15 Favourite Films

04/10/2014 at 12:21 pm (Movies)


I was challenged on Facebook to list my 15 favourite films. While the list changes occasionally, I actually found this a lot easier to compile than I thought.

So in putting this together, it’s important to say this – I’ve not ranked these films as I don’t think I could do that. Also, I don’t care if these are considered ‘good’ films or not. It’s about what they mean to me.

So let’s just get the Star Wars films out of the way first.

starwarsStar Wars

The reasons why Star Wars, or A New Hope, or Episode IV is in this list is that I don’t think any other film has the power to catapult me back to wide-eyed childhood like this one does. I can actually feel the cynicism of adulthood evaporate.

 

The Empire Strikes BackThe Empire Strikes Back

Kind of unimaginative as a choice, mainly as it’s also widely considered the best Star Wars film, but The Empire Strikes Back injects a more human feel into the space fantasy. The result is a warmer, more intelligent adventure without losing the action set pieces that makes Star Wars what it is.

The-Haunting-006The Haunting

I’m not the biggest fan of gruesome horror, enjoying the psychological instead. The Haunting is a low key story and is more powerful for it. At its core is a haunted house story, but we don’t see a riot of bangs and flashes. The strength of The Haunting is the way the house is used without the need for many, if any, special effects.

somelikeithotSome Like It Hot

The first thing that surprised me about Some Like It Hot was the pace of direction of the car chase at the beginning, making it look way ahead of its time. What was also ahead of its time is some of the attitudes within the film, turning the standard ‘needing to find a husband’ theme completely on its head.

startrekStar Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

The Wrath Of Khan is a classic adventure at sea. There’s piracy, revenge and a ship that’s a character in its own right. And the best uniforms. It just happens to be in space. Like many of the films in this list, the score is also an important element and The Wrath Of Khan’s main overture is perhaps one of the finest written for a movie.

spinal-tap-1This Is Spinal Tap

What makes This Is Spinal Tap such a great comedy is not only down to the talented cast, who ad-lib their way through the film wonderfully. It’s also because the film brilliantly creates a believable world of a rock band in decline. You know they’re ridiculous, but you love them nonetheless. You’re almost tricked into thinking you’ve seen one of their old albums at a car boot sale.

alienAlien

Science fiction and horror are two genres that often crossover, but perhaps not as successfully as in Alien. The atmosphere builds and builds, just from the tensions between the crew. Then there’s John Hurt’s terrible dinner experience and then your vertebrae starts to fuse.

 

 

shaun of the dead

Shaun Of The Dead

There’s no better way to take on the tropes of horror than to throw in a healthy chunk of British humour. Unloading the van that was packed up when the series Spaced finished, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright made a funny and knowing zombie film, buzzing with great dialogue.

raidersRaiders Of The Lost Ark

Much like Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark pulls me back into that particular world of excitement that only comes with youthful eyes. One of the things I love about Indiana Jones, which is essentially an extension of Han Solo, is the lack of cocky one-liners that were prevalent of action heroes that came after. He was flawed, reckless and succeeded by not quite messing up as much as he might’ve done.

Superman-II-superman-the-movie-20437774-1600-815Superman II

To me, Superman II is the ultimate superhero film. It was made before we started talking about how ‘dark’ superheroes should or shouldn’t be. It was a simple film, which made it stronger. Superman was a hero, full stop. Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman is given even more of a chance to shine, which he does, cementing his place as the benchmark version of the character.

Back-to-the-Future--006Back To The Future

Back To The Future represents something of that halcyon era of eighties movies that seemed to throw in action, adventure, comedy and fantasy in an almost effortless way. I can’t imagine Back To The Future being handled so deftly now, but that’s just my general distrust of Hollywood.

quatermass-pit-aQuatermass And The Pit

There’s something so alluring to me about the premise of Quatermass And The Pit. The development of a London tube station uncovers a strange capsule. This discovery leads to terrifying, supernatural phenomena. The truth is, it’s alien, and it’s causing mass hysteria and brutal rioting. I’m not sure if the film was made for me or I was made for it.

north by northwestNorth By Northwest

What grabbed me about North By Northwest, aside from the incredibly memorable set pieces directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was the contemporary feel of it. The casual sexuality is believable, which must’ve seemed strange at the time. It’s not signposted like a Bond film, nor is it whitewashed over like in other films of the era in fear of censorship. It makes the characters believable in an unreal situation.

Little Shop Of HorrosLittle Shop Of Horrors

The film that made me realise that not all musicals needed to be schmaltzy. Bloody murder, very dark comedy and astounding animatronics make Little Shop Of Horrors an outrageously fun film. The songs add to the atmosphere (which you would expect from a musical!) but in such a clever way that the Motown sound could be turned into a soundtrack for a extraterrestrial, man-eating plant.

American-Graffiti-5American Graffiti

I’m just going to put this out there: American Graffiti is George Lucas’ best film. I think the main reason for this is because it’s honest. This was the youth he remembered. The cruising around in cars, the rollerskating waitresses and the fear of leaving home. Each time the story jumps to another character’s storyline you get a little pang of frustration as you were following it, before finding yourself engrossed in the new storyline just a few moments later.

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2 Comments

  1. iamamro said,

    An interesting list – I can’t say I liked any of the Star Wars films ever – but that’s my failing! The rest I can pretty much agree with (though I’ve never seen Shaun of the Dead).

    • peacockpete said,

      I think a love of Star Wars is directly related to when you first watched it. There’s no point in watching it the first time with adult eyes.

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