Wednesday, December 17, 2008

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

A friend of mine gave me this movie for Christmas during a Secret Santa gift exchange. I had never seen it before, but I am so glad to have recently made this film a part of my Christmas traditions. It is hilarious, definitely one of the better Chevy Chase pictures. The Griswald Family Christmas should be a part of every family's holiday experience.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Many may forget that Gremlins is, in fact, a Christmas movie (at least in setting), so luckily I am eager to remind everyone! This unique comedy features a dark twist on the holiday season. A little boy's father brings home an unusual Christmas gift for his son, a Mogwai named Gizmo. While Gizmo is adorable and sweet, there are three very important rules for protecting him: 1) Avoid the light, 2) Do not get him wet, and most importantly, 3) Do not, under any circumstances, feed him after midnight! This is a great one to watch at any time of year, but also a perfect break from the typically cheerful holiday pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Muppet Christmas Carol

I am currently reading Charles Dickens' classic story that inspired The Muppet Christmas Carol. Gonzo plays Dickens, and the rest of our favorite characters fall into place predictably. My sister and I once had a tradition of watching this movie around Halloween rather than waiting all the way until Christmas. It was the marker for the end of fall and the beginning of winter and all that came with it. How can a person not love the muppets? This film is a heartwarming, hilarious tribute to one of my favorite Christmas tales. This one also appeals to children and adults alike!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Santa Clause

I do not think it is possible to have another favorite Tim Allen film. This is by far his best. I remember seeing The Santa Clause in theaters when I was a little girl. After Santa falls off Allen's roof, he and his son travel to the North Pole, only to discover his character must permanently replace Father Christmas. It is a hilarious and exciting Christmas story about family, holiday spirit, and faith. It will be an instant family favorite; I guarantee it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Nightmare Before Christmas

I am not sure if this can accurately be labeled a Christmas movie, but it falls somewhere between Halloween and Noel, so it qualifies. I have only seen this a couple of times, but I like it. Danny Elfman and Tim Burton make a really great team. I like the characters, the animation, and of course, the songs. Jack Skellington is the successful and delightfully frightful Pumpkin King. But after his latest Halloween, he feels a kind of emptiness that only Christmas can cure. Or so he believes. This film is definitely worth trying at least once.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

December is upon us and with it comes the holiday season. I am dedicating this month to a celebration of holiday pictures. I have already written commentaries on Holiday Inn, White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life in past months, so I am not going to repeat myself. I do, however, want to reiterate that each of those films are amazing.
The first entry is for Dr. Suess's classic story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I thoroughly enjoy both the cartoon version from 1966 and the 2000 version starring Jim Carrey. I cannot remember a Christmas that did not include this sweet and moving story. We are all guilty of getting caught up in the commercial side of Christmas, and Dr. Suess works to remind us that Christmas is about love, family and joy above all else. Not just for kids, this story is for everyone!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This is one of my favorite Hayley Mills pictures. She is so adorable as Pollyanna, the most optimistic girl since Shirley Temple. Pollyanna moves to a town where cynicism reigns king. She encourages her new friends and neighbors to play "The Glad Game" to keep their spirits up. Everyone in town feels the effects of Pollyanna's charm and enthusiasm, as is especially evident in the film's bittersweet conclusion. I remember watching this movie over and over again at my grandmother's house as a young girl. It is a delightful adventure with an important moral.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Breakfast Club

I am a little surprised is has taken me this long to post a summary of this 80s classic. I remember the first time I ever watched it. It was about 3 in the morning and I could not sleep at all. My dad was also awake, and he told me that The Breakfast Club was starting in 10 minutes. I had never heard of it. I think I was about 14 or 15 years old at the time. He did not stay up to watch it with me, but I remember being completely mesmerized. I urged everyone I knew to see this film throughout all of high school. It is really a teenage anthem in movie form. I hope that everyone has a chance to see this one before the end of adolescence, but if not, it is totally worth seeing anyway! Five teenagers from different cliques are forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. They discover they have a lot more in common than they thought. It is a truly emotional film about what people really think and feel under the surface. The best of the "Brat Pack" films for sure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

(No, I do not mean the Keira Knightley version!) A&E did a television mini series based on Jane Austen's classic novel. Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle star as one of literature's most beloved and memorable pairs: Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Everyone should read the novel before renting this film, but if that sounds unappealing, the film does give the complete story. The run time is about 5 hours, so this is really best saved for a rainy day and a cozy fire. Despite the length, this is a favorite in my house and among my girlfriends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Edward Scissorhands

