Bedtime Story Movies — I’m Building My List

I don’t know if everybody has this kind of list, but there are about 60+ movies that I watch over and over– like favorite bedtime stories. If I can’t sleep… if I’m in overload… or just looking for big smiles and narrative comfort food– I go to one of those movies.

I’ve had copies of “Some Like It Hot” on VHS, DVD, and now Blu-ray — but so far, it’s not available for streaming or download. This is very troublig.
So by ditching cable and all it’s tacked on fees and equipment charges and line fees and this and that and whatever — we cut over 175.00/mo out of our budget. I replace that with 7.00/mo Hulu Plus, and 8.99/mo Netflix, plut the new Wii-U that comes out this year will run both of those services through our flat-screen.
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So that eats about 2 months worth of savings.And in the last few days, I’ve bought and downloaded digital copies of many of my bedtime-story movies that aren’t available through either Hulu+ or Netflix Streaming… (though many are still not available digitally) and every last one of those purchased and stacked together still costs less than one month of cable.
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I know. I’m missing Treme and a couple of other great things from HBO. But that’s really about it. I certainly don’t miss the political bile or the corporate news. Or the endless bank and credit card ads. Or the knee-deep “entertainment, infotainment, and reality” shows. God, no.
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But I’ve got my treats, now. and they’re portable, and loaded on a 500g palm drive.Technology is a wonderful thing.
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Some of these movies are a little dated and lean toward politically incorrect on race and gender, but for the most part, art is ahead of society on such things, so it’s just a few that raise eyebrows.  Many of the older films are a bit like museum pieces — and what a gift to be able to look so clearly at the world our grandparents and great grandparents grew up in!  This has never been true for any other time in history!
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And some are just treasures.  Little gems of storytelling — that define “art” in moviews.  Mmmmmmm.
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Now, if they’d just digitize “Midnight.” — at least the #3 screwball comedy of the US 1030’s. — and where we get the line, “every Cinderella has her midnight.”
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Lynn’s List of “Bedtime Story” Movies

[criteria: Must stand up to repeated viewing; must not be so “jarring” that they are impossible to fall asleep to; must be fun.  This is NOT the “film school” list of great films; nor is it the ratiosinativ list.  These are stories — like all the great stories — the kind sung by bards and told around the campfires of thousands of years.  Some are great films.  Many have great sound or great images.  Some are mythic or epic.  But they all have great narratives.]
Plot, character, diction, thought, melody, spectacle
— in no particular order:
4 Indiana Jones movies
Original 3 Star Wars movies
Lord of the Rings trilogy
8 Harry Potter movies
4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies
V for Vendetta
The Scout
Some Like It Hot
Trading Places
Top Hat
The Phantom
Brassed Off
Sabrina (Bogart version)
Cinema Paridiso
Monkey Business (Grant/Rogers)
The 5th Element
Leap of Faith
Finding Nemo
Bells Are Ringing
My Sister Eileen
My Friend Irma
Joe vs the Volcano
Swing Time
We’re No Angels (Bogart)
Independence Day
Il Postino
A Good Year
My Favorite Year
Enchanted
Bottle Shock
Wizard of Oz
Greencard
Under the Tuscan Sun
His Girl Friday
Hancock
Lady in the Water
The Odd Couple
The Stunt Man
Ghostbusters
Witness
Midnight (Colbert)
Shakespeare in Love
The Butcher’s Wife
Holiday (Grant)
Enchanted April
Bell, Book and Candle
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Rocketeer
Ironman
Ironman II
Batman (Keaton)
Batman Forever (Kilmer)
The Dark Knight (Bale)
Mrs. Winterbourne
The Music Man
Gunfight at the O-K Corral
Father Goose
The Shadow
Chocolat
Casablanca
Ratatouille
Four Weddings and a Funeral
I Married a Witch
Houseboat
Groundhog Day
As Good As It Gets
Kinky Boots
Topper
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)
Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney)
Love Actually
Harvey
The Coca-Cola Kid
42nd Street
UP!
Stargate
White Christmas
Singin’ In the Rain
My Man Godfrey
Pretty Woman
I.Q.
Notting-Hill
The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain
The Talk of the Town
French Kiss
City Slickers
North by Northwest
Pretty Woman
Arsenic and Old Lace
Robin and the Seven Hoods
The Adventures of Robin Hood (Flynn)
Monsters Inc.
Sherlock Holmes (Downey)
Sherlock (Cumberbatch)
Young Sherlock Holmes
Transformers
Labyrinth
When Harry Met Sally
Pinnochio (Disney)
The Canterville Ghost (Laughton)
The Canterville Ghost (Stewart)
The Canterville Ghost (Gielgud)
The Importance of Being Ernest (Firth/Everett)
Arthur
Tootsie
The Ruling Class
Mr. Lucky
Lillies of the Field
Peggy Sue Got Married
American Grafitti
Valley Girl
Adventures in Babysitting
Simply Irresistable

Julie & Julia
Star Trek (reboot)
Star Trek: The Voyage Home

The Shop Around The Corner
Big
Big Trouble in Little China
Lady For a Day
Pocketful of Miracles
The Princess Bride
Ninotchka
Casino Royale (Connery)

The Court Jester

Men in Black
The Producers (Wilder)
The Producers (Broderick)
People Will Talk
Strictly Ballroom
Shall We Dance? (Japanese version)
Shall We Dance (Astaire/Rogers)
Palm Beach Story
L.A. Story
Wonder Man

The Invisible Man

After the Thin Man
The Old Dark House (Karloff)
Frankenstein (Karloff)
Dracula (Legosi)
The Werewolf (Chaney)
The Mummy (Karloff)
The Mummy (Fraser)
The Mummy Returns (Fraser)
American Werewolf in London
Young Frankenstein
Van Helsing
The Goonies
Gremlins
It’s a Wonderful Life
Giant
It Happened One Night
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Cooper)
Gentlemen Prefer Blonds
Stage Beauty
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Ball of Fire
Stalag 17
The Legend of Zorro (Banderas)
 
And yes.  From this list, you should be able to tell the following:
1.  I think Billy Wilder/I.A.L. Diamond are probably the best comic screenwriting team in history.  Some of their dialogue clips by with the rhythm and timing of a perfectly tuned Model-T engine;
2,  I have a soft spot for magic, masks, witches, people in costumes in the woods, ghost stories, and magical realism —  fantasy these are bedtime stories, after all…’
3,  I am a fan of the character actor S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall (and all the great studio charachter actors of the 30s and 40s);
4.  Some movie remakes are as good or better than the originals (and many are not) — and sequels, prequels and reboots are never a given — but when a story keeps being redone, remade, repeated… it’s probably because the story or the central characters really are JUST THAT GOOD.  see: The Canterville Ghost, The Front Page, The Odd Couple, Sabrina, Pygmaleon, Romeo & Juliet, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, King Arthur et al, etc;
5,  A tight, well-paced story is everything; and, really well written dialogue covers a multitude of sins — and both are as rare as any other great art.
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