13. Back to the Future
“It’s the Libyans, Marty!” From the beginning, where Marty is a wailing, misunderstood guitarist, to the end, where he reunites with Jennifer before she was Elisabeth Shue, “Back to the Future” is awesome. Michael J. Fox was my original Hollywood crush for reasons that I stand by to this day, and as much as I do like Eric Stoltz, switching him out for MJF was one of the most solid casting decisions that I can think of off the top of my head. And Christopher Lloyd is fantastic (natch).
At 23, I was one of the many ostensibly straight women who would have switched teams for Angelina Jolie in half a heartbeat, and while Ms. Jolie has done better movie-movies, IMO “Gia” was her chance to shine in a way that very few people on this planet can. She rocks every scene like an animal — and I love animalistic artists. Plus, “Gia” has Mila Kunis as a young Angelina! And both of them do, do be the prettiest girls.
11. Kill Bill Part One
I know, I know, that Part Two is the arguably better half of “Kill Bill.” But I love Part One. In case you don’t already know from my past blogs, you’ll know it by the end of this one — I love me a badass, rock star female protagonist, from page to stage. “Kill Bill Part One” is no exception. There’s a reason Uma Thurman is Quentin Tarantino’s muse, and it’s illustrated perfectly in this movie. But Uma is glorious in Part Two as well. Thing is, Part One has Lucy Liu and most importantly of all? Part One has GOGO YUBARI, who is possibly the best non-star character that I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life! “Bingo.”
(Warning — violence!)
* And not only is this scene awesome, but it features one of my FAVORITE moves of all time — the lying on the ground, then like, back bending/jumping up to a stand? Dunno the term, but it is always sexy.
If this blog were called “Movies That Affected My Life,” “Annie” would probably be number one. If the entire movie was like the first half, it would probably be in the top 3 of this list. Alas, as undeniably awesome as Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Ann Reinking, Bernadette Peters, and Tim Curry are, IMO “Annie” suffers without the orphans. However, it’s still “ANNIE,” so it deserves a spot on every list that I ever make about fabulous movies, childhood, and music. I rewatched it again the other week, complete with wine and singalong, and I love “Annie” even more at 36 than I did at 7.
This movie bears the dubious honor of being one of the only DVDs where I’ve watched every extra, down to full-film commentary. Hence, its place in my blog. It’s not like you see “Thirteen” on TBS every other minute like (SPOILER!) some other movies that are higher on the list. But what “Thirteen” lacks in life-ubiquity, it makes up for by being so fucking awesome. I love Nikki Reed for living it and writing it, but I love her even more for choosing to play the “bad guy” in the movie, instead of herself (the protagonist on whose real-life experience the movie is based). I think that Evan Rachel Wood is a goddess; she had impressed me as a kid actor in “Once and Again,” and owns this movie with the kind of gravitas that I could only dream of, as an actress. Also, Holly Hunter is mesmerizing, and Jeremy Sisto is always a welcome addition to any cast. This movie also helped usher in the wonderful Katy Rose, who looks eerily like Evan, handpicked by Nikki and Evan IIRC, and closes out the credits with her prodigious song “Lemon.” “They clipped my wings again…so hurting here is where I belong.” I love this movie. And I don’t have kids, but as a former adolescent, I think that every mom should watch this movie with her daughter(s).
7. Mean Girls
So what is not to love about this movie? It has Lindsay Lohan at her very awesomest, and while she’s known nowadays more for her shenanigans, that woman-and-former-girl can act. She carries the movie effortlessly. Plus, it’s made by Tina Fey who is the queen of all things wonderful, and the Plastics star none other than Rachel McAdams, plus Amanda Seyfried who rocks, and Lacey Chabert, who I always thought was underrated and provides literal LOLs no matter how many times I watch this. And do I even need to mention My Girlfriend Lizzy Caplan, whose presence automatically adds 75,000 awesome points? When I was on the plane last year, moving from New York to Colorado, I was terrified, due in equal parts to my plane phobia and life circumstances. “Mean Girls” came on the plane TV, and I was immediately more calmed than if someone had passed me a Xanax.
7. Black Snake Moan
For all of you who missed it on Myspace, I have just a slight obsession with Christina Ricci, and “Black Snake Moan” specifically. I saw it in the theater, on the same night I got a Life Lesson to not bring a meal from Roosevelt Field into their adjacent theater, in case you do not enjoy hearing and feeling a rat nibbling at your feet, but point is, I fell in love with this movie from the jump, and for a few years in my life, I rewatched this piece of gloriousness once every six months, like clockwork. I’ve heard that The Master Of Life, Samuel L. Jackson, said that Lazarus was his favorite role that he’s ever played, which is saying a shitload, and while I cannot get Google confirmation on this factoid, I can believe it. This movie is so, so great. And the Black Keys RULE.
