Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A Life in Movies

I'm not in the cool kids circles, so I didn't know this was going to be a thing. A blog idea to pick a favourite movie for ever year you’ve been alive.

I became aware of it after reading Friend-Katie's entry. And being the competitive person I am I can't help but make my own list. A better list. A list for you to dictate your lives by. Now let's go back in time to the wonderful year of my birth.


And what is a more fitting film for me than an endlessly quotable comedy/fantasy romp? The Princess Bride "As you wish"  


I'm going with an action film starring a comedy actor going up against a Shakespearean trained actor in his first film role. To this day Die Hard is still probably my favourite action movie.


Back to the Future 2 is a sequel that doesn't let the original film down. Whilst the premise isn't as ground-breaking this time round, the juggling time-lines, especially Marty back in the fifties avoiding himself, add a brilliant layer.




I take back what I said about Die Hard. T2: Judgement Day might be my favourite action movie. More explosions, just as much iconography, just as funny, two heroes to root for and the T-1000 is a slightly less human, scarier villain than Hans Gruber.


I should probably move away from the large amount of action and comedy films in this list. But 1992 had Reservoir Dogs and Wayne's World so that's not going to happen. This is a tough one for me but as much as I appreciate Wayne's World it is the inferior film.


If I didn't want to embarrass myself  I'd say either Groundhog Day or The Nightmare Before Christmas. But then I wouldn't be me. Favourite film from 1993? Why Demolition Man of course. A film where the final fight ends with Stallone freezing Wesley Snipes (when he could be bothered to act) and then kicking his frozen head off. No one can say that isn't amazing.


Auteur director? Check.
My favourite film from said director? Check.
References to period material? Check.
Best Supporting Actor Nomination? Check.
Uncomfortable portrayal of drug use? Check.

But do I mean Pulp Fiction or Ed Wood. I'm tempted to say Ed Wood because of just how charming and different it is to the rest of Burton's films. But Pulp Fiction dialogue is so influential to me and those I steal from. But then I've stolen Ed Wood's ethos from the film when I'm creating things. "I'll just have to do better next time". Not this time Ed, you finally won.


The Usual Suspects really is a gripping film and whilst the twist is what get talks about most it's entertaining without it. I can't see Benicio Del Toro without thinking of the line-up scene.


For this year I'm torn between two spins on the horror genre. Pulpy Vampire flick From Dusk till Dawn and Scream, the slasher reinvention. They're both very funny and neither shy away from the gore but whilst Scream is perhaps more tightly plotted and iconic I get a silly amount of joy from From Dusk till Dawn.


Ugh Titanic. And I can't believe I forgot about The Fifth Element. I've narrowed it down to two, Starship Troopers is a wonderful satire, which is eerily relevant to society today and having seen the deleted scenes I applaud the decision to cut out the scenes focusing on plot and motivation to get more bug killing. However my favourite film from 1997 when I was 10 and still my favourite movie now is Con Air. Shut Up. It's great. And I won't even argue about why because I would ruin every other film for you.

Oh man, Face/Off was from 1997 as well. How lucky were we to get two great Nic Cage movies at once? Not until 2010 would we be this blessed again. Face/Off loses out because Nic Cage's hair isn't as good.


I really like There's Something about Mary. I think it's a great cast, the Farrellys at their best and the singing narration is genius.


Everyone seems to be saying it's a tough choice between The Matrix and Fight Club. But then what of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut? One of the best musicals of all time, certainly one of the catchiest and most unrelenting. Parody, Satire, Gross Out, musical, social commentary and existential comedy combine to make something brilliant but controversial. Much like this decision.


As much as I like X-men, I think Unbreakable is the better superhero film and better film overall. And whilst people will complain about 'The Twist', those people are wrong and deserve to have their head pounded by Mjolnir until they understand comic book conventions. It's all there in the film and works to create a terrific protagonist and antagonist origin story.


The Fellowship of the Ring converted me to a whole new mythology, a new world to read about an obsess over. It brought me closer to people who were only slightly friends at school because we had a weird niche interest and this has followed me through my life and by embracing a love of fantasy I now have awesome friends. It's also a bloody good movie but you don't need me to tell you that.


The Two Towers is definitely great, but in the interest variety and awesome sword fights I'm siding with Hero. We're now almost 10 years on and I think I'm yet to see fights as visually stunning and interesting as those in Hero (Maybe Chi Bi or Hanna). And the use of colour in the film was something that really struck me at the time.


