It’s that time of year when you remember what it is you’re thankful for: Family; Friends; Your beloved pet; a roof over your head. But are we also thankful for about stories and art? Often we remember to be grateful for the obvious, but as for me personally if it wasn’t for stories I wouldn’t be who I am. Storytelling has the power to move, invigorate and even speak to our soul.
So with Thanksgiving only a week away and in the spirit of this site, I thought I’d share some of the movies I’m thankful for. In the next week, Autumn will share what TV Shows she’s thankful for and Rebecca will share on books!
Till then here’s my list of ten movies I’m thankful for:
Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel
I don’t actually remember ever seeing these for the first time; they just sort of exist in my memory as if I had always seen them. I’m sure the first time I did see them I must have been very little, but out of all of the movies or miniseries I’ve ever seen these are the two I always return to. They are by far my absolute favorites. From the writing to the acting, the beautiful story from L.M. Montgomery to even the tone, everything comes together in a way that creates magic. Being a lot like Anne myself as a child, I related to her dreamy outlook on life and perhaps (should I admit this?) to her temperament. I too have always believed the best in people and have a huge imagination living inside me. So I’m thankful for these films because they mean something to me. They are nostalgic but even beyond that they will continue to withstand the test of time as great pieces of storytelling. If I’m down in the depths of despair, I know I can turn to “Anne” and feel better. Just one note from the soundtrack brings a smile to my face and all seems right in the world again. So for that I thank L.M. Montgomery, Kevin Sullivan and anyone else who helped to share this story with the world.
After I saw this movie for the first time in the theater I didn’t know what to think. It was so odd, unique and unlike anything I had ever seen before. But as I stood there in the foyer with my sister we both just kind of looked at each other and agreed that it was basically one of the best movies ever. It was then we both decided to go see it again that same week. I probably shouldn’t admit how many times I saw it in the theater, but it was around 4 or 5 times. There was something magical about the movie. And the more I thought about it, the more in love with it I fell. I’ve always loved musicals, period drama and romance and this one was all three. It was brilliantly written, directed and acted. Not only that, it was a visual feast of pure artistry. So I’m thankful for this film because it reminds of the magic of movies and how you can have a great experience seeing a wonderful film up on the big screen.
I happened to accidentally catch this film on Turner Classic Movies one year and from the first five minutes I was hooked. No one quite sells a performance like Bette Davis. Also it may just happen to be one of the best romance films ever made. Not only that, Charlotte Vale is truly a fantastic female character (many writers should take notes). She is depressed and beaten down to the point of mental illness by her verbally abusive mother. Her family makes fun of her for being fat, a spinster and more. But through the help of her sister in law and a Doctor she goes to get help. After her treatment, she is sent on a voyage where she falls in love (of course the love is forbidden). But this is a story that is about more than romance. It’s about finding yourself, your voice and your strength. For me, Now, Voyager is the perfect film. I’m thankful for this movie because it is an example of storytelling at its best. If you don’t typically like classic films make an exception for this one.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
How could I not be thankful for this trilogy of films from Peter Jackson? I’m not sure anyone else could have been as successful at adapting Lord of the Rings to the big screen. He accomplished what almost seemed like an impossible feat. These are films where everything aligned and came together to create a masterpiece. What I love about Lord of the Rings is that it is an example of why fantasy epics should be taken just as seriously as any drama. These are the type of movies that have the power to move you, to incite inspiration and remind you of why you fell in love with stories in the first place. This story works like a metaphor, a parable even with a great message underneath. The hobbits, small and insignificant, changed the course of their world. The moment when Aragorn tells them “My friends…you bow to no one” and everyone bows and cheers them on—I love that!
Pride and Prejudice
It’s no secret that I am completely obsessed with period drama, especially period drama that is adapted from classic novels. This adaptation is an example of how the essence or spirit of a novel can be captured with only a couple of hours to do it. No one spins a romantic tale with wit quite like Jane Austen and Joe Wright had an artistic vision that captured (at least subjectively from my viewpoint) what Austen wrote, translating it into a visual tour de force. He wasn’t afraid to embrace the romance, but he also wasn’t afraid to embrace the satire. Because I love Jane Austen, period drama, and fantastic adaptation, I’m thankful for this film.
