I talk about movies a lot. If we hang out, the subject of film will probably come up at some point, and it will probably turn into a multiple-hour-long conversation where I get really jittery and talk super-fast. I just really, really love movies. Like, a lot.
I studied acting for the camera for two years, and in that time movies were discussed even more. During my first or second semester, one of my instructors gave everyone a list of 100 movies they HAD to see if they wanted to be an actor. His reasoning was that frequently these movies would be brought up and referenced by directors, writers, and producers, and as voracious, movie-loving actors, we were to know what the hell it was they were talking about so we could do our job properly. I went through the list and I think I've seen about 68 of the films. Not bad, not bad.
Then, recently I was chatting with a former classmate & current castmate in a play I'm working on, and we got to the topic of movies (naturally). I kept mentioning different titles and he would tell me he hadn't seen them, and vice versa. I got very shouty and excited and went home and wrote him out a list of about 25 movies that I demanded he must watch A.S.A.P. (because I'm a good friend!)
But what about people who aren't my actor friends, or who have no interest in working in the field of film and television (possibly you)? Do they need to know these movies? To that I say -- DUH! Movies are awesome, no matter who you are, and I think there are some out there that absolutely need to be experienced just for their craftsmanship and the individual brilliance that they bring to the fabulous and exciting world of sitting down and watchin' stories. Great movies don't discriminate, y'all.
These movies are not always ones that will fall into the category of "favorites". While I personally consider "Step Brothers" and "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" to be absolute masterpieces, I sadly don't see them ending up on any of AFI's lists any time soon (boourns). "Must-sees" are movies that you have to watch because there's just something about them. They enlighten, they educate, they make us experience all-over-the-map emotions. They're not necessarily the films we feel like popping in on a relaxing Friday night ("Schindler's List," for example), but they have a time and a place and should be watched at least once, by everyone (in our humble opinions, of course).
Keyword up there: opinions. I'm here to share mine, and then I want to hear yours. Yes, what movie(s) do you feel everyone needs to sit through and soak in at some point in their life? You can simply tell 'em to me, or give me all your reasons ('cause I like reasons). First up, I'll start with my number one to get you all warmed up.
OK, OK, so if you know me at all then you know this is my favorite movie of all time (I even have a T-shirt!). But it's also a must-see, and I'll tell you why. "Rosemary's Baby" is a perfect film. Seriously, from beginning to end. You can even watch it with the sound turned off and still be entranced by the visuals of the Dakota and Mia Farrow's freckled self all decked out in killer late-60s finery (red velvet pantsuit, anyone?)
But hey, these aren't simply what makes it a great film, and in my opinion, the greatest horror film of all time. It's a great film because despite the fact that the plotline is out there (being impregnated by Satan probably doesn't happen that often in New York City but hey, I haven't seen the statistics), it feels plausible. It feels so real, and that is why it is so terrifying.
I refer to "Rosemary's Baby" as a "broad daylight" horror film, because it doesn't rely much on the tropes of most horror, where young, busty women are attacked by masked killers in their dark, empty houses. Rosemary is preyed upon by people she trusts, in her own home, as the sun pours into her freshly painted Manhattan apartment. Everyone good slowly disappears and it's the world against Rosemary. SWEET, INNOCENT ROSEMARY. ADORABLE, PIXIE-CUT ROSEMARY. PALE, TERRIFIED ROSEMARY. Why would anyone do this to such a darling? What is wrong with the world? IT'S THE ULTIMATE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, I TELL YOU. I watch it at least once a month and still find myself stressed out, shouting at the TV, hoping it turns out differently. It never does.
But, you know, don't take my word for it. Just watch it and get back to me.