As we continue to celebrate women here at The MOMO talk this month and as I am listening to one of the Notting Hill’s soundtrack songs that just came up on my iTunes playlist, I thought it’s a perfect time to kick off my new series called ‘Muse & Heroes’.
Each of the articles within this series will be featuring my top 5 favorite movies of one of my favorite actors or actresses – with ‘Muse’ being dedicated to the beautiful ladies who inspire us, and ‘Heroes’ to the on-screen men of our hearts.
5 films is not too many, so often it will be pretty hard to pick! Which is certainly true for the very first case in our series which is the one and only Julia Roberts.
Julia’s been the very first actress that’s ever caught my attention as a kid and whom I admired ever since. A huge icon of the 90’s, Julia was the girl of the moment and has remained one of the most celebrated actresses even if 90’s and early 00’s have really been the time where she shone best. She’s captivated me and the whole world with her beautiful smile and her incredible on-screen presence.
As I was growing up, I’ve learned to laugh with her, as well as to dream. She also taught me to be fearless and fight for what is right and that being a part of a boys club could be a lot of fun though not easy.. 😉 (which many years later I got to experience myself!)
I love her fun personality with her somewhat wicked sense of humour which is exactly what makes her favorite within the boys club – yep, Julia did not need to be cast in the all female version of Ocean’s 11 (called Ocean’s 8) because she’s been there all along. And if you’ve ever seen any of her interviews, you know she’s still a kid at heart which is probably what makes her look ever so young!
There are so many wonderful movies with Julia! And I would love to talk about them all, though some perhaps more than the others 😉 Nevertheless there are certainly more on my favorites list than just these five.
I would love to include America’s Sweethearts – a rather forgotten and unappreciated comedy featuring John Cusack, Billy Crystal and Catherine Zeta-Jones who are all absolutely brilliant here. Stepmom, a nice little drama with Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. Sleeping with the Enemy is also a favorite as is the wonderful Erin Brockovich which finally earned her a much deserved Oscar. Mona Lisa Smile would make a nice addition, too and of course her minor but rather important role in Ocean’s 11. But I gave myself a limit of 5 films so.. there you go.
Julia Roberts is and forever will be one of the brightest stars of cinema and I just wish, she would keep on doing more films these days as I miss her presence on screen. And so while I’ll leave you here with my personal top 5 of the queen of the 90’s, I’ll go and get my hands on Wonder at last!
PRETTY WOMAN (1990)
No list could ever be complete without Pretty Woman. And I’m not talking just the Julia Roberts list. But ANY kind of film lists for that matter. This movie is as good as it gets in its genre and Julia and Richard Gere are a dream couple. Their chemistry is so incredible, that despite all the other movies you’ve seen them in, once it’s Pretty Woman you’re watching, you’re solely watching Vivian and Edward Lewis, not Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
I love Pretty Woman to pieces! In fact, in my family it has become sort of a religion. Something like The Lord of the Rings though naturally of a VERY different kind. Shown on Czech TV every Christmas Eve (don’t ask me why!), quotes from this film has become legendary.
Truth be told, this film is probably largely to blame for my incurable faith in the fairytale kind of love and my high expectations of men…and also, I’m still waiting for somebody to take me to THAT kind of shopping spree. So in case you have a fat credit card with not much use for it, give me a call!
Honestly…. this film is so good, you might almost pee your pants! 😉
Just think the soundtrack, think the poster…think the dresses! Think it all! It has all become classic!
MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (1997)
Probably one of my favorite comedies ever and Julia at her (comedic) best! Also, one of my ‘Chicago movies’.
With this film, the older I get, the more I can understand Julia’s character and see beyond the comedy. The desperate need to get her man back and the unwillingness to give up and face the truth. Ah! I can relate… although luckily, I have never got so low as to become the pus that infects the mucous… that cruds up the fungus… that feeds on the pond scum… 😉
This movie is so relatable on so many different levels though! Like remember that one girl you really, really wanted to hate but then she never really gave you a reason to because, well, there’s nothing to hate about her cause she really is that sweet?!…. Worst feeling ever! lol I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! We’ve all been there at one point or another! Cameron Diaz in the role of Michael’s (Dermot Mulroney) fiancé, is so naive, so adorable.. and so annoyingly flawless and unspoilt as one can get.
And a true cherry on top is Rupert Everett in the role of George, Julia’s gay friend.
This movie is a keeper and never disappoints. If you need a good laugh and haven’t seen it yet or perhaps it has completely slipped your mind, go and watch it! 😉
P.S. Talking of fashion – this movie is also responsible for the dress I’ve been imaging for my bridesmaids ever since.
THE PELICAN BRIEF (1993)
One thing I truly love about Julia is that as good as she is in comedies – where I will always love her best – she can be as amazing in dramas. Only very few can master these two genres at the same time so successfully… Perhaps only Sandra Bullock comes close in that sense.
The Pelican Brief is a film adaptation of John Grisham’s book and is definitely one of the best crime dramas of the 90’s. I still remember seeing it for the very first time as no more than a kid and I don’t think up until that point I’ve ever been so captivated by any movie of that kind.
It was mysterious, it was hunting… dangerous. I could not stop watching it and holding my breath, the tension so intense! I felt so invested in the story, to such an extent I have not known before. And if that’s not a sign of a drama well made, then I don’t know what is.
Plus it has the great Denzel Washington playing opposite Julia – probably the first film I’ve ever seen him in and with which I will always associate him with.
DYING YOUNG (1991)
Once again a movie that has hunted me for a long time after I’ve seen it for the very first time (and the numerous times after). It’s been a similar emotional experience for me as for example Philadelphia.
The story of a young man who’s dying from a blood cancer and who hires a nurse to look after him, is one of the most tragic tales I’ve ever seen on screen and probably the first that made me come close to tears – yep, back when I was a kid no films would ever make me cry, while now I cry all the time! So yeah, today, I’m pretty sure those tears would come down in streams.
If this film taught me one thing though, it was that not only we don’t choose whom we’re gonna love and not a single day with that person is a day wasted even if there is no future together, but also that life is a very precious and fragile thing and we need to make the most of it while we can.
NOTTING HILL (1999)
At the end of the century, another piece of the Richard Curtis series has been made. At least that’s what I call all the wonderful comedies I’ve come to love so much – like Four Wedding and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones Diaries and Love Actually. Wish there would be more of them!
Another gem in the romantic comedies department, this one features Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant thus combining the best of the British and American. A big win in that sense. It only has one flaw for me – and that is the character of William’s (Hugh Grant) sister. I just can’t stand her, she’s too annoying!
I remember this film being compared to Pretty Woman at the time of its release only this time Julia has been the rich girl and Hugh Grant was the boy who needed to be saved. Something that would surely resonate with today’s Women Empowerment movement 😀
But don’t we all have this dream? Imagine your on-screen love walkng into your shop one day.. just like that. What would happen? Or what could happen?
Notting Hill remains one of the iconic London movies for me, which I watch every time I need my dose of this wonderful city or when my longing for it becomes unberable, but also when I need a little romance therapy and a good portion of the wonderful Biritsh humour.
So that’s it! Do my picks match yours? Or would your top 5 look completely different? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know!
And stay tuned for the next episode!