What’s Your Favorite Movie?
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What’s Your Favorite Movie?

Four Atlantans talk about films from different genres which continue to enlighten, astound, stimulate and amuse them.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Michael Mann
Producer, Former Talent
Manager, Former Actor

Michael Mann was drawn deep into the action of his favorite film.

These are two of my favorite films. The first one totally overwhelmed me by its scope and magnitude, and I loved the second one for its humor and innocence.

First is “Schindler’s List” (1993). When I left the theater after seeing it, I could barely walk because it so penetrated my being. Steven Spielberg was able to completely place the audience members inside the action. He made us viscerally feel the insanity and lack of human compassion for our people.

My other favorite movie is “Being There” (1979). It is a film of warmth and innocence and portrays a simple human being’s journey to improve, but at the same time he is unaware of how his innocence gives others the impression that he is brilliant.

Rosita Lew

Rosita Lew has a knack for predicting Oscar winners.

Going to the movies is an essential part of my life. My favorite films are based on true stories, and I love comedies that really make me laugh.

I believe that the animated movie “Coco” (2017) is important because it explains a custom which is generally misunderstood in the United States. As one follows the action, the film shows Latin American culture, family, love and traditions, drawing the audience into the traditions of Mexico on the Day of the Dead. During this Mexican holiday, families make special altars for their beloved departed relatives. The altars contain favorite food and flowers and include the relatives’ pictures, with the belief that their souls will come to visit once a year and understand that they are remembered with love.

“Coco” is about a little boy who is determined to relate to his late great-grandfather. There are countless dazzling scenes and beautiful songs, with the message of devoted persistence to accomplish one’s dreams. I predicted that “Coco” was going to be an Oscar winner in the animation category, and it was! I enjoy predicting which movies will be nominated for best picture and also which will win. Once the nominations are announced, I try to see all the nominees for best picture.

Another of my many favorite movies is “A Beautiful Mind” (2001). I was sure it was going to be nominated and more than likely be chosen as the best picture at the Oscars that year, and I was right! People who know me often ask me for recommendations, and I happily comply.

Isabella Cantor
Emory University Student

Isabella Cantor has seen her favorite movie more than 30 times.

My favorite movie is “My Cousin Vinny,” directed by Jonathan Lynn in 1992. My parents introduced me to the delightful film when I, at around age 7, was probably a little too young for the crude language. Now, at the age of 21, I’ve probably seen it over 30 times! I always find ways to quote it in conversations, whether I’m discussing torque wrenches, baby deer, grits, youths or courtroom etiquette.

In 2019, my mother adopted a stubborn, but goofy, pit bull-mix puppy from the Atlanta Humane Society. There was no question that his name had to be Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, which of course is Vinny, for short. Vinny is a true clown and always gets the best of us, just like his namesake.

During the pandemic, “My Cousin Vinny” has been the go-to movie option for my mother and me because it never fails to make us laugh. If there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t seen director Lynn’s comic achievement, I strongly suggest that you do! You’ll thank my mother and me.

Art Saul

Art Saul shares favorite facts and trivia about his favorite film.

In the 1960s, Beatlemania brought with it an energy and excitement that swept me up and became a happy part of my youth. I am brought back to that energy and excitement when watching “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964), starring The Beatles.
Movies highlighting music performers tend to be silly and/or stupid (remember Elvis in “Kissin’ Cousins?”), but in “A Hard Day’s Night” the humor (should I write “humour”?) is sharp, clever, brash and irreverent. The movie shows the impact of sudden fame and acclaim, anticipating by decades our current fascination with The Fab Four. It includes the active manufacturing of an image to accompany that fame.

How can I resist? (Sharing a few nuggets from the film)

  • Interviewer to Ringo: Are you a mod or a rocker? (These were groups of British youth, sometimes violent.)Ringo: Neither. I’m a mocker.
  • See Patti Boyd before she was Mrs. George Harrison or Mrs. Eric Clapton.
  • The film sports what some identify as the first modern music video.
  • See The Beatles fly away on a helicopter, just as they did when I saw them in concert.
  • Several instances of the class basis to British society can be seen.
  • The excitement and novelty of The Beatles is contrasted by the black and white photography, which accentuates a drabness of post-World War Britain.
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