10 Classic Movies, On 1 Amazing Weekend!
For this year's 'Something for Everybody' theme we've picked 10 films that have broad audience appeal and that included family friendly films. With so many great pictures to choose from no matter which films we picked we were certain to leave somebody's favorite off the list. By looking at a variety of Top 100 lists from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and the American Film Institute we were able to create a shortlist of movies that many people's all time favorites, and that film critics viewed as classics. I feel each film can stand on its own, but the 10 films together hopefully represent the breadth and depth of some of the best Hollywood has to offer.
- Friday, October 5th, Opening Night -
Jaws (1975): 'PG' Rating, 97% Tomatometer Rating - With special introduction by Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer Bill Butler
Based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel, Steven Spielberg's 1975 shark saga set the standard for the New Hollywood popcorn blockbuster while frightening millions of moviegoers out of the water. One early summer night on fictional Atlantic resort Amity Island, Chrissie decides to take a moonlight skinny dip while her friends party on the beach. Yanked suddenly below the ocean surface, she never returns. When pieces of her wash ashore, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) suspects the worst, but Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), mindful of the lucrative tourist trade and the approaching July 4th holiday, refuses to put the island on a business-killing shark alert. After the shark dines on a few more victims, the Mayor orders the local fishermen to catch the culprit. Satisfied with the shark they find, the greedy Mayor reopens the beaches, despite the warning from visiting ichthyologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) that the attacks were probably caused by a far more formidable Great White. One more fatality later, Brody and Hooper join forces with flinty old salt Quint (Robert Shaw), the only local fisherman willing to take on a Great White--especially since the price is right. The three ride off on Quint's boat "The Orca," soon coming face to teeth with the enemy. Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): 'PG' Rating, 95% Tomatometer Rating
Steven Spielberg followed Jaws (1975), his first major box-office success, with this epic science fiction adventure about a disparate group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is an electrical lineman who, while sent out on emergency repairs, witnesses an unidentified flying object, and even has a "sunburn" from its bright lights to prove it. Neary's wife and children are at first skeptical, then concerned, and eventually fearful, as Roy refuses to accept a "logical" explanation for what he saw and is prepared to give up his job, his home, and his family to pursue the "truth" about UFOs. Neary's obsession eventually puts him in contact with others who've had close encounters with alien spacecraft, including Jillian (Melinda Dillon), a single mother whose son disappeared during her UFO experience, and Claude Lacombe (celebrated French filmmaker François Truffaut), a French researcher who believes that we can use a musical language to communicate with alien visitors. Lacombe's theory is put to the test when a band of government researchers and underground UFO enthusiasts (including Neary) join for an exchange with alien visitors near Devil's Tower, Wyoming. In 1980, a "Special Edition" was released. While its primary selling point was the addition of scenes inside the alien spaceship, Spielberg claimed that he also cleaned up some choppy editing in the second act. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Saturday, October 6th -
Toy Story (1996): 'G' Rating, 100% Tomatometer Rating
Woody, a traditional pull-string talking cowboy, has long enjoyed a place of honor as the favorite among six-year-old Andy's menagerie of toys. Quick to calm their anxieties about being replaced by newer arrivals, Woody finds his own confidence shaken, and his status as top toy in jeopardy, upon the arrival of Buzz Lightyear, simply the coolest space action figure ever made. Woody plots to get rid of Buzz, but things backfire and he finds himself lost in the outside world with Buzz as his only companion. Joining forces to find their way home, the two rivals set out on an adventure that lands them in the clutches of Sid, a sadistic neighborhood kid who is notorious for dismembering and reassembling "mutant" toys in his bedroom. As "guests" of Sid and his dog, Scud, the two fugitive toys forge a genuine friendship and learn that only through mutual trust and respect do they have any chance of survival.
