Over the course of my lifetime I’ve noticed there are basically two types of people. The obvious guess is males and females, adults and children is also a good choice, as is Democrats and Republicans. But I’m talking about something way more important: movie lovers and everyone else!
Now before you relegate this column to the fish-wrapping-paper box, hear me out.
How many times have you been to a party and someone recalls some old movie line that seems appropriate to the conversation, only to have five different comments? A good example is “Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?”
Two will chuckle politely because they have no clue what the phrase means, one will scratch his head trying to retrieve the answer, and one will say “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” right?
But the fifth person will say “Oh my God, how great was that line … I LOVED that movie! Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross, what a fantastic group of actors, and B.J. Thomas’ music; what a classic! I loved their dive off of the cliff!”
That, my friend, is a movie lover!
I’ve been going to movies ever since my mother dragged me to see “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” starring William Holden. I wasn’t quite old enough to fully appreciate it, but that was my initiation into a club to which I would belong for the rest of my life.
I had my first kiss after seeing “Doctor Zhivago,” my first serious crush on an actress after “The Graduate,” and my first mega-dose of empathy after “The Sterile Cuckoo.”
I changed my attitude about musicals after seeing “Fiddler on the Roof,” had my adrenaline revved up in “Bullitt” and flew between buildings with “Blue Thunder.”
Over the years Bill Murray and Harold Ramis tickled my funny bone in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters,” not to mention a solo Murray performance in “Groundhog Day.”
I loved nearly everything Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino did separately, but the chemistry of both of them in “Heat” was just superb. Another famous Robert is Duvall, who gave a stirring performance in “Apocalypse Now” and also played a southern horse farmer in “Something to Talk About” with a little help from Julia Roberts.
And let’s not forget Ms. Roberts’ contributions to helping big screen heavyweights Brad Pitt and George Clooney in “Ocean’s Eleven.”
Tom Cruise proved his screen-worthiness in “Risky Business,” “Top Gun” and “The Firm,” but don’t forget Harrison Ford’s tours in “Star Wars,” “Witness” and “Blade Runner.”
My favorite actress is Jessica Lange, who turned in a stellar portrayal of Patsy Cline in “Sweet Dreams,” made a dramatic stretch in “Tootsie,” and scored a knockout punch in “Country.” I’m not much of a Meryl Streep fan (sorry … I’m just not!) but I liked her in “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks.
Speaking of after-life flicks, try on “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, “Heaven Can Wait” (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie), “The Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, and last, but absolutely not least, “Passengers,” the David Morse version.
And what movie list would be complete without silver-screen blockbusters like “Second Hand Lions,” “Keeping the Faith” (Edward Norton, Ben Stiller), “Seven Pounds” (Will Smith), and “Mad Money,” a must-see with Ted Danson and Diane Keaton.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” is a chick-flick, which I don’t usually care much for, but this ensemble cast chick-flick gets two thumbs up from me! “Good Will Hunting,” “Pulp Fiction,” “No Country for Old Men” and “Back to the Future” need no further trumpeting.
But if you’re looking for some truly off-the-wall-but-genius gems, check out “The World According to Garp” (Robin Williams, Glenn Close), and “Dogma” with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and a cast of wonderful comedic actors.
Which brings me to the piece-de-resistance of cinematic gold. It stars Will Ferrell in a serious role, along with Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Emma Thompson. And even though you’ve probably never heard of it, after staying with me for nearly 700 words I am certain you will love this movie: “Stranger Than Fiction.”
And as Porky Pig used to say, “that’s all, folks!”
Bill Crawford is a LaVale freelance writer. His column appears in the Times-News on the third weekend of each month.