Thursday, January 4, 2024

Top 103 Favorite Movies: #39 - 30

Happy New Year!

Back to counting down my favorite 103 movies. Why 103? Because there were some movies I just couldn't bear to leave out.

Previous editions of this count down are:

103 - 90

89 - 80

79 - 70

69 - 60

59 - 50

49 - 40

So here we go:

39:  It Happened one Night (1934)

The oldest movie on this list and a fun glimpse into 1930s life and culture in the US. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, she is a rich woman running away from her father and he is a reporter looking for a scoop. They end up travelling together and posing as a married couple to stay in motels. And when there's only one bed in a room… well, things might happen. Available on Sling TV (free).

38: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

If you watch this movie enough, you realize it's not about Ferris Bueller, but about Cameron finding his courage to stand up for himself and to live his life the way he wants to. There's fun along the way as the dean of students at the high school, Ed Rooney, tries to catch Bueller playing hooky. It reminds me of Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the road runner. And don't worry, the Ferrari was a replica. Available on Netflix.

37: Guy Richie's The Covenant (2023)

This is the newest film on the list. Set during the Afghanistan War, an interpreter risks his life to save an American soldier. After the American is home and out of the military, he finds out the Taliban is searching for the interpreter with plans to murder him and his family. The soldier returns to Afghanistan to save the interpreter. Lots of action and good acting, this is an intense movie. It was directed by Guy Richie who usually does British crime caper movies. Available on YouTube and Vudu (both paid).

36: Ghostbusters (1984)

"Who ya gonna call?" Who would think a movie about a business to find and eradicate ghosts would work this well? Hilarious (mostly due to Bill Murray) and fun. Eminently quotable, too. And the movie makes an over-zealous EPA bureaucrat the bad guy. Gotta love that. Sigourney Weaver is a woman who is being haunted both by ghosts and neighbor Louis Tully (played by Rick Moranis). Available on YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video (all paid).

35: Lone Survivor (2013)

Back to the Afghanistan War, Lone Survivor is the story of special forces soldier Marcus Luttrell who was the only survivor of a vicious firefight on a ridge. The combat sequences are what makes this movie great. They are intense and you can actually tell what's happening. The Americans are discovered by some shepherds, and they let the men go who apparently tell the Taliban where the Americans are. No good deed goes unpunished. Available on YouTube, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video (all paid).

34: Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson directed and starred in this movie about freedom. William Wallace (Gibson) leads his fellow Scots against the tyrannical English, trying to win their independence. Forget that it's historically inaccurate, remember that these people were fighting and dying for freedom 500 years before the American Revolution. Available on Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

33: American Graffiti (1973)

George Lucas's second feature film, this one might be a bit hard to understand if you don't know about "cruising." On Friday and/or Saturday night, you'd get in your car (or your parent's car) and drive slowly up and down your town's main drag to see and be seen. This movie is about one night of cruising but it's more than that. Some characters are about to leave for college and some don't know where they want to go and some are staying. Watch for a young Harrison Ford (and Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Suzanne Somers). Available on Netflix.

32: Amadeus (1984)

Not the most historically accurate movie, but the music is amazing. This is the story of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart told through the eyes of a rival, Salieri. Mozart is a buffoon and Salieri is a serious composter envious of Mozart's talent. Salieri tries to sabotage his rival. And did I mention the music? A very good movie. Available on Amazon Prime Video.

31: Grand Prix (1966)

The best film about car racing, ever. The driving is realistic and the wreaks are realistic. I don't know about the relationships between the drivers and women, but that might be true too. This is where James Garner learned to drive fast. The sometimes-artsy direction distracts at times, but if you want the feel of driving an F1 car in the '60s, this movie is it. Available on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video (both paid).

30:  Finding Nemo (2003)

Beautiful computer animation makes you think you are underwater. There are also lots of memorable characters including the over-protective father, Marlin. The sea turtles are worth the price of admission. Crush reminds me of my cousin Kenny and Squirt is hilarious. Another Pixar triumph, this movie is fun, funny, and touching. "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." Available on Disney+

That's it. What do you think of the movies on my list? Let me know in the comments below.

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