Jun 29

Sometimes my memory frustrates me. I remember strange, weird and wonderful things and forget the most basic. I can remember plot details of Star Trek episodes, stories from books last read a decade ago, even snippets of music that I haven’t heard for years will ring a bell somewhere in my memory, but family birthdays will fall through the cracks. What I had for dinner a week ago? Gone. Hell, even when people give advance warning of a party I somehow manage to forget to turn up on time. So here I am, taking a quick lunch break before I go into what is sure to be a soul destroying staff meeting, berating myself for managing to forget the latest Blog Party. A great idea, too, with an excellent question: “What are your favorite films?”

As I sit and think about this, I’m simultaneously excited that I get to write about my favourite films and worried that when I do people will look at my list and think “He likes that? That’s it, I’m not going to his next party.” There is a scene in a Friends episode that runs with a similar theme: Joey is asked as part of a quiz what Rachel says is her favourite movie. “Dangerous Liaisons!” he replies, getting a point for a correct answer. He gets another point when he answers the next question, “And what is actually her favourite movie?” with “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Well, I am going to be honest with this one. Much as I would love to load the list with such works as Citizen Kane, Cube, Pi and Amadeus in order that I might look intelligent, I’m not going to (though I will, in a last concession to my vanity, admit that I own the first three and quite like the fourth). I already do that with my bookcases at home, which hold all of my university books in the vain hope that someone looking along my shelves might think “Wow, got ourselves a smart one here.”and I always feel slightly fraudulent when I look at those books up there – I don’t think I’ve looked at any of them since I graduated.

So without further ado, here are some movies that rank up there as my favourites. It’s not meant to be a complete list of all my best movies, just some I particularly like.

First off there would have to be a tip of the hat to my Star Trek geek roots with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ever wondered why Star Trek has managed to last as long as it has? It’s all in here. Action. Adventure. Friendship. Humour. Terror. An exploration of very human emotions and situations (revenge, growing old, coming to know what friendship means) in a science fiction setting that serves, and is not served by, the plot. Excellent music, special effects that stand up better than most of the stuff being put out today, and the superlative “Khaaaaaaan!” moment. Everything that makes Star Trek endure in the hearts and minds of fans is to be found in this film.

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, my next pick would be Carry On Up the Khyber. Never the most highbrow films, the “Carry On…” series were cheap and cheerful nonsense films that made their money making cheap sexual innuendoes and poor jokes. For all that they were, of their time, some of the most successful films made in Britain and made the men and women in them household names. This one is one of the best, with sharp jokes, excellent performances from Sid James and Kenneth Williams in particular, and a cheerfully non-politically correct attitude to most things. Of course I can look at it and see it’s awful aspects, but the whole thing is so much fun I can’t help but smile whenever I see it on the TV.

For my next one I think I am going to have to throw my lot in with MCF and pick out Transformers: The Movie for special mention. What’s not to like about this film? Giant robots. Death. Destruction. Cool rock music. Leonard Nimoy. It’s all good stuff, people.

Even though it scares the bejabbers out of me, I would have to put Alien in there too. Quite frankly, the film is a masterpiece of pacing. It builds up slowly, brutally, frame by frame, to a payoff that terrifies me enough that I can’t watch the damn film on DVD without someone else being in the room. When so many films these days go into a headlong rush to get where they want to be (oftentimes dragging the audience along like terrified passengers on a rollercoaster) it’s refreshing to watch a movie that knows where it’s going, knows it’s going to frighten all sorts of living crap out of you, knows it’s good at what it does and doesn’t care how long it’s going to take to get there. Besides, any film that inspired an entire generation of men to be frightened of childbirth has got to be worth a couple of pages on somebody’s blog.

Ice cold in Alex deserves a mention, because I am one of those viewers who always gets thirsty after watching it, and can’t wait for a cold pint of lager afterward. Special effects, animatronics, supermarionation and CGI are all well and good – but when one long, slow shot of a pint of lager can create an effect that lasts for years, that’s when you know you’ve got a good movie.

While I’m thinking about black and white classics, I have to plump for Some Like It Hot. I remember the day I told my friends I hadn’t seen it. I was promptly sat down, the movie was put on and I was to watch it then and there. To be quite honest I’m glad they took a hard line with me on this one, because it’s now one of my favourite movies. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are fantastic, and Junior’s very Cary Grant-esque accent always has me in stitches (mainly because it sounds so much like my own rather poor Cary Grant impression).

Where to wrap up this list? Do I mention the superlative Wicker Man? Yes, I think I must. Genuinely frightening movie that actually manages to not have a happy ending. That’s in too. What about Salem’s Lot? 2001? Dodgeball? They’re all worthy mentions.

Well there you have it – my movies for the blog party. I’m off now to read up on the other entries, and I fully expect to have a few more movies in my “must check that out” list when I’m done. If I’ve managed to do the same for you…well, I’d call that a good piece of work.

Wouldn’t you?

6 Responses to “Last through the door”

  1. SarahD Says:

    Heh. Yes, I suppose one’s true favorite movies say something about one… Here are some of mine, in no particular order:

    The Black Hole
    Tremors (I love this movie… so, so much… )
    Independence Day
    Alien – Alien3
    Babe
    Shadowlands
    Galaxy Quest
    The Man Without A Face
    The Mummy

    Honorable mention goes to _The Mummy Returns_, on account of the one-liner that for me sums up foreign policy in general: “You — lighten up. You — big trouble! You — get in the car!!”

  2. Darrell Says:

    Good list! I’ve never heard of Carry On…Up The Kyber or Ice-Cold in Alex… that’s the best thing about this party; the chance to get exposed to new (to me) films. Pi is a great, underseen film, too. And, I agree about Dodgeball. It’s one of the best pure-comedies in ages. Thanks for the list!

  3. Wendy Says:

    Fawndoo-

    Thanks for coming. BTW, that episode of Friends is my favorite one. I love the whole TV Guide thing.

  4. Kelly Says:

    Fawndoo watches Friends? That’s it, I’m not going to his next party. :)

    Some Like it Hot, great, love it. Jack Lemmon in drag, how much more fun can you get??

    OH! I’ve wanted to see Wicker Man! A friend recommended it. This friend knows I don’t scare easily at movies and swears it’ll scare me. She’s usually very accurate about these things. So I’ve chickened out every time I decide to watch it. Maybe your rave will steel me to finally see it.

    Dodgeball, 2001. More great picks. I really got into 2001. My dad recommended that one. Enjoyed it immensely and when I saw him later I thanked him but commented that I was surprised he liked it so much, since it’s really quite odd and slow. He said, “Yeah, I only watched it right after it came out, and I think I was high”. Heh.

    Oh, and sarahd … masterful pick with Tremors. For pure entertainment, that is an overlooked classic.

  5. Lorna Says:

    Last isn’t a bad thing—Wicker Man is the scariest; The “Carry On” series a guilty, giggly pleasure. Good choices

  6. Meepers Says:

    Hey, check that out, somebody who is late like me! Although, I didn’t go to this one. Nice list, BTW.

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