What’s your favorite movie?

If I were to ask you to name your favorite movie, would that be easy for you to do?  I feel like for the general populace, the answer is either easy, or “I don’t know.”  But for a film buff the answer becomes a lot more difficult.  At least, it does for me.  I tend to change my answer depending on a number of factors, including the identity of the questioner, the way the question was phrased, and who the audience is.  Here are some of my favorites, and why I will sometimes give them as my “favorite movie.”

If I’m in a situation where I’m being completely honest, my answer is usually that Hook is my favorite film.  It’s my de facto favorite movie, as it were.  It’s the movie that means the most to me, and that I connect with in a way that surpasses all others.  I think it’s a brilliant and remarkable movie, with some of the best sets ever created for the screen.  I could (and probably will) write an essay about Hook’s brilliance, but I’ll save that for another time.  I feel like Hook has been unfairly maligned through the years (it has a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes), though it does have a cult following.  Even Spielberg has said critical things of it.  I’m pretty defensive when it comes to Hook, because it does mean so much to me, so I often will name something else if I feel like there’s going to be an argument about it.  On the other hand, I like defying expectations, and for a film buff to pick a critical flop from the 90’s as his favorite film often surprises people.  I give this answer a lot when people who know that I’m a film buff ask me the question.  But it is, in fact, my favorite film, even if it’s not always my answer. Continue reading

Analysis: The Musical Climax

I love musicals, but I love musical climaxes even more.  No, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!  I’ve always enjoyed movies that have either the climax of the story, or at least a major plot point, revolve around a musical number, particularly when it is unexpected.  I don’t mean in musicals, but in movies that otherwise have no musical numbers and are not about music.  In other words, not movies like Crazy Heart, Ray, or A Prairie Home Companion, all of which are in some way about music.

I also don’t mean scenes set to music, either as a montage or to set the mood for the scene, like in Rocky, The Breakfast Club or Cruel Intentions.  I’m not even talking about musical climaxes that are the obvious result of the plot, like in Dirty Dancing, Sister Act, or Little Miss Sunshine.  What I’m talking about are moments when characters in otherwise non-musical movies have some sort of musical performance/dance number/song that resolves their issues, expresses their feelings, or advances the plot in a way that’s unique compared to the rest of the film, and is often unexpected or completely surprising.  Here are some examples of what I mean: Continue reading