Karen’s WBCA Picks: Back to the “Classics”

Click here for Karen’s Spiced Red Lentil Soup recipe mentioned in the interview at the bottom of the page. 

By Karen Parkman, WBCA Receptionist & Office Assistant

Many of us are looking for meaningful ways to fill our extra hours at home these days. Instead of spending our evenings agonizing about what to watch on our myriad streaming services, my partner, Connor, and I, decided to come up with a project. We each made a list of movies that we loved when we were in high school. For both of us, these old favorites were movies we hadn’t watched in years, and for the most part, neither of us had seen the movies on the other’s list. Thus began our week of screening our own “Personal Classics.”

By choosing movies that entranced our younger selves, we had a chance to learn more about each other. As teenagers, we imagined ourselves into these movies, and imagined futures inspired by these movies; in short, they helped us form our identities. We also had a chance to reconnect with the stories we fell in love with when we were first beginning to form our own creative sensibilities. Today, as writers, we can see their influence all over our work. These movies formed the style, tastes, and preferences that we still have today.

We ended up with a smorgasbord of different genres to enjoy: romance, musicals, zombie movies, dystopias, classic adventures, and comedies. We were surprised and enchanted by the movies we shared with each other. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to dig up an old personal classic—or at least help you decide what to stream next time you’re overwhelmed by choices.

What past loves can you reconnect with at home, and share with the people you love?


Round 1:

My pick: Amélie (2001)

Charming love story set in Paris, tinged with magic, with a great score.


Connor’s pick: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The always-cool Harrison Ford takes a job to recover a stolen religious relic in this classic adventure flick. Featuring Connor’s favorite opening scene of all time:


Round 2:

My pick: Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Baz Luhrman’s zany, off-the-wall jukebox musical about a doomed romance.


Connor’s pick: 28 Days Later (2002)

A lo-fi adventure through London in the days following a zombie apocalypse. Maybe the most inventive and experimental zombie film out there.


Round 3:

My pick: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

An irrepressible Paul Newman refuses to bend to authority on a Florida chain gang in this immensely quotable film.


Connor’s pick: Brazil (1985)

Highly stylized and strange dystopian black comedy about a man mistakenly wrapped up in a terrorist plot.


Round 4:

My pick: Harold and Maude (1971)

An unexpected romance between two misfits blossoms into a meditation on living life to the fullest.


Connor’s pick: Moonstruck (1987)

A funny, offbeat, one-of-a-kind love story starring the indomitable Cher.


Round 5:

My pick: Band of Outsiders (Bande à part) (1964)

Jean-Luc Godard’s relentlessly cool heist-film featuring a trio of anti-heroes and the best dance scene of all time.


Connor’s pick: Trainspotting (1996)

A gloriously messy and off-center dark comedy about a group of heroin addicts.


Round 6:

My pick: Gilda (1946)

A moody, stylish crime noir set in a Buenos Aires casino, starring Rita Hayworth.


Connor’s pick: Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Two mobs are at odds with each other in this slyly witty, unorthodox gangster movie by the Coen Brothers.


Round 7:

My pick: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn find themselves bound together by an escaped leopard in this lovable, fast-talking comedy.


Connor’s pick: Tremors (1990).

In this cult-classic monster movie starring Kevin Bacon, the townspeople of Perfection, Nevada must survive an attack by ground-tunneling gigantic worms.

Video podcast interview with Karen Parkman on YouTube

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