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Top Five Movies of Maggie Gyllenhaal

I’ve been listing movies for fantastic actresses (both in their looks and in most cases their acting skills) for quite a while now. This will be my 71st essay and since non-round numbers don’t have special precious elements for their celebrations, I had to figure out a different way to celebrate the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal. My mind first jumped to the idea of home runs. If not for Barry Bonds, I could have used 71 as the jumping off spot for a discussion of home run records from a place in the future, when a man not tainted by the specter of steroids comes charging from the wilds of the minor leagues to give baseball back its innocence and glory in a season for the ages. However, just like leaving off Barry Bonds, a discussion of home runs involving Maggie would have little to no relevance.

Instead, I decided to look at some events of the year of 1971 to celebrate the number of essays and Maggie even though she wasn’t born until six years later. I didn’t feel like waiting another six essays to discuss this really great actress. Fortunately, there was one relevant link for 1971.

Charles Manson found guilty for Tate-LaBianca murders.

Apollo 14 landed on the moon.

Maggie’s future husband, Peter Sarsgaard was born.

Amtrak started inter-city rail service.

Arsenal, the subject of Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch” won the league and cup “double.”

Jim Morrison died.

Southwest Airlines started service.

Gorgeous Maggie

So, what does this all mean as I discuss the five best movies of Maggie’s career? (What a career by the way, as I had to leave off an Oliver Stone movie (World Trade Center), “Donnie Darko” and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”) Mostly nothing, so just let the facts of years past wash over you and refresh you before you move onto these magical Maggie movies.

5. Crazy Heart

If there are two better character actors out there besides Jeff Bridges and Robert Duvall, I can’t think of them now. Ok, I might give you Daniel Day Lewis, but could he have played Lebowski? Tom Hagen? I’m just quibbling now, but Bridges and Duvall have both made quite a few all-time classics.

4. Secretary

One of the more interesting explorations of sexuality and attraction as Maggie plays the submissive to James Spader’s dominant both sexually and professionally. The actors portray the erotic nature of their interaction so well and it seems like it should rank higher, but Maggie has many good movies.

3. Stranger than Fiction

I like the fact that Maggie’s list contains this movie and the next in sequential order as they both take the idea of storytelling to a different place than what viewers normally see. Will Ferrell plays the unwitting protagonist in Emma Thompson’s book and Maggie plays the love interest.

2. Adaptation.

The fact that I can’t remember how Maggie contributed to my favorite screenwriter’s movie just means I need to watch it again. Fortunately for me, this adaptation of the unadaptable streams instantly on Netflix. Just one more to go, and I can go watch it.

1. The Dark Knight

Speaking of watching again, “The Dark Knight Rises” opens in less than two months. I think watching the best role for Maggie (in probably the best superhero movie of all time, and easily in a list of top movies of all time) will be on my upcoming movie list as well.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Maggie Gyllenhaal 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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