One of my all time faves, American History X with Edward Norton. Disturbing, violent, sad, provocative, angry. Not words I can usually use to describe movies I like, but this one kicked my ass. First, I love Ed and everything he does, and he is simply brilliant in AHX. His eyes say it all in this one. He is strong, vulnerable and sexy (even though his body is painted with a swastika tattoo, which turns my stomach).
The story is about a neo-nazi who gets sent to prison and has the good fortune to become friends with someone who turns him around. When he is released, he goes home to deal with his little brother who has followed his white supremist model. This is not one to watch with the kids. I'm not even quite ready for my 14 year old to see it even though I usually like to have him watch things that are going to crack him over the head with a dose of reality. This is as heavy as it gets for me. Racism and hate are two things that I fight openly and with all of my heart and soul and this movie dug a knife into the very core of my being.
Next (these aren't necessarily in order) is The Color Purple with Whoopie Goldberg. This is one of the few stories that makes it onto my top 10 list for both movies and books. Alice Walker's story of a black girl going through life with abusive men all around her is the only movie that has ever made my husband, BelovedDan cry. I'm sure he'll be thrilled that I have shared with you, but it speaks to how powerful this story is. The music is phenominal (the song call "Sister" sung by the Shug character, gets played over and over again at my house), the characters are rich and simple at the same time. Oprah has the performance of her lifetime as Sophia. The unfortunate thing is that the movie leaves out about 1/2 of the book. If you have seen the movie, read the book. It goes into detail about Celie's children's experiences in Africa and is well worth the read. I love quoting this movie: "You sho is ugly!" "The jail you plan for me, is the one you gonna rot in."
On the lighter side is The Sandlot. A coming of age story filled with baseball and adolescent humor, it appeals to little boy in me. You just have to see it to understand. I'm going to let the quotes speak for themselves:
"Anyone who wants to be a can't-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama's bra, raise your hand."
"This is smores stuff. First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallows flaming, you stick it on the chocolate and cover it with the other end. Then, you scarf. "
"Even though none of us had ever actually seen a naked woman, a fact we constantly lied about, Squints had taken one step closer to manhood:He had kissed a woman, he had kissed her long and good. "
Just see it.
The next is a great family story. One that I always recommend to parents of young kids. Hook with Robin Williams is based on the Peter Pan story and the best part about this movie, in my oppinion is the message it sends about how important your kids are. So maybe I'm going overboard in the quote isle, but this one has some treasures I must share:
"You're a--you're a complex Freudian hallucination having something to do with my mother and I don't know why you have wings, but you have very lovely legs and you're a very nice tiny person and what am I saying, I don't know who my mother was; I'm an orphan and I've never done drugs because I missed the sixties, I was an accountant."
The key moment in this movie to me was when Peter is pre-occupied with his business and his cell phone. He's about to miss out on yet another moment in his kid's life and his wife says "Peter, you're missing it." She wasn't talking about him missing the one event, the "it" she refers to is his child's life. I repeat that quote to myself when I am toying between working another hour or leaving to catch one of my boys' baseball games. It makes the choice very easy. This is a fun, feel good, deeper than it appears movie that I can watch over and over again. Watch it with your kids. And kiss them good night.