Screen gems: Some movies to cross off the ‘to watch’ list

As you read this, my first week of vacation for 2013 is reaching an end.

My list of ambitions for the week was modest: Spring cleaning, sleep and more sleep. The spring cleaning will have been tempered by the wintery weather of late as well as by a chronic hand condition for which I am receiving wonderful care through Hand Therapy at Marquette General Hospital.

And the sleep and more sleep goals probably were affected by a trio of darling cats who are used to having breakfast at 5:15 a.m. most days that I work … and by a list of movies I am hoping to screen during my time off.

The movies come from the American Film Institute’s “100 Greatest American Movies of All Time” list issued in 2007. When that list was revealed during a television special six years ago, I was a bit shocked at how many of these pieces of cinematic glory I hadn’t viewed.

So before this week off began, I decided to make plans to see the first five of the movies on the list of 100 which I had yet to watch.

Nos. 1-3 were already favorites: “Citizen Kane” (1941), “The Godfather” (1972) and “Casablanca’ (1942). Which put No. 4 “Raging Bull” (1975) as one of the films for me to find and screen during this week off.

Robert DeNiro? Martin Scorcese? How have I not watched this before?

Movies five and six – “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) and “Gone with the Wind” (1939) – are classics I have viewed time and again. Which makes No. 7, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) the second movie on the must-see list this vacation.

From what I have been told by other movie fans, that David Lean gem is best watched on a large screen but that not being possible, if I can find a copy, watch it I will on my home TV.

Films eight, nine and 10 have already been part of my past viewing, in order: “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Vertigo” (1958) and “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). But No. 11 hasn’t. That’s “City Lights” (1931) from the creative genius of Charlie Chaplin.

And No. 12 on the AFI list is another film I am ashamed to say hasn’t been part of my life. Yet. It’s “The Searchers” (1956) starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood, with direction by John Ford. Sign me up.

Film 13 was the first movie I ever bought on VHS when that format came out: “Star Wars” (1977). Film 14 is “Psycho” (1960) and I remember watching that as a youngster and having sleep – and shower – issues for a time after that screening.

Which brings us to what will be the fifth film for me to try to view during vacation: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968). It’s No. 15 on the AFI list and is cited by many as one of the most influential movies of all time.

Having enjoyed 10 of the top 15 films on AFI’s list gave me motivation to try to see the rest of that bunch. If you’d like to do your own inventory of films you’ve missed on the list, visit

And enjoy.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is