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Guest Blogger Ed Gelb Discusses Hoosiers, The Frisco Kid, and Casablanca!

December 4th, 2009

Below is a contribution from guest blogger Ed Gelb to our continuing series in which I asked several of my close friends and colleagues to name their Favorite Movie of All Time. It is very hard to pick just one favorite movie of all time. There are so many movies that represent so many different genres. For me, the film’s topic having meaning to me, its entertainment, and its connection to my family all play prominent roles in my decision. Using those criteria, I came up with three finalists. They are: Casablanca, The Frisco Kid, and Hoosiers. Pretty eclectic, right? Below, I will explain why and reveal my final choice.

Casablanca is a romance situated in Vichy France during WWII. An all-star cast that purportedly thought they were filming a dud, it turned out to be an enormous hit. I first saw this movie with my parents and some of my six siblings on TV. There is no doubt that sharing that movie with my family enhanced it for me. Ingrid Bergman’s beauty is striking and definitely had an impact on the teenage-me. The ending had a nice twist and a great ending line. One of the things about Casablanca that I love is that any time I’m flipping through the channels and come across it I can watch it. It always entertains.

The Frisco Kid combines two Gelb family themes: Judaism and living out west. I am a rabbi and I grew up in Laramie, WY. This is a family favorite that is quoted by all of us regularly. Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford were perfectly cast. The scenes with the Amish and at a monastery are hilarious. The only down-side to the movie is the slower start. My brother, Jim, met Harrison Ford at an event a few years ago and told him that The Frisco Kid was our family’s favorite movie of his. Ford looked up and said, “really?” This is another movie I can watch virtually at any time. It always leaves me with a smile.

One day, I get a package in the mail from my parents. It is a “Monon Line” coffee mug. I’m perplexed. I call my parents to thank them. They say, “do you get it?” I say, “no, what?” “Monon Line, Hoosiers.” Still perplexed, my parents quote a rather obscure line from the movie from the disgruntled assistant coach that gets fired to Coach Dale. He says, “if you mess up this team I’ll strap your hide to a rail and send you up the Monon Line.” That netted me a mug. Hoosiers is one of two movies that all eight original Gelbs saw together in a theater. We know all the lines, we swear the team is getting better each time we see it, and it inspires us.

So, my favorite movie… is Hoosiers by a hair over The Frisco Kid with Casablanca a close third. I coached high school basketball for 18 years. The based-on-a-true-story tale in which the biggest underdogs win the right way is too much to get beat. Throw in the family love affair with the movie and it wins. If you haven’t seen it, rent it today!

Rabbi Ed Gelb is the Director of Camp Ramah in New England.  He enjoys using sports analogies and is the biggest West Wing fan I have ever met.

The series so far:

Intro Citizen Kane

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