Five Favorite Films

Cynthia Nixon's Five Favorite Films

by | November 18, 2015 | Comments

Cynthia Nixon FFF
Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz / Stringer

 

Cynthia Nixon has always been easy to find in films or television, with a career spanning decades since her childhood. She currently stars in James White as the main character’s mother Gail, who is suffering from a serious illness. The film takes place in New York, which is also where Nixon was born, and is also a big part of her Five Favorite Films.


The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) 100%

It’s just a nearly perfect film. It has everything. It has humor and suspense. It has danger and emotion. An incredible ensemble cast of the people you’ve heard of and know their name — like Walter Matthau and Jerry Stiller — to the amazing actors who played the characters on the subway train. I think it captures my New York — what I love about New York, what I think New York is — so beautifully. It’s this place of cranky individuals with big personalities who make our city run.  And you’d think it wouldn’t work, but actually, it does, and New York comes through. And all the ways the transit cops, and cops, and mayor, and the citizens, and the people in charge of making the trains go — all of these people amazingly work together. And you know, when the lights go off and the old man who keeps saying, “There’s going to be red lights and it’s going to stop the train,” he’s right. Actually the system works. It lumbers along but actually it works.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) 89%

Well, it has a lot of what makes Citizen Kane amazing; you know, the incredible camera angles and perspectives, and the sense of history — American history — great performances. But to me, it’s a much juicier story.  So it’s from a Booth Tarkington novel — which I’ve never read — and it’s the story of a young man who’s played by Joseph Cotten — who you know is also in Citizen Kane — who will go on to become the man who invents the automobile. But at the time, he is the ruler of our heroine, and he does not win her hand because he’s not a big deal enough — not from her point of view, but from her family’s point of view. Because they are the magnificent Ambersons; they are the richest, most important family in town. And instead she marries someone that she doesn’t love and who’s not as impressive a person. So she takes all that love she doesn’t really have for her husband, and pours it onto her son, who becomes a spoiled nightmarish brat. And it is the downward trajectory of the Ambersons  — as Joseph Cotten’s character, in his ingenuity, makes all these important scientific advances, and he gains money. And the Ambersons spend their money terribly and they’re dissolute.

And all this tragedy ensues — finally, finally, finally at the end. When he’s a baby — when he’s a young boy — he’s so spoiled. And they’re all waiting for the day when George Amberson will get his comeuppance. And finally, everything horrible that could happen to a person happens to him. But by the time George Amberson got his comeuppance, the people who had so longed to see it were no longer around. And in the end, he finally, finally, finally comes to his senses and embraces his mother’s true love and accepts help. It’s just a beautifully told story of star-crossed lovers; but also how when everything is going for you — and you think you’re so great, because you come from people who’ve told you that you’re great — but actually, if you can’t fend for yourself you’re gonna float to the bottom pretty quickly.

Heartburn (1986) 47%

One time when I auditioned for Nora Ephron, I went on and on and on to her about how much I loved Heartburn. And I also love the book that it’s from.

RT: Was she psyched about that?

She was a little puzzled. She didn’t think at the time it was such a successful film. I don’t think she thought it was as funny as it should’ve been. And she said, “Why do you love that film so much? Was someone very, very bad to you?” And I guess it’s sort of true. I guess there was a period of heartbreak in my life that I identified with in Nora Ephron’s character. There’s just something so delicious — and, again, it’s a very New York movie. It’s like a really grown-up movie about love, and motherhood, and betrayal — and marriages that don’t work out, and food, and wanting to be the perfect wife and have the career too. It’s all that stuff, and also just watching Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson together — what could be better than that? And also supporting [cast] — Stockard Channing, and Milos Forman, and Catherine O’hara — all these people who are in the movie are just incredible.

The Band Wagon (1953) 100%

I love The Band Wagon. You just can’t go wrong. Singin’ in the Rain is great. The Sound of Music is great. But I think it is the number one MGM movie musical. It just has endlessly inventive numbers. And everyone in it is great and it’s so witty. Then again it’s very New York. A very New York story. Hollywood actor kind of fallen on hard times comes to New York to revive his career.

