Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Favorite Movies I've Never Seen

Thanks to a Facebook friend of a Facebook friend, I learned about KFJC 89.7 (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and its Saturday morning soundtrack show. The soundtracks can be instrumental or vocal, from movies, cartoons, television shows and even commercials. The host will play about three or four pieces in a row, and then generally tell what they were after they play. I enjoyed figuring out if I'd even heard each piece before, and then trying to place it, and, in rare instances, I could even name the composer. (Hint: if you listen this way, your default guess should always be Bernard Herrmann.

Although most of the pieces were unknown to me, I knew the first one played almost immediately (before it got to the familiar part with the horns that is very recognizable). So, here's what I said to myself: "That's from The Natural, composed by Randy Newman. Oh, I really like that movie." Then I realized that I've never seen the movie. I love the music, the actors, the costumes, the era that it depicts, the beautiful lighting used in the shots, but I've never seen it. And somehow, I've convinced myself that I have.

Most people have periods in their lives where movies were not a priority, and if you're old enough, there were no VCRs or DVDs to make up for what you missed when you missed it. Mine are the seventies, because I was in my early teens when most of the classics came out, and not allowed to see them, and the mid-eighties because I was raising small children, and the movies were kind of crappy then anyway. So most of my favorite movies I've never seen are from these periods, but not all. Some movies just kind of slip by.

The problem with movies like The Natural is that it's not something I want to turn to because I have nothing else to do. It is a sit down and give all your attention to movie (or I assume it is). So whenever it comes on television, I have to decide if I have a couple of hours to stop everything and watch a movie. And, apparently, that has never happened.

So, here are my reviews for other favorite movies I've never seen: Saving Private Ryan: Spielberg's done it again!; Nashville: Great ensemble; Taxi Driver: the first time I didn't see it, I found it too intense, but now I love it; Modern Times: The satire even holds up today.

I have a different list: Blade Runner, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Die Hard, Reds. These are movies that are liked or loved by many people I know. I haven't seen them, I should, but I haven't convinced myself I've seen them.

One day I hope to actually see my favorite unseen films and make an honest woman of myself. What is your favorite movie you've never seen?


Patrick J. Vaz said...

When you mentioned this topic, I had no idea you'd just written a whole entry on it. Sly thing!

I saw The Natural when it came out, but at what I thought was a moment when I wouldn't miss anything, but which turned out to be a crucial moment, I slipped out of the theater to use the men's room. It wasn't until I saw the film again years later that I realized I had misinterpreted a lot of it because I'd gone missing during an important bit of dialogue.

When I watched La Dolce Vita recently I realized that I had not in fact ever seen it before.

There's another category: movies you waited too long to see, so that the actual experience was a letdown: for me, An American in Paris and The Third Man.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

P.S. You must see Nashville. Also Taxi Driver. And the satire of Modern Times does hold up even today!

You haven't seen Blade Runner?!

I will admit that I haven't seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Die Hard either. I think they're in the queue.

Ms. Baker said...

PJ..Since you weren't yet born when the Third Man was made, I'm wondering how you waited until too late to see it?
Actually, the same is true for An American in Paris.
I get "You haven't seen Blade Runner?!?" a lot. I guess it's my version of your "You haven't seen To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Patrick J. Vaz said...

You're the only person who ever comments on my un-Killed Mockingbird state.

For both An American in Paris and The Third Man, I had heard so much about them and had been waiting so long to see them that when I finally did it was a bit of a letdown. If I hadn't spent decades hearing that The Third Man is one of the greatest films ever made I probably would have liked it more than I did.

One film that I had been waiting for years to see that did live up to expectations: The Story of Adele H. I know how you feel, but there it is.

Unknown said...

You know, I am pretty sure that I have not seen To Kill a Mockingbird. Somebody was talking about a movie the other day and halfway into the conversation I realized I had not actually seen it, but now I forget what movie it was.

Taxi driver is good, though I mostly remember the dresses.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Looks as if someone's mother really neglected her movie education! No "Mockingbird" -- if you all hate America so much, why don't you just move to Russia? . . . Oh, wait. . . .

Marin, That may be my all-time favorite reaction to Taxi Driver.

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