CWM

Madre’s List of Favorite Movies in No Particular Order

In Movies on August 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm
After beginning this blog, my mother asked if she could create her own list of favorites and have it published on my blog. And of course, I said why not. Below is her top 7 favorite movies. I went through and made some changes, her grammar was just plain awful, but her list and her descriptions are her’s alone. Enjoy!
Young Frankenstein (1974)  directed by Mel Brooks:
This is hands down my favorite comedy.  The writing is spot on hilarious.  Gene Wilder is perfect as Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Franhhcensteen…).  The actors’ comedic timing is just amazing.  That comes from having a super sense of comedy, and from being so well cast. I watched Marty Feldman on his show, “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine”, a BBC production in 1971. So British, so funny. I like this movie better than Brook’s other classic, Blazing Saddles.  To me, Young Frankenstein relies more on verbal comedy, as opposed to the sight gags of Blazing Saddles. I always watch this movie when it is on, and I practically know the whole script by heart.
CM: This movie also includes a great cameo by Gene Hackmen, that makes it that much funnier.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse (1948) directed by H.C Potter, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy:
This film is about a family who decides to ditch big city life, buy a house in the country(been there, done that…) and the pitfalls of home remodeling.  The situation is classic, a couple saying that all the house needs is “a little love”  and plenty of demolition.  Myrna Loy is superb as the wife getting to finally decorate her new home. Her dissertation to the contractor on paint colors is a must see. (As an interior designer… I understand her logic…) Cary Grant is at first  enamored with being a country squire, until the budget for the house gets totally out of control. This film was the basis for the Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks,  but this version is sooo much better. The script is clean, and lines are quick and clipped.  Anyone who has remodeled a house, or has relocated to the country where you have to deal with “the locals”, will totally get this movie.
CM: Never seen it but I have heard good things about Cary Grant. Will definitely give it a try
Beauty and The Beast- (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau–in French:
Dadaist poet and artist Jean Cocteau adapted the classic story into a film that is  a fantasy in such a beautiful and subtle way.  His images and camera angles are more like individual pieces of art.  He also pioneered some special effects.  My favorite scene is of Belle walking in a hallway lit by the wall sconces held by human arms. Very creepy, but also so beautiful.  This is for you art film folks; it is a must see.
CM: Saw this once when I was very young. Will probably never watch it again because it scared me so much.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou (2000) directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen:
First, it’s a Cohen Brothers films,. so what’s not to like? But this film take you through Homer’s Odyssey far better than reading any book.  George Clooney as our fearless leader is just perfect.  He can tell a tall tale like no other.  John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson round out the hapless trio on the journey.  I love how this story is worked into the time period of 1937 and the Great Depression in Mississippi. The script is written in colloquial language, which is musical and poetic, consisting of such lines as “pater familias” and “sang in yonder can” and “skeedaddled”.  Another great aspect of this film is the soundtrack. Such a great combo of old timey music done by Allison Krause and other great singer songwriters. The score was written by T Bone Burnett, and he totally captured the time period. I’m still singing those songs in the car when no one is listening.
CM: This movie is well written, well acted, and well shot. John Goodman has a great cameo in this movie as the cyclops that has a pretty pvitoal role in Homer’s Odyssey.
Chocolat (2000) directed by Lasse Hellstrom
I love this story.  While it has mystery and magic in the plot, it also deals with the difficult relationship between mothers and daughters, both living and dead. Juliette Binoche plays Vianne, a mysterious woman who shows up in a very conservative town and opens a chocolate shop.  The candies begin to awaken the passions of the townspeople, much to the chagrin of the mayor, play by Alfred Molina.  He is horrified  that such decadence has arrived in his town. But he has secrets of his own that only the chocolate will heal.  Vianne has a daughter, Anouk, who desperately wants to stop being dragged from town to town and to settle down.  And Johnny Depp is, well, the eye candy in this film as the gypsy love interest Roux. Vianne carries her mother’s ashes with her, and appears to still be taking direction from her mother, even after death. Roux opens her eyes to her issues, and how she is passing those onto her daughter.
Judi Dench and Lena Olin are both superb as tragic figures who come into their own after meeting Vianne. The film was shot on location in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in France, and the town is breathtaking.
CM: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie, but if you have lady parts I’m sure you’ll love it. Because well it’s about chocolate and has Johnny Depp in it.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
Another of my favs. Tarantino can do no wrong.  Where to begin with this film? First, the casting. John Travolta’s career was reborn with this movie as Vincent Vega. And Samuel L. Jackson as Jules. As a hit man team, they interact as pragmatist and philosopher.  The plot winds, twists and turns, and goes so many places, it is a wild ride.  Harvey Keitel has to do some clean up for the two boys, and he is so cool, so slick and so funny. and Uma Thurman dancing with Travolta? Classic.  Is this film violent?  Oh hell yes. But Tarantino in his own quirky way, makes it all so funny.  I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at two guys arguing over who has to clean the splattered brains out of the car when they accidentally shoot the passenger?  I did, and you will too.  The soundtrack is awesome as well, especially “Jungle Boogie”…..
CM: This goes without saying, but it should be said. I love this film. The reason why it wasn’t included in my list is because I wanted to introduce other films that people might not have seen such as “True Romance” or “Heat”.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are going to see “Django Unchained” then see this movie before hand just so you know what you’re walking into. Best line in the whole movie, btw. I have posted that quote countless times as my Facebook status.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Francis Ford Coppola
So I’m a sucker for vampire movies (haha, get it?) But this one is my all time favorite.  Gary Oldman is so captivating as Dracula. Normally, Dracula is portrayed as a soulless monster, but Oldman  plays him as a sad and tragic figure as you see him lose the love of his life.  He goes teeters evil master as he captures Johnathan Harker and lets his siren vampires torture him, to a tender and romantic loving man.  Winona Ryder is passable as Mina Harker, I found both her and Keanu Reeve’s portrayals to be a bit stiff and stilted. I know they are supposed to be repressed Victorians, but they both seemed wooden.  Gary Oldman carries the film, as does Tom Waits, who plays poor crazed Renfield. And Anthony Hopkins nailed the role of Van Helsing.  I love that fact that he played him as  an eccentric, with a somewhat mystical power… or was that just science? It was beautifully filmed and included some great costume design.  They represented the period, perfectly. This Dracula is waay more spectacular and lascivious than those True Blood dudes.
CM: Phenomenal movie and I concur with mi madre’s statement. Reeves and Winona seemed uncomfortable and confused with the role that they were playing. I almost didn’t feel bad when Reeve’s gets tortured because, well, it just didn’t seem like he was in actual pain, as crass as that sounds.
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