ABC television had a fluff piece on last night (Feb. 17) in order to promote the Academy Awards show this coming Sunday.

The show had the awesome title of 15 MOVIES THAT CHANGED AMERICAN CINEMA.  In reality, it was just a bunch of Hollywood types making a list among themselves.  No critics.  No public voting.  But it did offer yours truly vindication.

StarWarsLogoThe most influential American movie of all time is the original STAR WARS!

This ground-breaking film came out in 1977 and I still love it.  Snow started falling as we drove home after the flick, and with my headlights on “high beam,” it looked just like the jump into hyper space!  “Da-da.  Da-da-da-da-dah!”

The vindication comes from the fact my favorite movie of all time did NOT win best picture for that year.  Some stupid, dumb title that will go unnamed won instead.

How many people know the name of the 1977 winner?  Who DOESN’T KNOW the glorious name STAR WARS!!!

Okay, enough of that.  Now, to my personal Top Ten Movies.  Later, the Top Movies That Changed My Life.

BLUES BROTHERS (has any movie ever crashed that many cars!)
MONTERY POP (The reaction of Mama Cass to Janis Joplin is priceless!)

THE ROBE – 1953. Not because it was the first motion picture in CinemaScope.  Not because the Catholic Church recommended it.  Because as my mother and I stood less than a block away from the theater, I could not read the HUGE red title on the marquee.  I have worn glasses or contacts ever since.
ThemWindowTHEM – 1954. James Arness fights giant ants.  As I lay in bed trying to sleep, my window frame was broken and a piece swung down from the middle.  It looked exactly like a giant ant claw.  I grabbed our largest crucifix and took it to bed with me, but that didn’t help.  I ended up in my mother’s bed.
JEDEDIAN SMITH – c. 1974.  My first paid acting role.
THE HAUNTING – 1963.  Stars Julie Harris in the movie adaptation of a Shirley Jackson book.
WEST SIDE STORY – 1961.  My first movie musical.  I couldn’t believe songs could be welded seamlessly into a movie.  I am still devastated by the ending.
PSYCHO – 1960.  My mother took me to see it. She was a HUGE fan of Alfred Hitchcock.  In the back of my mind, I think she was his “wardrobe supervisor” in his early flicks. I hid behind the seat in front of me when Lila moved down into the cellar.  Of course, I rose up just in time to see the mummy.
HOW THE WEST WAS WON – 1963.  Made for Cinerama screens, my mother, father, and I saw it on a flat screen.  To make it fit our theater, it was divided into three screens.  The only movie all three of us attended together.




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