27 August 2009

Readers Respond: 5 Favorite Films with Stephani Francl

A small-town girl from the mid-west just looking to be entertained by Hollywood, but not at the expense of those things most important in life. She watches few movies more than once, but these five are regulars which reside permanently in her living room. She's Stephani Francl and these are her 5 Favorite Films.

5. Dan in Real Life

I loved this movie the first time I saw it, and I love it more every time I watch it. Dan, played by Steve Carell, is the widowed father of three girls and the movie tracks their annual vacation at a home on the ocean with the extended family. Unlike films that mock the value of the family, this film showcases a father’s commitment to the most important women in his life (his daughters) and his honor toward his deceased wife as he falls in love with a new woman. Fabulous.

4. Sweet Home Alabama

Reese Witherspoon plays the lead, Melanie Smooter, who struggles to find her place in the world. This movie came out at a time when I was struggling internally with what I saw as similar questions – did I fit in a small town in the heartland or did I fit in a city doing something “important.” And ultimately, I had to decide, as does Melanie in the film, what really is important? It was a movie that, for me, came out at just the right time. Plus, who doesn’t secretly dream of being Reese Witherspoon?

3. Shooter

Mark Walberg plays the lead in this flat out revenge movie. If you just want to see some bad guys get blasted, this is the movie for you. It is justice in the vigilante sense, a guy doing what needs to be done - probably what many dream of doing. For me, it’s the movie version of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon that we play sometimes on the Xbox360. After a rough week of work, there’s nothing better than blowing some video game characters to smithereens…or watching Mark Wahlberg do so to some Hollywood thugs.

2. White Christmas

This movie displays the quintessential elements of two things I love: a good romance and Christmas. In the vein of the musicals of it’s time, White Christmas’ music is superb, and the dancing makes modern day dancing reality show “stars” pale by comparison. The story of Bob & Judy and Phil & Betty has been a mainstay in my Christmas celebration for about 18 years now with no end in sight.

1. Beauty and the Beast

Belle was one of the first Barbies I ever got as a little girl, and the magic of her story has remained with me through the years. Though there are other greats (The Little Mermaid, Aladin, The Lion King, The Emperor’s New Groove, and most recently Enchanted), Beauty and the Beast holds a special place in my movie list. The music makes my heart swell and Belle’s ability to see through the rough exterior of a beast to the prince inside makes a young married girl believe that maybe she is a princess.

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