So, here we are, at the start of a new series probably entitled “Things you didn’t want to know about me!”.
My top ten films, in no particular order. My desert island blu-rays!
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Told you there would be some cheating. I know it’s three films but I don’t really have a favourite. I never enjoyed the book because I found it (them ?) far too dense and descriptive when I wanted dialogue to move the story along but I adore the trilogy. The casting is nigh on perfect and the special effects, although wonky in two very obvious places, are fabulous. I also need to say it’s extended over theatrical versions and all the extras on the blu-rays just add to the perfect package. Oh, and I cried at the end.
The Hobbit Trilogy
More cheating!. Another book I never enjoyed and although it’s a short novel that Peter Jackson and crew have stretched to near breaking point, it’s Middle Earth, it’s glorious to look at and I love it. Again it’s extended over theatrical versions and the blu-ray extras are massive in detail.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Growing up this was a film I instantly fell in love with. It had Egypt in it (always a vote winner), it was humorous, well cast, exciting and had those escapist elements in it that appealed very much to the younger me.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I’m not a “Temple of Doom” fan. It’s a good film but seems at odds with the first and last in the original trilogy. This had Sean Connery, Petra, sheer escapism and those mythological elements that I went through a phase being utterly fascinated and intrigued by.
I’m not into horror. I watched a few as a young man but nowadays it’s all nonsensical and gratuitous gore and just seems to get more extreme. Blade isn’t really horror although it does have the vampire element. Wesley Snipes is Blade. He looks and sounds the part and the mix of martial arts and, well, sheer coolness and bad assery of his character, got me hooked. The second film is very good as well. The third not so much. Neither are on this list.
Kingdom of Heaven
I adore big historical epics. I could have put Gladiator or Troy on this list as I love them both but Kingdom of Heaven (extended) gets the vote. Orlando Bloom is perhaps a little too clean cut for the central role but he is ably supported by the always fine Jeremy Irons and the strikingly beautiful Eva Green in this crusading romp. The settings are stunning, the battle scenes epic in scale and the fact it isn’t so well known or as popular as other epics, gives it an underdog quality that appeals. At times quite tragic it shows that in war, there are no winners.
My Neighbour Totoro
Thanks Mum. She introduced me to the delights of Studio Ghibli. The last film she watched the night she died was their latest offering. “Spirited Away” won an oscar for the talented Japanese animation studio but Totoro is, to me, their greatest work. It’s a children’s film without resorting to the over the top cuteness that Disney or Pixar seem to rely upon. It has adult elements in it but it’s also delightful and charming and lovely. I think everyone should watch it for its innocence. It’s just beautiful.
12 Angry Men
Henry Fondas role as the juror who slowly turns the bigoted opinions of others is, to my mind, one of the greatest roles ever. It’s a clever film. It exposes how preconceptions, bigotry and stubbornness can bring out the worst in people. It’s 90 minutes of 12 men in a room. It’s exciting, it’s thought provoking and the acting is top notch. Each character is different and brings a different feel to their part as they slowly come to the realisation that the young man accused of murder might not be guilty after all. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling.
The Shawshank Redemption
Possibly the best film ever in my opinion. You laugh, you cry, you cheer for Andy and Red and the very last scene in the film is just so beautiful. It’s a film about friendship, about the hope for something better. It’s thrilling, moving and deserved far more accolades than it received.
Difficult to choose as this is the tenth film on my list and I’m conscious I’ve missed off a lot that I would have added if the list were my top 20 or 30. It’s really hard.
I’ve chosen The Mummy for a couple of reasons. Firstly because, very much in the Indiana Jones style, it’s escapism at its finest. It’s a boys own adventure with a dashing hero. Secondly, it has Rachel Weisz in it. Now, I’m not one for recommending films simply because the lead actress (or actor) is a bit of a stunner but, she is!. And the interplay between herself, Brendan Fraser and Arnold Vosloo; their relationship, is what drives the film along. It’s also set in Egypt which makes it all so cool. You just have to watch it and not think about it. It’s fun.
So there we are, my top ten (with a bit of cheating..) films.
I missed out a few. Honourable mentions (aside from those already mentioned in passing) would go to :- The Mummy Returns, The Martian, The Batman Trilogy, The Revenant, Conan, True Lies, World War Z, Underworld, Zulu and a thousand others.
I suppose a lot depends on mood. What do I want to watch. What, when my Anhedonia is rampant, do I have the capacity to sit through ?. But this is my “good day” list.
And I’m sure I’ve missed loads off!