Today is Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest, where we tell you our favorite movies in top ten format.
I'm struggling a bit, as I'm a movie-lover, so let's see what pops up. I imagine it would be entirely different tomorrow. I'm going to define my favorites as being those I can watch over and over, in order to simplify this for me, so these aren't necessarily the movies that made me think the most, for instance, or that had the best writing or literary qualities to them. No, these are the movies I go to when I need something to play to make me happy. And I'm not positive they're in the right order, but I had to suck it up and pick an order, so here you have it.
#10 - Tootsie
Tootsie was a 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman as a struggling actor who finally takes on the ultimate part, dressing as a woman in order to land a role on a soap opera and get a paying gig. He finds himself falling for a fellow actress, all while forming a deep friendship with her as Tootsie. He acts himself into a corner and must figure out what to do to make everything right.
#9 - Footloose
I figure most people must know about this film, while Tootsie has probably been overlooked by many (though it may be the only movie on this list that is on AFI's Top 100, not sure). And, of course, I'm talking about the 1984 version starring Kevin Bacon, who I've loved ever since. A hurting town makes an unrealistic set of laws in the face of a desperate situation, and it takes an outsider to show them they can celebrate life, rather than grieving the loss of it. A message that holds through the ages. And the soundtrack bloody well rocked! I still keep the CD in my car for when I'm on a longer trek, stuck in traffic, or frustrated (I admit it, I'm a road rager). The title song gets my whole body moving, and instantly lifts my spirits. Bring it, crappy drivers!
#8 - Pretty Woman
I don't think I've ever adored either Richard Gere (oh crap, I just thought of another movie I should have on here...honorable mentions...) or Julia Roberts as much as I do in this movie. He may be a cold-hearted business man, but he's endearing in his own way. And she has a smile and upbeat attitude that can cheer up even the worst of days. Plus, I love her hair. Curly, red and unruly. What could be better? I wish her hair always looked like that. Also, I'd kill to wear that red dress to just one event. This movie shows that even when you're at your most down and out, good things can happen. Plus, it's quite a statement on humanity, and the good therein, despite the fact that we're seeing a teeny bit of the underbelly (though maybe an underplayed, glamorous version thereof). The hotel manager melts my heart, as does every person who chooses to be nice to Vivian instead of just judging her. And, of course, it's that princess being rescued by the prince romance that we've grown up on, and though I fight against that stereotype, I feel like Vivian would have made something of herself no matter what, and that she's saved him much more than he's saved her.
#7 - Dirty Dancing
Another movie where the soundtrack's as good as the film, itself. I seem to recall buying part I and II of the soundtrack as my Columbia House purchase back in the day...the stamps...you know what I'm talking about? My other purchases included Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, oh yeah. Moving on. Dirty Dancing is the flipside of Pretty Woman. Here, we have the privileged young woman and the poor young man who's basically prostituting himself out on the side just to make ends meet and to make the patrons happy. We see that there are levels of "good" in people. A father can teach his daughter to think of others and to love everyone, but when put to the test, he struggles with his daughter consorting with someone he's not okay with. Johnny's below Baby, and he's trouble, or that's what it looks like when one doesn't look too deep. But she can learn valuable lessons from a guy like him, as her sister learns tough lessons from the pure boy next door that their father respects, despite the fact that he's a piddly little scumbag. Team Johnny all the way, baby.
#6 - Ladyhawk
I admit it, many of these movies are 80's movies, and Ladyhawk is no different. I discovered Matthew Broderick in this film, not in Ferris Beuller's Day Off. He'll forever be a combination of Ferris and Mouse, the tiny thief who breaks out of the filthy prison, speaking to God the entire time, begging forgiveness and asking for help, even as he does wrong. Along comes Captain Navarre, sweeping the little Mouse into a dark situation, tainted by magic and religion. A curse, shape shifting, treachery, magic, and tortured romance make this a movie for many. My brothers love this movie as much as my sister and I do. There are battle scenes and close calls, and absolutely the most beautiful hawk and wolf. Evil can never win against true love.
#5 - Aliens/Tremors
Aliens is a fantastic movie. One of those that is better than the original. Alien, itself, was not a bad movie, but the horror ante was upped considerably, and we were rooting for Ripley even more in this follow-up. Newt is a kick of a kid, stronger than many of the adults ("Game over, man!"), and I so badly wanted Ripley and Hicks to get to hook-up in the third (no comment on the third). Heart-pounding action, freaky-gross aliens, tension, and they're in space! Isolation is always a kick-up for a horror film, and back in the day, it was even more so. Aliens broke into new frontiers and scared the living crap out of people.
