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At the Movies: The Classics

February 21, 2012

I have this friend, whose name I’ll spare, who has incredible taste in many things, is a lover of the arts, and an all-around amazing guy…but as I’ve recently come to discover, has managed to exist 24 years without seeing some of the greatest movies ever to exist.  I felt compelled as his friend to amend this situation at once, and was faced with the task to give him a list of the five films he absolutely had to see to function properly in the world.  As you can imagine, this was an incredibly daunting task.

After working on this list, I realized that many people might be in the same boat as my friend (after all, at one point I hadn’t seen these either!) and thought I might share this information with all of you.  I stand by the fact that if you see at least the following five movies, you can get along pretty well at parties, in an interview, on a blind date, and most other social situations.  A lot of these are also the inspiration of many contemporary movies, so it’s important to know the references.  Also, keep in mind, these are only five and there are certainly many other truly great and important films…but let’s start with these and maybe I’ll keep the suggestions coming.  Consider this your 101. 🙂

The Graduate

If for some reason this one has managed to slip you by…run, don’t walk, to the video store (or Netflix queue or whatever) and grab this at once!  Listen, you’ve got Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and her incredible fashions in the 1960’s, a killer soundtrack, the amazing Mike Nichols directing, and possibly the best final scene a movie has ever had.  SPOILER ALERT!  Here’s the aforementioned finale, so don’t watch if you haven’t seen the movie, unless you are just a surprise ruiner like that.

 

Harold and Maude

I honestly cannot think of a better unconventional love story than this one.  It’s dark and weird and sad and romantic, and was so totally ahead of its time.  Also…Cat Stevens.  Period.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This one is a no-brainer.  Who doesn’t like Audrey Hepburn?  As Holly Golightly, she plays such a cool, independent, stylish woman…a truly groundbreaking character during that time.  This also could be the ultimate fashion movie, if you ask me.  I will never forget this amazing scene where she effortlessly puts on a peach robe in one swift motion and it looks like the chicest outfit of all times.

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Tootsie

I know, I know.  Another Dustin Hoffman movie? The answer is YES!  As an out-of-work actor who cross-dresses to win a part in a soap opera only to fall for the leading lady (Jessica Lange, hotter than ever before), he showed his incredible comedic chops and charm.  From Dorothy to Rain Man?  This dude has range.

 

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

If there’s anything Mike Nichols can do, it’s showing drama in subtleties.  He manages to get such incredible, honest, and intense performances out of his actors and create such intimate moments, and this movie, starring Elizabeth Taylor and her former husband Richard Burton, is no exception.  If you’re an actor, you absolutely cannot miss this movie.  The performances are incredibly inspiring.

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