My Top Ten Favorite Movies

Those that know me, know that my family owned one of the first video stores in the Bronx back in the 80s when VCRs first emerged. I became sort of  a movie buff since I had my pick of any movie I wanted to watch, and did so for almost 15 years. I have compiled a list of my favorite movies, and by favorite I mean I drop everything, regardless of importance, if one of these movies is playing on TV. They are not in any specific order of importance because I love them all so much that I couldn’t classify them to a specific ranking.


Cover of "The Godfather (Widescreen Editi...

1. The Godfather Part 1: I love this movie because of the family dynamics among the Corleones. Regardless of all the violence, there is genuine love between them in all the relationships. Well, maybe not in Carlo’s marriage.


Cover of "The Godfather, Part II (Two-Dis...

2. The Godfather Part 2: My dream is to go to Italy, and visiting the old country through the eyes of the young Vito Corleone is breathtaking. His struggles and tribulations that afflicted him, made him the person he was and gives you an understanding on why family was so important to him.


The Count of Monte Cristo (2002 film)

3. The Count of Monte Cristo: My daughters probably know this movie by heart now. My DVD doesn’t even ask to play anymore, it just automatically does it. This story of vengeance and friendship is very captivating. I was first introduced to the story when I read the book for an English class in high school and I was in love. I was drawn to read more classics, including taking some college literature courses.


Harry Potter 2011 Blu Ray Years 1-8 Box Set Cover

4. Harry Potter Movies: The geek in me first read the Harry Potter books because I would see many people, especially older ones, reading the books on the subway every morning on my way to school. When the movies were released, I was the creepy adult in the theater with no kids watching eagerly like any other kid.


Cover of "Scarface (Full Screen Anniversa...

5. Scarface: If you was raised in the 70s and 80s, then you know who and what Scarface is. No, not the gangster Al Capone, but the Brian DePalma film starring Al Pacino (you notice a theme here with Pacino). Classic lines, like “I tell the truth, even when I lie” have been repeated and used in the music industry and other mediums. Although the movie was not a box office blockbuster, the movie still became a cult classic, with one of the biggest underground followings of any movie in history. We were teased for a while on a part 2 based on the son of Tony Montana, who was going to be portrayed by the rapper Cuban Link. Nothing ever came of the project, but I’m sure if it was to resurface, many would be in line to see the drug kingpin’s story line continue with his son.


Cover of "Traffic [HD DVD]"

6. Traffic: When this movie came out, it was one of the first DVDs I purchased for my first DVD player and I was immediately in love with it. Seeing the world of drugs from all angles, and how they are interconnected, whether the connection are obvious or not. From the low-level drug dealer to the cartel head, Traffic takes you on a journey into the lives of several families, located throughout the United States and Mexico, but connected by the same drug trade. Drugs can affect everyone, and this movie expertly portrays that life and the darkness it can entail and bring upon a family.


Cover of "Not Without My Daughter"

7. Not Without My Daughter: If anyone was to try to hurt my girls, I would go all lioness on them, just like Sally Fields who fights heaven and hell to get her daughter back from the clutches of her Middle Eastern husband and his family in Iran. The lack of rights that women have in this region of the world is deplorable, and this movie depicts the plight of many woman who just want to be mothers to their children. Even though the movie is set in the 80s, many of the challenges are still present and relevant in the Middle East today.


Cover of "Finding Nemo"

8. Finding Nemo: In the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming” is one of the most motivational phrases that came out of a cartoon in recent times. This movie captivates you with its vibrancy in color and the storyline of love between father and child. Most movies are centered around a mother’s love for their children, but Finding Nemo portrays the love of Marlin and his son Nemo, who disobeys him and gets lost out at sea. After many years of waiting, we finally are going to have a continuation to the movie, titled Finding Dory and hopefully it will be just as good, and hopefully better, than the first one.


Cover of "Sleepaway Camp"

9. Sleepaway Camp: My mom was always into horror movies, and since she did not want to watch them alone, my sister and I would sit down and watch them with her. My sister was a wuss and cannot watch a horror film to this day. I, however, love a good horror flick and one of my favorites has always been Sleepaway Camp. It has a cheesy storyline, but the concept of a boy being dressed and forced to live as a girl was something unheard of in the 80s. Of course the boy was expected to go crazy with a mom forcing him to dress and look like girls. I didn’t like parts 2 or 3, the original was the best one.


