Saturday, November 19, 2016

My 10 All-Time Favorite Movies

In the last few months, I've been steering my blog/newsletter more and more into the territory of what's commonly known as a lifestyle blog. I want to be sure that I'm talking to you guys about my books in a way that you can relate to, but I also really want to create a community where you feel like you know me in some ways - and through your comments and emails, I'll get to know you in some ways, too. In addition to that, I'd like to be able to talk about more than just books, because my life in itself is much more than the stories I write. And to that end, I know that your life is much more than just the books you love to read.

So far, I like the way that's been going - I like that I get to exercise my non-fiction writing muscles when I pull articles together about positivity and mental health, I like that I can talk to you guys about my books and my journey as a publisher, and I like that this new direction means I can write more casual things more often - like my Top Ten lists, my favorite things that month, my wishlist items, my ... everything.

But my favorite thing about all of those possibilities is that I can do it in a way that's fun for everyone here, I still get to use and explore my own voice, and, judging from the page views on this site, you guys seem to enjoy the new format too.

So today, I thought it would be fun to share my top ten all-time favorite movies with you, along with what I love best about these movies in particular. Make sure you leave me a comment below to share which of these movies is your favorite - or if my enthusiasm helped you find a new movie to love. Maybe even a new movie for someone else to love? Christmas is on its way too, so any of these movies might make a great gift!

So, without further ado:

01.) Grease - big surprise, right? I still remember how I felt when I first saw this movie, how much I loved the characters, the actors, the songs. The story. The costumes. Over the years, I learned new little factoids and interesting tidbits about the story, and I've only grown more obsessed -- but Grease 2? No. It's just not Grease.

Did you know that when they filmed the scene at the end of the movie where Sandy is all dolled up for Danny, they had to sew her into those pants? Also, the "hickey from Kenickie?" Those were real -- Jeff Conoway insisted that they must be, and insisted on applying them himself.

Little things like that make the film richer for me -- it's like I have little inside jokes with the movie itself somehow. Strange, I know, but those little things are actually why this movie is my number one top favorite of all time. I can't not watch it ... if it's on tv and I know, I'm watching. If the movie is handy to me, I'm putting it in. If you invite me to see it, I'm probably going to be there. I even watched Grease Live ... and despite the crowd of people around me who hated it because it was different from the original, I loved it for nostalgia's sake. And, I learned a few little facts about it too, so I guess that's the ticket for me. Besides which, learning what I learned about Grease Live left me with some serious respect now Vanessa Hudgens that can never be shaken. The girl has work ethic, for real.

02.) Next up, Dirty Dancing - I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with this movie, and it's probably the entire reason that I love dance so much, even though I can't actually dance. I want to learn ballroom dancing, but not the boring kind. I want to learn the sexy kind, the kind that makes your skin heat up and your heartbeat trip over itself -- and I'd be willing to bet that if I could go back through the formation of that particular part of my personality, I'd see a mental image of something from this movie.

It's just so iconic ... the forbidden first love, the passion and excitement. The watermelon scene where I felt just like Baby because I always felt like an awkward girl. The ... everything. I don't even have words for it, you guys. And the part at the end where Johnny has to stand up to her dad because he's being misjudged?? That he had the courage to do that, for her? Seriously? I swoon for real, and don't even get me started on that last dance. The scene was beautifully executed, the chemistry felt exactly right between Johnny and Baby, the dancing was sexy and beautiful ... and when it ended with Baby being a total badass and her family having to finally accept her as a young woman in spite of the name she couldn't escape?! Love. That's all. I just love it. In fact, I love it so much that I'm actually pissed off about the remake and will probably refuse to ever watch it.

03.) Annie - I can hardly find the words to express how much I love this classic - or why. The old sweet story of a lost orphan girl finding the most perfect home through nothing more than sheer luck and irresistible charm has always been one close to my heart. The music, the story, the actors, everything. The moment when Oliver Warbucks realized he was in love with Grace, the secretary who guilted him into keeping Annie in the first place ... the acting, the ... everything. I still love everything about that movie.

