20 November, 2016

Author's Blog Challenge - My #Top10 Movies List

This week I'm asked to list my top-ten movies (of all time) and the challenge isn't as difficult as it might seem to some.

Being an Oldies Movies buff and regularly tuning in to TCM and the Retro channels on cable, it is never a challenge to find something good to watch.

But, not all of my favorites are B&W or released any time prior to 1950, either.

Let me get Series films out of the way first and then on to my top-ten list.

James Bond 007

I've watched them all, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig (and love Craig best), so to pick just one as a favorite is impossible.

The Thin Man

I'll be honest and say I love everything that starred William Powell, but this first in the series will always be my go-to movie when I need a pick-me-up.

Miss Marple

Not only have I read every Agatha Christie novel, I've also watched most every movie ever made about one of her mystery novels, and my favorite continues to be Margaret Rutherford.

Honorable Mention - Passenger 57

1992 American action film stars Wesley Snipes and Bruce Payne.

International psychopath terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne), is caught by the FBI and local authorities just as he is about to receive plastic surgery to alter his features. The FBI make plans to return Rane to Los Angeles aboard a passenger plane in order for him to stand trial.

John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) is a retired police officer who is trying to recover from the haunting memories of his wife's death in a convenience store robbery, and has taken to training flight attendants in self-defense. 

Cutter boards as the 57th passenger, and after the flight takes off, several men posing as flight attendants and passengers kill the FBI agents, release Rane, and secure the plane by shooting the captain.

Wesley Snipes aside, the Stanley Clarke soundtrack was and still is a big motivating factor in my wanting to re-watch, but Thrillers will always draw my attention, and this movie left me on the edge of my seat start to finish.

10. Radio Days

1987 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also narrates.

The film looks back on an American family's life during the Golden Age of Radio using both music and memories to tell the story.

Young Joe (Seth Green) lives in Rockaway, Queens, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The tale mixes Joe's experiences with his remembrances and anecdotes, inserting his memories of the urban legends of radio stars, and is told in constantly changing plot points and vignettes.

Not a fan of Woody Allen by any means, but this was a winner.

Historical, humorous, and a fascinating look into the lives of New Yorkers back in the day.

Loved it.

9. The Great Ziegfeld

1936 American musical/drama stars William Powell as the theatrical impresario Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld, Jr., Luise Rainer as Anna Held, and Myrna Loy as Billie Burke. 

Was acclaimed as the greatest musical biography to be made in Hollywood and still remains a standard in musical film making. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 

Not a fan of musicals AT all, but this one is an exception, and the story behind the man was riveting. Can watch again and again without getting bored.

The exceedingly elaborate stage designs and performances still leave me spellbound.

8. It's a Wonderful Life

1946 American Christmas fantasy drama based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945. 

Stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). 

Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

At one point in my life, I was able to recite verbatim the entire movie, I had watched it that many times.

7. Quiz Show

1994 American historical film produced and directed by Robert Redford, based on Richard N. Goodwin's memoir Remembering America: A Voice From the Sixties. It stars John Turturro, Rob Morrow, and Ralph Fiennes.

The film chronicles the Twenty One quiz show scandals of the 1950s, the rise and fall of popular contestant Charles Van Doren after the rigged loss of Herb Stempel, and Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin's subsequent probe. 

I'm also a sucker for biographical and historical reenactment stories, and this one just captured my interest immediately, kept me interested throughout, and had me researching the facts soon after.

I adore Ralph Fiennes, too.

6. The Italian Job

1969 British caper film, Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), a Cockney criminal, is released from prison with the intention of doing a "big job" in Italy. 

He meets with the widow of his friend and fellow thief Roger Beckermann, who was killed by the Mafia while driving a Lamborghini Miura in the Italian Alps. 

Mrs Beckermann gives Croker her husband's plans for the robbery that attracted the hostile attention of his killers, which detail a way to steal 4 million dollars in the city of Turin and escape to Switzerland.

The opening scene and the nod to 60's crooners are two aspects that keep me coming back for more, but the plot itself is too intriguing not to want to watch more than just one time.

5. The Visit

1964 film co-production from France, Italy, Germany, and the United States stars Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn.

