Saturday, March 6, 2010


For anybody still hanging around here, be forewarned that posting will be even more intermittent for the next week. Intellikid is home for Spring break, and I'm planning to spend as much quality time with her as possible before I have to schlep off to Columbus, OH on Wednesday for a conference.

Meanwhile, the countdown to "50" goes on. Impending birthdays - and "milestone" birthdays in particular - seem to be natural occasions for reflection and remembering. Some of my earliest memories are surely the product of being told a certain story over & over again and not a true recollection, but I think that sensory memories must be the real deal. One of my earliest visual memories dates to when I was about 2 years old, watching the opening of a drive-in movie from the backseat of the old green Plymouth sedan my dad had (presumably acquired when he became a family man, and his sporty Alfa Romeo didn't comfortably or safely transport a wife and two kids). I can recall the title of the movie, "Fanny," which I thought was hilarious. Who would name a girl after a heiney? I don't remember anything else about the film, unfortunately -- dressed in our pajamas and bundled into a makeshift bed in the car, my younger sister and I slept through the rest of the movie.

But back to the "50" theme: I decided to avoid doing some productive work the other day and instead attempted to list 50 of my favorite movies. They are not by any means what I would claim to be the greatest of all time, but are instead films that touched, amused, distracted, disturbed, or otherwise entertained me enough that I would watch them more than once (if I haven't already).

The list is nothing if not eclectic:

2001: A Space Odyssey
A Boy and His Dog
A Fish Called Wanda
A Walk in the Clouds
Across the Universe
Bambi Meets Godzilla
Bread and Tulips
Chicken Run
Coming Home
Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Zhivago
Grey Gardens (the Maysles Bros' original)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Harold and Maude
Lord of the Rings (have to re-watch all to pick my fave of the 3)
Love, Actually
On Golden Pond
One flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Romeo and Juliet
Scotland, PA
Singin' in the Rain
Sophie's Choice
Spirited Away
The Big Chill
The Bird Cage
The Birds
The Blues Brothers
The Commitments
The Full Monty
The Life of Brian
The Man Who Knew Too Little
The Mouse That Roared
The Princess Bride
The Remains of the Day
The Sound of Music
Tom Jones (Why is this the only scene I can remember?)
Toy Story II
What about Bob?
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
*(Something Marx Brothers' - can't decide on a favorite)
*(Something of John Waters' - can't decide what's not too gross to admit liking :-))


  1. I've only seen nineteen of those. I don't think I could (okay, or want to) make a list of fifty movies that I've seen, never mind fifty favorites.

    But the nineteen of your list that I've seen, I really liked :-)

    Wait, no Star Trek or Star Wars?

  2. We'll have to compare notes sometime, Doug ;-)

    (And for the record, I really like the Star Trek original TV series in all its cheesy glory better than the movies, and the original Star Wars movie almost made the list. I would be willing to nudge aside "Bambi Meets Godzilla" to make room for it.)

  3. Bambi and Godzilla must make a cute couple, wot?

  4. I truly love your description of the drive-in remembrance.

    I need to digest the movie list, many of which I would agree. Need to get back to you though. One quick note on a missing classic...Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Beyond funk.

    Sorry I'm in such a hurry. Back manana.

  5. Jaded, I haven't seen "Killer Tomatoes" yet...but there are lots of movies I haven't seen yet. I'll add it to my "to watch" list.

  6. Hey, I'm still working on the first cup of coffee, so not in gear yet.

    Tomatoes is possibly the worse movie ever made...which is why I like it. No, let me amend that. The leading candidate may be, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, featuring Pia Zadora. Need I say more?

    I am feeling a blog subject materializing. Hmmm.

    BTW, my all time favorite is on your list...Casablanca.

  7. Forgot...hope you're having a great Sunday with intellikid.

  8. Enjoy your time with your daughter, and make some new memories!

    You raised an interesting point, and one I was just addressing with a friend via email. This has to do with the show Mad Men, in one episode the Kennedy assassination was covered, and in online discussion, people came out of the woodwork to share their specific memories of the day.

    One woman kept insisting that the show had gotten a weather related detail wrong. She remembered the day perfectly, right down to what she was wearing when her grade school teacher announced the news. She was adamant, the show had gotten something wrong.

    Finally, another person went and found archived data online about this detail -- the show had been right, this poor woman wrong.

    No big deal, right? Only...this poor woman had to face the fact that the image in her mind, the memory that existed in perfect clarity was something she constructed. It really threw her into a tailspin because she began to question her other memories.

    It was fascinating, but also quite sad until we turned the conversation to, "Why do you suppose you remember it that way? Why did your memory insert warmth, sunshine, a sundress?" and that helped. She finally concluded that on the day in question, she felt robbed of her feeling of security, and safety.

    Just saying, as you ponder, and wonder about the slippery quality of memory...that's you trying to tell yourself something about your own journey through life. The accuracy of our memories being a questionable thing, but the specifics of them can be very revealing about what we felt, and why.

    Whatever you are remembering, you remember it for a reason specific to you. Our memories are sort of like our self-narrative. I think it is important to look back on them...often we're charting our growth with them.

  9. Dirty Dozen
    the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    a Fist Full of Dollars
    a Few Dollars more
    seven Samurai
    Jewels and Gem (come on now)
    Wild Strawberries
    Black Orpheus
    Day at the Races.
    Night at the Opera
    Aminal Crackers
    and a few more that slip away.

  10. I can hardly stand anymore, so I posted some pictures for you. When my brain is sufficiently recovered, I'll write some words for you.


And you thought...