The movies that made me, well, me
As with the last two lists, I'm sure I'll unintentionally forget a few (thank you, Giant Rat of Knoxville), and they are listed in no particular order. This is not a "great films" list, just one that includes celluloid that made me care, chuckle, or cry.
I'm sure I'll think of 20 more tomorrow.
Citizen Kane -- Everybody pretends to love this film, but I do. I'll never forget where and when I first saw it. (God bless Chuck Maland). Superb, stunning, stimulating. You don't pop some corn and prop up with this on a Friday night, but you can't pretend to love film and ignore it. Orson Welles' masterpiece.
Walking Tall (1973) -- It's quaint to think about now, but this was the first R-rated movie I ever saw. McNairy County, Tenn., sheriff Buford Pusser's picture show exploits left a large impression on an impressionable kid.
To Kill A Mockingbird -- I read the book before I saw the movie. Didn't matter. I was hooked from the opening Elmer Bernstein score. Still try to watch it every few years. Gregory Peck was never better. Mary Badham was precociously perfect.
Casablanca -- "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world," this is one hell of a picture. Brings back a lot of personal memories, too. What a movie. It's a shining testament to the studio era. P.S. Bogie never says "Play it again, Sam."
The Last Picture Show -- This film grabbed me, stabbed me, and I gabbed about it for days. Finally took a road trip to Archer City, Texas, in 2004. It hasn't changed much since 1971, and that's a good thing. Honorable mention to its sequel, Texasville, although don't watch it after your high school reunion.
The Empire Strikes Back -- The best of the three. (Notice I didn't say six.)
Dr. Zhivago -- This one seduces me to screen it every...single...time. "Lara's Theme." Lovely.
True Grit (1969) -- My favorite, my "comfort food." Duke Wayne was born to play Rooster Cogburn. "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!"
The Best Years Of Our Lives -- What a picture. I watch this one at least once a year. It poignantly captures the problems GIs have adjusting to the homefront. They truly don't make 'em like this anymore.
Harvey -- Mary Chase's tale of Elwood P. Dowd and his pooka named Harvey is as charming a picture as I've ever seen. Best line: "I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."
My Favorite Year -- My favorite Peter O'Toole film. I've lived just long enough now to go from wanting to be Benjy Stone to wanting to be Alan Swann.
Flesh and the Devil -- The film that made me fall in love with Greta Garbo
Field of Dreams -- I don't care what Dean Harned says, this is the greatest baseball film of them all. Just listen to James Earl Jones' speech if you doubt my word.
Smokey and the Bandit -- OK, it's a guilty pleasure. Don't care. Love it. Jackie Gleason steals the show. "You sumbitch!"
Laura -- Film noir at its finest...
Andy Hardy -- Mickey Rooney's charming series of an America that never existed.
The Magnificent Ambersons -- There are no words.
The Third Man -- Ditto
The Hound of the Baskervilles -- Basil Rathbone. Nigel Bruce. Monochrome magic.
The Road to Morocco -- Bing, Bob, Dorothy, and lots of laughs. Perfect for a rainy day.
From Here To Eternity -- Frank Sinatra's shining piece of celluloid. (Honorable mentions to "Suddenly" and "The Man With The Golden Arm.")
Nashville -- Robert Altman at his best. Sadly, this turned out to be prophecy in a way.
It's A Wonderful Life -- A Christmas classic.
El Dorado -- A sentimental favorite I first watched with my dad.
Same Time, Next Year -- I've been watching it the same time each year for more than 20 years.
Vertigo -- Hitchcock at his darkest
Elvis On Tour -- For obvious reasons (and part of it is filmed in Knoxville!)
The Last Waltz -- Best rock and roll documentary of them all.
Nixon -- I hate Oliver Stone and it's full of fiction, but this one hooked me. Nice homages to "Kane."
The King's Speech -- Instant classic
Annie Hall -- Yep, I fell in love with her, too.
Forrest Gump -- Cause life IS like a box of chocolates.
Being There -- I'm afraid this one has become prophetic, too.
F For Fake -- Orson Welles and magic tricks of the mind...
High Noon -- Perhaps the truest Western of them all, regardless of the lies we tell ourselves.
Somewhere In Time -- Sentimental favorite based on a story by the late, great Richard Matheson
The Artist -- I never thought I'd ever see a movie like this again. I was wrong.
Saturday Night Fever -- I love the nightlife. I want to boogie. Don't judge.
That's Entertainment! -- Those were the days, indeed.
10 -- I'm a sucker for Blake Edwards' humor
Revenge of the Pink Panther -- See above (plus Peter Sellers!)
Tombstone -- The Western I never thought I'd see again. I was wrong.
One, Two, Three -- Jimmy Cagney, Arlene Francis, Cold War hilarity.
Sex and the Single Girl -- Natalie Wood. 'Nuff said.
American Graffiti -- George Lucas' greatest film. Yep, you read that correctly.
A Beautiful Mind -- Saw it when I needed it.
The Narrow Margin -- My favorite film noir.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- The best James Bond film nobody's seen.
The Front Page (1974) -- Matthau and Lemmon, newspapers, nuts!
Grumpy Old Men -- Heh, heh.
Patton -- A hell of a picture.
The Godfather -- No words needed
High Society -- Crosby. Sinatra. Princess Grace.
Rear Window -- Wonderful and horrible and back again
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -- The best of the bunch. Kirk out.
Stone Reader -- A bibliophile's dream
Midnight in Paris -- Ditto
2001: A Space Odyssey -- I can't pass a talking computer without thinking of HAL
The Graduate -- Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
The Searchers -- John Ford and John Wayne's masterpiece
It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World -- I break up into hysterics. Every. Single. Time.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington -- I keep hoping he's still out there.
Full Metal Jacket -- Holy *&^%
Apocalypse, Now -- See above
Ikiru -- I never looked at cinematic storytelling the same way again.
Lost In Translation -- "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time!"
Duck Soup -- You know why...
In The Heat of the Night -- "They call me MR. TIBBS!"
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight -- Bridget Trogden understands...
Groundhog Day -- Janna Barrett understands...
12 Angry Men -- Whew. Close one.
Sunset Boulevard -- Elegiac, awesome.
Yankee Doodle Dandy -- My favorite musical
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
The Shootist -- John Wayne's awesome epitaph.
The Public Enemy -- Jimmy Cagney at his best...
Murder By Death -- "Hey, look, it's 22 Twain's house!"
Planet of the Apes (1968) -- That. Last. Scene.
Radio Days -- My favorite Woody Allen picture.
Seven Men From Now -- Underrated Western
The Horn Blows At Midnight -- I just wanted to see if you read all the way to the end...
What are your favorites? Go with your heart, not your head.