Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Life in Movies

Over here, Rol lists the best film from each year of his life, and gets some of them wrong. Here's my list, which probably tells you an awful lot about my tastes and personality. Apparently, I'm really quite fond of horror and scifi and am easily bored by "proper" films. Who knew?

Okay, technically I wasn't born until 1979, but Halloween is my favourite film ever, so it makes the cut. Ha.

The Warriors because it's the best video game adaptation ever made, even though it predates the beat-em-up genre by years and its own adaptation by about fifteen.

It really is a toss-up between The Blues Brothers and Flash Gordon, but Jake and Ellwood just pip the magnificent comic strip glamgasm. Ask me again in a month, and I'll have gone the other way, most likely.

A really tricky year, this one. 1981 gave us An American Werewolf in London, Clash of the Titans, Escape from New York, Excalibur, Mad Max 2, Superman II and Time Bandits, all favourites of mine. But 1981 also gave us Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that'll do the job nicely.

Conan the Barbarian. I know I probably shouldn't, but I adore this film.

It has to be Return of the Jedi. An unpopular choice, most likely, but it's not a great year for me, and unlike 99% of Star Wars fans, I've never been bothered by the Ewoks. 1983 and 1997 flavours only are acceptable.

A much better year, but as such much more difficult to pick just one film. Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (possibly my favourite of the series), The Karate Kid, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Night of the Comet, and The Terminator all came out this year. I think we'll go with Peter Venkman and the gang, with Nausicaä coming a very close second, and Indy trailing by not very much at all in third.

There's not much of a contest here. It's Ewoks: The Battle for Endor all the way.

No, it's Back to the Future. Obviously.

How can I choose between Aliens, Big Trouble in Little China, The Fly, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Highlander, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, Stand By Me or Transformers? It's between Wil Wheaton and his pals, Optimus Prime's noble demise and Matthew Broderick breaking the Fourth Wall, but Ferris Bueller, you're my hero.

Bad Taste and Evil Dead II come out this year, and I'm torn. In half. By a zombie. We also get Full Metal Jacket, The Lost Boys, Predator, The Princess Bride, Raising Arizona and Robocop, but I think that Bruce Campbell and his chainsaw just edge out Nicolas Cage and the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse. Just.

We got Beetlejuice, and we got The Gump's last decent film in Big (which is not to say that it's a great film, or even a favourite of mine, but I feel it's worth mentioning). We also got buzzing silver balls of death in the excellent Phantasm II, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which has not aged a day. In the end though, it's a toss-up between my favourite Christmas film ever (Die Hard) and the best film about childhood ever made (My Neighbour Totoro). I think I have to give it to Totoro, even if the current DVD release has been contaminated by The Insipid Fanning Creature.

"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

Total Recall came out this year, and that's one of those films that I've never considered owning, but if I come across it while channel-hopping I will always, without fail, sit and watch it to the end. My pick of the year is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, however, and that's about as highbrow as this list will get.

Does anyone remember Meet the Applegates? Great film. Anyway, James Cameron made his last decent film this year, and there are far worse ways to end one's career than with Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

As much as I like and admire A Few Good Men, Braindead runs away with the prize. Then slips a bit in all the blood.

Any year that sees the release of Super Mario Brothers and Beethoven's 2nd is a good year for movies (sarcasm), but I have to pick The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, which is the film that made me fall in love with martial arts cinema, and remains Jet Li's finest two-and-a-bit hours.

Well, it has to be The Shawshank Redemption, doesn't it? Like everyone else, I came to it quite late, but it's just a brilliant, brilliant film about friendship and I will never tire of it.

Wow. The first year where I've found it difficult to pick because nothing has really jumped out at me. Mallrats, I suppose.

While I dearly love From Dusk Till Dawn, Fargo wins it.

Alien 4 is eleven years old. Crikey. To my endless shame, I still haven't seen LA Confidential, despite borrowing it at least twice in order to do so. The Fifth Element is a definite contender, but the runaway winner is the absolutely perfect Princess Mononoke, one of the best movies ever made, animated or not.

What a crappy year, with Armageddon/Deep Impact, Saving Private Ryan and Godzilla all festering like sores, an ill-advised film version of The Avengers and an even-more-ill-advised Blues Brothers sequel. On the other hand, there was American History X, The Big Lebowski, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Ringu. You know, I didn't like Lebowski at first, but I warm to it a little more each time I see it, and it may well become a favourite one day. But I think I'll have to go with Fear and Loathing.

Ah, the year that saw M Night Shyamalan unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. Lots of good films from this year, and lots of interesting and unconventional films coming out of Hollywood too, although that didn't last. I mean, we got Fight Club, The Straight Story, Being John Malkovich and American Beauty in one year. We also got Inspector Gadget, The Virgin Suicides, and The Phantom Menace, but every silver lining has a cloud.

I'm told that I'm not going to get the full benefit of The Matrix, having never seen it in a cinema, but it's a moot point because as the years have gone by, Sleepy Hollow has supplanted it as my favourite from '99.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? I used to think that this tied with Raising Arizona as my favourite Coens film, but since that didn't make the list, I suppose I've made a decision. Looks great, sounds great. Great great great. Unbreakable, Shyamalanadingdong's only good film, comes in a close second.

The year I paid 20p to see Pearl Harbo(u)r. I still feel cheated. Spirited Away, Amélie and The Devil's Backbone are favourites, but The Fellowship of the Ring has to be my pick. I don't think the trilogy as a whole is a successful as it could have been, but the first instalment is spot on.

Lots of good films (and also Attack of the Clones), but it has to be Spider-Man. It's not perfect, and Blade II is probably the better film, but Blade II didn't overwhelm me with joy from the first moment.

The sequels did absolutely nothing for me, but I could watch Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again and not get bored of it. However, Orlando Bloom isn't in Kill Bill, and Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu are, so we have a clear winner.

Spider-Man 2 finally supplanted the 1989 Batman as the best superhero film ever. They couldn't top this, and indeed didn't. Honourable mentions go to Hellboy and Kung Fu Hustle, but it was always a one-horse race.

Ah the year in which everyone got really excited about a bunch of really very mediocre films. I'll pick Sin City for the lack of anything better.

Oh dear, not much to choose from again. The Nightmare Before Christmas was re-released though, so I'll go with that.

Stardust was very, very good, but The Bourne Ultimatum was just a touch better, even if it didn't have Rupert Everett in it. Bear in mind that I haven't seen No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood or that Jesse James thing yet, so things may change.

Iron Man is my favourite film so far this year, but I'm expecting Hellboy II to topple it. I am not expecting much from Lost Boys 2 at all.


  1. You give me a hard time for mentioning The Green Mile - and then you praise Big!? Big! I feel vindicated. ;-)

    And Flash Gordon over TESB? Now I know you're having a laugh.

    Other than that, cool list.

  2. I only mention Big as The Gump's last good film before he became the Gump; I don't consider it a favourite. Whereas Green Mile was Gump all the way. ;)

  3. Why Flash will always beat Empire? Two words - Brian Blessed

  4. The Warriors does indeed rock, I didn't see it until a few years ago, and it is still the best post apocolypitc style movie I've seen, and I love Mad Max.

    And yes I do remember Meet The Applegates. I liked Ed Begeley Jr, loved him in St Elsewhere so I watched it at the cinema.

  5. Another "Fargo" fan... Awesome!

    Plus, you know, it's good to see someone else go with "Totoro".

    We watched "Whisper Of The Heart" last night, by the way... I'd seen it before, but Girl One hadn't... and it really is remarkably good.

    My list, in case you're interested, is here: