Desert Island Movies

There’s a meme going around asking for people to list their desert island disc choice but, although I enjoy the music I enjoy (latest fave album Rudimental ‘Home’!) I’ve never thought of myself as a music buff of any type. I have however thought of myself as a film buff and used to religiously collect Empire magazine and devour every article – I knew every movie in pre-production, I took courses in both American and European cinema as part of my first degree and I was crushed when I found out that Empire did not take on work experience students (they might now but this was back in the early 90s!). I think its safe to say that ‘Film Critic’ would be my dream career!

At one point me and an equally movie obsessed friend used to go and see a film once a week (sometimes even an arthouse double bill) but since having children I have pretty much kissed this love of cinema goodbye (or at least au revoir) – the thought of wandering into a movie theatre and indulging in 2 or 3 hours of uninterrupted cinematic art/entertainment/culture, seems like a previously unrealised luxury!

For the time being I will content myself with sharing my top ten of all time:

  1. Pulp Fiction: One of the highlights of Tarantino’s career for me – so cleverly pieced together, out of sequence, with vivid characters, surprisingly┬á everyday banter and a secret at its heart (what was in the briefcase?) – I love a film (or any story) which gives the viewer or reader a denoument but at the same time leaves room for debate and interpretation – Pulp Fiction fits the bill.
  2. Groundhog Day: (which, incidentally, was yesterday – 2nd Feb!). Although I’m no great fan of insipid Andie Macdowell (probably the only disappointing casting choice in Four Weddings) Bill Murray is perfect here and I adore the fact that there is never any explanation for what his character experiences – it is just a supremely entertaining way of breaking a character down – to his lowest low – in order to reconstruct him from the ground up into a better man – and provides a surprisingly sweet, off beam romance. Unironically stands up to repeated viewings…
  3. Moulin Rouge: this one satisfies the musical-lover in me – I think Ewan Macgregor is a complete revelation as a singer and his version of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ can still make my heart soar with the possibility of a love like that! There is a magic realism to the way in which this story is presented which almost turns it into an adult fairytale.
  4. Sideways – this is the kind of film I really go for – its small scale, almost theatrical, and on paper the story seems dry – two middle-aged men on a road trip through California wine country on a tasting tour – but the characters, the script and the bloody brilliant acting by Paul Giametti and Thomas Haden Church make this completely hilarious and heart warming at the same time.
  5. Sleeper: I had to pick one Woody Allen movie as, say what you will about the man, he is a cinematic genius and if ever there was a movie to make you snort a drink through your nose (is that a recommendation??!) then this is it.
  6. Gladiator: I’m not a war movie or ultra-violence kind of girl, but despite this being a film about the shocking and appalling practice of using slaves as fodder for ultra-violent entertainment by the Romans, the story is told in such a mesmerising way, and Russell Crowe just throws his charisma into overdrive – utterly transfixing me – I actually thought I was in love with Crowe until I saw The Whistle Blower – which just shows what a great actor he is.
  7. It’s a Wonderful Life: this is surely Christmas personified. The greatest feel good movie of all time.
  8. The Departed: I also had to pick a Scorcese movie because the man is another directorial legend. A lot of his more classic stuff like Taxi-Driver is just a bit too gritty for me but this one is just super clever – and, not to sound shallow, but what’s not to like about the Matt Damon/Leo di Caprio cat and mouse game here and Jack Nicholson’s brilliant turn as unhinged Irish-American mobster Frank Costello? One truly shocking moment subverts the viewer’s expectations but leaves you no less satisfied by the time the credits roll.
  9. Back to the Future: I think that I’ve mentioned before that I saw this film ten times at the cinema alone when I was a teenager. This is both a true cinematic classic, a beautiful piece of mainstream entertainment and a coming of age nostalgia flick for me.
  10. Amelie: I’ve just realised looking back through this list that I’m clearly a bit of an old romantic! But I like it quirky (ooer!) and Amelie certainly ticks that box! The voiceover is so adorable. I think the beauty of this for me is the injection of magic into what might otherwise be ordinary lives. Its also got a lovely gentle humour to it and after the masterpiece which was “Delicatessen” the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet fulfilled his potential here.

It was really hard to narrow this list down so I have to give an honourable mention to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (such an unusual way to explore the anatomy of a relationship from start to finish and the way in which our attitude to relationships make the human condition completely unique and utterly confounding); Fargo – couldn’t forget the Coen Brothers; and the 6th Sense – Shyamalan’s finest and the best bloody plot twist ever!

Linking up to PoCoLo over at Vevivos.com:

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I’ve been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!

versatile-blogger-award

I was really touched recently when Twitter notified me that I’d been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award by Mummy Tries! For those who don’t know, its a bit of a ‘spread the blog love’ version of a chain letter – you pick seven random facts about yourself to share and then nominate some more worthy candidates who write blogs which you enjoy reading and find interesting, varied and which keep you coming back!

For my theme I have chosen: No Theme! (this is meant to be random after all!!)

  1. The two most useful practical skills I have learnt in life are driving and touch typing
  2. My finest sporting moment at school was performing a perfect Fosberry Flop. I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the sportiest person in the world…
  3. I went to see Back to the Future 10 times at the cinema in 1985/86. And in other random 80s cinematic trivia – I lusted after Madonna’s cool accessories in Desperately Seeking Susan.
  4. The bravest thing I’ve ever done (or stupidest??) was jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet over Mission Beach in Australia. (If you’re going to do it anywhere, do it there!)
  5. I lived in Texas for a year when I was studying for my first degree. I went to the University of Texas in Austin which is as big as a small city in itself! Memories include hanging out at coffee bar ‘Insomnia’; raging thunderstorms which outdo anything the UK can muster up – practically biblical proportions when clouds of black crickets are washed off flat rooftops in waves!; Restaurants like the original Tex-Mex Chuy’s which ooze character; lazing by natural pools at Barton Springs; watching the sunset from Mount Bonnell – amazing views!; partying at the fun bars downtown on 6th Street; mimosas and huevos rancheros for breakfast! I could go on…
  6. Controversial one: I cannot understand why women love Robbie Williams. I find it completely bizarre both in terms of sex appeal and music. In fact, I’m thinking of creating a Support Group for like-minded women because its obviously NOT NORMAL!!
  7. I’m a huge literature fan but a cursory glance at my bookshelves tells me that I’m a serial reader of Nick Hornby, Christopher Brookmyre, Kate Atkinson and Sarah Waters. Can’t go wrong. (And on the subject of bookshelves, if you don’t have shelves full of books in your living room we may not ever be besties! ­čÖé )

My Nominees for Versatile Blogger are:

Be lovely to read a bit more about you or see your spin on this ‘chain’ thing – profuse apologies and please ignore me if you’ve done this before – you’re obviously just too bloomin’ popular! X