Current Mini Reviews

I haven’t done one of these mini reviews posts since the end of December so I have a lot of catching up to do. Make sure you are subscribed to my youtube channel because sometimes I review films on there that I don’t talk about on this blog (and vice versa).

The Shape of Water

I finally decided to see The Shape of Water, which I had been reticent to see because of the content, which is pretty strong. In the end, it is a good movie that felt like a fairy tale for men. It has most of the beats of a classic fairy tale but there is a masculine energy to it that was very interesting. Sally Hawkins is fantastic as the lead girl who cannot speak but grows an attachment with a fish creature. Some of the other characters were a bit one note but if you think of them as fairy tale archetypes they make sense.

Overall Grade- B+ 63/147 for 2017 releases

Smile Worthy

Peter Rabbit-

I went into this movie dreading it as the trailers made it look like an assault on my childhood. Going out of it I was pretty neutral. It’s fine and has some marginal entertainment value for kids but it felt very random to me. The characters are inconsistent and go from hero to antagonist and then back again. The jokes are hit and miss. The animation is sometimes impressive and sometimes awful. The music is all over the place like the story. Some parents were upset about an allergy joke, which is understandable but probably blown a bit out of proportion.

Overall Grade- C 18/25  for 2018 releases

Frown worthy barely

Forever My Girl-

I love a good or even silly romantic movie. I have a podcast with my friend Amber where we review all the Hallmark movies and other content each week and it has really taken off. As a bonus I reviewed Forever My Girl for that channel and it’s not a movie I can recommend but I’ve seen worse. Jessica Rothe is a star in the making and shines as the lead girl but the boy played by Alex Roe is too unlikable for too long. He also could use a shower. He didn’t look very attractive for most of the movie which takes away some of the fun of a silly movie like this.

Overall Grade- C 20/25 for 2018 releases

Frown worthy

Phantom Thread-

A very well made movie by Paul Thomas Anderson with good performances; however, I didn’t connect with it. The characters, especially the girl played by Vicky Krieps, were inconsistently written. Sometimes they were loyal and soft-spoken and then other times they were erratic, cruel and boisterous. The music and costumes are superb. I wish the Dressmaker had gotten the attention this got last year because that movie was way more fun with equally amazing fashion.

Overall Grade- C+ 69/147 for 2017 releases

Smile Worthy for performances and style

Faces Places-

Such an adorable documentary that follows an installation artist JR and veteran actress Agnes Varda around France setting up art. I loved the two of them and you learn a lot about Agnes’ life and get little pictures into the people they are doing the art for. I also really liked the art. It was a joy to watch. My only flaw is we don’t learn much about JR which might have been nice to know.

Overall Grade- A 18/147 for 2017 releases

Smile Worthy!

Annihilation-

I walked out of Alex Garland’s film Annihilation very frustrated. It was pretty but kind of a grueling experience and for what? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was trying to teach me. As Natalie Portman and a group of female scientists go into a mysterious area called ‘the shimmer’ they encounter a lot of pretty lifeforms and horrible life forms. At times it seemed to be commenting on female sexuality. At other times it was about evolution (especially the ending) and how lifeforms mutate. At other times it was about loneliness and the isolation of modern life. All of those things are paid homage to but not explored in a satisfying way. It becomes a creature horror movie but to long and drawn out to be enjoyed on that level. Even if movies like Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival were a little bit obtuse and boring I still had a handle on what the movies were trying to say. Not here. Unfortunately Alex Garland has made a self-indulgent scifi film that is muddled, empty and a bit of a slog.

Overall Grade- C- 16/25 for ranking 2018 releases

Frown worthy

Winchester-

The premise for Winchester has potential and could have made for a creepy haunted house movie but instead it is bland in the extreme. Helen Mirren isn’t even in the movie that much like the poster would make you believe. It’s really boring and not scary in the slightest.

