Dec

14

The Blind Side

The Blind Side is one of those movies that makes life worth living forever. What other such movies, plays, music, literature would you put in that category?

Vince Fulco replies:

Movies:

The Road to Perdition– everyone who participated in it was at the top of their game from writers, actors (primary & secondary), producer, director, cinematographer, musical director. It made for a polished period piece with tons of emotionally charged moments and an unexpected ending.

Boondock Saints– obscure, independent type movie; very novel story telling seen both by the vantage point of the perpetrators (Irish Mob in South Boston) as well as the talented detective trying to unravel a recent flair-up in gang on gang activities (Willem Dafoe). A great example of the grey areas in life; i.e. if you are using extreme violence against a rival gang to protect one's innocent neighborhood residents, are you a saint or sinner?

Gandhi– A masterpiece in so many ways, no more needs to be said.

Laurence of Arabia– ditto.

I am a sucker for underdog movies where the lead character rises from his own self involvement and selfishness to sacrifice everything for the greater good. Not 'Laurence'–obviously his striving for personal greatness led to its own extraordinary achievements but as I get older, the accomplishment of creating these complex, grand movie projects is inspiring in its own right.

Books:

 Shogun by James Clavell

Anna Karenina

Two monumental undertakings by the authors which fully develop their characters and keep the reader engrossed from cover to cover. As for the latter, although it has been years, as I recall, the ability to interweave multiple complete stories and have them entertaining and believable was sheer genius.

music:

Anything by Yo-Yo Ma and separately Tan Dun.

Nick White responds:

 Martha Argerich's rendition of the first movement of Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto with the Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Riccardo Chailly conducting.

Her magisterial expression of the full range of human emotion in this performance is, in my opinion, unparalleled in any other work.

Thomas Miller adds:

Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life. Both made shortly after end of WWll. Still immensely popular 60 + years later.

Jeff Watson writes:

"Surfing for Life", is one of those special movies that makes one want to live forever. That's the movie that deals with all the old people who still surf well into their 80's.

James Lackey writes:

Cinderella Man (2005) …. Crowe as Jim Braddock is a good one. Invincible 2006 Wahlberg plays Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in 1976..

Ironic, I watched It's A Wonderful Life with my kids last night. What cracked me up is my quest to please my wife.I  remember 10 years ago when my boy was 4, I said "you're a bad boy" she said No no no what he did was bad, he is not bad. Ever since I have been working on my syntax to get the exact same point across with out damaging my own kids for life. ha.

Yet in It's A wonderful life the mom calls her sons idiots. It cracked me up as she was kidding sit down and eat you two idiots. The druggist smacked little George Baily around for being lazy. Baily tells the biggest backer and connected man in the county off countless times..turns down a 10x salary increase because he knew it wasn't best to sell his beliefs for money, but all the while hating his town his nickel and dime business where he cant profit much by helping others. He complained all along..which was hilarious "trapped"

Man on Porch: Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death? George Bailey: You want me to kiss her, huh? Man on Porch: Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people.

George Bailey: Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter! Mr. Potter: And Happy New Year, In Jail! They're At Your House Right Now!

George Bailey: [yelling at Uncle Billy] Where's that money, you silly stupid old fool? Where's that money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison. That's what it means. One of us is going to jail - well, it's not gonna be me.

Mary: I feel like a bootlegger's wife!

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

 It's A Wonderful Life is certainly popular now, but it was a bust at the box office when it was released in 1946. Its flop effectively ended Capra's career. The actors - Jimmy Stewart, Donna Read - went on to further success; but the plot reminded people of the bank runs of the pre-War era (hardly a happy memory) and they stayed away in droves. The Best Years of Our Lives was the hit that year; it was (among other things) about a banker who returned to work from the war and decided to lend a farmer money, not about depositors clamoring for their money back from an over-extended S&L.

Nick Procyk adds:

I would second Cinderella Man and Invincible.

