People love to talk about movies – the talent, the writing, the singing skills of what’s-her-name. They will tweet it, blog it, and small-talk it over drinks. But ask someone to tell you their favorite movie and they’ll freeze up like you just handed them a life vest and an old VCR and shipped them off to the proverbial desert island with a single VHS tape. “My favorite movie?” they will reply incredulously as if the thought never occurred to them. And then they will mount the evidence to find your pointed question completely irrational.
They could give you their top ten, or their favorites from the last decade, or perhaps it would be make more sense to list one per genre, or broken down chronologically by the stages of their life. “There’s no way to pick my favorite movie” they’ll argue.
But once you get them going on their list it becomes very clear that Casablanca is a necessary counter-balance to Pretty Woman and the weight of No Country for Old Men helps offset Dude, Where’s My Car?. I’ve observed the average “favorite” movie list consistently covers the spectrum from blah Oscar contender to green-tomatoed screwball comedy. Turns out sometimes “favorite” is a matter of quality, and sometimes it’s a matter of taste.
My conclusion: one’s favorite movie library is much like one’s wine library. There’s the old standby after a tough day, the favorite you break out at parties, the one you save for when your snobbier friends are in town, and the one you only reach for when nobody’s looking.
Thus, I’ve created my list of “favorites” with my own personal twist – categorized by varietal.
Rose: The guilty pleasure – a little on the sugary side but will always hold a special place in your heart. This is that movie from your younger years you may actually still have “in the box” – much like any self-respecting White Zinfandel should be. For me, it’s Pretty in Pink. And Mannequin. And Serendipity. Or pretty much anything with Andrew McCarthy or John Cusack.
Champagne: The crowd-pleaser. It’s also a great go-to when you need a little pick-me-up. You know every line by heart and it goes straight to your head. Pitch Perfect, Clueless and Elf fit this bill for me – the bubblier the better.
Zinfandel: The outlier. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something with a little bite. American Psycho is my Zin.
Cabernet: The just plain great. It’s hard to argue with a good cab. It’s strong, memorable, and timeless – a true classic. For me, it’s The Breakfast Club. My dad and boyfriend would fill this slot with The Shawshank Redemption. I can’t argue with that either.
Bordeaux: The classic. It’s a little stuffy but key to keep on the shelf – if even just for show. It’s the award-winning, critically-acclaimed, you-know-it’s-a-super-big-deal-but-you-don’t-really-love-it movie. Mine is Schindler’s List.
Pinot Noir: The timeless. Before Sunrise is my Pinot Noir. It’s light and bright with a perfect finish and decanted flawlessly over time. My true favorite.
Port: The sipper. You only whip this one out for special occasions and you really just need a taste. It’s a Wonderful Life is my Port.
White: I don’t love whites so they don’t make the cut – they are my Ben-Stiller-facing-off-with-a-ferret-or-other-equally-inane-animal movies. He seriously does this a lot.
So while you may prefer your Chardonnay over my Pinot, who am I to judge? Next time you’re asked about your favorite movie, don’t be afraid to raise your glass high and just admit it’s Bring it On.
What’s your favorite movie?