Every title I think of just won’t do


So you like to talk about movies? OK, we might as well devote the rest of the week to the subject. I’m going to name some of my favorite movies. These are not movies I consider the greatest.

Casablanca would be on that list, for example. I think Casablanca is great not because of Bogart and Bergman but because of the perfection of the entire cast. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Dooley Wilson… oh, my! Then, there’s the subtle hilarity of the clever script. The movie is top-flight comedy. Lawrence of Arabia would be on that list, but I don’t think I could sit through repeated showings. However, I digress.

These are movies I liked. Sometimes, I don’t know I liked a movie until a couple of days later. If I’m still thinking about the movie a couple of days later, that’s a sign I liked it. This is not even my “tops” list. It’s not even a list, really. Simply, these are a few off-the-shelf movies that delivered for me. In other words, as usual, I reserve the right to waffle.

  • A Fish Called Wanda Once again, a marvelous cast. This was one of the rare comedies that actually had me convulsed with laughter much of the time.
  • Kelly’s Heroes Mash often is mentioned as the best comic send-up of the war movie, but this is my nomination. The unlikely plot aside, I have the nagging suspicion this movie captured the American GI in WWII better than dozens of serious efforts.
  • French Kiss What’s a list of favorites without a romantic comedy? Hey, there’s Kevin Kline, again!
  • Tin Cup Already mentioned here is my favorite sports movie. Although the protagonist Roy McAvoy bordered on being a true SOB sometimes, I identify with wasted potential and personal demons. And it’s funny. Hmm, all comedies so far.
  • Groundhog Day Another comedy that’s more. This weird movie got to me somehow. I cannot forget it. Maybe because it was entertaining. Could it be that simple?
  • Shirley Valentine Great script, which originated as a stage play. If you enjoy Arlo and Janis, you’d like this movie. Make an effort to find it if you haven’t seen it already.
  • Amalie My foreign-language favorite, complete with sub-titles. You know it has to be good.
  • Network Maybe the first on my list that wouldn’t be described as “comic,” although it was. A chillingly dead-on film that only gets more so.
  • The Fabulous Baker Boys I like films about creative people. Lust for Life would be a good example, but I’m listing films I saw in theaters. We’ll do the Turner Classic Movies list later.
  • Support Your Local Sheriff  I have to have a Western. Of course, it’s a comedy. I put it up against Blazing Saddles.

Well, what do you know? Ten! Really, there are many more, but I’d best stop now. I’ve things to do, like draw some comic strips.

Addendum: Before anyone mentions it, I want to say I left off maybe the best of them all, Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman may have made more great movies than anyone.