My Favorite Films

Everyone loves movies and everyone, probably, has a favorite movie site online. Here is one I enjoy: www.AFI.com (American Film Institute) What does it give you? In its opinion, what are the 100 greatest films of all-time, in order. You find their opinion as it was in 1997, and again in 2007. (Citizen Kane had the top spot both times.) What are the top 10 films in each of 10 categories? How about the 100 most inspiring films? How about the 25 best musicals? Who were the 50 best Heroes and Villains? If you guessed: Atticus Finch and Hannibal Lector, you agree with their top two choices. Ever thought of the 100 Greatest Songs from film? Hint: number 1 and 2 are: Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz) and As Time Goes By (from Casablanca). How about the 2 greatest screen legends (one man and one woman)? You know this one, right? Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. And there are many other lists. My favorite? The 100 greatest movie quotes. Number one begins: “Frankly my dear…” And number two starts: “I’m gonna make him an offer….” Obviously, after visiting such a site, there is much information to discuss and debate.

For the rest of this article, I’ll give 10 categories of films, plus AFI’s Best Film in each, and my favorite in each. Obviously, what film is “best” can be debated. But what is your favorite in each category, like my favorites, is pretty subjective. I hope you enjoy what is to follow and visit the site, as well.

 

Category: Animation

AFI’s best film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

My favorite: Beauty and the Beast, both versions (1991 –the first animated film nominated for Best Film Oscar, and 2017 –thank goodness Emma Watson landed on her feet after leaving Harry Potter).

AnnieHall

Category: Romantic Comedy

AFI’s best film: City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

My Favorite: Annie Hall (see above) (even though Woody Allen thought the relationship was “a dead shark”)

 

Category: Westerns

AFI’s best film: The Searchers

My favorite: Lonesome Dove I’m breaking my own rules, I know. I’m choosing a TV mini-series here. The script and acting are wonderful. Robert Duvall plays a great cowboy. The story covers a lot of the old west (ie, cattle drive, what happens when the ‘boys visit town, rustling, hanging when and where necessary back then, romance(s), and the good guys don’t all ride off into the sunset).

 

Category: Sports

AFI’s best film: Raging Bull

My favorite: I’m sitting on the fence. The most enjoyable film for me: Field of Dreams –my favorite baseball movie, and that’s saying a lot. But the best and most realistic film: Raging Bull. How about a tie?

 

Category: Mystery

AFI’s best film: Vertigo

My favorite: The Maltese Falcon (Sam Spade v. Mary Astor: guess who wins?) edges Chinatown. Bogart edges Nicholson.

GroundhogDay

Category: Fantasy

AFI’s best film: The Wizard of Oz

My favorite: A lot of competition here. With Field of Dreams already mentioned (see Sports), I like Big, and Miracle on 34th Street (a Christmas must), but I love Groundhog Day. (see above) Bill Murray, with enough time, becomes a good guy. Remember the groundhog driving? And Bill coaching?

 

Category: Science Fiction

AFI’s best film: 2001: A Space Odyssey

My favorite: Even a tougher choice than Fantasy. I like The Day The Earth Stood Still representing 1950s sci fi (1951 –and a lot of my youth); Terminator 2: Judgment Day (proving 2 is better than 1); Aliens (Sigourney Weaver at her very best; the monster should have stayed in its weight class); but I must go for: Blade Runner (Rutger Hauer makes a good case for what AI will bring in our future; M. Emmet Walsh is wonderful, as always; and Edward James Olmos makes himself known before Miami Vice).

 

Category: Gangster

AFI’s best film: The Godfather

My favorite: I agree. Sorry Pulp Fiction.

ToKill

Category: Courtroom Drama

AFI’s best film: To Kill A Mockingbird

My favorite: A lot of great ones have been made. But my wife and I MUST vote for Gregory Peck (the handsomest man she’s ever seen, even with me in the room) and To Kill A Mockingbird.(see above) As good a performance as we’ve ever seen. But remember: A Cry in the Dark (Meryl was robbed of an Oscar here; she played such a nasty character even Oscar voters forgot her); 12 Angry Men (there’s never been a better cast; go to www.IMDB.com and check the names AND faces); Judgment at Nuremberg (a brutal and great film; my Father was among the liberators at Bergen-Belsen and brought home pictures; the film comes close to reality); The Verdict (Paul Newman was at his best here; but lost an Oscar that had to be made up later).

 

Category: Epic

AFI’s best film: Lawrence of Arabia

My favorite: Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hank’s performance and my Father’s history in WWII make this choice for me.

DefendLife

And finally, a suggestion for your viewing pleasure (Romantic-Comedy): Defending Your Life (see above)(1991). A film written, directed, and starring Albert Brooks, co-starring Meryl Streep and Rip Torn. The film is best described as “the first true story of what happens after you die.” In the afterlife, everyone must examine the events of their lives to determine if they must return to Earth for another attempt at living appropriately or can they “continue to move forward.” Brooks’ life is examined; he meets and falls in love with Streep (of course); and is guided by Rip Torn (giving a hilarious performance) while Brooks fate is determined. For me, its Brooks’ best writing and acting efforts. A very funny film which might be correct in its opinion of our afterlife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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