When I was little, I sang the music along with the movie, and often had the songs "stuck" in my mind long after the movie was over ("Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you're only a day away ..."). Now, as a mother of two daughters, I still get the music from the movie stuck in my head, though now and then it's a bit different ("Little girls, little girls ..."). I still remember being a little scandalized as a little girl, watching Miss Hannigan pouring booze into her bathwater, and I remember being sad for all the other orphans who didn't get to go with Annie. It still brings me to the edge of my seat to watch Annie struggling to get away from Rooster. What a jackass that guy was, huh?

I haven't seen the remake though because the abundance of movie remakes these days is so annoying (why remake something that was already timeless, amirite?) so if you have, leave me a comment and tell me how it compares with the original. Is it good? Am I missing out?

04.) Titanic - I love this movie. Like seriously, there's never going to be a time when I'm not in the mood to watch it; every time it's on tv and I can watch it, I'm there. This is one of the first movies I remember actually seeing in the movie theater, and I actually loved it so much that I went to the theater several times to see it. Once it left the theater and moved to the dollar theater, I went and saw it there twice, too.

Seriously, I love this movie. The Titanic has always been one of my strange fascinations, so I love anything to do with it - the stories about the survivors, the stories about the ship and what happened to it, the stories of undersea exhibitions to recover items from the ship. Books, documentaries, this movie, the museum we have in Pigeon Forge, everything - I love it all.

But even if I wasn't obsessed with the Titanic's historical significance ... Leo and Kate as Jack and Rose? Oh, you guys, there's no going back at that point. Those two had such a beautiful chemistry, and they're both so incredibly talented. You could see sometimes, the little jokes that passed between them during the filming, and I love that they've had a lasting friendship ever since. The movie itself though - suspense, drama, romance, comedy. What more could a girl ask?

05.) Forrest Gump - I'm not sure there's anyone in my world who hasn't seen this movie, and if there is, they'd better not tell me. It's not just the undeniable popularity of this movie, and it's not just my loyalty to all things Tom Hanks. It's the message behind the movie, the lesson behind the lines the actors were paid to memorize. It's the coming to life of a man-child, always innocent in spite of the different things that happened to him, always loving, honest, and open despite the people who hurt him and the traumatic circumstances he lived through. And don't even get me going on how beautifully he loved Jenny.

06.) G.I. Jane - This movie inspired me in so many ways. A lot of you know about my childhood and my mother's second marriage, so I won't go in depth about the way the abuse I saw as a child impacted me as a young woman. But this movie ... watching a woman stand up and compete in a man's environment? Watching her prove her worth and her viability, her strength and her determination to succeed? Watching her work hard and get pissed and finally have to really take a stand? That movie set the stage for me to be able to do those things in my own life.

It set the stage for that something inside me, that spark of defiance in me that allows me to talk about my past, to write about it, to use it now as a way to build my life instead of as a crutch to lean on. Because of this movie, I have to courage to write books like Fighting For Freedom. I've had the courage to stand up to people who would discount my contribution or use me as their personal doormat. Jordan O'Neil was the first to make me believe in the inherent strength of a woman - even in the face of the very worst betrayal.

07.) The Notebook - Another Nicholas Sparks story, because I LOVE his work. For me, the Notebook is one of those timeless love stories, something that sticks in the corners of your heart and gives you hope for the kind of romance we just don't hear about anymore in real life. Summer love turns into something that lasts forever, despite all the obstacles - and there are so many. I loved Noah and his romanticism, Allie and her fiery personality. The fun, old-world feel of the movie itself, the costumes, everything.

I loved the actors together in this too, and felt like they worked together beautifully despite the many stories I have heard about how much Ryan Gosling and Rachel MacAdams hated each other while working on the movie. I confess I did love seeing them together in the press though, and was sad when they ended up breaking things off. I still love watching them work, both together and apart.

