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Top Five Movie Trilogies

With Thanksgiving upon us, I know I’ll soon be in the market for a good excuse to relax after the big meal. If you’re willing to commit to a comfy sofa, and total radio silence from relatives, I suggest you select a stellar movie trilogy and settle in for the night. What follows is my list of Top Five Movie Trilogies. These will get you past the initial food coma, through leftovers/second dinner, and eventually cocktails and pie. Timing is key. Cheers!

  1.  The Godfather trilogy
the godfather

Image credit: The Godfather Part II, 1974

This is how trilogies should be done. Family drama, a dead horse, and a lot of red sauce. Cannoli anyone?

2.  The Bourne trilogy

bourne identity

Image credit: The Bourne Identity, 2002

I’m not typically one for action flicks, but when it includes Matt Damon and glamorous European capitals, I can’t resist. More tortured and damaged than Bond, Jason Bourne could be any one of us. You know, anyone with insane “kill a man with his bare hands” skills.

3.  The Ocean’s trilogy

oceans

Image credit: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

This trio of movies featuring Danny Ocean and his crew of Hollywood A-listers will certainly keep you awake even after the tryptophan begins to take effect. And with scenes of Brad Pitt CONSTANTLY eating, you may feel the urge to join him. Go right ahead.

4.  The Before trilogy

before sunrise

Image credit: Before Sunrise, 1995

Perhaps an unconventional choice, but sometimes a person just wants something small, intimate, and wonderful.  Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight are quite possibly the most romantic films ever made, and I can’t think of anyone better than Jesse and Celine to share an evening with.  Je t’aime.

5.  The Star Wars trilogy (IV-VI)

Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford

Image credit: Star Wars, 1977

I’m including the original Star Wars trilogy because I fear there might be a mutiny among my readers if I didn’t. Contrary to public opinion, yes I have seen Star Wars, and sorry, it’s just not my thing. However, watching the original trilogy films back-to-back is the only way I would want to see them again. It keeps you in the moment, tuned in, and invested in the fantasy. Plus, young Harrison Ford. Enough said.*

(*Gotta admit, if my only goal is to watch 6 hours of Harrison Ford, I’d personally opt for the Indiana Jones trilogy instead.  But I know- Star Wars is a big deal).

 

Top Five Movie Remakes

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I know I often rant and rave about how tired I am of beloved Hollywood films being dusted off and repackaged for today’s audiences, but sometimes lightning does strike twice.  It’s rare, and in fact, I could not think of more than 5 films that managed the remake successfully.  Everything else just makes me want to drink, even more than I already do.  Here is my list of Top Five Movie Remakes (note:  sequels and classic lit adaptations are not included on this list-  we all know Pride and Prejudice will continue to be done to death, in many iterations, for centuries to come.  That’s just the way it is).

1. Ocean’s Eleven

Image credit: Ocean's Eleven, 2001

Image credit: Ocean’s Eleven, 2001

This film is sort of the holy grail of movie remakes.  Steven Soderbergh managed to turn a moldy Rat Pack lark into one of the greatest caper films of all time.  Who needs Sinatra when you’ve got Clooney?  It’s a tough choice between this one and The Italian Job (also a remake), but since they’re basically the same movie, I must choose Danny Ocean’s crew.  Every time.

2.  Sabrina

Image credit: Sabrina, 1995

Paris is always a good idea.  Even when it’s with Julia Ormond instead of my beloved Audrey.

3.  You’ve Got Mail

Image credit: You've Got Mail, 1998

Image credit: You’ve Got Mail, 1998

As much as I love The Shop Around the Corner, I have to give credit to Nora Ephron for turning a classic Jimmy Stewart film into a perfect modern romantic comedy.  Bookstores and Brinkley- I’m hooked.

4.  True Grit

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

I am NOT a fan of Westerns, yet even I couldn’t resist this Coen Bros. update of a John Wayne classic.  Jeff Bridges was born to play Rooster Cogburn, maybe the greatest name in the history of names (sorry, Dude).

5.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

I went into this one with zero expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.  The Danny Kaye version is beloved by classic movie buffs, but Ben Stiller makes it his own here.  It may have flown under the radar upon its release, but as a grizzled Sean Penn says, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”

Ocean’s Eleven

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Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Lately, I’ve found myself longing for a fun-filled, ridiculously overpriced trip to Las Vegas. Not having the time or funds to take said trip, I opted for the next best thing- watching 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven. This is one of the few films in existence that my husband and I both equally enjoy, and we never get tired of watching it. I’m hard-pressed to think of another film that combines such a great cast (not a single weak link in the bunch), a hilarious script, beautiful scenery (who doesn’t want to stand and gaze at the Bellagio fountains after seeing this movie?), and masterful editing. This is the heist movie that you want to watch again and again because even though you know how the robbery takes place, you love to see it happening.

Although this film is chock-full of incredible actors, the member of Ocean’s Eleven who stands out the most for me is Brad Pitt’s character Rusty Ryan. I have to admit, I was not a huge fan of Pitt’s before this movie. I didn’t get what all the fuss was about. After seeing him in this, I am converted. Although the title of this film suggests that it’s George Clooney’s Danny Ocean who holds it all together, in fact it’s Rusty Ryan. He is instrumental in finding the right talent to pull off the biggest robbery in the history of Las Vegas, and he keeps the wheels spinning at all times. While Danny is off trying to woo back his ex-wife (played by Julia Roberts), it’s Rusty who keeps the plans churning. And his cameo (if we can call it that) as a badly-toupee’d doctor during the robbery is priceless. He makes the job look fun, which in turn makes the audience have fun.

I knew from seeing the movie previously that this week’s cocktail should be whiskey-based. How fortuitous that one of the great whiskey drinks in cocktail history happens to share the same name as my favorite character in this film. Therefore, this week’s cocktail is The Rusty (Ryan) Nail:

1 ½ oz Scotch whiskey

½ oz Drambuie

1 twist lemon

Combine the scotch and Drambuie in an old-fashioned glass nearly filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Garnish with a lemon twist.

rusty-nail

I like a Rusty Nail with this film because it makes me feel like one of the guys. I don’t know what role I would play in this group (sadly, I fear I’d be hanging out with the Mormon twins) but it’s fun to imagine being a part of this effortlessly cool gang of criminals who look great, are smart enough to pull off a $150 million casino heist, and have a hell of a fun time doing it. Also, I applaud them for their ability to drink whiskey and keep a clear head. I don’t know if it works the same for you or me, but here’s to at least joining the party. Cheers!