Top 100 Movies

Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.
— Roman Polanski

This is a list of the American Film Institutes Top 100 Movies of the last 100 years (compiled in 2007).  Here’s what you do: Copy and paste this list into your blog, and bold the ones you’ve seen, then invite others to do the same (I suppose you could “tag” other bloggers, but I’m making this strictly voluntary).

  1. Citizen Kane (1941)
  2. The Godfather (1972)
  3. Casablanca (1942)
  4. Raging Bull (1980)
  5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  6. Gone With the Wind (1939)
  7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  8. Schindler’s List (1993) [I own this, and have seen most of it, but I just can’t get through it]
  9. Vertigo (1958)
  10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  11. City Lights (1931)
  12. The Searchers (1956)
  13. Star Wars (1977)
  14. Psycho (1960)
  15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  16. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  17. The Graduate (1967)
  18. The General (1927)
  19. On the Waterfront (1954)
  20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  21. Chinatown (1974)
  22. Some Like It Hot (1959)
  23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  24. E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982)
  25. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  27. High Noon (1952)
  28. All About Eve (1950)
  29. Double Indemnity (1944)
  30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  35. Annie Hall (1977)
  36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  40. The Sound of Music (1964)
  41. King Kong (1933)
  42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  45. Shane (1953)
  46. It Happened One Night (1934)
  47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  48. Rear Window (1954)
  49. Intolerance (1916)
  50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  51. West Side Story (1961)
  52. Taxi Driver (1976)
  53. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  54. M*A*S*H (1970)
  55. North by Northwest (1959)
  56. Jaws (1975)
  57. Rocky (1976)
  58. The Gold Rush (1925)
  59. Nashville (1975)
  60. Duck Soup (1933)
  61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
  62. American Graffiti (1973)
  63. Cabaret (1972)
  64. Network (1976)
  65. The African Queen (1951)
  66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  68. Unforgiven (1992)
  69. Tootsie (1982)
  70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  74. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  75. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  76. Forrest Gump (1994)
  77. All the President’s Men (1976)
  78. Modern Times (1936)
  79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
  80. The Apartment (1960)
  81. Spartacus (1960)
  82. Sunrise (1927)
  83. Titanic (1997)
  84. Easy Rider (1969)
  85. A Night at the Opera (1935)
  86. Platoon (1986)
  87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  90. Swing Time (1936)
  91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
  92. Goodfellas (1990)
  93. The French Connection (1971)
  94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
  96. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  97. Blade Runner (1982)
  98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  99. Toy Story (1995)
  100. Ben-Hur (1959)

Note: I’ve seen bits and pieces of nearly all of these movies, but I only counted the ones I’ve seen all the way through.


Catching Up

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
— Mark Twain

Boy, it’s been busy around here.  Let me try to catch you up:

Last Saturday, David and I went out to Loudon Valley Vineyards to “cash in” on David’s Christmas present from Nate and Molly.  Saturdays during the winter (well, November through March), you can go there and have a glass of wine and a bowl of soup for $12.  This past Saturday was the last one of the season, so despite the rainy weather, we decided to go for it.  And boy were we glad we did!  The soup was Beef Burgundy, which I’ve never had before, but it was SO good!  Look:


I don’t know if it’s traditional to serve Beef Burgudy over egg noodles, but I can tell you I never want to eat it any other way.  And if anyone has a tried and true recipe for this, I would be grateful if you’d share it.

That night, we picked up my mom from the Metro – she was in town last week for conferences – and then met my uncle in Old Town for dinner.  We had planned to go to a French restaurant, but I didn’t think ahead to make a reservation, so we went to the tapas restaurant where David and I had our first date and then my birthday dinner.  Everything was, as always, delicious, and my mom and uncle raved about the food, so I considered it a success.  We took my mom back to her hotel in Georgetown by way of the Tidal Basin so she could see the early cherry blossoms.  I took some pictures, but they aren’t that great, since it was foggy and dark; hopefully I’ll get down there during lunch one day this week and get some better ones.

Sunday was more unpacking.  You would not believe the amount of stuff we have, and we’ve already given tons of it away.  We still have two boxes plus a small vacuum cleaner to take to Goodwill sometime this week.  It’s unbelievable, truly.

