Joanna’s Top 10 Movies

One Fine Day
This is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney are both amazing in this movie as they play characters who get thrown together for a day when they need help finding a babysitter for their children. They end up having a wild time and learn a few things about themselves along the way.

Nanny McPhee
Nanny McPhee is about a single father searching for a nanny to tend to his seven children. After the children drive away 17 nannies, Nanny McPhee mysteriously comes into the picture to give the children some much needed discipline. I especially love that Emma Thompson and Colin Firth are together in this movie as they are two of my favorite actors of all time. This is a great movie to see with the family!

The Queen
Another favorite actor of mine is Helen Mirren, who does an excellent job playing Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen. This movie focuses on the tragedy of Princess Diana’s death and the difficulty Queen Elizabeth II faced when it came to leading the nation in mourning in the loss of the People’s Princess. The inside glimpse into the Royal perspective during this difficult time in England’s history is riveting to say the least.

Gone With the Wind and Scarlet
Gone With the Wind is a classic for many reasons. My main reason for loving GWTW is the psychology behind the characters Scarlet and Rhett. They always think about what is in it for them and don’t care if someone gets trampled along the way. Scarlet is a sequel movie to GWTW and I like it because it does a fairly good job of continuing the GWTW story. 

The Silence of the Lambs
This is my #1 favorite movie of all time. Those of you who have read my True Crime: Serial Killers blog will know why. I saw the movie poster for SOTL in D. Rose (the local video store in Plainfield back in the 1990s) and I remember seeing this giant moth over Jodie Foster’s mouth, and in the design of the moth’s back were the bodies of five women. Clearly the image stayed with me for years and when I was in college I saw the movie for the first time. I was horrified by the serial killer Hannibal Lecter and his insights into the twisted mind of Buffalo Bill. Even after seeing this movie more than 50 times I still get freaked out.

Gone Baby Gone
This movie is about two detectives investigating the disappearance of a little girl in Boston. The police are making very little progress and something just doesn’t seem quite right. The detectives run into all sorts of criminals from gangs to pedophiles along the way to finding the missing girl. At the end there is a scary twist that earns the movie a place on my Top 10 Library Movies to see.

The Prince and Me
I’m a bit of a sucker for a sappy romance every now and then. The Prince and Me is about a young Danish prince who is sowing his wild oats. The prince takes a hiatus to Wisconsin to seemingly “get it together” and attend college, which is where he meets and falls head over heels for a woman with determination and drive. This movie is pretty much a “wash, rinse, repeat” romance, but I love it for its sentimental predictability.

Into The Wild
True-life stories are one of my favorite things of all time. Into The Wild is based on a true story about a young man named Christopher McCandless who leaves his life behind to pursue his own path in the wilderness of Alaska . The movie is adventurous, funny and truly inspiring. Other favorite true-life movies include: Grizzly Man, which is about a man who video taped his close interactions with bears; Kinsey is another great movie that is about the Alfred Kinsey, the American biologist who studied and taught human sexuality at Indiana University in the 1940s and 1950s; 127 Hours is about a young man who gets trapped between a boulder in a canyon crag in Utah. It is not for the faint of heart and is also an amazing movie!

Jurassic Park
OK, so here’s the deal: I could watch Jurassic Park every single day for the rest of my life. I’d even throw in Jurassic Park II and III and I would be a happy camper. Every single time I watch the “real life” dinosaurs walking around I get a giddy excitement that I just cannot compare to any other movie. I recall vividly back in 1993 when Jurassic Park was released I wanted to see it soooo badly but my parents would not let me. A few years later I watched it and loved it.

Fargo is about a Minneapolis car salesman who is in a lot of trouble. He hires some thugs to kidnap his wife in hopes that the ransom will help him with his troubles. Many things go wrong during the kidnapping, and when Police Chief Marge Gunderson gets on the case things begin to unravel at a rapid pace. The Coen brothers do an excellent job making this movie. Just be prepared for some dark comedy if you decide to see it!

Mary’s 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Documentaries are my favorite films.  When I was a student at IU, I was lucky enough to take a class that focused entirely on the documentary style.  It opened me up to a whole new world of entertainment!  Last fall, one of my favorite filmmakers, Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), hosted a show on Current TV called 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die.  I was very proud to say that I had seen well over three fourths of the list, and over the past few months have been watching the rest.  There were several documentaries that I love that didn’t make the Spurlock list…….so I decided to compile my own “50 Documentaries to See Before You Die” list.  And, the great thing is, the library actually has them all! 

