26 July 2006

Guilty Pleasures Week: Movies

To me, the definition of a guilty pleasure movie is different than that of a guilty pleasure song. The song must have some cheese factor to it, to the point where you’ll St. Peter it in a crowd, denying your love for its beat. A guilty pleasure movie is one you can watch over and over and over, without ever growing tired of it. You can recite large chunks of dialog, often mimicking the actor’s actual movements. You watch at least part of it — but always to the credits — at least four times a year. You can’t move on if you stumble across it while channel surfing. And you’re rarely embarrassed to admit how much you love the film (well, unless two of your dearest friends are film professors; they might sneer if you rave about Rushmore, so you tell them Jules et Jim is your guilty pleasure). A guilty pleasure movie isn’t necessarily on your list of favorite movies of all time (check the profile for that partial list); it’s just the most fun to watch.

The Haahnster no doubt trumped me with his movie list, so be sure to check his site today.

And so, I’m proud to list my guilty pleasure movies. I broke the list into three categories. We're starting off with the great romances. You’ll notice pretty quickly that I’m a sucker for celluloid romance. It can’t be helped; I was raised that way.

An Affair to Remember (1957)
Probably my favorite movie of all time. It has everything a girl wants in her guilty pleasures. A smart, independent woman in love with Cary Grant, a woman whose love makes him a better man. European and Manhattan (fake) locales. High drama on the high seas. Fabulous fifties fashion (one day, I will wear an evening gown just like Deborah Kerr’s white-with-red dress). The swooniest ending of all time. I was in junior high the first time I saw An Affair to Remember. It was running during romance week on “Dialing for Dollars” — five days of the best in 1950s romance. Unfortunately, each afternoon movie started before we got out of school — but Mama always had her priorities in place and got us out early each day so that we could see every minute of those classics. And that week I fell in love with Cary Grant. Love at first sight, love him to this day. Elegance, beauty, and self-deprecation are hard to beat.

The Way We Were (1973)
Mama (her again; I guess that’s where I get my love for romance) took Holly and me to see The Way We Were when it first came out. I’d had a thing for Robert Redford since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting (which I also saw with Holly; she preferred Paul Newman), so this was a swoonfest for me. Again, my favorite romantic setup: strong, independent woman making a beautiful man a better man through her fierce love. Unfortunately, this one ends in heartache and bittersweet reflection (“Your girl is lovely, Hubbell”; I use that line with guys all the time, but they never get it.) — but we need a good sob once in a while, don’t we, ladies? And has there been a more beautiful moment on film than Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardner in his dress whites, dozing at the bar? Just damn.

Truly Madly Deeply (1991)
Anthony Minghella’s first movie is one of my favorite romances and the most romantic ghost story ever. I never imagined Alan Rickman as a romantic lead until Truly Madly Deeply, but he completely won me over (completing that win-over with his role in Dogma). The five-second plot: Nina is still grieving after the sudden death of her longtime love, Jamie. She hasn’t moved on, so his ghost returns to help her through it. The last 15 minutes rip my heart and bring me to sobs (not tears, but full-out sobs) every time I see it. What beautiful, selfless love.

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At 7/26/2006 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Truly Madly Deeply - the famous snot scene, ahh, good times.

At 7/26/2006 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Benny said...

My friend and I have the biggest crush on Alan Rickman. We seem to imagine him as the romantic lead even in movies where he's not a lead, not romantic... and doesn't even have genitalia. If you can imagine. :-)

At 7/26/2006 10:22:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

I like Jackie Chan!!!!

At 7/26/2006 01:04:00 PM, Blogger haahnster said...

I'm just like Cary Grant, minus the elegance and beauty. I suppose I should really capitalize on the self-deprecation. I suck. There, that's a start.

Suspension of disbelief only goes so far. I mean, Streisand with Robert Redford???? Next, they'll expect me to believe Woody Allen really gets those hot women in his movies...

At 7/26/2006 02:02:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

i have begun 'truly, madly, deeply' about ten times and have never made it passed the scene where she and her husband are in bed after he appears to her. it's not that it bores me, it's just life gets in the way (haha).

maybe i'll try again the next time it's on showtime.

At 7/26/2006 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

shannon gets mad at me, because I'll stop and watch My Cousin Vinny everytime I see it on Comedy Central. And it's on a lot.

I also can't pass up any of those, Dodgeball, 40 Year Old Virgin type flix either.

At 7/26/2006 06:35:00 PM, Blogger mat said...

I should be ashamed to admit it, but I am not. I love the Luke Perry classic (is there such a thing? :) ) "8 Seconds". If you haven't seen it (probably not), it is the true story of a professional bull rider named Lane Frost. Even after a bazillion viewings, it can bring a tear to my eye (not an all out bawl session or anything, but a tear). I will go no deeper into the story. Rent it and see for yourself. I think I need a tissue!

At 7/26/2006 08:32:00 PM, Anonymous glassmeow said...

The Metatron hasn't got equipment, sure, but there's no lack of romance there! Balanced with just the right amount of snark. The Metatron is possibly my favorite Rickman role. Right after Brandon and right before Bad Harry - with Ed from the January Man coming in a close fourth.

At 7/26/2006 08:43:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: Leave it to a man to pick out the one gross moment of a beautiful film ...

B: I can imagine.

OLD LADY: I haven't seen enough Jackie Chan to have an opinion. He hasn't been in many romantic comedies, has he?

HAAHNSTER: We're in the virtual world. You can tell us that you looks like Cary Grant, and we'll never know the difference. And we gawky teens needed to believe that Babs would have a chance with Redford.

BRAT: The ending is so sweet ... but you gotta be a wuss like me to appreciate it.

JEREMY: Can't do Vinny, but I love the Vince Vaughn/Wilson brothers/Steve Carrell oeuvre.

MAT: I've never seen it! Going to catch it next time it's on ... so that I may then taunt you.

GLASSMEOW: Once again, we're thinking alike.

At 7/26/2006 08:46:00 PM, Blogger mat said...

Taunt away! If you can get past Perry's obviously fake southern drawl, you may just like it!

At 7/26/2006 08:59:00 PM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

As far as "movies to be embarassed by" go, your list isn't bad. I'm sure mine would be much trashier. But I'll have to think about it more. One for sure that I always watch is "Not Without My Daughter." I love it when Sally Field makes that phone call to her husband.

At 7/26/2006 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

MAT: We Southerners hate the fake accent. I'll spend too much time mocking Mr. Perry to absorb the subtle nuances of his fine performance.

COASTER PUNCHMAN: Not a bad first start, CP.

At 7/26/2006 10:24:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

Love Cary Grant, but hate hate hate Streisand. I'm with haahnster: who'd ever believe she could land Redford?

Groundhog Day might be a guilty pleasure movie according to your definition, but I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it--could be the greatest movie of our time.

At 7/30/2006 11:32:00 PM, Anonymous dayle said...

An Affair To Remember is my second all time favorite movie - 1st is It's A Wonderful Life of course. Nice pick!

At 8/01/2006 08:25:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

SCRIVENER: Babs landing Redford gave us gawky teens hope. But, yeah, she'd drive you crazy, wouldn't she? I love Groundhog Day; love just about anything Bill Murray is in, but this one ranks high.

DAYLE: I think we watched An Affair to Remember when you were a kid. I seem to remember taking my video to your place.


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