This Tim Burton classic is a devastating look at what it is like being different in American suburbia. While it is an extreme and unrealistic situation, one can still relate to Johnny Depp's character, Edward, as he struggles to fit in. Winona Ryder plays the love interest. A girl who seemingly has everything going for her, Ryder finds a friendship in Edward that she was not expecting. Though a completely heartbreaking love story, Edward Scissorhands is a unique classic that is not to be missed.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Though I am a native Minnesotan, I had never seen this film until very recently. The city of Fargo is, of course, in North Dakota, but the majority of the action in this Coen Brothers classic takes place in Minnesota. Frances McDormand portrays the unforgettable Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief investigating a simple crime gone wrong. William H. Macy's desperate attempts to gain a whole lot of capital go deadly in this unusual adventure. I will not give anything away, but I will say that the accents are slightly exaggerated in my opinion. Otherwise, a great film overall.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

This epic trilogy is one of the greatest undertakings in motion picture history. I remember when the first one came out, and I scrambled to read the book as quickly as possible before rushing out to the theaters. I am so happy that I did. These books are splendidly woven tales of fantasy and imagination mixed with real issues like war, friendship and love. If there are actually people out there who have not already seen these films, I would definitely recommend reading the books first. Unlike many film adaptations, I think that seeing these movies enhances my enjoyment of the series. There were some details that I had missed or forgotten while ploughing through the books. But there are also so many wonderful adventures that are not included in the film versions, and any fan should really get the whole picture.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I am sure I will be criticized for this one, but I think Heathers is a classic satire about life in the popular clique. This Mean Girls of the 80s is a black comedy about the effects of suicide among the high school elite. Winona Ryder meets Christian Slater, and from there her life is swept up in a whirlwind of deadly mistakes she cannot reverse. Slater plays J.D., a tainted youth who seduces Ryder's character, Veronica, with his charm and wit. Part of the reason I include this film on my list is its misleading reputation. Before seeing it myself, I had heard it was about suicide becoming trendy. This is not at all the plot of this film, but it definitely must be seen to be believed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Say Anything

This 80s classic is not to be missed! An unlikely love story between a kickboxer and a social princess, it is moving and completely sweet. The innocence and openness of the characters is really something you do not always see in films. John Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler; anyone who has heard the phrase "Lloyd Dobler is the perfect man" needs to see this film and learn what he is all about. It is a story of hope, possibility and above all, young love.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Silence of the Lambs

I am certain I have already admitted that I am not a fan of scary movies.  But my family, those who know and love me best, were convinced I could handle this one.  I am so happy they felt that way, because I was completely mesmerized by this film.  In the 21st century, we are all bombarded with crime shows, so we barely recognize truly superb mysteries anymore.  This Oscar winner is chilling and gripping from start to finish.  Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster are fantastic.  I am fighting the urge to watch the sequel.  (I heard it was a little more gory than I might be able to handle.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The African Queen

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn have amazing chemistry in this timeless film.  The two find themselves alone together on Bogart's riverboat in Africa.  Initially disgusted by one another, the two learn to live together in harmony.  It is a great adventure and and very humorous movie.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kiss Me Kate

I will admit that my opinion is biased, but I simply adore Kiss Me Kate.  I believe this is greatly the result of my taking part in my college's production of this complicated musical.  I was in the chorus, but it is truly the main characters who shine in this film adaptation.  Filled with racy Cole Porter numbers and quite a bit of dancing, it is a very high energy and very passionate musical.  "I Hate Men" is one of my favorite show tunes of all time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Animal House

Though modern day filmmakers have tried time and again to duplicate Animal House, it has all been in vain. Nothing will ever top the original film tribute to fraternity life. Although by today's standards, the antics in this film are nowhere near as shocking as they once were, it is still laugh-out-loud funny every time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Taxi Driver

I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of movies from the 70s. I think the picture quality is completely lacking, and the humor is somewhat lost on me. With that being said, Taxi Driver was beautifully done. The camera work was very good, and of course, since it was a Martin Scorsese film, the violence was purposeful and effective. The view of the "scum of the earth" in New York City was eye-opening, and very progressive for the time. I have not seen many Scorsese films, but this one has impressed me the most thus far. Robert DeNiro plays a Vietnam veteran whose insomnia leads to a night life as a taxi driver. Jodie Foster also delivers a memorable performance as a 13-year-old prostitute.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wait Until Dark