Overall Grade- D- 22/25 for 2018 releases

Frown Worthy

Game Night-

Game Night is a very silly movie but in all the right ways. It’s a very simple comedy about a game night for adults that gets out of hand. With movies like this I have a very simple criteria- did it make me laugh? That’s a comedy’s job, to make me laugh and this did in spades. There is a scene where Jason Bateman tries to clean blood off a dog that had me in stitches. The cast has great chemistry and if you grew up in a competitive family you will be able to relate to it like I did.

Overall Grade- A- 7/25 for 2018 releases

Smile Worthy

The Post-

I was honestly kind of dreading this movie as it looked like it would be super preachy but Steven Spielberg manages to put entertainment value ahead of message to make a fun film. Streep and Hanks are great but the supporting actors are also great and it builds tension well and you really feel for all the characters involved. It perhaps feels a little forgettable but especially compared to the hugely overrated Bridge of Spies The Post is a fun time at the movies. However, it does not hold a candle to the film Spotlight.

Overall Grade- A- 17/147 for 2017 releases

Smile Worthy

Paddington 2-

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adored the first Paddington film and so it is with great joy that I tell you the sequel, Paddington 2, is as good if not better. Both Paddington movies may be the perfect family films.  They are warm, funny, sweet, and extremely warm-hearted. I really can’t imagine disliking Paddington 2. No wonder it has a 100% on Rottentomatoes. I loved Hugh Grant as the villain and all the scenes in the prison with Brendan Gleason. I swear they could screen Paddington 2 as cures for depression. It just makes you feel good about the world.

Overall Grade- A+ 1/25 for 2018 releases (US releases that is)

Smile Worthy

The Commuter

I’m not sure if it is just I haven’t seen a lot of these Liam Neeson action movies but I felt way more positive about this than the general consensus. The Commuter is a tightly edited, engaging thriller. It was well shot and clipped along quite nicely. Neeson is great in the role and it never got too silly. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall Grade- B+ 6/25 for 2018 releases

Smile Worthy

Have a Nice Day-

I reviewed this film for rotoscopers.com and it is a visually inventive animated film. Director Liu Jian brings a comic book sensibility to a crime movie with mixed results. There are creative moments but the characters are thin and the story is cliched. Also crime movies just aren’t my cup of tea. However, if you like crime movies than you might enjoy this because it is different and unique.

Overall Grade- C+ 105/146 for 2017 releases

Personally Frown Worthy but if you like the genre give it a shot

Moomins and the Winter Wonderland-

I reviewed this for rotoscopers.com. An adorable animated film out of Scandanavia about the Moomins fixing things to get ready for Christmas. They used old stop motion animation and created a new story in a very clever way. I love the vintage style and the vocal performances all are sweet. It’s probably best for small kids who like Winnie the Pooh and characters like that. Very innocent and sweet.

Overall Grade- B+ 61/147 for 2017 releases

Smile Worthy

So there you have it! Follow me on the Stardust app at smilingldsgirl and on letterboxd to get more small reviews right after I see films.

What did you guys think of these films? Let me know in the comments section.

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2018 Oscars Who Will and Should Win

The big night for movie lovers is coming up this Sunday with the Academy Awards announcing their Oscar winners. I honestly find it a pretty underwhelming group with a bunch of movies I like but don’t love and won’t likely to remember long.

I am notoriously terrible at predicting the Oscars but it’s always fun to give it a try. Last year I tried to research and see what was trending and almost every time I went against my gut it failed. So this year I thought I would try a different strategy and not over-think it too much.

That said I will still give you what I think should and will win in each category.

