30 Day Film Challenge: Day 15

The Film That Depicts Your Life

The number movies about twenty-something recent college graduates living with their parents in suburban New Jersey because the economy sucks is shockingly limited. (Yes, I am milking this stage in my life for all the fodder it is worth.)

Wait a second. Does that mean I am currently living in the Garden State version of The Graduate except instead of Zach Braff or Dustin Hoffman (now that’s an image) I am Alexis Bledel in Post Grad? Yes, my life right now is a weird combination of these three movies.

(Can someone with more editing skills than I have please merge these three movies into one super film for me? Thanks.)

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America in 10 Films

I found this tag on Kung Fu Monkey. Thought it was an interesting challenge and decided to give it a whirl.

The challenge is to explain America to someone from somewhere else by giving them 10 movies to watch.

The idea is not to give them a history lesson, so you don’t have to start with The New World and end with Jarhead. What you’re trying to do is give them a sense of who we are — your take on our dreams, our attitudes, our idioms, what we think we are, what we are afraid we are, what we really might be.”

I’m not sure how well I did, but I tried. Here are my picks:

1) Field of Dreams (1989) – One word: baseball. Paired with a touch of magical realism, a game of catch between father and son, road trips with no destination, Burt Lancaster’s last role, dreaming big when no one else believes, and listening to voices no one else hears.

2) Almost Famous (2000) – A witty coming of age picture with great music. You could probably argue that this one doesn’t belong on the list, but I think it shows a fun and loving side to America.

3) Woman of the Year (1942) The first pairing of Hepburn and Tracy. It’s all about career, love, and the battle of the sexes. It all about the compromises to have a successful marriage and career.

4) The Searchers (1956)– To have a list of American movies without including a Western, is sacreligious. To have a Western but not a John Ford directed picture, is just crazy. But including a Western on any list and it NOT starring John Wayne would be like a day without sunshine. Westerns are America. Simple enough.

The Searchers (dir. John Ford, 1956)

5) To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)- A man who possesses great honesty, integrity, and wisdom, stands up against the injustice of a fellow man. Atticus Finch, the greatest hero in American film. We can learn a lot from him.

6. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – A naive man takes on the supremeacy and corruption of the US Senate. Politics in this country aren’t always pretty and this movie shows that.

7. The Breakfast Club (1985) – A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. The stereotypes of an American high school. 20 years later and this film still resonates.

8. Manhattan (1979) – Most Woody Allen films are a testimate to New York City. From the black and white cinematography to the shots of the NY skyline, this film showcases how far the love of a city and of home stretches. This is my city…. I’ve been through a lot with her over the years.

9. Out of the Past (1947) – The first film noir ever. Romance, mystery, thriller. Every person has their skeletons and you may never know the truth.

10. The Graduate (1967) At some point in life, we all feel like Benjamin. We’re a little lost in the big world and in Benjamin’s case, being smart and wealthy isn’t much help. If only we had Mrs. Robinson to fill the void.

The Runners Up:

In the Heat of the Night
Singin’ in the Rain
Stand by Me
North by Norhtwest
The Maltese Falcon
Norma Rae
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Bonnie and Clyde
Erin Brokovich
The Best Years of Our Lives
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Rear Window
Blade Runner
Unforgiven
The Philadelphia Story
From Here to Eternity
Touch of Evil

What’s missing from my list?

Obviously, there is a lack of romantic comedies and not every great star is represented. Perhaps a documentary could have been included. But ten is a small number when it comes to selecting films. There are so many good movies that represent American ideals and culture, picking ten was enough work.

I tried. Now it’s your turn.

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!