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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clearly, I'm now obsessed with the number 25.

Now that I've settled nicely into being 25, the number seems to be following me everywhere--and by that, I mean I use it a lot for a variety of really random stuff. And I'm going to use it again--and again and again--now to make some of My Top 25 Favorite Lists. Movies, books, memories, know, perfectly random. Let's begin, shall we? (Side note, all of these are simply how I feel as of late. For many of these topics--ie movies--I could never settle of a list of 25 all time favorites and have it stay that way forever...not even if I said, say, my top 25 before I turned would still change. Some are typically on there, but you never know....just saying.)

Top 25 Favorite Movies

1) Harry Potter (I'll count them all as one for the sake of not using up 8 spots for them, but we all know they are totally worth it)

2) Girl, Interrupted

3) Beaches (mostly for the fond memories it invokes)

4) Steel Magnolias (once again, memories....also, "I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special." Oh, Shelby.)

5) Halloween (1,2,4,5,6...and the remake of the first one by Rob Zombie--BUT NOT THE 2ND REMAKE)

6) Sex and the City (the first one only, since the second one was one step below trash. Oh, and if you're judging me--suck it)

7) Black Swan (phenomenal!)

8) Raising Helen

9) My Sister's Keeper (I also loved the book, and felt that the radically different endings of the two was actually a very wise move--which I typically don't ever feel. For once, I felt like, while the ending of the book worked for print--especially the element of surprise--it would have appeared phony and overly theatrical in the movie. It's rare that Hollywood changes something to be less showy, and I understand why that's the case, but I think it was the best decision for this particular story. Highly recommend both reading and seeing this if you haven't already)

10) The Time Traveler's Wife (I never read it, and I'm sad I didn't. Honestly, I loved this most because I'm an uber fan of Rachel McAdams. Beyond that, the story was both sweet and realistic...and I love that, though I've watched it many times, the actual time traveling is so well done that you totally understand it and find it nearly impossible to keep up with his changes ages and time periods and what not. In this kind of instance, confusion is kind of fun.)

11) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (though I was slightly disappointed by the 2nd film--mostly because I read the books long ago and didn't like how they merged 4 books into one film after dedicating an entire, separate movie to the first book, I adored the first film. The four main actresses--portraying Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget to almost perfection --amazed me with their abilities to show both the hilarious moments and the very real turmoil and pain that go hand in hand with being a teenager in modern society. Of course, that they did this so remarkably at such young ages was impressive; what was perhaps even more inspiring, however, was that their range in emotions in playing these characters was incredible for any age actor. I also just love the story of average friends with extraordinary moments--not just the obvious finding of the pants, but even more so their very typical hardships that were made bearable by their wonderful, yet extremely realistic, joint friendship. Loved it.)

12) Juno (love Ellen Page--also check out "An American Crime", which received almost no press even though it was based on a true story. In Juno alone, it is clear that Page is an incredible actress, but seeing her in "An American Crime" and the different sides of her personality and acting that must have gone into that--it just makes you grasp her range that much more. "Inception" evoked similar astonishment in me; it's a fast, frenzied story and sometimes the acting gets lost in those types of films, but if you really watch Page--and Dicaprio for that matter--the acting itself is awesome. Anyway--I loved Juno for many of the same reasons I like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants--it's real, honest, and unique. Remarkably, even with amazing amounts of ingenious humor, the heartache and turmoil is never lost in the mix. So impressed. Plus--it really is hilarious)

13) Carrie (mostly, I know I love this movie so much because it was the very first horror movie I ever watched, but it really is awesome. Whenever people challenge me to cite a story that I enjoyed more on screen than I did in text, this one always comes to mind. I'm not a huge Stephen King fan anyway--two blaring exceptions are Misery and The Green Mile --but King's story and descriptions pale in comparision to the on-screen action. Sissy Spacek was absolutely incredible--and I've been a huge fan ever since--but the "supporting" cast deserves much of the credit as well. For a story with such hightened, dramatic moments--many of which I have my serious doubts could ever happen--it never seemed overdone or particularly unrealistic to me...that's a pretty big feat in and of itself. I will say , when her hand reaches out of that grave at the end--well, it totally happened 8,000 times faster when I was 9 than it does now. Awesome movie though)

14) Marley and Me (considering I came dangerously close to a full on panic attack at the end of this movie when I saw it in theaters, it seems odd that it made this list. I have since purchased it and watched it a few more times; the thing is, it really is just as sad as it was the first time, but the acting and the moral of the story--so to speak--are absolutely amazing. Viewed as just a story about a family pet, it is moving and envokes all the right emotions at the best times; if you really analyze the entire plot and story and then the eventual outcome, however, it becomes so much more. Such an absolutely unique story of what makes life sweet and memorable--and what it really means to be a family)

