to extend love to people… not in a big, capital letter sense but in the everyday. Little by little, task by task, gesture by gesture, word by word.”
  10. Lord of the Rings Trilogy: I think I liked this so much because I met the actor who played Frodo when he was about 10. He was a darling, sweet kid. Shoulda aked for his autograph then!
  11. A Fish Called Wanda: My FAVE comedy of all time. Saw it three times in the theatre in 24 hours. Went the second time because I laughed so hard the first time I missed a lot of the jokes. Love the scene where Archie is telling Wanda how stuffy Englishmen are when it comes to love and romance and it’s “KkkkKen CCCComing to KKKill Me!”
  12. Silverado: “We’ll be back!” I am still waiting in vain.
  13. Something’s Gotta Give: I protest loudly that I am not a fan or romantic comedy, but mayhap I protest too loudly for I note that you could argue there are five such on my list.  Can I make a category for dramatic comedy, please?

Runner up: L.A. Confidential

This momma’s Star Trek

I skeptically watched trailers leading up to the Star Trek release; I angrily turned to my movie-mate and stated emphatically that Kirk and Spock did not meet at the Academy. Who is this director to play fast and loose with their legendary friendship?!

Hearing that the movie was “not your daddy’s Star Trek” mollified me not in the least. Reading the Wired Magazine article about monsters on the ice planet increased my level of skepticism.

But of course, I had to go… (Pun intended.) … revisit the characters I came to know in the mid 70s.

I remember playing Star Trek with Matt G. and Brian W.—bet they don’t want that fact put on my wall on Facebook. I read every Trek story I could get my hands on as a teen. “The Price of the Phoenix” by fans Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath was my favorite. I was not a fan of any of the 90s spin off series because Kirk kicked butt and saved the galaxy. Picard just talked the aliens to death.

It is so nice when one pays $8.50 for a movie that they get to spend a couple of hours enthralled, disbelief suspended, with the story. It is an especially nice feeling when the rapture is unexpected (and may I say Star Trek completely washed the nasty taste of the most recent Terminator installment out of my system).

And seeing Star Trek once, I had to go see it again.

It was even better the second time for a number of reasons, in no particular order:

1. The Spock, Uhura love connection. In all my years of watching it, I must confess that had not occurred to me—even when they made music together in Charlie X. In one of the movies she and Scotty were paired—that made a limited sense at the time.
2. Karl Urban’s portrayal of Leonard McCoy. Applause to the writer, the casting director and the actor.
3. When Captain Pike asked Sulu if he was a pilot.
4. The poetic weave of “not your daddy’s Star Trek” with canon. (Unlike Star Wars, there is no person designated to keep the franchise in order.)
5. Great FX.
6. The Los Feliz Three where Ray and I saw Star Trek the second time.

Rave review follows:

     Ray and I were in Los Angeles, California to visit family, and we had planned to take the opportunity to see a couple of movies on the big screen with killer sound. Alas, we missed the evening show in Hollywood, but there was a 9:45 showing in Los Feliz about 10 minutes from our downtown hotel.
     The door to theatre one opened to a room with an isle to the right and six seats (maybe 8—it was dark) across on the left. We both burst out laughing. “Do you want to get our money back?” he asked. “No we might as well stay,” I said. We picked seats three rows from the back (maybe a dozen rows from the front) and noted that the screen size was maybe 15-feet across. Maybe.
     A few minutes later a man and his date joined the half-full theatre and exclaimed, “It’s like seeing a movie in the bathroom.” There were a few chuckles. As the couple took their seat, the man said, “It’s really intimate. I feel like I should introduce myself.” More laughter.
     A couple of previews—no ads! Are no ads a California thing? At our local theatre we see more ads than trailers.
     Crystal clear picture! Dts sound! The small screen was perfect line of sight! (For a couple of years I had to drive 90 miles to see a movie, so I appreciate the folks that installed the Sawmill six-plex. However, I never realized how muddy the projection is and how much a good sound system adds to a blockbuster.) What a treat!
     No one’s cell phone went off during the movie, because film industry audiences respect the art.
     The butter on the popcorn of our movie experience was real butter.

     If you’ve not seen Star Trek, this momma recommends you do so. It is at least as good as Wrath of Khan or Star Trek IV.