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Top Five Movies of Annette Bening

Have you ever hated a movie universally beloved? I’m not talking about one that is hyped to a huge extent and then lets you down because of your expectations (like many of the people I know that saw “The Blair Witch Project”) but going to see a movie, small or big, and hating it and everyone talks about it loves it. Sometimes, in those cases, I’ll go back and watch it again and I will realize I’m wrong. The perfect example for this is “The Godfather,” which I blame on watching on an old TV in the middle of the afternoon with my Mom constantly interrupting me to ask for help with Christmas decorations. Other times, I go back and watch it again and still have no clue why people find it enjoyable. As much as I like Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson, “Kingpin” falls into this category for me. (Same with “Waiting for Guffman” as I still don’t find it funny and I feel so alone on that point.)

Annette Bening has a perfect example of that for me in her list of movies. It’s also interesting that she may have a movie that is the opposite of that, one that is loved when first watched and then reviled later. (I would say “Dances with Wolves” as an example of one hated later, but I have never bothered or even thought of seeing it a second time. I hate to admit that “Clerks” is that movie for me. I loved it in the theater. It made me laugh so much that I saw it a second time in the theater, a rarity for me. I tried watching it again on DVD some years later, and I couldn’t sit through the whole thing.) So, let’s take a look at these fine five movies starring Annette.

5. Valmont

From Milos Forman, the director behind “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus,” this adaptation of “Les Liaisons dangereuses” came after “Dangerous Liaisons,” and before “Cruel Intentions,” two other adaptations within a little over ten years. Annette and co-star Meg Tilly have stiff competition from Sarah Michelle-Gellar and Reese Witherspoon and Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, but Colin Firth I think kicks John Malkovich and Ryan Phillipe in the ass when it comes to romantic leading men. (For crazy, unhinged and unexpected performances though, Malkovich is the man.)

4. Being Julia

I know little about this movie and I kind of want to keep it that way. Michael Gambon, Jeremy Irons and Annette star in this movie set in 1930s London, and I just added it to my watchlist.

3. The Grifters

This is my example of one I need to watch again as it seems to be a cult favorite from the early 90s. Looking at the pedigree, I can see why. Donald E. Westlake gets credit for the screenplay, and this is the man, under the pseudonym Richard Stark, that created some of the best hard-boiled reading I’ve enjoyed in a while in the books starring the character Parker.

2. Richard III

I have a love/hate relationship with Shakespeare. Reading it and savoring the rhythm of the language can be such a joy. However, once you feel a little drowsiness creep into your mind or any distractions, it can be tough to conjure that love, because then the reading can lose its beauty until I can find the peace to try again. It’s a little the same with performances, as when it is right, like in “Slings and Arrows” the TV series, or this movie with Sir Ian McKellan and Annette. If the language isn’t done right, then I’d prefer it done like “10 Things I Hate About You.”

1. American Beauty

A movie that I hear people hate now as it seems simple or dated. I haven’t watched it recently, so I don’t know, but as I grow older, I keep thinking of chasing what I really want instead of what I think society wants. Fortunately for me, that doesn’t include high school girls.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Annette Bening 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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