A Life in the Movies

I stumbled upon Andy’s blog post on Fandango Groovers Movie Blog that invites fellow bloggers to choose their favorite movie for all the years they have been alive on the planet. Without further adieu, I will include my 29 favorite pictures (with a few runner ups mentioned).

1982: Blade Runner

As the most potent picture that is still relevant today, I have to give Ridley Scott props for this futuristic thriller starring Harrison Ford and the very young Sean Young (what happened to her career?) for a great picture based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Honorable mention: E.T.

Who doesn’t know the phrase, “ET, phone home?” One of Spielberg’s best.

1983: A Christmas Story

I have mad love for Peter Billingsley (who plays the lead, Ralphie) in this movie. Every Christmas, I must watch this movie. How can I live without this picture? My favorite scene (there are so many) is Randy’s ridiculous coat. Before he leaves for school he says, “I can’t put my arms down!”; this line (as I write this), makes me laugh every time. Every time! Such a classic.

Honorable mention: The Big Chill

Definitely before my time but the performances were stellar; the staging of the picture resembling a play worked well and the themes are still relevant today.

1984: A Nightmare on Elm Street

My favorite horror movie of all time with one of the best movie villains ever, Freddy Krueger. He used to haunt my nightmares; he chased me and never caught me. At times, I even defeated him! Seriously though, I watch this at least once a year; it’s that good. Oh the dialogue. My favorite is uttered by then young Johnny Depp – “Morality sucks,”  while hearing the first victim’s moans of pleasure with her boyfriend coming from the bedroom. This movie never gets old!

Honorable mentions: Ghostbusters
Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis,  Ernie Hudson, and Slimer. Need I say more?

Breakin’

If you haven’t seen Hollywood’s take on break dancing in the eighties, go see this now! A staple in the Heredia household (my brother used to break dance), we watched this every time the film was on HBO. Good times.

1985: The Legend of Billie Jean

Three words: “Fair is Fair!” Familiarize yourself with this awesomely bad and absurdly amazing picture with Christian Slater (his first movie), Helen Slater, and the very young and future voice of Lisa Simpson, Yeardley Smith. Pure eighties cheesy joy.

Honorable mention: The Breakfast Club

The reason why Ally Sheedy’s character shows up to detention is reason enough for me! And of course, the perfect Judd Nelson as John Bender.

1986: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Two things: the awesome contraption to convey existence in his bedroom and other than Matthew Broderick’s adorable cuteness, his rendition of the famous Beatles cover, “Twist and Shout.” Okay, just Broderick’s lipsynching to this song had me rocking my hips like it was the 1960s. One more thing: “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…” Ben Stein’s voice = greatness.

Honorable mention: Stand By Me

Ben E. King’s song, “Stand By Me” is perfect for this picture. Salient feature? Young River Phoenix playing the sensitive but tough Chris Chamber to Wil Wheaton’s vulnerable Gordie Lachance. Let’s not forget, cute adolescent Jerry O’Connell and eighties staple, Corey Feldman. Seriously, this guy was in every other movie this decade! Memorable cameos include John Cusack and Kiefer Sutherland.

1987: The Princess Bride

A few of my favorite quotes:
“This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?”
“Is this a kissing book?”
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
“Inconceivable!”
“You know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.”
I could go on but I have a list to complete! If you haven’t watched Rob Reiner’s take on true love, watch the movie already! If these quotes don’t entice you enough, watch for Fred Savage’s film debut, the late Peter Falk, Robin Wright’s film debut, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, and Carol Kane. And that’s the whole cast I was able to recite from memory! One of my favorites.

Honorable mention: Adventures in Babysitting

Pre-Date Night, the story begins innocently enough: Elisabeth Shue is Chris Parker, the girl who sings, “Then He Kissed Me,” at the beginning of the movie, only to find out, her date cancelled on her. Off to babysitting she goes and when her best friend is lost at a bus station, the shenanigans ensue. Apart from Shue, the most memorable faces include Anthony Rapp (Rent) and Keith Coogan (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead). A fun little picture that has you snickering the whole time.

1988: Big

Oh, how can you not enjoy Tom Hanks when he was in perpetually every random comedy picture in the eighties? Some were good, some were okay, and some were pitch perfect, like this one! Who doesn’t love that big piano scene at FAO Schwartz?

Honorable mention: Die Hard

Yippe Ai Ay Kay Ah Mofos! (You know the rest!) An action picture with a story, star power, love, camaraderie, loyalty, and explosions! Still standing the test of time, this is one of John McTiernan’s best pictures he’s ever made.

