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04/28/2005 - MY TOP FIVE FAVORITE FILMS - AND WHY - FILM #1
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MY TOP FIVE FAVORITE FILMS - AND WHY - FILM #1

A blind person has just entered a crosswalk and traffic is coming. The "enemy" has just thrown a hand-grenade between you and a bunch of buddies. A person is drowning and you don't know if you can reach them. What do you do?

I would hope that I would run into the traffic and guide the person to safety. That I would sacrifice my life to save my friends. That God would somehow give me the stamina and strength to swim out and save the person.

My number one film asks important questions: What would you do to save your friends? Your comrades? Your self?

I'm not big on foreign films. I can tell you that right now. I don't care for many subtitles. The pacing of some foreign films I've seen has been so slow I thought I had become part of the theater seat. If I see a foreign film it's either because of the sex and nudity ("Betty Blue") or the great ballet-type martial arts action ("Crouching Tiger"). Out of the hundreds of films I've seen, very few have subtitles or were made in different countries.

My favorite film, however, is "foreign" - though perhaps in the same ways that "Goldfinger" is a foreign film. Australia is farther away than Great Britain, though, and by gosh if I have to put up with really thick accents for two hours I'm calling it a foreign film (if only to make myself look more "hip" in the process).

My favorite film also stars one of the biggest "American" (he was born in New York) stars ever to grace the silver screen: Mel Gibson.

The film is: "Gallipoli" directed by the Australian director Peter Weir who went on to make "The Truman Show" and "Master and Commander."

Gallipoli, for those of you who don't know, was the Alamo equivalent for those who live in Australia. During World War I, the Australian soldiers at war in Turkey fought valiantly and, eventually, were slaughtered (8,700 Australian's killed). The stories surrounding Gallipoli are told in song and verse. This website has more thorough information: http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/

The story of the film "Gallipoli" involves two friends, Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, as they make their way from the outback to the shores of Turkey. And then how one makes a decision late in the film to fight while the other makes the decision to run to the commanding officer's tent. As one chooses to take part in the battle and one chooses to try to STOP the battle, the pressure is on to stop the senseless carnage. I'll let you watch the film to figure out who does what and how it ends. Suffice it to say, every time I watch it, I'm a puddle of tears.

What is it in an Australian war movie that invokes such power of emotion? What pulls the strings so hard?

The film is about sacrifice for a cause and for your friends. It is about taking the necessary risks. Running the right race and making decisions between life and death.

Is the film "cut and dried?" Wrapped up in a pretty bow like watching Spiderman swing from building to building, or watching Superman take flight? Dorothy laying in her bed? Rosebud revealed? Rick walking off into the fog?

No. This film makes me wonder - which path I would take. It makes me wonder what I would do. Just like the questionsat the beginning of this article. I would HOPE that I would make the "right" decision - but how often are we faced with that?

Yes, I'll admit it, my favorite film is a "foreign" war film about friendship, sacrifice and love.

Here's hoping you enjoy it, too.

Directed by Peter Weir (director of "Fearless", "The Truman Show", "Master and Commander" and many others).

Starring: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee.

Time: 110 minutes

Released: 1981






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