This film actually scared me a lot when I saw it back in middle school. Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who becomes entangled in the plans of a group of crooks. These criminals believe there is heroin hidden in Hepburn's apartment, and they will do anything to get their hands on it. Wait Until Dark is spooky and clever. Definitely a good thriller to watch with someone willing to snuggle.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

In case you have not already noticed, I have a serious thing for Paul Newman. Butch Cassidy is one of his most memorable roles. He and Robert Redford make a perfect team in this classic. This film makes you cheer for the "bad guys" in the story of two outlaws in the wild west. It also features the popular song, "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Howl's Moving Castle

After seeing Spirited Away, I immediately added several of director Hayao Miyazaki's other popular films to my list of movies to see. While Spirited Away is still my favorite of his films, Howl's Moving Castle is a close second. I found it to be completely delightful. It has all the elements you would expect: magic, friendship, conflict, and of course, love. The characters are very lovable (similar to Spirited Away), and one gets the same warm feeling from both of these films. I would recommend all of Miyazaki's anime features, I believe he is a true cinematic genius.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This dramatic depiction of small town life is both humorous, and romantic. While I find this film to be slightly ridiculous, I can never say no to William Holden. He and Kim Novak spice up the big screen in their search for self-actualization. Rosalind Russell is, however, probably the most notable character in the entire film. Her portrayal of an over-the-hill spinster is painful, yet touching. Russell and Holden make the film worth a try.

Friday, September 5, 2008

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

I really did not think I would enjoy this film so much. In fact, I only rented it because my favorite episode of Gilmore Girls was very loosely based on this Sydney Pollack classic. I expected a comedy but was surprised to learn quickly that this film is an intense drama with twists and turns along the way, leading up to an unexpected climax. Gig Young won an Oscar for his portrayal of the MC of a dance marathon. The film is set in the 30s and follows this dance marathon, a contest for $1500. Each contestant is unique, but everyone is desperate. Watching them fall apart gives interesting insight into human nature. It is painful and frightening, yet beautiful in its own right.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Sound of Music

I am always surprised when I hear that someone has never seen The Sound of Music. This is an absolutely beautiful film. The length can intimidate some people, but it is an important look at a very difficult time in history, and of course, a beautiful love story. It is also a musical filled with classic tunes that I am sure you already know. Julie Andrews is really at her best and her amazing voice shines in this classic.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Crow

Although this film was made in 1994, it is one of the great cult-classics of our time. Brandon Lee plays the spirit of a man plagued by tragedy and fueled by the fires of revenge. During the filming, Lee was accidentally shot and killed, further increasing the somber air of the picture. It is incredibly sad and very moving and the soundtrack is excellent. Everyone should see this once.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


"What a Feeling!" Jennifer Beals plays the sexy, strong, Alex, a dancer who is trying to make it into one of the country's most prestigious schools. This is one of the classic dance films of the eighties. Definitely not the best picture in the world, but absolutely a must-see for anyone who loves dance movies. It is the story of an unlikely romance, and a tough girl who will do anything to see her dreams come true (with the right encouragement of course).

The Fifth Element

Obviously a newer classic, but definitely one for the ages. This film features Bruce Willis in a futuristic society. A priest, played by Ian Holm, is charged with protecting the universe from impending doom. Gary Oldman plays a madman desperate to help incite chaos. Willis and Holm work together to protect the "fifth element" or the "supreme being," played by Milla Jovovich, who is humanity's only hope. Chris Tucker's performance provides the fabulous and memorable comic relief in this thriller. In my opinion, it is impossible not to like this film.

Move Over Darling

This Doris Day/James Garner comedy follows the story of a man who lost his wife five years ago in a plane crash. Now he has finally moved on and has taken a new wife. But on the night of his honeymoon, his first wife, Day, shows up at the hotel, initiating chaos and hilarious mix-ups. It is not exactly comedic genius, but definitely a cute and fun romantic comedy and I would absolutely recommend it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How to Marry a Millionaire

Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Bette Grable team up in this comedy about the clash between love and gold-digging. These three women rent an apartment to be their bachelorette pad, and a snake pit geared to trap millionaires. They each work hard at landing one to be their husband, but things get fouled up when they begin meeting men they actually love.

