Watch Only Good Movies

“Since films and television have staged everything imaginable before it happens, a true event, taking place in the real world, brings to mind the landscape of films.”Elizabeth Hardwick (“The Apotheosis of Martin Luther King,” Bartleby in Manhattan, 1983

Whether you are taking the trouble to drive to the theater and wait in line or renting a movie from Blockbuster, you’ll improve your enjoyment of life immeasurably by watching only (or at least mostly) good movies.

A really good movie is a delightful thing. It entertains. It educates. It takes you to places you’ve never seen, shows you people you’ve never encountered, and puts you into situations you’ve only imagined.

It broadens your thinking and puts blood back in your heart. It makes you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. It stimulates you to think new thoughts, recognize new truths, and consider different realities.

A good movie deepens you.

By contrast, bad and mediocre movies steal your time, spend your energy, and leave you feeling vacant and used up — the way you feel after eating too much candy.

Mediocre movies include 80% of what Hollywood produces every year and 90% of what is produced elsewhere. Bad movies include most anything that involves car collisions, robots, messages, or Kevin Costner.

Good movies that I can vouch for include the following:

* “Citizen Kane”

* “Schindler’s List”

* “All About Eve”

* “The Godfather” (all three parts)

* “Five Easy Pieces”

* “The Graduate”

* “Sunset Boulevard”

If you have seen these movies and haven’t loved them, see them again. If they still don’t work for you — then I have nothing to say to you.

I’d like to hear your recommendations. Post them on “Speak Out” (

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]