I love movies. Having a physical handicap as a child, movies were my window to the world. My family would all sit or lie down and watch movies on the black and white TV nearly everyday. Then in summer, the Junior College would show free movies in the theater. My Mom, sisters, brother, and I would pile into the car and drive the 15 miles to see Bogart in 'Sahara'. It was great.
Choosing the five movies below has been very difficult; more difficult than I had first thought. Many great movies came to mind: Patton, Little Big Man, Airplane, Young Frankenstein, The African Queen, Being There, The Mouse That Roared, Ben-Hur, Gandhi, High Noon, Inherit the Wind, Lion in Winter, The Maltese Falcon, The Quiet Man, To Kill a Mockingbird, Unforgiven, Casablanca, and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension. All are great flicks and I see them whenever I can. But these are films that, I would suppose, are commonly listed.
So, herewith, are my MOVIE MEME choices:
1. Number of movies I own: 25 (not an owner kind of guy.)
2. Last film purchased: "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet. But if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder.
Your choice is simple.
Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration.
We will be waiting for your answer."
This film resonates even more today than it did during the Cold War.
3. Last film seen in a theater: "The War of the Worlds"
In the 1953 version, I was rooting for the heroes Gene Barry and Ann Robinson because they were sympathetic characters. In the Tom Cruise 2005 film, even though Gene Barry and Ann Robinson played the grandparents at the end of the movie, I was rooting for the aliens.
All in all, I recommend people sit down and watch the 1938 radio broadcast.
4. Five movies that I watch a lot/mean a lot to me: (Because I'm old and my film history spans the whole of American film history, I will cheat by listing 10 films - 5 each from the 1st and 2nd half of the 20th century. The films of the 21st century aren't old enough to be memorable.)
Paths of Glory, 1957. Kirk Douglas plays a French military lawyer in a tale of cowardice and the futility of war during WWI. The favorite song of all sides in the war, Lili Marlene is sung in very haunting scene filled with longing and ennui.
The Caine Mutiny, 1954. A mentally unstable US Naval Captain (Humphrey Bogart) jeopardizes the ship and is relieved of command by his 1st officer (Fred MacMurray) and faces a courts martial. "Then there was the strawberry incident."
12 Angry Men, 1957. Henry Fonda as Juror #8, convinces the other jurors the case is not as obvious as they first thought. #8 investigates on his own and turns up evidence that causes doubt. Today he would be dismissed from the jury, possibly charged with a crime and the case retried.
Marty, 1954. A lonely butcher ( Ernest Borgnine) is approaching middle-age and his mother is hounding him about getting married. "But, Ma! I been to the bars, I been to the dances! All I get is hurt! I don't wanna get hurt no more!."
Bad Day at Black Rock, 1955. A one-armed man (Spencer Tracy) arrives in a small town that has a big secret. He quickly becomes the object of fear, hatred, and a murder plot. All he wanted to do was present a posthumous military award to the family of a slain WWII soldier.
Red Rock West, 1992. Nicolas Cage arrives in a Wyoming town and is mistaken by the sheriff to be the hitman he has hired to kill his wife. Then the real hitman (Dennis Hopper) shows up. Very funny, quirky Cage movie before he was famous.
Twin Falls Idaho, 1999. Francis and Blake Falls (Michael Polish, Mark Polish) are Siamese twins who live in a neat little room in a rundown hotel. Having never experienced sex, they determine to hire a prostitute on their birthday. She is freaked out, but comes back...she forgot her purse. This is a very funny, sad, and touching story of fate and acceptance that challenges our conceptions of normalcy.
Savior, 1998. A US Embassy security official (Dennis Quaid) witnesses the death of his wife and son when a terrorist bomb explodes at a Parisian cafe. He runs down the street to the neighborhood Mosque where he kills all of the men at prayer. He disappears into the French Foreign Legion on a mission in war torn Yugoslavia killing Muslims with the Serbians. His chance for redemption is a young Christian woman who wants to kill her unborn child - the result of rape by a Muslim soldier. One of the most brutal war films ever made.
American History X, 1998. A neo-nazi, Derek (Edward Norton), goes to prison after committing a brutal murder of a blackman. In prison he is befriended by a young minority man. When Derek is released, he finds his little brother getting caught up in the same web of racism and hate that sent him to prison. Derek tries to keep his brother from the same mistakes. A very hard hitting film made all the more stark by the use of black and white for the flashbacks.
Rocky, 1976. A small time boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets the chance to fight the heavyweight champion in what is supposed to be a publicity stunt. Rocky discovers that with work, determination, and a goal (his girl, Adrian) he can win the bout and gain the self-respect that has always elluded him. Not every boxing movie causes the viewer to throw shadow punches and cheer in the theater, but this one did and still does. You can't help but feel terrific at the end.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.