Check them out!!
Click the links to place things on hold. We’ll pull the DVD and have it ready and waiting for you!

  1. Hoop Dreams: I agree with Morgan Spurlock- it deserved to be #1.
  2. The Fog of War: Errol Morris is my favorite director- he is amazing.
  3. American Movie: didn’t make his list- but I LOVE this hilarious film.
  4. Grizzly Man: hilarious and sad all at once.
  5. Dark Days: this was one that I watched in my documentary class- fascinating.
  6. Exit Through The Gift Shop: all about the amazing graffiti artist Banksy.
  7. Tarnation: disturbing….but very original.
  8. When We Were Kings: the best account of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle.”
  9. King of Kong: so great- and funny.
  10. Catfish: wow.  a strange, strange, story.
  11. When the Levees Broke: the most personal viewpoint of Hurricane Katrina I’ve seen.
  12. Man on Wire: who walks a tight-rope between the World Trade Center towers?!?!?!  Crazy)
  13. Vernon, Florida: Errol Morris’ first documentary.  It’s hilarious, and very quotable.
  14. Garbage Warrior: about a very interesting man who builds sustainable housing from garbage.
  15. I Like Killing Flies: a quirky man and his restaurant in Greenwich Village.
  16. Devil’s Playground: about the Amish tradition of Rumspringa- much of it takes place in northern Indiana.
  17. Capturing the Friedmans (hitting our shelves soon… be the first to check it out, then let us know what you think!): crazy story…..another one that was featured in my documentary class.
  18. Street Fight: the mayoral race for Newark- fascinating, and somewhat troubling.
  19. Waiting for “Superman”: raises some interesting points concerning the state of the education system.
  20. It Might Get Loud: Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge…..jamming.  What could be better?
  21. Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?: I first heard about this woman on 60 minutes- she’s very entertaining!
  22. Bowling for Columbine: the always controversial Michael Moore. 
  23. Fahrenheit 9/11: I’ll just name that one too…..sorry to those who hate him.
  24. Marwencol: wow.  Just have to see it to believe it- a man and a world he created.
  25. War Dance: a beautiful film about a dance competition in Uganda.
  26. Young @ Heart: what is better than a group of 80 + year olds singing Radiohead??
  27. Tabloid: Errol Morris’ latest film…..very, very quirky.
  28. Spellbound: who knew a spelling bee could be so intense?
  29. Word Wars: and who knew that scrabble was so involved!
  30. Jesus Camp: I learned a lot from this one… was also on Morgan Spurlock’s list.
  31. Gasland: Can You Light Your Water on Fire?: lighting tap water on fire!!  Scary stuff….
  32. Crumb: about the comic book writer Robert Crumb.
  33. Food, Inc.: somewhat disturbing, but I really learned a lot.
  34. Rip!: A Remix Manifesto: about the remix musician Girl Talk- very cool.
  35. The Hobart Shakespeareans: inspirational story about Rafe Esquith, a revolutionary teacher in L.A.
  36. Anvil: The Story of Anvil: like Spinal Tap- only real.
  37. Dancing Outlaw: wow.  Also, check out the recent follow up film The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.
  38. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills: this story was recently in the headlines again- and there are two follow-up documentaries.
  39. The Devil and Daniel Johnston: a genius songwriter who was respected by many- including Kurt Cobain.
  40. Stevie: by the same director as Hoop Dreams.
  41. Trouble the Water: a very personal documentary shot DURING Hurricane Katrina.
  42. Dogtown and Z-Boys: the beginning of skateboarding.
  43. Super Size Me: Morgan Spurlock’s often funny, but disturbing film.
  44. This Film Is Not Yet Rated: a look inside the movie ratings system- surprisingly interesting.
  45. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: I never realized that her story was so complex.
  46. Best Worst Movie: Have you seen Troll 2?  It’s the Best Worst Movie ever!
  47. Shut Up and Sing: about the Dixie Chicks and their controversy following 9/11.
  48. Little Dieter Needs to Fly: this is the story that the Christian Bale film Rescue Dawn was based on.
  49. Shut Up Little Man: this is a new one….the first half of it was very, very funny.
  50. The Natural History of the Chicken: trust me on this one- it’s hilarious.

So, yes- that’s my list.  I highly recommend each of these titles.  Let me know if there are any that you feel should be included…..I always love to discover a new great documentary!

~Mary Glaser (film nerd)