Honorable Mentions: The Supporting Cast

Friday, February 23, 2007

The only part of "Truly Madly Deeply" that I don't like is letting go of Alan Rickman! He helps Nina get over him, but not me! When Nina places Jamie's cello in its case for the last time, I can hardly bear the finality of it. But the film grabbed me from the first shot of the Underground, the lighting, the North London milieu, Bill Paterson, the perfect music choices, but mostly the luminescent brilliance of Juliet Stevenson. Obviously, the scene where she weeps with such anguish and anger is the best on-screen crying in the history of movies.

Marcia Roop, 62

Herndon

'The Godfather'

Feel like a tough guy and get advice for life -- what more could you want? On what really matters: "A man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." On what's better than violence: "Leave the gun, take the cannolis." On the futility of hatred: "Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you?" On not trusting the government: "FBI don't respect nothin'." Even on what to say to your girlfriend at Thanksgiving: "That's my family . . . it's not me." Greatest movie ever made. Pardon me for sayin', but it's one you can't refuse.

Michael Long, 43

Burke

'Groundhog Day'

"Favorite" is the word and does not mean best. Favorite means that I can watch it again and again; it must endure the test of time. Each time you watch it, the script still has something new to offer, a nuance undetected before, an enduring theme, a scene repeatedly enjoyed. For me, the only type of movie that fits this mold is a romantic comedy. If I was stuck on a deserted island, this movie is the one I'd pick. Comedy to keep me laughing and coming back, romance with its themes that engage and endure.

Eric Sanne, 48

Chevy Chase

'The Third Man'

In Vienna, something is rotten. But wait! Here comes Joseph Cotten. Will he clear up the crime and find Harry Lime? In time? That zither is haunting, the villain's so daunting, the heroine taunting. Who can be trusted? Who will get busted? Can you turn in your friend? Get the girl at the end? Loyalty! Honor! Betrayal! Welles in his prime, camera sublime. Mon Dieu, what a tale!

Sandra Kauffman, 71

Bethesda

'On the Beach'

I was still in high school when I saw "On the Beach." Never again would I be impressed so much by one movie. Delivering newspapers had consumed me with fear of nuclear war. "On the Beach" vividly pictured the aftermath, especially the closing scene. People were being prepared for the end by a religious group offering salvation if you "signed on." Their banner, "There is still time, brother," contrasted above swirling debris after the world had been snuffed out. Thankfully, I emerged from the downtown D.C. theater to see other human beings. There was still time!

Paul Bergeron, 68

Lake Monticello, Va.

'Sixteen Candles'

It was over 20 years ago that Samantha Baker's parents forgot her birthday in "Sixteen Candles," but I find the not-so-sweet-16 sentiments linger long past sophomore year. Molly Ringwald could do what no current teen idol can -- capture the painful hilarity that ensues when one is of driving age and still riding the school bus alongside "The Geek." Last summer, on bridesmaid duty, I waited for Jake Ryan to whisk me away in my Samantha-esque pink birthday cake of a dress. Jake never showed, though it's only fair -- I drove to school, after all.

Kate Cooper, 24

Arlington

'The African Queen'

"The African Queen" is both a beautiful love story and a powerfully suspenseful adventure starring all-time greats Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart at their peak. The gradual sexual awakening of the prim schoolteacher, played by Hepburn, is superb; Bogart is as great as ever as the rough river boat captain. The marvelous scenes of the trials and tribulations of the African Queen's passage down the river, beset by almost insurmountable difficulties such as virtually impassable undergrowth, swarming insects and dangerous rapids are edge-of-the-seaters. And the wonderful denouement is one of the great feel-good climaxes in movie history.

Mel Welles, 88

Alexandria

'Days of Heaven'

I must give my favorite nod to Terrence Malick's 1978 "Days of Heaven." Certain visuals from that film will stay with me forever. More than a few lines, too, like the character Linda's rendering of "I could be a mud doctor. Checkin' out the eart'. Underneat'." Scenes that leave the viewer breathless by cinematographer Nestor Almendros; a magnificently haunting and lilting score by Ennio Morricone; understated but strong acting by the likes of Sam Shepard, Richard Gere and Brooke Adams. This movie is simply exquisite, timeless and unflawed.