But if you want a horror movie that's just a kick, Tremors is a great choice. Val and Earl are so fun, and the people of this tiny isolated town are a bunch of characters. Despite the fact that I don't think Reba McEntire can act, she's just as likable as Val and Earl. You've got the greedy shop keeper, the whiny prankster kid, the haggard mom, the geeky seismologist, the town handymen, the gun-wielding survivalist couple, and a few scattered others. Throw in a few giant subterranean worms, and you've got a fun night of movie watching! It's like Jaws in dirt.
# 4 - The Goonies/The Last Unicorn
I figured I'd clump two of the kids movies together. I think this is the last double shot I'll do. I can't promise anything, though. Who doesn't love The Goonies? It's the movie that taught us school wasn't the only place with cliques and separations, and that you could overcome the odds with a healthy sense of adventure and the determination to get it done. Plus, pirates! Who of us hasn't wished we'd find a treasure map that would take us to a wealth of gold and jewels (and, more importantly, adventure)? Some laughs, some scares, some thrills, some romance. And some young stars that went on to bigger and better things (Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, etc.).
The Last Unicorn was the second movie I owned for myself (Ladyhawk was the first). I adored Mia Farrow's soft voice and Schmendrick. It's such a tale of olden times, inherent magics and mythologies, and acceptance of what is, not just what we believe to be. It's the non-Santa version of Santa Claus, like Tinkerbell. Believe, and you make it so. I always long for a different ending, but it ends the way it should. ~watery sigh~
#3 - The Crow
Brandon Lee broke my heart when he died just shy of April Fool's. To the point that I was convinced it was some nasty April Fool's joke by the media. This film was darkly lush, sarcastic, and oddly optimistic, despite being about the dregs of humanity, and a town riddled with its own filth and violence. To have the opportunity to come back from the dead to see that your death is avenged, and that the evil are cast out. A savior in burial garb. A mystical crow, the harbinger of life and death. Something in this film has always appealed to me, some dark place inside of me, perhaps. Or it could be some light and hopeful place? Who can say?
#2 - Labyrinth
Labyrinth. What can I say about it? Another movie that proves magic exists, but we refuse to see it. A movie that shows us fairies are nasty little pests, that tests our wits, and shows us a different way to think about everything. The Goblin King was a cool fellow (maybe a little too cool, there, David), young Sarah so intent, and Hoggle so torn. She couldn't have asked for a better, more loyal group of friends, and that's something every girl certainly needs. I may have killed this movie for my kids, though, as when I put it on, my son says, "Oh, we're going to watch Labyrinth again." Some day they'll love it like I do. SOME DAY!
#1 - Breakfast Club
You'd think I would have outgrown this film, and all of those other teeny-bopper movies from the 80's (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, so on and so forth), but I haven't. Sure, it probably doesn't have the same impact on me that it used to, but it is still the movie I put on when I need something to watch. I was watching this movie while in labor with my daughter (the labor went so quickly right after we started it that I had my hubby stop it and start it over when my daughter was here and everything had calmed). Yet another great soundtrack, though Simple Minds has the song I can listen to over and over, and that always uplifts me in a certain way. The truth in high school as seen through a microscope. It examined why kids act the way they do, and it made sure each of these kids told their story, their background, in order to show us that every one of them was 1. just another person with their own struggles, and 2. just a kid doing the best they could with what their parents, other kids, and life were handing them. I can't wait to share this film (and all the others) with my kids, though they're young yet. I can only hope they'll see in it what the rest of us did, and that it will still carry the same sort of message for them that it did for so many in decades past. It reminds me to this day to try to remember that everyone around me is facing their own struggles, and their outward behavior may be a reflection of that. Does the movie simplify and stereotype? Yeah. But as teenagers, doesn't the world come across that way, anyway?
I forgot Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beetlejuice, An Officer and a Gentleman, The Princess Bride, A Knight's Tale, Never Ending Story, The Replacements, Speed, Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man, The Avengers, Three Musketeers, Young Guns, and so many more! ACK! I could go on forever and ever and ever, but I won't. Can't wait to see everyone else's favorites!
What are your favorite movies? What's your number 1?
May you find your Muse.