We call them ‘picture shows’

Today they’re called the movies, but when I was growing up we called them “picture shows.” When in my teens my church forbid going to the movies — a religious doctrine I’ll never understand.

Going to the movies is the great American pastime, not baseball. How many times have you been asked what’s your favorite movie? I’ll bet it’s more times than you’ve been asked what’s your favorite baseball team. Maybe I’m wrong. So who are my favorite movies and actors?

In my top 10 male actors you won’t find John Wayne. You see John Wayne was, and will always be, much, much, more than an actor. He’s an icon. He’s in a class all by himself. There has never been anyone who filled the screen as John Wayne does. No actor has ever stood so tall, walked his walk, talked his talk, or was ever admired by as many as the “Duke.” He’s more than a superstar. He’s incomparable. He’ll live forever on the screen. That’s what makes movies so great.

So who are my favorite male actors? In order of 1-10, they are; Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Jack Nicolson, Harrison Ford, James Stewart, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, Burt Lancaster, Robert Duvall, and Matt Damon. Asked me next week and the list might include Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Robert Mitchum, George C. Scott, Denzel Washington, Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cary Grant, or Robert De Nero. Goodness sakes, I left out Orson Wells, Humphrey Bogart, and Marlin Brando. We have so many great actors.

The same can be said of female actors. My top 10 goes like this: Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons, Olivia de Havilland, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Joanne Woodward, and Sally Fields.

I don’t think it was necessary for the Academy of Motion Pictures to start calling them male and female actors, instead of actors and actresses, but I guess it’s politically correct. Speaking of which my favorite performance by a male actor all-time is Daniel Day-Lewis as “Lincoln”, followed closely by George C. Scott as “Patton,” and Burt Lancaster as “Elmer Gantry.” My favorite performance by a female actor is Meryl Streep in the gut wrenching, “Sophie’s Choice.”

There have been some great movie makers in my time, most during the past 20 years. Maybe the greatest of all-time is Stephen Spielberg. Clint Eastwood has made some great films, as has Ron Howard, Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino. Going back a while, I think John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock are among the greatest movie makers, ever. That leads me directly to great movies.

I doubt if anyone out of a million would have all of the same top ten favorite movies if they just judged them on the basis of the movies they liked to watch, as I do, and not what the critics might say. Keep that in mind as you read my top 10 movies, which are in this order; “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Big Country,” (might explain my pick as Peck being No. 1), “The Young Philadelphians” (an oldie but goodie), “The Searchers,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Red River,” “L.A. Confidential,” “Patton,” The Magnificent Seven, and A River Runs Through It. Ask me next week and you might find “Giant,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind, “North by Northwest,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Lincoln,” “The Godfather,” “Gone with the Wind,” “West Side Story,” “High Noon,” or, in my opinion the funniest movie ever, “Young Frankenstein,” on the list. That’s another 10,” and I didn’t even mention “The Graduate,” “The Sundowners” or the great Jack Nicholson movie, “Chinatown.”

There are so many wonderful films to be thankful for. I could easily name another 20 great films. If you’ve missed any of these, rent them or buy the DVD.

Out of more than 20 who responded to my questions, Harrison Ford was a run-away selection as best male actor, and to my surprise Katherine Hepburn edged out Meryl Streep as best female actor. There was not a single movie favorite selected by more than one person! “Gone With the Wind” was selected by only one person! The most surprising picks were Shirley Temple as favorite female actor and Mike Myers, of Austin Powers’ fame, for favorite male actor.

All tolled there were eight others that weren’t among the 23 films I mentioned — amazing. We have a great new theater in Fallon with great seats and reasonable prices. If you haven’t been there, go. It’s cheaper than going to the casinos.

Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at glen@phonewave.net.


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