Movies for a Desert Island

I love this game. I used to play it with my students, but that was when I had students who were out of diapers and didn’t need help eating their lunch or get picked up after class by mommy. I noticed that Czech’s really didn’t get into it. I would pose the question as I was drawing a cute little island on the white board with dry erase markers. “Let’s say you are stuck on a desert Island and you can only bring four things with you. What would you bring?” I would turn around and see a bunch of stone faced, silent people staring at me. If I finally got them to answer they would list things like a radio for SOS, a hunting knife, or  a gun. When I would say, “But wouldn’t you like a book, or a movie? Some sort of entertainment?” they looked at me like I was crazy. Why would I want a book when a book could not help me leave the island?

Because leaving the island isn’t the point of the game, that’s why! The point is to find out what you could watch (or read) again and again. So, I woke up this morning and found this little article asking what movies you would take on a desert island.  And here is my list. Wanna play along? Leave your list as a comment, and read the parameters HERE.

  1.  “It’s So Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House” (1979) – I remember watching this cartoon short as part of The Great Space Coaster when I was a little girl. I watched it again last night and fell in love all over. It’s about a cool wolf named Cuthbert Q. Devine who agrees to be the companion of an old man and his old pets. It’s funny, sweet and beautiful to look at. And, little did I know that Paul Fierlinger lived and worked in Prague.  
  2. Little House on the Prairie” (Season 2) – This is my pick for single season of a TV series. I could watch any season of LH over and over, but if I am forced to choose just one, it’ll be season two. Season two features some pretty dramatic stuff like Ma almost having to cut off her own foot, and special quest star Patricia Neal as a dying widow and mother. You also get some classic moments with Mr. Edwards and Nellie Olson. I guess it comes down to this: I don’t want to live a life with no Little House in it.
  3. “Star Wars” (1977) – One of the greatest films ever made, and one film that takes up a huge chunk of my little heart. I dressed as Princess Leia for Halloween and ran around in R2D2 Underoos. I love Star Wars. And no matter how many times I watch it, it never gets old.
  4. Pretty in Pink” (1986) – Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t live without this movie. I watch it often and I always enjoy it. Of all of the Hughes/Deutch films this is my favorite. I know, I know… many of you are saying, “But what about Breakfast Club?” And you are right. That film is awesome and timeless. But I am on an island, and I don’t want to watch teen angst for the rest of my life. I want to watch Molly Ringwald design a boxy dress and go to prom. I wanna hear James Spader tell Andrew McCarthy that he looks like shit. And finally, I have three little words for you: Harry Dean Stanton.
  5. “The 40 Year Old Virgin” (2005) – This movie is funny no matter how many times you watch it. And I have watched it a lot. In fact, back when I first came to Prague it was a little bit like a desert island. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have a TV and I had no money. I just had a computer and some DVD’s – one of which is this movie. It got me through my first year, that’s for sure.
  6. “Some Like it Hot” (1959) – This movie stars Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, you can’t miss. It was also named as AFI’s funniest movie. And it is. Men in drag, Marilyn and a ukulele, and unsurpassed comic timing. I love this movie! I was lucky enough to attend a screening of it in LA where a few of the cast and crew told stories of what it was like to work with Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Jack and Marilyn. If you haven’t seen this – see it.
  7. All About Eve” (1950) – Bette Davis is the original diva in this tale of backstage betrayal and revenge. The dialogue is quick, biting and witty, and the acting is top-notch. Anne Baxter does a superb job as the sweet ingenue who not so gently push herself in front of the aging theatre queen played by Bette Davis.
  8. All That Jazz (1979) – As I am making this list I am realizing that I am lacking in movies musicals! With so many to choose from, I am forced to pick the one that has a little of everything: love, hate, good songs, amazing choreography and Roy Scheider. Not to mention Jessica Lange as the angel of death. Some of my favorite on-screen dance numbers are in this. And this is a good one for those of you who “hate” musicals. It’s the semi-autobiographical work from the legendary Bob Fosse. Check it out, even if you don’t like musicals. You’ll be surprised. And you get the bonus of being able to watch the beautiful, sexy, talented Ann Reinking dance for the length of the film. As if that isn’t enough, you get Ben Vereen and Roy Scheider doing a duet of “Bye Bye Love” that has to be seen to be believed.
  9. The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) – Do I even need to say why I chose this one? I mean think about it – you are trapped on an island with no way off, just like the guys in the prison! I need a movie with me that is all about hope and promise and yes, redemption. And Morgan Freeman. I think he is essential to desert island viewing. Great movie that can be watched again and again.
  10. Tootsie” (1982) – Choosing the last movie was kind of tough. There were many contenders (Casino Royale, Pulp Fiction, Grease, The Apartment, Gilda…) but when push came to shove I decided to go with the always hilarious “Tootsie”.  This list isn’t about favorites, it’s about movies you could watch over and over, and for me that’s “Tootsie”. Dustin Hoffman is remarkable as both Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels. The cast includes dome of my favorite actors like Dabney Coleman, Terri Garr, Jessica Lange and of course Bill Murray – before he got all serious and was purchased by Wes Anderson.

One thought on “Movies for a Desert Island

  1. In Tootsie the scene where Dustin Hoffman and his agent argue about him refusing to sit down playing a tomato and got fired. The agent yells “YOU WERE A TOMATO!” and goes on about what a tomato is and isnt supposed to do. Hilarious.

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