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

Shape of Water

3 Billboards

What will win- 3 Billboards unfortunately…

What should win- Get Out (it’s only one of these nominees that I love)

Best Director

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Greta Gerwig forLady Bird Review Lady Bird

Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread

Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water

What will win- Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water

What should win- Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Best Lead Actor

Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day Lewis for Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out

Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington for Roman J Israel Esq (haven’t seen)

What will win- Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

What should win- Daniel Day Lewis for Phantom Thread

Best Lead Actress

Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand for 3 Billboards

Margot Robbie for I Tonya

Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird

Meryl Streep for The Post

What will win- Frances McDormand for 3 Billboards

What should win- Sally Hawkins for Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actor

William Defoe for The Florida Project (haven’t seen)

Woody Harrelson for 3 Billboards

Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World

Sam Rockwell for 3 Billboards

I’m honestly not a huge fan of any of these performances but…

What will win- Sam Rockwell for 3 Billboards

What should win- Richard Jenkins for Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J Blige for Mudbound (haven’t seen)

Allison Janney for I Tonya

Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer for Shape of Water

What will win- Allison Janney for I Tonya

What should win- Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird

Animated Feature

The Boss Baby

The Breadwinner

Coco

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent

What will win- Coco

What should win- Coco or The Breadwinner

Animated Short

Dear Basketball

Garden Party

Lou

Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

What will win- Dear Basketball

What should win- Lou

Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Logan (haven’t seen)

Molly’s Game (haven’t seen)

Mudbound (haven’t seen)

What will win- Call Me By You Name

What should win- Disaster Artist

Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

3 Billboards

What will win- Get Out

What should win- The Big Sick

Best Documentary

I’ve only seen one of these films Faces Places

Abacus

Faces Places

Icarus

Last Man in Aleppo

Strong Island

What will win- Faces Places

What should win- Faces Places

Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

What will win- Dunkirk

What should win- Baby Driver

Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: the Last Jedi

What will win- Dunkirk

What should win- Dunkirk

Production Design

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

What will win- Blade Runner 2049

What should win- Blade Runner 2049

Best Score

Dunkirk by Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread by Jonny Greenwood

The Shape of Water by Alexandre Desplat

Star Wars: the Last Jedi by John Williams

3 Billboards by Carter Burwell

What will win- The Shape of Water by Alexandre Desplat

What should win- Phantom Thread by Jonny Greenwood

Original Song

Mighty River from Mudbound

Mystery of Love from Call Me By Your Name

Remember Me from Coco

Stand Up for Something from Marshall

This is Me from The Greatest Showman

What will win- This is Me from the Greatest Showman

What should win- Remember Me from Coco

Make Up and Hair

Darkest Hour

Victoria and Abdul

Wonder

What will win- Darkest Hour

What should win- Darkest Hour

Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Darkest Hour

Mark Bridges

The Shape of Water

Victoria and Abdul

What will win- Phantom Thread

What should win- Phantom Thread

Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: the Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

Who will win- War for the Planet of the Apes

Who should win- War for the Planet of the Apes

Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049 for Roger Deakins

Darkest Hours for Bruno Delbonnel

Dunkirk for Hoyt van Hoytema

Mudbound for Rachel Morrison

The Shape of Water for Dan Laustsen

Who will win- Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

Who should win- Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

 

Best Documentary Short

I haven’t seen the nominees but I will go with Heroin(e) for my guess for winner.

Best Live Action Short

I haven’t seen the nominees but I will go with The Silent Child for my guess for winner

 

Best Foreign Language Film

I haven’t seen the nominees but I will go with A Fantastic Woman for my guess for winner

 

So there you have it! That is my Oscar ballot. We will see how things shake out but I really don’t care that much because very few of the films I liked in 2017 are being celebrated. It’s a pretty boring, bland group of nominees if you ask me.

My friend Conrado and I did a podcast on the nominees you might find interesting

Black Panther Review

Black Panther is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it is taking the world by storm! It has already made more in its first 4 day weekend than Justice League made in its entire run! Holy cow! It is also one of the most highly praised superhero film ever with a 97% on rottentomatoes.com.

So is it worthy of such results?

Yes, for the most part I would say that it is. With Black Panther you have a thoughtful, extremely well cast comic book movie that feels different and fresh. In much the same way director Ryan Coogler injected energy into the Rocky franchise with Creed, he has done  with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Black Panther.  It isn’t as funny as Thor Ragnarok, which I prefer but it feels unique and engaging.

