The other day at work, I discovered something horrifying. It all started last week during a lunch break. Somehow Ewan McGregor came up, and one of my coworkers didn’t seem to have any idea who that was. I figured she had to know him, but just didn’t know his name. I started rattling off the titles of movies he had been in that I figured she must have seen. Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, Ghost Writer. But no, she hadn’t seen any of them. Then, the revelation that blew my mind out through the back of my head. “Star Wars?” I asked. “No,” she said. “None of them?” “No.”
When I finally stopped screaming, I decided that this woman’s movie knowledge was frighteningly deficient. In an effort to appease me, she suggested that I make a list of ten movies that she must see. I wholeheartedly accepted this challenge. But, as I devoted more and more time and energy to make this list, I realized that I was actually just making a list of ten movies I would show myself if I completely lost my memory and I needed to be re-educated.
I came up with a new plan. On Twitter, Facebook, and amongst my co-workers I proposed a simple hypothetical scenario: You meet an English speaking, Canadian adult who tells you they’ve never seen a movie before. They ask you to pick the first movie they’ll ever see. What do you choose?
I think some of the earnestness I used in person was lost online so some of the answers are probably less realistic than others. But, the full, unadulterated list will appear at the end of the column.
For now, I’m going to list the ten that I’m going to actually suggest with a brief explanation of why.
- Star Wars – Just the original trilogy. But, the whole trilogy, because that is such a part of the world now that it’s just about stopped being “pop” culture, and just regular old culture. On top of that it’s a great, imagination capturing group of movies.
- The Wizard Of Oz – Of the 29 replies I got, this is the only one that got 3 votes. That’s over 10% of the vote. How can I not include it? It’s also a charming movie that is beloved by all and, in a lot of ways, redefined what movies could be. The special effects still work really well, and the songs are catchy as hell.
- Casablanca – Often listed as one of the top movies ever made, it’s an epic romance that also has the intrigue and action of World War 2. It’s one of the few movies that everyone likes when they see it. Even Citizen Kane can’t claim that.
- The Sound Of Music – I haven’t seen it myself (gasp, shock) but it got two votes in my poll, so that’s good enough for me. At almost three hours, it’s a little long, but I’m hoping the singing nuns and Nazis can keep her attention.
- The Shawshank Redemption – Who am I to argue with the number 1 movie on the IMDB top 250? Also, it’s a great movie. It’s got triumph, tragedy, lols, and wtfs. In other words, something for everyone.
- The Princess Bride – A modern (well, 1987-era modern) take on the fairytale. A heartwarming and utterly delightful movie about love, and giants, and things that are practically inconceivable.
- Ocean’s 11 – The Soderbergh one, not the far less entertaining rat pack one. This movie takes the typical heist formula and injects a ton of razzle dazzle and pizzazz. A lot of which is delivered by an incredible all-star cast. If movie casts were an Olympic event, this movie would take the gold.
- Iron Man – I’ll concede that this is a bit of an odd ball choice, but it’s the most fun superhero movie made to date. Other films in that genre are certainly smarter, or more profound, but this one is hands down the best time you’ll have in the theatre.
- Ghost – Another movie I haven’t seen, but I want to make sure I’ve got enough stuff on here that will appeal to a more feminine audience, as that’s the audience I’m going for. I’m pretty sure it’s about Patrick Swayze’s ghost possessing Whoopi Goldberg and seducing Demi Moore. Oh, and pottery.
- Wall-E – Finally, in order to cover as many bases as I can, a film by the universally beloved Pixar studio. This is my favorite of their movies because it does what the best sci-fi movies do. It takes a modern day problem and hides it in robots, spaceships, and special effects to make it more digestible. It’s also, and I may have used this descriptor before but I can’t help it, completely and unabashedly charming.
All right, so that’s my list. Assuming she actually watches any of these, I’ll post her thoughts here in future columns. In the meantime, here is the full list of answers I got from the people I polled. Thoughts?
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
- Back To The Future
- The Princess Bride
- Ocean’s 11 (2)
- The Fugitive
- The Room
- Jurassic Park
- A Walk In The Clouds
- Catch Me If You Can
- The Sound Of Music (2)
- The Neverending Story
- Wizard of Oz (3)
- First Blood
- Return of the Jedi
- Three Amigos
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- A New Hope
- Step Up 4
- Cannibal Holocaust
- The Great Dictator
- Cast Away
- Big Butt Sluts 3
Graham Becksted thinks my coworker better watch all of these after I’ve gone to all of this trouble. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 69th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.