Last year, I introduced you to a few of my favorite things (don’t worry this is not going to turn into an Oprah thing). Of course I’ve continued watching films over the past year (I’ve even seen some new releases!), and some have made it onto my favorites list. It’s strange when creating an account on a website and a security question asks what my favorite film is. Maybe I should just direct the security question to this post.
More of my favorite films (in no particular order)
Hitchcock’s only comedy (arguably), starring the formidable Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard as a quarreling couple. Best conflict resolution strategy ever imagined.
Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn accidentally move in together due to a housing shortage. Coburn schemes to get Arthur and McCrea together. Hilarity ensues. Remade in the 1960’s as Walk Don’t Run with Cary Grant.
The Newsies (1992)
Before it was on Broadway, The Newsies was a little Alan Menken-composed film with tons of boy extras and great group dance sequences. Featuring an 18-year-old Christian Bale (FIGHT DANCING ALONE IN AN ALLEY) and a fast-talking New Yorker named Racetrack, age 12. And Bill Pullman. And tap dancing.
The Giant Mechanical Man (2012)
Jenna Fischer (Pam on The Office) and Chris Messina (general heartthrob) play 30somethings who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. They meet at their dead-end jobs at the zoo, and Jenna doesn’t know she’s met Messina before, as the Giant Mechanical Man, the silver-painted busquer she connects with.
Bottle Rocket (1996)
Wes Anderson’s directorial debut, co-authored with Owen Wilson, centers on Luke Wilson, as he leaves a sanitarium and goes along with his friend (Owen) as he plans a heist, until Luke falls in love with the hotel maid.
The Royal Tenebaums (2001)
“Royal bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his thrity-fifth year,” Alex Baldwin informs us. Another Wes Anderson-Owen Wilson masterpiece. Baldwin narrates; Gene Hackman is a manipulative father, Angelika Huston his estranged wife (Danny Glover her new beau), and Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Gwenyth Paltrow play their children, once prodigies, now all grown up.
The Fountainhead (1949)
Like the novel, too ambitious and heavy-handed in places, but the cinematography is perfect, and Patricia Neal is a star.
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
The first film noir to be directed by a woman (Ida Lupino) and no woman appears in it. Instead of the usual femme fatale, men fill the women’s roles of partner-best-friend-temptress in an interesting twist.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
No words other than ‘enchanting’ for Wes Anderson’s most fantastical and romantic picture yet.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
April from Parks and Rec and Mark Duplass (writer of Jeff, Who Lives at Home and a midwife on The Mindy Project), along with Nick from New Girl star: Duplass puts an ad in the paper for someone to time travel with him, April joins him.
Cary Grant co-stars with Laraine Day (a kind of Priscilla Lane-esque noir heroine, usually). Grant is a gambler always looking for an angle, and he finds it with Day’s War Relief organization, planning to swindle them out 200 G’s. Of course Grant isn’t all tough guy – he learns to knit and falls for Day, and the romance is not easy by any stretch. Surprisingly moving and heartbreaking.
Frances Ha (2012)
Noah Baumbach directs and co-writes with Greta Gerwig, who also stars as Frances. The story of the love of two best friends, Frances and Sophie, against the backdrop of being 27 and figuring out what you are doing with your life. Shot in New York (and Paris) in black and white, it is true, hilarious, and delightful.
Eleanor Parker stars as a wide-eyed young girl who is sent to a women’s prison. She comes out a hardened criminal. Parker’s first Best Actress nom.
A Pixar animated film, about a rat with dreams of becoming a chef. He meets a gangly trash boy at a restaurant and they team up and make headlines in Paris’ restaurant scene. It’s adorable and smart and wonderful.
What’s Up, Doc? (1972)
Peter Bogdonavich directed Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand in this riotiously funny movie from the 1970’s. I know, high praise for a movie from the 70’s, but this is laugh out loud, fall out of your chair, can’t breathe hilarious. It’s not a one-two punch, it’s a one-two-three-FOUR punch. The story is simple: 4 suitcases that are identical are staying at the same hotel, but it balloons from there.
Joss Whedon’s adaptation is just that an adaptation –Shakespeare in modern day. With Whedon’s usual suspects turning in great performances – the lovely black and white – and shooting in a little under 2 weeks at Whedon’s home – it’s pretty close to perfect.
Paris Blues (1961)
Duke Ellington composed the music. Paul Newman plays the trombone. Sidney Poitier plays the saxophone. Martin Ritt directed. What else do you need to know?