“What is your favorite movie?”
My 11 year old granddaughter Ella caught me off guard with that question. She seemed quite serious about getting an answer, but I couldn’t come up with one. “Let me think about it”, I told her.
Actually, what she really wanted to do was to tell me about her favorite movie. She had no hesitation at all. The Hunger Games. And, she was glad to tell me why.
Katniss, the main character, is “awesome”. She is pretty, strong and smart. Finnick Odair, one of the boys in the movie, is awesome too. In fact, Ella plans to marry someone exactly like him, right down to the British accent (which she has been practicing). The next movie in the series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is premiering on November 22 and she is counting down the days. The first movie was shot in the mountains of North Carolina, not far from Asheville, so she wants me and her Papa to take her there on her next visit. The books are great, she said, and you “must” read them before you see the movies.
Fortunately, she didn’t ask me about my favorite movie again. I felt bad not having an answer. Why couldn’t I come up with the name of my favorite movie?
Then it hit me. Ella has just a few short years of movies to choose from. I have …. get ready for it … over 50 years of choices! No wonder an answer doesn’t roll easily off my tongue.
I didn’t see movies when I was young like Ella. The movie theater (the only one around) was about 20 minutes away. My dad didn’t care for movies (or, more specifically, he didn’t like movie theaters) and my mom didn’t drive. It was only when I could drive myself or date someone with a car that I began to go to the theater. One of the first movies was Rosemary’s Baby … not a great choice since it scared me to death.
As I think back on the “decades” of movies I’ve seen … first in theaters, then on DVD’s and TV, and now on Netflix streaming and pay-per-view, I realize that the word favorite is tricky. Favorite comedy? Favorite drama? Favorite romance? Favorite futuristic flick? Favorite monster movie? Favorite psychological drama? Favorite documentary? Favorite adventure movie?
Now that I think about it, I could have mentioned West Side Story from the 60’s; Star Wars, Rocky, Saturday Night Fever and The Sting in the 70’s; Top Gun, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones in the 80’s; Forrest Gump, Pretty Woman and Sleepless in Seattle in the 90’s; Slumdog Millionaire, Seabiscuit and Million Dollar Baby in the 00’s; and The King’s Speech, Life of Pi and The Social Network since 2010. She probably wouldn’t have known any of these, of course.
So, maybe I should have told her that I have a lot of favorite movies, but not one all-time, overall favorite.
Or even better, maybe I should have told her that my favorite movie is The Hunger Games. She would have been skeptical, but pleased. And the truth is that I actually liked the movie a lot and plan to watch the sequel.
86 days and counting!
p.s. You may want to start thinking about the answer to the favorite movie question before it stumps you. Or, maybe you really have one all-time favorite movie? Let me know!