1989: Heathers

There are too many great quotes (my favorites have profanity) that I enjoy so much in this movie. One of my favorite Winona Ryder pictures by far (and Christian Slater), this dark comedy about teenage suicide (don’t do it!) will always please my irreverent sensibilities.

Honorable mentions: The Little Mermaid, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, When Harry Met Sally, Do the Right Thing, Batman, Look Who’s Talking. There were too many I couldn’t mention from this year. I thoroughly enjoy all these pictures! They each have something wonderful about them.

1990: Home Alone

For my viewing pleasure, I had to watch this movie when it was on the premium cable channels growing up. Cute little Macaulay Culkin pre-emancipation was extremely watchable and adorably precocious in this silly picture about a kid outsmarting a pair of thieves. Memorable performances go to the pair – Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci along with Catherine O’Hara’s “Kevin!” shout. Never gets old!

Honorable mentions: Ghost, Cry Baby, Edward Scissorhands, Pump Up the Volume. What can I say? I got a thing for Johnny Depp and Christian Slater. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s chemistry was also memorable. “Ditto.” Pre-The Notebook hotness.

1991: Drop Dead Fred

Phoebe Cates plays Lizzie in this picture about how imaginary friends can save you when you’re feeling blue. My brother took me to see this in theaters which is why it holds a special place in my heart. The movie isn’t necessarily very good but nostalgia contains the joy and laughter I shared with my brother while watching this. Frivolous and preposterous, this movie always had you guessing but Rik Mayall (Fred) always made me laugh. Even as an adult, I laughed during this movie. Well-known faces include Carrie Fisher, a young Bridget Fonda (“No panties! No panties!”), Ron Eldard, and of Animal House fame, Tim Matheson.

Honorable Mentions: The Addams Family, Terminator 2, Hook, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, My Girl, My Own Private Idaho. To my credit, I was still in elementary school when I was watching these family pictures which is why I have such fondness for them. As for Gus Van Sant’s picture, I watched as an adult; I would not have appreciated this movie as a child.

1992: A League of Their Own

“There’s no crying in baseball! There’s no crying! No crying” bellows Jimmy Dugan embodied by Tom Hanks’ burly physique. Every time I watch this movie I think, “Aww, this is when Geena Davis was still relevant.” I mean no disrespect to her by this comment because I have watched a numerous amount of movies she’s starred in and I say that because I miss her! Her acting range in this picture was off the charts. The same can be said for Lori Petty. I absolutely loved Petty as the younger sister, Kit. Albeit Madonna’s poor excuse for a performance (I love her music but it doesn’t mean I can’t see the flaws in the other areas of her life), I will always enjoy this movie (and the song, “This Used to be My Playground” sang by Madonna) whenever the movie is on a network.

Honorable mentions: Aladdin, Home Alone 2, Death Becomes Her, Like Water for Chocolate. Can you tell which ones I watched as a kid and the ones as an adult?

1993: True Romance

To name a few of the now known actors in this movie only skims the surface – Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken, the late Dennis Hopper, Bronson Pinchot, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, James Gandolfini, and there’s more! Penned by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, this film provides the grittiness and the great QT dialogue, making it a pleasure for all the senses. That sex scene in the phone booth? H.O.T.

Honorable mentions: Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, Untamed Heart. I told you I loved Christian Slater. Dinosaurs and Robin Williams making a fool of himself ruled me at the time.

1994: Serial Mom

Kathleen Turner made me squirm and laugh with glee as she killed off people over the most asinine matters: not rewinding videotapes, white shoes after labor day, and other random issues deemed inappropriate by her character.  This is one of my preferred selections of the many John Waters pictures. Another movie that doesn’t age. Definitely not for everyone.

Honorable mentions: Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, My Father the Hero. This was the year that Tom Hanks blew the world away with his unforgettable performance as dim-witted Forrest, Hollywood paid attention to Quentin Tarantino, and Katherine Heigl had her first starring role in a movie. Ahh, when times were simple.

1995: Clueless

Every time I watch this now (I pop this in about three to four times a year maybe? The number of times I watch this each year has increased, I must say), I think about the late Brittany Murphy who wanted to know how “do you know if you’re doing it sporadically?” I look at Stacey Dash’s youth (she was much older than the other actors during filming), young Alicia Silverstone, Donald Faison, sexy deep voiced Jeremy Sisto, Wallace Shawn, and Breckin Meyer. At the time, I didn’t comprehend the references, but now I understand and I always laugh at the same quotes, phrases, or situations. Not to mention I can quote the movie verbatim. I absolutely adore this movie to pieces. My scratched DVD proves my fondness for this movie.

Honorable mentions: Toy Story, Casper, Se7en, Strange Days. The beginning of Pixar’s brilliance, a cute boy named Devon Sawa captured my heart (for a second), Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman blew me away with an unexpected ending, and Kathryn Bigelow shows Hollywood that not only men can make futuristic action pictures.

