For my readers who may not know me well enough - I enjoy what my friends call “Wendy-friendly movies.” Meaning- no horror films, few action films, and movies that won’t have me covering my eyes at something depicted on the screen.
A Apollo 13. I read the book, saw the movie with my dad, own the soundtrack. I knew this movie. I understood the acronyms, the significance of Gene Kranz’s white vest, and admired Hollywood’s ability to film segments of a movie in weightlessness.
B Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. These two movies go hand-in-hand. I have one negative comment - I didn’t want the movies to end. I love the idea of two people coming together in these beautiful European cities, having conversations, revealing bits of their souls, and realizing they share a deep connection.
C Cutting Edge. When I watch the movie as a thirty-five year old woman, I watch with eyes and a heart that have grown since I first saw the movie in high school. But, there is a part of me that understands the loneliness and isolation Kate feels. She asks her father, “Why are we doing this?” and I understood. (My endeavors were straight-A’s in high school, but still, I could sympathize. Many of my classmates didn’t understand me, kept their distance, friendships were few, and dating was non-existent.) But still, Doug falls in love with her, and I believed there was hope for me too.
D Dirty Dancing. When I was in elementary school, this was the movie. Everybody watched it, even when we didn’t understand everything we were seeing. We liked the music and the dances - that was enough.
E Eat, Pray, Love. I was a fan of the book, and was not disappointed with the movie adaptation. Although, for reasons I can’t quite explain, I enjoy the movie more each time I watch my DVD. I envy the freedom of vacating one’s own life, traveling to exotic locations, and getting back in touch with basic necessities while, in the process, re-discovering the person you once were.
F Father of the Bride, the version starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. My sister and I saw the movie with my dad, and upon leaving the theater, promised him we wouldn’t want swans at our wedding. And, for whatever reason, Steve Martin’s opening monologue is a permanent part of my memory bank: “I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet. They fall in love. He buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say ‘I do.’ I was wrong.”
G Grease. The big skirts, the dances, the songs - Danny and Sandy. I wanted to attend Rydell High. I wanted to be a Pink Lady (my sister and I owned pink cardigan sisters, that’s as close as we got).
H How Stella Got Her Groove Back. For my tastes, another successful film adaptation. A book I’ve read more than once, a movie I own on DVD. The island of Jamaica, the comedy of Whoopi Goldberg, and a good-looking cast.
I It Could Happen to You. There’s an expression, “movie magic.” I think it’s supposed to refer to the tricks of the trade, movie makers convincing audiences of one thing or another. I think this movie shares a different kind of movie magic. The idea that random, wonderful things can happen, and do happen, to deserving people. That karma does exist, and happy endings are possible.
J Julie & Julia. After we saw that movie, my husband convinced me to start a blog. Truthfully, I write for me. I have a deadline to meet - a new essay a week. I hope, I dream that one day someone will read my work and realize I really should be working for their magazine. But in the meanwhile, I am writing. I am acknowledging that I am a writer. And I have my faithful readers to keep me company.
K The Karate Kid. I don’t practice karate, but I did learn from the wise Mr. Miyagi - “paint up and paint down,” “wax on, wax off”, and “the sun is warm the grass is green.” I consider Mr. Miyagi to be the human equivalent of Yoda.
L Letters to Juliet. A love story set in Italy. Need I say more? But if I must, there’s that idea of two people being meant to be even if things (like the span of fifty years) get in the way. This idea of what could have been, might have been, can still be.
M The Music Man. Some movies just make me smile - such is the case with this film. Who can resist little Ron Howard singing about the approaching Wells Fargo wagon? Or the Marion-Librarian scene?
N Notting Hill. Hugh Grant’s character owns a bookshop. He’s got an amusing circle of friends. He’s a nice guy. He gets the girl. Recipe for a Wendy-friendly, put-you-in-a-good-mood-movie.
O Oliver Twist. I remember very little of the actual movie, except that I watched it with my dad. And I remember my dad singing to me “I’d Do Anything.” And I know he would.
P Pretty in Pink. Andie. Duckie. Blane. I wanted to be Andie. I wanted to drive a cute pink car, make my own clothes, and not be afraid to dress according to my own fashion sense.
Q Quigley Down Under. Okay, in all honesty, it’s not a movie that moved me. But it’s a movie my dad enjoys. A movie I remember my dad watching from the other room, the music playing, while I read in the living room. It’s a daddy-movie, and if I wanted to score points, I’d sit down and watch a few minutes with my dad.
R Rudy. I am not a football player or a fan of the game; however, I loved this game. I admired the determination and fierceness that our hero works towards his goal. Most didn’t understand him, most wrote him off, and I wondered if I’d be as strong as Rudy. He went for it, no matter what happened or what others said. The score was beautiful and added another dimension to the story-telling.
S Star Wars. My favorite remains the original, Episode 4. Star Wars has just become a part of our popular culture - the phrases (“use the Force”), the characters (Han Solo’s good-looking arrogance), and the fashions (Princess Leia’s cinnamon-bun hairstyles).
T Ten Commandments. When I was a little girl, I watched this movie with my dad. Our movie was on VHS, and our video player had a remote control that only worked if it was attached to the machine with a long cord. I didn’t understand the religious significance of the story - I was mesmerized by the dresses and bracelets, the bush on fire, the parting of the Red Sea.
U Under the Tuscan Sun. This is one example where I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I think it was the written descriptions of the food that lost me. But the movie was a joy to watch, and re-watch on my DVD. Bad things sometimes lead to good things, and sometimes the bad things have to happen otherwise we’d never be brave enough or hurt enough to make the leap.
V Valentine’s Day. I love the idea that within this crazy city called Los Angeles, all these lives are somehow inter-twined, our lives do touch others, do matter to others. And, as a former sales clerk in a flower shop, I was intrigued to see a filmmaker’s depiction of a flower shop on one of its busiest days.
W When Harry Met Sally. For many years, our New Year’s Eve ritual included a viewing of this perennial film. I never tire of watching Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan navigate the bumpy road of dating and love. The honesty, the humor, the conversations - and a fake-orgasm scene in the midst of a bustling New York deli.
X The X Files. Okay, this is certainly not a Wendy-movie. But, it was the movie for a good friend of mine, so it makes the list.
Y You’ve Got Mail. This movie pairs Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and never fails to make me smile. It’s gentle and kind-spirited. It features two people you want to get together. And, to tip the scales at Wendy-friendliness, The movie is set among bookstores.
Z Zookeeper. I admit it. I haven’t watched the movie. But, my students were writing creative stories about what zoo animals would say if they could talk to each other. Then this movie reached theaters. And, how in the world did Mrs. Kennar know they’d be making this movie? Suddenly, my cool factor went up, and the fun factor in my writing assignment went up as well.