Oh, we also went for the first bike ride of the season Sunday.  It was a perfect day for it, and we rode for about an hour or so, on trails neither of us had ever been on and discovered some new places.  It was wonderful.

Yesterday, I got up early and went for a long walk in the park nearby.  I love getting my exercise in early – then I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.  It was gorgeous, if a little windy and nippy in the morning.

Later, we went to the nursery to pick out tomato plants.  I’m determined to have a crop this year, unlike last year.  David has done quite a bit of research (one reason we’re so compatible is he thinks, I do) and we talked to the guy at the nursery and we picked out two varieties that we hope will do well on our balcony.  Here they are after we transplanted them today:


They’re not that tall now, but we’ll transplant them again into bigger pots when they grow out of these.  We’re also going to plant cucumbers in early May.  I’m hopeful.  Cross your fingers for us.

I asked the nursery guy about seeds to grow in a window box out on the patio and he said it’s really too late for seeds, that we should go with plants that have already sprouted – I suppose that’s why my Alyssum didn’t flower last year.  At least, I hope it is.  In my zeal, I bought a whole flat of purple Alyssum that had already sprouted and flowered a bit, never once thinking that it would be too much, but it totally is.  So I have 3/4 of a flat of Alyssum if you need it.  Just let me know!


We headed to Home Depot for potting soil and more plants, but on the way there, we were witness to a pretty serious car accident, so we got waylaid for about 45 minutes.  We were in the right lane and a car was stopped to turn left from the left lane.  David slowed down just in time to see an SUV speed by us on the left and slam into the back of the car waiting to turn left.  David said he’d slowed down because he saw the car waiting to turn and saw the SUV and wanted to give the lady in the SUV space to get over and go around the car.  I don’t know what she was doing – she had kids in the car, maybe they distracted her – but by the time she saw him and slammed on her breaks, she had no chance to stop.

The car waiting to turn had its trunk completely totaled, and its rear windshield ended up in pieces on the hood of the SUV.  There were four teenagers in that car, and they all appeared to be ok.  I don’t know how neither of the two in the back seat were injured, given how far in the trunk got smashed, but what a relief.  I called the police while David directed traffic around the accident.  The police, fire, and ambulance came, we gave a statement, the mother got taken to the hospital on a gurney, probably as a precaution, and the kids’ father came and took them in his car.  So, all in all, everyone was very lucky.

After that, we finally made it to Home Depot and spent an hour choosing flowers and getting potting soil, window boxes, plant food, and cucumber seed.  $100 later, we headed home.  David put the window boxes together, and then we had a good dinner of pulled pork from the crock pot, baked beans, and corn.  Yum.  We also watched Milk, which was excellent, and I highly recommend it.  The bonus features were also very interesting (and subtitled!  Which, thankfully, is becoming more common, but unfortunately, is not yet required).

This morning, I potted all my flowers and put them in their window boxes.  Here are my petunias:


And here are my geraniums:


I love them.  I hope I don’t kill them.

I finally got the guest room in usable order today, though all the books are still in boxes, awaiting the arrival another bookshelf, which is coming from my parents, so god knows when I’ll get it.  Everything is coming together, and except for three boxes of David’s stuff in the den, and the books, everything is unpacked.  Thank goodness for that.

We went for another bike ride this afternoon, again on a different trail and again seeing all kinds of new things.  It’s so much fun!  The weather is beautiful again today, so that’s lucky.  Now we’re back, showered, and relaxing.  I’m waiting for 8pm, when my Braves take on the Phillies in the first game of the new baseball season!  In honor of the day, I’ve changed my Facebook profile picture to this one:


Yay for baseball!

Best. Weekend. Ever.

“Real life hardly ever does it the way you want to tell it later.”
— Alice, in Range of Motion, by Elizabeth Berg

But sometimes it does.

