Top10 Movies that Marked Me

When Luc and I posted our top 10 books, we agreed not to think too hard about it.

Today’s list was a little more work. Luc suggested we write about movies that really affected us in some way, not simply our 10 favourites (which would have been a slightly different list).

So here, in no particular order are my top 10 movies that marked me:

  1. The Breakfast Club: For me, this is the movie (and theme song) that defines my generation. It’s 97 minutes of pure 1980s pop culture and high school angst. Doesn’t hurt that it’s both funny and touching. Or that Judd Nelson was a super hot bad boy in 1985.
  2. Beautiful Girls: It wasn’t the main storyline of this film that affected me, but the subplot involving the 13-year-old girl next door (a pre-famous 15-year-old Natalie Portman) that really got to me. I saw a lot of my pre-teen self in this young character who was mature for her age, always falling in love with the older guys, always yearning to be older and wiser and more experienced. She also gets some great witty, intelligent one-liners that I only wish I could come up with on the spur of the moment.
  3. The Wizard of Oz: Did anyone else watch this movie every single year from the time they were born until their late 20s and NOT realize that the three farmhands were the lion, the tin man and the cowardly lion? Even though their faces were perfectly recognizable through their Land of Oz make-up? And even though Dorothy explicitely says, as she wakes up from her ordeal, “And you were there! And YOU! And YOU!” No? Just me? Yeah, that marked me.
  4. A Christmas Story: For some people it’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” For others, it’s “Miracle on 34th Street.” For me it’s Ralphie and his trusty old Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without watching this classic.
  5. Monsters Inc.: Luc and I watched this animated flick together shortly after I miscarried in 2002 in an attempt to distract ourselves from our sadness. The combination of belly laughs and wrenching tears we shared (“Good-bye, Boo. Kitty has to go…”) was overwhelmingly cathartic.
  6. The Silence of the Lambs: A friend and I went to see this thriller during a shopping weekend away. When it was over, we ran back to our hotel room, terrified, looking over our shoulders the entire way. In the hotel elevator we checked for drops of blood from above. In the room, we double-checked the closet for cannibalistic killers. To this day, I can’t hear a slurping sound without feeling ill. While I can appreciate its cinematic value, this movie marked me in a chillingly creepy and psychologically damaging way.
  7. Waking Ned Devine: This quietly hilarious film is about how the townsfolk in a tiny Irish village (led by two elderly best friends) join together to try to claim the cash after one of their own wins the national lottery and promptly drops dead from the shock. This movie gave me gorgeous scene after scene of one of my favourite countries, the most eloquent eulogy I’ve ever heard, and a song I want played at my own funeral.
  8. The Princess Bride: Quite simply the best fairy tale EVER.
  9. The Mirror Has Two Faces: This may border on blasphemy, but I’m not a huge Barbra Streisand fan, so I almost didn’t watch this movie. Glad I did, because it immediately became one of my all-time favourites. The scene where Streisand’s character is rejected by her husband is absolutely heart-breaking (and, really, who among us hasn’t sat on the bathroom floor and cried over a guy?). And the final scene (played out with Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” swelling in the background) is the best of happy endings.
  10. Gladiator: When one line from a movie stays with you to the point of becoming very close to what you might dare to call your own personal philosophy, it’s worth mentioning: “What we do in life… echoes in eternity.”

Honourable mention:

Gone With the Wind: Had to mention this one, not because I liked it, but because I didn’t. It was the first proof I ever had that the book is almost always better than the movie.

Check out Luc’s top 10 movies that marked him.

Now Playing in a Living Room Near You…

Netflix has this really neat feature. Once you’ve watched a movie or two or twelve, it starts to offer recommendations based on your viewing history. Categories like “Top 10 for You,” “Because You Watched X…” and “Because You Watched Y…”.

If you were to flip on Netflix in our house a few weeks ago, all of the top 10 recommended movies would have been for kids. And there would be additional categories like “Because You Watched Every Single Episode from Six Seasons of Fairly Odd Parents–Twice” and “Because You Watched The Adventures of Tintin So Many Times That You Can Now Recite the Entire Movie Verbatim in Both Official Languages.” (OK, I made those up. But it’s true.)

That would be because over the Christmas holidays, both the boy and the girl fell sick. The kind of sick where the best they could do was drag their sorry little butts out of bed, flop onto the sofa, cuddle up under some cozy blankets, cough and sneeze all over each other (really, at that point, who cares?) and watch TV.

Fast forward to the end of February, and it was Mommy’s turn to be sick, albeit a different kind of sick. Due to what the doctor thinks was a virus (does anyone else suspect that doctors blame everything they can’t readily explain on a virus?) I had a nasty case of dizzy spells, light-headedness and vertigo that sent the world around me spinning and me walking into walls. Doctor’s orders: two weeks off while the virus ran its course. No work, no going out, no driving–all too dangerous when you’re not sure when or how the next wave will hit.

Normally if I had the house to myself six hours a day for two weeks, I’d use it as an opportunity to continue my ongoing battle with household clutter by cleaning out the closets, reorganizing the pantry or some such activity. But since the simple motion of bending over was likely to send me falling over, I had no choice but to park myself on the couch and either read or watch TV.

So I turned to Netflix for much of my entertainment. Here are just a few of the movies I ended up watching during my forced confinement:

  • Everybody’s Fine
  • Friends With Money
  • Jane Eyre
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • Just Friends
  • New York, I Love You
  • The Jane Austen Book Club

Now, when Luc and I watch a movie together (once the kids are finally asleep but it’s not so late that I’ll end up sleeping through most of it), we usually lean towards an action, adventure or sci-fi flick or even a good documentary. We do share some common ground where movies are concerned and can usually agree on something fairly easily.

But when it’s just me, all alone with full control and the remote in my hand? Well, I know I like a good drama. I also like a good romantic comedy. I like to laugh. I like to cry. If I can do both during the same movie, even better. I like a movie with real women, handsome men and a solid plot. Pretty costumes are nice too.

Apparently Netflix knows this too. If you were to turn it on in our house today, the top two categories they suggest are “Witty Romantic Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead” and “Understated Dramas Based on Books.” (And no, I am NOT making those up!)

This kind of technology is pretty great. It certainly makes choosing a movie faster. And I do understand that Netflix is just trying to “enhance my viewing experience.”

But does anyone else also find it just a little creepy?

Check out Luc’s taste in movies