It’s THE hashtag viral definition on Twitter today. Pick FIVE movies you have seen over ten times. The great and the good, including James Gunn, have chipped in with their choices. Here are mine.
In no particular order..
- RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK:
Blends genres, seamlessly. It makes an academic into the action hero. The action is visceral, immersive and ‘hurts’ yet remains fun. Darkness and light merge in one spectacular payoff, thereby setting up a wonderful movie series. Spielberg, Lucas and Ford at the their collaborative best. PERFECTION!
- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:
Because it has stakes and extends the first film’s mythology whilst setting up the third, logically. Philosophically rich and thematically dense, whilst retaining a sense of pace and purpose.
Distinctive visuals and score and the most tender, sexy, human romance I have seen on screen..ever? ‘I love you’. ‘I know’. Oh and memo to Disney: BOBA FETT’S SHIP IS CALLED ‘SLAVE ONE’. Denying the existence of slavery is how that evil is engendered rather than defeated. Just sayin’, like?
- GROUNDHOG DAY:
Chances are? I am watching this again tonight. And tomorrow. And the next day. It is both darkly cynical and yet warmly redemptive and optimistic. Misanthropy is there yet conquered in a substantial, comedic and romantic fashion. Bill Murray at his best.
It’s about resurrection and the movie calls that out, explicitly. Is this a great BOND movie: no! (James does not save the world; zero stakes; minimal Fleming content; owes a LOT to everything from Batman to Inspector Morse yet somehow forgets to be 007). This is just a great MOVIE. End of. The look, feel, tone, themes: all better than this genre can handle.
And it’s nostalgia for a recent past to give some hope for the present and future. This film IS 2012: Olympics, Jubilee, #4moreyears etc. A cinematic injection of feel good magic, every time. Thank you, Barbara Broccoli, Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig.
- IRON MAN:
There are so many reasons to love this film that I lose count of quite how often I have seen it. The motif of redemption is key. Tony Stark goes from overgrown adolescent to heroic activist. Via the power of ingenuity, innovation, engineering and style/wit/class. Those qualities are personified by Robert Downey, Junior: in a way no other actor could possibly have managed. This was his much deserved comeback to the megastar club, without losing any of his thespian credentials (all of which, incidentally, are tested here: physicality, improvisation, comedy, vulnerability without weakness). First rate actor AND unbeatable movie star!
The movie sports some darker moments via the spell in Afghanistan and genuinely provocative points RE arms and defence trades. But on the whole, this is an escapist blast from start to finish. Which makes me want to play it again, immediately. Hence the ten time plus viewings. Bonus points for score, visuals and supporting cast (Gwynnnnieeee as Pepper). This is a time capsule escape pod to planet FUN, from a great year for film and life in general (2008).
So, there you have it. Off the top of my head. The old favourites to which I always return. Frequently. Common themes /motifs inc heroism, romance, redemption, innovation, imagination, action and a healthy balance between light and dark. Just like life at its best, so it is for me, on film.
Are they all ‘great’ movies? Maybe yes, possibly no. But there is a pervasive quality in the assorted cinematic crafts on display. And I adore each and every one so much I can recite them, on demand.
There are others, of course. MANY OTHERS! Honourable mention goes to:
THE GODFATHER, PART 2; FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL; GOLDENEYE; THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS; CITIZEN KANE; BATMAN;
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES; AS GOOD AS IT GETS; MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING; CRIMSON TIDE; DIE HARD; LETHAL WEAPON; THE GREAT ESCAPE;
MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE; THE FIRM; CHAPLIN; THE UNTOUCHABLES; CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER; CHILDREN OF MEN; SCHINDLER’S LIST; THE SAINT;
THE CABLE GUY; BEVERLY HILLS COP; RISKY BUSINESS; SCORNED; BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR; THE ROCK; THE PHANTOM MENACE; DANCES WITH WOVES; MICHAEL COLLINS; ALIENS..
(Ok that’s enough..I watch a lot of movies, repeatedly..which is why I write about them for fun..).
‘I love you for sentimental reasons’.