The best part about Black Panther is the characters. We were introduced to T’Challa (Black Panther) in Captain America Civil War but here we see him as a young, insecure ruler who is just discovering the burden and secrets his father had to shoulder as king. His father has chosen to protect the beautifully realized kingdom of Wakanda from the rest of the world. They have an asset called vibranium (which if we remember in Age of Ultron Ulysses Klaue was after and we see him again played by Andy Serkis) If this vibranium gets into the wrong hands will cause great destruction, so it makes sense why they want to hide it away from the world.

However, the Wakandans are still using the vibranium to develop new and powerful technology.  This is mostly led by T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright who is adorable in the role).There is also a powerful flower that grants strength to whomever earns the mantle of leadership.

Unfortunately for T’Challa conflict comes into Wakanda in the form of Michael B Jordan’s N’Jadaka or Erik ‘Kilmonger’ Stevens. He has a different philosophy of leadership. He believes that Wakanda is a disgrace for hiding from the world and failing to help those who are suffering with their wealth, technology and vibranium. It’s a totally valid point of view that makes the conflict between the two interesting. It kind of reminded me of the conflict between Koba and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Kilmonger has a point of view.  The problem is he takes it to a hateful place of wanting to conquer others and not just help the despondent. This always makes for an interesting villain when the kernel of their motives is true but they take it to a dark place. It then becomes interesting to see how the various members of Wakanda respond to Kilmonger’s leadership and philosophy. Some remain loyal to country and some loyal to T’Challa. That to me was fascinating.

Like I said earlier, the casting for this film was amazing. I loved Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B Jordan as Kilmonger (so hot), and Daniel Kaluuya (from Get Out) as W’Kabi who has an interesting character arc. The women were all awesome. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia is the love interest, Letitia Wright as brainack Shuri, Angela Basset as T’Challa’s mother Ramonda and many more. I would love to see a whole movie about the main 3 ladies of Wakanda!

Some people have complained about the cgi and the action. Honestly, just like with Wonder Woman, I could care less. If the characters are good that’s what matters to me. I was absorbed and entertained so much that it didn’t bother me.

My only real problem with the film is there is a section in the middle where Black Panther is gone and that’s where things began to drag a bit. I really missed T’Challa and his interactions with the women, Kilmonger and others. It began to feel a little exposition heavy in those moments.

If they had tightened things up a little bit and added a touch more humor than I would have it in my top 5 Marvel movies. As it is, I have it solidly in my top 10.

Black Panther is on the violent side for a Marvel movie so I would not recommend it for kids under 8. But for older kids go and then talk to them about the themes of the movie and what they think good leadership does. Do you hide away and protect your people or do you open yourself up to others in order to serve? It’s an interesting question from a darn good comic book movie!

Overall Grade- A-

Early Man Review

One could easily make the argument that Aardman animation is the most consistently great studio working today. Even more so than Pixar, their films have an amazing track record for being smart, funny and visually delightful. It is with this reputation that I was eagerly anticipating their latest release Early Man and it is also part of the reason why I left feeling disappointed.  It’s not a terrible movie but it is probably my least favorite of their films.

The trailers for Early Man make it seem like the film is going to focus on Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his group of cave dwellers as they come to interact with more civilized people led by Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston). Unfortunately that is not entirely the case. After a brief introduction to the cave dwellers, Dug and Lord Nooth meet and challenge each other to a soccer (or football as the Brits say) match. Almost the entire movie is then this game.

If you are super into soccer you might find the jokes funnier and the game more interesting, but I really didn’t. I hardly laughed at all.  It’s also really hard to have dialogue or develop meaningful characters within the confines of a soccer game. I honestly started to yawn at a point and grew restless in the theater- something shocking to say about an Aardman film. If I didn’t look up the information I couldn’t tell you a single character name or what was important about them. That is definitely not the case with Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep or Arthur Christmas that had such memorable characters. Some don’t like the Aardman film Pirates: Band of Misfits but the jokes with the monkey alone in that film stand out way more than anything in Early Man.

There are some cute moments between the characters and the animation is adorable so it’s enjoyable on that level. The theme of teamwork is nice to see and you can root for the underdog like any sports movie. The voice acting is all good and if you like soccer you will probably get a lot of jokes that went over my head (there are jokes about DC United and teams like that which Brits will get).

