To me, movies are the most compelling form of storytelling. Film is the only medium that combines narrative, sound, and the visual. Together, these elements have the power to bring history to life and concerts to our living rooms.
Movies are unique in their ability to create a shared experience for their audience. During their two hour run, the images on the silver screen can make a room of two hundred strangers laugh and cry together. Whether the film is set in suburbia or on a far off planet, a movie and its characters reflect relationships and issues that people from all walks of life can relate to.
When we find films that make us feel something, we tend to keep those same movies in a tight rotation, rarely searching out movies we haven't heard of. Here is a list of movies you probably have not seen, but most certainly should.
1. "Barefoot in the Park"
This 1967 movie begins just moments after Corie and Paul Bratter's (Jane Fonda and Robert Redford) wedding. It details the exciting and unsure first few weeks of the couple's wedded life. Full of mishaps and misadventures, this movie is about young love and what it is like to try to be an adult for the first time. Every scene is funny, sincere, and relatable. This movie may be fifty years old, but it is a timeless classic that everyone should have the chance to see. It is available on Netflix.
2. "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
Ridiculous, fun, and packed with sing-along worthy songs, this 1954 musical is a must see. Set in 1850 in a small Oregon town, this movie tells of seven red-haired brothers who have rather unorthodox methods on how to find themselves wives. With one of the most complicated and famous dance scenes in movie history, this tale is really a sight to behold. It is available to rent on Amazon video.
3. "The Right Stuff"
"Apollo 13" is not the only Oscar-worthy astronaut movie out there. This 1983 historical drama tells the story of military pilots turned astronauts as the U.S. space program was beginning. This movie makes you root for and worry about its characters. You learn to care for these men and their families as they train and compete for the chance to be sent into space. After finishing this movie that the National Film Registry deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," you will most certainly feel more patriotic. You can watch it on Amazon prime.
4. "It's a Wonderful Life"
This 1946 movie is an absolute Christmas time classic. James Stewart plays George Bailey, who receives a visit from a guardian angel on the worst night of his life. The angel shows George what the world would be like had George never been born and proves to him that it is truly a wonderful life. It is rather long but so worth it. George Bailey is one of the greatest heroes in American film and the film's humor stands the test of time. This classic is available for rent on Amazon video.
5. "Little Miss Sunshine"
Who doesn't love a good road trip? Premiering in 2006, "Little Miss Sunshine" follows the dysfunctional Hoover family as they embark on a trip from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach so that the youngest daughter can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. They encounter quite a few obstacles along the way, including mechanical issues that force them to have to push their bright yellow VW bus before starting the engine and hopping in. This movie is full of humor and heartbreak that ultimately bring the family closer together. The all-star cast delivers powerful performances. It is well worth a watch. You can find it on Amazon video.
6. "On Golden Pond"
Katherine Hepburn and real-life father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda star in this 1981 drama. The story follows Norman and Ethel Thayer, an elderly couple, who is returning to their summer home. Their adult daughter, Chelsea, joins them with her fiance and his teenage son. Chelsea has a difficult relationship with her father, a man who is often called "an old poop" by his wife. "On Golden Pond" examines relationships, aging, and love, all while maintaining a sense of bittersweet humor. It's sweet and sad and available on Netflix.