Duck Soup

This is definitely the Marx Brothers at their best. Groucho Marx plays a newly appointed dictator in this satire about war and international relations. Harpo and Chico are spies who add a lot of physical humor and plays-on words. This film is filled with all the usual antics and slapstick humor that the Marx Brothers provide. It is probably considered their best film, and is absolutely my favorite.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

This is yet another lovely Frank Capra classic.  Gary Cooper is quite dreamy as the simple, caring, Longfellow Deeds.  Cooper inherits $20 million and goes to the big city to get his affairs in order.  Immediately, Jean Arthur (playing reporter, Babe Bennett) latches on to Cooper to get the inside scoop.  Soon Cooper finds the big city cruel and intimidating and it is up to the people around him to help him get his faith back.  This is a typical uplifting Capra film which I completely recommend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swing Time

Critics claim that this is the best of the Ginger Roger/Fred Astaire films this pair have worked on. Swing Time is the story of a man who must raise a great deal of money to win back his fiancee in time to marry her. Astaire plays Lucky, the groom to be. When he comes across a charming dance instructor (played by Rogers) he begins to become confused about what he really wants. This film also introduces popular songs such as "The Way You Look Tonight" and "A Fine Romance." The dance numbers are flawless as usual. Any fan of this pair should not miss Swing Time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

White Christmas

I can still remember watching this movie every time we went to stay at my grandparents'...even in the middle of summer. This is a classic Christmas story about a couple of showmen and a pair of sisters who work together to put on the best holiday show Vermont has ever seen. There is music, romance, dancing, and all the essential elements of a beloved holiday musical. Bing Crosby really does have a command of this genre between White Christmas and Holiday Inn.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

This is possibly my favorite Humphrey Bogart film. It is the story of three men who are flat broke. They team up to set out on an adventure to search for gold in the mountains in Mexico. But the elements and bandits prove to be extreme challenges the three must learn to overcome, not to mention Bogart's slow mental deterioration as his greed overtakes him. The modern moviegoer may find the plot moves a little slow, but the conclusion is completely worth the wait.


I tend to prefer older classic thrillers over modern day cheap and gory horror flicks. A "scary movie" has to have certain elements for me to avoid being disgusted or overly disturbed. Vertigo is considered one of Alfred Hitchcock's best pictures. It is completely chilling and the score sets the eerie mood for the entire film. One does not typically place Jimmy Stewart in the role of horror film protagonist, but he is perfect in the part of Scottie Ferguson. Vertigo has all the essential elements: violence, intrigue, mystery, obsession...making for a masterfully accomplished thriller.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Spirited Away

Though I have only seen a handful of anime films, this is by far and away the most impressive and imaginative of them all. Director Hayao Miyazaki is completely brilliant, and many of his films are critically acclaimed. Spirited Away follows the story of a ten-year-old girl who finds herself in an alternate world ruled by witches and spirits. It sounds childish, but it is heartwarming and surprisingly moving. Miyazaki's film combines innocence, wonder and fantasy, making for a very pleasant and emotional adventure.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer

Another delightful Cary Grant comedy. This is the only post-adolescent Shirley Temple film I have ever seen, but she is just as good at playing a teen as she was as a little girl. Grant finds himself in a mixed up situation where Temple (a girl young enough to be his daughter) is completely infatuated with him. Temple's uncle and sister whip up a scheme to help her get over her teenage crush, but their plan soon goes awry. It is a very humorous and light film.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pixar Films

Okay, so I just got back from the midnight showing of WALL-E and it was FANTASTIC! Although the Pixar films are obviously new, I wanted to devote a post to these films since they are classics. WALL-E was completely endearing and had a very strong message throughout. While some will probably complain that this message is too blatant and obvious, I think that since it is rated G, simple and honest is best. Plus, there are plenty of subtleties that may escape children for those snobs who may find this movie too simple. Ratatouille is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is sweet and hopefully and very clever. Monster's Inc. (along with the other two I just mentioned) is my other favorite. It is one of the most unique and creative movies I have ever seen. It is hilarious and if I had to choose, it would be at the top of my Pixar list. I also thoroughly enjoyed A Bug's Life and of course Finding Nemo was incredible. Both of these films featured loving and determined characters who never give up. While I was not really impressed by The Incredibles, I thought Toy Story II was even better than the first. Cars is also very humorous and includes some lovable characters. All in all, these are some of my favorite films; Pixar continues to impress me over the years. I remember seeing Toy Story in theaters with my dad and sister when I was young. Ever since, I have eagerly anticipated each new Pixar endeavour. I was so touched by Wall-E that I actually cried. If you have not seen these films, I urge you to do so. They reach a level that traditional animation failed to touch.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cool Hand Luke

