Sunday, January 15, 2017


I heard an interesting piece on the radio when I was driving home this week. It was about former US presidents and their favorite movies.
The ones that stood out to me were:
Nixon liked Patton
K chose the Bond movies
Ronald Reagan picked It's a Wonderful Life
Donald Trump selected Citizen Kane.

What was interesting to me is that each of these men chose a movie that mirrored themselves, or at least as they saw themselves.
Nixon liked Patton, stern leader of men.
JFK saw himself as the playboy daring undercover agent
Ronald Reagan as the humble everyman, wanting to help everybody
Trump identified with the ruthless empire builder. (I wonder if he ever murmurs Rosebud?)

Which got to thinking about my own favorite movies:
The ones that came instantly to mind are
Out of Africa
The Dead Poet's Society
Roman Holiday
Enchanted April

Then I wondered if these mirror who I am? I'd like to be Meryl Streep, having her hair washed by Robert Redford.
Or Maggie Smith, performing the quartet from Rigoletto
One thing they do all have in common is that they are hopelessly romantic. Am I a hopeless romantic? Maybe, but with a touch of cynicism.

Then I wondered which was my favorite. If I could take only one movie with me to a desert island, of course assuming that there was a DVD player with solar battery charger!
I couldn't decide on one until it hit me: THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
That would be my perfect movie for a desert island. I could sing along to the songs. I could dream about those Austrian Alps. I could cry a little.
Okay, yes, so I am a hopeless romantic!
How about you? Do you have a favorite movie? Would it say who you are?


  1. Oh, Rhys, it’s so hard to pick a favorite movie . . . there are countless wonderful ones from which to choose.
    I love science fiction and there are so many top-notch films in the genre. But, if I had to pick only one film, then in would have to be “Singing in the Rain.” Great music and Gene Kelly dancing. Sheer perfection . . . .

  2. Joan is right. It's hard to pick a favorite movie, as I have favorites in the different categories. All those favorite musicals from when I was growing up--Oklahoma, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Carousel, Mary Poppins. Then, other movies such as Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, 2001:A Space Odyssey, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Graduate, Psycho, To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Movies taking me through college and into the early years of marriage--The Way We Were, The Goodbye Girl, Kramer vs. Kramer, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Godfather.
    The Natalie Wood movies, of which, Love with a Proper Stranger was my favorite. All the Mel Brooks' movies, with Young Frankenstein probably my favorite there. The Doris Day movies. The Disney movies of childhood, animated and other. The Parent Trap with Haley Mills was a favorite there. The Westerns with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and Maureen O'Hara. In the 60's my family watched lots of Westerns.

    OK, I'm not going to go through the 80s, 90s, and on into the 2000s. If I had to pick a favorite, I will narrow it down to three (which might change on any give day). Out of Africa, Love with a Proper Stranger, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  3. Anything with Meryl Streep!!! Out of Africa, Kramer vs Kramer, the one on the train with Robert DeNiro
    , Julia Child one, and It's Complicated. Oh and one more, the one where she is a psychologist and her client is sleeping with her son. Terribly complicated as well. She is so easy to relate to as a woman, as a flawed person.
    I also love The Family Man and the way it ends. Always love a movie where love wins out over other desires

  4. Interesting on the presidents' favorite movies - seems like they're all narcissists. Which you need to be to be a successful politician.

    I OD'ed on THE SOUND OF MUSIC so if it's on the TV I run screaming from the room. The movie I love to rewatch is THE PRINCESS BRIDE. And SINGING IN THE RAIN. And THE WIZARD OF OZ. Fantasy. Plucky girl. Sly humor. Very not autobiographical. Oh, and a real oldie, BORN YESTERDAY with Judy Holliday. I love Judy Holliday.

    My granddaughter 3-year old Franny Lou is besotted with FROZEN and MARY POPPINS (even though the sound of it is really "quite capacious"). She'd watch them endlessly if her parents let her. I wonder how she'll feel about them when she's a grownup.

