Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hope Innelli Top 10 Movie Picks

1.  Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.  Why?  This movie captured something so real and raw it invited us to see the world with the same sensitivity we did in our youth, when our innocence first began to fade.  There is a reason why Hollywood has made fortunes off of teen idols and the subject of teenage angst ever since.
2.  Bonnie and Clyde, 1967.  Why?  This raw, highly stylized film stayed with me for weeks after seeing it.  Its shockingly graphic violence mixed with sexual energy was incredibly brazen for its time.  Blood splatter may have later been elevated to an even finer art form by Tarantino and others, but it all started with this film.
3.  M*A*S*H, 1970.  Why?  This movie gave us a language with which to talk about war and those who wage it.  It introduced irreverence without taking the gravitas out of the subject.  Its relevance is still felt in the way we talk about the subject today in film, television, books and the news.
4.  The Godfather, 1972.  Why?  I can't tell if our endless fascination with crime bosses and their families made this film so popular or if it was this film that perpetuated our fascination.  As an Italian-American who resented the association my culture had with the mob, I resisted watching this and the other Godfather movies for years.  But once I was convinced to watch them all together in a marathon to beat all marathons I became a huge fan.  What an incredibly powerful and nuanced exploration of an inordinately complex aspect of the culture.
5.  Fatal Attraction, 1987.  Why?  Morality tales can be such guilty pleasures.  All that sensuality wrapped up permissively in a message.  I'm not sure anyone is really ever watching these for the message, but here both elements are equally riveting.  And Glenn Close gives us one of the most memorable villains of all time.  Her character is every cheating spouse's worst nightmare!
6.  Forrest Gump, 1994.  Why?  This gem of a film is totally original on every level.  I love it because it reminds us that all of the influences in our daily lives - large or small - somehow add up to the whole of who we are.  None of us is just passing through this world - we are impacting it and it is impacting us more than we can ever know.
7.  Toy Story, 1995.  Why?  While Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the very first film I ever saw!) may have inspired a life-long love of animation that led me to work for the Walt Disney Company and later to edit countless books based on animated properties, it was Toy Story that made me truly excited to see what a new generation's legacy to the medium might be.
8.  Saving Private Ryan, 1998.  Why?  My dad would never talk about World War II.  He had survived the Battle at Normandy and had later seen unmentionable things in Dachau at the time of the liberation, so both this movie and Schindler's List spoke to him and to me in meaningful ways.  Spielberg articulated events for him so he didn't have to and so that the rest of us could truly understand.
9.  The Sixth Sense, 1999.  Why?  The unexpected is the best anyone can hope for in entertainment.  This movie delivered that in spades.  So what if we all felt a little manipulated later!  Kudos to Shyamalan for catching us with our guard down.
10.  The Passion of the Christ, 2004.  Why?  As an editor I think of the Old and New Testaments as the ultimate bestselling books.  Naturally, film adaptations of their stories in any form fascinate me.  What intrigued me most about this film was it's presentation in Latin, Aramaic and Hebrew with English subtitles.  In one way, it made us pay closer attention to the words as we had to read their translation.  In other ways, it underplayed the words and made us focus on the universality of the emotions.  What a truly enigmatic new way to approach this age-old material.

George Lucas's Blockbusting book creative editor Hope Innelli is a Vice President and Executive Editor with HarperCollins specializing in books on entertainment and popular culture.

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