Alicia T. Peklo, 55

West Friendship

'Henry V'

"Henry V," starring Laurence Olivier (1944). I cut high school classes to see this film, and after that day I was walking on air for weeks. I wanted to be king of England! I wanted to be Laurence Olivier! I wanted to be an actor! Since then, I've seen a multitude of outstanding movies, but Sir Laurence's version of "Henry V" has been the standard by which they have been measured. Even Kenneth Branagh's excellent remake (1989) does not compare. If my love for this film has endured for over 60 years, it deserves a nomination.

Converse M. West, 75

Alexandria

'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'

It was February 1964, and my mother was upset. She had just seen "Dr. Strangelove" and heard people in the theater laughing ! For my mother, the bomb -- the hydrogen bomb -- was no laughing matter. But five years later, I finally saw the film myself, and many viewings later I'm still chuckling: fighting in the war room; walking for Mein Fuhrer; impurifying precious bodily fluids. The genius of "Dr. Strangelove" is its ability to satirize -- both hilariously and poignantly -- weapons of mass destruction, military megalomania and presidential powerlessness. Alas, my mother still doesn't find these subjects funny.

Jim Deutsch, 58

Washington

'The Day the Earth Stood Still'

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is my all-time favorite movie. It emerged from the swamp of '50s science-fiction films as the first well-acted, thought-provoking genre film with a powerful pacifist message in an era of Cold War hysteria. It features a fantastic score by Bernard Herrmann that introduced the theremin as the instrument that immediately tells us we are in for something different. Most important, this is the ultimate Washington movie: The alien parks on the Mall and lives in Georgetown. He pays respectful visits with a young earthling to Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial, and, in perfect Washington fashion, he proves his ultimate political power by making absolutely nothing happen!

Randall Lockwood, 58

Falls Church

'Live and Become'

"Live and Become" follows an Ethiopian Christian boy who was secreted aboard a plane during Operation Moses, the rescue movement to immigrate Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Adopted by a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, Schlomo must adjust to his new world and hide his non-Jewish background. While I love hilarious popular movies as much as any other teen, here was a powerful story teaching self-acceptance and unconditional love while using amazing actors to make it so real. I'd never thought deeply about the themes a movie conveys and tried applying them to my life until I saw "Live and Become."

Julia Peck, 13

Washington

'The Exorcist'

Without question, my all-time favorite movie is "The Exorcist." It is the perfect movie that combines sinister mystery with terrifying imagery and disturbing psychological horror. Most important, "The Exorcist" delivers pure horror without any comic relief, hip yet hapless teenagers or a psycho-killer jumping out at every turn -- all too common in the horror genre and frankly not scary! "The Exorcist" is a compelling and epic tale of good vs. the ultimate evil and to this day still leaves me deeply disturbed and scares the crap out of me!

Daniel J. Kutruff, 40

Delaplane, Va.

'Rashomon'

"Rashomon" is the film that had the most profound affect on me. I was 16 in 1951 when I saw the film. It was the first foreign-language film I had seen and can still remember being transfixed by the beauty of the film, the strange language and the moral dilemma of the story. I have always remembered that the perception of people who witness an account may differ even though they believe it to be true. The movie also gave me a lifelong love of Japanese art, design and history -- a lot to have gained from a few hours at the movies.

Ruth Baskin, 71

Rockville

'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'

This towering achievement is my all-time favorite. No other movie has seamlessly put together such a fine ensemble, brought out several themes including loyalty, love and friendship, all in a completely imagined fantasy world that was more real than any motion picture I've seen. Every major genre of film was well-represented -- drama, adventure, comedy, romance and horror -- and each special effect actually worked. Not only were they mind-boggling, but vital to the story. Every human being on planet Earth (and, of course, Middle Earth) should experience this stunner. Oh, and I wept like a baby.

David Emanuel, 35

Laurel

'Batman Begins'

When Bruce Wayne witnesses the brutal murder of his parents in a back alley in Gotham City, it fuels his quest for revenge and justice, spawning the city's masked protector. This is "Batman Begins," my favorite movie. The movie does a good job of translating the comic's dark look onto the screen. But the movie is made by its star, Christian Bale. His ability to portray the charm of Bruce Wayne and the raw grit of Batman brings the character back to its heyday, before it was mismanaged by the likes of Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Joel Schumacher.

