{life list} AFI's 100 Movies - 90 to 100

We're slowly but surely chipping away at my Life List goal of watching all 100 films on the AFI Top 100 list. We're rating each one as we go, and decided not to look at the other's review before writing our own to make it a bit more fun. Here's what we thought of 90 through 100...

{#100 - Ben-Hur}

What Jared thought... B+. Quite a long movie, but Judah Ben Hur is pretty badass. The sheer production and amount of extras for a movie from the 50s is very impressive.

What I thought... B. Oh, Judah Ben-Hur. Your story is good, but so, so long. The film itself was impressive, given the scale and action and year in which it was filmed, but it could have easily been an hour shorter.

{#99 - Toy Story}

What Jared thought... A. Obviously a classic and was mind-blowing at the time, being the first feature-length Pixar movie. Great storyline, characters, etc. Basically everything is great.

What I thought... A. Toy Story is a classic, and it's the first in a long line of Pixar films that so brilliantly combine a great story with cutting edge animation. I loved it the first time I saw it, and it was just as great all these years later.

{#98 - Yankee Doodle Dandy}

What Jared thought... B-/C+. Honestly don't understand the reason why this is considered one of the top 100 films of all time. I feel like any movie on this list, regardless of knowing any background or not, you should be able to just watch and say, "That was a great movie!" I've watched musicals and whatnot with Sinatra or Bob Hope from that era, and I think any of the ones I've seen would match right up with this one.

What I thought... C. The only thing that saved this movie for me was the back story - if I didn't know that it was based on a true story, or that James Cagney was basically the James Gandolfini of his time and for him to do a movie musical was kind of ridiculous (making his performance all the more impressive) - this would have gotten an even lower grade from me. I love musicals, but there are much better than this (hello, Newsies!) and I'm not sure why this even made the Top 100.

{#97 - Blade Runner}

What Jared thought... B. Very strange movie, but the special effects made for a very realistic-looking world of the future.

What I thought... B. I have to preface this by saying I'm not super into sci-fi, but the story here was interesting. Harrison Ford and the special effects (which I could usually care less about, but were very impressive for early 80s) saved this one for me.

{#96 - Do The Right Thing}

What Jared thought... B. I don't like Spike Lee (it has to do with a run-in at a Bruce Hornsby concert at the Blue Note in NYC…don't ask), but I did think this was a good movie. I have a hard time saying I enjoyed watching it, because I feel like it's purposely a rather hard movie to watch, but it was well acted and written.

What I thought... B. I liked this move more than I thought I would. It was thought provoking, if a little film school self-indulgent.

{#95 - The Last Picture Show}

What Jared thought... B. I'm showing my cinematic ignorance here, but I feel like this could have just as easily been a play, rather than a movie. It was more depressing than I thought it would be, but I did like it.

 What I thought... B-. This was just okay for me. The acting was superb, and it was great seeing a young Jeff Bridges (who I love) do his thing, the story just didn't hook me.

{#94 - Pulp Fiction}

What Jared thought... A. I absolutely love this movie. Samuel L Jackson is nothing short of brilliant, in a role that pretty much defined him (in my opinion). I've watched this movie at least a few dozen times since it came out and I enjoy every bit of it, except that I've always disliked the song that Mia puts on before she OD's. But that's a very small criticism for a great movie.

What I thought... B+. I hadn't seen this in years and it has held up as simply a great f-ing movie.

{#93 - The French Connection}

What Jared thought... N/A. I honestly do not remember watching this movie, so I couldn't have liked it very much. I know Gene Hackman was in it, and he was great as Lex Luthor and in Unforgiven, so maybe I should just go with a B and call it a day.

What I thought... B. I had to watch this in film class in college and remembered nothing of it. I should have tried harder to stay awake back then because it was actually a pretty good movie… a good and gritty detective movie like they rarely seem to make these days.

{#92 - Goodfellas}

What Jared thought... A+. I've loved this movie since the first time I saw it in high school. I've read the book (which I actually think is better) as well, and the movie definitely does it justice.  It's eminently quotable, and the acting is off the charts great.  Ma, I can't leave it there, it's a sin.

What I thought... A. I don't know why this is ranked so low on this list. Such a fantastic movie… brilliant acting, and I'm a sucker for a good sympathetic antagonist like Henry Hill.

{#91 - Sophie's Choice}

What Jared thought... B/B-. To quote Seinfeld, "Oh that Meryl Streep, she's such a phony!". A very good, if utterly heartbreaking movie. I feel like the middle part dragged out and then all of a sudden WHAMO, they go for the gut punch. Maybe that was intentional, maybe not.