This is the ultimate tough guy movie. Cool Hand Luke is a tragic, yet inspiring look at life in a rural prison. Paul Newman (who is quite dreamy and very tan and muscular in this film) plays Luke, a man who refuses to play by the rules. Newman faces extreme adversity and punishment at the hands of the prison guards. He lifts the spirits of the other inmates. He presses on throughout the film, despite the hardships and the clashes with authority: "What we have here, is a failure to communicate." Everyone should see this film; it's Newman at his best.

Blade Runner

This is one of the most beloved science fiction films of all time. Ridley Scott directs this very technologically advanced adventure. For 1982, Blade Runner was way ahead of its time. It is a futuristic story featuring Harrison Ford as the protagonist. If you appreciate it for what it is, I am sure you will enjoy this film.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Born Yesterday

This movie was a lovely surprise. Judy Holliday plays dim girlfriend to an "old-school" businessman who uses muscle over brains. Broderick Crawford plays her boyfriend and patron; he determines his girlfriend's lack of class and education is hurting his business prospects. He hires William Holden to educate her. Holliday and Holden form a beautiful friendship through their studies. The film is very funny and I am so glad I came across it. Holliday won an Oscar for her brilliant performance.

It's a Wonderful Life

Another Capra classic and possibly his most famous, It's a Wonderful Life is one of the most inspiring movies of all-time. This is one you will definitely want to keep watching every Christmas. But even if you don't celebrate Christmas, this is the ultimate feel-good movie. Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a man who cannot seem to change his luck. Watch as he learns the value of a single life. You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

High Society

If you like The Philadelphia Story, you will love this musical version of the story. Instead of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn, you get Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly. These three form a wonderful trio which certainly lives up to the original film. Crosby and Sinatra's duet is simply beautiful. These are two of the greatest male voices of all-time, right here in one film. Make sure you see the original first, or you will not enjoy either picture nearly as much.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You Can't Take It With You

This is a lovely Frank Capra classic and an earlier Jimmy Stewart film. Stewart and Jean Arthur struggle to make their relationship work despite clashing families. Stewart comes from a wealthy family of business, and Arthur from a family headed up by a grandfather who values life and happiness more than money. It has all the elements of a typical Capra film and is therefore very uplifting and worth seeing.

Planet of the Apes

I of course am referring to the 1968 original version of the film. Planet of the Apes was one of the most surprising delights I have ever discovered. I had heard the film was hokey, mostly due to costuming, but I was completely blown away by this film. Charlton Heston lives up to his tough guy image. He lands on a strange planet sometime in the very distant future to find that the Apes are the intelligent beings performing experiments on humans. If you like Sci-fi at all, you will really enjoy this film. The score is also enchanting and Kim Hunter's performance, endearing.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Streetcar Named Desire

While I actually prefer the play, this film portrayal of Tennessee Williams's classic is very powerful. Marlon Brando is hard to hate as the brooding, aggressive Stanley Kowalski. (In my opinion, he is one of the most attractive people to ever appear on screen; I almost find it hard to concentrate when he is in the shot.) Vivien Leigh gives an impressive performance, but Kim Hunter really steals the show as the wife and concerned sister. The film is oozing with subtext, typical of any Williams production. Definitely worth seeing for Brando and Hunter alone. Their chemistry is amazing.

Arsenic and Old Lace

In case readers have not already realized, I am a huge Cary Grant fan. This over-the-top physical comedy is hilarious. Grant discovers that his sweet old aunts are poisoning men and burying them in the cellar. This film makes use of all the classic comedy unities. It is simply delightful, although slightly frightening at times. Do not miss this silly, eerie comedy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


If you are a David Bowie fan at all, you absolutely must see Labyrinth. It is definitely one of the best Jim Henson movies of all time. It's a little scary when you are a kid, but now it is just hilarious. It includes great music and funny 80s fashion. This is a childhood favorite that should not be missed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

That Touch of Mink

The Cary Grant/Doris Day combo is pretty fantastic in this comedy. Day and Grant want very different things from their casual relationship, making for some very interesting consequences. That Touch of Mink follows a typical Day film plot, but the combination of her and Grant is of course too enticing to pass up.

