Wanna know who I’m crazy about? Roger Ebert. He’s such a good writer, and he seems like a very interesting person. I think people miss what a good writer he is because they just don’t notice such things about film critics. He’s really unbelievably smart and thoughtful and I look up to him.
I happened upon his list of Great Movies the other day. I have seen maybe a dozen or so from this very large list. I don’t go back and watch old movies that came out before my time very often. In relation to the general public, I’m a little bit of a movie snob. In relation to ACTUAL students of film and REAL movie snobs, I am an imbecile. I could never make a Great Movies list. However, I sort of feel like making my own list of Movies I Love.
Not all of these movies are Great with a capital G (though some of them do appear on Ebert’s list.) And there are movies not on this list that definitely ARE Great, Great films. Films that I can absolutely acknowledge and appreciate as fine specimens. From the always-agreed-upon greatness of Braveheart or Shawshank Redemption to some less-talked-about great movies like Traffic or No Country for Old Men. I think they’re great, too! If I were making a list of like 25 or 30 favorites, I think those would all be on it. But those are all a little hard for me to watch over and over due to the upsetting factor. I don’t like my movies to bum me out TOO much. In movies, like in literature, I reject the unwritten rule that to be great, you must depress people. (And yes, I realize that at least a couple of those are uplifting as well as upsetting.)
But this isn’t a Great Films list; this is a list of the movies that I love. The ones that I actually bother to own (which is in fact meaningful, as I don’t own very many DVDs that are actually mine. Brian owns hundreds. I just don’t have the time/money/inclination. So if I bother to own it, I really love it.) These are the ones I get sucked into ANY time they’re on TV (even though I own them.) The ones I take time out of my busy life to watch over and over and don’t get bored with. Some people will judge me a rube for my unsophisticated taste. But hey, most women I know would have movie lists consisting almost entirely of romantic comedies and Rachel McAdams movies. At least I’m cooler than that. 😛
I’ll link to each film’s Ebert review, just so you can appreciate how good he is. Even if he doesn’t agree with me on all of these.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Yup, I’m starting with this one. EVERYONE disagrees with me on this one, even Ebert. Their reasons are varied. I don’t care. I LOVE this movie. I find it epic, and tragic, and haunting, and sad, and beautiful, and life affirming. Seriously. Now, admittedly I first saw this movie at the theater a mere 4 weeks or so after Lola was born when Brian and I had our first night out after I became a mother. So, the parenthood themes hit REALLY close for me and my hormones. But it still holds up for me. It is beautifully shot and really well acted. Just reading quotes from the movie transports me and makes me feel sappy. And just makes me FEEL. This is a movie that really makes me feel. I actually begged Brian to let me name our second baby Benjamin, because every time I think of that name, I think of the remarkable Cate Blanchett saying it. He vetoed it, sadly.
Y’all, just looking at that poster makes my heart swell.
Juno – I didn’t want to watch this movie. It was so hyped up, which sometimes makes you sick of a movie before you even see it. Moreso, though, was the fact that I am really opposed to anything that makes teen pregnancy seem neat-o, and I thought this was one of those. I don’t remember what finally made me watch it, but I am a sucker for good writing, so that’s what hooked me. And then it turned out to be a really wonderful movie. Sometimes it’s just a LITTLE to cool for it’s own good with the dialogue. But mostly, it feels very honest. One of my favorite things about the movie is Juno’s parents. First of all, Allison Janney is SO AWESOME ALL THE TIME. But also, they are warm yet disappointed yet loving. Sort of how ACTUAL parents might be, and not caricatures like parents in movies often are. I think Ebert mentions that fact, also. Overall, it’s just a touching portrayal of good people and tough situations.
The movie that finally made me stop disliking Jennifer Garner
I started with those two, not because they are necessarily my MOST favorite, but they are two that touch me deeply. Two that make me cry EVERY time, no matter how much I think I’m not in a sappy mood. Just re-reading their Ebert reviews almost had me overcome by tender weeping just THINKING about watching them.
You know, I think I’ll move on in a separate post; this one’s getting huge!