What I thought... B. Ugh. WRECKED. That is how I felt after this movie. Completely and utterly wrecked. I was still crying when the movie ended and I kept saying to Jared, "It's just so awful! Can you imagine?" I cried the next day just thinking about it. Aside from the soul destroying story, this movie is yet another example of why Meryl Streep is the master and all other actresses must bow before her. She's simply flawless.

{#90 - Swing Time}

What Jared thought... B+. Fun movie, great dancing, and a great story. Not much else to say.

What I thought... B+. I could watch Fred Astaire dance all day. I think there's something so fascinating about watching someone do with great ease what you are so completely incapable of doing. I have two left feet and the only time I'm relaxed enough to look halfway decent dancing is when I'm quite drunk. Anyway... this was a fun movie and I found it impossible not to be charmed by the legendary Fred and Ginger.

Have you seen any of these movies? I'd love to know what you thought!

movie madness

Jared and I watched My Week With Marilyn this weekend (just okay, though Michelle Williams was flawless), after which he confessed that he'd never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie. We then got to chatting about classic films and basically concluded that there are a ton of great movies neither of us has ever seen. So, on a whim, we decided to challenge ourselves to watch all 100 of AFI's Top 100 films. Of this list, we've each seen 49 (though not all the same). Not bad between us, but there are a lot we don't really remember, and it's always different watching a movie later in life that you were forced to watch in school.

We decided we should probably start at the bottom of the list and work our way up to #1 (Citizen Kane), so that we don't lose steam as we get to the "less good" most amazing films of all time. It's going to take us a while. (Like multiple years.) But we're nerdily excited.

Things I'm looking forward to:

  • Cary. Grant.
  • "Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend."
  • Vivien Leigh's untouchable performance in Streetcar
  • Finally being able to say that I've seen Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. (I know, I know.)
  • Witnessing the genius that was Charlie Chaplin (I've only ever seen clips, never a whole movie.)
  • Paul Newman and Robert Redford in their prime

Things I'm not looking forward to:

  • Titanic and The Sixth Sense... I wholeheartedly object to these movies making the list. Mostly because I have a not fully justifiable intense dislike of both James Cameron and M. Knight Shyamalan.
  • There's only 1 Paul Newman film (aside from my husband, there's no man that can hold a candle to Paul Newman in my book.) This seems far too few for such a great actor.
  • Having to watch A Clockwork Orange again. I didn't like it the first time, and doubt I'll like it this time around.
  • Sophie's Choice... One Sunday night a few weeks ago I gave Jared the option of washing bottles or putting the sheets on the bed (I would do the other) and he replied, "Uggghhh. Sophie's choice!" Neither of us knew what it meant, but we knew his use of it was likely ridiculous. Then we looked it up. I wanted to crawl into a corner and cry for hours just after reading the Wikipedia entry. I can't imagine how depressing the movie is going to be, but I'm certain it's going to scar me for life.

We're planning to start this weekend (with #100, Ben Hur). Not the most fun start, but the list is the list.

How many of these have you seen? Do you have a favorite? (I think my favorite on the list is The Philadelphia Story. I have a thing for Cary Grant, especially when paired with the always fantastic Katherine Hepburn.)

PS... I've added this little challenge to my life list!

going natural

One of the easier to accomplish items on my Life List is to rock my natural hair color, and I've been pinning some inspiration in an attempt to motivate myself to take the plunge. First, let's take a journey back in time...

Here I am around age 2, with the blonde hair I've spent literally thousands of dollars over the years trying to pretend I still have...

And here I am a few years later, with the mousy brown hair I've spent literally thousands of dollars trying to hide... (and yes, I'm fully aware of the many awesome things going on in this picture)

And here I am this past Christmas, all dyed up...

So why the change? Well, despite being happy with the shade of blonde I've been getting the past couple of years, the upkeep is wearing on me. And I've been increasingly drawn to the natural-looking hair and makeup among the J Crew and Anthropologie models. And, honestly, I'm just curious what the heck my natural hair color actually looks like after all these years! Every girl who's been dying her hair for years has visions of shaving it all off and starting from scratch. (Or maybe that's just me.) And since there's no way that will ever happen, in order to do this I'll have to dye my hair what I think is my natural color and hope it grows out to match.

Here are a few of the inspiration pics I'm planning to take to my colorist. All three are essentially (what I think is) my natural color, with some warm dark gold highlights....

What do you think? Should I do it??