Brendan Smith, 18

Columbia

'American History X'

In "American History X," Edward Norton delivers an Academy Award-nominated performance as a neo-Nazi skinhead. I have never been so entranced by a movie or actor before. I was pinned to my seat. I could not stop watching. I wasn't scared by "Friday the 13th" or "A Nightmare on Elm Street," but when I found myself convinced, and even inspired, by Edward Norton's racist propaganda in "American History X," I was scared! The movie itself is flawlessly written and beautifully made, but without Edward Norton delivering the performance of his career, it just wouldn't be the best movie ever.

Sam Kott, 14

Rockville

'Glory'

The film "Glory" has always stayed with me. Man's cruelty to man, combined with a powerful historical narrative and some truly amazing performances. There is no greater metaphor for courage, bravery and valor than the sacrifices made on the battlefield. But I have never thought of this as a war film. So many facets of the human condition -- and all the ways man fails both his fellow man and himself -- are on display. In the end, bravery, solidarity and sacrifice converge, and there is hope, perhaps a sweet fiction, but for myself, it's in that hope that the film affects me. It is powerful, beautiful, infuriating and inspiring. I love the film.

Zachary S. Kraus, 35

Washington

'The Princess Bride'

Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, chases, escapes, miracles and, most important of all, true love -- "The Princess Bride" has it all. Westley's famous "As you wish" line steals any woman's heart, and who doesn't like Inigo Montoya and Fezzik? After falling in love with this movie, I decided to read the book. Usually books are much better than movies -- somehow when books are turned into films it doesn't quite match your expectations. "The Princess Bride" is a rare gem that definitely lives up to the book. It is a film that will entertain people of all ages and interests.

Sarah Dunn, 20

Herndon

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'Run Lola Run'
My favorite movie of all time is "Run Lola Run" starring Franka Potente as the frenetic savior-girlfriend of a small-time thief facing death if he doesn't replace some lost deutsch marks fast. I observe the antics of an initially unlikable Lola as she races to find the money, changing lives and being changed, repeating her quest in "Groundhog Day"-like fashion. When I start to care what happens to Lola, her luck begins to change for the better. I become part of the action. Is that how real life works, too? Far out.
Robyn Zimmerman, over 50
Olney

'Dr. Strangelove'
Sometimes when I cue up my favorite film, "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," I worry: Will this viewing finally show the film succumbing to the ravages of time, becoming a cozy period piece? So I cue up my laserdisc- which too once seemed peerless but now seems clunky - and after a few tense moments I am transported. Not backward but forward. Not only does "Dr. Strangelove" still seem ahead of its time, it seems ahead of any time. No relying on a wall-to-wall pop-chart soundtrack, gross-out humor or editing that seems as if it were done by the table chef at Benihana. It succeeds on its own terms, unafraid to play out its own absurd (?) premise to its own absurdly logical conclusion. Thus, Dr. Strangelove remains a timeless classic and my favorite film.
Edward B. Sherman
Rockville

'Philadelphia'
Ostensibly about justice, "Philadelphia" (the City of Brotherly Love) is ultimately about just what its title implies: love. The fight for justice is certainly worthy and noble. Yet even the fight for justice, with all the passion it generates, pales in importance compared to the expression and celebration of love. This movie might leave one enraged by injustice and saddened by its hero's death. Yet his understanding of what truly matters before it is too late ironically even gives death a certain beauty and holds promise for the survivors.
Karen T. Sullivan, 49
Arlington

'Star Wars'
While "Star Wars" may seem like an obvious pick for other reasons, as a girl growing up in the '70s and '80s, there was simply no other role model like Leia. Redefining the title of princess, she was a leader and a fighter. She was quick-witted and sarcastic, and maintained her femininity with a groovy hairstyle. And she'd been saving the galaxy from imperial rule since Han was smuggling contraband for Jabba the Hutt and Luke was back on Tatooine shooting whomp rats with his T-16 on the way to Tashi Station.
Nancy Golden, 35
Takoma Park

'A Raisin in the Sun'
Diana Sands emphatically rants and raves to Claudia McNeil that God receives the credit for the many things man has accomplished through sheer hard work and determination, basically [that] there is no God! Growing up in a household of Southern Baptists (Grandfather heads the deacon board, Nana runs the missionary's), even at 12 years old you know what's about to take place. You've seen it and experienced it before. Claudia McNeil (the ultimate big momma, an African American icon) walks toward her daughter, swiftly slaps her across the face and demands she repeat after her "In my mother's house, there is still God." Whoa. That does it for me! I watch this movie at least once or twice a month for so many reasons. One is obviously Sidney Poitier, who simply has no equal as an actor. The agony on his face as he comes to terms with his friend's betrayal, the defiant respect he exemplifies when his mother demands he not leave home as he is about to explode. The film, which was adapted from a play by Lorraine Hansberry, depicts the African American struggle with poignant dignity and timeless performances.
JW Osborne III, 46
Gaithersburg

