Sometimes, believe it or not, I find myself actually wracking my brain with things to write about. Writing, and writing a blog in particular, is a weird sort of phenomenon. At times, my fingers can't move fast enough to capture all the things that I want to share with you all. My brain speeds up with excitement thinking about all the many topics I have to scribe. And then there are other times, days, weeks or even months, when the notion of writing almost seems like a foreign entity. Well, maybe not foreign but not at the top of my list. Sometimes during those rare times, I find myself filling the time I might otherwise spend writing, watching movies.
After all, to me, there is nothing better than escaping into the stories and lives of other people if only for a couple hours at a time. Life is so full of challenges, confusion, bills to be paid, garbages to be emptied, decks to write and emails to file... and sometimes the best thing is just to sit back and escape for a bit.
So, with that long-winded intro under way, I give you the list of my top 15 favorite movies of all time. Enjoy.
1. The Talented Mr Ripley. So clearly deserving of the #1 spot on the list. TTMR is, for me, the ideal movie. A psychological thriller, an A-list cast with Matt Damon, PSH, Cate Blanchett and Jude Law (how much better can you get than that?!), twists, turns and a setting in the heart of Italia. Absolute perfection on screen.
2. Beaches. If you know me at all, you will know I had a rough time placing this in the #2 spot. It was a hard decision but ultimately I had to decide. Watching Beaches from the time I was a measly 11 years old to now is one of my most precious pastimes. Beaches, the story of best friends CC and Hillary, is so much more to me than a movie. Beaches introduced me to the glory of Bette Midler, the first in my lifetime of diva loves. There is nothing better than Miss M as CC Bloom in this beautiful story of friendship, truth and, at the core, life. So much love.
3. Match Point. Like TTMR, another fucked up psychological thriller (yes, you will see a clear theme emerging here), this one from the equally fucked up Woody Allen. Love him a lot, though... his films, that is. British tennis players, a hot ScarJo, and a mind-bending plot unparalleled to anything previous from Woody Allen. Loves it.
4. Blue Jasmine. Probably the most recent film to occupy a spot on my coveted list. Another theme - I love Cate Blanchett. (See #5 as well). Woody Allen brings the psychological drama again, this time in an interpersonal drama woven with themes of financial fraud, mental illness, family, and friends. Became an instant classic the first time I saw it in the theater.
5. The Aviator. Next emerging theme: the god that is Leonardo DiCaprio. Beautiful and talented Leo playing deranged and yet brilliant Howard Hughes is utterly mesmerizing. Add to that the cast of his women, including Ms. Blanchett as a spot-on Kathryn Hepburn, his crew of aviary pals and retro sets, I could and have watched The Aviator on repeat.
6. Side Effects. Will keep this short and sweet, A great psychology lover's movie. Rooney Mara's twisted character, her, ahem, ill-fated late husband, the twisted relationship with Dr. Shrink Jude Law and the always lovely other Dr. Shrink Catherine Zeta Jones...there's all of that. Need I say more?
7. Black Swan. Yes. Please. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Ballet. Bloody feathers. Swan Lake music. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it. Epic and classic ballet thriller. So much love for this movie.
8. Funny Girl. One of the lovely Ms. Streisand's first films. Ain't nothing like her. Barbra IS Fanny Brice and plays her like no other. Hello, gorgeous!
9. The Way We Were. This should actually fall above #8 but somehow it landed at #9, likely due to chronological reasons. My personal absolute favorite in the catalog of Ms. Streisand's work. And, please, is there anything better than a young and gorgeous Robert Redford playing her goyisha love interest? Hubbel and Katie take the 60's in this movie... and my heart.
10. Doubt. I was introduced to this intelligent story when I saw it on the Broadway stage with my lovely mother. I love this story because rather than telling us the answers, dictating the takeaway, it allows us to create our own inferences, stories and endings. Telling the story of a priest and teachers at a Catholic school, Doubt inspires just that in its viewers. The late and amazing Philip Seymour Hoffman facing off with a habit-wearing Sister Meryl Streep is an unparalleled viewing experience. Everyone should watch this movie and take it to heart. "Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty."
11. The Devil Wears Prada. Well, yeah. Classic Meryl Streep as, ahem, not Anna Wintour. Obviously it was Anna Wintour, you know, in movie form with gray hair. Fashion, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Ms. Streep. Epicness. I needn't say more.
12. Terms of Endearment. I am confident all are familiar with the sob story that is Terms of Endearment. I have seen it in the double digits, I know the ending and every time, the water works are inevitable.
13. Catch Me If You Can. My personal favorite Martin Scorsese/Leo DiCaprio piece. Leo's ever-changing Frank, trying to flee the law from his repeated illegal acts, is, to me, acting incarnate. Solid solid story and even better performances.
14, The Rose. Miss Midler playing Janis Joplin-esque rocker Rose. Think baudy singing, drugs and drinking galore and Bette in her hey day. Her first film, her first Oscar, if you haven't seen it, it should be your first Midler movie. Just trust me.
15. Vicky Christina Barcelona, Love this Woody Allen piece. Kitschy, fun, great scenery, good cast. Enjoyable but yes, the last on my list.
Phew, that was intense. My hope is if you have not had the pleasure of seeing any of the above, that you do so immediately. Movies are life and these are some of the best.
Happy Friday, happy Valentine's Day, and happy long weekend, all!