  5. that's fascinating Rhys! Wonder what President Obama's fave is?

    I love the romantic ones too like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and YOU'VE GOT MAIL, JULIE AND JULIA, and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I adored THE GRADUATE, glad you mentioned that one Kathy. But also some with more angst like ORDINARY PEOPLE and the very recent MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Have you seen that? Sad yes, but an excellent movie. And anything starring Meryl Streep, I agree, is a must-see.

    I did love love THE SOUND OF MUSIC and I watched FUNNY GIRL many times but I think I'd go mad with those on a desert island:)

  6. Hallie, yes! THE PRINCESS BRIDE!

    The entire HARRY POTTER series
    LORD OF THE RINGS (not THE HOBBIT, no matter how good Martin Freeman was)

    I'll stop now.

  7. Ann in Rochester, another nasty womanJanuary 15, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Hmmm. You've all mentioned great movies, many to most Oscar quality, most great dramas.

    I, on the other hand, attest to my poor white trash roots with my choices.

    Movies I watch again and again are:

    "Napoleon Dynamite" with Jon Heder
    "Blades of Glory" with Will Ferrell and John Header
    "Mouse Hunt: with Nathan Lane and Lee Evans

    And last but certainly not least,

    "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez

  8. I love both romantic movies and also those with a dark turn. So, both Chocolat and Pan's Labyrinth. Also love Bleu with Juliette Binoche and (don't laugh) Jaws. As for seeing myself in any heroine I could be Vianne in Chocolat as I love her spirit but also Doris Day in The Pajama Game as I can be nerdily peppy.

  9. Oh KATHY, I'm reading your lust going "oh yes. How could I forget that?"
    And Hallie, the Princess Bride. Of course. And Chocolate! Wonderful
    And a secret admiration for 9 to 5. I do identify with those heroines although I've never had to work 9 to 5
    And the Devil Wears Prada. Back to Meryl Sreep, whom I obviously admired before last week!

  10. So many great movies!! I grew up watching all those romantic comedies with stars like Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant--my favorite is probably HOLIDAY. Then Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in HOW TO STEAL A MILLION. And even Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (CHARADE). Well, any of those actors in anything, I love. THE AFRICAN QUEEN--perfect movie! As is THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Along the same lines, TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY. ROMAN HOLIDAY--just watched that over the holidays--believe it or not, my 18-year-old nephew got himself an Audrey Hepburn calendar (!)--and we watched it together.

    So, I guess, romance with comedy or comedy with a little romance--

  11. Well,there are categories, right?

    THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (and HIgh Society!)
    Devil Wears Prada, absolutely.
    Bring It On (I know, but still...)
    Day of the Jackal
    Desk Set
    A Few Good Men

    There are a million more...and yes, Born Yesterday. LOVE. (A cartel!)

    (I think my theme is ugly duckling...yup.)

  12. Sonia, I love JAWS! I also love the James Bond movies (with a particular fondness for the Daniel Craig installments,) and SINGING IN THE RAIN is one of my all time favorites. Growing up, I thought ROMANCING THE STONE was great--with so many excellent quotable lines--but my sister recently watched it again and reported that it didn't hold up.

    Am I the only person on earth who doesn't love CASABLANCA? I love Ingrid Bergman, but that movie just doesn't do it for me.

  13. Great movies! And yes to the narcissism! Scary.

    Here are some of mine:

    A WALK IN THE CLOUDS (If you've never seen this, it's as much cinematic eye candy as anything you've ever watched. Glorious, especially the scene where they're trying to save the vines from frost.)

  14. I think there are movies one loves at the time and movies that haunt one for life I really enjoyed the Marigold Hotel but got rather tired of it when I saw it again
    But. The Fisher King, for example. I still can't stop thinking about it. What a powerful movie.
    And Ingrid, over the years there have been movies that everyone else drooled over and I saw it and thought "what?"

