My Movie List – Sherry Deboer

Sherry Deboer leads the South Dakota Humanities Council, which encourages citizens statewide to “explore the human adventure.” A belief in “reading is fundamental” and a passion for creating awareness for and preserving our cultural legacy is the central vision for the council’s work.

I especially love movies as a reflection of the culture and the times, but my list of movies is based on those that I remember as making a big impression on me through many milestones. Some were certainly created long before I “first discovered” them.

My Youth–Elementary Years

Pollyanna & The Parent Trap
It was Hayley Mills, not the movies, I believe. I just wanted to sing like her and look like her and have summer camp experiences like she and her twin. And what would it be like for parents to live apart across the country?

Junior High

Sound of Music
Those sweeping views of the Swiss Alps, Julie Andrews, forbidden first love in the rain in the gazebo…

High School

Gone with the Wind
A carload of us went to this–it was the eve of getting my driver’s license. I remember the sternness of the warning that I was given by the Brookings police officer for an “incomplete” stop nearly as much as the way we swooned over Rhett Butler in the first movie I went to based on a book I had read.

Rebel without a Cause
We saw this in the school gym in its glorious black & white, but the bad boy James Dean made a huge impression.


The Graduate
What can I say. It turned all kinds of conventions on their head. Dustin Hoffman is so great–in this and of course, another one that came out at the same time, Little Big Man and then during the later kid years–the Rain Man.

The Year I was married

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Dark and disturbing, we went to this film in Lake Preston–soon after settling in our first home.

Early Kids

The Big Chill
One of the films I vividly recall leaving children to go to and the soundtrack alone made the outing worthwhile. The reality replacing the idealism of the college years up there on the screen was on the mark.

Star Wars
The trilogy became real to us long after their initial release because of vast collections of star war figures Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader, and C3PO, not to mention the At-tat Walking machines and the skyfighters. The shared multiple viewings of these films (along with the later release digital versions) is the highest of any and spans my children’s elementary to college years.

Empty Nest

In the Mood for Love
My daughter was at art school in New York when she convinced me to watch this Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong) film. The haunting music, the gorgeous colors and the bittersweet tangles that are discovered make this a must-watch.

Pulp Fiction
My son convinced me to watch this Quentin Tarantino movie (funny how our kids know the directors and producers–something that just was not on my radar before) that is disturbing but its witty banter wins.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 20th, 2008