Sunrise (1927) by Dusty Somers
I consider it part of my duty as an older brother to help educate my 15-year-old brother on some of the finer points of culture. Sometimes it feels like a lost cause, but then I think back to when I was 15 and I empathize. Earlier this year, I took my brother to see a screening with live score of the sublime Sunrise -- his first silent film.
Perhaps Sunrise isn't the best silent film with which to introduce an uninitiated teenager -- maybe something from Chaplin or Keaton would have been a better choice -- but I was thrilled to see him totally engaged throughout most of F.W. Murnau's stunningly photographed tale of a man (George O'Brien) and a woman (Janet Gaynor), whose love for one another survives all manner of adversity.
Afterward, my brother was only willing to offer up the faintest of praise, but he's since watched more than a handful of silents with me, so I'm thinking something stuck. I'll think of him every time I see the film from now on.
Casablanca (1942) by Amanda Salazar
When I think about the films that influenced me the most, this is one of them but it is also attached to some very vivid memories. My father used to cook in the kitchen, quoting lines from this as if he were having multiple conversations with all of the characters in the film. My choice of a film that reminds me of someone is Casablanca which will always remind me of my father, John Salazar.
It started with a quote "don't bring up Paris, it's poor salesmanship" and developed into screening the film with my dad. For anyone that has not seen this movie it is a must-see, a true classic. Casablanca has some of the biggest stars of the time (Humprey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre) and is such a simple and elegant film that impresses me every time that I watch it. Better than this film's greatness is the wonderful memories that I will always have, quoting the finest lines in our best Bogart voices from father to daughter.
Lost in Translation (2003) by El Bicho
Timing is everything, which is certainly true for affairs of the heart. With the world's population estimated to be a bit under seven billion, it's no surprise that so many people, even those content in their committed relationships, find themselves forming bonds of varying durations with members of the opposite sex. While it's likely some biological imperative hardwired into our DNA to keep the species going, there's still a sense of wonder to it all when you find yourself in sync with a person and consider the possibilities.
Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation is a perfect example of this. It's a marvelous love story that shows the delight of two people making an emotional connection. While staying in a Tokyo hotel and suffering from insomnia, movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and recent an Ivy League grad Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) meet in the hotel bar. Both are married though feeling ignored by their spouses. They start to hang out and over the course of the film, they grow close as friends, but there's more to it even if they aren't sure what it is. Are they friends? Surrogate Father/Daughter? Are they falling in love? And what to do about if it is love? The film offers one of the most satisfying and believable conclusions to a love story.
The Swarm (1978) by Shawn Bourdo
The hard thing about this is that every movie reminds me of someone. Maybe even two or three people. I enjoy the social aspect of movies. Maybe I sat next to you for Slumdog Millionaire and remember talking about it afterwards over a beer. Or maybe it's the group experience of seeing Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring and standing outside the theater having a cigarette afterwards just speechless.
But The Swarm is one that comes to mind that makes me feel nostalgic today. I didn't see this Irwin Allen classic in a theater - but I was aware of it and couldn't wait to see it when it played on TV. My cousin, John Mark, and I sat in the little cubby at my Grandma's house late on a Saturday night with the little portable B&W television in there (the heat of the TV warming the tiny room by 14 degrees) - in our sleeping bags - snacks of Lays potato chips and Towne Club soda at the ready. This film did not disappoint. By the time the bees attacked downtown Houston - I was convinced that the end of the world would quickly be upon us. Just hearing a snippet of the John Williams score puts me back in that room with John Mark.
Thanks, Mr. Allen.