The Prairie Spy: These are a few of my favor-ite films
In keeping with doing something memorable with the New Year, I'm making a resolution (another one, just like the other ones) to watch once again some of my all-time favorite movies. Here they are, in no particular order, although I must confess I...
In keeping with doing something memorable with the New Year, I’m making a resolution (another one, just like the other ones) to watch once again some of my all-time favorite movies. Here they are, in no particular order, although I must confess I have some extra fondness for this first one.
“Nate and Hayes.” The Young Girls – my three daughters – were approximately seven, nine and 11 when this movie entered our lives. Where it came from, and who told us about it, I don’t remember. I do remember that I have watched this movie at least 20 times. I’ll give you as much as I can without spoiling the plot.
In this one, I know the leading actors: Tommy Lee Jones and Michael O’Keefe. You will recognize O’Keefe when you see him, and of course everyone knows Jones (this was his breakthrough film).
Talk about an action movie. From the very first scene to the very last, this movie moves like a runaway freight train, and is continually entertaining. It’s fun to see Jones young and athletic, and just as entertaining then as he is now. He plays Hayes, a morally conflicted 1800s pirate, and is responsible for delivering Nate – and his new bride-to-be – to a Pacific island, where they are going to be missionaries.
Hah! The freight train takes control right away. And yes, this may be my all-time favorite movie.
Although as soon as I say that, then some others pop up, one of which is “The Princess Bride.”
In this classic tale of sword fighting and love lost and gained, and more sword fighting, and a giant, and yet some more sword fighting, the beautiful young Buttercup is forcibly engaged to the awful Prince Humperdinck. Her childhood beau, Westley, comes back as The Dread Pirate Roberts and rescues her.
There is a most wonderfully entertaining scene – okay, there are several –where The Dread Pirate Roberts must outsmart a nut-job genius who wants to poison him, and they spend several minutes agonizing over which of two goblets of wine each should drink, one of which of course holds the poison. “Inconceivable!”
My list is not complete without a western, and here I hold “Silverado” as the greatest western ever filmed.
The list of great actors includes: Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum and many others. Plot-wise, it’s a somewhat conventional mix of who-shot-my-daddy mixed in with rustling, fastest gun, take-the-most-wicked beating and still get all mean and tough. All the scenes of the good guys riding horses across the western prairie are typical of what a western should be: fast guns and fast horses.
High on my list is “Galaxy Quest,” a hilarious spoof of Star Trek in which Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver and others of a worn-out Star Trek wannabe series are touring in a losing effort to keep their weary legend alive, hoping to make a few bucks. They are bickering with one another as they prepare for yet another appearance at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a big-box store when real aliens appear.
From that point on, this to me is what fun entertainment is all about. Will it win any Academy awards? Or even nominations? No. But, it makes the list.
Finally, “The Crying Game” is a 1992 mix with Irish terrorist beginnings and psychological terror and finally, pure confusing trickery as Stephen Rea (you’ll recognize him even if the name isn’t familiar), Forest Whittaker and Jaye Davidson take their places in this emotional roller coaster.
Davidson was nominated for an academy award for his role in this movie, and the movie itself was noticed industry-wide because they managed to keep the plot hidden before it was released.
Which was important, as you will see, and is also why I cannot tell you much more about it. This is not a children’s movie, and it will not leave you unaffected, but it will leave you with the feeling that you have really seen what movies should be all about. For better or worse.
There you have it. I hope this year brings some more like these.