50 of My Favorite Films — 50-46

I’ve been meaning to make this list for a long time and to be honest, it took me a loooong time once I started on the list. The thing has been sitting on my desktop for more than 6 months now and after all that time I’m still not sure that I have it exactly right. That’s why I’m calling it “50 of My Favorite Films” instead of “My 50 Favorite Films.” So, take this whole numbered ranking system with a grain of salt. ‘Cause not even the author is sure about it.

As I’ve said before, my heart is a home for wayward films. A lot of the movies I like are ones that people have never seen and many of the movies that the general American public hold in high regard are ones that I have not and will likely never lay eyes on. The Wizard of Oz, for instance. I never would have seen that had my father-in-law not insisted on it during one of our visits to Pennsylvania. And really, at this point, my life is no better for seeing The Wizard of Oz. I could do without it entirely. But thanks, Stewart 🙂

Since some of these are ones that I don’t expect many people have seen (but don’t worry, some are cliched and estrogen-filled), I’d love to hear what you think if you HAVE seen them. Please discuss! I love talking movies, especially with people who enjoy the same ones I do.

50. Central do Brasil
Dear Jesús, You’re the worst thing to happen to me. I’m writing because your son Josue asked me to. I told him you’re worthless, and yet, he still wants to meet you.

Back in early high school I was embracing my interest in things that could best be described as Not Smalltown Oklahoma. It was an interesting time. One of the things I took an interest in was foreign film. It was rare, but when I could get my hands on one I was glued to our TV. Mostly it was only on Showtime or HBO preview weekends (because, you know, my parents would have never paid to have that in the house). One of my favorites is Central do Brasil, a film about the friendship formed between a young boy and a middle-aged woman after a tragedy. The fabulous actress Fernanda Montenegro stars in it and it is well worth seeking out.

49. The River Pirates
“In my life I find that memories of the spirit linger and sweeten long after memories of the brain have faded.”

“Why in childhood and youth do we wish time to pass so quickly – we want to grow up so fast – yet as adults we wish just the opposite?” (quotes from My Dog Skip)

I was a senior in high school when I first saw My Dog Skip. I know that’s not the movie I’m talking about here, but it a way, it sort of is. Watching that movie, I heard one of the characters mention the name “Rivers Applewhite” and memories came flooding back to me. Things that must have been buried for years. But who could forget a name like Rivers Applewhite. It all came back. Pirates, Yazoo, dark stormy nights in the south. A little googling pointed me in the direction I needed to go, to a movie I saw before I started kindergarten, one that clearly left a mark on me back in the day.

The movie was The River Pirates which is now often billed as Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood (title comes from the book it’s based on). It was a favorite of my mom’s when I was little and after it premiered as a PBS Wonderworks production, we would rent it occasionally from the little movie store in the nearest town. The newer film, My Dog Skip, is essentially a prequel to the events in The River Pirates.

It’s a coming of age tale based on author Willie Morris’s life growing up in Mississippi. Mr. Morris is such a wonderful writer, this story is one that captured my heart as a little girl and now I’m thinking I need to get a copy so that I can share it with my children someday.

48. Dancer in the Dark
“I used to dream I was in a musical because in a musical nothing dreadful ever happens.”

Ah, my Björk phase. Good times. Who am I kidding. I still love her. But back in early high school my love for her music and overall quirkiness was at an all time high. When Dancer in the Dark came out I knew I had to see it.

Life as a musical. But don’t be fooled. It’s a pretty depressing movie, but the music is beautiful and there is a quietness to it that I can’t help but adore. Catherine Deneuve co-stars and all I can say is I hope that I hold up that well.

47. Now & Then
“Thomas Wolfe once said you can’t go home again. Well, that’s great for old Tom. But he wasn’t a chick who made a pact with her friends when she was twelve to get together whenever any one of them needed each other. So here I am driving back to my childhood home in Indiana a place I can tell you I never wanted to see again.”

photo credit: mypassionforbeauty on tumblr

Now & Then is one of those movies that makes me wish I had anything other than highly dysfunctional relationships with the majority of women that I know. I mean, it’s sad, but most of the friends I had when I was 12 don’t even talk to me anymore. Just the nature of things I guess. This movie came along when I was about the same age as the girls in the film and I learned a lot of things from it back then. It’s one of the sweet ones that is fun to sit back, enjoy, and get nostalgic about.

46. The Bridges of Madison County
“The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but glad I had them.”
photo credit: kmar on flickr

Oh, sweet mercy. When this film was first released and I saw the trailers on TV, I remember looking over to my mom, wide-eyed with that “I have got to see this movie” look on my face. Of course, it did no good ’cause I wasn’t going to the theater to see this…ever. It wasn’t until sometime in college that I picked up a copy of the DVD out of a $5 bin. The story unfolds beautifully because DUH, Meryl Streep. Now, it’s about infidelity but there is just so much more to the story than that. Decisions…how the smallest ones can change your life forever. What’s worth letting go. What you choose to hold on to.

