Possible Films for Movie Night

The Wizard of Oz

Previously discussed, and a touchstone for the show.

The Sting [pictured]

A 1973 caper film directed by George Roy Hill, involving two grifters, played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and their plan to con a mob boss, played by Robert Shaw. Set in 1936, it was inspired by real life cons perpetrated by brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff, as told in the 1940 non-fiction book, The Big Con by David Maurer. The Sting received rave reviews and was a box office smash, becoming the #2 film of the year. It won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Rocky

A 1976 sports drama film, directed by John G. Avildsen, with screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, who also stars in the title role as Rocky Balboa. It’s a rags-to-to-riches tale of a working-class small-time boxer in the slums of Philadelphia who gets a shot at a world heavyweight championship. Made on a shoestring budget, it was a sleeper hit, becoming the #1 film of 1976. Critically acclaimed, it solidified Stallone’s career and led to him becoming a major movie star. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is regarded as one of the greatest sports films ever made.

Crimes and Misdemeanours

A 1989 existential comedy-drama directed by Woody Allen, who also stars as Clifford Stern, a documentary filmmaker. The other main character is Judah Rosenthal, played by Martin Landau, who commits a very serious crime, and, stricken with guilt, turns to the religious teachings he had rejected. Cliff and Judah only meet once, at the end of the film, which has a philosophical message. A box-office flop, it was lauded by critics, and is regarded as one of Allen’s best films.

The Singing Detective

A 1986 BBC television serial drama, written by Dennis Potter, directed by Jon Amiel, and starring Michael Gambon. It is about a mystery writer, suffering writer’s block and ill in hospital, who enters a fantasy world involving his novel, The Singing Detective. Although ratings were modest, it was highly influential, and greatly praised in America, where it was later shown on PBS and won a Peabody Award. It is regarded as one of the greatest British TV programs ever made. Rory calls it a “mini-series”, but in fact it was six episodes – a normal run on British television.

Arthur

A 1981 comedy written and directed by Steve Gordon. It stars Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach, a drunken New York millionaire about to enter an arranged marriage with an heiress, but who falls for a working-class girl from Queens. The #4 film of 1981, Arthur was critically acclaimed, and considered one of the best films of the year. Its theme song, “Arthur’s Theme”, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Sir John Gielgud won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Arthur’s valet.

Sophie’s Choice

A 1982 psychological drama film written and directed by Alan J. Pakula, adapted from the 1979 novel of the same name by William Styron. Set in 1947, it stars Meryl Streep as Sophie, a Polish immigrant with a dark secret from her past who shares a boarding house in Brooklyn with her lover, played by Kevin Kline, and a young writer, played by Peter MacNichol. It was a commercial and critical success, and Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.

Cabin Boy

A 1994 fantasy comedy film directed by Adam Resnick and co-produced by Tim Burton. It stars comedian Chris Elliot, who co-wrote the screenplay with Resnick. Elliot’s character is a snobbish, unpleasant man who accidentally gets stuck aboard a boat out at sea, and goes on a fantastical voyage of self-discovery. The film received mixed reviews, and it is a matter of opinion whether it’s one of the worst films ever, an underrated work of comedic legend, or so bad that it’s good.

Desperately Seeking Susan

A 1985 comedy-drama film directed by Susan Seidelman, partly inspired by the 1974 French film Céline and Julie Go Boating. Set in New York City, it stars Rosanna Arquette as a bored housewife, who becomes involved with a bohemian drifter named Susan, played by Madonna in her first major screen role. The film was a commercial success, and received mostly positive reviews, with acclaim for both Arquette and Madonna. It’s considered one of the best films of the 1980s.

Fletch

A 1985 neo-noir comedy thriller film directed by Michael Ritchie, based on the 1974 novel Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald. It stars Chevy Chase as undercover reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher who begins investigating a murder scheme that has unexpected links with the story he is working on. The film received positive reviews, and was a commercial success, performing very well on home media, and becoming a cult film.

Urban Cowboy

A 1980 romantic western film directed and co-written by James Bridges and Aaron Latham, adapted from an article of the same name Latham wrote for Esquire magazine. The story revolves around the love-hate relationship between a couple named Buford and Sissy, played by John Travolta and Debra Winger. Set in Pasadena, Texas, much of the action takes place in a honky-tonk bar playing country music. A critical and commercial success, the soundtrack was also a hit.

Lorelai and Rory managed to whittle their list of films down to a trim 75 possibilities!

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