Desert Island Film Festival

  • Have you watched your favorite movie so many times that you find yourself regularly reciting all of the lines in unison with each character?
  • Are you guilty of randomly incorporating quotes from your favorite movie into everyday conversations? 
  • Do you turn on subtitles so you don’t miss a single word?

Whether we want to laugh or cry or be inspired, we all seem to have our favorite go-to movies and will not hesitate to watch them again and again and again so we posed an age old question, what five films would we choose to bring with us to a deserted island? 

Amanda (30-Something Millennial)

I’m not a big movie person, but there are a few that I can’t resist when I see them on TV or need to kill time on a long-haul flight…OR, if I’m stuck on a desert island, would want them to be on repeat.

  • Can Christmas happen if you don’t watch ELF or Love Actually?
  • I long to go to law school every time I stop to watch Legally Blonde. Plus the “bend and snap” is something every gal should have in her bag of tricks.
  • You can’t go wrong with anything Nancy Meyers has written: Father of the Bride; It’s Complicated; The Intern; Something’s Gotta Give to name a few. So many great actors and timeless characters in each film. Plus, not only are the stories great, but the sets will make you want to redecorate your house. In fact, Nancy’s own kitchen has garnered attention on Instagram!
  • Lastly, can’t forget about the classics. I’m a fan of Grease, but also I’m a fan of the lesser known Grease 2. It was some of Michelle Pfeifer’s finest work and maybe the most underrated soundtrack of all time.

Karen (F’ing Fifties)

I have so many questions:  How did I get here?  Did any supplies make it with me?  Will I be able to charge my phone in order to watch all of my movie choices and still have enough power to send SOS signals?  Given my current situation, my first movie choice needs to be something that will give me some survival tips but entertain me as well.  Since Gilligan’s Island is not technically a movie, I will need to find another way to learn how to fashion a phone charger from a coconut.  Wait, are there even any coconuts on my island?  Before I start foraging for food, supplies and free wifi, I will put together my list of necessary movies to get me through my unplanned vacation:

  • Cast Away – too obvious? I already told you I need a movie to give me hope and help me survive.  I’m hoping Andy (my Android phone/companion) and I can pick up a few tips from Chuck Nolan & Wilson.  And, based on a previous event now referred to as “the toilet incident,” I know for a fact that Andy will not try to escape by floating away.  He does not know how to float.  He sinks (and very quickly I might add).   
  • Grease (the original) – This movie will serve a dual purpose, first of all, it is the movie that defined my childhood. I LOVED this movie so it has the nostalgia factor going for it, but, it will also serve double duty by providing inspiration for my daily exercise routines (do you burn more calories performing the Hand Jive or Greased Lightning)?  And, in the absence of flares or a foghorn, perhaps rescue workers will hear my screeching vocals while I put the “false” in John Travolta’s famous falsetto note at the end of “Summer Nights.’” As a last resort, maybe a passing ship will catch a glimpse of me rolling on a random log, my desert island version of rotating planks, while belting out “You’re The One That I Want” in my tropical water version of the movie’s fun house finale.
  • Bridesmaids – I find myself consistently literally LOL’ing all throughout this movie no matter how many times I watch it. Kristen Wiig is a comedic genius.  Throw in Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and the rest of this amazing cast and Andy and I may temporarily forget that we are stranded alone on a deserted island.  It may even inspire us to “hold on for one more day.” 
  • The Holiday – who among us does not fantasize about an entirely different life, on the other side of the world, in a picturesque postcard of a town? With Jude Law?  Yes, please.

My final movie choice is a tough one, there are so many more to choose from:  Blues Brothers, Goodfellas, A Perfect Murder, It’s Complicated or almost any one of Nancy Meyers movies – as Amanda stated, her movie sets are #housegoals.  I can entertain myself for hours just by pausing each kitchen scene to devour every fabulous detail.  So, how do I narrow down my final choice?  Do I switch gears and bring along the most boring movie on the planet so I have something to put me to sleep night after night?  You see, I now believe Andy & I will have an extended stay on our private island, so perhaps I should choose something more along the lines of Swiss Family Robinson.  Do you remember their pimped-out treehouse? And they did it all without a degree from HGTV!  If presented with today’s options, I wonder if the Robinson’s would choose to Love It or List It?  Since I now believe that I may be here for a while, my final movie choice would have to be:

  • Purple Rain. As a movie its ok, but, oh, that soundtrack!  If that soundtrack could get me through a teenage breakup and/or endless hours stuck in rush hour traffic, I imagine, dearly beloved, it is just what I would need to get me thru this thing called life.  Especially if that life is on a deserted island.

Lindsay (Fabulous 40’s)

Five movies I could watch over and over again and not stick a knife in my eye if I was on a deserted island is so easy!