Karla (Ingrid Bergman), a fabulously wealthy woman, returns to a decaying village she had been forced to leave in disgrace years earlier. She had a child by Serge Miller (Anthony Quinn), who denied paternity. Her purpose in this "visit" is to make a deal with the inhabitants — in exchange for a vast sum of money, she wants Miller killed.

Psychological thriller that took me by surprise the first time I watched it, and it still has details to uncover with each subsequent viewing, although this is extremely difficult to find and I don't know why because it was really, really good.

Anthony did a terrific job of building up the tension until zero hour arrived, and I wasn't quite sure I was watching what I was watching until the plot twist arrived, which just left my jaw at my feet for a time.

4. The Avengers (2012 film)

2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name and the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Loki encounters the Other, leader of an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri. In exchange for retrieving the Tesseract, a powerful energy source of unknown potential, the Other promises Loki an army with which he can subjugate Earth.

Like some Romance Novel series of books, I came into the Marvel movies a bit late and began with this one, but it is the reason why I love them all now and have watched them all at least once -- except for this one, which I can watch again and again without getting bored.

I also fell in love with Iron Man while rooting for Loki.

3. A League of Their Own

1992 American sports comedy-drama tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Directed by Penny Marshall and stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Lori Petty.

Now, here's the strange thing about this movie.

I hate baseball, Tom Hanks, and Madonna while also still believing Geena Davis is highly over-rated, and after what Penny Marshall did to Dudley Moore shortly before he died, I hate her, too.

Just not this movie, which was filled with historical accuracy, a great plot, terrific acting, and a surprise ending that still makes me shake my head in wonder as to how they managed to find so many elderly women who look remarkably like their younger selves.

and Madonna's ending theme song that still makes me cry.

2. Onegin

1999 British-American romantic drama film based on Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, stars Ralph Fiennes as Yevgeni (Eugene) Onegin and Liv Tyler as Tatiana.

In early 19th century Russia, Onegin, a bored St. Petersburg socialite inherits his uncle's estate in the country. There he meets a neighboring landowner and poet, and a widowed mother and her two daughters. 

The poet is engaged to the elder daughter. Her sister writes Onegin a passionate love letter but is cruelly spurned by him. His flirtatious attentions towards the poet's fiancĂ© leads to a duel, and the death of the poet. 

Onegin disappears. On his return six years later, he encounters the woman he spurned, who is now married to a prince. Onegin begs her forgiveness for his past behavior.

The book of verse and the movie do not do one another justice, but the movie certainly puts the verse in perspective.

This had to be one of the greatest love stories I've ever seen come to life on the big screen, and it will never grow old with me.

1. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

1947 romantic fantasy starring Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, and George Sanders as Miles Fairley. 

In the early 1900s, young widow Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) moves to the seaside English village of Whitecliff against the fierce disapproval of her caterwauling mother-in-law and domineering sister-in-law. 

Despite its reputation of being haunted, she falls in love with and rents Gull Cottage, where she takes up residence with her young daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) and her maid Martha.

On the first night, she is visited by the ghostly apparition of the former owner, a roguish but harmless sea captain named Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison).

Mrs. Muir's in-laws arrive with news that Lucy's investment income has dried up, and they insist that she move back to London. 

After his ghostly eviction of the in-laws, Captain Gregg comes up with an idea to save the house: he will dictate his memoirs to her and she will have them published, with the royalties going to her. 

During the course of writing the book, they find themselves falling in love, but as both realize it is a hopeless situation, Daniel tells her she should find a real (live) man.

A toss-up tie between this and Laura, but it isn't that difficult to decide which of the two deserves the number-one spot on this list.

Both starred Gene Tierney and both have magnificent scores to accompany their stories, but this one is so interesting, so fantastical in its ability to make me dream, want to write, and vividly imagine their lives afterwards that I'll probably always consider this my very favorite movie.

George Saunders voice and Gene Tierney's timeless beauty are draws as is Rex Harrison's surly attitude, but the story itself is so fantasy meets reality that there is far too much to love about it start to finish.

I've never, ever grown tired of this one and likely never will.

What an amazing love story!

Thank you for dropping by and reading my list, and the Challenge details are Below for your reference.

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