'Friday Night Lights'
"Friday Night Lights" captures a glimpse of the inequities that can exist in high school football. Imagine an 15-year-old with no whiskers facing a 20-something monster with a full, thick beard. The monster outweighs the boy by over a hundred pounds, is pumped up on drugs and spouts a nonstop barrage of vulgar obscenities. Terrifying? Yes! Inspirational? Very! "Friday Night Lights" reminds me of the fear, pain, racial issues and absolute joy my high school football team experienced playing in the '70s. I positively love the unique feel, look and soundtrack of "Friday Night Lights"!
Joseph Mark Wilson, 46
Washington

'Phenomenon'
The reason I love this movie so much is the message it sends to me. Everyone would like to believe that there is some other foreign universe out there. And as strange as it seems, people seem to accept that there may be without any second thoughts. In this movie, a beam of light from the heavens strikes a dense everyday Joe and makes him brilliant. And even though it is hard for them to take, they have no problem believing in UFOs . But when the truth comes out that it was just a strange tumor, they seem have to more trouble with that. The main reason this movie touches me so much is that it proves we all have potential. Inside of us all is positive energy to solve problems and learn even more if we want. There are no quick fixes or UFO light. It is all us. There is genius in us all in all kind of levels large and small. George had a way to find it, embrace it and touch people with it. It made me weep in the theater and not care who saw.
Henry Steven Higgins, 50
Herndon

'The Magus'
"The Magus" is a now-obscure 1968 film starring Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn and Candice Bergen. I first saw it at the long-gone Circle Theatre on Pennsylvania Avenue, where you could buy a book of 10 tickets for artsy double features for 10 bucks. In Greece, schoolteacher Caine meets a mysterious Quinn and Bergen. Once Caine works out each puzzling event, Quinn introduces a new explanation. If you've ever questioned reality, this film won't provide an answer, but you'll enjoy the journey. Candice Bergen in 1968 is an absolute knockout, as is co-star Anna Karina. Based on the John Fowles novel.
Phil Gieseler, 58
Orange, Va.

'Zoolander'
My favorite movie is "Zoolander." I like it because it makes me laugh, and I think Ben Stiller (who plays Derek Zoolander) is a great actor. Ben stiller does very well at empathizing his characters. Zoolander is about a man named Derek Zoolander, a famous model that has grown out of style for his fans. Hansel (Owen Wilson) is the new, hip model that wins the Model of the Year award. Derek and Hansel have feud between them. These two moronic models have to overcome a very large and dangerous obstacle. Once again, my favorite movie is "Zoolander."
Christopher Jones, 12
Washington

'City Lights'
My favorite movie is Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights." This is a silent movie, released in 1931 when 'talkies' were already the rage. Nonetheless, "City Lights" remains so compelling because it is at once a comedy, drama, love story and social commentary. Chaplin plays the role of the Tramp, who is mistaken for a wealthy man by a blind flower girl. The Tramp sacrifices his well-being, and ultimately his freedom, to restore the girl's eyesight. In this day of special effects and spectacular stunts, "City Lights" still shines in its simplicity and clarity as a testament to the indomitable human spirit.
Conrad May, 50
Kensington

'War and Peace'
"War and Peace" - the Soviet version - is by far my favorite movie of all time. Why this movie, and why not the American version? This movie is about passion! Not just romantic passion, but the passion for life, fame, glory, duty and honor! I'm also a history buff, so I'm a sucker for period pieces. Because the American version pales by comparison in scope, acting, and - let's say it - passion, I'm willing to put up with the English subtitles. Ah, Pierre and Natasha!
John H. Kohn, 54
Burke

'Jaws'
"Jaws" is definitely our family's favorite movie. Although this Steven Spielberg blockbuster - with its classic shark music - remains riveting time after time, its cinematic qualities aren't what make it a family favorite. That would be because of its effect on my three children. In my view, "Jaws" is every bit as necessary for a beach vacation with children as sunblock. Watch it the first night at the beach and you can relax under an umbrella and not have to worry about your children going too far out in the surf. This works for all ages!
Diane Bettge, 46
Fairfax