I do love Return of the King, but ghosts can't defeat teleporting, demonic looking Germans. And whilst Aragorn washes and becomes Elessar, Wolverine remains rugged and edgy. X2 was the movie to geek out to. Both a personal movie and one which services fans.


This is a surprisingly tough year, looking over it there are a lot of films I really liked Eternal Sunshine, Spider-man 2 (Nobel Prize, Otto!) Kill Bill Vol 2, The Bourne Supremacy, Sideways, The Incredibles, National Treasure, Kung Fu Hustle, The Life Aquatic.
Some may have realised I've missed out the plethora of amazing comedies from this year: Shaun of the Dead, Dodgeball, Anchorman, Team America and Napoleon Dynamite. Picking one doesn't seem fair but I'll dig my feet into the ground and go with Shaun of the Dead. I love it, it opened my mind hole to the further works of Pegg, Wright & Frost and I'll never get over that.


I'm ignoring Brokeback Mountain as it's one of those OSCAR films that came out in the US in 2005 but didn't reach the UK until January 2006. Which narrows my selection down to Serenity and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. I was all ready to side with Shane Black's comedy noir until I turned on the TV on Monday night to see Serenity halfway through and started to emphatically tell Jackie about the use of wide angle lens on Haven. What can I say, I'm a Browncoat.


I'll pick Pan's Labyrinth. It's a beautiful fairy tale and shows us just what Del Toro is capable of when he doesn't have to compromise. The fact that I was sat behind Russell Brand in the cinema when watching it  does not affect my decision. Either way.


With my predilection towards comic books and Nic Cage you might expect me to say Ghost Rider but then this list would lose all credibility. It's also a weird year because there's a few films I really like that were released in 2007 in the US that didn't get to the UK until 2008, for example Juno and No Country for Old Men. So I'll go with something that might surprise you. I haven't rewatched it since seeing it at the cinema but my favourite film of 2007 is Atonement. It has that tracking shot. Seeing Hanna brought it all flooding back, I love Joe Wright's films, I love the use of (or lack of) sound, the long shots, his colour palettes, when he shoots in profile and their ability to shock. And again that tracking shot.


I can't pretend that a superhero equivalent of Heat, about order and chaos with an astoundingly good portrayal of the joker isn't my favourite film of 2008. And The Dark Knight has Batman giving it that unfair advantage.


I'm going back on what I said on this blog at the end of 2009 in which I said Slumdog Millionaire was my favourite film from that year. Further time and reflection means I'm now going with Inglourious Basterds because at its heart it's a film about the power of storytelling. From Tarantino. It's weird.


A couple of months ago I said Toy Story 3 was my favourite film from last year. And whilst I don't want to go back on that, I haven't rewatched it (despite owning the DVD) whereas I have rewatched The Social Network. So as of this moment, and probably subject to change, I'm saying my favourite film from 2010 was The Social Network.


It's a good year isn't it? I've seen 14 films so far with the weakest being Scre4m, Paul, or The Adjustment Bureau and even then, they're quite good! It's only May and I'm struggling to pick a favourite between Thor, Hanna, True Grit and Black Swan (And Source Code) (And Tangled) and there's films yet to come out that I'm really excited about seeing. My end of year list is going to hurt.

So that's my definitive, for at least three minutes, list of my favourite films. It's been interesting making the list, more than anything it's made me really happy to see just how many of my favourite films (and near misses) I've seen at the cinema. Maybe that's why they're favourites.

A collection of the blog entries of everyone who originally took part can be found HERE.

Oh and anyone who disagrees with the list is incorrect. Obviously.


Katie said...

OK. It's a good list. It's a very good list. But is it a superior list? No. Because There's Something About Mary adn Unbreakbale are rubbish. But a good attempt nonetheless. ;)

Michael Eckett said...

Mine doesn't have American Robin Hood.

Katie said...

Yours doesn't have Muppet Treasure Island either but we can't all be perfect!

pooroldbird said...

Nah! Katies is streets better

Michael Eckett said...

Unfortunately those streets are back alleys lined with litter and where people get mugged.

Katie said...

Lol Michael did you know that's my Mum you're talking to?

(twitter is magical)

Michael Eckett said...

Yeah. I had a theory. BUT I WILL NOT CENSOR MYSELF

(Sorry for being rude)