  • Pretty Woman – A girl has all the time in the world to dream when deserted, so why not watch Richard Gere having a few laughs with Julia?  Richard is not hard to look at for a few hours every day.  I might as well sip from my coconut and dream some millionaire will whisk me away but with my luck it would not be an Edward lookalike but more of a Phillip look alike (aka George Costanza). 
  • Tommy Boy – My ALL TIME FAVORITE comedy. There are so many awesome one-liners in this movie I could not take count.  I can almost recite the movie now, and it never gets old.  Chris Farley is a comic genius. 
  • Bridges of Madison County – some may say it’s a movie about adultery….I say it’s a beautiful love story.  I read the book and was so excited when it was made into a movie and it did not disappoint.  Well done Clint & Meryl!!!  I cry like a baby when she has her hand on the car door handle and is almost ready to leave her husband and run into Clint Eastwood’s truck to live happily ever after, but doesn’t in order to be true to her husband and kids.   Run to Robert, Francesca!  Run!
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Love, love, love!!!  Witty comedy with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.  They are so amazing together.   A few hours a day with Matthew will make any woman’s day.  Mad applause for never getting a boob job, Kate.  Helps us boob challenged to feel adequate.  What a delicious love story with tons of laughs. 
  • The Notebook – Another amazing love story with two actors I would have thought were odd together and yet were so adorable.  And yet again, another crier.  And yet again, Ryan Gosling for hours won’t make any stranded woman sad. 

Clearly there is a theme to my movie favs.  All are love stories, with the exception of Tommy Boy. I am a romantic, and I love a good cry surrounding a great love story. I hope my deserted island has tissues.   If you have not seen these movies (GASP!), get on it!   All full of laughs and love and hopefulness. 

Brooke (60-Something Baby Boomer)

I’ve always considered myself a movie buff, but this topic has caused me to reexamine that assertion. I don’t see many movies in the theater and my attention span has ebbed dramatically, making a two hour commitment near impossible. The list I’ve compiled spans 53 years of Hollywood output, but the last film to make the list (actually the last two!) were released in 1995. Have I not found anything worthy of all star status in the last 25 years? Ah, I’m overthinking, as usual. These are just five films I have watched over and over. Five films that evoke emotions in me, reignite memories and leave me smiling. And that, in my opinion, is what movies were designed to do.

So…in no particular order:

  • Braveheart (1995) – a perfect balance of history, action, gore and epic love story. All that and Mel Gibson in all his boyish and blue-faced beauty.
  • An American President (1995) – my all-time favorite Rom Com. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor. Smart, funny with a great supporting cast and palpable chemistry between Annette Bening and Michael Douglas.
  • Jaws (1975) – those who know me well have heard my theory that Jaws is a flawless motion picture. The opening scene provides the unmitigated scariest 60 seconds ever put on film. Midway through, Spielberg gives us rollicking humor, great pathos and electrifying terror all in one scene with Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and the incomparable Robert Shaw aboard The Orca. Like all our primal fears, Jaws never leaves you.
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – I think I share this one with many people. Developed from a Stephen King short story, Shawshank delivers on so many levels: good vs evil, the gift of deep and abiding friendship and the perseverance of human beings to find their peace. Morgan Freeman as Red, narrates as we follow the wrongly-accused but indomitable Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) through his journey to “get busy living, or get busy dying.”
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) – I had a number of contenders for the #5 slot but finally settled on this iconic Jimmy Cagney classic bio of George M. Cohan. Maybe I chose it because our country has changed so much and not in a good way. Do I sound old? Well, I am. So be it. But I challenge you to watch the bandy-legged Cagney tap-dancing down the White House steps to the title song and not get a little patriotic thrill.

There’s my 5. This exercise has made me nostalgic but also grateful that I live in a world with Netflix where, for a mere $20, I can bring up and watch these five all over again.

Do you agree with our choices?

 Did we leave out your favorite?  Let us know!

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8 thoughts on “Desert Island Film Festival

  1. Airplane! Best comedy ever…..

    1. YES! How did we forget that???

  2. First of all, how did I get on this island? Was I in a boat by myself and got stranded? Maybe I was skydiving and got blown off course? Or did my kids drop me off and say they would be back in an hour?

    There are so many films, a few that have already been mentioned (Jaws, Shawshank Redemption, Pretty Woman), but I did manage to come up with some others.

    Rear Window – Who wouldn’t love to be able to spy on your neighbor’s without them knowing it.

    Rocky – Yo, Adrian! We get to see Stallone when he had washboard abs.

    Rain Man – Definitely a good movie…Definitely.

    (Just noticed I have something going with names starting with “R”. gotta change that)

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – because Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Need I say more?

    Last but not least, any of the Griswold Family movies. My family name is Griswold, and these movies just show how normal my Griswold family is…..well, pretty normal….OK, so we’re not perfect. I think I’ll keep them anyway.

    1. We have a Griswold in our club? Please tell me that your father also taught you “everything there is to know about exterior illumination!” Great selection of movies, no arguments here. And, thanks for the reminder . . . it’s three minutes to Wapner!

  3. Thanks for giving us some great ideas on what to watch during quarantine. I do love movies of the 40’s and suggest anything with Hepburn or Bogie. And Brooke, you’re right about that opening sequence of Jaws! I saw it in college, seated between two girlfriends (one of whom I think was you, Brooke? And Peggy?) and having my arms gripped to death during every scary scene, and was deaf from the screaming! Such fun!!

    1. I believe you’re correct, Shelley. I also recall another scream fest viewing Last House on the Left. Remember that one?

  4. Scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy plays opera music for the inmates is one of my most favorite movie scenes ever!
    Fun question indeed !

    1. “Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of s*** and came out clean on the other side”

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