In the week since I saw it I have kept looking for excuses for Early Man because I love Aardman so much. However,  if I am going to be tough on studios like DreamWorks and Sony Animation I have to be tough here to:

They made a boring movie that I didn’t think was funny (Sorry Aardman!)

Overall Grade- C

Blind Spot 26: The Palm Beach Story

February is the month of romance, so I thought it would be fun to pick a classic romantic comedy for my blind spot selection. There aren’t many romcoms I haven’t seen but one I hadn’t gotten around to is The Palm Beach Story by director Preston Sturges- the king of the 1940s romantic comedy! Fortunately, it proved to be not only romantic but also somewhat shocking (for the day) in its themes and story.

The first thing to keep in mind with The Palm Beach Story is to watch the opening credits! There is a montage throughout them that comes into play later in the movie. It’s a neat touch that starts things off feeling fresh and inventive.

Claudette Colbert is amazing as Gerry, a woman struggling with a marriage that can’t seem to get above water financially. Her husband Tom (Joel McCrea) has grand ideas but can never make a steady paycheck. Through various contrivances Gerry ends up on a train down to Palm Beach where she hopes to meet a rich man who can be her second husband.

To her great fortune she meets a man named John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) who becomes smitten and insists on showering her with all kinds of clothing and gifts.  Of course when Tom hears about this he is furious and goes to Palm Beach to try and stop it.

Things get further complicated when Hackensacker’s sister Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor) becomes interested in Tom (who Gerry says is her brother Captain McGlue!). With so many half truths it gets pretty nutty and even a little surprising.  It’s also very easy to see how this film influenced movies like White Christmas and Some Like It Hot in many ways.

As with all of Preston Sturges’ movies the true star is the terrific script. He was so great at crafting frank and honest dialogue spoken from compelling characters. The banter between McCrea and Colbert is snappy and very fast paced but thankfully the actors are up for the task. Colbert is as good here as she is in It Happened One Night, and she has good chemistry with McCrea. They even manage to keep her likable despite her taking advantage of Hackensacker and not being very honest. Not an easy task!

I was impressed with how modern the script was in both tone and candor. Sex, marriage, divorce, infidelity, loneliness and depression are all discussed in ways that must have made the censors blush back then. Sturges even asks the question ‘is marriage necessary or a good thing?’. Of course, the answer is yes but it’s still a bold question for 1942. Later on in Unfaithfully Yours he will explore these themes even more, but I appreciated there was nothing cloying about the relationships in this script.

The only real downside is not all the physical comedy worked for me. All the actors are up for it but I preferred the more dialogue-based humor. Also, I don’t know that I completely buy the ending, but I don’t know that we are supposed to. I think it is meant to be a little bit of a poke at traditional romances with perfect happily ever afters. He even adds an ‘or not’ at the end to reinforce his point.

I definitely recommend checking The Palm Beach Story out if you like classic romances with great dialogue. It’s a wonderful choice for Valentine’s Day and a whole lot of fun! Also, studios should take a look at this film and consider remaking it or paying homage to it. The story and script is definitely still relevant and it would be interesting to see the themes of marriage explored even more so with modern characters.

Overall Grade- A

My Real Favorite Movies Part 2

After my last post about my ‘real’ favorite movies my brain has been flooded with more films I can place in this category. If you didn’t read the previous post these are films that aren’t widely circulated as classics or ‘great movies’ but that I love and rewatch over again with great pleasure. You could probably also call this the most rewatchable list.So here are a few more of my favorites that may not be Citizen Kane to most but I LOVE

Walk the Line-

Like Moonstruck, I feel like I frequently hear Walk the Line brought up as an undeserving Oscar winner.  Not in my book! I love this movie so much. I love that it focuses on a narrow window in June and Johnny’s life and relationship. I love how it handles the situation with his first wife. I love when he goes on the June Carter love walk. I love all the songs and the chemistry of Reese and Joaquin. The dialogue is so good and it is one of my favorite romances ever

