I'm not trying to come up with yet another definitive list of must-see movies--at least not one I'm trying to push on others. This is my list though, or at least the first of my list. I would love to hear your picks. That's what the comment box at the bottom of this post is for--that, and a place to add your opinions on the matter.
One word: plastics.
That is one of the great lines from my first movie pick: The Graduate. The line comes in the form of tons of advice people are giving Benjamin Bratton (Dustin Hoffman) upon his college graduation. Ben is stuck in that post-graduate malaise, waiting for what's next.
The exploration of one of life's passages in The Graduate is one of the reasons I think it's an important movie. It is known as one of the defining "coming of age" stories.
If you have read the "About" stuff here at AboutPOPS.com, you know I'm taking a look at aging as sort of a second-coming of age. It's marked by the same eminent life transitions as any coming of age, and is, at least for me, accompanied with an unsettling ennui.
For example, check out this conversation between Ben and his dad. Ben is home from college and floating on an air mattress in the family pool:
Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I'm just drifting.
Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it's very comfortable just to drift here.
Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?
Benjamin: You got me.
Please don't start worrying about me being in some kind of confused identity funk. I probably am, but it's nothing to worry about.
Other reasons this is my number one pick are some of the same reasons why the film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor, and Actress, with Nichols winning Best Director. It became the top-grossing film of 1968. The stuff of this film resonated hard with me in 1968. Also this was, in my opinion, one of the first, best uses of pop music as a soundtrack score, written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel.
The good news is, as we learn from the movie, life goes on--sometimes we get it all together.
For Ben, he falls in love with the daughter of Mrs. Robinson, the older woman with whom he's having an affair. He makes the decision to marry Elaine quickly and pursues that goal with all he's got, although some, including his parents and Elaine herself wonder about his sanity. I love the talk between he and his parents:
Dad: Wait a minute, you talked to Elaine this morning? (about getting married)
Ben: No, she doesn't know about it.
Dad: Uh, you mean she doesn't know you are coming up to Berkeley?
Ben: No, actually she doesn't know about us getting married yet.
Mom: Well when did you two talk this over?
Ben: We haven't.
Mom: You haven't?
Dad: Ben, this whole idea sounds pretty half baked.
Ben: No, it's not. It's completely baked.
To those who may see my dream of selling everything and moving in to an Airstream travel trailer as being half-baked, let me say, it is but it is still in the oven.
One review of The Graduate said: "Together with Bonnie and Clyde, it stands as one of the most influential films of the late '60s, as its mordant dissection of the generation gap helped lead the way to the youth-oriented Hollywood artistic "renaissance" of the early '70s. ~ Lucia Bozzola
So, Pops's Flicks Picks #1 is The Graduate. Why? Because it's important to me.
How about you?