I click into the profiles of bloggers I read because I like to think their choices there give me an insight into their personalities. For instance, favorite movies. I don't go to movies much, so I can't discern much about the movies most (younger) bloggers choose. Consider the screamingly funny twenty-something Kelly in Chicago. Fight Club. Sin City. Donnie Darko. Never seen any of 'em. The title of her triathlete's blog offers me more insight into how purposefully humorous she is, This is a horrible idea...
My local tri friend DC Rainmaker is so busy with his interests, bicycling, running, swimming, technology, food, travel, writing, photography, etc. that he doesn't even list movies. Who's got two hours to spare? Old School Runner, another local blogger who writes excellent posts (his review of The Joshua Tree upon its twenty year anniversary kicked-started my static musical tastes all the way from the Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out into the eighties) doesn't list anything on his profile. He's very serious, I surmise.
For 2007, I listed my favorite movies as Shane (You talkin' to me?), 2001 (Open the door, HAL), Alien (Here, kitty, kitty), Platoon (I like it here), Fargo (Funny lookin', huh?) and Chicago (Pop, six, squish, uh uh, cicero, lipschitz). One for each decade of my life, see? The fifties to the ohs. I thought they said a lot about me. I fantasize that Shane was the first movie my Dad ever took me to (the small boy in me just remembers that it was some western with an incredible shootout). I'll never forget the night on Staten Island in 1969 when I saw the incredible 2001, nor the afternoon in Greenwich Village in 1972 when I saw it again and figured out, with a little help, that HAL sounds so soothing and otherworldly because the stereo tracks of its voice are very slightly out of sync. All of those movies are special to me for some reason or another.
For 2008, I listed Forbidden Planet, Dr. Strangelove, The Conversation, Blade Runner, Saving Private Ryan and Sideways as my favorite movies. I remember watching Forbidden Planet, which is really The Tempest set in space, over and over again on TV as a boy because it was often on Million Dollar Movie, a space-filler in early TV programing that repeated itself all weekend long. The terrible (invisible) creature would come walking up to the perimeter of the space colony, depicted as a series of advancing deep footprints, while the colonists inside quaked with fear and fought amongst themselves. Monsters from the id! I had no idea what that meant but it sure was a powerful force to be overcome.
Dr. Strangelove, what a movie! After Slim Pickens leaves James Earl Jones and goes off to final combat with the Russkies riding atop an A-bomb, Peter Sellers is left to contemplate life in the bottom of a missile silo for 150 years with certain other select superior beings, bringing along of course some animals to slaughter! This follows his admonition to George C. Scott that there is no fighting in the war room and precedes his witnessing the miracle of Peter Sellers walking again for his fuhrer! Those paranoid times have returned, by the way, thanks to W's constant harping upon how we all cravenly covet our safety above even our ideals.
The Conversation is about paranoia, created by the false reliance upon and worship of technology. The hunter gets trapped. Technology overpowers its users. Gene Hackman sitting alone at the end, playing his saxophone in his torn-apart empty apartment, confirms for me the suspicion and mistrust with which I view our technological advances. Who is not now a slave to his or her blackberry, ipod or cell phone?
Blade Runner is a beautiful sci-fi movie. Gripping, suspenseful, and mysterious. Harrison Ford drives off into the sunset at the end with the girl, but does he really? Are any problems ever finally resolved?
Saving Private Ryan is the best WWII combat movie, bar none. Watching Tom Hanks overcoming his hidden fears while offering up the final sacrifice as he does what is right, not merely what is expedient, is like watching a primer on where we as a society came from and hope to return to. I will never forget the spectacle of all those brave men walking ashore onto Omaha Beach as devastation and horror whirled all around them, or the American sniper beseeching the aid of his deity as he sought to be a surer, straighter and swifter shot than the German sniper taking simultaneous aim at him. When he took out the Nazi, I felt glad!
Sideways is to me a very funny movie. I understand that many women aren't impressed by it because really, both men are such cads. But I love the moment when Thomas Haden Church, having sat through Paul Giamatti's interminable pomposity in describing a glass of wine with all its colors, scents, swirling legs etc., asks, glass poised at his lips, Can we drink it now? Life is imperfect. Life is complicated. This movie reflects that
As soon as I think up six more movies very important to me, each covering a decade that I have lived in, I'll post them on my profile, for their relegation to anonymity there.