The Top 10 Films of Victoria’s childhood (and teens)

1. BEETHOVEN

A family decides to get a puppy and they name him Beethoven after he shows a huge aptitude for piano. The puppy grows into a drooling machine that his vet wants to use for animal testing. Hijinks ensue!

There’s also  a slimier version of Mulder before he discovered the X-files and Patricia Heaton before she became Ray Romano’s annoying television wife, and they both are deservedly thrown over a fence after being dragged through the neighborhood by the lead. That is, the lead dragged them around by his leash.

I am reminded of this film almost every time a person offers me a drink of any kind but especially water. Thanks to one inspiring scene cleverly acted by Bonnie Hunt, my parents forbade me and my sisters from watching the film for over a year because my middle sister, Danielle, once drank half my water and then spit it back in before handing it off to me, only to inform me after I had finished it, that she had done so.

2. THE NEVERENDING STORY

Sebastian must save Fantasia through the use of his imagination. His mom has a weird name.

This is another one of several instances of a film that has buried itself into my subconscious and will surface with only the slightest of triggers. One night a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at the Madison Club Lounge and I couldn’t help but notice that on each side of the room, on the opposite walls of the bar, there was the same painting of a hunting dog standing at attention. The affect was eerie and I became convinced that I had discovered another Oracle. My mates were amused but they did not offer to buy me another drink.

Also, G’mork, assistant to The Nothing, is the best movie villain ever and the shoddy animatronics of the time only enhance my claim.

3. INDEPENDENCE DAY

Aliens have come to earth and they do not come in peace. Hijinks ensue!

When you get to the scene about Area 51 it becomes apparent that my love for this movie is probably just an extension of my love for The X-Files. That and even at a young age, I found Bill Pullman’s voice to be ridiculously sexy. After that speech, I’d follow President Thomas Whitmore into any battle. Throw in some other awesome actors like Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, and great lines like, “Welcome to earth.” and “Look at me, I look like a schliemiel.” and you know right off that you’re dealing with a classic.

4. MRS. DOUBTFIRE

Daniel, a father trying reconnect with his family, dresses up as a woman to play nanny and meets his competition, James Bond. Hijinks ensue!

Robin Williams as Daniel: [on a empty set with a toy dinosaur in hand] “Yo I’m a Raptor doin’ what I can gonna eat everything till the appearance of man. Yo yo yo, see me, I’m living below the soil, I’ll be back but I’m comin’ as oil!”

Robin Williams as Euphegenia Doubtfire: [catching the prosthetic breasts of her body suit on fire while cooking] “My first day as a woman and I’m getting hot flashes.”

Need I say more?

5. CONTACT

Jena Malone doesn’t realize how much she misses her daddy until Helen Hunt tries to make contact with an alien race by traveling through a worm hole that may or may not have allowed Leelee Sobieski to meet an alien that looks just like Jodie Foster’s dad.

I like how Carl Sagan wrote this using the same argument of “no physical proof” that we use against religion to take away credibility from an otherwise credible character. Ellie, Jodie Foster’s character, makes contact with an alien but the only record of her space travel is an eighteen hour long tape of static. All other evidence suggests that the impact of the pod she was in falling to the ground and her emotional attachment to her deceased father were enough to cause a delusional state. I love that. Reasoning like that still makes me question everything and still makes my friends want to tell me to shut-up.

Also, every meteor shower I have ever seen has been a pale comparison to the one that takes place in this film but every August I give the universe (in the scientific sense) another chance to surprise me.

6. ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN

Charlie, a flea ridden mutt, is murdered by Carface, a fat English bull dog, but cleverly figures out a way to avoid heaven and is sent back to earth where he befriends an orphan girl and discovers the virtues of being selfless.

This movie is heavy and the animation is intense. Between the murder and resurrection of the main character, the time piece hanging around his neck as a constant reminder of mortality, the booze, smoking, gambling, lying, and the depiction of the devil at the end, I am not sure how it passes as a children’s movie. I watched it again recently and it still made me feel this odd mixture of unease and fascination. It’s not all dark though, one of my favorite scenes involves an alligator singing in operatic voice with Charlie singing in harmony on its back.

7. PHENOMENON

George Malley is just an ordinary guy in a small town until one night he is struck by a blinding light that gives him super powers like telekinesis. Rather than it being a supernatural cause, we find out that George’s abilities stem from a brain tumor that is killing him.

At eleven years old, I really wanted to be George Malley, minus the whole dying at the end of the film thing. And even now, whenever somebody asks me what superpower I wish I could have (and it does come up more often than you would think) I always say, the power to flip through a book and know all its contents immediately. Which is not dissimilar to what Travolta’s character could do. In one scene, George is called on to help a sick man that only speaks Portuguese and he learns the language during a short truck ride, which leads to one of the more understated moments of humour in the film. – Woman: “George Malley, you learned the Portuguese language in twenty minutes?” George: “Not all of it.” –  Thanks to this ability, the scene ends happily, unlike the film.

I really love this movie. It displays the potential of humankind, it’s sappy and cheesy, and it still makes me cry every time I watch it.

8. THE MATRIX

Neo takes the red pill and discovers that the human race is actually a slave race for machines and that he is the chosen one to lead the battle in rising up against them. Hijinks ensue!

I was fourteen when The Matrix was released and it was the first time I was allowed to watch a rated R film. My parents had a somewhat strict way of raising me and following rating guidelines for R rated films had been the protocol up until this point. I was shocked when they let me rent it from the local Movie Gallery, then elated when I realized I would be able to talk with friends about it, unlike what had happened when I was in third grade and everyone besides me had seen Jurassic Park. I didn’t understand why they were so strict until I was in the middle of writing this blog and realized that “All Dogs Go To Heaven” scarred me for life. Needless to say, The Matrix blew my mind. Thankfully I saw it in my living room and not in the theater or the former sentence would have been literal.

9. THE THREE LIVES OF THOMASINA

A young girl’s cat dies when her vet father refuses to help the sick animal. The girl’s father eventually learns how to get past the loss of his wife and be there for his child through the mysterious re-appearance of Thomasina and a new love interest that might be a witch.

The number of times I watched this as a young child is so high that I won’t even venture a guess. It must have been to such a high count that again aspects of the film invaded my subconscious and are still affecting me now. This must explain my love for cats, love for the Scottish accent, and why I am not afraid of badgers.

It’s really sad that this Disney film seems to be almost entirely forgotten.

10. ALADDIN

Aladdin is a poor boy living and stealing in the streets of Agrabah until he steals a magic lamp with a genie in it that grants him three wishes. None of his wishes were to meet princess Jasmine but it still happens and another forbidden love story begins.

I learned every song in this movie and insisted on playing Jasmine every time my sisters and I played dress up. Knowing every song also led to me singing one of them in the school talent show that year. The song was “A Whole New World” and I sang it with my younger sister playing the part of Aladdin. This was not a short cut to winning the grade school popularity contest.

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One response to “The Top 10 Films of Victoria’s childhood (and teens)

  1. Who does not like Interdependent day? That speech that Bill Pullman makes, is just epic. And any classic Robin Williams movie is good. Same goes with Disney, with Aladdin.

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