Empire Records

This is obviously a much more recent classic, but a classic nonetheless. This film is the story of a group of misfits working in a record shop that is potentially going under. Their combined efforts to save Empire Records are the basis of a funny and quirky look at what it's like to be a teenager.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It Happened One Night

This Clark Gable classic is hilarious. It's a sweet early romantic comedy. Gable discovers a young woman running away from her problems. At first, the two do not get along well, but soon they develop witty banter as their journey of mishaps continues. Gable fans will definitely appreciate this critically acclaimed comedy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Graduate

This film is pure art. While the plot is very racy for its time, the music and the cinematography are perfect. The Graduate is the story of a young college graduate (played by Dustin Hoffman) who gets involved with the infamous Mrs. Robinson. The affair gets complicated when Hoffman falls in love with his lover's daughter. You will definitely be a Simon and Garfunkel fan after seeing this film.

A Night at the Opera

This is one of many Marx brothers comedies. This film is one that people of my generation often cannot appreciate. The editing is not as advanced and the humor is purely slapstick and double entendres. I think that it's important for young people to see these types of early examples of comedy in film. The Marx brothers are pioneers in this genre.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pillow Talk

Doris Day and Rock Hudson share a phone line in this comedy of mix-ups. Day is annoyed with her party line since Hudson is always on the phone and she is never able to make a call. Hudson is tired of being harassed by Day and decides to teach her a lesson. This movie is very sweet and funny and is definitely the best of the Day/Hudson pictures.

Monday, March 31, 2008


Charade is my favorite Audrey Hepburn film. Hepburn's husband dies, leaving a 1/4 million dollars hidden, and she's not the only one trying to find it. With help from Cary Grant, Hepburn attempts to evade three potential killers while in search of the money. This film is full of action and exciting twists. Definitely not a chick-flick.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus Finch is considered to be one of the greatest literary heroes of all time. Gregory Peck's portrayal of this moral and ethical man is unforgettable. To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic, and the movie version does the novel justice. Of course, everyone should read the book before seeing it, but both are important milestones in both American film and literature.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Apartment

This is a critically acclaimed picture in which Jack Lemmon lets certain executives in his company use his apartment to carry on their very personal liaisons. The plot thickens when Lemmon falls for one of his boss's leading ladies. The Apartment is a very sweet, funny story which I definitely recommend.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!"

This is definitely one of the funniest films of all time. Peter Sellers plays a myriad of characters including Dr. Strangelove, an odd "ex"-Nazi. The film includes several humorous characters and a series of subplots which all affect the fate of the bomb. It truly is a satirical masterpiece.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holiday Inn

One of many excellent holiday classics. While it is primarily a Christmas film, Holiday Inn celebrates every prominent holiday. Bing Crosby decides to open an inn that is only open on the holidays. What begins as a plot to avoid year round hard work turns into a charming love story. It features many memorable tunes including "White Christmas." Fred Astaire's dance numbers are especially entertaining. This film should definitely be a part of any holiday routine.

The Maltese Falcon

One of Humphrey Bogart's most memorable films, The Maltese Falcon is the quintessential portrayal of the "private eye." This film follows Bogart as he attempts to sift through the shady accounts of his not-so-trustworthy clients in order to piece together the mystery of the Falcon. Any fan of Bogart's should absolutely see this film. His celebrated "tough guy" attitude is especially evident in this excellent example of film noir.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rear Window

This is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film. The elegant Grace Kelly indulges Jimmy Stewart who has developed a habit of spying on his neighbors. Stewart thinks he witnesses a murder through a neighbor's window and falls into an obsession in his attempts to solve the mystery. The only problem is that he is in a wheelchair. What started as a relief from boredom becomes a thrilling hunt to uncover the truth. Things aren't always what they seem in this scary film. Kelly is true to form as the Helen of Troy of our time; she and Stewart's chemistry makes the film definitely worth watching in addition to the clever plot.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Breakfast at Tiffany's

This movie is the reason why women plaster Audrey Hepburn posters all over their dorm room walls. Based on the wonderful story by Truman Capote (which I recommend as an excellent read), this is a tale of a small town girl thrusting herself into the fashionable and cosmopolitan city lifestyle. Holly Golightly has her own ideas about life, love, and happiness, and anyone who enters her zany world finds her quirky and unforgettable. Every girl should see this movie and men should see it to understand where the Audrey obsession comes from.

