Posted by: wrmcnutt | September 1, 2009

10 Movies that Will Stick With Me


Another Facebook meme, reproduced here.
Ten Movies That Will Stick With me
  1. Star Wars – This one was formative.  Back in the day, my parents still had to take me to the theater.  And they took me thirteen times.  The idea of the boy trapped in a dreary, adventure free existence in the dunes turning out to be the galactic hero had an irresistible appeal to me in my dreary, adventure-free existence in the suburbs.  It was so easy to indentify with Luke Skywalker.  These days, it’s easy to identify with this guy.
  2. Wizard of Oz – Less formative, and I didn’t really understand why it so resonated with me until many years later, when my friend Michael Booker explained that it encapsulates and expounds on the three Fundamental Philosophical Truths of the American Character.  Can’t find a link to his work on line, but briefly, here’s what we believe:  1) “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”  That is, authority is crap.  They lie, and you can’t believe/trust them. 2) “There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy would rather have been a hardscrabble orphan dirt farmer in Kansas during the Dust Bowl, than a national hero who could write her own ticket in any industry in the magical kingdom of Oz.  3) “Right will prevail.”  Dorothy didn’t beat the Wicked Witch of the West because she was smarter, faster, stronger, better equipped than the Witch.  She won by dumb luck.
  3. Around the World in 80 Days – I dunno why, but David Niven, as the utterly unflappable English gentleman Phineas Fogg sticks in my mind like a giant peanut in the middle of cluster of Cracker Jacks.
  4. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan – Ricardo Montalban quoting Klingon poverbs and Captain Ahab.  Cinema just doesn’t get any better.
  5. Streets of Fire – Okay, this one is a little hard to explain.  There was just something in the cars, the music, and that time in my life.  The hero, Tom Cody is something of a classic ronin, or wandering gunfighter figure.  His sister summons him to town after his old ex-girlfriend is violently kidnapped.  In one of the opening scenes, the hero is threatened by a cheap thug carrying a butterfly knife.  He casually disarms the thug, slaps him about the face, closes the knife, and then returns it to his opponent.  The utter confidence that Tom Cody carried himself with is something to which I have always aspired.  And the music.  Two of my favorite songs are Tonight is What it Means to Be Young and Nowhere Fast.   When the term “cool” comes to mind, the picture that comes to me is that of Tom Cody, dealing with problems.
  6. Conan, The Barbarian – Any fantasy movie that starts by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche has got to stay with you. Arnold Schwarzenegger, sneered at by many critics, actually captured Robert E. Howard’s character and nailed the role, utterly an completely. 
  7. The Mummy (1999) – In my youth, I would have identified with the hero, Rick O’Connell.  Strong, heroic, roguishly irresistible to women, and confident in his ability to deal with any adventure life threw at him.  Now it’s Captain Winston Havlock.  An old, fat guy in a dead-end job in the middle of nowhere, who used to think he was heroic, but knows better, now.
  8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – A staple of the VHS shelves of nerds from Los Angeles to Rangoon.  Most of us can “quote it for you right now, and have your ROTFL.”
  9. Captain Blood – More juvenile fantasy.  What eleven year old boy wouldn’t want to be Dr.Peter Blood in his quest for justice.
  10. The Sea Hawk: Errol Flynn – The message of heroism, patriotism, and getting the girl.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for it.

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Responses

  1. It had nowhere near the same impact on me, but I think you are the only other person I’ve met who has seen ‘Streets of Fire’ much less enjoyed it. Usually I get blank stares when I mention it.

    • It was not, as they say, a “runaway blockbuster.” We never saw a sequel. Trivial – the director had them cover the set in tarps so that they could shoot nighttime scences during the day. Which then introduced the foley problem of the tarps blowing in the wind, and trapping finches on the set.

  2. Errol Flynn was directly responsible for my picking up a sword in the first place. All that bravery and daring – who cared about the girl? – she was dead boring! I wanted to do what HE was doing! HE was having all the fun!

    • I cared about the girl. Squeezing Olivia DeHaviland was PART OF the fun.

  3. Star Wars only 13 times? Piker.

    • 1) That was during the first release. 2) I was too young to drive.

  4. I adore Errol Flynn …

    And I think I saw Star Wars at the West Town theater (where it opened) about 16 times … not to mention since then. It wasn’t until I’d seen it 5 or 6 times that I was aware that there was *music* in that movie — and I had the sound-track LP at home (still do BTW). I was so blown away by the movie.


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