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Here are seven movies that Mankiewicz thinks everybody should see.
Mankiewicz’s grandfather, Herman J. Mankiewicz, wrote the Oscar-winning script for this towering biopic about a fictional newspaper tycoon with star and director Orson Welles. “I don’t think you’re going to find a screenplay that’s better,” his grandson said, but he gives full credit to Welles, too.
Set in Morocco during World War II, this timeless drama revolves around the romance between Rick (Humphrey Bogart), a cynical former freedom fighter who runs the hottest bar in town, and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), his one-time lover. “You can always start with ‘Casablanca,’ ” Ben Mankiewicz said. “You will feel something during ‘Casablanca.’ You will be emotional during ‘Casablanca.’ ”
‘Jackie Brown’ (1997)
Pam Grier stars as the title character in this twisty crime thriller about a stewardess’s plot to steal half a million dollars from an arms dealer. “I know it’s amost nobody else’s favorite (Quentin) Tarantino movie, but it’s mine,” Mankiewicz said with a chuckle. “The writing is so good. Every line of dialogue counts for something in that movie,” Mankiewicz said.
‘Out of Sight’ (1998)
“I couldn’t love ‘Out of Sight’ more,” Mankiewicz said. “When (the movie) came out in Miami, I remember thinking, ‘If this is how every movie made me feel, I would go to the theater every night.’ ” What makes this sexy crime caper so good? Mankiewicz cites Scott Frank’s “brilliant, brilliant screenplay” and the sizzling on-screen chemistry between Jennifer Lopez as a U.S. Marshal and George Clooney as a bank robber.
‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007)
A Texas pronghorn hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong and grabs the spoils — $2 million in cash — for himself. Suddenly, he’s got a psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem) on his trail. “I won’t say it’s the Coen brothers’ best movie because that starts an argument,” Mankiewicz said, “but it’s as good as it can get for me. I just think it’s incredible story telling and is a little respresentative of our time and this callous disregard for decency.”
‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) and ‘Spotlight’ (2015)
These two movies — one about the Washington Post reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal, the other about a team of Boston Globe reporters who investigated child abuse in the Catholic church — are tied in Mankiewicz’s book. “Journalism has never been more important than it is today. It’s never been more under siege than it is today, and those two movies are accurate depictions of journalism,” Mankiewicz said. “They’re incredibly powerful stories of regular guys working to right a wrong. They’re not superheroes but they’re goddam reporters.”