Thursday, September 05, 2013

Guest post: Top five favourite movies by Elizabeth LaBan author of Tragedy Paper

Hey bloggers, 

If you've been following by blog you might have seen back in March, my review for Elizabeth LaBan's Tragedy Paper... and if not you can see it here. I really enjoyed the novel and therefore was welcoming to hear more from Elizabeth..  so welcome to Words on the shelf and take it away.... 

Top five favorite movies – and my runners up!

            As I sat down to decide on my favorite movies of all time, I found myself choosing mostly older movies. At first I thought that was because I went through a phase when my kids were little when we watched only Barney and The Wiggles, both of which I was very grateful for because they gave me time to sit and rest while my children were entertained. Things have changed since then and my kids are older. In the last few weeks we saw The Way Way Back, which we all loved, but I wouldn’t put it on my top ten list just yet. We also saw The Spectacular Now – another great one which almost makes my favorites. And then it suddenly hit me why all the movies on my favorites list are from the past – I can’t blame it on my kids! It’s because movies need a little while to settle in – maybe even years. There are many that I watch and love, but only time will tell if I think about them often, or if one scene or another will pop into my mind when something reminds me of it, or if I will quote the movie. So it is in that spirit that I present my top five list of favorite movies – with a few runners-up. Ask me again in ten years and I’ll let you know how The Spectacular Now settled in – the title alone is so quotable!

St. Elmo’s Fire – I think my kids are old enough to watch this one now. I’ve watched it about thirty times. Flashes of the movie come back to me often – the group riding in the jeep as they antique shop in Georgetown, Judd Nelson’s character throwing the football and saying, “Wasted love – God I just wish I could get it back.” Rob Lowe’s character explaining the meaning of St. Elmo’s Fire and how it relates to all of them. Excuse me for a minute, I’m going to go watch it again now!

Kramer vs. Kramer – I’m not sure why this one had such an impact on me – but it did. I remember seeing it over and over again in the theater – and being scolded because I said the dialogue along with the actors. That’s how well I knew the movie. It is a great film – and won lots of Oscars the year it came out including best picture. But I think one of the reasons I was drawn to it in the first place is the boy who played the young kid in the movie lived in the next town over from where I lived – and I was fascinated by that.

Prelude to a Kiss – Such a good movie! I love the idea of switching souls and actually having someone realize it even though you look exactly the same. I refer to this movie in one of my not-yet-published women’s fiction novels.

The Princess Bride – This one wins a place on my list not only because it is an entirely entertaining movie, but also because it is one of the most quotable: “Marriage is a dream within a dream,” or, “Inconceivable,” or, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” or maybe the most recognizable, “As you wish.” In fact, I took my kids out for pizza the other night and my daughter thought the waiter looked just like Westley from the movie so we spent the whole night saying, “As you wish,” quietly when he walked away from the table. I tweeted about it, and it turned out to be my most popular tweet yet. People love this movie!

Rocky – I loved this movie even before I moved to Philadelphia. It is a great sports film about the underdog rising up and winning. The music is amazing. Now that I actually live here, and have for more than fifteen years, I love the movie even more. I find it interesting, and endearing, that it is completely embraced here – from the Rocky statue near the Art Museum to a sign on a store door in the Italian Market that says “Yo – We’re Open.” 

Annie Hall – I love most Woody Allen movies – but this is my favorite. I think of it and talk about it often, and I find it fits into so many different corners of my life. As far as my kids go, I always laugh when we take them to the suburbs or the country (we live right in the city) and they don’t like the dark or the bugs, and I tell them about when Allen’s character Alvy Singer leaves the city to go to the Hamptons and talks about hating when the mosquitoes get stuck on the screen door. And then there’s the famous scene when he is a boy and he refuses to do his homework because he says there is no point, “The universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything.” I refer to that often when my kids don’t want to do their homework.

Since this list is constantly changing I want to add a few runners-up to round out the ten you asked for: Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, When Harry Met Sally, and Breaking Away. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of these movies that I also think of often, can you guess which one it comes from?

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

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