The Movies I Should Rewatch Now That I’m Not 14

I have some residual trauma from A Clockwork Orange.

I was around 14 when my fascination with the movies began. At the time I thought my somewhat obsessive movie watching ways would make me stand out from the average teenager. (I would also carry The New Yorker around with me in high school. But that’s a different story.) I realize now that some of the movies I watched during these years were not great choices for an impressionable teenager. For instance, I watched Deliverance with my sister when I was around 14, maybe younger. My sister eventually kicked me out of the room but not before I was rightfully creeped out by Deliverance. When I rewatched Deliverance in college, I suddenly realized how much of this movie I blocked from my memory.

Like that small sodomy incident.

I saw plenty of movies way before I had any real knowledge about cinema and definitely before I could grasp some of the deeper concepts. (That kind of sounds dirty. You get my point.) And just because I was a somewhat precocious kid, doesn’t mean I was the most astute observer. I didn’t always pick up on subtext. Some movies were traumatizing. I don’t remember others and if they come up in conversation, I pretend to have seen them. (“Space Odyssey! Yeah, Hal!”)

So I’ve come up with a list of movies I know I have seen and should probably revisit. Hopefully I’ll understand them this time around.

Continue reading “The Movies I Should Rewatch Now That I’m Not 14”

Elizabeth Taylor’s Best

I’ve been on a huge Elizabeth Taylor kick lately, mostly because she’s Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month for July.

I’ve always been a great admirer of her work so I’ve essentially been rewatching the movies I’ve already seen several times plus a few new ones (Butterfield 8; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf).

I’m a firm believer that movies can be better the second time around and it doesn’t hurt when Elizabeth Taylor is there to make them great again.

My favorite Elizabeth Taylor movies are:

National Velvet (1944) – I first saw this when I was younger (8 or 9) and it has remained a favorite. Elizabeth Taylor plays Velvet Brown, a young girl who wins a horse in a lottery and trains him for the Grand National Steeplechase, with the help of Mi Taylor (Mickey Brown). This is no Dreamer; it’s much better.

A Place in the Sun (1951) – When she says “Seems like we’re always saying goodbye,” to Montgomery Clift at the end, I gasp and cry every time. By far one of the most romantic scenes (and a great tearjerker moment) to ever grace a movie screen.

Father of the Bride (1950) – And it’s sequel Father’s Little Dividend. This is more Spencer Tracy’s film , but Liz is great nonetheless.

Butterfield 8 (1960) – This movie won Elizabeth Taylor her first Oscar. She plays Gloria, a call girl with a painful past. When Gloria falls for a wealthy, philandering lawyer, her life changes direction. The final minutes are some of Elizabeth Taylor’s best screen moments.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) – 6 years later and another Oscar for the mantle. Based on the play by Edward Albee that shocked theater goers, the relationship between Martha and George makes them one of my favorite couples, despite how uncomfortable watching their marriage collapse is.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – But my all-time favorite Elizabeth Taylor flick is without a doubt this Tennessee Williams play. Taylor plays southern belle Maggie who battles with her alcoholic husband (Paul Newman) and condescending in-laws. I love it when she coos to Paul Newman, “Lean on me, baby.”

Those are my picks. Of course, there are others I like (Giant, Suddenly, Last Summer), and I still need to see Raintree Country. And soon enough I will end up buying the Elizabeth Taylor: Signature Collection to add to my always growing DVD library.