(Part 1 of 2)
My brother and I were on a road trip and, to pass the time away, we tried to list the Top 10 movies of all time.
Three hours passed gloriously, even though we never did agree on the definitive list. Sharing a home for the first 18 years of our lives was no match for the next 30 years out on our own.
So I must declare that this is my own personal list of the Top 10 movies.
I must also declare that any deviation between this list and box office receipts, or the numbers of Oscars awarded, has been heightened dramatically by the fact that Stephen and I are guys.
We like guy movies.
And the “guy-est” movie I can think of is Kelly’s Heroes. None of these characters like each other; they are joined in a mission only to break the law, and yet it is a buddy film. They may dislike each other, but they respect each other for their abilities to blow stuff up.
Clint Eastwood plays the lead and Donald Sutherland (Kiefer’s Dad) was almost unrecognizable as Oddball, a hippy/tank commander. OK, right there, those are the makings of a great film.
A sentimental favourite is The Guns of Navarone. I saw it in the Ross Mine Recreation Centre, in Holtyre, Ontario, about 42 years ago. It was the first non-Disney movie I ever saw on a big screen (well, bigger than our black-and-white television) and that, alone, makes it a favourite.
We sat on metal chairs. The screen fluttered every time someone opened the Emergency Door and the cigarette smoke took the edge off the “living colour” … but it was magical. It had gunfire and explosions and no yucky kissing.
And that guy from Time Tunnel was in the movie. How did Dr. Tony Newman go from a television screen to the big screen? Very confusing for my five-year-old self.
Bull Durham is another guy movie. Kevin Costner plays a cerebral baseball player (he’s a catcher, of course) who must groom a hotshot pitcher played by a very young Tim Robbins.
Now, Kevin Costner gets a lot of flack for being a stiff actor. But, the guy gets paid a thousand times more a year than I do, so I won’t criticize him.
Anyway, his character satisfied a male fantasy that shows how even tough, athletic guys can be sexy in a smart way.
And the old smart guy gets Susan Sarandon in the end.
Alas, not all favourite movies fall into the buddy-flick genre. There is To Sir With Love, in which Sidney Poitier plays a tough teacher.
Yes, a teacher. He isn’t a cowboy or a cop or a soldier … he’s a teacher. And although he is well-spoken and classy, he is still tough.
There are many types of cool, and Mr. Poitier shows us the most enduring type.
Now, for something completely different: Amadeus.
This movie is rich: rich music, rich lighting, rich acting. I was in my early 20s at the time and, so, it would have been the first time I would have used the word “beautiful” to describe a film.
It was also the first time I remember seeing a film skew the timeline for dramatic effect.
Ten years later, Quentin Tarantino took the skewed timeline to another level with Pulp Fiction. The characters are fascinating and the story is compelling … with lots and lots of unapologetic violence and artful swearing.
I have run out of space and yet I still have four more to tell you about. Just as well. You see, the rest can be considered my “guilty pleasures” and don’t really fit with this list.
I will share them with you next week in Part 2.