Desert Island Movies
There are fantastic movies and there are movies that a person can watch over and over again. Below is the list of movies that I would like to have with me if ever I were stranded on a desert island. They may not be the greatest films ever produced, but these are my most watchables.
David Lean is one of my all-time favorite directors and my all-time favorite David Lean movie is Dr. Zhivago. I don't even want to hazard a guess as to how many times I have seen this movie.
The epic story with the Russian Revolution as its backdrop, the stunning cinematography, the gorgeous Julie Christie and Omar Sharif playing characters whose love is so strong it defies the universe - what more does one need in a film?
The Year of Living Dangerously
Mel Gibson first caught my attention in Gallipoli and then he sealed the deal in The Year of Living Dangerously.
This film combines a steamy, steamy romance with an intriguing look at a political story in a part of the world that is off most westerners' radars. Gibson and Sigourney Weaver give great performances, but it was Linda Hunt who stole the show with her Oscar-winning turn.
9 1/2 Weeks
Speaking of steamy, viewing 9 1/2 Weeks has been known to steam up my contact lenses. People seem to either love or hate this soft porn flick, but I love it, though I am a little embarrassed to say I have probably seen this movie more times than I have seen Dr. Zhivago.
Mickey Rourke is at his most delish ever and Kim Bassinger's character's awakening awakened a lot of something-something in a lot of women. The filmmakers understood what women want in an erotic film. And the cinematography's not so bad.
An Affair to Remember
From soft porn to classic romance, An Affair to Remember is on most women's lists of favorite chick flicks. Many may not be aware that this film is a remake of the 1939 film, Love Affair, starring Irene Dunn and Charles Boyer. And then there was the much later remake of Love Affair with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (1994).
But it's Cary Grant's charm and chemistry with the Deborah Kerr that makes this version so special.
A desert island banishment would be incomplete without Casablanca. I have never quite understood Humphrey Bogart's appeal, but I could watch him in this film endlessly, especially when the film also stars the mesmerizing Ingrid Bergman and a story centering on the Resistance in World War II. I'm not sure what it is, but I just adore movies about the Resistance. This movie was made at a time when doing the right thing seemed to be so much clearer than it is today. Love, love, love it.
There is nothing better than a movie with smart gorgeous people, speaking smart gorgeous dialogue while falling in love on a train in Europe.
What I adore about director Richard Linklater is his refusal to "dumb down" his art and, yet, this is a very accessible and joyously delightful romance starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, both of whom have charisma oozing out of their pores. The sequel, Before Sunset, (came out nine years later) is just, if not more divine. I am praying for at least one more film with this duo to complete the story.
I love, love, love a good ghost story that doesn't require special effects to scare the living daylights out of you.
Based on Henry James' book, The Turn of the Screw, and set in Victorian England, Deborah Kerr gives an outstanding performance as a repressed governess whose two young charges are acting particularly unusual. But are the children behaving strangely or is Kerr's character so damaged that she's created her own reality? I'll never tell.
There are some movies one sees as a child that affect you for life. For eg., multitudes of decades after having seen The Wizard of Oz, I still have the occasional nightmare about tornadoes. And after having seen The Haunting, to this day, I can't sleep in a bed with a hand or foot dangling off the edge.
There's nothing grizzly in this movie, no wacko special effects (like in the 1999 remake of this film), and yet it is one of the most haunting movies I have ever seen. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
3 Days of the Condor
Who doesn't enjoy a great action thriller? And who doesn't enjoy s great action thriller directed by Sydney Pollock and starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in their prime?
Redford plays a CIA agent who reads magazines, books and newspapers to find hidden meanings and messages in the literature. He heads out for lunch one day and returns to find all his colleagues assassinated. And then the fun begins.
All the President's Men
I can never get too much of Robert Redford or of a political thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat even when you know the final outcome.
The story of the two Washington Post journalists who exposed the Watergate scandal and led to the impeachment of the President of the United States is told with such skill that this film never grows old to me.
The Breakfast Club
You normally have to strap me down to watch a teen movie, but the much-missed John Hughes elevated the genre to a different level. And the best of his series, in my humble opinion, is The Breakfast Club.
Hughes' ensemble casting is spot on as are the character portraits of stereotypical North American teen archetypes. I have so much fun every time I see this film and its poignant moments continue to touch me. And I will never tire of Simple Minds' closing song, Don't You Forget About Me.