Someone asked me a few days ago if I had a definitive favourite movie and instantly one came to mind but before the words left my mouth my head was filled with clips, quotes and jokes from hundreds of other movies that I love and could watch an infinite number of times. I thought that this could be a nice easy blog to write about, get some user interaction and also just more content for you guys to read. But then I sat down and started to think about it, was it possible to come up with a definitive top ten list of my favourite movies, let alone just think of my number one? How on earth was I going to narrow the shortlist down to just 10? How was I even going to number them once I had gotten down to finally compiling the list?
After hours of racking my brain, watching clips and remembering quotes I have finally compiled my top ten movies ever.
10. The Great Gatsby
Parties, Liquor and Carey Mulligan? What more could you want from any movie? Well I suppose you could throw in Leonardo DiCaprio, a New York setting and a soundtrack that can only be described as sublime. The Great Gatsby was an exciting novel that I studied during my first year of college (or my junior year of High School to all of the Yanks that now read my blog) and I found the story captivating beyond belief, the fact that I had to study every last detail of the novel made me appreciate and enjoy the film even more. Baz Lurhmann did a great job in captivating his audience and transporting them back to the roaring twenties where money was bursting out of everyone’s wallets, parties lasted entire weekends and the alcohol was as cheap and easy as the women drinking it. For me the movie gave me a sense of Nostalgia, I felt like I wanted to really be at one of Gatsby’s parties, dancing the Charleston whilst drowning myself with a crisp bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne.
9. The Silence of the Lambs
I have always enjoyed the kind of horror movies that put you through a psychological journey throughout the running of the film, the way in which the story unravels itself and changes both suddenly and subtly along the way, tricking you into believing you know what is going to happen next. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the psychopathic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter is one of my favourite performances on-screen, the way he loses himself into such a complex character is both exciting and chilling. To some, Hannibal Lector is a thing of terror and nightmares but to me he is so much more than that, it is the complex background and mindsets of these characters that really gets me into the movie and makes it almost impossible to not think about it for weeks after watching it.
8. Catch Me if You Can
This movie embodies the same idea that every young person has at some point in their life, that they can achieve whatever they want, they just need to be given the time and space to do it. I like this movie even more because it’s based on a true events, albeit some of the details were changed to make it more ‘Hollywood’ friendly, but just the thought of being a young man wandering around in a pilot’s uniform and having an entourage of beautiful flight attendants follow you around is the stuff that dreams are made of. The concept of having no limits to what this young person could achieve just by forging a cheque makes you realise how easy it was to do these things during the period the movie was set. The fact that you are rooting for the felon (Leonardo DiCaprio) against the law enforcer (Tom Hanks) is what makes the movie so interesting, you never know what is going to happen next and even though the story is told in a non linear way you never know how it could end.
7. Pulp Fiction
What’s not to love about Pulp Fiction? The way that Tarentino tells the story means that you have to watch it over and over just to get your head around the actual timeline of events. When I watched the movie for the first time and had no idea what was going on I just sat in disbelief for about an hour afterwards racking my brain trying to piece together all the different parts of the story. The nonchalant acting of John Travolta in the movie compared to the completely brash performance of Samuel L Jackson has gone down in movie history as one of the best on-screen performances and I couldn’t agree more. Without giving away anything from the plot of the story, the scene in the car when the ‘accident’ happens was one of the most unexpected things ever to happen on film and I loved it. The Bruce Willis story line was very interesting and somewhat unreal at some points but I guess you just have to go with the flow when it comes to Tarentino and just try and take it all in. I love Pulp Fiction because the all star cast make it feel so real and you get so engrossed in the movie that you don’t care about all the cocaine, murderers and gimps.
6. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
When I first watched the movie I didn’t realise how evil Nurse Ratched was right up until the last few scenes, they put the entire movie into perspective for me. Jack Nicholson’s role is probably my favourite from any movie and it took me right until the end to realise what he went through and to empathise with his character. The range of emotions you feel throughout the movie is really intense, it’s not only the range but it’s how quickly they can change from elation to devastation in mere minutes. It’s quite frustrating at times which is what makes the movie so exciting, you are constantly willing for Nurse Ratched to give up and for McMurphy to win but it never happens. I didn’t really know where to place this movie on the list, because I love the story, the acting and just the sheer suspense created in a relatively darker movie, but there is no feel good factor at the end. It leaves you with a pit in your stomach which is strange but thought provoking at the same time, which is why I have settled for a middle of the range 6th place.
