I love a good story. I love telling stories. I love reading a good story. I especially love watching a good story.
Going to a movie theater is somewhat akin to visiting a house of worship to me. I know that's really blasphemous, but when you grow up in a town of 2,000 where there are 15 churches and 0 movie theaters, your priorities can get a little skewed.
Going to the movies as a kid was a special treat. Before I was 6, we lived in a slightly larger town that had a theater. Every Saturday, my dad would drop my brother and me off to watch whatever animated movie was playing at the matinee; it was one of the few things I can remember my brother and I agreeing upon in life. When we moved to Clarendon, America, the nearest theater was 60 miles away, and if we were making that long of a trip, we weren't typically going to waste 2 hours in a theater. But when my oldest brother and his girlfriend (my future sister-in-law), Tammy, would come to visit, I knew I could count on her boredom to guarantee a trip to the movies by at least Day 3. She'd stuff her purse with contraband snacks and sodas, and we'd theater-hop all day on one ticket. It really didn't matter what we saw, it was just the act of going that thrilled me.
I'm still a movie junkie. I don't go as often anymore, but there are certain movies that when they come on, I cannot turn the channel. To me, movies hold the same sort of memories that good music does. If it's a special one, I can still tell you when and where I saw it for the first time -- what theater, who I was with, everything. It's a weird and useless gift.
Here's a (most likely incomplete) list of movies that I will never change the channel from. If you're at my house when one comes on, I hope you like it. Or that you have other plans. They're not in any particular order because I don't think I could choose.
Steel Magnolias -- This movie is all about what it is to be friends with other women. It wasn't until I was older that I truly understood the value of such a friendship. It's not always pretty, but it's necessary. My favorite moment of the whole movie is at 1:25 of this clip, and it's what usually happens in the hardest of moments with my friends -- the cracking of a highly inappropriate joke in order to break the tension. (Special shout-out to my childhood pal, Christel, who is the closest thing I have ever known to a real-life Ouiser. I love ya more than my luggage, friend).
Hoosiers -- I'm all about underdog stories. Always have been. But this movie is also about second chances and redemption. My favorite moment begins at 2:10 of this clip.
Field of Dreams -- I am a baseball romantic. I fully admit it. In truth, there are few baseball movies I won't watch. But when this one comes on, I'm in a puddle of tears for most of the movie. My favorite part has nothing to do with the cornfield but rather with Doc Graham. "I didn't realize that was the only day."
Bull Durham -- Again with the baseball. Again with the Kevin Costner (although I liked him oh-so-much more in this one). The first clip is pretty classic. It has language that's NSFW and swagger that's not safe for women who swoon easily. Oh, my.
I also love this scene. "We're dealing with a lot of shit here." It always tempts me to buy everyone candlesticks for their wedding.
Additonally, I love A League of Their Own, The Bad News Bears, and The Natural, but I'm going to cut off the baseball movies here. It could really go on a while.
Say Anything -- I feel like I am still on the hunt for Lloyd Dobler. His awkwardness is so honest, it's painful. But it's also sort of charming.
Almost Famous -- I've got a thing for Cameron Crowe movies; it's true. The characters, the music, the story... it all just works... even when it doesn't. William Miller is painful and funny and horribly uncool. I adore this in a character.
Other Cameron Crowe movies of note: Singles, Elizabethtown, and Jerry Maguire. And... pretty much all of them. Like I said, even when it doesn't work, it still works better than most.
Sleepless in Seattle -- Tom Hanks. Isn't that enough? Sigh.
Dead Poets Society -- This is a movie I watch at least a couple of times a year. I love this scene because I was Todd Andersen, and I attempt to be Mr. Keating on a daily basis. "You have a barbarian in you after all."
Good Will Hunting -- Robin Williams as a mentor again. That's not lost on me. But it's all friendship in this one. The scene about regret is one of my all-time favorites. It's just perfect.
Dazed and Confused -- No movie signifies a friendship in my life like this one. It is always associated with Haley and Beth. We watched it so often that we could (and still can) quote every line. There are far too many good scenes to pick as my sole favorite, but I do love the entrance to The Emporium. Wooderson, Pink, and Mitch stride in to Dylan playing. Even the pink jeans look good.
Dirty Dancing -- If there was ever a movie that stuck in my pre-adolescent brain, it's this one. I can clearly remember going to someone else's house to watch it (and I didn't even really like this person) just to see what all the fuss was about. There were a ton of references I didn't really "get" (HELLO, Abortion), but it didn't matter -- Johnny Castle took his shirt off and fell in love with a plain jane wallflower. Man, Francis Houseman gave hope to awkward girls everywhere.
She carried a watermelon, y'all.
And just because I can...
It's just so melodramatically awesome.
So there are some of my favorite "cannot-look-away" movies. Tell me yours. Maybe I forgot one.