The Perks of Being a Wallflower-

Perks of Being a Wallflower is the first new movie I’ve ever seen that felt nostalgic to my life. It’s set in 1995 I believe which was right when I started high school and everything took me back to those years even down to the colors on the lockers at the high school. I love how it gets little details right that high school movies never get right like how he breaks his hand after being in a fight or how the party is just kids drinking in a basement. Not these massive parties you so often see in high school movies. I love all the dialogue and the music and all the performers. Ezra Miller is amazing as Patrick. I could watch an entire movie about him. It’s Emma Watson’s best acting by a mile and Logan Lerman is so great. I love the message that ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’ and how we all deserve so much better. The twist at the end is dark but it totally worked for me. It’s a rare movie that improves upon the book in every way probably because it was adapted and directed by the author.

Juno-

I wasn’t even aware that it had become uncool to like Juno. I don’t care I love it! Ellen Page is so wonderful and full of heart as Juno and the emotional journey she goes on is powerful. She thinks she knows it all but she quickly learns she does not. I love JK Simmons and Allison Janney as her parents. I love Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner as the adoptive couple who you think you know but you don’t really. I love all the cute indie music but mostly I love Diablo Cody’s terrific script. I love how funny, sweet and emotional it is. Sure it has a certain affectation to it but I like it. It completely charms me every time I watch it, which is frequently.

Return to Me-

I feel like a lot of Mormon people know about Return to Me for some reason but it isn’t widely viewed as one of the great romantic comedies which it should be. Return to Me stars David Duchovny and Minnie Driver who come together when she gets his dead wife’s heart in a transplant but they don’t know they have this connection. It was written and directed by Bonnie Hunt and she did such a good job. Parts are devastating but then other scenes are hilarious. Driver and Duchovny have such great chemistry and all the supporting cast feel like a family. It even makes me yearn for an Italian/Irish restaurant. It’s also refreshing to have a modern romance where the couple is together and he doesn’t even realize she has a giant scar on her chest because they are chaste and yet still fall in love.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvloIUSHogs

Calamity Jane-

I am a massive Doris Day fan so naturally I love Calamity Jane but I feel like it is never talked about as one of the great musicals of the 1950s. I like it every bit as much as Annie Get Your Gun or Oklahoma! In the film Doris Day plays Calamity as a tomboy who can beat any of the men at shooting, drinking or any other activity. She goes to the big city to find a singer named Adelaid Addams but ends up getting a common girl named Katie by mistake. When all the men including Calamity’s crush fall for Katie, Calamity is threatened and the story goes from there. It is so sweet and Howard Keel is fantastic as Wild Bill Hickok. The songs are catchy and fun (well sung by Doris Day).  It’s a great movie!

So there are 5 more movies that I really love! What do you think of these 5 movies and what are some of your favorites? Share in the comments below. Thanks!

My Real Favorite Movies Part 1

Today I finished watching 2 of my favorite movies. Was it Casablanca? Was it Ben-Hur (both movies I adore). No, it was The Cutting Edge and Julie and Julia. Neither are movies you would see on top 10 lists of great films or praised for their great artistry but I love them. And it got me thinking. I think most of us have a secret favorite movies list. You know what I mean? That list of movies you actually like best but you know aren’t ‘great movies’. It’s kind of like the woman who secretly loves dime romance novels but tells all her friends her favorite book is Anna Karenina or War and Peace. It’s not that she dislikes the classics but they don’t give her quite the pleasure of her true favorites.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you 5 of my secret favorites and then I will continue to do more every once in a while. I’d love to hear what yours are (most of these won’t be a big shock because I talk about what I love with my friends. So not that much of a secret LOL)

You could also easily call this list- My Rewatch List. These are movies I could rewatch over and over again and never tire of (Wonder Woman would make this list but it’s pretty well loved)

