A&E Staff Favorite Films
Here in The Lumberjack’s Arts & Entertainment section, we are avid fans of all forms of entertainment. In this blog, A&E staffers reveal some of their favorite films of all time.
Brianne Bellio – A&E Copy Editor
One of my favorite movies is Safe Men. It’s the story of two wannabe singers (Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn) who get mistaken for safe crackers by a lackey (Paul Giamatti) for a Jewish mobster (Michael Lerner). If that description alone doesn’t entice you, let me say, this movie is just absolute comedic gold. In all honesty, it’s just completely ridiculous. The humor is offbeat and well-scripted. The wardrobe, especially Giamatti’s, should get a special shout out. The movie has everything from a debate on which animal is smarter, a raccoon or a pig, to a story of death by flammable pants. It’s one of my favorites for the humor; it’s well acted and it’s just a fantastic quirky comedy by people who went on to much bigger films.
Emma Changose – A&E Assistant Editor
Passion, crime, sexy dance numbers and all that jazz – what more could you ask for in a movie? The 2002 movie version of the classic Broadway production, Chicago, is my favorite movie not only because the songs are so freaking catchy, but also because the plot twists and turns with every scene. It’s more than a cheesy musical about love; it’s dark, moody and enticing. Starring Renée Zellweger as the sweet and lovable Roxie Hart and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the vixen cabaret dancer, the movie follows these two murderers as they both try to showbiz their way out of death row and onto the big stage. With Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) as their attorney, they turn a trial into a three-ring circus as they deceive the jury with numerous tricks and illusions. I’m not sure what the best part of the movie is, whether it be the addictive lyrics in the dance numbers, the all-star cast or the sparkly costumes they put on. All I know is that as soon as I hear the sultry sax start of the opening tune of “And All That Jazz,” I get all giggly and giddy inside.
Cara Buchanan – A&E Writer
Growing up a ’90s baby, Walt Disney colored my world. I’ve fantasized of faraway places and my Price Charming; I sang Colors of The Wind prancing through the backyard. My imagination was as high as the pine trees surrounding our cul-de-sac and when I turned five I owned my first pair of glass slippers (made of rubber, of course). I was a princess.
The story I knew of Cinderella was that she lived with an awful family and sang with mice. For her, finding love was as easy as showing up in a pretty dress. Peering out her stone windowsill toward the castle, I figured if you desired something hard and long enough, no matter what that may be, my fairy godmother would make all my dreams come true with a quick bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.
Now 15 years later, buried in the harsh realities of college, I peer out my window to watch the Flagstaff snow fall and my castle seems too far out of reach. Yet, if Cinderella taught me anything, she taught me how to dream. I’ve learned to listen to my heart, for there is where your true aspirations lie.
Cinderella has shaped my view on happily ever after because while she longed for a better life, she also realized that if her prince wasn’t coming to her, she wasn’t afraid to board the pumpkin herself and make him realize what he’s missing.
Never give up on what your heart wishes for and scrub as many floors as you have to. One day all the soap and bubbles will look like a shiny ticket to Paris and a pretty pair of your own glass slippers. Louboutin anyone?
Sara Weber – A&E Copy Editor
I’m Not There
My favorite movie, as of now, is Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. The most prominent reason for this being my favorite movie is simple: It is about my favorite musician. Haynes creatively portrays each one of Bob Dylan’s musical and personal stages in life with some of today’s greatest actors and actresses. These stages range from his folk-y beginnings, as well as the controversial switch to electric that caused his fans to rebel, to his religious reformation and drug-infused, reporter-bashing days. One of my favorite aspects of the film is how the each actor brings such life to their respective roles. Though it is too difficult to pinpoint one particular scene in the film as my favorite, I will say I am most impressed with Cate Blanchett’s performance as the feisty and experimental Dylan. I’m Not There is easily the best bio-pic I have ever seen. Haynes’ ability to glide through Dylan’s chaotic career with such ease and imagination makes it a must see for anyone, regardless of taste in music.
Trevor Gould – A&E Editor
The Social Network
“You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But, you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.” And with those final resounding words, an angry Erica Albright dumps Mark Zuckerberg. Frustrated and confused, Mark goes back to his dorm where he starts drunkenly blogging and designs a website called FaceSmash.com, which compares the hotness of female undergrads.
The Social Network is a rare achievement in film, a compelling and searing contemporary drama about the creation and story behind the largest social networking site in the world. Acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s script is crackling with sharp and intelligent dialogue; and the characters are all very well-fleshed out. The various themes and conflicts interweave with each other and connect effortlessly, creating a grand tapestry of human emotion whose power cannot be stymied. Just the scene where a dejected Eduardo turns to Mark and says “I was your only friend . . . you had one friend.” is enough to overpower the senses. The most tragic and ironic part of this film is that the world of online social communication was forever changed by a man whose interpersonal skills were virtually nonexistent.
Gina Mathews – A&E Writer
Benny and Joon
One of my all time favorite movies is the comedy about a mentally handicapped woman Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson), her adoring brother Benny (Aidan Quinn) and the quirky character they adopt, Sam (Johnny Depp). This comedy involves Joon constantly putting Benny’s house keepers through hell. She doesn’t like any of them, and in the end, they always end up quitting. One night though, in a friendly game of poker with the boys, Joon and Benny end up winning their friend’s cousin, Sam. This is when things start to get really crazy, because Sam is somewhat of a quirky individual and enjoys dressing up as Buster Keaton performing magical illusions for the siblings. Yet this comedy doesn’t leave out the love connection forming between mentally ill Joon and eccentric Sam. This movie has it’s ups and downs and is all around a fantastic movie.
