1. I was never a serious movie buff until recently; I was always more of a bookworm. I credit my daughter for encouraging me to explore movies in more depth and introducing me to a variety of classic, indie and art house films I never would have seen on my own. There are a few movies I don't thank her for introducing me to. ;-) But for the most part, it's been an amazing experience.
2. The first movie I remember seeing was Sleeping Beauty.
3. I am famously wimpy when it comes to graphically violent movies. I should point out that I was raised in an era before VHS/DVD movies and cable T.V., and my mom restricted my brother and me to movies that were rated G. Thanks to the persistent efforts of my husband and daughter, I've become a lot more open to cinematic violence and twisted black humor. A turning point, for me, was resisting the urge to run out of the room during "the gimp" scene in Pulp Fiction.
4. Despite my history of wimpiness about film violence, Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds are among my favorite movies.
5. We randomly quote movies in my house. A lot.
6. My first "dirty" movie -- when I was 14 -- was Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. When I say "dirty," I mean that we got a brief glimpse of Romeo's bare butt. Our class went to the theater to see this movie. That glorious glimpse of his gorgeous naked posterior was a hot topic of conversation among all the ninth grade girls for days. Sad but true. Those were different times. ;-)
7. The first movie I remember really loving, as a teen, was Ordinary People. I don't recall whether it was a great movie, but I was going through a tough time and appreciated its depiction of adolescent depression and family dysfunction. I got that quiet, comforting message I'd often gotten from good literature: "You are not alone."
8. I have always disliked action movies. Why sit through all that violence for a mediocre plot and dialogue with crappy acting? When my husband and I met, it was his favorite genre, and he somehow persuaded me to watch some action/"shoot 'em up" flicks. The only one I actually liked was The Terminator. What's not to like? -- an imaginative premise and a smart kick-ass female heroine. I did see a Charles Bronson movie in college. The only thing I can say is that I was probably drunk. Apparently, I wasn't drunk enough -- I walked out halfway through the movie.
9. It took time for some of my favorite movies to grow on me. For example, I didn't really "get" American Beauty and Magnolia the first time I saw them.
10. Memory, and how it guides or misleads us in our lives, is a topic that has always fascinated me. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Unsurprisingly, Memento is another of my favorites.
11. Another of my favorite movies is Fargo. I think the Coens are brilliant. I put off seeing Fargo for years because I'd heard about the wood chipper incident.
12. I think Brokeback Mountain is a magnificent movie, but I found it so heartbreaking I will never watch it again. I had a similar reaction to The Mission in college. The hardest part of Brokeback Mountain, for me, was watching the metamorphosis of Heath Ledger's character. It's a powerful story about how a life circumscribed by fear and prejudice can warp someone's personality beyond recognition.
13. By the same token, I loved In the Bedroom, especially Tom Wilkinson's performance. However, I'll never watch it again. The sense of grief and loss in that movie is just too raw.
14. The most disturbing movie I've seen, to date, is probably Simon Rumley's Red, White & Blue. I kept screaming and swearing during that movie ("Oh, Jesus! Jesus Christ! What the fuck! No!") It wasn't so much the graphic murder and torture scenes, though that was hard to take. It was the brutal parts where most of the violence was left to the imagination. Opening that door in my imagination, plus the knowledge that -- sooner or later -- this movie maker was going to pull all the stops was very disturbing.
15. The most disturbing single scene in a movie -- for me -- was probably the "curb stomp" in American History X. I still feel physically sick thinking about it. That's also a big part of what makes the premise of the movie so compelling. After someone opens up that kind of pure visceral, remorseless hate inside himself, how does he ever become fully human again?
16. Another movie I found disturbing -- many years ago -- was Dead Man Walking. When Sean Penn's character was onscreen, and I looked into his eyes, I found it chilling, especially since I'd met a few people with sociopathic personalities. I actually had to pause the movie and leave the room several times, just to get a breather.
17. As a self-professed movie wimp, I don't watch many horror movies. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the few I really like.
18. I especially dislike movies about exorcisms. If one is the slightest bit open to the possibility of hell and demons, it's too unnerving. If one isn't even remotely open to that possibility, the premise is just gratuitously stupid. However, when my youngest has tantrums, I sometimes quip that it's like a cross between The Miracle Worker and The Exorcist. 'Cuz it is.
19. I did watch one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I was a sophomore in college, and there were controlled substances involved. 'Nuff said about that.
20. I'll watch anything with Ralph Fiennes or Philip Seymour Hoffman. Ralph Fiennes can convey more with a subtle shift of expression than most actors could manage during an entire monologue.
21. I never had much interest in the male actors who were celebrity crushes for many women of my generation. I never liked Tom Cruise except in his role as the misogynistic motivational speaker in Magnolia. I never cared for Brad Pitt until I saw him in Burn After Reading, Fight Club, and Inglorious Basterds. I loved Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, when he was a skinny kid playing the mentally retarded younger brother. When Titanic came out, all the hype killed his appeal for me. It took me a long time to warm up to him again after that.
22. Even now, over 20 years later, I can never see Johnny Depp without envisioning Edward Scissorhands.
23. I recently watched my first Terrence Malick movie -- there may be hope for me as a film buff yet. It was Days of Heaven. It is gorgeous -- virtually every frame is a work of art.
24. About a year ago, I watched my first film by Ingmar Bergman; Wild Strawberries. Now I want to watch everything he ever made. There is so much power, in that movie, in the moments of silence and the things that are left unsaid.
25. One of my favorite funny movie lines is in Little Miss Sunshine, when Dwayne's uncle tells him not to miss out on the "prime suffering years" of adolescence.