1996: Scream

Wes Craven comes back (after sealing the Nightmare franchise in 1994) with the writing talents of Kevin Williamson. Definitely banking on the popular teen explosion of the WB shows and movies, this team delivered an exemplary addition to the horror genre and revitalized a genre that was DOA for awhile. Excellent performances, dialogue, and death scenes.

Honorable mention: Independence Day

Will Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman – the beginning of disaster movies – I enjoy this movie the same way I did back then. I don’t watch it all the time but when it’s on, I have a good time. Pure entertainment at its core -nothing more, nothing less.

1997: Gattaca

I’ve always had a thing for Ethan Hawke since Reality Bites so when I saw this movie, I loved the concept, the acting, and the thrill. Not to mention the production design and look of the film. I like Uma Thurman but her acting was forgettable in this movie. However, this does not deter my deep appreciation and enjoyment of this picture.

Honorable mentions: The Fifth Element, Starship Troopers, Good Will Hunting. These are the kind of action movies I miss! Oh and the triple attraction of Matt Damon’s acting, his Bawston accent (I love accents!), and his sick body.

1998: Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)

This is by far Franka Potente’s best performance ever! Where is she? I couldn’t stand her in The Bourne Identity (too meek for my tastes) and I haven’t seen her in the other pictures or television appearances in the past decade or so. When I saw this, I was blown away. Apart from the concept and storylines, she carried the whole movie. And that hair? Yes! Oh and the techno music? Perfect! I could go on. Phenomenal picture.

Honorable mentions: Babe: Pig in the City, The Wedding Singer

Who doesn’t love talking animal movies (okay some suck but not this one)? Of the many Adam Sandler movies out, the chemistry between Drew Barrymore and him were endearing to me.

1999: The Matrix

The Wachowski’s change the way action movies are done with the multi-camera filming in this futuristic action picture. Keanu’s career soared soon after and a slew of sequels were filmed. They weren’t all great but this movie still blows me away every time.

Honorable mentions: American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, Fight Club.

Kevin Spacey showcased his talent and nuanced performance, the beginning of Mr. One Trick Pony Shyamalan (this really was his Best), and the gifted David Fincher who brought Chuck Palahnuik’s novel to life with the amazing talents of Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. A great year in pictures!

2000: Miss Congeniality

I’ve seen my share of Sandra Bullock movies (While You Were Sleeping was a good one too) but this movie resonates with me much more. Maybe it’s because I can relate to her character, maybe my mood at the time, or maybe because she wasn’t afraid to look foolish while doing her job. Bullock was refreshing and so damn likable.

Honorable Mention: American Psycho. Not remembering Mr. Christian Bale from Newsies (never watched Empire of the Sun), I gawked at his sick abs and then took in the movie in all its horrific (in a good way) glory. His abs, I mean, this movie never fails to amuse me.

2001: Zoolander
“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?”
“It’s that damn Hansel! He’s so hot right now!”
As I write this, I’m chuckling at imagining Will Ferrell’s delivery with the aforementioned quote. Directed, partly written by, and starring Ben Stiller, he gained a fan of his work. Sometimes Ben’s movie choices fall flat but this movie will perpetually be winning in my book. Seen by some as too broad or too over the top, this movie manages to elicit massive laughing or giggling from me; I don’t even need to see this with others, I laugh so hard at times. What can I say? I have a thing for goofy and off the wall comedy.

No honorable mentions this year. There were some but I watch this one the most from 2001.

2002: Spiderman

Sam Raimi lets the world know how he throws down! Not being a comic fan and vaguely familiar with the story, I saw this on the big screen with a big crew of comic book fans; the energy was electric, we oohed and aahed, and anxiously waited in our seats as Peter Parker rescued Mary Jane from the bridge. A spectacular spring/summer movie.

Honorable mention: Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Dubbed with irreverant dialogue by Steve Oedekerk, albeit bad reviews, I laugh every time. Utterly ridiculous on all levels but I love it.

2003: School of Rock

By far, my favorite Richard Linklater film to date (well, Before Sunset and Before Sunrise are also great ones) that I can re-watch any time. Jack Black’s shtick suits this film and the kids are just great. Oh and the music? Wonderful picture.

Honorable mention: Kill Bill Volume 1

It took QT a while to shape up this revenge tale starring Uma Thurman (she’s particularly amazing in everything QT has her do). This picture reminds the movie viewing audience his first class filmmaking skills.