15) Mommie Dearest (um...DUH. First, it's just an awesomely dramatic but somehow not overdone film. Second, Christina Crawford had such bravery--and probably a little need for just a bit of revenge--to tell her story, and I think it's truly one that needs to continue to be used as a learning tool. Though times are different now, many actors probably still adopt children for the publicity--I'm not saying they don't love their children and there isn't a great deal of hardship involved--but let's be honest--actors are still attention whores just as they were in Joan Crawford's day....worse still, the need for attention has increased exponentially as of late--and now there's the internet. Yeah, probably a lot for publicity. My biggest reason I love this movie? Faye Dunaway. I understand she never saw the film because she--I believe-- thought it was a horrible movie and was appalled by her own acting...but she totally missed out on her own awesomeness. The front of the DVD cover says it best--"Faye Dunaway IS Joan Crawford". For sure.)

16) Poltergeist (okay...a lot of this one is full of bad acting and ideas so outlandish they are just funny and I get that. Honestly though, the parts that needed to be acted out well were and even those things I more than likely don't believe in...well, I always believe them when I'm watching the movie. And Tangina--she's such a delicously creepy little know it all...and everything she says makes sense . Though I usually think Hollywood "cursed movie/film franchises" are totally made up...I kind of buy this one. I mean, there were lots of deaths that could be explained away--age, circumstance, etc.--but the deaths of the actresses portraying Carol Anne--at the age of 12 due to bowel obstruction--and her older sister--murdered in her driveway by an ex boyfriend--those seem a little cursed to me. Ultimately though, the best part of the movie has always been, and will always be the classic line, "They're heeeeeere!")

17) Terms of Endearment (also good is the sequel, The Evening Star, but it's hard to find and you won't miss too much if you don't ever get to see it--but it is good. Everything in TOE is awesome--the acting, the casting, the story, the reality....everything. Once again, as so many others believe, my favorite part is when Shirley MacLaine's character goes ape shit over her daughter having to wait--even for a couple of minutes max--to receive her pain shot. Epic. I hear that MacLaine and Debra Winger hated each other and avoided speaking when not shooting a scene such was their disdain for the other--if this is true, the thought is sad but I find it hard to believe as it is. Oddly enough though, that belief kind of makes it more fun to watch the movie to see if they let on any of their supposed contempt for each other. Note, in my probably hundreds of times watching it....I have yet to see any indication of that. Just makes you wonder)

18) Sybil (honestly, I'm pretty peeved that I don't own this one yet. It's, from what I can tell, impossible to find in a store and typically pretty expensive to buy online--unless you don't mind parts being cut out. And I ALWAYS mind parts being cut out. Even after more than 30 years since the film's release, there is still a debate as to whether or not the real life individual that Sally Field's character is based on had multiple personality disorder , and especially as to the number of distinct personalities she had ...and I don't know enough on the topic--even after researching it--to give any kind of educated guess. My instinct tells me to believe that she did had the disorder and that she probably had a great many distinct personalities, but what is crazily overlooked is that Sybil's mother--whether vastly overdone for the film or not--had an intensely scary schizophrenic personality. I mean, honest to God schizophrenia--which is also rare but not quite as much as having multiple personalities. I had a similar feeling watching this film as I did when reading "A Child Called It"--disgust, intrigue, and complete and utter disbelief--how could these people even reproduce with that much hatred buried so deeply within...and how in the hell were these children allowed to stay in these homes for any period of time, let alone years. It makes me want to be a social worker--if I thought I was strong enough to handle such things in real life. I'm not strong enough, and while I want to be so that I can help...more of me doesn't want to EVER get that strong--it's just too sick)

19) Flowers in the Attic (and the complete Dollanganger story, though after the first one you can only learn more through books since they didn't make the other 4 into movies. I put this under my movie category at all mostly because I first saw the film before I ever even knew there were books. I'll delve more into this story under the books category, but the movie wasn't half bad. I'd love to see a remake! Honestly, I'm still confused as to how I could ever find myself rooting for incest to work out--and intrigued that I'm not even close to the only one who feels this way. It's interesting--and fun--to read a story that makes you step back and take a look at your values and morals because none of it adds up. No, I don't condone incest and it grosses me out, but I dare you to read this story--and on a much smaller scale, see the movie--especially all 5 of the series, and tell me honestly and completely that you weren't rooting for Chris and Cathy to get together just a little...even as your rational mind is vomiting a little in its own mouth. Yeah, it's weird.)

