Welcome to week two of counting down my top 100 favorite movies! This week is a pretty eclectic bunch of movies. There are a lot of lighthearted favorites, a couple of mysteries, some from the “I don’t usually like this kind of movie, but…” file, and even a few of my modern favorites. So, let’s get to number 90…
90. Funny Girl (1968)
Barbara Streisand is someone I was pretty indifferent to for a long time. But then I saw Funny Girl, and I finally understood her appeal. Very funny, brilliant performance, truly the role Streisand was born to play. It’s hard to believe that this was her film debut.
89. The African Queen (1951)
Adventure movies aren’t typically my favorite movies, but The African Queen is irresistible to me. It’s got two of my favorite stars of all time giving two of their best performances. I always get such a kick out of watching Katharine Hepburn’s character really learn to embrace life. It’s also a rare movie because you’re getting to see two older characters find love, happiness, and fulfillment. Although Hepburn and Bogart both continued to get good roles when they were middle-aged, that certainly wasn’t true for a lot of other actors. And even if a great role for someone over forty came along, odds are, it didn’t involve trekking through the African jungle.
88. Queen Christina (1933)
What made Greta Garbo a perfect actress for silent films is the fact that she was an expert at speaking volumes using only her face, words were completely unnecessary. The reason Queen Christina is one of my favorite Garbo talkies is the fact that she gets to do some great scenes where she doesn’t speak, only emotes, and those scenes are by far the most powerful scenes in the movie.
87. For Me and My Gal (1942)
Speaking of great film debuts, here we’ve got Gene Kelly’s first movie. Boy, do I ever love Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Talk about charming! It’s Judy in all her MGM glory and Gene Kelly acting like he’s been making movies his whole life. Great songs, a little bit of drama thrown in, and a chance to see the two greatest stars of MGM musicals together, it’s simply a delightful movie.
86. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
I’ve always thought it’s really too bad that Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe only worked together once, because they were such a fun duo. The movie wasn’t meant to win any Oscars, but watching it is always a darn good time.
85. Girl Crazy (1943)
Definitely my favorite of all the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland vehicles. This is one of the movies I love to watch when it’s been a bad day because it’s so cheerful and the humor is kind of silly. I like the fact that in this movie, Mickey’s character is the one chasing after Judy, usually it’s the other way around. But best of all, it’s chock full of stunning Gershwin songs. If you haven’t heard Judy Garland’s rendition of Embraceable You, you’re just not living.
84. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
I really don’t want to say too much about this movie because I’d hate to give it away for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s one you definitely need to give your undivided attention to. Absolutely captivating, mysterious, and thrilling and full of career-defining performances from Angela Lansbury, Frank Sinatra, and Laurence Harvey.
83. Kill Bill, Volume 1 (2003)
Quentin Tarantino’s inspired ode to 1970s kung fu movies. I don’t know anything about 1970s kung fu movies, but I adore Kill Bill. I love Tarantino’s style of writing and even though both parts of Kill Bill were great, the first part is my favorite.
82. Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch’s dark, bizarre, mysterious masterpiece about a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) who finds a human ear in a field. When he starts investigating the ear, he finds himself tangled up in the life of a nightclub performer (Isabella Rossellini) being held captive by a completely deranged Dennis Hopper. Dennis Hopper’s performance is undoubtedly one of the most absolutely horrifying things I have ever seen in a movie.
81. Hairspray (1988)
You can say a lot of things about John Waters, but one thing I’ve got to give him credit for is giving good roles to people who wouldn’t otherwise get those kinds of roles in mainstream Hollywood. Who else would give an overweight drag queen the chance to play a doting mother? He even found a good part for Pia Zadora, I thought her cameo was hilarious. It’s so deliberately campy, it’s an absolute riot.