Now I promise my blog is not going to become all “I’m in love” all the time, but you guys, I am, and I had the best weekend of my life this past weekend. We spent most of last weekend together, and many nights last week, just hanging out, running errands, and watching the Olympics, but it was very casual and low key, for various reasons.  All of last week,  though, he kept telling me how he was planning our first real date for Friday night and that I should dress up (which is code for “Wear the dress that started all of this”), and that he thought I would really love the restaurant he chose, and that he was going to come pick me up and come to the door and everything.  He also told me about 10 times that he’d already picked out the shirt he was going to wear and that he thought I’d really like it, but that he wanted to buy new pants.  It was so adorable.  Saturday, he said, would be more casual, and he told me about the restaurant beforehand and let me pick a movie.

So Friday came and we rode the train home together, but each of us went to our own apartments to get ready.  Around 8, he rang my doorbell, and I opened it shyly, and there he was, holding a single red rose (he’d brought me daisies last weekend) and looking so handsome in a white button down shirt with different colored blue stripes and new gray pants.  I invited him in and gave him a kiss (or two or three, you know), and we just stood there grinning stupidly at each other (which happens a lot actually; we’re kind of dorks that way).  He told me I looked great and we kissed some more and then we drove to the restaurant.  As we got out of the car, he said, “We parked a little ways from the restaurant, and for good reason.”  And as we walked out of the shadow of a building into the square, he pointed and said, “Full moon.”

As we walked to the restaurant, my heels kept getting stuck in the cobblestones (that’ll teach me), and he kept catching me so I wouldn’t fall.  When we got to the restaurant, I didn’t look at the outside of it very closely because I thought I knew what it was, but it turned out I was wrong.  When we got to our table and I looked at the menu, I realized he had chosen a Spanish restaurant . . .  I can’t really explain the feeling I got, but I knew that he’d chosen it on purpose because he remembered that I had studied in Spain twice and loved it so much, and he wanted to take me to a place that would remind me of it.  Have I mentioned that I love him?

He studied the wine list – he’s very into wine and I know nothing, though he’s trying to teach me – and ordered a bottle of Rioja.  When the waiter brought the bottle, he did the whole, look at the bottle, nod approval at the waiter, swirl the wine in the glass, smell it, swish it around in his mouth, swallow it, and nod again for the waiter to pour our glasses – I kind of watched him and seeing him do all that made me smile so big.  The wine was lovely, and we ordered lots of tapas and ate and talked and drank for what seemed like hours, but was really probably only and hour and a half or so.  If I tell you the big thing he said to me over dinner, you’ll think we’re crazy, so I won’t (yet, probably), but that was definitely the best meal of my life.

Afterwards, we walked down to the waterfront.  It was a perfect night: full moon, just the right temperature, breezy.  We walked along the water, then stopped to watch the planes (or to kiss, but who’s keeping track, really?) and just talk some more.  Finally, we headed back to the car, and just before we got there, we stopped to kiss, and the combination of my 4-inch heels on cobblestone, his big feet, the wine, and the sudden stop led to our feet getting tangled and his foot landed on mine and broke the toenail of my big toe pretty far down the nail bed.  It hurt like crap, but we kissed anyway, and it was only after I got in the car that I realized I was bleeding.  Yikes.  He kept apologizing, but I told him not to worry because it’s going to be the funny part of the story of our otherwise perfect first date.

Saturday afternoon, I picked him up and we went to see Pineapple Express.  It was the captioned movie last week, and I worried that he would think that was weird, but he says he doesn’t mind at all.  The movie was so, so funny.  I love Seth Rogen, and James Franco was as good as advertised.  We laughed so much, though we don’t need a movie to do that.  Then we went to Rustico for beer and pizza, though I had a burger.  He had a double chocolate stout (which I didn’t hate), and I had a Hawaiian pale ale of some sort, which was pretty good.  We talked about the inanity of the parents of three at a nearby table who’d brought a portable DVD player for the kids (all under 4) to watch while they ate dinner – why bring your kids out if you’re not interested in interacting with them?  Get a baby-sitter, for crying out loud.  Anyway, we talked about our families and discovered that Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday, and agreed that we don’t have to do Valentine’s Day.

