I love movies!
I love action and adventure and comedy and drama and music and plot and animation and suspense and everything else.
Like everyone, I do have a few favorites that I always turn to when I need a little something-something. They all are very different and do something different for me. So in no particular order, I’m going to let you know about my favorite five movies.
1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Willy Wonka, not Charlie. Not that Charlie wasn’t great, but Willy Wonka has Gene Wilder and awesome songs and the Wonkatania scene, which to this day remains one of my favorite LSDish scenes ever. “Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing!” If you have any inclination to the offbeat and you have not yet seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, there is something wrong with you.
I’ve often felt bad because Roald Dahl, the writer of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, did not like how Willy Wonka turned out. He felt that it focussed too much on Wonka, and not enough on Charlie, and that it was too related to selling the then fledgling Willy Wonka Candy Factory. But I just love this movie so much, more than I even love the book. Gene Wilder is one of my favorite actors, and I love the interpretation of Willy Wonka as a slightly twisted, yet benevolent candy man.
2. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Tim Curry in drag and six inch heels. Susan Sarandon stripped down to her undies. Meatloaf on a motorcycle. These are all things that go into the making of a delicious movie that has British humor and killer rock soundtrack. At it’s core, Rocky Horror is a scifi movie with a queer bent, if you’ll forgive the pun. Further than that, Rocky Horror pushed the envelope and asked the audience to acknowledge what in their lives they might have been denying themselves, and whether it was worth it, even as it suggested that lives of excess are just as damaging.
And as I said before, the music is truly awesome, so you should check it out.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Matthew Broderick is classic as the slacker with a heart for adventure and a plan for the best day ever. To be honest, I’m not a Ferris. I’m more of a Cameron, the best friend who gets drug out against his will, and though he enjoys it, never will it be his idea to do the crazy thing like that. (Personally, I think Cameron is the heart of the movie, but I’m pretty biased.)
Ferris is the epitome of 80s teen films. I love the epicness of the day, and how everything worked out. Sometimes, we need to keep the best scenario possible in our minds, and damn the negative.
4. Die Hard and sequels (1988-2007)
Yes, I’m counting the sequels and the original as one movie. It is the story of one man, and is frankly one of the best movie series ever for the continuity of the story they tell. Bruce Willis plays John McClane, NYPD cop, with aplomb and realism. McClane is not the pure hero, nor is he the anti-hero. He’s just that guy that does what he has to. Sometimes, he does that with unabashed happiness at the fact that he is destroying the bad guy that threatened what he loves.
All four of the movies are filled with moment of suspense and tension, aiming at keeping the audience worked up and understanding what McClane goes through. When he steps in glass, we know how stupidly painful that is. When his wife or daughter is threatened, we fear as well. When he has obviously turned to alcohol to deal with the stress and pain of his life, we know that urge.
But in the end, he is triumphant, and even if he doesn’t deal with the situation in an entirely pc way, I always root for him. Besides, he has the best catch phrase.
5. The Producers (1968)
Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel. The original Producers has the best cast and numbers ever. Better than the remake and better than the stage show. Yes, I believe that. No, there is no way to sway me. Yes, you can try. No, I won’t change my mind.
Mostel didn’t want to do the role at first, I would assume because he had already done A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which was another comedy where his role was a manipulator pulled into his own con. But his wife convinced him to do it, and I can’t help but feel extremely grateful to her for that. I don’t think that anyone else could have played that role with the same depth and breadth. In fact, Nathan Lane’s attempt in the remake feels like a pale remind of Mostel’s performance (and I love Lane).
And again, Gene Wilder. The man is comic genius. This movie proves his ability to be everything Matthew Perry has been trying to be for the last twenty years in film.