Movies that never seem to get old

My top-ten movies list has twenty-five movies on it (so to speak).

Recently, watching one of my favorite movies, it struck me that of the movies that I return to over the years, not all of them are great movies, at least based on typical top-ten criteria. Yet these films are the movies for me that never seem to get old.

In no particular order, here is the list …

The Princess Bride. Like The Incredibles, The Princess Bride, a grand fairy tale adventure, operates on both an adult and a kid level. It pulls you in immediately (all ages), and you are swept along with the story, the sometimes arch dialog and farcical events only adding to the entertainment. Rob Reiner’s comic direction and William Goldman’s wonderful story are hard to beat, with great performances by Wallace Shawn, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, and of all people, Andre the Giant of WWF fame. 1987. Directed by Rob Reiner..
One, Two, Three. This is a highly informed madcap comedy set in the heart of the Cold War, geographically and in time: Berlin of 1961, just before the Wall went up. Billy Wilder cranks up the pace from the beginning and leaves you out of breath at the end. 1961. Directed by Billy Wilder..
Nobody's Fool. This is a story of an aging small town man with deep flaws, played superbly by Paul Newman, one who abandoned his family and has lived from hand to mouth. Yet he has built a life caring for his friends. 1994. Directed by Robert Benton..
Moonstruck. This is the Godfather without the criminals, an affectionately detailed slice of love-deranged Brooklyn Italian family life. It is such a happy, funny movie. The operatic theme of unexpected love is done to perfection here. 1987. Directed by Norman Jewison..
Arthur. When Arthur first came out, Dudley Moore's comic acting had already gotten my attention, but the premise seemed like it was built on a single joke, and I had no interest in seeing it. After some critical acclaim, I reluctantly joined the queue, and was amazed at what was conjured out of rich drunk guy jokes. 1981. Directed by Steve Gordon..
Auntie Mame. Mame is a free-spirited woman who believes that 'Life is a banquet - and most poor suckers are starving to death.' She is given care of her nephew when her brother unexpectedly dies, and raises him in her very unconventional world, against the wishes of his legal guardian, an often perplexed conservative banker played with great comic style by Fred Clark . It is Rosalind Russell's best role. 1958. Directed by Morton DaCosta..
The Jerk. The Jerk is a naïf, a not-quite-holy fool, who finds his life one astonishment after another. It is the most maniacal and subversive of Steve Martin and Carl Reiner’s movies together. This film provides the perfect vehicle for Martin’s comic style, which I have always enjoyed. 1979. Directed by Carl Reiner..
The Incredibles. The best cartoons growing up were ones that were aimed at both kids and adults, like the Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, or the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The Incredibles manages this multi-layered presence with masterful ease at feature length. 2004. Directed by Brad Bird..
Fargo. Fargo is an almost blissfully surreal take on what the world would be like if everyone had an IQ of 88, building a structure of nincompoopery around a more typical tale of desperate crime gone wrong. This movie could be the Coen brother's extended take on Woody Allen's joke about a village idiot's convention in Love and Death 1996. Directed by Joel Coen..
Dumb And Dumber. This movie just makes me laugh. Usually, movies that feature juvenile humor begin to pale at some point, but Jim Carrey holds my attention as a completely oblivious, selfish idiot. 1994. Directed by Bobby Farrelly..
Broadway Danny Rose. The top of my Woody Allen movie list is reserved for Broadway Danny Rose'. The movie opens with a scene at the Carnegie Deli, with a bunch of (actual) Borscht Belt comedians swapping stories on a lazy afternoon, and one of them begins to tell Danny’s story. Danny is a very small-time theatrical agent in New York City, kind of the Charlie Brown of agents, who never seems to get a break. He works his butt off for small-time acts: Balloon folders, waterglass musicians,one-legged tap-dancers, stuttering ventriloquists, and the like. 1984. Directed by Woody Allen..
Band Of Brothers. This is the best war movie ever made. Technically, it was a “mini-series”, but the writing, directing, acting and production values are all of feature movie quality. This series is intimate, sobering, and gives some sense of the bonds formed in war by soldiers facing death together. It is an account of U.S. airborne troops from their training through their combat experiences at Normandy to Bavaria, culminating in early occupation of Bavaria and central Austria. The filmmaker’s adaptation of the book “Band of Brothers” is particularly acute. Films like Saving Private Ryan, the Big Red One or Platoon were also superb in their ability to bring some realistic depth to the effects of combat on a soldier. Full advantage was taken of the 10 hours of film length to develop a full range of characters and intensify the sense of the emotions and difficulties of living with death, and living with the task of destroying others. 2001. Directed by Steven Spielberg..
Ben-Hur. I first saw this big screen spectacle as an eight year old, and loved it. It was full of action, more believable than most of today’s over-cooked technological wizardry (just think of the disappointing Sherlock Holmes series with Robert Downey Jr; massively ridiculous stunts and special effects, which ruined the stories and minimized the otherwise good acting). 1959. Directed by Vincente Minnelli..
Get Shorty. The wry premise of this movie: the best training for a Hollywood producer is loan-sharking. 1995. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld..
Diner. Diner immediately draws you into a group and a world as if you had always belonged there. After high school, a group of guys continue to meet regularly at their favorite Diner to shoot the shit. They are more comfortable in each other’s company than they are with their girlfriends. The dialog and the acting is very natural and the settings are echt late 50’s. The cast includes some first performances from now veteran character actors: Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Daniel Stern, and Paul Reiser. There aren’t any false notes in this movie. 1982. Directed by Barry Levinson..