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ISSUE 115 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/22/2002

Curling up on the couch with these must-sees

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 22, 2002

Spring break is an exciting time -- but it can get a little old if you go home and stay in your jammies until three in the afternoon every day because youre too lazy to stop watching reruns of Judge Judy. Instead, I suggest staying in your pajamas for something more worth your while. Here are a few videos to rent: some old, some new that will make even the slowest, dreariest days go a little bit faster. Harold and Maude (1971): This certainly could be dubbed the most bizarre love story ever made. Bud Kort plays Harold, a 20-year-old who is so obsessed with death that he drives a hearse and goes to funerals for fun. At one of those funerals, he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), an 80-year-old who shares his interest. Watch especially for Korts hilarious fake suicide attempts, but also for his oddly wonderful chemistry with Gordon. Cat Stevens memorable score is another plus. Rear Window (1954): Jimmy Stewart was never more personable and Grace Kelly never looked better than in this 1954 release, one of director Alfred Hitchcocks most-beloved films. Stewart is L. B. Jeffries, a photographer whose broken leg keeps him wheelchair-bound in his New York apartment. Looking through binoculars and his photo lenses, he spies on his neighbors in the courtyard and discovers a possible murder across the way. Also starring Thelma Ritter, Rear Window has everything from rich comic bite to Hitchcocks unsettling suspense. Moulin Rouge (2001): Recently out on video and DVD with extra footage and dance numbers, Baz Luhrmanns lush period piece has classic Hollywood musical written all over it. Up for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Rouge is coded with so much detail that you may need to rest your finger on the rewind button. Nicole Kidman stars as Satine, a courtesan in a 1900 Paris nightclub. Shes courted by a writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), which leads to comedy, wonderful dance numbers, and, of course, tragedy. Casablanca (1942): Heres looking at you, Kid and Play it again, Sam may seem like clichéd lines now, but they originated in the timeless Casablanca. Often considered one of the top films of all time, its unquestionably romantic and entertaining. See where all of the imitations came from, and why the World War II Bogart/Bergman relationship remains so potent in American culture today. You wont be sorry. Shrek (2001): If you resisted this movie merely because the star is an animated green ogre, you should think again. It may appeal to kids, but that doesnt mean adults dont love it just as much. How often does an animated feature get an Oscar nomination for best screenplay? The performances are great too, from Mike Myers take on the green creature to the awesome vocals of Eddie Murphys donkey. And you wont forget the hilarious image of the tortured gingerbread man being dipped in milk. North by Northwest (1959): Even if its late at night, youll have no trouble staying awake for Hitchcocks rousing romantic comedy-thriller. Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, who is mistakenly identified as a killer. Eva Marie Saint is Eve, a friend (or foe?) he meets on a train while hes on the run. There are classic scenes sprinkled throughout this picture, from the train ride to the crop duster to the memorable climax at Mount Rushmore. The wit and adventure are blended so perfectly, you wont even flinch at the sight of Grant crawling around Abraham Lincolns nose. Memento (2001): One of the best modern thrillers in recent memory, Memento was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay. And theres an amazing plot device that sets this film apart from all that preceded it: it unfolds backwards. Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby, a man with no memory who is trying to find his wifes killer. There are fantastic performances all around, not only from leads Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano, but also from lesser-known character actors like Harriet Sanson Harris and Stephen Tobolowsky. Prepare to watch this one more than once, because youll get addicted. Airplane! (1980): If youre in the mood for something stupid and embarassingly funny, this is the movie for you. Parodying everything from Airport to From Here to Eternity, this is the comedy that inspired the slapstick Naked Gun movies. Literally more than a laugh a minute, youll bust your gut at one time or another. Whether its while watching Ethel Merman sing in a war-torn mental hospital or listening to Leave it to Beavers Barbara Billingsly speak jive, its anyones guess.

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