A while ago I was tagged to Name 10 Movies that have stayed with you through the years. It has taken me a while but I have finally done it. What stands out for me is that four of the movies that I have listed originated as a print fiction yet there are none that have gone the other way around.
1. Grease – The teen flick that beats all teen flicks. It is the ultimate. Cool kids, geeks, singing, car chases. It has it all. I know that it is all PC to criticise the movie for not being PC and for Sandy caving in to peer pressure but I view the movie differently. Grease is classic romance. Sandy and Danny like each other but they are both caught up on their image. At the end of the movie, it is not only Sandy that gives up her “good girl” image but Danny gives up his “bad boy” image. He letters in track for Sandy. He gives up his leather jacket for the letter jacket. He runs for her! HE RUNS!!! Yet all critics can do is focus on Sandy changing for him. Well, maybe Sandy changed for herself. Maybe she didn’t like living life to society’s expectations of what constitutes “good”. Does she inherently change because she dons the sparkly lycra? A wop-ba-ma-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-NO! She is still cute and giggly as she was at the begininning of the movie. And as for Rizzo. AWESOME! She’s already done and ditched the hero before the movie started. This movie stands out for me because it ultimately says, dress up the way you want, because it makes no difference as to who you are. People will laugh and say mean things regardless. Just do what you want.
2. The Princess Bride – Really? I need to explain myself on this great movie? I judge people on the level of their engagement with Princess Bride. If you don’t get the humour – you’re dead to me. If you tell me that Buttercup is wimpish – I tell you that you have no empathy towards someone that is suffering depression. Every line in this movie is perfection. As is Wesley. As is the King and Andre the Giant and the best marriage celebrant ever that has people in the back row of every wedding saying “Go on! Say Twoo Wuv!”
3. When Harry Met Sally – Two Rob Reiner films in a row! Here is another movie that I know practically line for line. The friends to lovers trope is perhaps one of my romance favourites and I think that all books, movies and TV shows using this trope have this movie as a benchmark. The humour, the relationships, the fighting and that final love declaration are all so moving. And I love the vignettes throughout the movie of every couple’s own story culminating in Harry and Sally discussing their own romance. It makes you want a movie for all the people that went before them. Every time I read a romance I think of the couple as a vignette in When Harry Met Sally.
4. Nightmare on Elm Street – I spent the whole of this movie scrunched in a ball horrified at the action on screen. It is the last horror movie I have ever watched. I refuse to scare myself every again. Life is scary enough without Freddie Kruger haunting me.
5. The Outsiders – Aside from loving SE Hinton’s book (have I told you that she has tweeted to me – BFFs for evs!), the making of this movie was my fangirl stage when there was no terminology for fangirls. I have boxes of Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, 16 and any number of teen mags with Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, C Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Leif Garret, Diane Lane all telling me how this movie is my swag. I am too scared to rewatch it as an adult. 30 years later it could prove a dud! I need to Stay Gold.
6. Zoolander – I have watched this movie over 20 times yet I never ever stop laughing at it. Derek is awesome. My whole family walks around quoting him. One cannot cough without hearing the phrase “I think I have the black lung” and we struggle to take photos that don’t have us posing as Le Tigre, Magnum or Blue Steel. And we all are ambiturners.
7. For Your Eyes Only – I’m going to be unpopular here but Roger Moore is my favourite James Bond. He is cool, corny and my first ever Bond. And one never forgets their first (even if he isn’t the best).
8. Thomas and the Magic Railroad – This is an unremarkable film but it was the film that made me realise that what I considered a hohum moment of tension (Thomas disappears) can be distressing to a child. My son was a complete nutter for Thomas when he was younger. Every night he would line his trains around his bed to go to sleep and every day he watched 2 or 3 episodes. He knew every single train. So when he received the movie I did what all good mums do and used it as a babysitter while I cooked dinner. Towards the end, Peter came in and held my hand, his chin was wobbling and he had tears in his eyes. He told me that Thomas had disappeared. He was gone. I stopped cooking. Turned the oven off and sat with him, promising him that Thomas was going to be OK meanwhile hoping it had a US HEA style ending and not a European style “moral to the story is don’t fuck with magic trains” ending. Luckily for the producers, my distressed child had his fears allayed. And I learnt that I might just have to watch movies with him (thus began my decline in cooking).
9. Greek Movies at the Finos – I struggled with this one. I couldn’t decide between a crying movie (I sobbed sobbed sobbed over The Colour Purple and Cinema Paradiso) or another comedy (Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run or Mike Meyers Austin Powers). But the movie/s that stayed with me the most was the Saturday night double at the Finos Cinema in Enmore (now the Enmore Theatre). The Finos would run Greek films on the weekends. The first was a comedy and the second was a tragedy. There would be intermission so that all the smokers could go out on smoko and us kids would roll Jaffas in the aisles. It was a fashion parade, a pick-up joint, a Greek migrant’s groovy family night out. There was always an Aliki Vouyouklaki movie playing such as Golfo, Maria Pentagiotissa or the fab To Ksilo Vgike apo to Paradeiso. When the Finos burnt down in the 80s we were devastated. It curbed our Saturday night outings. Eventually they reopened and you could only watch from the dress circle while the charred seats on the theatre floor awaited replacement and refurbishment. The films and the film experience have stayed with me ever since.
10. Pillow Talk/Come September/Bringing Up Baby (obviously undecided for number 10 so they are all equal) These are classic romcoms. I adore Gina Lollobrigida in Come September struggling to bring Rock Hudson to heel. She is beautiful. Conversely, Doris Day and her prim and proper ways. I love the urban setting and the snappy dialogue of Pillow Talk taking down the rake. And then there is the incomparable Katherine Hepburn whose voice, laughter and poise made me want to be her. Dammit – I think all women want to be her.