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Top Five Movies of Emily Watson

I keep hearing about the movie “War Horse,” how uplifting and how great a movie it is and I just have to say one thing: I don’t buy it. Nope, not one bit. Thoughts of “Seabiscuit” keep trickling into my head and I know they aren’t the same, but they got the same Metacritic score.

The lovely Emily Watson

(I hated “Seabiscuit.” Well, hate is a bit strong. I despised it. Of course, the main problem is that I finished reading the book about an hour before I saw the movie (and it took me about three days to finish the book, that’s how good it was) and I could see all of the inclusions and omissions from the original, and the movie didn’t fare well in comparison.)

If “War Horse” centered on the beautiful Emily Watson and it was uplifting, then, well, I might be convinced to see it. Well, and if the horse was an orchestral flautist who had to go to work on an oil rig. Oh, and instead of using war as a backdrop, it took place in an old English estate where the rest of the characters were struggling to put on a play within a play financed by the U.S. government about a man and his harmonium. Then after that movie, what if Steven Spielberg made “Indiana Jones and The Lost Sled” where Indy teams up with Bill S. Preston, Ted Theodore Logan, Michael Corleone and Danny Ocean to recover Rosebud from a casino run by the five Nazi families, all before a seven pm deadline for an oral presentation due at night school film class?

In trying to combine all of that awesome sauce, those movies would end up tasting like tripe cherry turnip gravy. Fortunately for one of those scenarios (I’ll let you guess which one) we can break down the individual pieces and look at the top movies of Emily. Yes, she gets six. Why? You’ll need to see them all and then we’ll talk. After you see them we probably won’t need to talk, you’ll understand.

6. Hilary and Jackie

Emily and Rachel Griffiths both received Oscar nominations for this film about two sisters and the role music played in their lives. One is good, but one is a virtuoso. Multiple sclerosis hits the virtuoso and the music disappears.

5. Cradle Will Rock

Bill Murray, Jack Black and Kyle Gass play ventriloquists and not the silly, happy ones that you see getting TV shows on Comedy Central. Yes, with this, Mr. Marbles and “Dummy” you can assume right that I have a soft spot for crazy looking talking dolls.

4. Gosford Park

You know, trying to summarize a Robert Altman movie is sometimes like trying to pick your favorite Altman movie. You think of all of those little moments in each of his movies and you smile at them all. So, I’ll just give you this: Emily plays a maid in a large English estate hosting several visitors over a weekend. So, when you watch, expect to see a cast full of great English actors.

3. Breaking the Waves

I just saw “Melancholia” and I think it solidly belongs with this movie as reflections on happiness. Is it easy or is it hard? Does it come naturally? Emily’s Bess McNeil from this film and Kirsten Dunst’s Justine from “Melancholia” may be the perfect characters for the analysis of those questions.

2. Synecdoche, New York

I surprised myself not ranking this one first. Let’s just say it was close and that the next one beat it out because it had more Emily. Then again, the last one was close too. Let’s just agree that ranking is hard. Maybe in the spirit of this film, I’ll do a ranking of rankings.

1. Punch Drunk Love

This movie may have given me the biggest belly laugh I’ve ever had in a theater. It also surprised me at how well Adam Sandler could act. It is easily his best movie ever, without much competition, and I think Emily’s as well, though her competition is much, much stronger.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Emily Watson top five?

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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