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

Food Network 2018 TCA Song of Ice and Fire Marathons Tomatazos Ghostbusters composers Amazon Prime crime thriller diversity zombie YouTube Premium spy thriller Box Office disaster Brie Larson serial killer ITV Crackle LGBTQ Election Reality Competition ratings DC Universe miniseries ABC Family VH1 Hulu Logo Lifetime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt singing competition Reality Comic Book History Adult Swim anime Certified Fresh TV TBS Quiz NBC Captain marvel Super Bowl Disney Channel NYCC Rock robots transformers Schedule E3 Drama mutant SundanceTV Fantasy Epix Film Festival Paramount Character Guide green book Star Trek Year in Review Christmas Black Mirror Sundance Now GLAAD justice league Vudu Grammys VICE Winners WGN National Geographic Lionsgate Holidays Comics on TV Video Games 45 2016 harry potter mockumentary CBS crossover Animation Britbox Thanksgiving politics 2019 Country Music CNN RT21 Comedy San Diego Comic-Con E! BET cinemax Action Trophy Talk Warner Bros. Cosplay The Witch Premiere Dates Sony Pictures President witnail binge Cartoon Network Chernobyl nature TIFF Best and Worst TLC Awards Tour APB IFC Films animated discovery MSNBC toy story El Rey crime Sundance Photos Superheroe Trivia social media Toys Polls and Games Showtime streaming casting LGBT Ovation Mindy Kaling what to watch blaxploitation Lucasfilm spider-man anthology YouTube Red facebook IFC Watching Series DGA Dark Horse Comics psycho crime drama ABC DC Comics 007 Masterpiece Western Martial Arts zombies Spike dramedy boxoffice Winter TV comiccon Mudbound MCU based on movie police drama SXSW 24 frames Acorn TV Musical 20th Century Fox Creative Arts Emmys CW Seed Kids & Family USA Network Rocky FOX Countdown Ellie Kemper Fall TV ESPN theme song USA Tarantino Star Wars space Spectrum Originals medical drama Sneak Peek Amazon Disney talk show richard e. Grant PaleyFest 2017 Mary Tyler Moore Elton John Pride Month Opinion Infographic golden globes dceu adventure dc TCA 2017 science fiction Calendar See It Skip It Comedy Central New York Comic Con award winner YA AMC spinoff Rom-Com Valentine's Day FXX jamie lee curtis historical drama Syfy Sci-Fi TCM 21st Century Fox teaser sports OWN adaptation Red Carpet cops PBS Stephen King unscripted BBC natural history political drama Marvel CMT Mary Poppins Returns cats TruTV First Look GIFs Horror Bravo Mystery romance doctor who Trailer Shondaland Chilling Adventures of Sabrina supernatural Pirates Pet Sematary FX aliens X-Men Shudder American Society of Cinematographers TNT Women's History Month festivals Paramount Network MTV game show Cannes The Arrangement Awards Starz Pixar Anna Paquin cults Esquire GoT A&E biography vampires psychological thriller Walt Disney Pictures Fox News Set visit technology cooking Universal CBS All Access period drama Summer comic war Netflix DC streaming service Biopics docudrama Columbia Pictures DirecTV RT History elevated horror SDCC The CW Rocketman zero dark thirty Apple Teen Podcast Writers Guild of America Pop 2015 true crime Mary poppins sequel strong female leads TV Land Heroines Nominations Extras Superheroes Spring TV thriller sitcom Nickelodeon Oscars finale BBC America Musicals Tumblr television travel Emmys HBO Nat Geo dragons Freeform hist Interview