'Midnight Cowboy'
Two misfits, a relative innocent and the other streetwise, form a relationship that captured my emotions, and when it spiraled downward, it wrenched by heart. When I left the theater, I literally had to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and will myself back from their world into mine. Few movies have ever captured me in such a way.
Julia Back, 74
Rockville

'Casablanca'
Yeah, yeah, unoriginal choice. But there are reasons for its enduring fascination. Bogart, tough yet vulnerable. Bergman, vulnerable yet tough. Henreid, noble but effete, making Bogart the better bet. There's a cornucopia of character actors, a love song still haunting even as time goes by, and dandy dialogue capped by "We'll always have Paris." Finally the appropriate bittersweet finale. Had Bogie and Bergie left Casablanca together, they'd wind up in postwar America suburbia with 2.5 children and become Ozzie and Harriet. Unacceptable. Movies have since changed. Special effects rule. But we ardent moviegoers, well, we'll always have Casablanca.
Lee Lederer, 70
Arlington

'Gone With the Wind'
Ever since I can remember, "Gone With the Wind" has been my favorite movie; in a sense I was born into it. I have grown up very close to my grandparents in Virginia, and my grandma's favorite movie is "Gone With the Wind." Often, I stayed with my grandma, and we would watch her favorite movie. I would sleep in the guest room, which was a tribute to the movie with plates, music boxes and pillows. This movie is our special connection; even, her pet beagle, who was "my" dog growing up, is named Scarlet. I am connected with the movie in so many little ways; it is a part of me and, therefore, my favorite movie.
Rachel Glidden, 15
Afton, Va.

'Peter Pan'
I can honestly say my favorite movie is Disney's "Peter Pan" (1953). (And frankly, I really don't care if Disney's version isn't that politically correct; it's still very fun.) The characters, for example, are all easy to like. I'll admit that I adore Peter's cocky personality; while Tinker Bell is clearly more popular, I've always had a soft spot for Wendy, who never seemed to get much respect. The music also fits the movie perfectly - the flight to Neverland, short though it is, becomes a memorably nostalgic scene when paired with the very old-school "You Can Fly!"
Jane Mahoney, 15
Potomac

'Sideways'
Because we've been through or can relate to these beautifully acted, bittersweet moments: Drank and dialed, took and gave a second chance, ran and drove away from a reception, heart about to explode following Maya's long, thoughtful statements, listened to best friend's fishy statement.
Thanh Nguyen, 45
Alexandria

'She's the Man'
Amanda Bynes brings life, laughter and excitement to her character, Viola Johnson. In "She's the Man," Viola encounters a difficult task of playing on a boy's soccer team by day and trying to practice her ladylike qualities learned from etiquette class at night. But just like me, trying to be a lady backfires due to her boyish ways. This movie has given me permission to be a tomboy. It inspired me to be me and not care what women have to say about the way I carry myself. Just because I don't fit into others' ideas of femininity, doesn't mean I am not a lady.
Darlene Escobar, 17
Falls Church

'Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker'
My favorite movie is "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker." It's about 14-year-old Alex Rider. He thinks he leads a pretty normal life. He lives with his uncle until his uncle dies. Soon he finds out that his uncle, Ian Rider, worked for a secret organization after he discovers the base. He gets threatened into taking Ian's place. He has to figure out why Darrius Sayle is giving out the most high-tech computer to every school in the country. He finds out Darrius is putting a virus into every computer. Alex stops Darrius from launching the computers twice, but Darrius almost shoots him off a really tall building! Luckily the man who shot Ian shoots Darrius and saves Alex. I like this movie because it has everything: action, sadness, happiness, a little comedy and some romance.
Alia Nahra, 8
Maryland

'Vertigo'
Alfred Hitchcock's sublime film exists on at least three levels. First, it critiques the unfortunate tendency of many males to impose their ideal image of a woman onto one of flesh and blood. Second, more generally, it dramatizes the human desire to transcend the dreariness of day-to-day life by entering an ineffable realm. Third, James Stewart's Scottie is drawn into the mystery of Kim Novak's Madeleine in exactly the way an audience is drawn into the mystery of a movie. In addition, Bernard Herrmann's score is justly famous. And Kim Novak wearing a dark-red bathrobe doesn't hurt.
Jeff Brown, 57
Silver Spring

