I am totally a movie fanatic! Romance, Action, Adventure, Comedy. You name it, I am a fan. Condensing this list to just five movies was a very hard task. A lot of scratching and scribbling on my part. The criteria for this list follows.
1. I have to know EVERY word and music break to the film.
2. I probably cried my emotional ass off during the movie.
3. The movie had to provoke positive thoughts in my life.
So, here goes.
Before seeing this touching film, I had never heard of this amazing and talented woman. Selena Quitanilla Perez had electric stage presence and a gorgeous voice that could translate any emotion perfectly. By the age twenty-three, Selena was the reigning queen of her genre of music, Tejano, which was popular among Spanish-speaking people. She was the first successful woman in the genre due to sweet personality and vocals that were unmatched. They loved and admired her for what she stood for. Even though she was famous she never forgot her roots, still living a modest life, still eating at local restaurants. This movie truly touched my young heart. I watched a young girl with a dream, pursue the dream, only to lose her life at age twenty-three to a disgruntled employee who was stealing from her fan club. Selena’s biggest dream came to fruition when her first English album debuted at number one the Billboard charts months after her tragic passing.
Jennifer Lopez actually shines in the movie capturing Selena’s kindness, loyalty, and undying love for music and her dream. This movie showed me that dreams can come true no matter where you originate from and that the impossible is possible. This woman was truly amazing and so is the movie that depicts her life.
4. THE COLOR PURPLE.
I first saw “The Color Purple”shortly after the passing of my sister. So, it only makes sense as of why a film about sisterly love would cause emotion in my heart. Whoopi Goldberg’s portrayal of Celie Harris was some of the best acting I had seen at the time. Celie endured sexual abuse as a teenager by her father and she also gave birth to two of his children. Celie is soon sold to a an abusive farmer who she called “Mister” as his slave, separated from her sister, her two children and from any form of happiness. Mister abuses Celie, keeps the letters from her sister hidden from her for years, and makes sure that she knows everyday how worthless he thinks she is.
What I loved about this film was the depiction of struggle. And how Celie comes out of all the turmoil. It showed me that yes, life is hard, and sometimes downright despicable, but with strength, patience, and bravery some of the most painful situations can be beat.
3. AMERICAN BEAUTY
To me, this movie had all the key components to be one of my favorites. Awesome comedy. Dramatic plot with a meaningful message at the end. Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham a man with a seemingly perfect life in the suburbs. He quickly becomes bored with life and rebels against every practical rule or standard around him. Quits his job to work in fast food. Buys a new car without the approval of his overbearing almost maniacal wife Carolyn who obsessed with being perfect. He begins to actually enjoy life and happiness starts to blossom. Lester has a cynical daughter who starts to date the artistic, educated marijuana dealer, Ricky who he befriends. Ricky’s father Frank becomes suspicious of his son and Lester’s bond accusing him of being homosexual and beating Ricky. In the end Frank reveals that he is homosexual when he approaches Lester with a kiss one night. Of course Lester rejects him and Frank shoots Lester in the head shortly after to keep his homosexuality a secret. Lester’s last thoughts were of his wife, daughter and how simple life was before they family started to fall apart. Lester’s rebellion and wanting to enjoy his life inspired me to live mine to the fullest. To find yourself, there is beauty in that.
2. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
I can write and talk about this movie all day long. I can argue that this one of the greatest films of all time. Tim Robbins stars as Andy Dufresne a banker that is wrongfully accused of murdering his wife and unfortunately sentenced to life in prison. At Shawshank Dufresne gains the trust of all of the inmates, guards and even the warden.
He uses his intelligence and starts to do all the guards and warden’s taxes
secretly laundering the warden’s movie into a phantom account. His closest comrade is Red, played by Morgan Freeman who is shocked when he finds out Dufresne is innocent. The warden murders the inmate who informed them that he knew who the true killer of Andy’s wife was. Dufresne becomes withdrawn, asking inmates for rope which sparks curiosity whether he might be suicidal. The next morning Dufresne’s cell is found empty. Red is interrogated in the cell and it is discovered that Dufresne, and avid sculptor of chess pieces had hammered his way to freedom. Red eventually is released from prison and live together on an island rich from the warden’s money. I love the quotes of this film. I love the meaning of this film. The main character lost everything due to another man’s wrongdoing. As a firm believer of Karma, Dufresne had all positive things happen to him, all those that wronged Andy was punished tenfold.
1. MILLION DOLLAR BABY
For starters, look at cast. Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest actors ever. Morgan Freeman never disappoints me when he is depicting a character. And yes, he is my favorite actor. 🙂 Hillary Swank’s portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald as a warm, determined, wannabe boxer is superb. Eastwood who plays Frankie Dunn, takes Maggie under his wing after she continues to show up at his gym asking to be trained. Morgan Freeman’s character Eddie Dupris also becomes protective of Maggie and believes in her dream of becoming a boxer. After time, Dunn and Fitzgerald develop a beautiful father-daughter bond. Her success and fame in the boxing world grows and she is offered a million dollar fight. Frankie had been avoiding taking the deal due to his love for Maggie and the brutal stories that they had heard about her competitor Billie “The Blue Bear” who was vicious in the ring.
At first Maggie is overpowered by Billie’s size, but she soon regains power and makes Billie stumble down. As she cheered with the crowd, Blue quickly gets up, punches Maggie in the head consequently causing her to fall on a ring stool, paralyzing her for life. One of Dunn’s rules for Maggie was to “always protect herself”. When she wakes up paralyzed Maggie becomes depressed but Dunn encourages her that he will find better doctors to help, even though she knows her spinal cord cannot be fixed. Maggie starts to bite her tongue, the only way that she can commit suicide. She had asked Dunn to pull the plug on her respirator but he refused. Eventually seeing her suffer, her body deteriorate, Dunn agrees to assist Maggie in suicide. Before he administers Maggie with drugs to slow her heart, he reveals what the nickname that he had given her meant. “Mo Chuisle” which means “my darling, my blood”. Maggie always wondered what the name meant, but he did not tell her until her final moments, bringing tears to her eyes. After Maggie dies, Eddie Dupris is left alone to run Dunn’s gym. In the closing scene Dunn is sitting at small diner where he and Maggie ate once. I love this movie with all of my heart. A woman who was told that she was trash her entire life achieved her dream. One my favorite quotes from this film spoken by Morgan Freeman is, “If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.” Maggie believed that it was okay to leave this world because she had already had a shot at her dream and she achieved it. I really think that is what life is about. Getting our shot, and going for our dreams no matter how others see it. Million Dollar Baby, the greatest movie of my time.