My Favorite Films

I love films.  Comedy, Musicals, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Foreign, Animated. . .you name it, I love it.  My sister, Susie, once said that I could be entertained by anything on the silver screen.  She didn’t mean it as a compliment (in other words, she felt I had no discrimination) and perhaps she was right.  I can find something to appreciate in every movie.  After all, someone loved the concept enough to put hours and hours of labor – their own and a lot of other people’s too –into the creation of the project.  All that being said, I’m going to spend the next several weeks presenting my favorite films in all the above genres and why I love them.  It was very difficult but I limited my selections to my top five (5).  I hope you will enjoy this series and let me know what your favorites are.  I’m always looking for new things to watch!

Science Fiction favorites (in order of release):

Forbidden Planet (1956)   This is a classic film that still stands up to all the current special effects. The Krell are a fantastic lost race that has left behind a technology beyond anything humanity has developed. This technology utilizes the deepest aspects of the Id which creates some truly terrifying “monsters”- these are felt but never seen which adds to the mystery.  Leslie Nielson is splendid as the leading man, a far cry from his roles in Airplane and more modern comedic films. I love this film because it satisfies on a deep level.  The character of Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) is wonderfully complex and conflicted.  And there is some great humor also.

2001-A Space Odyssey (1968)   When 2001first appeared on the scene, it was universally panned.  The reviewers found it boring and slow. Which just goes to show that reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. This is one of the greatest films of the genre. The sound track is fantastic. The Strauss waltz played as the ship docks with the space station is a classic touch. Stanley Kubrick weaves a story that takes you from a primordial earth to a fantastic future world. You are drawn into the characters and feel their terror and confusion as the HAL computer breaks down. Dave’s life takes an incredible turn and reflects an intriguing future for humanity.

Alien (1979)  Alien ranks as one of the scariest, most innovative movies imaginable.  The characters are quirky and engaging but the Alien steals the show from beginning to end.  The fact that we don’t even see it fully for the majority of the film adds to the thrill factor.  Sigourney Weaver is fantastic as Ripley and when she takes command we all feel a surge of hope.  Surprise after surprise sends us screaming with terror right up to the point that Ash is revealed as an android.  Wow!  Did you see that coming?

Blade Runner (1982)  Gritty and dark this is one of the finest examples of Science Fiction meets Film Noir.  Ridley Scott brings a number of signature elements to the film including a hazy atmosphere that I noticed in his first film, The Duelists.  Harrison Ford shines as Dekard and Rutger Hauer is a fantastic counterpoint as Roy.   Every minute our attention is riveted to the screen as we watch the Replicants attempt to find their place in a society that rejects them. Dekard’s evolution brings in a very human element that touches something primordial in our psyche.

Terminator (1984) This is a classic Science Fiction film that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.  There’s so much here with time travel, a serious chase and a number of plot twists.  The Terminator is actually a very engaging bad guy that takes a lickin’ and keeps on chasing.  When Sarah finally terminates the Terminator we are all ready to stand up and cheer.  I like the strength of character found in Sarah’s character as she drives off into Mexico looking for a safe place to raise her child.  This movie really keeps you in your seat.

Films Can Be Called Living Dreams…

They reflect a world just beyond the one we live in–real and unreal at the same time.  A movie can transport us to other times and places…break our hearts or make us laugh out loud. They are a wonderful example of what can be accomplished with collaborative effort.

Picture and sound meld and become more than the sum of their parts. We’ve all felt emotions being elicited by images but that can be greatly enhanced by music. Talkies changed the world, but even before people were talking on screen the music was adding its own flavors.

When we head to the cinema, we have expectations. We want to be entertained, uplifted, amused. Sometimes we need a good cry.  Or, maybe we’re looking to have our minds blown with some out-of-the-box ideas. No matter what motivates us, it’s worth consideration that the film began as someone’s dream. They are taking us on their journey and that can be quite a ride.

Tolkien and the White Ship


THE WHITE SHIP STRANGELY EQUATES WITH THE IDEA OF DEATH . . .

. . . in the minds of the thousands of lovers of J.R.R. Tolkien.  Perhaps this is as it should be.  Frodo departs with the Elves.  We see Gandalf & Galadriel there too and it all seems just.  Without being aware of it, J.R.R.Tolkien’s Fae’re has subtly adjusted all of our misgivings about death.

Everybody deals with death in their own deeply personal way.  Lord Dunsany hardly kills off anybody but then, he’s interested in an entirely different set of approaches unto Fae’re.  There’s plenty of room for everybody, including The Brothers Grimm and Ridley Scott’s “LEGEND” style of making movies.

The White Ship is definitely a symbol for students of this genre.  A ship that sails westward and eventually ends up sailing perpendicular to the planet’s circumference?  Land appears and it’s definitely this planet but more, a blessed land that was once approachable but is no longer accessible–these authors were Christian, indeed!  But Beowulf was not really Christian.  The Mahabharata is not Christian either but flows & weaves its elaborate tales as did Tolkien.  So, there is something about Fae’re that speaks “all things to all men”.  

Great stories transcend time.  By overcoming the 4th dimension, the writers of Beowulf can be simultaneous with J.R.R. Tolkien & synchronous with Ganesh, in the land where the White Ship docks.

The White Ship resolves everything.