15 Movies That Stick With You

Here's a little exercise I got tagged with on Facebook. These types of surveys drive me crazy because I could easily list 500 more flicks that are always stuck in my head. It's a film festival in there every day, except when it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich festival or we got any chips festival.

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. "Rear Window" (1954) Probably my favorite. I first saw this film in a reissue during the fifth grade. It fascinated and horrified me at the same time. Like the characters, I can't keep my eyes off it. Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Thelma Ritter are wonderful. For added creepiness, Raymond Burr here reminds me of my father.

2. "The Ladies' Man" (1961) You know I adore Jerry Lewis, my most influential inspiration. This picture is his funniest hour on film, although it kinda falls apart after the hat sequence with Buddy Lester. In fairness, I've seen nothing in cinema that can top that bit.

3. "The Bank Dick" (1940) W.C. Fields is his own language. For my money, he is the funniest man in films. Fields is physical AND verbal, where most comedians are one or the other, usually with lesser degrees of mastery. Adjust for inflation and the times and "The Bank Dick" could very well be the funniest movie comedy ever. The tiny bit with the pith helmet on the end is so endearing to me, I think of it often. Indeed, The Great Man. (Apologies to Mr. Muckle, honey)

4. "North by Northwest" (1959) The Hitchcock I tend to return to the most. I credit Cary Grant and Bernard Herrmann for the extra boosts. Cary is among the best screen comedians ever, although I often wonder if I'm the only one noticing.

5. "Psycho" (1960) The Bates' boy. Unforgettable.

6. "Cinema Paradiso" (1988) This movie mirrors my life more than any other. I am Pedro, the little kid in the projection room. Although I grew up decades later, I had comparable experiences and a fine man as my mentor, friend, and surrogate father. No matter how many times I see it, when that mysterious reel of film unspools, I can't help but become overwhelmed.

7. "The Quiet Man" (1952) If it's good enough for E.T., it's good enough for me.

8. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Good mornin' and golly!

9. "State Fair" (1945) It's a great state fair and one I visit over and over and over.

10. "Citizen Kane" (1941) As a dopey 17-year-old, this movie stunned me with its craft and still does.

11. "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) I caught this on late night TV when I was in early high school. A mesmerizing look at fame that still resonates. Andy Griffith is amazing.

12. "Bambi" (1942) One of the few movies my mother took me to see. I'm so glad she did or that walk home at age six would have been awful. I've wondered how much my love for animals is due to "Bambi."

13. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) Oh my. I've heard the faint strains of the theme music inside a supermarket and started weeping. If this one doesn't stay with you, you are damaged.

14. "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963) Not even close to being as funny as it thinks it is, but I'm possessed by this movie and have thought about it regularly since that initial CINERAMA viewing.

15. "The Searchers" (1956) It stays with me for the usual reasons and now that Monument Valley has become our favorite place to visit, it's the grandest of home movies!

The films "that will always stick with you" aren't necessarily the same as the ones you'd watch again and again. I can't get "Fluffy," "Flipper," or "The Fly" (1958) out of my head either, but I'd say I've seen them enough.

Gee, "The Fly" should definitely be on my list. I saw it at age 7 on a "Kiddie Show" (!) at the neighborhood theatre. That one brain fried me and the uneasy horrors have never gone away.

Help meeeee! Please, help mee!
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