March of the Penguins is a true-life movie about a group of emperor penguins that survive the harsh polar winter, breed, search for food — all captured in amazing photography.

Eight Below is another heartwarming movie based on a true story about a guide and his eight sled dogs. The guide is driven to reunite with his canine friends after they were stranded in Antartica during the brutal winter. It's a wonderful story about friendship, courage, and faith.

Riz Din writes:

 The Rocky films, all of 'em. I guess they just caught me at the right time. The first is the best, and Balboa doesn't even win the final bout. His victory is of another sort. The rest of the series works on several levels. You have both the quality of the Rocky films and Stallone's actual career ebbing and flowing with the ups and downs of Rocky's character. The score is everyone's 'go to' music when they want to get pumped up and motivated, the dialogue is wonderful, the characters memorable, and there are many lessons that can be drawn from the storyline, both good and bad.

From the first film:

Rocky: I been comin' here for six years, and for six years ya been stickin' it to me, an' I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya don't wanna know!
Rocky: I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya wanna know?
Rocky: I WANNA KNOW HOW!
Mickey: OK, I'm gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good
fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!
Rocky: It's a living.
Mickey: IT'S A WASTE OF LIFE!

John Lamberg writes:

Life worth living forever? Well, none of the following make that cut, but my favorites are:

Hans Christian Andersen's works. (The Little Match Girl is perhaps the saddest story I ever read, and it stuck with me since childhood. We'll see if Gregory Maguire's "Matchless", a re-imagination of the story compares.)

Holst, The Planets

Bodysnatchers (original)

Forbidden Planet (not for the acting or script, but for Dr. Morbius' secret)

Vincent Andres adds:

The Last Kings of Thule - Jean Malaurie, about ordinary heroes

Many of Giono's books, eg Regain - J. Giono (in french onl)

Many of Pierre Magnan books 

Dava Sobel's Longitude

Order Out of Chaos by I. Prigogine

L'imprévu by I. Ekeland (in french only)

Des rythmes au chaos by P. Bergé, Y. Pomeau, M. Dubois-Gance, 1994.

For pointing an interesting trail, Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity by John Gribbin.

The Foundations of Ethology by K. Lorenz 

Studies in Animal and Human Behavior  by- K. Lorenz

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View Of The Origin Of The Universe by Steven Weinberg 

Mon oncle d'Amérique by A. Resnais (in French only)


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12 Comments so far

  1. alice allen on December 13, 2009 4:48 pm

    Some serious, some frivolous, most make you glad to be alive, and some are worth living just to experience:

    Movies

    Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

    Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

    The Color Purple (1985)

    Non-Fiction / Biography

    All Over But the Shoutin’ (1999) - Rick Bragg

    Three Cups of Tea (2006) - Greg Mortensen

    The Hiding Place (1971) - Corrie ten Boom

    Left to Tell (2006) - Immaculee Ilibagiza

    Novels

    My Antonia (1918) - Willa Cather

    Music

    Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell (1970)

    Greatest Hits TV Series (all episodes in order)

    The Wire (2002-2007) - David Simon - complete series (HBO)

    Up Series - British documentary series (Seven Up!, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up, 56 Up in late 2011)

  2. Aubond on December 13, 2009 5:35 pm

    Literature - Dostoevsky’s greats from age 12 on kept me interested for the next 34 years, not forever, but a good long while. While not rising to that classic level, any Walker Percy puts a smile on my face and has always made me long for home and to expect something startling noteworthy right around the corner - even if its a gunshot through the garage. Odd how it still makes me smile.

    Movies just add a day or two to my life.

  3. michael bonderer on December 13, 2009 9:19 pm

    Antonini’s L’elisse just to watch Monica Vitti and her pouty lips, her walk and generally the way she carries herself. The last in a trilogy that include L’avventura and La notte.