Hook (1991): 'PG' Rating, 29% Tomatometer Rating
Steven Spielberg filters J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan through a distinctly 1990s sensibility in Hook. Peter Pan has become Peter Banning (Robin Williams), a 40-year-old mergers and acquisitions lawyer with a permanent scowl on his face and a cellular phone in his belt. Banning has lost any memory of being Peter Pan, and he is also in danger of losing his wife Moira (Caroline Goodall) and two children, Jack (Charlie Korsmo) and Maggie (Amber Scott). Peter and his family travel to London to visit Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith) who recalls Peter's lost youth and asks him, "Peter, dear, don't you know who you are?" With Peter's children asleep in the same bedroom where the original Peter Pan story began, there is a blinding flash. Peter comes into the room to discover a note from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), informing Peter that he has kidnapped his children. Granny Wendy now tells him who he really is and encourages him to re-discover his happy thoughts, transform himself into the Peter Pan of the past, and go rescue his children. With the encouragement of Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts), Peter recalls the birth of his son and once again takes wing. Then it's off to Never Land to rescue his kids. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
Key Largo (1948): 'Not Rated', 97% Tomatometer Rating
Richard Brooks and John Huston's screenplay for Huston's Key Largo eschews the lofty blank verse of Maxwell Anderson's original play, concentrating instead on the simmering tensions among the many characters. Humphrey Bogart plays Frank McCloud, an embittered war veteran who travels to Key Largo in Florida, there to meet Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall), the wife of his deceased war buddy. Arriving at a tumbledown hotel managed by Nora's father-in-law James Temple (Lionel Barrymore), McCloud discovers that the establishment has been taken over by exiled gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) and what's left of his mob. Also in attendance is Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor), Rocco's alcoholic girlfriend. While the others bristle at the thought of being held at bay by the gangsters, the disillusioned McCloud refuses to get involved: "One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for." As he awaits a contact who is bringing him enough money to skip the country, Rocco is responsible for the deaths of a deputy sheriff and two local Indian youth. Unwilling to take a stand before these tragedies, McCloud finally comes to realize that Rocco is a beast who must be destroyed. To save the others from harm, McCloud agrees to pilot Rocco's boat to Cuba through the storm-tossed waters. Just before McCloud leaves, Gaye Dawn slips him a gun -- which leads to the deadly final confrontation between McCloud and Rocco. His resolve to go on living renewed by this cathartic experience, McCloud heads back to Nora, with whom he's fallen in love. Claire Trevor's virtuoso performance as a besotted ex-nightclub singer won her an Academy Award -- as predicted by her admiring fellow actors, who watched her go through several very difficult scenes in long, uninterrupted takes. While Key Largo sags a bit during its more verbose passages, on a visual level the film is one of the best and most evocative examples of the "film noir" school.
Blackboard Jungle (1955): "Approved" Rated, 75% Tomatometer Rating - With special introduction by Biographer Peter Ford
World War II veteran Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) takes a teaching position at a rough New York City school for boys. The staff warns him that the students are nearly impossible to control, but the optimistic Richard remains unfazed. Soon, though, he realizes that his class isn't merely rowdy -- they can be downright dangerous. The students, led by the thuggish Artie West (Vic Morrow), threaten their teacher and his family with violence, yet Richard refuses to give up on the troubled teens.
