My Top 10 Movies :: The Letter A
10. Adult World (2013)
Written by Andy Cochran
Directed by Scott Coffey
“I just wanna smash your head open and take everything in there.” ~ Amy
Movies about writers are a big love of mine, as are coming of age stories, whether reality based stories, or works of fantasy. Amy is a struggling writer, a lost girl looking to sort out who she is in the world, and in many ways she is a blank slate of life experience. Her story, her high points and low, low ones, her embarrassing moments, her triumphant ones, and her persistence were real and raw and inspiring; I was rooting for her and wanting to know more when the credits ran.
9. August Rush (2007)
Written by Nick Castle & James V. Hart (screenplay), Paul Catro & Nick Castle (story)
Directed by Kirsten Sheridan
“But I believe in music… The way that some people believe in fairy tales.” ~ August Rush
A movie about music connecting people and ultimately, magically, bringing love and connection and family together is pretty much a “gimme” for me to love. The music in this movie, the emotional core, the allusions to Oliver Twist/Dickens, the performances, the writing, the way everything looks and feels – I love all of it. It is one of those movies that makes me believe, even more than I already do, in the magic that is music.
Final scene (yes, there are spoilers here – play at your own risk)
8. About a Boy (2002)
Written by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz (screenplay), Nick Hornby (novel)
Directed by Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz
“Suddenly I realized – two people isn’t enough. You need backup. If you’re only two people, and someone drops off the edge, then you’re on your own. Two isn’t a large enough number. You need three at least.” ~ Marcus
Nick Hornby has been lucky with movie adaptations of his books, something that is an exception to the rule most times. This one holds a special place in my heart for very personal reasons, and is filled with a lot of memories. The characters are portrayed perfectly by everyone in this film, and stole my heart as deeply as they did in the book pages.
“A crap Christmas”
7. American Beauty (1999)
Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Sam Mendes
“It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.” ~ Lester Burnham
A film that peeled back the layers of suburbia and expectation, both in adulthood and adolescent, shook me to my core the first time I watched it. Every re-watch I’m struck by a different characters “coming-of-age”/”life-stage crisis”, and feel a bit more of myself within their stories. Amazing performances by each and every actor in this one, with exceptional writing and characterizations – and yes, this movie is cinematically a stunner.
6. Adventureland (2009)
Written & Directed by Greg Mottola
“I am amazed at how tiny my paycheck is.” ~ James
“We are doing the work of lazy, pathetic morons.” ~ Joel
It is rare to find a movie not made in the 80’s that actually captures what it felt like to be growing up in the 80’s without having a film with nothing but kitsch and stereotypes, this movie did just that. It reminds me of Summers long past and friendships made when you work in a low wage job (for me it was record stores), the kind that you don’t make in any other way. I love the look and feel of the movie almost as much as I love the characters.
“You are hired!”
5. About Last Night… (1986)
Written by Tim Kazurinsky & Denise DeClue (screenplay), David Mamet (play)
Directed by Edward Zwick
“Bullshit. You don’t know what love is. You’ve gotten everything you have always wanted and now you’re feeling sorry for yourself because there’s something you want and you can’t have it. But you had it! I gave you love. But you asked me to leave and I left.” ~ Debbie
Bullshit. You don’t know what love is. You’ve gotten everything you have always wanted and now you’re feeling sorry for yourself because there’s something you want and you can’t have it. But you had it! I gave you love. But you asked me to leave and I left.
Ending scene (yes, full of spoilers)
4. Away We Go (2009)
Written by Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
Directed by Sam Mendes
“We’re not fuck-ups.” ~ Burt
“We have a cardboard window.” ~ Verona
[Looks at window] “We’re not fuck-ups.” ~ Burt
[Whispers] “I think we might be fuck-ups.” ~ Verona
[Whispers back] “We’re not fuck-ups.” ~ Burt
Though I love all the characters in the film, the way they add color and history and dynamic to their story, how they contrast and conflict with what we see their journey being, it is the two of them – Verona and Burt – that I love the most. Their moments, especially just between the two of them, are by far my favorites. Their moments, even the quiet ones, maybe especially the quiet ones, are what I took with me from the movie, and why I return to it when I re-watch.
3. All About Eve (1950)
Written & Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” ~ Margo Channing
Oh Bette Davis, how I love you in this film (and so many others). I adore the quick dialogue, both witty and snarky, something I LOVE in both film and television. This movie never loses its punch, and is such a delightful and devastating look into Hollywood.
“A bumpy night!”
2. All Over Me (1997)
Written by Sylvia Sichel
Directed by Alex Sichel
“Open your eyes...” ~ Claude
The mid-to–late 90’s brought about an element of change and self-expression that was connected deeply to the music I devoured, the stacks of books, an unforgettable television series, the internet, and indie movies like this one. It reminded me how it felt to fall in love with a friend, one who may never feel the same, and how it felt to explore parts of myself I had never looked at, or touched, before. I related so much to Claude, and I fell hard for Lucy, harder than I already had with her band, the Murmurs.
1. Almost Famous (2000)
Written & Directed by Cameron Crowe
“I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt, ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” ~ Penny Lane
Number two of my all-time favorite movies – over the years, and over many re-watches of both the released version, and the director’s cut (the latter my preference), I have found myself toggling between who I relate to more, Penny or William, and whose stories speak to me the most. William is a music lover, a writer, a weirdo and outcast in his life. He seems so often torn between what he wants to do and what he thinks he is supposed to do, and he loves in that open heart so easily broken kind of way. He never seems to belong anywhere completely, though he has moments when where he is feels like “home“, most often when he’s on the road with the band, and Penny. I have felt, and still do feel, so much of those sentiments and conflicting feelings about where I belong, if I belong, and which path to travel.
“It’s all happening!”