Finding Nemo (2003) 99%

Oh, I just love Nemo. Again, it’s just an almost perfect film.

RT: Absolutely. There’s so much poetry in Albert Brooks as a fish.

Oh, and Ellen DeGeneres. Of all the fantastic things Ellen DeGeneres has done — she’s never been better than she’s been in that movie. It is an astonishing performance. Astonishing.  And all those people in the tank, and just the artistry with which they made the movie. And the script is so great — and those turtles — you know those Australian turtles? They’re the best.


James White is now open in limited release.

  • VicioousAlienKlown

    Finding Nemo and Taking Pelham are good choices but the others are pretentious crap actors feel they need to give to not sound too populous.

  • ntvnyr30

    I looked at her list with no expectations and lo and behold she mentioned 2 of the films on my top 30 list: “Pelham” and “Ambersons”. Pelham is an overlooked classic from the 70’s. Why they tried to remake it is a mystery.

Tag Cloud

20th Century Fox dc Mary poppins Polls and Games Britbox Rocky jamie lee curtis adventure USA DGA SDCC SXSW Disney Channel El Rey Thanksgiving Sony Pictures Character Guide Bravo supernatural Epix San Diego Comic-Con ITV Syfy Super Bowl Christmas Trivia robots TV Land Winners Action Sneak Peek Netflix Reality Competition thriller boxoffice Rock vampires See It Skip It MSNBC Dark Horse Comics 2017 ratings Marvel RT History Winter TV diversity aliens Superheroes singing competition CNN politics Star Trek Warner Bros. IFC Films FOX MCU Sci-Fi Crackle facebook Sundance Now YA crime drama Ellie Kemper Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cooking Kids & Family Freeform crossover DC Universe DC Comics Oscars TCA 2017 SundanceTV Quiz History PaleyFest cults GoT spy thriller MTV sports TCA Year in Review Hulu TNT WGN Opinion E! Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt DC streaming service Trophy Talk Countdown Mystery based on movie TIFF Watching Series Biopics zombie Pixar CMT TLC war Pirates CBS All Access Shudder The CW Teen mutant serial killer finale HBO discovery Masterpiece crime thriller Cartoon Network Spring TV historical drama Logo AMC OWN Brie Larson CBS Esquire ABC Family cinemax Interview Spike anime Walt Disney Pictures TV romance social media cats justice league Summer Box Office Black Mirror sitcom Drama Reality festivals Awards TCM Columbia Pictures Amazon Horror Fox News Superheroe BET harry potter Paramount USA Network Awards Tour Premiere Dates Captain marvel CW Seed miniseries 2019 GLAAD science fiction Trailer American Society of Cinematographers psycho Music New York Comic Con Toys Starz Mary Poppins Returns talk show NYCC Acorn TV 007 Ovation PBS technology Comedy Country cops ABC LGBTQ 24 frames IFC Holidays green book Lucasfilm hist Fantasy Mary Tyler Moore Lionsgate Star Wars Comedy Central Nickelodeon E3 Red Carpet television 45 2016 NBC 21st Century Fox Disney Creative Arts Emmys Showtime zombies 2018 medical drama Shondaland Nominations Comics on TV 2015 Nat Geo Writers Guild of America Song of Ice and Fire Video Games dceu Martial Arts Calendar Lifetime award winner Comic Book crime comiccon Animation period drama Certified Fresh composers Schedule Election Mindy Kaling doctor who YouTube Red Paramount Network binge FXX dramedy TruTV YouTube Premium TBS Musicals Western Adult Swim Valentine's Day VICE golden globes spider-man streaming Ghostbusters DirecTV Musical Cosplay unscripted First Look Extras Emmys President Fall TV APB Tumblr X-Men Sundance Rom-Com comic casting The Arrangement Universal what to watch Podcast police drama FX Best and Worst Apple Marathons transformers travel Infographic VH1 political drama A&E National Geographic GIFs BBC America Tomatazos BBC Pop Set visit biography blaxploitation Grammys Food Network docudrama Photos ESPN Amazon Prime