We all have films of which we hold in high regard and that’s great, we should always, except if you’re a parent, have our favourites because having a favourite means that there’s something special and extraordinary about whatever it is that you cherish so dearly.
I’ve also concluded – yeah I’ve thought about this in depth shoot me, I’m pathetic right? Wrong, film is important – that the following films are stand out because their narratives are engaging and authentic. Think about it, it’s clear that if a film is anything but engaging and authentic, it will be disengaging and predictable and such qualities don’t make for a classic. Take a sequel and then apply my theory. See, I told you. Ok so there are a few exceptions, namely Shrek 2 and Spiderman 2. But it is fair to say that the films that will leave you lost for words will be those that follow the archetype I’ve just rambled on about.
Below you will find a list of my five favourite films and, although they all share the same common denominator (explained above), they also uphold very unique qualities of which add to why I and so many others are so infatuated with them.
At number five we have Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut ‘Lost River’ that was upon release disliked by many with one critic describing it as “dumbfoundingly poor”. Bullshit, I say. The film is gaudy and distasteful in places, yes but cut Gosling some slack because overall the film is utterly distinctive. Utterly distinctive because unlike Refn and Lynch, Gosling successfully delivers a touching narrative that is able to weave in and out of the film’s fantastical appearance with ease. And that’s just what makes Lost River so fantastic, its perfectly delivered narrative. Set in dystopian Detroit, we meet Billy, a single mother who attempts to retain her family home whilst her eldest son discovers a hinted at, underwater metropolis. With faultless cameos from Eva Mendes, Matt Smith and the gorgeous Ben Mendelsohn, striking cinemaography and an eerie soundtrack to complement the film’s warped themes, ‘Lost River’ has it all.
At number four we have ‘Taxi Driver’, Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic. Unlike ‘Lost River’, ‘Taxi Driver’ has always been regarded by many as one of cinema’s greatest. But why? Well, let me try and answer that for you. It could be a number of things but simply, I think it is Robert De Niro’s fault, his fault because he made protagonist Travis Barker so charismatic and unpredictable. He’s everything you want to be and more. He’s free, aloof and almost untouchable but there are moments in the film whereby you’re glad that you aren’t Travis Barker because where we’d walk on by, he stops. The characterisation that Scorsese and De Niro forge is your answer, the reason as to why ‘Taxi Driver’ is such an enthralling piece of cinema.
Third on my list is ‘Fish Tank‘, an independent movie from British director, Andrea Arnold. The film centres on protagonist Mia who is encouraged by her mother’s boyfriend, Connor, to follow her dreams of becoming a dancer. As Mia’s relationship with Connor develops into a sexual one, audiences lose hope in the reality of her dream. And although dark and pessimistic at times, the narrative is likeable because it is completely feasible. Audiences are able to draw parallels between Mia’s life and their own as it is the case for many that hurdles have also halted their dreams too. But Fish Tank boasts more. It serves as a social comment, it renders the message that with hard work, success is achievable. And it’s that message that makes the film so universal and so god damn important.
Making its way to number two is of course Billy Wilder’s ‘Some Like It Hot’ which has been described by The Guardian’s John Patterson as ‘A perfect American comedy’. And he’s so right. At the expense of Curtis and Lemmon, Wilder delivers a laugh a minute. And still continues to do so because the film is fucking timeless. Unlike Frankie Boyle, who I know your Grandma despises, Some Like it Hot will have your Grandma in stitches and possibly even intensive care. Trust me, it’s that funny. Wilder took risks, he put two of America’s most treasured actors in heels – it could have ruined careers but it didn’t because Curtis and Lemmon give tasteful performances. From slapstick to double entendre, hyperbole to satire, the film flows in an unforeseeable direction and I just can’t get enough of it.
Stealing first place is one of Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated movies, ‘Death Proof’ and for those of you who know me well, that will come as no surprise. As a huge fan of road movies such as ‘The Cannonball Run’ and ‘Duel’ AND acting extraordinaire Kurt Russell, Death Proof and I are a match made in heaven. ‘Death Proof’ is daring, it’s an adrenaline rush. In just under two hours, Tarantino revises a genre and revives a career (sorry Kurt). And for me, that’s remarkable. But what’s even more remarkable is that he places women in front of the steering wheel – and no, we didn’t crash the car. Tarantino deserves all the Blue Peter badges because he gets it. He knows that women can fight their own battles and that Kurt Russell is still relevant. Long live QT.
So there you have it, my five fave flicks – of which are subject to change because I lack the ability to make concrete decisions, RT if; you cried or wanna make me rich and famous.