You’ve Got Mail-

I had somebody once on this very blog tell me that my opinion on movies was obviously invalid because I went to BYU and loved You’ve Got Mail. I’m not sure how the math on that works out but there you go. I absoloutely adore You’ve Got Mail. It is one of the best, if not the best, remake ever made of the delightful Shop Around the Corner. It is chock full of Nora Ephron’s perfect writing. I love her commentary on everything from childrens books to leather jackets to Starbucks. I love that it is secretly a movie about work and how we get our sole value from our paid employment so frequently. I love Meg and Tom in it. I love the supporting cast. I love West Side of New York and all the stops at Riverside Park and the Gray’s Papaya. I love how it loves movies like the Godfather. I love the scene when Tom Hanks gets Rose to run the credit card through the machine and how upset Henry is. I love that Birdie had an affair with General Franco. I love that Frank wants to write a book about the Luddite movement and that he thinks it is relevant. I love that Kathleen loves Joni Mitchell and thinks of her mother when she hears River. You get the idea…I just love it and that’s that.

Home Alone-

A lot of people love Home Alone around the holidays but I love Home Alone year round. I first saw Home Alone when I was 9 years old and visiting my Grandparents for a special trip all by myself. Being independent was very important to me as a child (still is in many ways) and I completely connected with Kevin McCallister’s story and found it to be the funniest movie I’d ever seen. I remember just rolling out of my chair I was laughing so hard and not necessarily at the parts you might think. The booby traps are very funny for kids but I also thought the scene where he accidentally steals the toothbrush was funny or when he tricks the pizza delivery guy with the Angels with Filthy Souls fake mafia movie tape. “I’m going to give you till the count of 10 to get your ugly yellow no good kiester off my property…” That was hilarious to the kid me and I still think it is funny. But Home Alone wasn’t just laughs but it was also empowering to the young me. Kevin figures out how to shop for groceries, cook dinner, do laundry and save the house from burglars while he is at it. It’s the best.

Clueless-

Clueless came out the summer before my freshman year of high school and I vividly remember the experience. I watched it and not only thought it was hilarious but I felt like my world made a little bit more sense than it had before.  When Cher is talking about the boys and their baggy pants with a backwards cap ‘and we’re supposed to swoon’ I completely understood what she meant. I saw it every day! When she talked about frustrations at school or trying to fit in with friends it made sense to me. Even her getting on the freeway for the first time clicked. I was always terrified of driving and later once I had my permit my Dad took me on the freeway and he had to remind me to hold on to the steering wheel just like Murray had done with Dionne. I still love everything about Clueless. I love Paul Rudd in it. I love that it is based on Emma. I love all the hilarious lines. I love the interactions between Cher and her Dad. I love her speech about the Haitians. I love the soundtrack with all my favorite 90s songs. I just love it.

Dirty Dancing-

In fairness a lot of people love Dirty Dancing but I still feel it isn’t respected as a ‘great film’ like it should be. I like it much better than any of the Molly Ringwald coming of age comedies from the 80s. My love of Dirty Dancing is perhaps more amazing because it features a character having an abortion- a practice I abhor but the movie isn’t about that. It’s about a young girl coming to terms with the world and her own womanhood. Other people make all kinds of choices in life and part of growing up is to learn to love them regardless. This is what Baby learns. She loves Johnny and he loves her and they dance together and it changes her life. The best!

Moonstruck-

I love Moonstruck. I feel like I frequently see it come up on lists of ‘undeserved Oscar wins’ and I heartily disagree. I love Cher in this and her chemistry with Nicholas Cage is off the charts. I love how wounded he is and how they fight and the way the tension builds. I love the dialogue and when Cher says you’re “a wolf without a foot!” I love the scenes at the opera and how La Boheme makes her cry. I love the scenes with Olympia Dukakis and John Mahoney and I love when she tells Cosmo “Your life is not built on nothing.” It’s such a perfect response to a movie I love!

So there you have it! Those are 5 of my secret favorite movies. What do you think? What are some movies you love that aren’t usually listed in top 10 best movie lists? I’d love to hear.

There shall be more on this topic to come so be ready!