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Top Five Movies of Aunjanue Ellis

Working at a movie theater intensifies my passion for movies. In 2000, I was working in a theater and “Men of Honor” came out, starring Aunjanue Ellis (as well as Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Robert DeNiro) and it was ok. It was well done. It was an inspirational film based on a true story. However, because I worked in a theater, all of its faults got magnified and the inspirational became trite, the swelling music became cliché, and instead of seeing nuance in the acting, I just saw actors gobbling scenery.

ellis3Whether you can hear the dialogue when patrons open the doors, whether you catch glimpses of the movies as you check on the people in the theater, or you’re up in the booth making sure the film and sound is running fine, you see things over and over again, four or five times a day. I look at the top grossing movies of 2000 and see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Cast Away,” “Gladiator,” “Traffic,” “Miss Congeniality,” “The Family Man,” “Vertical Limit” and “What Women Want” and I see nothing but movies that make me cringe today. I may have liked “The Family Man” at the time, mostly because of Tea Leoni, but I don’t know if I could stomach it today. Well, for Tea, I could do it. For Aunjanue, I might be able to watch “Men of Honor” again, but I’d rather watch these five movies.

5. Desert Blue

This 1998 movie makes the list because I’m just plain intrigued about how all of these actors work together before they really hit it big. (“Big” being relative, as it is “big” in my mind.) Casey Affleck, Ethan Suplee, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Christina Ricci and Kate Hudson join Aunjanue in this movie that is about visiting roadside attractions. Ok, I’ll admit, it’s the roadside attractions that really got me.

4. The Express

Remember all the stuff I said above about inspirational movies? Well, sports movies can be the exception. I mean “The Natural”? “Rudy”? “Brian’s Song”? I’m not made of stone.

3. I Love You Phillip Morris

This is a wonderfully fun and goofy movie, basically due to the great performances of Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Yes, both of those guys have some stinkers to their names (and who doesn’t, I mean everything I write isn’t Pulitzer material, if any), but when they are right in a role, they knock the performance out of the park.

2. Ray

I’m not a huge fan of the biopic genre of movies, but out of the ones that have hopped into theaters recently, this one would probably be the best of them all. Would I rather just see a documentary/concert film starring the real Ray Charles rather than dead-on mimicry of him? Yes.

1. Undercover Brother

I finally get to put this underrated comedy on one of my lists. I mentioned it when I talked about the movies of Nia Long, but she didn’t star in it. Aunjanue did. Someday, maybe I’ll have to do a top five of Denise Richards and put this one and “Wild Things” on her list.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Aunjanue Ellis 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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