Thursday, August 16, 2007

Great Movies

Another cross-post from my family blog:

I have a harder time narrowing down favorite movies than favorite songs. I'm not going to try to number these or rank them.

Dead Poet's Society - I don't like this movie because I want to be a teacher, but it helps. I have always preferred Robin Williams in his more dramatic roles than in his comedies and he really shines here. I love the journey the boys go on and you know that the events in the movie will have an impact on the rest of their lives. Favorite Character - Todd Anderson, the shy, insecure guy always resonated with me. Favorite Moment - The end of course when Todd stands on his desk, saying, "Oh Captain! My Captain!" as Mr. Keating is leaving the classroom. Most of the students then follow suit. A very powerful moment. Memorable Quote - Everybody knows "Carpe diem," so I'll go with "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."

Braveheart - I saw this three times in the theater. This flick really made me think about heroism and revenge and fighting for what you believe in. On top of the great story was the incredible music which is one of the scores that got me into film music. James Horner is the man. Favorite Character - As cool as William Wallace was, Stephen is my favorite character. He taught me that every story can be even better with an insane Irishman. Favorite Moment - At the very end, after Robert the Bruce asks the army to fight with him, Hamish steps forward and with a cry flings Wallace's sword toward the English. It spins through the air as the music rises into a heroic, but mournful crescendo. The English captain shakes his head. The Scots cheer and charge for battle. Memorable Quote - The last line of the movie: "In the Year of Our Lord, 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets; they fought like Scotsmen, and won their freedom."

The Mission - As much as I love this movie and even with the hopeful note at the end, this is one of those movies that almost makes me hate my fellow humans. The scenes at the end as the church and village burn and the helpless villagers are being slaughters, all for political gain, just rips my heart out. I like that this movie does not give easy answers. Mendoza chooses to fight; Gabriel does not and neither one lives. Who was right? Which path was the right one? Which one would I choose? I love a movie that forces me to think and does not draw conclusions for me. It is haunting. This movie is also helped by an incredibl score. Morricone outdid himself here. Favorite Character - Gabriel. His passion and dedication to his beliefs and to helping others are inspirational. Favorite Moment - The child at the end picking up the remnants of a musical instrument before climbing into a boat with other children and heading away from the carnage. It is hopeful, but so depressing. Memorable Quote - Gabriel arguing with Mendoza about how to deal with the coming conflict: "If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that, Rodrigo."

Moulin Rouge! - I saw this six times in the theater. Yeah, yeah, come collect my man-card if you must. I still love this movie. I don't like most romantic comedies or love stories, not because I'm not down with love, but because I don't feel genuine emotion. I don't feel the love that the characters are supposed to be experiencing. I felt in Moulin Rouge, though, in a big way. Maybe it's because love is such a crazy emotion that the over-the-top spectacle of Baz Luhrmann's images combined with perfect use of contemporary songs made this a very moving movie. I felt the connection between Christian and Satine in a way that I almost never do with film romance. Yes, it is a simple, almost childish love, but it is love. Favorite Character - Christian, of course, the "oh-so-talented, charmingly bohemian, tragically impoverished protégé" of the Children of the Revolution. And he had a "huge...talent." Favorite Moment - Christian has met Satine for the first time and is trying to recite his poetry to her while she writhes on the ground pretending to be aroused. Suddenly, he bursts into song and gives her an incredible rendition of Elton John's "Your Song." The two of them dance on cloudy rooftops beneath a smiling, singing moon. Memorable Quote - "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

Fight Club - I saw this one twice at the cinema. I like strange movies with strange characters and this one fit the bill. Palahniuk's book was good, but this was a rare case of the film eclipsing its source. Fincher was the perfect director to capture the dark, morbid, humorous tone of this story. I think Pitt, Norton, and Fincher should have received Oscar nominations. This movie was a powerful exploration of the modern emasculation of men and what could happen if it swung the other way and was completely unchecked. Favorite Character - Tyler Durden is the man. Favorite Moment - The narrator beats himself up, badly, in front of his boss. Memorable Quote - "You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

This is getting long, so I'll just toss out the names of a few others that I don't like any less than the few I've mentioned. Another time, I'll explore what I like about these.

Star Trek II, The Empire Strikes Back, Lord of the Rings, Magnolia, Heat, Dr. Strangelove, Blade Runner, American Beauty, Casablanca. I'm sure I am forgetting a few, but as I said, this is getting rather long-winded.

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