Bonnie and Clyde

"We rob banks."

This is the sad and passionate tale of Bonnie and Clyde and their gang. From the moment Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow meet, it seems as though nothing can stop them. The film portrays the struggles of life on the run. It is an intriguing look at two of the most notorious robbers in American history. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty have great chemistry in this film and truly make their mark in motion picture history.

Sunset Blvd.

This cryptic tale of a has-been grasping for her glory days is moving and frightening. William Holden's character is charming and witty while his female patron is balancing on the edge of insanity. It is the story of a silent picture star trapped, bitter and alone, in her mansion on Sunset Blvd. Holden's character gives her a reason to live again as they set out to write a new picture together. It is a look at the harsher side of Hollywood and definitely should not be missed!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Philadelphia Story

You almost do not know who to root for in this amazing and hysterical classic. Katharine Hepburn is about to be married when her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a pair of reporters (including Jimmy Stewart) come to crash the party. Seeing these three actors in the same picture is a unique experience. The moment when Stewart and Grant size each other up gives you tingles. Each character is humorous and lovable in his/her own way. Ruth Hussey is also very impressive in the film as Jimmy Stewart's partner. She completely keeps up with the wit of the other characters. You will absolutely fall in love with this film.

When Harry Met Sally

This film is a funny commentary on the differences between men and women and how it affects their relationships. Billy Crystal's unforgettable quote, "men and women can't be friends..." provides the theme of the movie. Meg Ryan and Crystal's characters begin a friendship despite his doubts, and that friendship continues along beautifully until they hit an inevitable bump in the road. It is a witty, honest film and the best romantic comedy of the 80s.

Bringing Up Baby

This is another film featuring the Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn pair. Hepburn plays a loopy woman with a dangerous pet who falls for intellectual and nerdy Grant. She will do anything to win him over, and throughout the process they run into several humorous situations and a great deal of confusion. This is definitely one of the funniest movies of all time. Grant's usual character portrayal is the suave type; seeing him play a smart museum employee is very amusing. Anyone would enjoy this smart, funny film.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Auntie Mame

Auntie Mame is about a woman struggling to bring up her nephew under her own eccentric set of values. She lives extravagantly and attempts to teach him to live his life by her motto: "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." Mame's catch phrase is, in my opinion, one of the best movie quotes of all time. This film teaches you to always be yourself and to avoid snobbery at all costs. It is a beautiful, colorful film with lovable characters and delightful drama around every corner.

12 Angry Men

This inspirational film presents Henry Fonda in a heroic role. It is the story of twelve jurors attempting to decide the outcome of a murder trial. This film says a great deal about human nature and the value of good character. Fonda's performance is unforgettable in this timeless film about the battle between morals and law. Lee J. Cobb also puts forth an impressive and emotional performance.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Stand and Deliver

This is yet another 80s classic and one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen. Stand and Deliver follows the story of a math teacher in a Hispanic neighborhood. He works with his students to help them stay in school and learn calculus. In a dropout-prone high school, this educator gives his students the drive they need to care about their education and to prove to themselves that they are smart, worthwhile individuals. It is truly an under-appreciated gem.

Some Like it Hot

Considered to be one of the greatest comedic films of all time, it is clearly Marilyn Monroe's best picture. Some Like it Hot features a couple of male musicians dressing up as women to hide from the mob. Things become complicated when the pair join a female band and Tony Curtis begins to fall for Monroe. The film is full of confusion and mistaken identities, making it humorous the whole way through. It also delivers one of the most famous and most truthful final lines: "Well, nobody's perfect."


This is a very sweet Jimmy Stewart film. It is the story of a mother and daughter struggling with their crazy relative, Stewart. Stewart claims to have an invisible 6'3" rabbit as his best friend. His sister and niece attempt to have him committed, but the doctors become confused and commit the sister instead. The entire film is a series of mixups, and while everyone else is in constant confusion, Stewart remains calm, kind and collected throughout. He is a friend to all, and this film really portrays the importance of character and self-assurance.

Roman Holiday

Young Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance in this classic romance. The beautiful scenery and the combination of Gregory Peck and Hepburn make this film extremely worth seeing. Roman Holiday allows a young woman to escape her life for a day and spend it with a "kind" stranger. Peck's deep dreamy voice and tall build make him irresistible and Hepburn's innocence and class make her unforgettably lovable. This film leaves you feeling happy and smitten. No one should miss this one.

