What is your favorite movie?
That’s like asking a librarian to pick her favorite book or Jerry Seinfeld to pick his favorite car, or my cat to pick his favorite place for a nap. There are too many good choices.
However, I come prepared to answer this question. My standard answer is that I have two favorite movies: Singing in the Rain and Almost Famous.
I love Singing in the Rain because it’s a nearly perfect classic musical (I always fast forward through most of the “Gotta Dance” sequence which is fine to watch once, but really drags after that) and it’s one of the first movies I watch with my mother, who also loves it. We probably watched it the first time on TV, probably even with commercials. It’s got really amazing dance numbers, it’s funny, it’s quotable, the costumes are fabulous and it’s a joy from start to finish. It’s everything a good movie can be.
I love Almost Famous because it’s Cameron Crowe–a writer and director who featured prominently in my movie-going experiences as a teenager and early adult–working at his prime. It’s about music, which was the big love of my adolescence, and it highlights changes in the music industry. It’s about a breaking down of gods and heroes, and finding something more real. And it’s also about being really uncool, which I happen to be. I also saw this movie at a particular moment in my life when I was changing and it imprinted on me.
There aren’t reviews of either of these movies on this site. I think I last watched Singing in the Rain in 2003 and Almost Famous maybe somewhere in the mid-aughts. I suspect some aspects of Almost Famous won’t play very well today. But they still stand as my favorite movies. Both for what they are as movies, and what they have meant to me in my life.