I was intrigued and inspired by the recent article “The Candidate’s Favorite Movies” from Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times. Discovering what a person’s favorite movies are can truly say a lot about them. As one commenter on the article put it:
I recently went out with a girl. After a few stock questions, “Where did you grow up?” “How many siblings do you have?” we came upon the infamous “What’s your favorite movie?” After she told me SON IN LAW with Pauly Shore I knew it was going to be a long night.
That’s not to say that compatible lists of favorite movies are the be-all and end-all of relationships. Some of my best friends have radically different taste in movies compared to mine, and we get along just fine before, during, and after we argue about whether or not a certain movie is even worth the film it’s printed on, much less the price of a movie ticket. And for my part I enjoy re-watching movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin every bit as much as I do “serious films” like Gattaca or Rear Window. But we have good reasons for liking our favorite movies. Or at least, we generally have better reasons than “OMG he’s sooo cute and the movie is sooo funny!”
Anyway, back to Ebert’s article… Despite the fact that the prospect of a McCain presidency scares the living daylights out of me (and don’t get me started on the possibility that Sarah Palin could become Commander In Chief!) I have to say that I’m impressed by his answers. Not so much by the choice of movies, as by the fact that he actually knew something about their background, and wasn’t just giving a from-the-hip “I like them because they’re cool!” answer. He specifically states that he thinks that Viva Zapata! is Brando’s best of the three Kazan films, and tells us why.
I like that this is not a canned answer, fed to him by an aide. I like that he not only enjoys movies, but takes and interest in them. Roger Ebert is right, movies are not trivia. They are a mirror of society and a reflection on our times. I’m still not going to vote for McCain, and I still don’t like his recent run of smear tactics, but I would be happy to sit down with him and talk movies over dinner. I think it would be an enjoyable feast.
I’m a bit put off by Obama’s answer, though to be fair he wasn’t asked to explain his choices. One wonders what his answers would be.
Before I go, here’s my current Top Five list, in no particular order:
One closing thought that has absolutely nothing to do with film… Tell someone that you love them today. You may not get the chance tomorrow.
On My iTunes right now: Mermaid from the album “Love Deluxe” by Sade