Here they are in the order of their appearance in stacks around my TV:
1. Laura. (1944) A completely gorgeous black and white mystery about the murder of a glamorous Manhattan “party girl” (she’s my ideal because, like me, she works in an ad agency) and the three men who claimed to love her.
2. A Hard Day’s Night. (1964) The Beatles’ first, and best, movie.
3. HELP! (1965) The Beatles second movie, the sillier one that’s in color.
4. Valley of the Dolls. (1967) The hair, the clothes, the sex, the bad production numbers, the cheesy dialog … It’s hideous. It’s wretched. And I can’t watch it enough.
5.The Aviator. (2004) Leonardo DiCaprio breathes life into the legend of Howard Hughes, humanizing a man it would be easy to dismiss as a nut. Plus it’s got Cate Blanchette as The Great Kate Hepburn and Alan Alda playing against type as a very bad man.
6. Moonlighting, Seasons 1 and 2. (1985 and 1986) Dave and Maddie and comedy and sexual tension. Oh yeah, and some detective work, too. I adored this show. It’s when I fell deeply, profoundly and everlastingly in love with Bruce Willis. Now, watching it decades later, I have a new appreciation for Cybill Shepherd flair for physical comedy. I’d forgotten what a funny girl she could be.
7. Guys and Dolls. (1955) I love Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons in this! Like Dave and Maddie, they’re the last to know they’re in love. My favorite moment is their duet of “I’ll Know.” Sigh.
8. Law and Order Crime Scenes. A compilation DVD of popular episodes. My favorite stars Julia Roberts – then involved in real life with Benjamin Bratt/Rey Curtis – playing a chillingly convincing evil manipulator.
9. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. (1969) The harmonic convergence of Robert Redford, screenwriter William Goldman, director George Roy Hill and the peerless Paul Newman. Redford looks glorious, but in recent viewings I have come to enjoy Newman’s timing more and more. (“Never hit your mother with a shovel, for it leaves a dull impression on her mind …”)
10. That Girl, Season 3 (1968). I was 10 when these shows first aired and I wanted to BE Ann Marie. I wanted her wardrobe, her bangs, her cool apartment, and her sweet but completely non-threatening boyfriend, Donald. Watching it now, I appreciate what a groundbreaking series it was.
11. The Dick Van Dyke Show. (1961) Six episodes from the first season. I love Rob and Laura together. And Laura and her next door neighbor/best friend, Millie.
12. This Old Cub. (2004) A star-studded tribute to the Cubs All-Star third baseman, the legendary Ron Santo. It covers his playing days (highlighted by the famous, heartbreaking 1969 season) as well as his brave struggle with diabetes and his current, glorious stint as Cubs radio announcer. Joe Mantegna, Bill Murray, William Petersen and Gary Sinise all appear to express their admiration for Ronnie. So do Ronnie's fantabulous Cub teammates -- Beckert, Kessinger, Williams and, of course, Ernie. Seems the only ones who don't love him are affiliated with the Hall of Fame. (Bastards.)
13. Beach Party (1963) A birthday gift from a dear friend who understands my connoisseur’s appreciation of the finest in cinematic camp.
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