During the COVID-19 crisis, sheltering at home includes an inordinate amount of TV time. As a public service announcement, I am sharing “Bill Burch’s All Time Top 20 Movie Countdown” for the information and inspiration of my dear readers.
10. Father of the Bride. I’m talking about the remake of the classic movie starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. The women in my life adore this film, and we’ve watched it dozens of times. The sequel (creatively named Father of the Bride 2) is just as good. I cannot even begin to describe Martin Short’s performance as Franck.
9. Jaws. Steven Spielberg’s classic kept my generation out of the water and on the beach. After seeing the huge shark, Chief Brody delivers one of cinema’s greatest lines, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
8. Tootsie. Dustin Hoffman the actor plays an actor who plays an actress for the work. Bill Murray (who appears several times in my Top 20 list) steals his scenes.
7. E. T. Spielberg once again evokes the marvel and magic of childhood. Many have noted the plot’s parallels to the Gospel story. The main character descends from the heavens, performs miracles, heals the sick, dies, miraculously comes back to life, and then ascends back into the heavens. Sound familiar?
6. Ghostbusters. A movie that combines the comedic genius of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, and the Stay-Puff-Marshmallow-Man has got to be good. The sequel . . . not so much. “Who ya’ gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!”
5. Alien(s). Terror and sci-fi combine in the original Alien starring Signourney Weaver as a take-no-prisoners heroine. The critter in the movie would devour E. T. in a Martian minute. In a rare occurrence, the sequel (creatively named Aliens) is even better than the original. However, I strongly advise against the rest of the series.
4. Harry Potter and . . . . Pick a movie out of the franchise. Sue me—I’m secure enough in my manhood to admit that I like the Harry Potter novels and movies. My favorite remains the first film that magically portrays Hogwarts School in all its glory.
3. Indiana Jones and . . . . Harrison Ford redefined the action hero genre with his brimmed hat and cracking whip. Movies 1 and 3 in the series rank high—movies 2 and 4 do not deserve the proud name of Indiana Jones.
2. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This is a twofer—actually a sixfer since it combines two trilogies. Yes, I am a confirmed nerd—I’ve read Tolkien’s trilogy along with The Hobbit multiple times (I am embarrassed to publish the exact number). Peter Jackson surpassed all of my expectations with the film versions of the books.
1. Star Wars. I’m talking about the FIRST Star Wars movie back in 1977 before George Lucas started tinkering with titles and numbers, before CG took over special effects, and before Lucas abandoned any semblance of a plot. Decades later the special effects look dated, but who wouldn’t want a cool light saber and X-Wing fighter?
When it comes to movies, I favor pure escapism. I get enough of real life in my profession. I love comedy, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy. If Bill Murray ever costars with Harrison Ford in a sci-fi adventure set in Middle Earth, then I’ll be the first in line.
Otherwise, I prefer reading a good book. Most of the stuff out of Hollywood is not worth the time.