Psycho (1960): 'R' Rating, 97% Tomatometer Rating
In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense (and perhaps the best-known film director in the world) when he released Psycho and forever changed the shape and tone of the screen thriller. From its first scene, in which an unmarried couple balances pleasure and guilt in a lunchtime liaison in a cheap hotel (hardly a common moment in a major studio film in 1960), Psycho announced that it was taking the audience to places it had never been before, and on that score what followed would hardly disappoint. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is unhappy in her job at a Phoenix, Arizona real estate office and frustrated in her romance with hardware store manager Sam Loomis (John Gavin). One afternoon, Marion is given $40,000 in cash to be deposited in the bank. Minutes later, impulse has taken over and Marion takes off with the cash, hoping to leave Phoenix for good and start a new life with her purloined nest egg. 36 hours later, paranoia and exhaustion have started to set in, and Marion decides to stop for the night at the Bates Motel, where nervous but personable innkeeper Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) cheerfully mentions that she's the first guest in weeks, before he regales her with curious stories about his mother. There's hardly a film fan alive who doesn't know what happens next, but while the shower scene is justifiably the film's most famous sequence, there are dozens of memorable bits throughout this film. The first of a handful of sequels followed in 1983, while Gus Van Sant's controversial remake, starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, appeared in 1998. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Sunday, October 7th - Closing Day
Annie Sing Along (1982): 'PG' Rating, 99% Tomatometer Rating
This family classic is adapted from the Broadway musical, which was based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. During the Great Depression in New York City, a plucky red-haired scrapper named Annie (Aileen Quinn) is the voice of hope for her fellow orphans who live under the supervision of drunken floozy Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett). Annie's spirit is fueled by the belief that her real parents dropped her off at the orphanage with a half of a locket, promising to return for her with the other half. One day, the dingy orphanage is visited by the sophisticated Grace Farrell (Ann Reinking), personal secretary to conservative politician Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney). In order to improve his image, Grace brings Annie to the Warbucks estate for a weeklong visit. Annie quickly wins the hearts of servants and politicians alike, eventually even bringing her song of hope, "Tomorrow," to President Roosevelt in Washington. Warbucks and Grace even go so far as to perform a public search for Annie's parents, creating an opportunity for Miss Hannigan, Rooster (Tim Curry), and Lily (Bernadette Peters) to scam their way to the reward money. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Grease (1978): 'PG' Rating, 94% Tomatometer Rating - With special introduction by Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer Bill Butler
"Grease," said the poster and the Barry Gibb song, "is the word." Transferring its setting from Chicago to sunny California, and adding a dash of disco to the ersatz '50s score, producer Allan Carr and director Randal Kleiser turned this long-running Jim Jacobs-Warren Casey Broadway smash into the biggest blockbuster of 1978. 1950s teens Danny (John Travolta) and Australian transfer Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) spend their "Summer Nights" falling in love, but once fall comes, it's back to Rydell High and its cliques. As one of the bad-boy T-Birds, Danny has to act cool for best pal Kenickie (Jeff Conaway) and their leather-clad mates Sonny (Michael Tucci) and Doody (Barry Pearl, in the role Travolta played on-stage). Despite befriending Frenchy (Didi Conn), one of the rebel Pink Ladies, virginal Sandy is "too pure to be Pink," as the Ladies' leader, Rizzo (Stockard Channing), acidly observes. Declaring their devotion in such ballads as "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Sandy," Sandy and Danny split, reconcile, and split again amidst a pep rally, dances, drive-ins, and a drag race, before deciding "You're the One That I Want" at the climactic carnival. With Travolta white-hot from Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease soundtrack singles climbed the charts and summer movie crowds poured in. With the presence of Joan Blondell, Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, and Frankie Avalon appealing to grown-up memories, Grease became the highest-grossing film of 1978, the highest-grossing movie musical ever, and the third most popular film of the new blockbuster '70s after Star Wars (1977) and Jaws (1975). Its sequel, Grease 2, did not exactly set the world on fire in 1982. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): 'PG' Rating, 97% Tomatometer Rating
From its opening multi-language titles (that sure looks like Swedish) to the closing arrest of the entire Dark Ages cast by modern-day bobbies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail helped to define "irreverence" and became an instant cult classic. This time the Pythonites savage the legend of King Arthur, juxtaposing some excellently selected exterior locations with an unending stream of anachronistic one-liners, non sequiturs, and slapstick set pieces. The Knights of the Round Table set off in search of the Holy Grail on foot, as their lackeys make clippety-clop sounds with coconut shells. A plague-ridden community, ringing with the cry of "bring out your dead," offers its hale and hearty citizens to the body piles. A wedding of convenience is attacked by Arthur's minions while the pasty-faced groom continually attempts to burst into song. The good guys are nearly thwarted by the dreaded, tree-shaped "Knights Who Say Ni!" A feisty enemy warrior, bloodily shorn of his arms and legs in the thick of battle, threatens to bite off his opponent's kneecap. A French military officer shouts such taunts as "I fart in your general direction" and "I wave my private parts at your aunties." Rabbits are a particular obsession of the writers this time around, ranging from the huge Trojan Rabbit to the "killer bunny" that decapitates one of the knights. Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin collaborated on the script and assumed most of the onscreen roles, while Gilliam and Jones served as co-directors. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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