Heroin is always an interesting topic for a movie and for the main antagonist to be a junkie who comes on and off the drug throughout the film and his transition throughout different aspects of society is what makes the story and character arch in Trainspotting so absorbing. Half way through watching the film for the first time I thought to myself what the hell is the point to this all? He’s just a junkie, is something bad or something good ever going to happen to throw me off course? Then when the movie is coming to a conclusion you realise everything and how Danny Boyle is so good at what he does when he creates these kinds of movies. Rather than relating with the characters I find that the humour mixed with drama makes the story flow and the way Ewan McGregor portrays Renton makes the character come to life which even though he is a drug addict makes you side with him and want him to succeed, which is why I think the movie is so gripping.
4. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
What isn’t there to like about Monty Python? It’s one of the most quotable movies that I ever watching and I don’t think I can go more than a week without laughing at one of the jokes in my head or watching a clip online. The genius writing, prefect timing and deliverance of the jokes is what I find makes the movie so captivating and hysterical. Comedies have always been my favourite film genres and Monty Python will always be the quintessential comedy act for me. My favourite kinds of comedies are ones that try to push as many limits as possible and these guys were the first to try and get as close to the line as they could with their writing style and movies. I really do enjoy movies that are timeless and Monty Python has the ability to make people of all ages laugh, my family and friends are always quoting different lines from all of the movies but most especially Life of Brian. He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
3. Toy Story
What good would a top ten list be without my favourite childhood movie? Not only did I love Toy Story whilst growing up but still to this day I could sit and lose myself in the movie, laughing along just as I did all those years ago. I still have my Buzz and Woody toys which remind me of all the hours I spent watching the movies and playing with the toys believing that they came to life when I wasn’t there. This movie has grown up along with me and when Toy Story 3 came out just two years before I left for college it truly reflected how I felt at the time, that even though you are growing up and everything is moving so fast, you still have a small child inside you that wants to play. The actual movie itself shows the struggle of the toys against the amoral kid and how he disregards his things and shows no signs of empathy or respect for anything. These animated movies really do teach kids the morals they need to get a head in life and I believe Toy Story made me into the person that I am today.
2. Back To The Future
Life in the 1950’s has always looked ‘cool’ and I think Back to the Future has really imprinted that image in my head. I can think that living in that time was completely different to living in 1985 and even more so in 2013, but why do people still long for all the same things that 1950’s America had to offer? I love the idea of milkshakes in a cafe, drive in movies and listening to the all new kinds of emerging music rather than the horrific music that is being pumped out of the industries today. Marty McFly is cool, there is no doubt about that and the awkwardness in his character during the scenes in the 50’s is in fact high quality acting which is backed up with an exceptional and unique storyline. I love this movie because it really is one of a kind and will never be recreated in a way that effected the original 1985 audience. Christopher Lloyd plays the whacky scientist who creates time travel and unintentionally sends Marty back in time where he mets his parents and ultimately changes his own fate before he’s even born. How can you not love a movie that is as crazy as that?
Number One: Notting Hill
An average, introverted and socially awkward British man falls in love with a globally famous American hollywood actress, how much more of a perfect storyline do you need? Just like Back to the Future, Notting Hill has an original plot which is what I believe makes these films so captivating and why I love them so much. Richard Curtis is my one of my favourite comedy writers and I truly believe that Notting Hill is his best work due to the wit and sheer intelligence of the writing. Spike is also my favourite supporting actor in any movie, Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of the good for nothing Welsh man is classic, some of the funniest lines in movie history uttered in his ‘charming’ Welsh accent has me in stitches every single time I hear them. Hugh Grant’s performance is astonishingly good and put the charming Brit back on the American scene in the late nineties and for him I am thankful. The storyline itself is very intriguing and keeps you entertained the entire way through the movie, I really enjoy the way that Spike is used to relieve the tension that is created throughout and how although you are willing and willing them to finally get together forever something wrong happens and you’re left feeling empty in your stomach until Spike comes along eating Mayonnaise thinking it’s yoghurt. Notting Hill is my favourite movie of all time because it really captures the essence of what it means to be British and how some Americans perceive us, it’s the defiance of the stereotypical Hollywood husband with rock hard abs, perfect hair and dazzling teeth.
Why have that when you can have the floppy haired, charming Englishman?
Do you agree or disagree with me? I know I have left out a lot of my favourite other movies and a few very nearly made it into the list but, alas where not quite good enough. Feel free to heckle me through social media with your own opinions or create a WordPress account and leave a comment below for everyone to see.