{life list} the "already done it" version

As I was working on my life list, it occurred to me that I've done a lot of stuff that I feel really fortunate for having had the opportunity to do. In some ways, this list is even more important than my life list because every single thing on here has shaped who I am today. It makes me think of that scene in "Up" when Carl is regretting not doing all the things he and Ellie had dreamed of, and then he opens the scrapbook she made for them and is reminded that even though life took a different course for them, they had a really wonderful life together nonetheless. (And then I sob uncontrollably for the next hour.) I guess this is my way of saying that even if I get to do nothing on my life list, I feel pretty darn lucky for all the things I didn't need to put on there...

  1. Marry my best friend - 2009
  2. Start a family - 2011
  3. Have a natural birth - 2011
  4. Take a completely spontaneous trip - to the 2007 Cabin Party (booked our flight at 11pm the night before and flew out the next morning)
  5. Get scuba certified - 2009
  6. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef - 2009
  7. Go to Australia - 2009
  8. Drive cross country - twice in 2004 (Michigan to California, and California to Virginia)
  9. Tour Italy - 1998
  10. Go on study abroad - 2002
  11. Visit London - 2002 and 2007
  12. Live in a foreign country - 2001 (Halifax, NS, Canada - not glamorous, but it counts) and 2002 (London)
  13. Look down over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower - 2002
  14. Throw a great surprise party - 2008 for my mom's 60th
  15. Surprise someone in another state for their birthday - 2008, also for my mom's 60th
  16. Dance with my father to Love Me Tender at my wedding - 2011
  17. Dance with my best friend from high school to Garth at my wedding - 2011 (fulfilled a 12 year old promise)
  18. Visit Disneyworld and Disneyland - multiple times, not sure of the years
  19. Go to Hawaii - 2010
  20. Go camping in a VW westfalia - 2010 (Maui)
  21. Own my own home - 2009
  22. Graduate college - 2003
  23. Be completely credit card debt free - 2011
  24. Look up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - 1998
  25. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain - 1998
  26. Ride the tube - 2002
  27. Take the Chunnel - 2002
  28. See all of the Davids - 1998
  29. Feed the pigeons in Venice - 1998
  30. See the Christmas tree at Rockafeller center - multiple times, not sure of the years
  31. Finish a half marathon - 2008, and twice in 2010
  32. Find my perfect blonde hair color - 2011
  33. Grow my hair long - 2009
  34. Go to the theater in a foreign country - 2002 (London), 2007 (London), 2009 (Sydney)
  35. Meet my favorite band - 2010 (The Avett Brothers)
  36. Go offline for a week - 2009 (Honeymoon)
  37. Open my own Etsy shop - 2010
  38. Sell something I made on Etsy - 2010
  39. Roast a truly perfect marshmallow - 2010 ("the megamallow")
  40. Take a gondola ride in Venice - 1998
  41. Get a psychic reading - 2004
  42. Go for a ride in a hot air balloon - 2009 (Queensland, AU)
  43. Tour Graceland - 2004
  44. Eat a pulled pork sandwich in Memphis - 2004
  45. Visit the Redwood Forest - multiple times, not sure of the years
  46. Have a truly extravagant dinner in a foreign city - 2009 (Quay in Sydney)
  47. Tour the Sydney Opera House - 2009
  48. Have a kangaroo eat from the palm of my hand - 2009
  49. See Niagara Falls - multiple times, not sure of the years
  50. See a broadway show - multiple times, not sure of the years
  51. Visit the observation deck of the Empire State Building - 1989
  52. Climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty - 1989
  53. Buy a friend flowers just because - 2011
  54. Give a $20 bill to a homeless person - 2010
  55. See the Grand Canyon - 2004
  56. Buy a fancy piece of art - 2009
  57. Sing karaoke solo - 2005
  58. Fly first class overseas - 2009 (SFO -> SYD)
  59. Take the coastal route on a long road trip - 2007 (Seattle to San Francisco)
  60. Sew something I'd actually wear - 2008
  61. Go backpacking - 2008
  62. Attend Mardi Gras - 2000
  63. See an event at the Olympic Games - 1996 (Softball, Atlanta)
  64. Swim with sea turtles - 2010
  65. Go for a dip in the Mediterranean - 1998
  66. Build a piece of furniture from scratch - 2010
It's worth noting that a good chunk of this list was sponsored by my parents - thanks Mom and Dad! Hmm, maybe I better add "Be able to give my children the same opportunities I was given" to my life list :-)

my life list

This list is something I've wanted to post for a long time now. Inspired by Mighty Girl, I've been slowly creating my own "life list" over the past few months. A life list (to me anyway) is something to strive for... to ensure that I spend my days and years working toward fulfillment rather than a paycheck. I have a job, but like most people that job isn't my passion. My passion is pretty much everything but my job... my family, friends, sewing, creating, music, blogging, food, traveling. All the good stuff that makes life worth living. Another post on life lists mentioned this quote by Thoreau: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them." How's that for a nice, depressing thought? Well, this list is the song in my heart - some parts are silly, some are grand, some make me cry happy tears just thinking about them...

