A lot of people make a distinction between reading books and watching movies, claiming that the former is somehow better, more challenging, or more highbrow than the latter. And while there may be some truth to that, in the end they’re just two different forms of storytelling; they both have the power to challenge, move, and entertain us. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’ve been asked to list our favorite movies or TV shows — but I can’t resist doing both! So I’ll be doing a second post on my favorite TV shows, but for now, here’s a list of ten of my all-time favorite movies (in alphabetical order):
1. “Better Off Dead” — I really enjoy almost all John Cusack movies from the ’80s, but this is definitely my favorite. It’s the bizarrely surreal tale of a teenage boy who is so depressed by his recent breakup that he tries to commit suicide, but he just can’t seem to finish the job. And it’s really funny! Worth watching just for the bits where his mom is cooking something.
2. “Clueless” — What girl who came of age in the ’90s doesn’t love this movie? No girl I want to be friends with, that’s for sure! This deliciously funny satire of the lives of the rich and vacuous also happens to be a very clever adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Plus, Paul Rudd is in it!
3. “An Ideal Husband” — Based on an Oscar Wilde play, this movie is a quintessential British comedy of manners. The cast is terrific, especially Rupert Everett as the idle but smarter-than-he-looks Lord Goring. There’s witty banter, romance, a sinister blackmailing scheme…and of course a very important conversation that takes place under “the usual palm tree!”
4. “Much Ado About Nothing” (Kenneth Branagh version) — My favorite Shakespeare play and a wonderful, exuberant film.
5. “Penelope” — I’m kind of a sucker for whimsy, and this movie is practically exploding with it. Penelope is an aristocratic young woman cursed with a “face like a pig,” and her only hope is to marry a fellow blueblood…except none of them will get near her, until she meets a charming gambler who inspires her to start enjoying life. The romance is very sweet, and I absolutely love the scenery of the movie, with its saturated colors and fairy-tale-esque imagery.
6. “The Philadelphia Story” — I know some people don’t like black-and-white movies, but all I can say is, they are wrong. 🙂 This classic comedy (starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart — you can’t beat that!) involves a young socialite who is about to get married, but the wedding is hijacked by her first husband and a couple of tabloid reporters. Hijinks ensue!
7. “The Princess Bride” — I don’t actually need to explain this one, do I?
8. “Spaceballs” — All I can say is that Mel Brooks is a frickin’ genius. I have probably memorized about 75% of the dialogue from this movie…it’s just that good, people.
9. “Strictly Ballroom” — I’ve never been much of a dancer, but for some reason I’ve always really liked dance movies! This one is a delightful little film set in the unusual world of Australian ballroom dancing. A rising star on the professional circuit teams up with an amateur to create a new style of ballroom for the upcoming competition, but various forces are arrayed against them. Baz Luhrmann directed it, so of course it’s visually gorgeous, but it’s also funny and surprisingly moving!
10. “While You Were Sleeping” — This is just a straight-up romantic comedy that holds sentimental value for me, as I often watched it with my mom growing up. Sandra Bullock plays a lonely young woman who, due to a series of misunderstandings, pretends to be engaged to a comatose man and is embraced by his kooky family. It’s just a nice, heartwarming movie with some wonderful comedy from the supporting cast.
Bonus: “Pride and Prejudice” (Colin Firth version) — It’s technically a miniseries, so I didn’t include it on my “official” list…but let’s face it, I consider this my favorite movie (and not because of the lake scene!). 🙂
So wow, this list is pretty homogenous! All the movies are comedies, and they all incorporate romance to some extent. Maybe that’s shallow of me — and I have loved a lot of darker, grittier movies as well — but I guess I just fundamentally want a happy ending!