YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)

This “jukebox musical” of patriotic Broadway hits showcases James Cagney’s powerhouse performance, but that’s basically the only part of the movie that works for me.

THE GODFATHER (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia epic is now fixed in American culture.

BLAZING SADDLES (1974)

Mel Brooks takes a western pastiche and pushes the boundaries of comedy about racism. Oh, and it’s super funny.

SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

I had, um, some issues with this comedy about cross-dressing and/or dudes that want to sleep with Marilyn Monroe.

THE APARTMENT (1960)

Winning performances set against stark corporate modernism highlight a fun comedy, albeit one with a surprising amount of attempted suicides.