Lover Come Back

This is one of the many Doris Day/Rock Hudson pictures and is very funny. Day and Hudson play business rivals. While much of the humor is at Day's expense, she still portrays a strong, very driven woman. Tony Randall also stars in this film and definitely plays the role of the fool quiet well. This trio make wonderfully pleasant movies together.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

This entire film is a competition between Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor to determine which actor is more attractive. The chemistry between them is amazing and their acting and appearance are mesmerizing. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, it is naturally dripping with subtext. This film portrays the darker side of family. Newman and Taylor alone make it worth seeing.


This is another classic from the 80s. According to my sisters and I, this is one of the greatest movies ever made. It is Steve Martin at his best in an unforgettable film about family. Anyone with a crazy, lovable extended family will absolutely love Parenthood. Although this is another film that cannot be classified as an "old movie," I think it has earned a spot on this page as the funniest film tribute to families I have ever seen.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Three Faces of Eve

This is one of the earliest looks at multiple personality disorder. This dramatic psychological portrayal presents a true story of a woman struggling with this mental illness. Lee J. Cobb's performance as the caring and helpful psychiatrist is especially moving. Burning questions about Eve's past and the likelihood of recovery drive the plot throughout the entire film, eventually leading to a thrilling climax.

Meet Me in St. Louis

This musical film is about love and family. It takes place at the beginning of the 20th century and features several memorable musical numbers. Judy Garland also introduces "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in a very touchingly emotional scene. This is another favorite among my family, and in my opinion, is Garland's best performance.

Friday, March 14, 2008

His Girl Friday

Another hilarious Cary Grant picture, His Girl Friday is a very interesting look at the lives and drives of journalists. Though the view of a newsroom is fairly stereotypical in this film, the news-gathering process is depicted with humor and light mocking. This film borders on slapstick, yet it keeps that witty dialogue and the clever double-entendres that make earlier pictures so delightful. It also portrays Rosalind Russell as a beautiful, strong, working woman who never loses her journalistic touch.

How to Steal a Million

Anyone who appreciates and adores Audrey Hepburn should not miss this film. It is a sweet, funny tale about a girl who will do anything to protect her family. Peter O'Toole is simply marvelous as her counterpart in the film. He is suave and clever as her friend and accomplice. This is a fun, upbeat adventure which I recommend to any fans of these actors.

Gone with the Wind

This civil war epic is not only very quotable, but is also very well acted. The impressive cinematography and musical score make this film pure art. It is a tribute to struggle and to the power of the individual here in America. Again, this is a long one, but completely worth every minute of your time.

Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai is arguably Director Akira Kurosawa's greatest triumph. This 1954 classic is considered by many to be the best Japanese film of all time. It paved the way for an entire hero plot genre. The film is beautifully made, and is one of the most moving and emotional experiences you will ever have. Do not let the length scare you, it will be the best 3.5 hours you ever spend.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

One of my family's favorite musicals of all time, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a wonderful film. Full of lively dancing and music, it is a beautiful love story about a group of seven "backwoodsmen" falling in love and learning to step outside their boundaries and discover new experiences. There is one especially impressive dance sequence in the middle of the film that any viewer will want to rewind and watch over and over again.


No, I am not referring to The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. Holiday is a classic from the late 30s and one of the many films featuring the Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn duo. This sweet, inspiring film encourages people to be proud of who they are. Hepburn plays the "black sheep" from a ritzy family while Grant portrays her sister's fiance. Anyone who is a fan of either of these performers will enjoy this film.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


While it may have been made in the 80s, Moonstruck is and always will be a classic. The story of a sensible woman torn by passion and her natural good sense, Moonstruck captures the most endearing parts of family life while incorporating colorful, amusing characters. Moonstruck is a quirky, somewhat silly film that makes you remember why you love your family. Cher won an Oscar for her performance; that fact alone should make this movie intriguing enough to watch.


I created this blog for my friends. I do not presume to be an authority on "old movies," nor do I believe that my taste in films is superior to all others. After being asked several times to create a list of "movies to see" by many of my peers, I made several failed attempts to document all the films that have meant something to me. While I have not begun to name these films yet, I hope that this blog will soon help remind people about these (somewhat) forgotten treasures. The list will hopefully be constantly updated as I continue my personal film education. I hope you will enjoy my suggestions!

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Rear Window

A Streetcar Named Desire

Some Like it Hot