Guilty Pleasure

I’m about to go watch the greatest movie ever. I have seen this movie over 100 times (literally) and it never ever gets old. I’ll give you a hint what it is…

“Nobody puts baby in a corner”

That’s right. My biggest guiltiest pleasure is Dirty Dancing.

Sigh. It really is the best of all 80’s movies only followed by Risky Business and Flashdance

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Review: The Graduate (1967)

Last night, I watched The Graduate for what seems like the 101st time and like the first 100 times, it was amazing.

This movie is an essential for every person in the world no matter what movie genre is your favorite. The Graduate has something that speaks to everyone because we’ve been there or felt the way Benjamin feels throughout the film.

The plot: Benjamin (played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman) has just graduated from college and he’s completely lost. He’s not sre what he wants to do with his life or where he is going. He is also very awkward, and goofy. This is where Mrs Robinson enters the film.

Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) is the dominating female presence throughout the movie and she and Benjamin have an affair. What happens next is strange, wrong, and hilarious on so many levels. Benjamin ends up falling in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). And…. well you’ll have to see it to find out what lengths Benjamin will go to win Elaine’s heart.

Dustin Hoffman. If the only movie you know Dustin Hoffman from is Meet the Fockers, then you are horribly deprived. The Graduate is the movie that made Dustin Hoffman the star and legend he has become. The role of Benjamin was offered to different actors who were already big names – Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson – to name a few. This is the movie that created Dustin Hoffman.

Anne Bancroft is the other star of this film. She plays one of the greatest characters in cinema history; a woman so dominating that she is actually weak.

One last thing. Simon and Garfunkel music is the entire soundtrack of this movie. The three songs represent the different stages Benjamin is in during the movie. The use of Simon and Garfunkel music is what created the idea of the movie soundtrack.

So if you are looking for great humor, characters, music and an amazing movie, then The Graduate is just right for you. And remember, plastics!

Review: Monsieur Ibrahim (2003)

Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia; Doctor Zhivago) stars as Monsieur Ibrahim, the owner of a small Paris grocery store. He adopts a local Jewish boy, Momo(Pierre Boulanger) as his own and the movie follows their unique friendship as it takes them on the journey of lifetime.

This the first foreign film in while that I really enjoyed. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for these types of movies. You know, when the older wiser man takes in the boy with no direction and becomes a father figure to him. But Monsieur Ibrahim added a little something extra that separates it from the pack.

This film explores to very different cultures. The one of the aging Muslim, connected to his religion and tells Momo that he only” knows what is in his Koran”. The young Jew, however, knows little of his faith. Set during the 1960’s in a working class Paris, it adds in splices of American influence with clearly American music. It is the music that connects the different cultures presented in the film.

Most of all, this film is funny, charismatic, full of life and rich with culture. Monsieur Ibrahim is an emotional journey that if you choose to take, you will find rewarding.

Review: Alfie (1966)

I finally saw the original Alfie and I’m glad I did. Until now the only other Michael Caine film I have seen is Hannah and Her Sisters. And that has been a serious lapse in judgement.

Michael Caine plays the title character who is the ultimate ladies man. He is “successful” with women and he rarely gets involved. But throughout the movie, Alfie has a series of eye-opening experiences. He has a child who is adopted by another man, gets a married women pregnant, and has a personal health crisis. Poor Alfie, because when he finally decides to settle down, he is rejected for a younger man.

As viewers, we are constantly reminded that Alfie is a womanizing dog but surprisingly that doesn’t stop you from liking him and even feeling sorry for him. Caine delivers a heart warming portrayal of Alfie and you can’t help but like him.

What was intriguing to me was how this movie examined the 1960’s. It dealt so heavily with the issue of abortion that several well-known actors (including Laurence Harvey of The Manchurian Candidate) turned down the part that ended up being Michael Caine’s breakthrough film.

Review: North by Northwest (1959)

This afternoon I was casually flipping through the channels and one of the best movies ever made was on. And if you haven’t already noticed it was North by Northwest, one of my personal favorites.

This movie stars Cary Grant as an advertising executive who is mistaken to be a spy and is tracked across the country, culminating in a chase sequence on top Mount Rushmore.

North by Northwest finds the always sexy and debonair Cary Grant working with director Alfred Hitchcock for the third time to create another Hitchcock masterpiece. And that’s easily why I like it so much. The charm and style of the actor just oozes off the screen.

Hitchcock is known for something called being ahead of the curve, meaning he’ll end a scene early before all the information is given. He does that in this movie so you’ll go “oh, that’s what that meant”. Once again, Hitchcock proves why he is the greatest director of all time with this movie.

Cary Grant is brilliant, like always. His screen presence is why he is among my favorite actors. When he shares the screen with Eva Marie Saint (your typical Hitchcock leading lady) or the other supporting actors including the always incredible James Mason, why he’s the best is evident.

This movie expertly combines acting, dialogue, cinematography, music and plot (all the essentials). Not to mention two remarkable chase scenes that only a Hitchcock movie could have to make movie magic.