After some heavy issues over the last couple of weeks, I thought it was time for something a little lighter!
This list was originally going to be the Top 10, but whilst researching possible entries I realised there are just too many for 10! So, in two parts, I will give you my personal favourites and see if you agree and where you disagree. I have not put in films that are great but not seen personally. Believe it or not, I have never seen The Godfather – so it isn’t in. Other films are undoubtedly great but either not as influential or didn’t leave as great a mark on me, so they didn’t make it.
You will have to wait until next week to get my very best Top 10. For this week it’s 20-11. Enjoy and do please comment on the choice here. Leave your “I can’t believe you didn’t choose…” comments until next week!
I do love a good sci-fi and the Matrix had it all. Great effects, good music and a storyline that was a guaranteed winner. I was definitely one of those who identified with the paranoia that all is not as we think it is in the world. As a kid I was convinced I was being watched by scientists and this was all a Truman Show type of a life. The Matrix may not have been my exact paranoia but I definitely identified with that way of thinking. I still love conspiracy theories to this day though I am afraid that I am far too cynical to believe most of them. Still a good yarn though and when I grow up I want to be Keanu Reeves!
Yep, another sci-fi but, oh, what a sci-fi. Beautiful effects with equally haunting music and an ending that is clever. If you are switched on, the very last thing you see ( in the lead character’s apartment) gives you an OMG moment and makes you want to watch the movie again. Deeply philosophical, the movie has all the right combinations of action and poignancy. Harrison Ford’s best movie without a doubt.
When I’m not watching sci-fi I do like the occasional horror (though less so as I get older and find the real horror in such movies is not the gore but the nastiness of the main characters who seem, unfailingly, to be rather selfish). Jaws, these days, hardly counts and even my young children have watched it. But when it first came out we were all terrified. I still think the film holds up well not least because of John William’s amazing score (who else could create one of the most famous leitmotivs with only two notes?). The idea was fantastic, despite being wrecked by too many sequels and is timeless as recent headlines involving swimmers being mauled by sharks has proven. I have to say that I did like the first sequel – which remained true to the spirit of the original – but it all went wrong after that!
An incredibly emotional journey which makes you whoop with joy when you realise how he got out! Often voted one of the very best films of all time, this didn’t connect that well to me but it did connect. Brilliantly acted by the whole cast and taking on issues that are not easy to think about, I was transfixed every minute of the movie and could have wished it to go on longer than it did. A perfect movie.
There is a dark side to me and it comes out with Sin City. I grew up with Marvel comics and 2000AD and spent years poring over the pages soaking up those moody, crime-filled sci-fi fantasies. I wish I had more time so I could buy and read the comic books that are so popular these days – not with children, but with adults. Anyway, dark though this is, the film recreates that comic book feeling with great success and is obviously a labour of love. Bruce Willis is the real star of the film though I have to admit that Jessica Alba looks stunning and I’d watch it for her alone! Not a film for everyone’s taste but if you can cope with dark matter then this is a film you must watch at least once. Disturbing but beautiful.
Not a favourite amongst Christians which I think is a shame really. In the humour lies a criticism of religion that leaders of all religions could be advised to take note. You need to understand the Monty Python humour to get this film but if you have it then you have one of the funniest films ever. It has something of an unfinished feel to it, as all Monty Python films and TV episodes did, but this adds to its charm as a quirky – and thoroughly British – film. I love all the Python productions and could easily replace this one with The Holy Grail, but I chose this one for one of the truest statements about history in any film – “What have the Roman’s ever done for us?”
The film that spawned the horror genre with the infamous shower scene, still considered one of the greatest moments in film history. Brilliant scoring by Bernard Hermann, without which, the film would not have been half as effective. Hitchcock was, of course, a genius and I could have chosen from a whole host of his movies for this slot. But I chose Psycho as the most influential and, in many ways, his best work even though (for me) some others like Spellbound are even better. If you have not seen a Hitchcock movie you need to see at least one. If you get into more than one of them then watch out for his trademark of appearing briefly in each one. You don’t see much of him and never for long so you have to watch really carefully.
I love Anthony Hopkins and this film sees him in, undoubtedly, his greatest role. I am not normally into police/detective films, nor murder mysteries but this one, with Hopkins pitted against/with Jodie Foster is an exception. The character of Hannibal Lecter is horribly appealing and a very accurate description of a psychopath (my wife worked with one for a short while – it is scary to think what could have happened). As a result of the film, I read all the books and loved every single one. Who would think that a cannibal could be so attractive!
The greatest Sci-fi horror ever – I defy you to find a better one! When this came out I was way too young to be allowed to go see it. So I did anyway! Sneaking into the cinema to watch it I was truly terrified and hooked. I am longing for my kids to be old enough for us to cuddle up on the sofa, turn the lights off and press play whispering “In space, no one can hear you scream…”
Any Tarantino could have gone here. I had no interest in his films as I don’t like “shoot em ups” and gratuitous violence for no good reason. I was convinced to watch Reservoir Dogs and I’m glad I was – it was incredibly well done. Very arty and very clever. From then I have loved his work and Kill Bill was another amazingly well produced and thought out film. Despite the violence, Tarantino produces works of art that pay homage to a range of movie and art styles that make these movies very special. The reason for choosing Pulp Fiction over the others is that I thought it was witty and cleverer with the way it weaves several stories together. It also contains the most dramatic and scary use of scripture ever! Does anyone know, by the way, what was in the suitcase?
Well, that’s it for this part. My very most favourite movies come next week and will no doubt contain the odd surprise for some of you. I hope you enjoyed this little run down – see you next week!