Because I did the novels that changed my life, I have to do a movie equivalent. Now, these are not necessarily my FAVORITE movies. Many of these are ones I cannot bear to watch more than once, maybe twice, because they affected me so profoundly.
Since I had a longer list for the movies, I am breaking it up into four parts – don’t want to torture you by making this blog post as long as a short story. Here are the first 5 movies that blew my mind (as with the books, these titles appear in no particular order):
1. Blue Valentine – (directed by Derek Cianfrance, starring Ryan Gosling & Michelle Williams)
This has got to be one of the most wrenching movies I’ve seen in recent years. A memorable and frightening portrait of a disintegrating marriage. How Gosling and Williams did not win an avalanche of awards for their roles is beyond me.
2. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis & Olivia de Havilland)
Why do they not make movies like this anymore? Oh, sure they make lots of movies about insane people, but they are all gore-laden horror flicks or righteous profiles of geniuses. What about the everyday crazy people and the relatives who… love them? True creep and amazing performances.
3. The Prestige – (directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale)
While I’m sure a lot of my fascination with this movie can be put down to my fascination with Christian Bale, this movie moved me because of its unclear focus on a villain/hero. Who is the real victim in this story? I love the ambiguity of the characters. You love them even though they are doing horrible things; hate them even though they do heroic acts. You’re never allowed to settle onto a side.
4. The Heiress – (directed by William Wyler, starring Olivia de Havilland & Montgomery Cliff)
One of the rare occasions when the movie is worlds better than the book (seriously, Washington Square by Henry James is a total suck-fest. I mean it, it’s really bad). Every time I watch Katherine Sloper walk up those flights of stairs after being abandoned by her lover, my shoulders droop in sympathy. Olivia de Havilland is aces in this and the story really flew with Wyler at the helm and the team of writers they had resurrect it from James’ mess.
5. Napoleon Dynamite – (directed by Jared Hess, starring Jon Heder)
I’d say any movie that can make me laugh with the line, “Napoleon, don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I’m training to be a cage fighter” is a total win. Don’t ask me why I giggle hysterically at it. Just go with the crazy.
That’s all for now, folks!