My Life in Film

I’ve been trying to put together a list of my 100 favorite films. In some ways it’s pretty easy because I have strong opinions about most of the movies I watch, but in most ways it’s really hard because I can’t remember all the movies I love and I’m scared to leave something off. I don’t think anyone would care, but I would feel like I’m cheating my favorite movies. And after all they’ve done for me!

The easiest sorts of lists to make are autobiographical. And while I’m putting together my current list of favorites I have to decide what favorite movies from my childhood (and even recent past) still qualify as favorites. Instead of making those tough decisions, maybe it would be best to make separate lists by time period.

Whitney B….This is your life!

Early Childhood (Ages 4-7):

I start this personal history at the moment my family purchased a VCR. I can’t remember watching any films before that VCR. I don’t think I went to a theater until I was about 7 (“Ernest Scared Stupid“), so for three years that VCR fed all of my cinematic needs. We owned 5 movies:

The Neverending Story

I think most people my age have a relationship with this film. From the Swamps of Sadness to The Oracles to that part where Bastian eats the apple core. Along with most of the movies on this list, I watched this movie until the tape ran out. Luckily, it was just recorded off TV, so we didn’t waste the $300 each new video tape cost.

Mary Poppins/Cinderella

I count these two films as one because they both came from Grandma and Grandpa and very quickly melded into one story. Mary Poppins was a princess who talked to mice and made little kids eat sugar. I loved the chimney sweeps the most, the skinny mouse the second most, and women’s lib more than seems reasonable for a 4-year-old. I hated Gus Gus.

The Dark Crystal

Another movie recorded off TV. I had a bit of a crush on that little boy puppet thing. One day I came home from preschool and found out that my dad had recorded over my Dark Crystal tape with some footage of a government official coming to visit American Samoa (where we lived at the time). I was so so sad, but I forgave him because he seemed to be genuinely sorry. Years later I found out he was so sick of watching The Dark Crystal that he purposely recorded over it, hoping I might not notice.

The Empire Strikes Back

Having not seen the first Star Wars movie, parts of Empire Strikes Back were a little confusing. But Vader was way scarier, and Luke was way less whiny. Boba Fett is still my favorite Star Wars character. This movie kept me going until we recorded that Ewoks movie, which, to an animal-loving child was probably the best thing ever.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

This is still my favorite movie of all time. But I didn’t realize how funny it is when I was a kid. Most of the jokes went over my head, and I felt really sad that Charlie was so poor (when it’s obviously the best joke in the movie). But I still loved everything about every scene in the movie…with the EXCEPTION of the “Cheer Up Charlie” song. Fuck that “Cheer Up Charlie” song. It’s 45 minutes too long.

5 Comments

Filed under Top Five Lists, Whitney

5 responses to “My Life in Film

  1. brian

    when i was young, we had tv copies of both dark crystal and empire strikes back that i watched over and over (and, in the case of empire strikes back, over and over and over and over; it’s safe to say that i’ve seen empire strikes back more times than any other movie and there’s not even a close second).

    here’s the best thing about our copy of empire: once, i was watching this baseball game and accidentally hit record while my copy of esb was in the vcr. so, right while luke is hanging upside down trying to summon the force to move his lightsaber with the music and tension building, it cuts to a cardinals/dodgers game where there’s this long fly ball to left field, the runner on third tags up, there’s a play at the plate and the runner is safe. then it cuts back to luke cutting the arm of the abominable snow-creature (a wampa?).

    whenever i see empire strikes back now, i’ll always expect to see those 5 seconds of a baseball game there. in fact, since lucas altered that exact scene when he reissued the original star wars trilogy, i always suspect that removal of the baseball scene was one of the changes to the original movie.

  2. This is awesome! These were some of my favorites as a kid, too, although I was much more interested in Beauty and the Beast than Cinderella (ugh I wanted to strangle Gus Gus), and was more likely to lump Mary Poppins together with The Sound of Music (for obvious reasons).

    I caught some of Willy Wonka recently and was appalled by just how long and boring that “Cheer Up Charlie” song is. Jesus, did they not make this movie to sell chocolates and entertain children? That song just does the opposite of those things, somehow.

    I hope the rest of your life in film is as joyous and filled with musicals!

  3. Willy Wonka makes me hate the poor.

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