Top 5 favorite movies

Published 9:36 am Monday, January 3, 2011

Ilene Grosam, victims’ advocate with the Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center

1. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

I love the series, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the first one. It is a magical introduction into a new world for Harry and a life he could not have imagined. I had started reading the books with my children, and it just seemed a natural extension to go see the movies. At first it was something to do with my kids, but it ended up with all of us spending time together and discussing what we think about the whole movies vs. books debate.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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2. “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”

I am a fan of another huge series, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I first read Tolkien’s books, including “The Hobbit” when I was still in high school. This is another experience that I’ve shared with my kids from the books first, before the movies were even made. The scenery is beautiful, and I admire the ability to take an expansive literary work and still have it make sense on the screen. I like the first one best because it sets the story for what follows, and is less about the battles and more about getting to know the characters.

3. “Sixteen Candles”

Dirty Dancing

Ok, so I’m a big John Hughes fan too. This movie shows many of the uncertain, painful, embarrassing, awkward moments of high school that you can laugh at now all mixed in with a happy boy and girl together at last ending. I think the family relationships are hilarious too. Who hasn’t been embarrassed by their grandparents or other family members, and it’s so much worse when you are a kid.

4. “Dirty Dancing”

Music, dancing, Patrick Swayze in a too tight shirt? I love the goofiness too. And of course the memorable line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

5. “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”

I like the comedic aspects. I love Morgan Freeman in this movie. He’s so much smarter than Robin Hood. I also love the Bryan Adams theme song. Alan Rickman’s villainous sheriff of Nottingham is wonderful to watch, too.

Breaker Morant

Bill Leland, Albert Lea school board chairman

1. “Breaker Morant”

The cinematography is phenomenal, and the story speaks for itself.

2. “The Man Who Would Be King”

Sean Connery and Michael Caine are at their best in this movie about two British soldiers who resign from the army and set themselves up as gods in Kafiristan.

The Little Mermaid

3. “The Little Mermaid”

It is one of the first Disney movies my daughter and I watched together, and the animation and songs are great.


4. “300”

The imagery and story are great, and I also really enjoy the determination and righteousness of the main character Leonida and his wife, Queen Gorgo.

5. “Tom Horn”

I love old Westerns and this movie has a political bent to it that intrigues me.

Dan Dorman, executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency

1. “Stripes”

Bill Murray, John Candy and Harold Ramis, need I say more? No, but I will. The list of quotable lines is long and memorable. Such as, “We’re not going to Moscow. It’s Czechoslovakia. It’s like going to Wisconsin.” A good story, well acted and very entertaining no matter how many times I have seen it.

2. “Christmas Vacation”

Written by John Hughes, this has long been a Dorman family favorite and tradition. We used to schedule annual group viewing with good friends each year. Several romances and marriages resulted from these gatherings. Just ask Steve and Gayle, Tom and Nancy, Chris and Jen or Mark and Jodi what really brought them together. Some will say I have a little too much Clark Griswold in me, but when have I ever overdone anything?

3. “The Outlaw Josey Wales”

I love Clint Eastwood movies in general, but Josey Wales is the one I can watch over and over and over. I know the lines so well that then Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty lost a 12-pack of diet Coke to me in a friendly wager. That exchange was this Bounty Hunter “a man’s got to do something for a living these days” and the reply by Josey Wales “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’ boy.” I guess I should have upped the ante to local government aid! Chief Dan George’s performance as Lone Watie was stellar. His deadpan delivery of lines make them impossible to forget. For example, when Josey comments after losing a friend, “When I get to likin’ someone, they ain’t around for long, Lone Watie retorts, “I notice that when you get to dislikin’ someone they ain’t around for long neither.” Watie is referring to the number of people killed by Josey Wales.

4. “The Godfather”

The Godfather

This picture appears on most lists of the best movies of all times, as well it should. Well written and acted it won the Academy Award for both Best Picture and Best Actor in 1972. A compelling story of good versus evil and how we can be pulled into a life that we desperately wanted to avoid. “Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.”

5. “Blazing Saddles”

Written by, directed by and starring Mel Brooks. I love the entire body of work by Mr. Brooks and History of the World Part I is a close second place here. And the outstanding work of the supporting actors including Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman (who risks “an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor”) and Madeline Kahn is second to none.

Sean Gillam, Albert Lea High School teacher and girls’ basketball coach

1. “Psycho”

Alfred Hitchcock at his best, every little detail is taken care of and adds to the plot.

2. “Pulp Fiction”

Once again a top director at his best in Tarantino. I love the non-linear progression of this film.

3. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton act out their real tumultuous relationship on the big screen through Edward Albee’s amazing play.

4. “Limelight”

Charlie Chaplin’s amazingly melancholy and cathartic look back on his career and the end of the silent film era through a “fictitious” script.

5. “La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful)”

There are many films that could go at this spot, but this is my favorite foreign film. Director Roberto Benigni’s amazingly-told story of one man protecting his boy from the horrors of the Holocaust is funny and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Craig Rayman, activities director for Glenville-Emmons Schools

1. “The Outlaw Josey Wales”

Clint Eastwood did so many good movies, and I did enjoy this one the most. There are many good actors in the film.

We Were Soldiers

2. “A Star is Born”

3. “We Were Soldiers”

This is as real as it got to what took place in Vietnam.

4. “The Godfather”

Another classic I watched at the Broadway around 1972 with many great stars.

The Sound of Music

5. “The Sound of Music”

A great classic I remember watching at the old Broadway Theater.

Jeshua Erickson, Albert Lea school board member

1. “Stand By Me”

It’s about a skinny kid who tells stories — I can empathize.

2. “Chariots of Fire”

It inspired me to be a runner.

3. “Ghandi”

4. “Empire of the Sun”

I like it for the lullaby “Suo Gan.”

5. “Being John Malkovich”

It’s a non-synthetic mind altering experience.

Neal Skaar, Albert Lea High School English and math teacher, assistant wrestling coach

No. 1 “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Burton and Taylor are great and the story gets more real (What is real?) as I get older.

No. 2 “West Side Story”

Great muscial production (Bernstein) based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

No. 3 “Singing in the Rain”

Perhaps the greatest musical ever.

No. 4 “A Few Good Men”

I love Jack Nicholson and the message is clear:  following orders is no excuse. We need to think for ourselves.

No. 5 “The Great Lobowski”

Just a fun film with some substance to it if you insist.