2004: Mean Girls

“Gretchen, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen,” spews Regina, played spectacularly by Rachel McAdams to a meek Gretchen (Lacey Chabert). This quote I know from memory and there are many more. Admittedly enough, I was reluctant to watch this on the big screen when I saw the trailer but when I went, I was blown away. I shake my head in pure sadness because Lindsay Lohan’s performance was rock solid and she could’ve been an celebrity known more for her acting than her antics. Oh, she could’ve been something…more.

Honorable mentions: Kill Bill Volume 2, 50 First Dates

My man, QT, brings it back with the sequel. The story, the action – love it! Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in this cute romantic comedy about how love functions when someone has short term memory loss which makes me gush every time. Their chemistry was spot on and Sean Astin’s buffness + lisp = priceless.

2005: Sky High

A surprisingly entertaining superhero movie starring Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston and a nice cameo from Bruce Campbell. Not a great movie by all means, but if it’s on, I’m going to watch it.

Honorable mention: Batman Begins

Yay, the reboot of the Batman franchise by Christopher Nolan and company. Christian Bale!! But Katie Holmes? Not so much. Christian Bale! Darkness! Liam Neeson! Entertainment!

2006: Something New

I’m a big fan of Sanaa Lathan – she’s a great actress and I wish she were in more pictures. And I have a huge celebrity crush on Aussie Simon Baker. OMG, his hotness? So many sexy, sweet, and touching scenes in this movie. Something new indeed!

Honorable mention: Children of Men

No spoilers here if you have’t seen it, but there’s a poignant scene in which everyone stops in their tracks that gets you right in the heart. Phenomenal performances all around.

2007: There Will Be Blood

PTA (Paul Thomas Anderson) is what’s up! I’ve appreciated and praised every single picture he’s made (not a lot under his belt) and I want more! “I drink your milkshake!!”

Honorable mentions: Grindhouse, Across the Universe

QT does it again with Robert Rodriguez (a big fan of his work too, but not really the Spy Kids movies so much) and a star studded cast to boot. Too many to name here in this genre picture but worth it to see both directors give the audience the awesomeness we know they can provide. And the Beatles infused musical is for all non-Beatles and Beatles lovers alike; directed by the Tony award winning director, Julie Taymor (The Lion King), the movie was gorgeous, thrilling, romantic, and electric. Worth a watch. Or two or three or four times!

2008: Wall-E

“Eva!!!” Wall-E is the cute little cleaning robot left behind while all the humans live on this ship somewhere (bear with me, the details are fuzzy, I saw this when it premiered), and the humans are all extremely overweight. Social commentary much? I appreciated that and extremely enjoyed the romance between the robots. How often do you see such adorable robot love?

Honorable mention: The Dark Knight

Mad respect goes out to Heath Ledger, the one and only. He was absolutely amazingly crazy in this picture and that’s why I enjoyed it.

2009: Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi returns to his campy roots with this curse story gone wrong starring Justin Long and Alison Lohman. In Evil Dead II fashion, this movie is both terrifying and hilarious. The tongue in cheek moments are impeccable; Raimi needs to direct another horror picture. He’s made for this genre! A truly superb piece of horror filmmaking.

Honorable mentions: Inglorious Basterds, Zombieland, A Single Man.

I love my man QT and I have to give him mad props for changing history, casting Brad Pitt while not making him the star of the picture, and providing Eli Roth to be brutish (and hot) at the same time. A zombie picture after my heart, Jesse Eisenberg’s rules added an extra element to a genre that’s always reinventing itself. Tom Ford’s directorial debut showcasing the tremendous talent Colin Firth possesses left me speechless and moved. I want more Colin Firth movies!

2010: Easy A

Will Gluck’s homage to those teenage comedies from the eighties with a contemporary twist proved to be successful on all fronts. The performances by everyone and newcomer Emma Stone blew me away. The whole montage of her singing “Pocketful of Sunshine” was priceless (chuckling as I see the images in my head). The always perfect Stanley Tucci (more Tucci, please!) and one of my favorite new actresses, Patricia Clarkson. This movie has a high rating of re-watchability.

Honorable mentions: Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Kick-Ass, Date Night, The Social Network. A fan of Nolan’s work, I admire his work but never quite remember the picture soon after; but because of the high concept I had to mention this movie. The next two were bright action packed movies based on comic books I’ve never heard of that had me in stitches. Steve Carrell and Tina Fey = Winning. David Fincher + Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay making the story of Facebook fascinating = expert storytelling at its best.

And that’s my list! It took me forever to compile but so much fun to create! What are your favorite movies in years?

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3 responses to “A Life in the Movies

  1. Pingback: A Life In Movies « Fandango Groovers Movie Blog

  2. Hi Rose, thanks for the email, late entries are more than welcome, I have added you to the list.

    Some great choices on your list, especially the same as I picked!

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