The Ten Commandments
The Old Hollywood Epic! I grew up on these films and loved them, but this is my favorite of the DeMille epics. It became a tradition in my family to watch The Ten Commandments every Easter and I never tired of it. Charlton Heston plays a Biblical hero better than anyone else ever will. Call it that deep, booming voice that commands your attention. Anyway, I’m thankful for this film because it holds memories. But I’m also thankful for this film because it represents an era of filmmaking I think should return. The long two part Epic with intermission in the middle—it’s an experience. While I wasn’t born yet to enjoy it on the big screen, I did still enjoy it growing up. Also, being the romantic I am I was always quite a bit in love with the Moses/Nefretiri love story.
The Wizard of Oz
Who isn’t thankful for this film? This is the movie that truly captures the magic of movies. When it transitions from Black and White to Color you enter the portal of this fantasy right along with Dorothy. The Wizard of Oz gives you the power to dream and imagine what’s “over the rainbow.” I can only imagine what kind of experience this was for the audience in 1939. It must have been powerful. There are memorable characters, the yellow brick road, an emerald city and songs most of us have memorized. I even had a Wizard of Oz themed birthday party as a little girl where everyone was able to record themselves singing a song from the movie. This movie will always be considered one of the best films of all time and each new generation will discover this story. And every Halloween I’m sure we’ll see little girls with pig tails, a blue dress and ruby red slippers. A story that powerful will never die and for that I’m thankful.
Sleepless in Seattle
This is the holy grail of romantic comedies. I’m thankful for this movie because it reminds me, it reminds all of us, of what a great romantic comedy can and should be. There’s clever dialogue, believable characters, witty humor, the leading man is actually romantic and it doesn’t apologize for being what it is: A ROMANTIC COMEDY. Good ones are hard to find these days because filmmakers have been afraid to embrace the fantasy of this genre. Or they just take out the romantic comedy checklist and refuse to actually take the time to write witty, intellectual banter as if just hooking two good looking people together in a movie (with some arguing in between) is enough to fool the audience. Also it’s not politically correct for a woman to want to find love apparently. Not only that, what once was an escapist genre, a chick flick if you will, has become arguably more for men. The romantic leading men are often now found to be un-ambitious man children who smoke pot and hang out with their dude friends. Then a successful woman enters the scene and she ultimately decides that she wants to be with the guy who semi-redeems himself by the end. Of course throw in some crude humor into the mix as well. Instead of Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman or Cary Grant, now we often get Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler. So I’m thankful for Sleepless in Seattle to remind me of why I do actually enjoy romantic comedies, the good ones that is.
This is Hitchcock at his best. There’s something about this film starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine that inevitably draws you in. It’s gothic, suspenseful, romantic and mysterious. This is the type of film that reveals why showing everything isn’t always the best way to go. Because everything isn’t shown in Rebecca, the story exudes that much more power and suspense over the audience. It forces you to use your imagination and think. I’m thankful for this film because it shows the power of restraint. Just because you can show something, doesn’t mean you always should. Beyond that, this is one of my favorite films of all time and I can watch it over and over. Besides, I’m always thankful for a good Byronic Hero and Maxim de Winter doesn’t disappoint.
This may seem like a strange choice. It’s not exactly on anyone’s list of best movies of all time (though I actually believe it to be quite good despite some criticism it has received), but I picked this one because not only do I love fairy tales, I connect personally to this one. And that’s something a film has the power to do: remind you that there are other people out there in the world who have gone through what you have. I jokingly told many of my family and friends that I couldn’t believe someone actually came up with this story before I did. Why? Because growing up, a few people used to tease me calling me “pig nose.” It used to infuriate me to no end and also make me more than a little paranoid about my appearance (not that I even remotely had or have a pig nose). It made me so self-conscious that I couldn’t even stand Miss Piggy. So when I heard about this film that was clearly a modern day Beauty and the Beast story (my favorite fairy-tale) about a girl cursed to have a pig nose, I was more than a little intrigued. Obviously I loved it right away. [SPOILERS]. I appreciated that it wasn’t a guy who could transform her, but instead she transformed herself. I’m thankful for this film simply because I love it and it speaks to me. And I love the message it sends to everyone out there without being preachy.
Well that wraps up some of the movies I’m thankful for. Let me know what movies you’re thankful for in the comments below!
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