20) Interview with the Vampire (totally want to read all this when I have the chance--side note. But yeah--this movie is just great. Brad Pitt, (sometimes) Tom Cruise, and my oh my, a little Kirsten Dunst. I loved this movie because it brought out every conceivable emotion--lust, rage, grief, intrigue....sometimes many at the same time. Once again, though on a smaller scale, it makes you step back and look at what you believe it. If vampires were real (or ARE real), then they are undead and seemingly evil. They kill to live. They show no mercy. And yet, there are those moments...the reaction, and really the entire Claudia's death plot line, of Louie when he opens the door hoping, in vain, that he's not too late to save his dear Claudia--and finds only the ashes of Claudia and (can't remember her name) the other woman intertwined in a terrified embrace....remarkable. Vampires shouldn't have emotions, not such strong ones of family and love at the very least, but these guys certainly do. Woohoo, Anne Rice!)

21) I Am Sam (the beginning of my respect and adoration for (almost) all Dakota Fanning films. Sean Penn is outstanding, and Michelle Pfieffer is equally great; the actors who play Sam's friends, though....the best. Yes, they pull at your heartstrings with their "handicaps", but what struck me the most is how often I would forget that such "limitations" were even there--or at the very least relevant. It was the story and the characters that made it so amazing, and though the story is first and foremost one of a father and daughter trying desparately to get back to each other, a big part of it--indeed, the reason there is an issue at all with separation--is because Sam is mentally handicapped. Sean Penn plays Sam remarkably, in large part because it is clear his number one concern was having and showing respect for the type of character he played-- nothing ever came off as hokey, or overly dramatic, or disrespectful--and that also played a part in allowing those who played his friends to shine not because of their limitations, but because of their strengths--mostly, intense loyalty to their friend. They all share the type of friendships we all strive for, and many never find. Of course, Dakota Fanning was my favorite part of the movie--mostly because she's doing these incredibly emotional, not at all over done, scenes at the age of SIX--but also because, when asked how she prepared to handle acting opposite Sean Penn's portrayal of one who is handicapped, she simply explained that she had an aunt who was like Sam--and she knew that her aunt didn't want to be treated any differently, and so never did. And she took that and applied it towards a stranger, because that was how it was ...she didn't treat Sam any differently than she would her aunt...or any other person she has ever come across. Astounding.)

22) Man on Fire (Dakota Fanning again--though she was totally 9 by the time she did this movie so its far less impressive--UH KIDDING. NINE?! Geez. Really though, Fanning and Denzel Washington played wonderfully off each other, and along with a strong, awesome story line--total hit. Love it, but it's a whole new kind of sad--you've been warned)

23) The Blind Side (uh, Ole Miss Football--enough said. On top of that, Sandra Bullock did one hell of a job and definitely earned her Oscar, and the Tuohy's are remarkable people....mostlybecause they have never once thought that they are. They did what was right and helped out someone who needed it--and fell in love with him. When they describe it, sometimes it's hard to remember why it's such an amazing story--because they just see it as a way to a family. Plus, I was at Ole Miss when the real Michael Oher was--I still get cool points for that. Just loved it.)

24) Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion (mostly the memories, but also because it's friggin' hilarious...and it gets funnier and funnier EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it. It's one of those movies you can quote and in a group of ten, there's a good shot at least a couple of them will know what you are referencing---or just finish the quote. Dumb and Dumber is the same way-- stupid, yes, but brilliant. D & D was the first of that type of "dumb humor" movie I ever watched, and I'm so glad I watched it with my brother! He told me, right before starting the movie--this movie is stupid, there's no real plot, and it doesn't end with a moral. If you expect it to be smart, you're going to hate it. Anticipate the stupid humor, and go with it. Best advice ever. Movies that are just for fun and don't require you to twist together intricate story lines--or really, even think at all--can just be the best sometimes. I still think of Brent's advice when I see a movie that I know is meant to be stupid , and leave the movie totally stoked that I learned absolutely nothing, but totally got my laugh on.

25) Clueless (for so, so many epic reasons. Classic.)

Well, as per usual, turns out I had a lot to say on just one topic, so I'll leave it with just movies on this one! Still to come, music (artist, song, genre), books, memories, websites...and I'm sure I'll think of more in the mean time. This was fun though--just have to head to work now, so I'll bid you all adieu :) ...For now...