I love movies. I love the cinema. I love going into a dark room and being enveloped in another world for 2-3 hours.  There’s something so romantic (Beethoven, not Sleepless in Seattle) about losing one’s self into something that is wholly unearthly for such a short period of time. Although, Tall Mom and I fell in love with each other over her obsession with Yoda presenting his lightsaber in combat for the first time against Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.  Sad, but true. Lessons can be learned, Truths (yes, capital T) can be explored, and one can be broken, defined and redefined all in a reasonable 120 minute masterpiece experience.  It’s magical.  But this got me thinking, while I love watching movies with Tall Mom, there are some movies that I cannot wait to show my son.  Hit the jump to find out my surprising top 5….

1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 

The idea: hope, self-definition, and exploration.

Favorite Scene: There is no single greater scene in cinema than Luke staring into the Binary Sunset with John Williams beautiful score of “The Force Theme.”

Favorite quote:  “A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.”

 Reasoning: Ok this one isn’t so original. This is the holy grail of every nerd on the planet. Yes, I get it.  But, I’m a nerd, and hell, why not live into the stereotype? It’s rife with mythology, crude but effective VFX, and centers around the idea that you can only rely on yourself to find out who you are.  Life isn’t easy. But there is hope.  As long as you allow it.

2. The Godfather: Part I 

The Idea: family, sacrifice, and make an offer they can’t refuse.

Favorite Scene: The scene toward the end between Michael and his dad, Vito Corleone, when Vito is telling Michael what to expect from Barzini and the traitor. It’s about business, but it’s also a father talking to a son he didn’t want to be in the business. It’s heart warming and heart breaking all in one.

Favorite Quote: “Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.”

Reasoning: There’s a lot of life lessons to be learned from The Godfather. “Leave the gun, take the cannoli’s,” or, “you never hang your dirty laundry in public,” or my personal favorite, “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Sure, it’s about gangsters and there is a lot of killing but you have to look past that superficial crap.  The Godfather is about learning how to become a man and dealing with the demons that not only surround you but are within you.  Nevermind the fact that it’s widely considered the greatest movie ever created.

3. The Natural 

The Idea: unity in sport, and strive for excellence despite roadblocks.

Favorite Scene: Robert Redford’s Roy Hobbs running through the dark of night juxtaposed with the sparks of the downed lights from his game winning homerun at the end of the movie. It made me want to play baseball and it is pure cinema magic.

Favorite Quote: “And then when I walked down the street people would’ve looked and they would’ve said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.”

Reasoning: Baseball is America’s game. I want my son to know that.  But, nothing, and no one (especially) is bigger than the game.  You have to respect it.  And just because someone gets you down, or wants to bribe you, doesn’t mean you allow it to stop you in your excellence.  No one can stop you but you.  So if you’re going to do something, do it to the fullest and don’t quit.

4. Top Gun 

The Idea
: Patriotism, coolness, and teamwork

Favorite scene: There are too many – but nothing beats the ENTIRE club scene that begins with it being a, “target rich environment”, and culminates with the entire bar singing, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

Favorite Quote: “That was some of the best flying I’ve seen to date – right up to the part where you got killed. You NEVER leave your wingman.”

Reasoning: Sure, it’s dated and totally inaccurate regarding the flight mechanics, but Top Gun is just downright cool.  Everything about it.  Hell, you can be cool, but you’ll never be Tom- Cruise-playing- beach-volleyball-cool.  But, it’s also got jets, friendship, daddy issues, and it oozes patriotism for the greatest country in the world.  What else can I ask for my kid?

5.  Pretty Woman  

The Idea
: Love, patience, and money

Favorite Scene: It’s a tie – the necklace scene and the bathtub scene.  Both remind me of Tall Mom.

Favorite Quote: “Do you have anything in this shop as beautiful as she is?”

Reasoning: Tall Mom HATES this movie and I understand why – rich man saves a hooker from the streets.  But, this movie is bigger than that.  Richard Gere’s chemistry with a young Julia Roberts is electric. But, also, love can change you, and you can find it in the weirdest places.  Sure, money is great. In fact, it’s necessary.  Anyone who tells you that money is not important is someone who just doesn’t have a clue. The more you have, the better off you are.  But, it doesn’t buy love.  Love is organic and I want my son to know what love can look like.

What are the top 5 movies you want to share with your kid?

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