Cover of "The Mummy [Blu-ray]"

10. The Mummy: The geek in me had to have an archaeological movie in the bunch, and the only reason The Mummy beat out the Indiana Jones movies was because I’m obsessed with all things Egypt. This movie is rich in history of the pyramids and the legends of the mummies. My dream has always been to travel to Egypt and go to the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the Museum of Antiquities. I have always wanted to learn how to decipher hieroglyphics and study the way of the Egyptians. Maybe one day I will be able to go to school and get a degree in archaeological studies.

There are many other movies that I  love, but these hold a special place in my heart, and like I said, I drop every thing and change my plans if they come on television. Do you have any favorite movies? Do you drop every thing to watch them?

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Appetizers, Drinks, and Hookah for Two or Four at Silk Hookah Lounge (Up to 82% Off)

Smoking a hookah is more fun with friends, like throwing around a baseball or driving a car melodramatically off a cliff. Share some smoke with this Groupon.

Choose Between Two Options

  • $15 for a hookah package for two with one appetizer platter, two drinks, and one hookah flavor (up to a $69 total value)
  • $25 for a hookah package for four with two appetizer platters, four drinks, and two hookah flavors (up to a $138 total value)

One appetizer platter per pair ( a $20 value each) combines morsels such as buffalo wings and spring rolls with french fries, and can be washed down with drinks that include coffees, teas, and smoothies (up to a $12 value each). Each hookah comes with a choice of regular hookah flavor such as chocolate, mint, and fruit (up to a $25 value each).

Silk Hookah Lounge

When he decided to open a hookah bar, Farrukh Pakal knew that one thing had to be perfect: the seating. “If my body is not relaxed,” he reasoned, “I cannot relax my mind.” So, within Silk Hookah Lounge’s cherry-colored walls, guests’ backsides will not bounce into a single hard-backed chair. Couches and sofas sprawl throughout the space, inviting patrons to linger over teas imported from Pakistan or hot chocolates sprinkled with coconut, cinnamon, or vanilla. And, perhaps most importantly, the cushy seating cradles holders of Egyptian glass hookahs. Like anger over an incorrectly punctuated parking ticket, these slowly burn for up to three hours, releasing scents of chocolate, mint, lemon, apple, or other fresh fruits into the air.

While enjoying their hookahs, groups can grab cards, dominoes, or other games as LED lights splash a rainbow of colors overhead. On weekends, DJs infuse the flavorful airwaves with music.

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Middle Eastern Meal for Two or Four with Appetizers, Kebabs, and Drinks at Soho Restaurant & Cafe in Astoria (Up to 66% Off)

Kebabs originated in 17th century France, when soldiers frightened of their new bayonets blunted the weapons with their daily meat rations. Savor skewered fare with this Groupon.

Choose Between Two Options

$19 for a Middle Eastern meal for two (up to a $54.85 value)

  • One appetizer (up to an $8.95 value)
  • Two kebabs (up to a $17.95 value each)
  • Two drinks (up to a $5 value each)

$37 for a Middle Eastern meal for four (up to a $109.70 value)

  • Two appetizers (up to an $8.95 value each)
  • Four kebabs (up to a $17.95 value each)
  • Four drinks (up to a $5 value each)

Appetizers such as fried calamari and falafel herald kebab entrees, which spear morsels of chicken, lamb, and grilled quail.

Soho Restaurant & Cafe

At Soho Restaurant & Cafe, the aromas of hot Egyptian hibiscus tea and Turkish coffee mingle to form a sensory hint of what’s to come—an array of Middle Eastern dishes hailing from several locales. Guests might sample a kebab skewer or tilapia dish beneath the backyard patio’s canopy of leaves, which climb along the ceiling to reach open red walls. In front of the restaurant, patrons dine while soaking in street-side views beneath the green and gold awning, basking in the shade and coverage during tahini-sauce showers.

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$29 for Glatt Kosher Brunch for Two with Two Entrees and Four Breakfast Cocktails at Talia’s Steakhouse & Bar (Up to $68 Value)

Latkes, like acrobats, are easily stacked but make children cry when they topple to the ground. Have a balanced breakfast with this Groupon.

$29 for Glatt Kosher Brunch for Two (Up to $68 Value)

  • Two brunch entrees (up to a $16 value each)
  • Four mimosas, bloody marys, or screwdrivers (a $9 value each)

See Talia’s Glatt kosher take on brunch with Middle Eastern influences, served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Talia’s Steakhouse & Bar

New York Magazine has hailed Talia’s Steakhouse & Bar for its weekly post-Sabbath kosher parties, which, like the rest of Talia’s offerings, add a sense of fun and occasional decadence to Glatt kosher dining. A 10-ounce dairy-free kosher “cheeseburger” and dairy-free waffle sundae sit alongside the menu’s more traditional steak, fish, and Middle Eastern favorites. Candlelight flickers atop white tablecloths to the beat of live mellow rock on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, and french doors swing open onto a large sidewalk patio when weather permits. Kitchen staff stick around into the wee hours to sate second-shifters and ambitious somnambulists.

