We’re approaching the final turn as I present the ninth edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies. The movies are some of my favorite motion pictures.
I can’t believe we’re reaching the next to the last edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies. If you missed the last edition, Part 8, you can find it here.
As before, these are in no particular order.
81. ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ (1971)
I don’t know of a single child who watched that movie who wouldn’t have wanted to visit that chocolate factory. It was, after all, the perfect “world of imagination.”
Gene Wilder’s co-star Peter Ostrom, who played the ultimate golden ticket winner, spoke of Wilder’s performance as the legendary, enigmatic chocolatier. One of the favorite stories concerns the first time we see Wilder’s Wonka character. He moves slowly, limping with a cane until he reaches the gate he’ll open to allow the children inside his magical chocolate factory. Wilder falls forward, face-first before completing a somersault and rising with a smile. Ostrom says it was a complete surprise for the kids because Wilder kept the idea a secret, only telling the director.
Another inside story claims the look of surprise on the children’s faces when they enter the main chocolate room is genuine: It was the first time they’d seen the giant set.
82. ‘Double Indemnity’ (1944)
I’ve tried to give a good mix of films in my Patrick’s 100 Movies lists. This one represents film noir at its best. By today’s standards, it’s dated. But if you can get past that, you’re in for a treat of a mystery. Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star as ill-fated lovers caught up in a murder of passion. Edward G. Robinson plays MacMurray’s boss, the insurance examiner who doubles as the detective who almost cracks the case.
“A murder’s never perfect,” Robison’s character, Keyes, says. “It always comes apart sooner or later. And with two people involved, it’s usually sooner than later.”
83. ‘Rebecca’ (1940)
“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” That mysterious opening line sets the scene for a haunting love story between a young woman and an aristocrat who is still mourning the death of his first wife Rebecca.
And while Rebecca may be dead, her presence is definitely strong in the old house.
Laurence Olivier plays Maxim de Winter and Joan Fontaine plays his new love. Judith Anderson played the spooky Mrs. Danvers, who was very close to the first Mrs. de Winter and isn’t yet willing to let her go.
“Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?” Danvers asks the new Mrs. de Winter.
Rebecca is notable for being Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film. You can certainly appreciate the suspense he builds through the movie.
84. ‘The Birdcage’ (1996)
If you can get through this movie without experiencing several laugh-out-loud moments, I just don’t know what to say.
It’s the story of a gay couple — played by Robin Williams and Nathan Lane — and a straight couple — Gene Hackman and Dianne Weist — and their first meeting. The gay couple’s son is engaged to the straight couple’s daughter. But her father is an ultra-conservative senator and the young couple knows they’ll never accept his parents.
So when his biological mother isn’t able to make dinner, a big charade begins with Lane’s Albert trying to portray her himself alongside Williams’ Armand. Hank Azaria steals every scene as their devoted houseman, Agador.
If you’ve managed to miss this movie and you need a few laughs, make it a point to watch!
By the way, it’s a remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles.
85. ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990)
Patrick’s 100 Movies wouldn’t be complete without this one!
Tom Clancy’s spy novel becomes an epic thriller with Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery. Connery plays Capt. Marko Ramius, a Soviet submarine pilot who departs in the nuclear submarine Red October with intentions to defect to the U.S. Before leaving, Ramius makes his intentions known to the Soviets. But when they can’t sink the sub, they tell Washington that Ramius has gone rogue and intends to launch missiles against the U.S., hoping the U.S. Navy will help them destroy Ramius and the ship.
Baldwin plays the CIA analyst who realizes what Ramius’s true intention might be and must lead a race to get to him before anyone else carries out their deadly mission.
It’s a great suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
86. ‘Top Gun’ (1986)
I can remember watching this film at a friend’s home with a group of my high school classmates. We were juniors in high school by the time this movie went to VHS. (Remember VHS?)
Cruise stars as “Maverick,” a fighter pilot who’s out to prove he’s the best. And he may well be if he can keep himself out of trouble.
The film gave us the still-used catchphrase, “I feel the need…the need for speed!” And, despite being almost 35 years old (yikes!), it still holds up quite well.
87. ‘The Firm’ (1993)
This suspense thriller is the second in this list of Patrick’s 100 Movies that features Tom Cruise. He plays a new attorney who gets a job offer that’s too good to be true. But he quickly learns that no one ever leaves his Memphis firm alive.
Dave Grusin’s soundtrack adds to the suspense as Cruise’s Mitch looks for a way out of the trap he’s found himself in and a way to protect his family and his law license.
There are several plot twists that keep the viewer guessing all the way through.
88. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (1977)
As the trailer explains, the “first kind” of encounter with a UFO is a sighting. The “second kind” is evidence of a UFO. The “the third kind” is contact, and that’s what this movie is all about.
What if those UFOs turned out to be actual visitors from another world? A group of people begins seeing a strange vision of a flat-top mountain while others become obsessed with a five-note musical pattern. And they’re drawn to the remote Devil’s Tower National Monument where that actual contact will occur.
Much has been made over the years about the various toys and household objects that served as some of the UFOs in the movie. But Steven Spielberg’s 1977 classic holds up very well after 40+ years.
In 2007, the Library of Congress announced it was one of 25 motion pictures selected for the National Film Registry and would be preserved.
89. ‘The Pelican Brief’ (1993)
In this thriller, based on the John Grisham novel, someone is murdering United States Supreme Court justices. An unlikely sleuth, a law school student, figures out who might be responsible. But her cleverness puts her life in danger, along with the life of a newspaper reporter she reaches out to.
Julia Roberts plays the student, Darby Shaw, and Denzel Washington plays reporter Gray Grantham.
“If this thing reaches as deep and goes as high as we think it does, these men will do anything not to be exposed,” he tells her. And the chase will keep you watching.
90. ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ (1997)
John Cusack plays John Kelso, a reporter sent by Town and Country magazine to do a 500-word write-up on Savannah’s Jim Williams and the big Christmas party his throws.
But the real story happens after the party when Williams shoots and kills a young man later revealed to be a male prostitute. Williams tells police he fired in self-defense and Kelso decides to stay on for Williams’ trial with the agreement he’ll get inside information into the case for a book he plans to write.
He experiences firsthand some strange culture from Savannah ranging from colorful characters to voodoo as he tries to figure out what really happened.
The character of Lady Chablis steals every scene she enters. Kevin Spacy plays Williams who will leave you wondering, nearly to the very end, about what really happened that fatal night.
That’s the next-to-the last edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies. You can see them all by following this link.