Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Douglas Burns Top 10 Movie Picks

1.  Bambi, 1942 directed by David Hand.  Why?  Who wouldn't want to join Bambi and his pals for a romp in the most achingly beautiful forest ever captured on film?  Visually breathtaking.
2.  Sunset Boulevard, 1950 directed by Billy Wilder.  Why?  "It sure was a cozy set-up - that bundle of raw nerves, and Max, and a dead monkey upstairs ..."  'Nuff said.  Every line in this Wilder masterpiece is a classic.
3.  From Here to Eternity, 1953 directed by Fred Zinnemann.  Why?  An "impossible-to-film" novel, filmed.  Brilliantly cast -- particularly Iowa-scrubbed Donna Reed as a call girl, whose shipboard finale with Deborah Kerr is genuinely heartbreaking.
4.  Vertigo, 1958 directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Why?  Likeable "everyman" actor Jimmy Stewart becomes - unnervingly - more and more alarming as he obsesses over two Kim Novaks.  Run!
5. Psycho, 1960 directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Why?  Dutiful son Anthony Perkins decides to cover up "Mother's" dirty deed by sinking Janet Leigh's car in the swamp - yet when it momentarily refuses to go down, we're silently screaming "Sink! Sink!" Pure Hitchcock.
6.  American Graffiti, 1973 directed by George Lucas.  Why?  Wonderfully evocative of long-gone high school days - the classmates, the cars, the music - regardless of the era you were in as a high-schooler.
7.  Chinatown, 1974 directed by Roman Polanski.  Why?  The more Jack Nicholson snoops around, the more disastrous things become for all involved, including Jack.  Plus, a whirlwind tour of "1937" Los Angeles.
8.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977 directed by Steven Spielberg.  Why?  Leaving the theater at midnight after my first viewing of this film, I drove home anxiously scanning the nighttime sky for any unusual or remarkable airborne activity.
9.  Ordinary People, 1980 directed by Robert Redford.  Why?  Extraordinary story, direction and cast.  Perky, effervescent Mary Tyler Moore as a monster!  "You can't save French toast!"
10.  The Right Stuff, 1983 directed by Philip Kaufman.  Why?  I was too young at the time to appreciate the scope and effort of America's space program; this film defines it.  Epic, thrilling, and unforgettable.

George Lucas's Blockbusting book feature film writer Douglas Burns is a 28-year veteran of the home entertainment industry through his work at Disney and Paramount.

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