1) The lead guitarist for the rock group ‘Stillwater’ gets dragged out of an all-night high school party by the band’s road manager. Once the bus gets rolling the band and its roadies break out in unison singing along to ‘Tiny Dancer.’ “ Jesus freaks out in the street handing tickets out for god.”
2) Just before a tornado sweeps through Kansas Dorothy sings of a fantastical place beyond the rainbow. If you’re any kind of dreamer Judy Garland’s rendition of the song can take you anywhere you want to go. “If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why can’t I.”
‘The Wizard of Oz’- (‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’)
3) The film was made at the height of the AIDS Pandemic about a gay attorney (Tom Hanks) who is fired from his job at a high-powered law firm because they suspect he has contacted the virus. At the funeral party after Hank’s character’s death a tape plays in the background. Neil Young sings the title song as a television plays clips of the dead attorney playing on the beach as a boy. I go for the tissue box every time. “Sometimes I think I know what love all is about and when I see the light, I know I’ll be alright.”
‘Philadelphia’- (‘Streets of Philadelphia’)
4) A women’s professional baseball league that was formed during WWII (1940’s). A great cast makes this a fun story about a part of our sports history that I knew very little . Carol King’s song about old loves and friendships is a special one for me. “We had a moment, just one moment.”
‘A League of Their Own’- (‘Now and Forever’)
5) The fourth movie with the same title and story line. The latest version was a box office sensation. Bradley Cooper plays a successful but conflicted country western star trying to keep his shit together while he is falling in love with Lady Gaga. I don’t want to, but I admit I loved the song ‘Shallow’ in the movie. “Tell me something boy, aren’t you tired of trying to fill that void.”
‘A Star is Born’- (‘Shallow’)
6) A New York writer (George Peppard) and an eccentric young lady (Audrey Hepburn) are two fiercely independent individuals who reluctantly fall in love. When Peppard leaves his typewriter to see Hepburn on her windowsill strumming her guitar the audience and Peppard discover their huckleberry friend. “Two drifters off to see the world.”
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’- (‘Moon River’)
7) Dustin Hoffman in his breakout role as a recent Ivy League graduate coming home after college who starts an affair with the wife of his parents’ best friends. It isn’t long until he falls in love with his lover’s daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross). To the great Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack the fireworks begin. “It’s a little secret, just the Robinson’s affair Most of all, you’ve got to hide it from the kids.” Full disclosure: I thought Katherine Ross playing Elaine Robinson was the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
‘The Graduate’- (‘Mrs. Robinson’)
8) The movie begins with the college friends of the deceased arriving for a weekend to both settle and reconnect the past. This is all done behind an amazing soundtrack. But the opening scene of a dead body in a casket with Mick and the boys crooning got my immediate attention. “I saw her today at the reception A glass of wine in her hand.”
‘The Big Chill’- (‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’)
9) Rick’s Café is the setting of this WWII love story. This movie is one of my favorites. Humphrey Bogart owns a bar in Morocco’s largest city. The Vichy French refuse to give into the Nazis even when it came to the selection of the music in ‘Rick’s’. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” In the end Bogart is ready to stick his neck out, and give up love for the cause.
‘Casablanca’- (‘La Marsellaise’)
10) A Saturday high school detention is the premise of this coming-of-age movie. When I was a teacher, I taught a sociology class, and every year the kids loved this movie, and this song by Simple Minds. “As you walk on by Will you call my name? As you walk on by Will you call my name? When you walk away?” The gem you are looking for is often right in front of you.
‘Breakfast Club’- (‘Don’t you Forget About Me’)