'Moulin Rouge'
"Moulin Rouge" is a love story with a tragic ending. It follows the life of a poor writer, searching for truth, beauty, freedom, and, overall, love. "Moulin Rouge's" beautiful music and vocals are my favorite thing about the movie. Another great thing is the characters. "Moulin Rouge" is all about a bunch of nobodies trying to become somebody. You fall in love with the characters right away because of their positive eccentricity. One more thing I love about "Moulin Rouge" is that the story is so captivating. Secret lovers, jealousy and lies make up this amazing movie.
Lena Pfeiffer, 14
Washington

'The Bridge on the River Kwai'
This film is a classic presentation of the determination of individual will, as well as the struggle between icons of the military establishments of Western and Eastern cultures. The two principals, played by Alec Guinness as a British colonel and Sessue Hayakawa as the commander of the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, were intent on gaining control of the bridge's construction, thereby feeding their own egos. They were oblivious to the impact of its completion on the larger war effort. The acting, script, cinematography and music combine to make the film one of the best stories of World War II.
Tom Forno, 64
Columbia

'Goodfellas'
"Goodfellas" is the finest movie made in the 1990s and the best film Marty Scorsese ever made. This is the quintessential American film - it has robbery, murder, drugs, sex, love and the mafia - and it is based on a true story. With a wonderful cast and a captivating script, Scorsese provides a great film experience and a chance to be a member of the family - and still get out alive. Everything about the movie works including the soundtrack, the cinematography and the story. It is a great example of American filmmaking at its best.
Dale Rhines
Alexandria

'Spirited Away'
In the beginning of the movie, "Spirited Away," my boyfriend whispers to me, "I can't believe I'm watching this." I nod in awe thinking to myself, "What am I watching?" I was watching the best movie I ever saw. "Spirited Away" is a great story with themes of "Believe in yourself" and "Having faith," it is a visual masterpiece. Hayao Miyazaki's imagination is breathtaking with his painterly characters and Asian landscapes. The characters felt familiar, like I've sent them before in a nursery rhyme or a dream. Hayao gave me a story that was inspiring and ageless.
Linda Vo, 24
Fairfax

'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'
In 1966, I was 9 years old at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan when we saw "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Fascinated, I swept over landscape, dodged gunshots and welcomed that score as if my life depended on it. My father cheered cool actors Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, who collaborated the good, bad, ugly within us all. Eastwood's character, Blondie, imbues over fallen faces from civil war, "I never seen so many men wasted so badly." My father hums the movie's somber ballad "The Story of a Soldier." Every soldier has one, like my father.
Aldric Crawley, 49
Washington

'Three Kings'
With the Oscar season running about, the term "overrated" has been used lately to describe some films. Well, how about the using the term "underrated" to describe "Three Kings"? Some say this film is a flashy remake of "Kelly's Heroes," I for one find it far superior. It is essentially a heist film, but an intelligent one that poses moral and ethical questions about war. The film is a unique and thought-provoking satire that is able to blend drama and comedy effortlessly. It boasts a great cast and a great director as well as some clever, experimental film techniques to highlight the action sequences and to depict the intensity of battle. Even though Neo dodging bullets in "The Matrix" was beyond cool, there's a very creative gunfight in "Three Kings" that's worth seeing as well. If there is a film that is still so overlooked, it would have to be David O. Russell's "Three Kings."
Daniel Khan, 18
Rockville

'Animal House'
From the initial moments of building a ritualistic collective to the ultimate act of denying a repressive authority, "Animal House" is the film to liberate the inhibited and embolden the timid to organize, lead and prevail in a dysfunctional societal environment while claiming self-awareness . . . good or bad! It has become the stimulus for my annual act of self-renewal and reality check!!!
John Whitley, 67
Williamsburg, Va.

'The Little Mermaid'
Who doesn't love mermaids? I love them! That is one of the reasons why "The Little Mermaid" is my favorite movie. I also love this movie because of the songs; I love the tropical feel of "Under the Sea" and the passionate "Part of Your World." The characters in this movie are wonderful. Flounder, the fish, is cute, timid and funny, while Sebastian is a grumpy but hilarious crab. My favorite character is Ariel, the little mermaid. I love the way she pursues her dream, rather than waiting for a fairy godmother, a lesson all should follow.
Marisa Remez, 12
Washington

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