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Five Classic Movies To Watch This Weekend

Updated on February 1, 2015
Paramount Theater, Omaha, circa 1937
Paramount Theater, Omaha, circa 1937 | Source

The weekend's here and you're ready to unwind. Sometimes there's nothing better than popping in a great old movie and curling up on the couch in your comfiest pajamas with a big bowl of popcorn and your sweetie (or your cat). If you're looking for something great to watch this weekend, try one of these classic favorites.

North By Northwest

Cary Grant and director Alfred Hitchcock paired up for the fourth and final time in 1959 to make this thriller about a Manhattan advertising executive caught up in a classic case of mistaken identity.

After Roger Thornhill (Grant) is confused for government agent George Kaplin, he is abducted, interrogated by a foreign spy (James Mason), framed for murder, and pursued across the country. Along the way, he is double-crossed by a beautiful woman (Eva Marie Saint) and chased by a crop duster. The movie's climax has Thornhill clinging for his life to the side of Mt. Rushmore as the spy's henchman (Martin Landau) tries to do him in. Look for Hitchcock's signature cameo appearance early on in the film.

The Graduate

This landmark dramedy was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1967, won Best Director for Mike Nichols, and launched the career of Dustin Hoffman.

Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate with no plans for the future. He is seduced by the wife of his father's business partner, the sultry Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and they begin an affair. When his father and Mr. Robinson set him up with the Robinson's daughter, Elaine (Katherine Ross), Benjamin finds the girl of his dreams, but Mrs. Robinson is determined to keep them apart.

The soundtrack features several songs by folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, including two of their biggest hits, "The Sounds of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson."

The Untouchables

This 1987 Brian De Palma film is a classic crime drama based on federal agent Eliot Ness' autobiographical account of how he brought down mob warlord Al Capone, who ruled Chicago during the Prohibition. The movie stars Kevin Costner as Ness and Robert De Niro as Capone. Sean Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of police officer Jimmy Malone, who shows Ness how to beat the mob.

One of the movie's unforgettable scenes takes place in Chicago's Union Station, where Ness and his G-men go to capture Capone's accountant. Ness eyes the clock from his post as a young mother struggles with a baby carriage on the stairs. Will she make it to the top in time to avoid being caught in a shootout?

L.A. Story

This 1991 romantic comedy was written by Steve Martin, who also stars in it. It is one of Martin's finest works, combining a satirical look at Southern Californian culture with a sweet and quirky romance.

Martin plays Harris Telemacher, a wacky weatherman who's looking for some meaning in his life. He becomes smitten with an unavailable woman (Victoria Tennant) and after breaking down on the freeway one day, he receives advice from an electronic traffic conditions sign. The message on the sign's display leads him to break up with his social-climbing girlfriend (Marilu Henner) and take up with a flaky salesgirl and wannabe spokesmodel (Sarah Jessica Parker). In the end, with help from the sign, he finds true love with the woman of his dreams.

Best In Show

This classic mockumentary profiles the people behind a dog show - the owners and handlers - and the dogs on which their hopes are pinned. Christopher Guest directed and co-wrote Best In Show with Eugene Levy, and both men played roles as dog owners. The ensemble cast reunited for this 2000 film and would go on to make other movies together, but this movie is the best of the bunch, especially for dog lovers.

The movie follows five entrants in the prestigious Mayflower Kennel Club dog show from their preparations for the show to the competition itself. Levy plays a man with two left feet who raises terriers and makes up songs about them with his formerly promiscuous wife (Catherine O'Hara). Guest plays a backwoods bait shop owner who raises champion bloodhounds and dreams of being a ventriloquist.

Other dog owners include a neurotic yuppie couple (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock), a trophy wife (Jennifer Coolidge) who is romantically involved with her dog's handler (Jane Lynch), and a campy gay couple (Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins) who are devoted to their Szih Tzus. Also profiled are the show's announcers, a dog expert who provides the play-by-play (Jim Piddock) and a loopy color commentator (Fred Willard).

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