If you are a movie addict, this book will ring your chimes. The best thing about it is that it reaches across so many genres, age groups, vintages, and viewpoints.
Variety senior editor Hofler has interviewed people who act, who write, who play football, who are active in politics and the arts, and gleaned their movie picks. It’s nicely organized and spiced with many photos to remind us of the monumental films and the stellar actors of the past 70 years.
We all know a movie can’t really change anyone’s life, right? But consider this statement by Newt Gingrich: “My entire career in politics was sparked by a double feature on a warm August day in Harrisburg.” The film that got Gingrich so excited was the black-and-white
Trader Horn, famously set in Africa with lots of footage of wild animals. It stirred the young Gingrich to compose a petition demanding that the town build a zoo….and the rest is history. Novelist Michael Connelly was so taken by Robert Altman’s version of
The Long Goodbye that he went to Hollywood in search of all things Philip Marlowe and wound up renting “the very same High Tower Drive apartment that Elliot Gould’s Philip Marlowe kept in the 1973 film noir.” Talk about art imitating life!
Bill Maher admits to being a horny teen when he got turned on by Marilyn Monroe in
Some Like It Hot. Award-winning rodeo cowboy Ty Murray saw Rocky when he was a kid and believed the ethos – if you want something bad enough, you can attain it. Both Jack Nicholson and Sydney Pollack were indelibly impressed by Marlon Brando’s riveting performance in
On the Waterfront. Quarterback Boomer Esiason took his early inspiration from Patton: “Being a quarterback is being a leader.” Horse-racing trainer Bob Baffert was, not surprisingly, glued to the screen as a kid watching the chariot racing scene from
New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson was lit up not by political tales but by sports, citing
The Natural and Field of Dreams as favorites. Senator John McCain, on the other hand, was fascinated by off-beat political fare - the brooding black comedy of
The Manchurian Candidate, and the Huey Long figure in All the King’s Men.
Reverend Jesse Jackson and I share a common admiration for the grand themes inherent in the big screen tearjerker
Imitation of Life, centered on a headstrong young woman who passes for white and abandons her self-sacrificing mother. With a plot that was meant to highlight a selfish white woman whose climb to success would have been impossible without her black friend and personal servant, this
weepy 1959 classic revealed much about the morality of the times without preaching it.
Variety's "The Movie That Changed My Life" is the kind of book you can carry around and thumb through at random – great reading for the doctor’s office or a weekend getaway. It will bring to mind many happy hours spent watching movies, reliving your own best film experiences. It may make you rush to the nearest
DVD store to pick up that movie you had long forgotten, all the while asking yourself, “Did this movie change my life?”