And then there are the farmhouses, that plainsy Iowa scenery, and the covered bridges.

Sigh. I love me a good covered bridge.


. . .
The next five are coming soon! What did you think of this group? Any of your favorites included?


Total pages read: 728
Total time spent reading: 382 min
Titles finished: Love That Dog, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, Belle & the Beast (prequel graphic novel I’ve had since 2nd grade 🙂 ), Behind You
Total finished titles: 4
Mini-challenges completed: The intro meme, Six Word Celebration, Show Me the Books, Indie Pride
Prize I’ve won:

This is my Read-A-Thon post. I’ll be updating it throughout the day to keep everything tidy.

8:16AM – I stayed up too late last night (I started early on this thing) reading about my Saxon horde ancestors. And they totally bummed me out. Need some lighter fare this morning! And coffee. Where is my coffee! Oh yeah. I am the only one awake.

9:45AM – Best Read-A-Thon ever, so far? It just may be. Got a couple of light reads done, may hop into something scary since there’s daylight and I know I won’t be able to read anything the least bit creepy with my husband out of the house later today. Now, this girl needs some Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper.

12:32PM – Worst thing about epics: you can’t get attached to characters. THEY DIE.

2:17PM – Second worst thing about epics: UNPLANNED NAPS.

2:34PM – Husband just called from Barnes & Noble. He bought me Linger! It is my prize for finishing this thing strong, so I should probably get to reading Shiver again soon.

4:53PM – Back into Shiver now and making some progress on Sarum. Behind You was good; not sure how it would hold up if I hadn’t read the previous work featuring these characters. It’s lyrical and really isolates some tough issues in a way that might work even if you were unfamiliar with what happened to these characters before this book. I can’t honestly say though, having read If You Come Softly some years ago.

Saving my cheerleading for later in the evening, when it gets tough for a lot of people!

7:00PM – Read-A-Thon is officially over for me. Didn’t get in as many hours as I planned, but it’s been 24 since I started. I guess after a week of being sick I really did need that extra sleep. Ah well.

I finished more books this time than ever. Read more pages. Did more mini-challenges. Hosted my first one as well. I declare this Read-A-Thon a success.

And I will finish Sarum! Huzzah!

Read-A-Thon Picks

Quick notes on why I chose my books.

Homeplace by Beth Massie – I picked this up a while back because it’s listed as new Southern Gothic and I eat that stuff up. The short synopsis makes it sound creepy, so I doubt I’ll be reading any of this in the middle of the night.

Beach Music by Pat Conroy – A speech I was witness to by Pat Conroy was a true awakening for me as a writer. He’s got a touch of magic to him. This has just been on the list for a long time.

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – Because it’s time that I finished this behemoth. I trudged through some less interesting bits and finally got back into some action. And the arrival of Christianity on the British Isles. So you know it’s getting interesting.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech – For the moments when everything else is too heavy. A story in poems.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones – Another book of prose poems. YA selection that I’ve read before about a young girl and her life at age 12. There’s some deep stuff in this one.

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay – The second book in the Dexter series. The first one was decent, but I’m bound and determined to get through this series. I enjoy the TV show and I like to keep up with the differences.

Black Heart, Ivory Bones – An anthology of fairy tales, fictionalized for grown-ups. No idea what I’m getting into here.

Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson – I read the book that came before this when I was in 10th grade, I think. This one has been sitting on my shelf since not long after that.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel – I may be the last human alive who hasn’t ready this. Trying to get into it for a second time.

My Antonia by Willa Cather – Cather is one of my favorite authors. She captures something that I hope my own work will, someday. My Antonia is one of my favorite books to usher in winter.

Salt by Isabel Zuber – The premise sounds very interesting. I’m probably most excited about reading this one. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel – A guy I knew in college insisted that I read her work. Never have. Changing that.

Terrains of the Heart and Other Essays on Home by Willie Morris – When I was 7-years-old, I would rent a movie from The Movie House (as our rental place was called back in the day) called “Pirates of the Yazoo.” It was a WonderWorks feature that would sometimes show up on OETA (our PBS affiliate). I loved this movie. Years later I watched My Dog, Skip and noticed a lot of similarities. Because they are the same. It’s the same story, with a few tweaks here and there. Anyway, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Morris. I think if he were alive I would invite him over for a glass of tea and we would talk about just how much we love our grandmas, and front porches, and the way things used to be. Only he’d remember the way things used to be a lot better than me because by the time I was born Madonna was already on the scene and the world was never the same.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – Re-reading this so everything will be fresh on my mind when I reward myself with Linger for FINISHING THIS READ-A-THON!

The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris – A book I picked up for review because it sounded interesting. Love me a good western.

Birthing from Within – Because I’m a little bit of a hippie and I like to be well-informed before I jump in to something 😉

A few last minute additions will be made this evening.