Monday, April 25, 2011

My List of Great Nonrequired Movies

I have quite a few friends that are in their twenties and thirties - It's just how I roll - I refuse to grow old. Anyway, there are a lot movies that never made the top ten or top hundred list that are really great and it's shame that these darn kids don't know about them .. so here's my list of Nonrequired Movies.

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Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946)

I think this one of Hitchcock's best films. It stars Cary Grant, Claude Rains and a mysterious Ingrid Bergman. It's a spy thriller, where a Bergman has to double-cross her father's Nazi buddies who are operating out of Rio after the war. Ingrid Bergman play a great - naughty girl.

Kelly's Hereos (1970)

This is one of my favorite WW II movies. It's a comedy about a group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi gold. There is an amazing list of stars in this movie from the protagonist - Clint Eastwood to Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, and Carroll O'Connor.

Imagine the movie MASH set in World War II.

The Flamingo Kid (1984)

This was an 80's film that took place in the 60's. Matt Dillon plays a kid who just finished high school and doesn't know what to do with his future. He comes from a working class family and for the summer he gets a taste of the good life by working at a swank beach club - "El Flamingo". Like any good 80's film there is a perfect character arc where Dillon's character has to choose if wishes to throw away his long-term future for a short-term gain. It's funny and poignant and has great characters.

Network (1976)

This movie made some thirty years ago, perfectly predicted the rise of  the FOX News Network. It's uncanny how accurate this film is. The deranged ex-TV anchor Howard Beale - played by Peter Finch is a creepy version of the future Glenn Beck.

This film was directed by famed Sidney Lumet who also directed  Dog Day Afternoon and  Murder on the Orient Express. Lumet died on April 9th of this year.

The Killing Fields (1984)

Year Zero in the aftermath of the bombing of Cambodia. Follows the path of a Dith Pran (as Dr. Haing S Ngor). Should be a reminder of what happens when you drop bombs on a civilization.

See the movie and then find out the tragic outcome of Dr. Ngor's life in the USA.

American Graffiti (1973)

In my opinion, this is George Lucas' best movie. It's the last summer night in 1962. The last drive down the boulevard in Modesto, California. Lucas captures the time and tone of that summer night perfectly. It also stars a very young Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss.

The Wages of Fear (1953)

Okay here is the premise: Load a truck full of explosive nitroglycerin and get safely to it's destination as quickly as possible - without any safety equipment .. at night. Need I say more?

Seven Samurai (1954)

The best of famed Akira Kurosawa films. The premise may be simple: seven samurai help a poor village plagued by bandits, but it's the incredible characters that keep you watching. Each Samurai is a Jungian archetype, but forget all that .. there is lots of really good sword fighting.

Norma Rae (1979)

With all the problems with union busting these days, I can't think of a better film to watch that puts it all into perspective. Sally Field is at her best in this movie. She plays a young, single mother fighting da Man to get a  union in a cotton mill after her father dies of a neglected heart attack.

Lost in America (1985)

I love Albert Brooks who's real name is Albert Einstein and who's brother is Bob Einstein and Bob plays a very funny character named Super Dave Osborne. Got all that? - good. Anyway Albert Brooks is one of my favorite comedians. He introspective yet self-absorbed. He's the perfect straight man.

I like this movie mostly because of what happens in Vegas when Brooks' character finds out his wife, played by Julie Hagerty is a compulsive gambler and lost their "nest egg".

Patton (1970)

Patton is not my favorite WW II movie; don't get me wrong it is very fine film and George C. Scott does a spot on General George S. Patton. I put Patton on this list because it was Elvis' favorite movie. He knew every line of dialogue in the almost three hour film.

There it is, my list of great nonrequired movies. I kind of enjoyed writing this list. Maybe I will do it again. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment.

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