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  16. Like FChurch I adore Ho!iday,for me even even more than Philadelphia Story, both written by Philip Barry and so great. Musicals- The Band Wagon and Hello Dolly. Also love Remains of the Dayand esp The Age of Innocence. Unrequited love, period settings, heaven😊.

  17. Not movie-related, but frequent JR commentator Jim Burrows came to my event at McIntyre's yesterday! It was such a treat to meet him, and he asked excellent questions. Not that I'm surprised...I got a pic and will post it on the JR FB page when I have a moment.

  18. How did I not know there was a JRW Facebook page until now?

    Liked! Thanks, Ingrid.

  19. Many favorite movies...

    Enchanted April is one of my favorites. One year for my birthday, we had an Enchanted April theme party with tea, scones, and sandwiches. We also showed the movie DVD.

    HOLIDAY with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz is another favoite.




    Anything with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas (great team on screen)

    Anything with Gregory Peck

    Anything with Cary Grant



    Anything with Meryl Streep

    THE ARTIST with Jean Luc



    There are many, many, many movies!


  20. While I like a wide variety of movies depending on the genre, I'd have to say that my all-time favorite is The Silence of the Lambs.

    Unlike the picks of the presidents, my pick doesn't reflect how I see myself though. I'd think being a cannibalistic serial killer would require far more effort than I would ever have the ambition to put forth.

    Plus, assuming I got caught, it would put a real crimp in my reading and TV time, not too mention my trips to the local music stores.

  21. Hank, I've signed up for Aaron Sorkin's screenwriting Masterclass, and one of the assignments is to watch, then read the screenplay (downloadable to print) from A Few Good Men. And I have never seen it!!! Can you believe it is not available to rent or stream??? I ordered the BluRay from Amazon and it came this morning. Looking forward to it.

    Favorite movies, yikes!! But you have to separate FAVORITE from BEST. Two distinct categories.

    Favorites are movies I would curl up on the sofa and watch over and over.

    Big Fish.
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
    Truly, Madly, Deeply
    The Princess Bride
    All the Harry Potter movies.
    The Lord of the Rings
    Iron Man
    Captain America
    Casino Royale
    Out of Africa
    The English Patient
    Singin' in the Rain
    Star Wars
    The Holiday (I adore this movie, and such a gorgeous score by Hans Zimmer.)

    And, of course, Love Actually.

    Funnily, Rick said the other day that his favorite movie was Casablanca. That really surprised me. How romantic.

  22. PS: Has President Obama every mentioned a favorite movie? Now that would be interesting...


  24. Ann, you mentioned Mouse Hunt with Nathan Lane and Lee Evans. I still have it on DVD, and it is such a funny, good movie. I remember letting students watch it, and they loved it, too.

    And, of course, I loved all the Harry Potter movies. Like the books, my son and I enjoyed each of the movies together. He went to them with me as a teenager, which pleased me greatly. Our love for Harry Potter overcame any embarrassment at going to the movies with his mother.

    Chocolat! Oh, I loved that movie so. I'm a fan of Juliette Binoche (English Patient, too), and I thought it was one of Johnny Depp's best performances. And, Debs, you mentioned Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Wasn't that a great movie! Ewan McGregor is a favorite, as is Emily Blunt.

    And today, I feel compelled to list some movies from the 80s on that I've loved, so here they are:
    E.T. (Call home.)
    Ghostbusters (I ain't afraid of no ghosts.)
    The Shining (“Heeere's Johnny!”)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Stand By Me
    Top Gun (Highway to the sky)
    Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in the corner.)
    Beetlejuice (Don't say it three times.)
    Die Hard (a favorite Christmas movie, of course)
    The Matrix (I recently dreamed I kissed Keanu Reeves)
    The Big Lebowski
    Home Alone
    Forrest Gump
    The Lion King
    Jurassic Park
    Schindler's List
    The Shawshank Redemption (a favorite of my whole family)
    Independence Day
    Good Will Hunting
    Pretty Woman
    Groundhog Day
    Dances with Wolves
    Mrs. Doubtfire
    What About Bob?
    Hook (might have to change my three favorites to include Hook)
    Galaxy Quest
    The Green Mile

  25. I should have noted on my last list that it was up to 2000. If I have time later, I'll try to do some in the 2000s. What is interesting to me and somewhat disappointing is that my movie going has really dropped off. I now usually wait for the movie to come out in DVD or on Netflix. A goal for 2017 is to see five movies at the movie theater.

