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3 of my favorite movies, in no particular order and with commentary

1. The Princess Bride

Granted, this is pretty much a requisite pick for anyone above a certain age who claims any sort affinity with geekdom. But it’s eminently quoteable and makes for a simple yet effective “Can we be friends?” test. Didn’t like the movie? Well, I suppose there’s a slim possibility that we might get along, but it’s kind of like introducing yourself and telling me you like kicking puppies. It gives me a solid sensation that I’d much prefer you go stand over there, far away from me, thank you.

 

2. Slumdog Millionaire

I tend to not buy movies if they don’t have a happy ending. I can appreciate the artistry, acting, directing, and themes/messages of The Godfather, Schindler’s List, House of Sand and Fog, and similar. But they’re not the sort of thing I want to pop into my BluRay player at a moment’s notice, so I don’t buy them. Slumdog Millionaire manages to balance on the edge of beauty and brutality (and pathos), and, yes, at last ends happily. So I’m a proud owner of the film.

Besides, who doesn’t like a nice Bollywood-style dance routine during the credits?

 

3. Tie between Up and Wall-E

Okay, so I cheated and this post should more accurately go in a things category, not 3. I considered that and decided I don’t care.

In any case, on the surface these movies are about a geriatric gentleman and a robot, respectively, and don’t have much in common aside from their production studios. But they’re  both movies that essentially have a love story at their heart, and those stories are extraordinary in that they require very few words to tell. The opening scenes of Up serve many functions: they detail Carl’s life with his late wife, Ellie; put an otherwise ornery character in a sympathetic light; and elegantly set the stage of the entire movie–all in about five minutes.

Wall-E is nearly devoid of dialogue, and even the dialogue that’s there tends to be three syllables or less (until the corpulent humans get screen time, that is). But the animators did their job superbly and manage to make robots the most expressive characters in the film. Whatever you think about the not-so-subtle message about global warming, it’s a movie worth seeing just to understand how visuals can and should impact a movie’s story. There are many, may worse ways to spend 90 minutes than with one of these movies.

 

 

 

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