08.) Mary Poppins - Oh my gosh, another movie that doesn't need a remake but is getting one anyway. What's with that anyway? Why can't Hollywood ever just leave well enough alone? I mean, it's not like there aren't lots of great stories out there begging to be made into movies, right? And what was wrong with the original Mary Poppins?

Julie Andrews was amazing as Mary Poppins, but perfectly stern and incredibly beautiful in a gentle way that still appeals to children around the world. She and Dick Van Dyke were spectacular together, and the casting for Jane and Michael Banks was spot on. Not to mention the story itself - the wonder of a magical nanny who found exactly the right way to reach a family who needed her touch. Mary Poppins was (and is) a beautiful story, truly kind and witty, very sweet, and fairly pretty.

Because of the chaos in both my parents' homes, I first saw this movie when I was the youngest girl in my house at a group home in Debary, Florida. Due to lack of space, I had been placed in a house with a number of older girls, all in various stages of personal need and distress. In our house, each set of two bedrooms shared a bathroom (they're called "Jack and Jill bathrooms," how cute is that?), and I still vividly remember the girl I shared with. She was a kleptomaniac - but she was the "big sister" who taught me to shave my legs.

09.) Enough - Like G.I. Jane, this movie taught me a lot about my own power as a woman, especially in the way of my right and ability to stand up and defend myself when something pushes beyond the boundaries that I set for myself. Enough touches on domestic violence, but in the most empowering way, and I love the way it portrays Slim's journey back to self-sufficiency. I admired the way she rebuilt her sense of safety, and as a woman experienced in the ways and patterns of domestic abuse, I could easily relate to little things in the movie that other people might have found to be overboard - such as the baby monitors and the physical training.

This is a powerful story, which not only touched on the place inside me that has seen and experienced violent abuse, but also lit a spark of inspiration in me when it comes to my own belief in my ability to persevere.

10.) Save the Last Dance - This movie had a major impact on me as a young woman, and again, gave me something to relate to. I wasn't a dancer and I hadn't experienced the death of a parent, but I had been in interracial relationships, and I had experienced the strangeness that emanates from people on the outside of those relationships. To this day (and especially with the reheating of the old interracial tensions in America) I still proudly align myself with the idea that All Lives Matter, regardless of color, size, or origin, and that NO life matters more than another because of those factors. But perhaps this is because I have seen the deep mocha of a black man's skin against my own, just as I have seen the creamy white of my own skin close beside the olive tan of the Puerto Rican boy named Benny who asked me to run away with him when we were in high school.

Save The Last Dance gave me a great story that touched my heart, a soundtrack that got my blood pumping, a girl I could relate to, and a boy every girl could love. The dancing was both beautiful and inspiring, and the cast was completely on point, and this movie remains a timeless classic.

Let me know in the comments if you've seen any of these movies (and if you're reading this by email newsletter, you can comment here) and which ones you recommend, If you haven't seen them, I hope you'll choose one and give it a try, then come back and tell me what you thought. Runners-up for my list of favorites include: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the Harry Potter Series, A Few Good Men, Something's Gotta Give, Beastly, 10 Things I Hate About You, and many, many more.

Until next week,
Happy Reading (and movie watching),
B.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a (probably very small) compensation. I am, however, committed to only sharing products I genuinely love and trust to be of great quality and value. Any opinions expressed are my own, are 100% honest, and are not affected by my participation in the affiliate program.*

30 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your list. 10 Things I Hate About You is also my runner up movie. When I auditioned for the King and I at age 4, every kid sang "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" but not me...I sang "I'm a little teapot" (look it up if you've never heard it...it's cute). I also liked Dirty Dancing as I was taught ballroom dancing at age 11. I, too, refuse to watch the remake along with the remake of Grease. Enough is also a runner-up movie. I have to say, you're list doesn't surprise me. It's filled with romance and powerful women stories. Here's my list in no particular order:
    1. The Crow (refuse to watch the other ones)
    2. Pretty In Pink
    3. The Breakfast Club
    4. Ferngully (just for fun...I like "Batty"-Robin Williams voice).
    5. Avatar (I have to admit...I watched this movie under protest and ended up loving it!).
    6. Queen of the Damned (Anne Rice book)
    7. The Lost Boys (Started my fascination with vampires)
    8. Underworld (the original...the rest were 'okay' but the original was best)
    9. Hocus Pocus
    10. The Saw series (they all were good to me!)