  26. I am a proud DisNerd, so is it any surprise that my favorite movies are Disney and Pixar films? Beauty and the Beast - how can you not love a heroine who reads constantly? Up - adventure is being connected to others Monsters Inc. - again, I love this movie for the bond between Boo and Sully (and Monsters, Inc. and Up had the same director.)

    Not that I would turn down watching Sound of Music over and over again either.

  27. A little off-topic and I know we (for the most part) try to avoid discussing politics here, but the discussion of Obama's and Trump's favorite movies reminded me of this delightfully snarky article about the favorite books of Trump and Hillary:

    The first movie I ever saw was Mary Poppins. When I was five, my grandmother took me to see it at the downtown theater in Hyannis, MA. I don't think there are any downtown theaters anymore. My dad told me that when he was a kid, movies were 50 cents. When I was a kid -- dating myself here -- they were 75. I can't remember how much they were when my kids were younger, but they had to be at least $4 or $5. Crazy inflation in that time period!

    Anyway, I digress (as usual). I don't think I've seen a better movie since Mary Poppins. I also love You've Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping, A League of Their Own, Sound of Music, the original Parent Trap, and most of the old musicals. I'm right with you, Rhys. Hopelessly romantic!

    And Deb, a screenwriting class with Aaron Srokin? That's awesome! Of his movies, I prefer An American President to A Few Good Men, but I love all his stuff. Wish we could have Jed Bartlet for president!

  28. I'm with Mark for Disney's Beauty and the Beast but I' d add Tarzan too .
    The Sound of Music is like a first love that won't die ( first big film I saw with a friend in Montreal downtown).
    Like Rhys, love Out of Africa and The Dead Poet's Society. Adding Dirty Dancing
    I'm a romantic , love and beautiful music touches my heart

  29. Debs - I am so with you on Casino Royale. I could watch that on a loop!

  30. I've yet to see The Sound of Music. I was at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam in 1968 and they tried to show it 3 nights in a row and each night, before the end of the first reel we took incoming rocket fire. So, no thanks!

  31. Rhys, I love how insightful this is. I've never really thought about movies that are my favorites but I am definitely partial to Romantic Comedies or Action Adventure films such as - When Harry Met Sally, The Sure Thing, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Romancing the Stone (but if Ingrid's sister says it doesn't hold up, I'm nervous to watch it again), Harold and Maude, the Bond movies (Craig preferred), the Bourne movies, Indiana Jones, 48 hours, and currently I am really into John Wick. My all time favorite movie, which combines romantic comedy and action adventure is The Princess Bride. Put all together, I see adrenaline fueled snarky romance as the theme - not sure what that says about me, but I am ignoring the Hub who is nodding at me as I read this back to him. LOL.

  32. I am arriving so late that I realize no one will ever see this post, yet I can't stop myself from posting to say, Deborah Crombie, I am almost breathless at the idea of a screenwriting class with Aaron Sorkin. I could burst out with a teenage-girl scream at any moment!

    Folks have already mentioned so many wonderful movies -- I would endorse most of them. Perhaps especially:
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Love Actually
    The African Queen
    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
    Mary Poppins
    The Sound of Music
    Kramer Vs. Kramer
    Shawshank Redemption
    Lord of the Rings

  33. Jim Collins! I meant Jim Collins, not Jim Burrows! Wasn't Jim Burrows a TV writer? Excuse my tour brain...

  34. Ingrid, Jim or rather James Burrows, is a director/writer who has done so much TV it is impossible to name everything. But of course, you should know the one he is most famous for...the one and only Cheers!