Julie Anderson – A&E Writer
By far, my favorite movie is the ’80s classic Sixteen Candles. Although I was born eight years after its release, the story of a girl’s forgotten birthday has resonated with me more than any movie of my generation. I cannot count the number of times I have quoted this timeless film. Written and directed by John Hughes, who lead and definitely perfected the teen coming-of-age genre, this film captured the emotion and dramatics of a girl that age. I just love everything about Sixteen Candles, from the quirky soundtrack to the crazy/lovable quality of its characters and to the wonderfully dated dialogue. I love this movie so much that I asked my parents to forget my own sixteenth birthday and was legitimately angry when they refused. What girl doesn’t wish Jake Ryan waited for her outside with a red Ferrari? My guess would be no one. Hughes understands more about the teenage mind than actual teenagers, which is why this movie has transcended through generations and is still relevant today.
Rose Clements – A&E Photo Editor
The Darjeeling Limited
It’s extremely hard for me to pick a favorite film, but I guess if I were to try and narrow it down, currently my favorite would be The Darjeeling Limited. Wes Anderson is my favorite director and every time I re-watch one of his movies it becomes my favorite. The Darjeeling Limited stars Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman as three brothers on a journey of discovery in India. The film has Anderson’s traditional quirky style of humor and beautiful photography, backed by a soundtrack of the Kinks and traditional Indian music. It is funny, smart and poignant. Everyone should watch it!
Monae Gunn – A&E Writer
Stomp the Yard
My favorite film of all time would have to be Stomp the Yard. The reason I like the movie so much is because of the intense dancing moments. I like movies that involve dancing, but this one is a lot different than the others in my opinion. Sure, it has its share of melodrama but the dancing makes up for that. It brings in the new style of battling at the time: crumping. The dancing is jaw-dropping; it almost makes me want to take up stepping. The growth of the main character, DJ (Columbus Short) through the course of the movie is also quite interesting and spices up the plot. It’s an awesome movie and definitely worth the watch.
Jayson Burns – A&E Writer
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Trying to pick one episode of the Star Wars saga as my favorite is not easy for me, but most of the time I’ll side with Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Now, like I said, I love the entire saga, even the prequels, but Return is the one that brings everything to a close. Han Solo, for one, finally gets that debt to Jabba off his shoulders. On the Death Star, we have a son pitted against his father in one of the more climatic duels in the series. And how can I forget Wedge “That got ‘em!” Antilles flying his X-wing into the Death Star II, redeeming himself after having to bail out on Luke in A New Hope. In short, I’m a nerd, and Return of the Jedi understands that.
Allison Weintraub – A&E Writer
What do Dustin Hoffman, steamy love affairs and Mrs. Robinson have in common? Add a little Simon & Garfunkel into the mix and you’ve got my favorite movie of all time, The Graduate, a 1967 comedy-drama directed by Mike Nichols. I’ll admit, if it weren’t for my dad, I probably would have never watched the movie in the first place. A few years ago, he basically forced me to watch it when I claimed there was nothing “good” on television. The film centers around Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman), a recent university graduate with no real aim in life who is seduced by a much older (and married) woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The music in the film is perhaps one of the most well-known movie soundtracks of all time. Written and performed by Simon & Garfunkel, the album The Graduate quickly rose to the top of the charts. The song “Mrs. Robinson” takes on a whole new meaning when watched in context with the film. If you only watch one movie for the rest of your life, please, let it be The Graduate. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think I’ve watched it at least 30 times, and it truly never gets old.
Mackenzie Chase – A&E Writer
It’s difficult for me to find a movie that has a good balance of emotion, relatable characters and a realistic plot line. SLC Punk meets all of this criteria. It’s my favorite film not only for those reasons; it also is highly entertaining with enough humor and seriousness to keep things from getting boring or redundant. Made in 1999 by an independent film company, the plot follows Steven ‘Stevo’ Levy (Matthew Lillard) as he lives the punk lifestyle and finds himself along the way. Although it never became too popular, I think this movie is a perfect example of how real life can become in just a short amount of time. The first time I saw it I had to take a while to get in to it but then the end hit me in such a way that felt personal enough to make me rethink what I was doing with my life. Stevo’s best friend ‘Heroin’ Bob (Michael A. Goorjian) plays an important role as well. The two of them go to parties and concerts and do their best to rebel against society’s standards. However, life gets in the way, like it tends to do, and Stevo finds himself needing to redefine his living situation. It doesn’t seem like a film that would have such meaning to it, but it does contain a powerful message behind all of the drug use and punk rock. SLC Punk is just one of those movies I can watch over and over again without ever getting tired of watching.
More posts by Trevor Gould »
Trevor Gould is currently in his final semester at Northern Arizona University. He is studying to attain a Bachelors Degree in Public Relations and an Associates Degree in English. This is his sixth semester with the NAU Lumberjack Newspaper, and third semester serving on the editorial board. Trevor enjoys hanging with friends and watching football and marveling at the athleticism of all-pro NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson. http://www.linkedin.com/in/trevorcgould
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