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Saturday Art: Essential Movies (All The Rest Of The Best)

Back at the first of the year, I started this series of Essential Movies. Since then I have grouped movies by genres, discussing them – or actually mainly just listing all of the movies I have enjoyed watching multiple times within that week’s genre.

This week’s list is all the remaining movies that didn’t really fit (in my view) within the arbitrary boundaries I created for the others. A couple of these could have fit in War Movies or Spies but I elected to not include them there as I felt the movies were more than just War stories. Some of these can be called “dramedies.” A couple of black comedies. A couple of action or adventure. Some Oscar winning blockbusters and some small independent films. But all are movies that I find worth watching multiple times.

Of course, as often happens, I find there are three Humphrey Bogart movies here. Casablanca is at the top of many folks’ list of all time great movies, including mine. Why I’m shocked, Shocked! at this. The African Queen and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are also here. Note to Blazing Saddles fans: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is where the line, “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” originates.

Gone With the Wind is another of the all time great blockbuster movies. While offering a stylized and totally unrealistic view of life before and after the Civil War, it is still a well acted movie with a great cast.

Cary Grant has a couple of movies here today with Only Angels Have Wings (directed by Howard Hawks) and To Catch a Thief (with Grace Kelly and directed by Alfred Hitchcock).

Paul Newman also is here with two movies that could almost be considered bookends for his career in a sense. While he did movies before The Long Hot Summer (with Orson Welles and Joanne Woodward) and after Nobody’s Fool (with Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith), both movies showed Newman’s range as an actor and abilities to become the characters he played.

China Syndrome has once again become somewhat pertinent, just as it was when it first came out twelve days before the Three Mile Island accident occurred.

Jack Nicholson is here with Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. Peter Fonda is here with Ulee’s Gold to go with Easy Rider.

Class war and Labor issues are well represented for me with Norma Rae (Sally Field), Matewan (Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell), Milagro Beanfield War (Ruben Blades, Sonia Braga, Christopher Walken) , and Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams).

Various scenes of people with broken hearts can be seen in Scent of a Woman (Al Pacino), Prince of Tides (Nick Nolte, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner), Random Hearts (Harrison Ford, Kristen Scott Thomas), Upside of Anger (Joan Allen, Kevin Costner), and An Unfinished Life (Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez).

I think it was the title that got me to first watch Bad Day at Black Rock but a cast that includes Spencer Tracy, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Dean Jagger, and Walter Brennan makes it very re-watchable.

The Hospital (George C. Scott, Diana Rigg) is just a great black comedy. The Contender (Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman) covers the political side of things.

I have to admit that the first time I watched Vanishing Point (Barry Newman, Cleavon Little), I did not make it all the way through due to the car scenes making me a bit ill (life long motion sickness suffering here). In my defense, I did have a flu shot earlier that day that wound up putting me in bed for the weekend.

The Right Stuff (Sam Shepherd, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey) and October Sky (Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Laura Dern) are both here as they both remind me of a time long ago and far away when I still believed.

Finally are three stories about love from different views; Children of a Lesser God (William Hurt, Marlee Matlan), Tortilla Soup (Hector Elizondo, Jacqueline Obradors, Elizabeth Pena, Raquel Welch) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard).

I hope you have enjoyed this series of Essential Movies. Other posts in this series are Essential Movies, Westerns, Historical Settings (pre-1500), Historical Settings (post 1500), Sword and Sorcery, Science Fiction, War Movies, Crime and Punishment, Music, Song and Dance – and Elvis, Sports, Spies, PI’s, Comic Heroes, Cartoons Plus, Romantic Comedies, and So Bad They’re Good.

And because I can:

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Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL