Saturday, March 28, 2009

Movies I’ve Loved

by Burt Prelutsky

Recently, I wrote an article in which I listed my favorite 100 movies, broken down by decade. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the response, both positive and negative. Even though I stated at the outset that it wasn’t my intention to suggest that they were the best movies ever made, a number of readers took me to task. They couldn’t get over my rotten taste. Others, who were in the proper spirit, merely suggested movies they assumed I had overlooked. I hadn’t. After all, I have been going to movies for over 60 years and, for a dozen of those years, I was a movie reviewer. I have seen just about every movie, both foreign and domestic, worth seeing and thousands of them that weren’t.

Some of the movies other people mentioned nearly made the list, while others, such as “Papillon,” “A Little Romance” and “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” didn’t even come close. There are two movies that failed to make the list because, at some point, I liked them too much and wound up seeing them once too often. As a result, even the thought of ever watching them again makes my blood run cold. They were “A Walk in the Sun” and “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Then there were two other movies that I loved the first time I saw them, but found I couldn’t even manage to sit through them a second time. They were “Arthur” and “The Big Country.”

In order to make amends to those movies for which I have great affection, which almost, but not quite, made it onto the original list, here are my next favorite 120 movies, broken down once again by decade.

1920s/’30s:
“The Invisible Man”
“Sons of the Desert”
“The 39 Steps”
“Meet John Doe”
“Gunga Din”
“Nothing Sacred”
“The Lady Vanishes”
“Of Mice and Men”
“Tovarich”
“Dinner at Eight.”

1940s:
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
“Naked City”
“The Big Sleep”
“This Gun for Hire”
“Palm Beach Story”
“Woman of the Year”
“The Glass Key”
“Sitting Pretty”
“House of Strangers”
“Letter to Three Wives”
“Shadow of a Doubt”
“The More the Merrier”
“Double Indemnity”
“Laura”
“The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek”
“My Girl Tisa”
“The Miracle on 34th Street”
“The Devil and Miss Jones”
“A Foreign Affair.”

1950s:
“Sunset Boulevard”
“The Men”
“Cinderella”
“Strangers on a Train”
“The Model and the Marriage Broker”
“Father of the Bride”
“The Quiet Man”
“The Bad and the Beautiful”
“Shane”
“Marty”
“The Killing”
“The Bridge on the River Kwai”
“The Incredible Shrinking Man”
“Desk Set”
“The Green Man”
“Full of Life”
“The Horse’s Mouth”
“Indiscreet”
“Home Before Dark”
“North x Northwest.”

1960s:
“Divorce-Italian Style”
“Alfie”
“Hot Millions”
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
“Lolita”
“Life Upside Down”
“The World of Henry Orient”
“Goldfinger”
“The Luck of Ginger Coffey”
“Two for the Road.”

1970s:
“Lovers and Other Strangers”
“The Out of Towners”
“Sleuth”
“Friends of Eddie Coyle”
“The Last Detail”
“The Gambler”
“Three Days of the Condor”
“Lifeguard”
“Bugsy Malone”
“Soldier of Orange”

1980s:
“Tender Mercies”
“Only When I Laugh”
“Never Say Never Again”
“All of Me”
“The Woman in Red”
“Back to the Future”
“A Room With a View”
“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
“Hope and Glory”
“Moonstruck”
“The Witches of Eastwick”
“Lethal Weapon”
“Raising Arizona”
“Black Widow”
“Naked Gun”
“Big”
“A Fish Called Wanda”
“Crossing Delancey”
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
“Parenthood.”

1990s:
“Memphis Belle”
“Postcards From the Edge”
“Beauty and the Beast”
“The Crying Game”
“The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”
“Peter’s Friends”
“Four Weddings and a Funeral”
“Clueless”
“A Family Thing”
“Apollo 13”
“Cold Comfort Farm”
“Secrets and Lies”
“Waiting for Guffman”
“Grosse Point Blank”
“Bound”
“Waking Ned Devine”
“Out of Sight”
“An Ideal Husband”
“Run, Lola, Run”
“Election.”

2000s:
“The Squid and the Whale”
“Enchanted”
“Juno”
“Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”
“Being Julia”
“Meet the Parents”
“Iris”
“Snatch”
“Shattered Glass”
“Matchstick Men.”

Even if the Motion Picture Academy refuses to give comedy its due and even if most of the “Greatest” lists usually only pay lip service to something like “Bringing Up Baby” which stopped being funny after its first 10 or 15 minutes, or “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” which wasn’t funny at all, I refuse to play the culture snob. Nearly 50 of these 120 movies, I’m delighted to say, are comedies.