  4. Anonymous on December 13, 2009 10:17 pm

    Shawshank Redemption, Walden, and a second on The Wire

  5. FRANK LINET on December 14, 2009 12:25 am

    MOVIES
    1. People Will Talk
    2.Penny Serenade
    3.Pink Flamingos
    4.36 hours
    5.North By NorthWest
    THE SHOW OF SHOWS
    TELEVISION OR THE GREAT WASTELAND DID ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA TRANSMIT THE SHOW OF SHOWS THE ULTIMATE IN REALITY T.V ,IT AIRED CONTINUOUSLY 11/22/63 UNTIL 11/25/63 FROM 1PM E.S.T UNTIL 10.P.M EST AND SADLY VIRGINIA THERE IS NO SANTA …

  6. sjc on December 14, 2009 12:56 pm

    I would recommend these three movies to any male who likes sports, hardwork, and/or women:

    1.) The Midnight Cowboy
    2.) Vision Quest
    4.) Scent of a Woman

  7. Steve on December 14, 2009 11:24 pm

    A few of the greatest musicals just because so few of them are made any more.

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

    Showboat

    Oklahoma

    Dream Girls

    Chicago

    South Pacific

    Moulin Rouge

    Phantom of the Opera

    Les Miserables

    Cats

    As for Opera

    Madame Butterfly

    Tosca

    Turandot

    Carmen

  8. Paul Marino on December 15, 2009 12:06 am

     1776 By David McCullough is one of the greatest historical narratives I have read. The difference sometimes between great victory or great defeat is a change in the direction of a day's wind as it was for the depleted Americans who would have been battered by the English fleet who could not come up into the bay by Battery Park and up the Hudson. It’s an extremely engaging book.

  9. Craig Bowles on December 15, 2009 7:33 am

    Having a six-year-old puts Sound of Music at the top of our list. Interestingly, the German’s called their global takeover attempt The New Order just like the current fascist takeover attempt.

  10. Jon Margolis on December 17, 2009 10:16 am

    lot of people putting up a lot of serious movies but what’s a life worth living without laughing…

    Movies:

    Caddyshack

    Fletch

    Annie Hall

    Anchor Man

    Old School

    Forgetting Sarah Marshall

    Hangover

    Good Will Hunting

    Shawshank Redemption

    Hoosiers

    Braveheart
    (i could go on for a while)
    Books:

    On The Road

    Catcher in the Rye

    really almost anything Hemingway or Sallinger

    TV Series

    The Wire

    The Shield

    Family Guy

    Original BBBC The Office

    Music:

    Good Riddance (time of your life) by Green Day

    Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

    Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi featuring Ratatat

    Everything in its Right Place by Radiohead

    all these will stir up emotions across the spectrum, which in the end is what living is all about

  11. Neil Leshner on December 21, 2009 2:05 am

    Arthur

  12. vic niederhoffer on December 21, 2009 1:42 pm

    Yes. Arthur Niederhoffer. Every one who knew him, loved him. Never did an unkind thing in life. Motto was be good. Leave it be. So what of it. Happiest man in world. Loved every minute of his life. Never complained. Completely the same on the outside and inside. Had a thousand theses and ideas for his students and kids at all times. Encylopedic knowledge of all subjects. Perfect form in all activities. Loved his family. Was able to say that "none of kids ever asked him anything " he didn't say yes to. Was a "second father to dozens". Inspired his students to great work. Loved books, music, art, sports, dancing, board games. Never missed an "evening " with his wife. Thought her the most wonderful woman in world. Cried when they put their book Police Family to bed. Was very gullible and let his coauthor block purloin his thesis " the gang" and same with all con men who approached him. Never said " no " to anyone who needed money. Motto was "Give money, not advice". Played tennis every day of his life. Fantastic off the wall killer in handball. Life shortened by being knocked out dozens of times in football. "It looks like Artie Niederhoffer is down again.".  Always writing, always reading, always playing. vic

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