5 Film Recommendations

List posts seem to be popular around the blogging community and I’ve done a couple. Today I’ve decided to step outside the world of politics.  Summer is coming to a close and there is no better time for a movie night. If that is in your family’s future, I want to recommend five of my favorite films.

1) CLUE (1985)

Some people may argue that board games don’t make for good movies. CLUE in one case that proves them wrong. Based on the Parker Bros. game Clue is a classic whodunnit mystery.  Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Micheal McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, and Lesley Ann Warren made an all-star cast of comedic actors from the mid 1980’s. The premise was simple. Six people show up at a dinner party. Then Mr. Boddy arrives. Mr. Boddy is quickly killed and we are left to figure out who murdered him.  With fantastic performances by the entire cast, and 3 alternate endings, Clue is an underappreciated classic of American comedy.

2) Uncle Buck (1989)

If you talk to people about John Hughes films, you will likely hear about “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.” You may even come across the occasional fan of “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.” The one John Hughes flick you aren’t likely to hear about is “Uncle Buck.” “Uncle Buck” starred John Candy as, Buck Russell, the estranged uncle of a suburban Chicago family. When his sister-in-law’s father has a heart attack the family must turn to Buck to look after the three children, only one of whom knows he even exists. Uncle Buck has all the humor of an outright comedy, and the touching growing up story of teenage angst that is the hallmark of John Hughes films. It’s a definite must see.

3) O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

Ethan and Joel Cohen might just be the most creative filmmakers alive today. Their films range from the hilarious to absurd to downright frightening. How a pair can come up with “The Dude” for one movie and then have a characters body put through a wood chipper in another is beyond me. I was exposed to the Coen brothers early in my life when I first saw “Raising Arizona.” Since then I have had the pleasure of seeing 8 of the 15 or so movies they have released. While I constantly fight myself over which is my favorite, I believe 2000’s “O, Brother Where Art Thou” is possibly the most creative film of my lifetime. Centered around Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) and his chain gang companions, Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), the film is an adaptation of Homer’s “Odyssey” set in the Depression Era South. After they escape from a penal farm, the trio sets out to find treasure. Along the way they encounter a blind soothsayer on the railroad, a guitar player named Tommy(Chris Thomas King), a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman), infamous bank robber George “Baby-Face” Nelson (Michael Badalucco), Governor Pappy O’Daniel (Charles Durning), and a man who will pay you 20 dollars to sing into a can (Stephen Root). Backed up by the brilliant musical direction of T-Bone Burnett, “O Brother Where Art Thou?” is a film you just can’t miss.

4) Inherit The Wind (1960)

When I was growing up my mother took it upon herself to make sure I had an appreciation for classic American cinema. I was the only kid in the elementary school who could talk about Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Danny Kaye. My friends didn’t have a clue about who Andy Griffith was,  but I had seen “No Time For Sergeants” ten times. At some point this experience led me to “Inherit The Wind.” Based on the real-life events of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, “Inherit The Wind” is a fantastic film. “Inherit The Wind” has a top-notch cast with Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, and Gene Kelly, in a rare dramatic, non-dancing role. The cast, the script, and the directing are all reasons to watch this film, but the most important reason is the subject itself.  “Inherit The Wind” is based on the real trial that pitted conservative hero William Jennings Bryan and famous trial lawyer Clarence Darrow against each other. The argument of faith vs. science is explored in-depth. This is the debate that is still going on today. If you want an example of a film that is as relevant today as it was when it was made, “Inherit The Wind” is a great example.

5) Casablanca (1942)

Intrigue, romance, suspense, murder, and most importantly Nazis, “Casablanca” has it all. If you pick one movie from this list to watch, this is it. “Casablanca” is always in the top five of any list of the greatest films ever made. There is good reason. “Casablanca” gave us great lines like, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “Of all the gin joints in all the world, she had to walk into mine,” “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” and “Play it again, Sam,” which is actually never said in the movie. Like the other movies I’ve recommended in this list, “Casablanca” has an amazing cast. Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Paul Henreid put in stellar performances. However, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman make Casablanca unforgettable. If you had to pick one movie to watch on a random night, “Casablanca” will never dissapoint.

While this list is not meant to promote the five best movies ever made, I believe that these five are great movies to watch. I hope you will take the time to see them.


8 responses to “5 Film Recommendations

  1. I can’t believe you gave your mother a shout out for Andy Griffith on here . . .disgraceful. 🙂

  2. I’m a sucker for another Bogart film directed by John Huston, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,”
    Eisenstein is another favorite: “Battleship Potempkin” the magnificent tension of the baby carriage and the misremembered metaphorical quote “We’ll get this thing going!” “Alexander Nevsky” also impressed me when I thought I might be a filmmaker years ago.. On a lighter note I thought “Tootsie”was pretty cool;-)

  3. Freedom, by the way

    The first three movies you have here I don’t remember seeing. Thanks for giving me titles for my netlix list!

  4. Gene Kelley playing H.L. Mencken is one of my favorite things about of Inhereit the Wind. Oh how I love that cynical satirist! And to think it took me ten years to take your advice and watch the film . . . I’m still holding out on Casablanca though.

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