“Do you remember the movie we watched in college–the one I liked so much?” my dear friend Laura called to ask the other day. In an instant, I had returned the correct answer–the movie in question was Highlander. In the 80s, Laura had rented the film on VHS and several of us had crowded around the college’s rec room to see it. When we finished the movie, my friend insisted that we watch it again. After the second showing, a third viewing ensued. I’m not sure why college students had so much time to watch the same movie three times in a row, but we did. By the time we were finished, it was almost midnight. “I have to get the soundtrack,” said Laura. She was enchanted by Queen’s A Kind of Magic album, which served as the movie’s soundtrack, and in particular, the song titled Who Wants to Live Forever. A few of us piled into Laura’s Chevy Chevette and headed off to a late night record store in the middle of San Antonio. With a cassette tape finally in her possession, Laura proceeded to play Who Wants to Live Forever about a thousand times to anyone who would listen. How could I forget?
It turns out that Laura had called the other day to say that she had just learned that her husband liked the movie as much as she did. In her eyes, their shared affinity for this one movie overwhelming validated their compatibility as a married couple. There was never any doubt in my mind or in hers, but it was funny to think that movies might serve as this kind of proxy. What can someone discern about a person by knowing his or her favorite movies? It’s certainly something interesting to contemplate.
For the record, here are some of my movie favorites. Except for #1, they are listed in no particular order. Should my (future) husband agree?
#1: Heaven Can Wait (1978). Yup, this is my all-time favorite movie. It’s sort of comic representation on the philosophical mind-body problem in the midst of a love story. The alto saxophone in the soundtrack sets a really unique mood for the film.
Stand & Deliver. A true story, anyone in or around the teaching profession has to appreciate the challenges of a school/class turn-around. Plus, Lou Diamond Phillips and I share an alma mater.
The Red Violin. Sort of a violin-does-time-travel movie, but chronological. It’s not a surprise that a violin player like me likes this movie, but anyone with an appreciation for antiques would love this film. The Joshua Bell soundtrack is fantastic.
Remember the Titans. Another true story, this film demonstrates the challenges of diversity on the grid iron in the midst of the civil rights movement.
Platoon. For the Vietnam veterans who never received the “thank you” that they deserved. Here’s a good look at what a war meant for ground troops serving a divided nation. May we never forget their sacrifice.
Dances with Wolves. A poignant reminder that early Americans behaved badly (an understatement) toward both the American Indians and their land. Has anything changed?
The Snow Walker. Just try to survive in the Alaska on your own. Go ahead, try it, and hope that someone helps you.
Little Shop of Horrors. Don’t feed the plants! This movie musical was almost better than it was on off-broadway. I’m sorry Mr. Mushnick!
U-571. The gorgeous Matthew McConaughey learns what it takes to command a submarine. A great history lesson, too, as World War II cryptography takes center stage.
The Terminator. What girl wouldn’t want someone like (the character) Reese to come from the future to rescue her? So much for the three laws of robotics; Arnold was a real bastard.
Cinema Paradiso. It really is about the magic of the movies…in Italian!
War Games. It’s amazing what you could do with a 300 baud modem. Play a game, maybe??
Semshook. A poet’s journey back to his Tibetan homeland. One of my film festival favorites!
Ferrari Dino Girl. A Czech film that was shown at Cinequest. An incredibly original way to tell the story of the Soviet invasion of Prague. I wish this film had broader distribution as the filmmaker had incredible talent.
John Adams. Not exactly a movie, but rather a made-for-cable series. A stunning tribute to one of our nation’s forefathers. Politics was a dirty business…and still is, but sometimes we get things right.
Shakespeare in Love. Historians and academics do not really know much about the great master, so this is a comical adaptation of what might have been.
Life as a House. You have to admire how all the complexities of a difficult family situation can succumb to the vortex of a house.
Ordinary People. The movie might actually be better than the book. Families don’t always deal with grief well. Oh, Bucky!
The Deep. Another film festival favorite. A true story…in Icelandic!