6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
I know that “Raiders” and “Last Crusade” are probably better movies. But I don’t care, because “Temple of Doom” ROCKS SO MUCH. Snakes! Monkey brains! A heart being ripped out of someone while he is still alive, and then he gets lowered into a pit of fire!!!!!!!!!!!! That alone is enough for the list, but this movie is bumped up on the list because when I was taking a summer session Spanish class at NCC, my professor was awesome, and didn’t care what we did in language lab, so long as we were there and doing something related to the Spanish language. Every. Single. Lab, all I did was watch “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in Spanish. “iDios mio, Indy!” ~ Short Round
5. Mystic Pizza
“Mystic Pizza” is my original movie that inspired the blog theme, the one I simply could not-not watch whenever it came on TBS, throughout the past decade or two. But I’ve also rented “Mystic Pizza” from both Blockbuster and Netflix. Why do I not own this movie? I have no idea, except that even though I’ve gone out of my way to acquire this fine film, there’s something very comforting about how it just shows up in my various domiciles on a Saturday afternoon. *SLAP!* “Wipe your conscience.” Fannnnnntastic.
4. Across the Universe
In case you missed the memo that I think Evan Rachel Wood is sublime, here’s proof in the pudding, as I think she’s the only actress to star twice on this list! While I can appreciate Beatles fans who don’t like this movie at all, I am not one of them. I grew up with The Beatles, and even went to a ‘Fest in 89. Yet despite all the insanity of said ‘Fest, I’ve never seen a more beautiful homage and love letter to The Beatles than “Across the Universe.” It traverses the years of The Beatles, both musically and culturally, and even incorporates a Janis and a Jimi into the mix. Every actor/singer is awesome, including aforementioned Evan, who totally changed the way I look at “If I Fell.” Her delivery of “Oh, please,” breaks my heart every time. And that’s not even to mention the astonishingly amazing cast aside from Ms. Wood. The more I see this movie and/or scattered Youtube videos of its music, the more I want to watch it.
3. Role Models
THIS MOVIE IS SO FREAKING AWESOME!!! Paul Rudd is probably my favorite current actor in Hollywood. Aforementioned Samuel L. Jackson is the ultimate rock star, but also the modern-day Michael Caine; aka, Jackson does every movie he feels like doing, and so does not have the same balance of awesomeness : things I want to watch, as does Sir Rudd. I have another blog all mapped out about why Paul Rudd is one of the greatest things ever to grace the Earth, but now is not that time. For now, I will just say that he is predictably solid as Danny in this movie, but then adds that extra dash of Rudd to spill things over to the side of awesomeness. On top of that, I never really *got* the whole Seann William Scott thing before, but “Role Models” changed my mind. He is hilarious, in a role that, were the movie in lesser hands, could have been fairly ordinary. But Scott attacks it with hilarious ferocity, and is so great. This movie also helped tip over my soda machine of ambivalence towards Elizabeth Banks, before “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” finished (fittingly!) the job. It’s no easy feat to play the straight man to Paul Rudd when he’s not being wacky, but Banks pulls it off. McLovin provides strong support as one of the Smalls; Jane Lynch is roaming around (’nuff said), and do I even need to need to mention how absolutely incredible Bobb’e J. Thompson is as Ronnie??? Even more than “Mystic Pizza,” I cannot change the channel if “Role Models” is on TV. And this one, I even own.
This could easily be number one, if I hadn’t been such a psychotic child and/or “Clueless” was 13 or so years older. As it stands, it may as well be number one as far as these things go, because NO WAY can I turn away “Clueless” when it comes on. This movie, I own on both DVD and VHS! And STILL watch it when it comes on cable! There is like, nothing wrong with this movie. It is pretty flawless. And I guess I should take back what I said about Evan Rachel Wood owning this list, because she and Paul Rudd are now tied! *Passes tiaras to the Homecoming King and Queen of my movie life* But speaking of women I love, Alicia Silverstone? Incomparable. I love her in general, anyway, for the Aerosmith videos, The Kind Diet, and just in general for being one of the awesomest people on the planet. But in “Clueless?” I fancy myself a closet casting director, and past or present, I literally cannot think of any other actress who would have been even close to as perfect as Alicia in “Clueless,” never mind better. I can’t even begin to quote, because how many movies come close to “Clueless’s” quotability quotient? Soup to nuts, “Clueless” is pure entertainment, solidified by Amy Heckerling’s brilliance in both writing and casting. Stacey Dash makes everything better; Brittany Murphy was great, and have I mentioned how much I love Jeremy Sisto (also tied with Evan and Paul, though he was a supporting actor!)? I’m leaving out so many people (like Donald Faison, who I think is one of the best presences in Hollywood, not to mention Breckin Meyer), but that’s just a testament to this movie’s greatness. And I’m super impressed at how well this movie has aged.
For years, this, “Clueless,” and “Black Snake Moan” have held equal weight in my internal favorite movie of all time debate, but last year, I realized that “Poltergeist” wins the title. While this list isn’t about my favorite movies per se, it seems fitting that “Poltergeist” would top any list, and as far as the rewatchability factor? No contest. I saw this movie when I was almost seven, and it was instant love and fascination. As a little girl, it was fascinating to see any movie about another little girl, never mind a horror movie. I used to literally watch “Poltergeist” whenever I could, sometimes twice in a row. When I got older, after not having watched “Poltergeist” in many years, I rewatched it with trepidation — certain that this movie would feel very cheesy ‘80s. I almost didn’t want to watch it again, for fear of destroying an important part of my childhood. But “Poltergeist” is even better to me, as an adult. Craig T. Nelson rivals Samuel L. Jackson as far as my favorite actors in Hollywood who are total rock stars. And JoBeth Williams is superb. So I stay for the great story and acting, but I come for the scary, and “Poltergeist” still gets me after all these years. That freaking clown, man.