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$32 for a Three-Course Middle Eastern Meal for Two at Gazala’s (Up to $77 Value)

Middle Eastern cuisine has enriched the world’s culinary scene with such celebrated offerings as falafel, kebab, and baklava, which doubles as legal tender in Middle Eastern supermarkets. Enjoy the taste of wealth with this Groupon.

$32 for Three-Course Druze-Cuisine Meal for Two (Up to $77 Total Value)

  • Two mezes (up to a $25 value)
  • Two big plates (up to a $42 value)
  • One dessert (up to a $10 value)

Filled with authentic Druze and Middle Eastern eats, the menu features hot and cold meze samplers starting at $6 and succulent kebabs and falafel flecked with traditional spices in big plates starting at $14.50.


At Gazala’s, chef and owner Gazala Halabi welcomes clients into an extension of her homeland characterized by the aromatic spices of authentic Druze cooking. Druze, an Islamic Gnostic sect found in Israel and surrounding Mediterranean countries, sustains a cuisine similar to Middle Eastern fare but with minor differences, such as substituting paper-thin bread called sagg for pita and frisbees for plates. The cuisine, which Gazala made in her own kitchen until she acquired a second, larger restaurant, has been featured by Village Voice and profiled by New York magazine.

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Michelin-Recommended Lebanese Fare for Two or Four at Balade (Up to 63% Off)

Restaurant etiquette can be difficult to master, but simple rules such as using the smaller fork for salads and the bigger fork to fend off overeager busboys can guide one through an evening out. Learn cutlery’s subtle standards with today’s Groupon to Balade. Choose from the following options:

  • For $29, you get dinner for two, valid Sunday–Thursday (a $75 value).
  • For $29, you get a dinner for two, valid Friday–Saturday (a $75 value).
  • For $55, you get a dinner for four, valid Sunday–Thursday (a $150 value).
  • For $55, you get dinner for four, valid Friday– Saturday (a $150 value).

Each dinner includes (per two people):

  • One mezze (up to a $9 value)
  • Two platters (up to a $48 value)
  • Two glasses of house wine (up to an $18 value)

Earning praise in New York Journal and coveted space within the 2012 Michelin Guide, Balade’s menu of Lebanese fare delivers both authentic language lessons and regional culinary staples. Titled as Lebanon’s national dish, kebbeh kras with lean beef, diced onions, and pine nuts ranks as a mezze—a small plate served before a meal, which in English is often referred to as stolen cookies. Roasted nuts and broth pool atop a fillet of market-fresh fish in the sayadieh as rice soaks up the dish’s meaty drippings. Balade’s mixed-grill platter piles beef kafta and lamb kebabs on the same metaphysical plane as chicken tawook to create a sampler of Lebanese flavors grounded by the steady presence of french fries and grilled veggies.

The walls in Balade’s dining room expose cross sections of tree stumps, paintings of Middle Eastern dancers, and brick inlaid with painted tiles. Low wooden rafters and polished hardwood floors gleam in the light cast by dangling lanterns. Positioned on tables and in shadowy corners, ceramic jugs channel a past when humans retrieved water from wells or very deep drinking fountains.

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$35 for a Mediterranean Dinner and Bottle of Wine for Two at Lafayette Grill & Bar (Up to $98 Value)

Mediterranean civilizations invented many lasting concepts, developing astronomy to explain the cosmos and democracy to equally divide lamb kebabs. Split a skewer with today’s Groupon: for $35, you get dinner and wine for two at Lafayette Grill & Bar (up to a $98 total value). The dinner includes the following:

  • Two entrees (up to a $35 value each)
  • One bottle of wine (a $28 value)

The brothers who run Lafayette Grill & Bar dish up a mouthwatering menu of Mediterranean dishes served amid elegant, auditorium-style seating and ivory columns. Diners can test hand-mouth-coordination skills with forkfuls of delectable linguini marinara loaded with mussels, shrimp, scallops, and clams, or sample the haute surf ‘n’ turf of a succulent lobster tail paired with a 10-ounce filet mignon. Other entrees include marinated lamb chops or the zucchini-and-eggplant-bedecked shrimp Santorini. A bottle of Italian wine rounds out the evening with round after round of red or white pours. A full schedule of entertainment that includes belly-dancing, live jazz, and Middle Eastern, Latin, and Arabic musicians keeps diners from passive-aggressively pulling out boom boxes midmeal.

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Events Around Town 10/7/11

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