Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

A catalogue of film recommendations from a graduating senior

In two years of writing movie columns for the CW, I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of people. They have allowed me to write with great passion and openness about the thing I enjoy most: movies.

I have always believed that my writing and analysis should be treated with great care. I do not know everything that columnists owe their readers, but one thing seems certain: honesty. It is the least we can offer; no agenda should trump that.

Therefore, I would be remiss to leave my post as columnist without giving to you the one thing that epitomizes this honesty: earnest movie recommendations.

I would be lying if I said this was easy; in fact, the hardest thing for me to do is to give a sure-fire recommendation. My credibility may be at stake, but even worse than that would be for you to consider the time you invested a waste. However, there are few things better than a good movie recommendation.

What follows here is not my list of the “best” movies ever made. It is not even a list of my “favorite” movies ever made. (I have always believed there is a clear and distinct difference between the two.) Some movies may in fact belong to one of those categories, but that is not the reason they have found their way into this piece.

The movies in this piece are the ones that you need to see before you die. They may shake you to the core or offer insight into the human condition. They may simply make you smile or laugh or cry. Even if it’s only for a short time, a lift in spirit is sufficient enough criteria. They are the films I believe you need to see, even if you do not like them. I promise that you will be a better person for it.

If a movie is left off, it was most likely due to three factors: 1) It does not belong on my list (most likely belongs on your list). 2) I simply forgot the film or have not seen it yet.  3) Some films are so obvious that I have no doubt you will be forced to watch them by those close to you. One final note: this is not intended to be comprehensive. I have concentrated on just a few genres, and I have left off animated films (“Up”), short films, foreign-language films (catalogs of Bergman and Kurosawa), and documentaries (“Hoop Dreams”).

I want to start with some classics – “Casablanca,” “A Man for All Seasons,” “Godfather” trilogy, “The Wizard of Oz,” “Schindler’s List,” “The Best Years of Our Lives,” “All About Eve,” “Chinatown,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “How Green Was My Valley,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Jaws,” “On the Waterfront,” “The Apartment,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Sideways.” (The “quotability” of these films is almost reason enough.)

Filmmakers you should be extremely aware of include Hitchcock (“Notorious” and “Strangers on a Train”), Scorsese (“Goodfellas”), Eastwood (“Mystic River” and “Gran Torino”), Lumet (“Network”), and Allen (“Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Match Point”).

Some comedies that are worth your time are “When Harry Met Sally,” “It Happened One Night,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Modern Times,” “Blazing Saddles,” “The Awful Truth,” “City Lights” and “The Full Monty.”

Musicals include “An American in Paris,” “West Side Story,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Sound of Music.”

I think legal cinema needs its own category; films to see include “12 Angry Men,” “Inherit the Wind,” “The Verdict,” “The Life of Emile Zola” and “Young Mr. Lincoln.”

I also think war films deserve their own category; they speak to much more than just violence. Do yourself a favor and see “Patton,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Deer Hunter” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930). If you’d rather make love than war, you have “Before Sunrise,” “Shopgirl” and “Paris, je t’aime.” If you’d like to do both, there is always “From Here to Eternity.”

While there may be a plethora of other genres, I do not have the word count to address them all. I just wanted to include the ones that have had the greatest influence on me.

I will end with a shout-out to my favorite movie: “Clue.” It’s my “favorite” because I can watch it over and over again and never get tired of it. I’ve never gone public with it before, but there you have it.

It’s been a real pleasure these past two years. May your life be filled with many great movies to come; I can only hope that this list provides you with at least one such experience.

Farewell and Godspeed!


More to Discover