Now then, where were we? With the promise of seven more movie titles. Seven. I for sure am with a solid four. Here we go.
4. Dirty Dancing (1987) The first time that I became aware of this film, I was at a girlfriend’s house for an over night. It was she and I and her older sister and her friend. They had a movie room upstairs and three of the girls (myself not included) agreed that we should watch Dirty Dancing. Quiet and non-confrontational was I, I agreed that it was a fine idea. Upon its opening scenes (do you remember it? Black and white images of couples, umm, well, dirty dancing). I was painfully uncomfortable, certain that my friend was making me watch some kind of an adult film. Mortified, I would not allow myself to watch this smut (haha-I didn’t actually know that word then, I don’t use it now, but it seems appropriate in making my point). I pretended to fall asleep and that was the end of that. I protected my innocence that night. Little did I realize then, at age 11, that this was one of the best, most classic films of it’s time. Great music, gripping love story, edgy (I can handle it now). A young, dancing Patrick Swayze. Need I say more?
5. West Side Story (1961) Oh my, this was a good one for me. And, I was young when I first watched it at my next door neighbor’s house. I mean, early elementary school-age. Why did I like it? Maybe the music, maybe I loved Tony and Maria. Maybe dancing with knives is the most I can handle after all! (Didn’t I just say in a recent post that I think we should settle disputes with a dance off? Case in point). Riff, Bernardo, Anita, Officer Krupke, Baby John…great characters, great times! Here’s some lines that I remember from West Side Story (and I’m not looking it up, so If I’m a little off, well, it’s been a while!)“When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet till the end of your last dying breath…” “I feel pretty, oh so pretty, so pretty and witty and gay!” “Maria, I’ve just kissed a girl named Maria!…”(In this one, Tony is serenating Maria from the alley beneath her fire escape. Chris, you can serenade me from our drive way, “Je-n, I’ve just kissed a girl named Je-n!” It doesn’t have the same effect, I guess, but I love it-go ahead!). Oh, and the saddest part for me was (spoiler alert!!!) after Tony is killed by the Sharks, Maria finds out and through her sobbing and tears exclaims, “Make it not to be true!” But I loved it so much because her Puerto Rican accent made for beautiful trills with her tongue when she said, “true.” She spoke so fast!
6. Grease (1978) Oh my word. If we could all just take a moment here before we get started. Ok, thank you. This was another fav for me-to say the least. This is where my adoration for John Travolta began. I mean, just look at him-best hair ever; best chin dimple ever; best cut-off at the sleeves black tee ever…Danny Zuko. Danny and Sandy. T-birds. Pink Ladies. Black Leather jackets. A hickey from Kenicky. Stockard Channing!!! All brilliant. The music, the greasy hair, the poodle skirts! To this day, I still use lines like, “Don’t sweat it honey, have one of mine!” And, when I’m helping the kids get their teeth brushed, I often channel Jan when she sings along to the teeth brushing commercial, “brusha brusha brusha…” You should go back and rewatch this. But the most memorable line from Danny Zuko is also one that Chris and I still use. “That’s cool, baby. You know how it is, Rockin’ and Rollin’ and what not!” Use that line in one of your next conversations!
7. Teen Wolf (1985) I was on vacation in Maine with my family when I first saw this one. The place was called Samoset Resort. It was a gorgeous spot with pools, fresh lobster, right at the edge of the Atlantic. I even met my first (and only) pen pal there, she happened to be from a distant land called Colorado Springs (keep in mind I was probably 9 or 10, and still living in Connecticut). The resort was offering a movie night one night, so I went – by myself. I don’t know why I was by myself, but there I sat, awkward in my youth, beginning to watch Teen Wolf. Note: This was where my interest in Michael J. Fox blossomed – I used to write him love letters! I certainly didn’t have the appreciation then for the film that I do now. Chris and I just caught it on “Nick at Night” a week ago. We thoroughly enjoyed it much more today. A young Michael J. Fox in prime 80s era glory. Almost as epic as Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Almost. The part that sticks out the most, unfortunately, was the part where the popular blonde seduces Scott in the dressing room after the play. She only likes him for his hairy good looks, darn her! There was an undies scene that I thought for sure would corrupt me and I thought I should look away. Better yet, I thought, Oh man, my parents cannot see this film!
You know, folks, that’s all I can muster from my early movie memory vault. Oh my yes, there were so many more! Ferris Bueller, Back to the Future, Top Gun. But, those are not from my memory vault of myearliest films – for me, those classics came later and thus, my writing of them would be less authentic. So, take the few moments that you would have used to read my last three movie picks and dig around your memory vault. Discuss!