Next, we drove to Gravelly Point, which is a park on the water near the airport.  We sat and watched the planes take off, which put this song in my head, and held hands and talked – we can talk forever.  Then we walked a ways down the path, quizzing each other on whether we’d leave each other for various outlandish infractions.  The verdict: I have to stay with him if he just gets indicted for a felony, but I can leave him if he gets convicted.  I can’t remember what he’s allowed to leave me for; prostitution, I think.

Then we came back to my place for chocolate milk (just one of many things that one of us has mentioned to which the other one has said, “I love ___,” eliciting a kiss from the first one – it’s eerie, really) for dessert, then some beer and Olympics watching.

Sunday, we had tentative plans to get a little bit out of town, but we were lazy lazy lazy in the morning, so I just cooked him breakfast – pancakes and bacon – and then dropped him off so he could do stuff around his house, and I did my own errands.  Around 5, he picked me up and we went to the wine store and the grocery store, then to his place, where he cooked for me for the first time – a delicious chicken stir fry.  He takes such good care of me.  We sat on the balcony for a little while, drinking wine and enjoying the night, then came in to watch Mad Men.  He indulges my furious girl crush on Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan – he says it means he can cheat on me with her even if she’s not on his List, because I couldn’t possibly blame him.  I’m not sure he’s wrong.  But when I turned the tables and said I can do the same with George Clooney then, because he LOVES George, he wasn’t so happy.  I’d actually rather have Joan.

So there you go.  That’s my idea of a perfect weekend.  He did such a good job planning Friday and Saturday – Friday especially – and just being with him, doing the things we’d do anyway, but doing them together, is all I ever wanted.

But now I’ve got to plan a weekend for him.  Good thing I have about a month til we have a free weekend all to ourselves again.

Saturday Stuff

Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
— Bill Watterson

So here’s what’s new in the non-drama department of my life:

1. I finally bought a bathing suit this morning. My old one is miles too big and I don’t even know where it is because I haven’t worn it in over a year. They opened the pool at my apartment complex two weeks ago, and I’ve been dying to get out there. So I did. After I ran this morning (for 15 minutes without stopping!), I did my weights, then changed into my suit and did laps. (If I ride my bike later, can I call myself a triathlete?) It’s hot as hell here today, but the water was nice and cool. I had forgotten how much I love to swim!

2. The captioned movie at the theater this week is Sex and the City! I’m going to head over there in a bit and see what all the fuss is about.

3. I will get home with about 30 minutes to spare before post time at the Belmont Stakes. I don’t follow horse racing, but I do like to watch the big three races each year, and this could be a very special day. I don’t love Big Brown’s trainer (he’s no what you would call humble, is he?), but I think it’s very exciting to see if Big Brown can become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.

4. Steel Magnolias is on right now. God, I love this movie, but it makes me cry and cry and cry. Luckily I’ll have to leave for the movie before the really sad part, otherwise I might float away.

5. Karen keeps telling me to just go to a bar and talk to people. It strikes me as desperate – single, alone on a Saturday night, at a bar – but she says her brother does it all the time and makes tons of friends that way. Something tells me it’s different for girls, but I might give it a shot tonight. Thoughts?

6. My tomato plants seem to be growing ok. I don’t know how long it takes for fruit to come in, but they’re still alive, so I consider that a victory. Here they are:

My Alyssum seedlings have sprouted as well:

I can’t wait to see all the pretty purple flowers!

7. When I was in Greensboro a couple weeks ago, my grandmother offered me some square stools that were part of a set. I told her I would take one and see if Nate could make me a table out of it for my balcony. I stopped in Richmond on the way home on Memorial Day, and told Nate what I wanted and he made it for me in less than an hour – I love that guy! He unscrewed the seat part, measured the base, did some calculations, cut some plywood and screwed the wood onto the base. So easy. When I got it home, I stained and sealed it, and it’s perfect:

He’s very handy!

