Joanne’s Picks

This page is just for fun and ever-changing (with the exception of the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin who has been archived here). I’m Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse. I like books (and you might like mine), I like music, I like movies, I like TV. So, I’m just sharing some of what I like. Keep checking back as I’m always keeping things fresh.

I can never say my favourite film (or song, or book, or work of art generally) either because I’m very indecisive or because it’s an impossible question. A bit of both? But, inspired by vlog, I thought I’d do a favourite film of each year I’ve been alive. Somehow I don’t think that will be any easier but let’s give it a go.  These will not necessarily be Academy picks; just pics I liked in real time (ish) that I still rock with. ish because, I might not have seen some of these the year of release, especially in the earlier years due to limited TV options and very few trips to the theatre growing up. 

Taking it by decade – so come back for other decades.

The 1970s

1973 – Honourable mentions would be Paper Moon (with Ryan O’Neal, an early crush from Peyton Place, which I remember watching on my grandparents old black and white TV, and his daughter Tatum) and Tom Sawyer (with Jodie Foster, one of my forever faves, as Becky); but my pick is Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, “the first martial arts film produced by a major studio”.

1974 – My appreciation for Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather II has grown (as part of a continuous narrative with The Godfather which is top-top for me). But Mel Brooks always made my stomach clench in laughter back when I was a child and it comes down to two faves from his canon Gene Wilder starring as Young Frankenstein or Gene Wilder with Cleavon Little in the satirical western Blazing Saddles. Both with the delightful Madeline Kahn. & the latter also has Richard Pryor’s pen adding up to many classic bits and too much incisive commentary to pass up; plus, it’s funny as hell.

1975 – I didn’t realize that this was the year One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest came out – that terrified me as a child and I’ve never been able to go back and watch it; and I vaguely remember Billie Dee and Diana Ross’ Mahogany though that fills me with warmer feelings – and the theme song was one of my first experiences of how melody and lyric can combine to touch something in you beyond words. But, a childhood fave from this year would be Escape to Witch Mountain which I know is not a classic, but my number one easily is – the first of the big summer blockbusters we still live by today, and my earliest memory of going to the theatre. Jaws.

1976 – Speaking of scary movies, The Omen is the OG – still scares the crap out of me. “Evergreen” from A Star is Born is another favourite movie song – the movie itself…meh. Keep in mind this is childhood me; it’s got to be Jodie Foster’s Freaky Friday (bad movie? don’t care).

1977 – The Bee Gees make the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack fire and who wasn’t in love with John Travolta back then but music aside, I can’t say this is a fave-fave. I LOVE the original Star Wars trilogy. But I, also, love a good relationship dramedy and Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl with Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss was one of my firsts.

1978 – Superman came out this year and that was a moment but, no contest, it’s Grease – still my desert island movie.

1979 – I liked the music and dance numbers in All that Jazz, the tension in The China Syndrome but Kramer vs. Kramer was my film – such great performances (Meryl Streep entering her GOAT era), such an engaging and complicated (once you grow and appreciate the mother’s pov) story. I remember it was the first time I’d ever even heard about french toast (funny what sticks in your memory because for me it’s Billy demanding that his father make him french toast and me wondering what they tasted like).

That’s the 70s. Next, the 80s.