Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mom's favorite movies

In the initial weeks after Mom died, my sister and I had to do a lot of work to go through her papers, clean out her house and make preparations to put the house up for sale. There wasn't — there never is, I suppose — sufficient time to go through everything carefully and purposefully.

We knew we would donating 90% of Mom's modest collection of DVD and VHS movies to a local charitable organization, so it was just a matter of packing them up in a bankers box, putting them into the car and checking that off the list, so we could move on to the next thing.

But, in the middle of everything, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to jot down the titles of some of the films Mom had loved. I don't trust my memory enough that I'd be able, down the road, to reel off a list of Mom's favorites without missing some key titles. So here's the list, with a few others added from memory:

(For those of you coming to this post first, Mom was born in 1948. So that gives you some context for when she likely discovered some of these films.)

  • The Good Earth [1937]
  • Jamaica Inn [1939]
  • How Green Was My Valley [1941]
  • The Uninvited [1944]
  • Whisky Galore [1949]
  • The Inn of Sixth Happiness [1958]
  • The Parent Trap [1961]
  • The Guns of Navarone [1961]
  • It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World [1963]1
  • Yours, Mine and Ours [1968]
  • Fiddler on the Roof [1971]
  • Logan's Run [1976]
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy [1980]2
  • A Town Like Alice [1981 TV mini-series]
  • Das Boot [1981]
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark [1981]
  • Without a Trace [1983]
  • Places in the Heart [1984]
  • Dune [1984]
  • The Last Starfighter [1984]
  • Murphy's Romance [1985]
  • F/X [1986]
  • Crocodile Dundee [1986]
  • Running on Empty [1988]
  • Crossing Delancey [1988]
  • Truly Madly Deeply [1990]
  • Strictly Ballroom [1992]
  • Benny & Joon [1993]
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape [1993]
  • Sense and Sensibility [1995]
  • Fargo [1996]

This is by no means a complete list, but I think it's a solid one. In addition to these, she certainly enjoyed the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings movies. She liked Gone with the Wind, though that might have been more through family obligation than being something she truly loved. I feel like there should be a few more spooky movies on this list, but she didn't seem to collect those on VHS or DVD, so I'll have to rack my brain some more.

In the last 15-to-20 years of her life, she pivoted more toward watching TV shows, especially CSI: Miami, Downton Abbey and a boatload of reality shows. During her final year, she binge-watched the entirety of Game of Thrones in just a few weeks. She would make herself lists of what was coming up with her shows each night of the week.3


1. The final movie I watched with Mom at the house on Oak Crest Lane — it was also one of our last nights in the house — was Ghost World [2001]. I chose it. Afterward, she said, "You like weird movies."

2. The final three movies we watched together were all at the movie theater in Gettysburg — Star Wars: The Force Awakens (me & Mom), San Andreas (me, Mom & Ashar) and Star Trek Beyond (me, Mom & Ashar), which was our last movie. She enjoyed all of them.

1. Mom always claimed that she could take a shower and wash her hair during the lengthy opening credits of this movie, and be back downstairs before the actual movie started.
2. I know my grandmother, Helen Ingham, loved this film. And my recollection is that Mom liked it, too, so I'm putting it here. But it might not have truly been one of Mom's favorites.
3. It's possible I still have one of these lists.

1 comment:

  1. Your mother and I shared some favorites. I wish I could have met her.
    I know you would have loved my Dad. He shared a lot of interests that you and I have in common.