8.  By now, J and Aimee should both be back on the east coast, and I feel such a sense of relief at that, I can’t even tell you.  I had originally planned to go down to Richmond today to see Aimee and her family, but they’re moving into their new place this weekend, so things are very busy.  We will do something soon, but just knowing she’s so close makes me feel glad.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The heart must speak, and its search for the perfect outlet is the premise of all artistic expression. When words are insufficient or impossible, and physical gestures fall short, music is a language by which the soul can be heard. But when music itself is unattainable, the silence can be more than one spirit can stand.
— from Music to My Ears, by Timothy White

I was watching Once last weekend – have you seen it? It’s amazing. It’s a love story about an Irish street performer and a Czech musician, and it’s told largely through the music they write and perform in their roles. If you haven’t seen it, you are really missing something wonderful.

The day after their first meeting, she takes him to the music store where the owner lets her play the piano for an hour at lunchtime. He gives her the music to his song, Falling Slowly (the Academy Award winner for best song this year, by the way). He teaches her the basic parts of the song, then he begins to play on his guitar, and she joins him on the piano. He sings the first verse, and she comes in on the chorus, and it was at that point that I started to cry. I just sat there watching in the dark, listening, with tears streaming down my face. The thing was this: I could tell that the song was gorgeous and full and beautiful, but I knew I wasn’t hearing it all, if that makes any sense.

Ever since I lost my hearing, music isn’t as rich of an experience for me as it used to be, and that makes me unspeakably, and sometimes unbearably, sad. Most days, I’m good – this is just how I go through life now, you know? It is what it is, and it doesn’t do any good to lament what I lost. But there are moments every once in a while where I just get blindsided by the heartache of growing up as a hearing person – someone whose life was enveloped in music, who used to play instruments and dance, and more than anything else, sing – and being reduced to this.

I haven’t sung in public since I lost my hearing because I’m afraid that I won’t be on key and I’ll embarrass myself.* Some days I’m sure I could do it, after almost 5 years with my implant, but I never take steps to try, because if I fail, I’ll be devastated. Once, about 9 months after I lost my hearing, a friend asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I told her I really wanted to get people together and go do karaoke, but that I was afraid because I was never sure if I was on pitch when I sang along with the radio. She looked at me sadly and said, “You aren’t.” She said it gently, and she meant well, but it broke my heart then, and it’s always in the back of my mind when I think about trying now. I still sing – my nephew has his own theme song that I made up for him, the Princess loves to hear “Winnie the Pooh” (House at Pooh Corner, by Kenny Loggins), and I sing out loud to myself when I’m alone – but singing for yourself is a distinct experience from singing for an audience, and I miss that so much.

And I can’t just turn on the radio anymore, because without context – the title of the song on my iPod screen, for instance, or knowing the order of tracks on a CD that I’ve owned since before I lost my hearing – new (meaning post-2002) music is mostly just noise to me. I’m am very much out of the loop when it comes to whatever’s hot these days. I’ve downloaded a fair number of songs I didn’t know before I lost my hearing, but to recognize them without cues requires finding the lyrics online and listening along multiple times. Even then I’m never sure if the melody I hear is the true melody of the song.

So this, you see, is the great sadness of my life. There’s nothing like music, is there? I read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers, several years before I lost my hearing, and looking back over some of the quotes I copied from it makes my spirit ache a little bit:

She had just drawn whatever came into her head without reason – and in her heart it didn’t give her near the same feeling that music did. Nothing was really as good as music.

I’ll say.

But all the time – no matter what she was doing – there was music. Sometimes she hummed to herself as she walked, and other times she listened quietly to the songs inside her. There were all kinds of music in her thoughts. Some she heard over the radios, and some was in her mind already without her ever having heard it anywhere.

I copied that down when I read it because I think it describes me to a tee, even now. And I do still have music – anything I knew before I lost my hearing is mostly readily available in my memory, and when I hook my implant up to my iPod, the music fills my head and I can still hear that opening guitar riff from Boys of Summer or the organ on Hear Me in the Harmony, the clarity of Celine Dion’s voice (shut up; I’m a sucker for a power ballad) or David Gray’s wavering tenor, the perfect harmony on the chorus of When I Said I Do or the gorgeous piano melody of Mandolin Rain. It makes me cry and uplifts me all at the same time, because just knowing that music even exists at all is really something, isn’t it?

* Edited to add: I just remembered that I have done karaoke once since I lost my hearing, in law school, but I didn’t sing by myself, so I don’t count it.