5 things – Anne Helen Petersen

The brief: Tell us about 5 songs *and/or* films. It could be the ones you think are the greatest. Or that move you most. Or that are under-appreciated. Something along those lines.

The people: Webstock speakers and assorted Webstock people.

Today with Anne Helen Petersen.

Sunset Boulevard

My favorite movie about Hollywood, bar none. Gloria Swanson is a revelation.

Bright Star

One of my top five movies of the last decade; so quietly beautiful and feminist.

The Notebook

This movie is a schlock-fest. The book is a mess; the dialogue is horrible. But it also shows how star charisma works: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, and the palpable chemistry between them, turn a throwaway melodrama into something of substance and charm. Now I just fast-forward through the old people parts and make myself a near-perfect movie.

Goodfellas (steady-cam shot)

When people find out I study media for a living, they always ask my favorite movie. I have dozens of favorites, but I always say Goodfellas, and this ridiculously impressive steady-cam shot is one of many reasons why. Watch it and be seduced.

Marilyn Monroe on ‘Person to Person’ with Edward R. Murrow

I hate the way Marilyn Monroe has been flattened into a one-dimensional sex object, and always show this clip to my students to emphasize what was so special about her: an ineffable mix of charm, self-deprecating humor, and unspeakable beauty.