    Hope you like my list. Let me know what you think but I bet you'll find a common theme in them all...lol!

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    1. What a great response - Thanks for sharing your Top 10 with me! Your comment about my list being filled with romance and power women was awesome too - especially since those themes are largely what I've chosen to build my career (and thus, my life) on.

      I actually haven't seen Pretty in Pink or The Breakfast Club (I know, shame on me, but I just haven't ever taken the time - though strangely, this is not from a lack of desire.) but I did see, and love, your 3, 4, and 5.

      But I will say Anne Rice's vampire stories are SO much richer in book format ... Have you read the Mayfair Witches? They were my favorites from her. You of course know my family's opinion of Hocus Pocus.

      I find that the older I get, the more my interests change from horror to psych thriller ... I just don't appreciate the gore the same way as I used to.

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  2. There was a summer when I just sat and watched Grease over and over and over again with my sister. We must have watched it 2500 times that summer.

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    1. Yeah, I literally see nothing wrong with that. I probably would still do that now!

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  3. This is an epic list, i haven't watched these in Years!! I need to have a movie night and grab one of these older films. They are all amazing.

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  4. These are some awesome movies! I also love Annie--I watched it so many times as a kid that I went through many VHS tapes. Mary Poppins is also a classic--I also enjoy The Sound of Music.

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    1. I've never seen the Sound of Music. I'll have to find it and watch it.

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  5. I really like watching movies with my family. Enough was a really good movie but The Notebook is my favorite! I tend to like more comedy and romantic movies where my husband prefer watching action.

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    1. I like both - I think it depends on the mood for me. I'm like that with music too, though.

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  6. Great choices! I loved these movies as well and I wouldn't mind watching them all over again. Classics like Annie and Mary Poppins are movies that I made sure that my kids watched when they were little!

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  7. It's a great time of year to do movie lists. Loved reading about your favorites.

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  8. Oh, I love Forrest Gump! That is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time too!!

    Abby of Life in the Fash Lane

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    1. It's just such a classic story. I've read the book too - one of the few times I could say without even a shadow of guilt that the movie was better than the book.

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  9. My top three are 1. Spartacus (the original with Kurt Douglas), 2. The Italian Job 3. The Count of Monte Cristo. I love action movies that have beautiful locales.

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    1. The Count of Monte Cristo did have some really stunning footage. I haven't seen your other two, though.

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  10. I love political thrillers and some wacky comedies.

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    1. Is it bad that the closest I've come to a political thriller was probably The Bourne Identity?

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  11. Okay - reading this list makes me want to go on a binge-watching marathon! SO many of my favorites are on your list. I'm the same way - every time I come across any of these in progress on TV, I automatically stop and get sucked in!

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    1. They're just so good - they DEMAND to be watched!

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  12. Definitely agree on the notebook and the titanic! I love romantic movies

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    1. Especially these two - such beautiful stories.

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  13. I like that dirty dancing and save the last dance, made it to your list. I love those two movies. In my other life I am a dancer!

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    1. Mine too!! I love music and rhythm, love dance movies - even love dancing, though I'm not as good as it as I once was.

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  14. I see we have similar taste in movies. My all time favorite are Titanic and Forest Gump!

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  15. I've seen all of these but wouldn't put them as my faves. I like all of them though!

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    1. I'd be curious to see what your faves are - it's always fun being introduced to new movies.

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