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Top Five Movies of Catherine Keener

Sometimes change is a good thing. Not always, maybe not very often, and probably as little as possible, but it can be a good thing. Sometimes you want things to say exactly as they are until the end of time, whether it has to do with children and the magic of a parent-child relationship where you both are the center of each other?s existence, our own struggle to hang on to every last ounce of life or the beauty of a woman on the screens of our TVs and movie theaters.

It doesn?t seem like women get old, because in popular entertainment they get replaced by the next beautiful, young, talented starlet and moviegoers will see Katherine Hepburn change to Shirley MacLaine change to Sigourney Weaver change to today?s subject, Catherine Keener. (As soon as I started the list in that sentence, visions of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Ann Margret and other beauties hula-ed through my mind and I began to think about who might continue that list with birthdays in the 70s and 80s. If I had to take a guess as I write this, I?d say maybe Amy Adams or Michelle Williams, but I?m open to suggestion. But, before you say anything, yes, a thousand times yes, Katherine Hepburn is hotter than hell.)

My first memory of Catherine came at a time of change in my life. I had just finished working near Yellowstone Park and I needed to find another job and another place to live. I ended up in Boulder in a little mall 3-plex where she amazed me. (Not surprisingly, the movie was not ?Lovely and Amazing.?) Now, I?ve settled into life and instead of moving every year or so, I have been in my last two cities for at least five years. Catherine has settled into a great career and that made it easy to pick out these five movies (though I apologize for leaving out recent greats like ?Cyrus? and ?Please Give? as well as the little seen ?The Ballad of Jack and Rose? and a movie from a great book, ?Into the Wild.)

5. Being John Malkovich

This is the second movie in which I saw Catherine, my first Charlie Kaufman film and my second exposure to Spike Jonze following the video to ?Sabotage.? I can?t say that I loved this movie as much as many of my friends did, but the imagination and those three make it easy to reflect back and think that it was the beginning of something beautiful.

4. Out of Sight

Just like ?Being John Malkovich,? this also seemed to be the beginning of something wonderful (and a great glimpse at the future for Albert Brooks in ?Drive?), and it was for George Clooney. Not so much for Jennifer Lopez.

3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

I would be hard pressed to think of a better comedy in the 2000s than this one. I?ve already listed it for Elizabeth Banks and Leslie Mann, so you know I like it.

2. Synecdoche, New York

While mentioning the movies of Michelle Williams, I didn?t think I?d ever be able to rank this movie below #1. I found out that my writing promises can be as ephemeral as beauty.

1. Your Friends and Neighbors

This is one of those movies that I don?t think would be fun to watch again (like ?Capturing the Friedmans?), but while you?re in it, it?s mesmerizing for all of its rancor. It?s the first movie I remember with Catherine (I don?t remember her in ?The Gun in Betty Lou?s Handbag?) and it?s first in my heart of her movies.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Catherine Keener 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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