  1. Have another baby
  2. And another
  3. Go back to Thala to renew our vows on our 10 year anniversary
  4. Own more than 20 acres of land and a cabin
  5. Take Jared to see the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon
  6. Have the nice, peaceful waterbirth I'd hoped to have with the first birth
  7. Run the 1/2 marathon in sub 2 hours (current PR is 2:07)
  8. Attend the birth of a grandchild
  9. Learn free-motion quilting
  10. Surprise the kid(s) with a trip to Disney
  11. Go on safari in Africa
  12. Sew a full size quilt
  13. Teach Emma to sew
  14. See Bruce Springsteen in concert
  15. Hike the PCT in its entirety
  16. Ring in the new year in a foreign city
  17. Go to a rodeo
  18. Go horseback riding on the beach
  19. Take my sister and our families for a trip to Ocean Creek in Myrtle Beach to relive the vacations of our youth
  20. Go sea kayaking in Alaska
  21. See a sea otter in its natural habitat
  22. Go on vacation at a dude ranch
  23. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  24. Make my long promised pilgrimage to the Minnesota State Fair
  25. Stay at a hotel with overwater bungalows (such as in Bora Bora)
  26. Keep a daily gratitude journal every day for a year
  27. Sleep in a tree house
  28. Visit all 50 states (38 down, 12 to go!)
  29. Make mozzarella from scratch
  30. Sponsor a woman through Women for Women International
  31. Have an entirely handmade Christmas
  32. Visit Crater Lake
  33. Keep a plant alive for more than 3 months (DONE!)
  34. Get professional pictures taken of our family
  35. Have an entirely "shop local" Christmas
  36. Take a girls-only vacation with my BFF - no kids, no partners, just us and lots of wine and fatty food
  37. Watch Emma eat her first ice cream cone (DONE!)
  38. Host a movie night in our backyard
  39. Dine with a local family in a foreign city
  40. Teach my children how to properly merge when getting on a highway
  41. Write a letter to my 12th grade AP English teacher, thanking her for being one of the best teachers I've ever had
  42. Go to Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park (Go Phillies!)
  43. Have a huge yard sale to purge all the stuff we don't actually use or need
  44. Record the songs we've made up for Emma so she knows how silly we once were
  45. Perfect a homemade ice cream recipe
  46. Make sure my nephew grows up knowing how brave and strong his mama is
  47. Have a truly defined sense of style, both for my self and my home
  48. Grow my hair long again (and NOT chop it off after the birth of baby #2)
  49. Rock my natural hair color (or have it be mostly my natural color) (DONE!)
  50. Rehab a piece of thrift store furniture
  51. Give Rocco one last perfect day before we have to say goodbye
  52. Dance like no one's watching (sober)
  53. Take a photography class (DONE!)
  54. Find my perfect shade of lipstick
  55. Have a never-want-to-leave family room (complete with one of those super deep sectionals)
  56. Anonymously pay the check for a single mom out to eat with her kids
  57. Attend a bloggers conference (BlogHer, AltSummit, etc.)
  58. Get a (very) small tattoo for each of my children
  59. Meet a blogging friend in real life
  60. Tour Amsterdam by bike
  61. Pass my grandmother's diamond on to Emma when she graduates college
  62. Read the Harry Potter books with Emma
  63. Get a photo shoot done with my mom and sister
  64. Be a much better thank you note writer
  65. Go line dancing in Nashville
  66. Do something to be more social in real life, not just online (dinner club, mom's group, etc.)
  67. Sew Emma a Christmas dress every year of her childhood
  68. Make an effort to stop saying "I mean" at the beginning of sentences
  69. Have something handmade in every room of our house
  70. Go to a tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree
  71. Take the time to give myself regular at-home pedicures
  72. Start once a month "offline Saturdays"
  73. Host my mom for the holidays and give her a break from doing any cooking
  74. Have a girls weekend with my sister filled with all our favorite movies and foods from our childhood
  75. Sit on the front porch with Jared watching our grandkids play in the front yard
  76. Watch all 100 of the AFI 100 best films (IN PROGRESS)

That's it!... for now. As my life changes, I'm sure this list will, too. I'll keep you posted as I start crossing things off!

PS... I highly recommend going through the exercise of writing down a life list. It's been both a joy and a challenge, and I'm so glad I did it.