In light of the recent news about Patrick Swayze’s illness, I though it apropros to blog (finally!) about those certain works of screen and film that, no matter how hard you try or realize that you really do have better things to, you can’t turn off. It’s not that they are actually good. It’s just that they are fluff-full entertainment that is addicting. So imagine yourself channel hopping and coming across any one of the movies I list below. Once you hit any one of these, your night is over, your quest has ended. You have found your television entertainment for the next 90 minutes.
My Top 10, in order:
1. Dirty Dancing. No one puts Baby in the corner. This #1 rating is completely unrelated to Swayze’s current health crisis. This movie has everything: music, dancing, love story and touchy subject matter (abortion, lies, cheating). Here we see Patrick Swayze at his brazen best, Jennifer Grey pre-nose job (which renders her completely unrecognizable) and Jerry Orbach as the softie in a hard shell. Remember, a good man can always admit when he’s wrong.
2. Certain of the 80s Brat Pack Movies. Whenever I’m surfing and come across one of these 80s classics, I secretly jump for joy. Although I would probably prioritize them like this if I was forced to: Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club. The common link here is Molly Ringwald, which, in and of itself is nothing spectacular but is actually rather strange. With these movies, you can relive some of your worst teenage nightmares. Or not.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It was cool when I was a senior in high school to think that Ferris did what we all hoped to do on Senior Skip Day. Now it’s cool to see that Ferris did what we all wish we could do when we “bang out” occasionally from the real world.
4. That Thing You Do. Watch this at your own risk, because you will be relegated to singing that damn theme song for the next 70 days. Not that that’s a bad thing, but just that it’ll happen. Liv Tyler and Tom Hanks shine in this movie. If you haven’t seen it, do so, and then see how quickly it climbs into your top 10.
5. Top Gun. Granted, it is hard now to overlook the fact that Tom Cruise is a psycho. But then, he wasn’t, the blinding white smile worked for us and Goose was cooler then than he ever was as Dr. Green. And who wouldn’t want IceMan as their wingman? There’s action, music and predictable drama (which is still suspenseful even on the 10,000th viewing), which makes this a great sofa-warming activity, particularly on a rainy/snowy/sick day.
6. Father of the Bride. I’m not a huge Steve Martin fan, but he delivers well here as the poor Dad who is forced through the wedding planning while dragging his heels about letting his little girl go. I would imagine that if I were a normal girl (which I’m not), I’d want to be as idealistic as Annie, without the richie rich fiancé. Deep down, I’m just looking to dance with my Dad at my wedding, which she doesn’t get to do either, so maybe that’s why I relate to this one so well. Martin Short wins huge points as the wedding planner. Note that Father of the Bride II does not make this list. And for good reason.
7. What About Bob. This movie wouldn’t make most lists, but it makes mine. As a hypochondriac, I can relate and Bill Murray is the best at over the top hypochondria. The fact that Dr. Marvin’s family doesn’t see how insane Bob is, and actually adopts him, makes this storyline hilarious in a totally unrealistic way. I laugh at the same points each time.
8. Better Off Dead. Of all of John Cusack's movies, I think this is probably the best. Well, maybe tied with Say Anything, but really the only good point of Say Anything is the "In Your Eyes" driveway moment. But what makes this one brilliant is Lane’s quest for the hot French chick who really understands English and his pal Miles who forces him to ski crazy-ass trails to win her over.
9. An Officer and a Gentleman. Ok, who hasn’t dreamt of your hot boyfriend coming into your dreadful place of employment in dress whites and (literally) sweeping you out of there once and for all. C’mon, admit it. And if that’s not why you watch it, you watch it to hear Lou Gossett say “Mayo-NAISE.”
10. War Games. I was toying with Rain Man and Risky Business, but just couldn’t stomach another Tom Cruise movie. For the computer geeks among us, especially those of us who were computer geeks with our Dads and our Commodore 64s, this movie rules forever. Forget that we’re now beyond the DOS screen and telephone handset modems. Forget that a national security computer will never call you in this day and age (or will it? One can only hope…) But Matthew Broderick is excellent as David, running the emotional acting gamut with aplomb: from cocksure teen changing his calculus grade to scared little shit running from the Feds. Dabney Coleman is only marginally scary. The big scary guy here is NORAD, the nuclear weapons launching system. Yikes! “Do you want to play a game?”