My Favorite Movies
Updated: Sep 27
I HAVE NOT WATCHED a movie in about five years. I know it has something to do with my opinion of actors and my confusion about our societal obsession and admiration for these anointed stars. I’m not a fan of Hollywood or the fanfare around it – much ado about nothing is another way of putting it.
OK, I got that off my chest. Thank you.
I have immersed my recreation and entertainment into reading library books and articles from the WSJ, or USA Today. That seems to be my focus as I grow older and I simply enjoy the time spent at it. I also appreciate our village libraries in northern Michigan where I check out books, read periodicals, and often write my little essays at a favorite spot in each library. I do watch some of the PBS shows that I stream thanks to Rob’s Passport account but that only lasts for about fifteen minutes and then I’m usually fast asleep.
I look back with fondness at watching movies on what they called, “The Silver Screen.” Attending Saturday matinees as a kid in the 1950s clearly was a blast. Our town of Birmingham had two theaters a block apart on Old Woodward Avenue. Back then it was safe to be dropped off in town without the accompaniment of an adult. The real challenge was getting transported downtown and then the hasty actions required to slide across the vinyl seats to exit Mom’s station wagon. She did not like cars stacking up behind her. “Chop, chop” still rings in my ear.
Neighborhood kids would assemble in small groups in front of the theater with our weekly allowances clutched in our hands. 25 cents would get you in the theater. Buttered popcorn and soda led the refreshment list, but Good & Plenty and Milk Duds came into the picture when I had extra money to spend.
On those Saturday’s I was captivated by scary movies and most of them had been filmed in black and white. Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney were the matinee stars. Their characters made me very nervous. Covering my eyes with my sticky fingers was my solution to getting through many scenes. I also imagined monsters hiding behind the metal grate in the massive ceilings in each theatre. Frankly, there was already enough to worry in my life with nuclear threats from Russia. No wonder I started devoting my free time to playing golf. We all needed an escape and I found it on a golf course - a story for another day.
So, with this warm-up and introduction, I have selected three movies that could be defined as my favorite movies from decades ago. (They keep changing so bear with me).
1. Almost Hero’s - It is a 1998 spoof/comedy about a competing group of explorers who wanted to beat the famous Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Pacific Northwest. It took place in 1804 somewhere on the Missouri River, or was it the Mississippi? They were lost from the beginning. How funny. The witless crew that accompanied Mathew Perry (Leslie Edwards, aristocrat) and Chris Farley (Bartholomew Hunt, frontiersman) were hilarious and lines from the movie still come forth and make me laugh out loud.
2. Prince of Tides - A 1991 movie starring Barbara Streisand and Nick Nolte adapted from a novel written by Pat Conroy in 1986. It is a narration about the struggles to overcome the psychological damage inflicted by Tom Wingo’s (Nolte) dysfunctional childhood in South Carolina. He ends up sleeping with Susan Lowenstein (Streisand) the psychiatrist, who is trying to help Tom's sister in recovery in New York City. A great movie that had 7 Academy Award nominations.
3. Summer of 42’ - A 1971 coming-of-age film that starred Jennifer O’Neil (Dorothy) who to this day makes me nervous with lust in my heart. She was the most beautiful heroine I ever watched on screen. The plot has three teenage male friends vacationing on Nantucket and funny scenarios develop throughout the movie about clumsy engagements with the opposite sex. But Gary Grimes (Hermie) becomes lucky succumbing to Dorothy’s distress over the loss of her pilot husband in France during WW II. Her loving ways comforted a very clumsy fifteen-year-old. His lustful fantasy came true. Ironically, the book came out after the movie and became a best seller for five years in the 1970s. I have never read the book, but I will.
There you go, I have racked my memory and now feel solid in my recommendations.
Go stream your heart away.