Wednesday 20 May 2009

Top 50 Favourite Movies Ever - Part 4...

Read Part One here:
Read Part Two here:
Read Part Three here:

Like in the previous parts, I will be covering this 'ten block' in alphabetical order, due to my continued lack of ability to number these films any tighter than five ordered 'ten blocks' with an additional "Honourable Mentions" category (which was in Part One of this series).

Top 50: #21-30

* Blade Runner (1982):
I've only seen two versions - the 1992 Director's Cut, and the 2007 Final Cut - so, for me, the 1992 Director's Cut is the version for me (although the replaced shot towards the end showing an elaborate building facade is way better than the buggered-out old side of a warehouse like it was originally). When I first saw it, I think (again) it was a bit before my time - but a couple of years later I bought it on video (in widescreen too) and have since viewed it a few times. "Visionary" gets bandied around too much these days (just see the quite simply technically incorrect labelling of Zack Snyder as one, by the advertisers, for the Watchmen promos) ... but Ridley Scott is a true visionary, and Blade Runner is (with Alien coming a close second) Scott's most incredible visual treat. It's Sam Spade versus those who are 'more human than human', it's perhaps the greatest interpretation of a dystopian future in cinematic history, and while being drowned in darkness and ever-lasting rain, smog, and artificial light, this film is beautiful.

* Clerks (1994):
In recent years this has been more to me than just a foul-mouthed indie comedy - it has become one of my key inspirations for my own writing. I don't mean in a rip-off way, rather I'm currently aiming to be on course to (hopefully) someday soon be able to make my own Clerks - as in, my first real movie - and Clerks is one of the films which has inspired me on my continued search for success in my goals. On the other hand sometimes it's just good fun to watch a couple of slackers play street hockey on the roof and talk about Star Wars all day - I have to say, I'm one of those people who take movies and dissect them with others to microscopic lengths ... only I'm talking about zombies, not collateral damage on the Death Star.

* Day of the Dead (1985):
This was my introduction to George A. Romero - well, in terms of the first GAR flick I saw - my first introduction was actually a couple of years prior (1997 to be precise) when I read an article in an issue of SFX magazine all about the release of the 'Director's Cut' (Cannes Extended Cut) to the UK. Fast forward to my mid-teens and I finally got my hands on my first Romero movie on videotape - bought for £5.99 in a local Woolworth's (a store chain that finally bit the dust in the current recession here in the UK). I remember watching it just after lunch time on a Saturday afternoon, as my Dad was cutting the grass outside, and being dumb-struck by the gore effects (Savini's career best, in my view). Not only that, but the soundtrack, Joe Pilato's Captain Rhodes, and the best zombie ever committed to the screen - Bub to name but three things which make Day of the Dead so good.

* Die Hard (1988):
Otherwise known as my all-time favourite Christmas movie - this is how real Die Hard should be. Tough, sweary, violent and flat-out action packed. Die Hard has been in my life for many, many years now - indeed it was one of the first 18 rated movies I ever saw - and I've loved it ever since. Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, in a high-rise, taking names ... what's not to love?

* Goodfellas (1990):
My favourite Scorsese film, and my favourite gangster movie at the same time. A wonderful soundtrack, a great script, great cinematography, memorable and powerful performances all add up to make this an enthralling watch. There are many 'rise and fall' movies like it that owe a debt to it (Casino, Blow, American Gangster - to name three), but this is really where it's at.

* Pulp Fiction (1994):
Great script, great performances, immensely quote-worthy, dripping with cool, and it wound up the moral 'majority' when it was released. It has a power to draw you in, and while there's not a lot of boom-or-bang going on, it never lets go of your attention. While I'm a continued fan of Tarantino's work, Pulp Fiction is probably his best work - it just has 'it'.

* Rabid (1977):
I first saw it during my teenage years on a videotape bought from my local Post Office for a fiver, and it's my favourite Cronenberg film - so much so that I was delighted to be able to write an essay all about it, and Canada in the 1970s, during the Canadian & Quebecois Cinema course that I took during my time at university. Rabid is part of my long-standing fascination with, and love of, Canada (some day I hope to go there, perhaps even get a chance to work there). It's dark, it's indie, it's got a porn star in the leading role doing a bloody good job, and those final moments are nothing short of memorable. Indeed, it has recently (at the time of writing) inspired me while writing a new script.

* Shaun of the Dead (2004):
The peak of the Wright/Pegg/Frost era (thus far anyway). I may have worn myself out on it a bit now, but the zombie-fan references littered throughout are enough to make any zed-head go dizzy with delight. It's British, it's actually hilarious, and it's provided me with countless hours of entertainment ... and it was even connected to a memorable trip to the cinema - after leaving the cinema we (I was driving) got thoroughly lost in Newport for over an hour.

* Short Circuit (1986):
Yep, another one of my childhood favourites - Johnny 5 is definitely still alive, and still has the power (with the added help of a good dose of nostalgia) to utterly grasp me and never let go. During my time at university I bought the DVD and promptly sat down to give it my first viewing in many years - myself, along with a housemate, had an epic trip down memory lane. The film was (and is) so seared into my memory through repeat viewings, that I remembered practically the whole script, and could predict (and recall) the various sound effects, music cues, camera moves and so on. No wonder I loved WALL-E so much.

* Tremors (1990):
This is a favourite from my later childhood, first discovered when it was shown on BBC1 (cut at the time, though, when the Beeb were really sensitive to swearing and gore, even after the watershed). I was young enough at the time to want to emulate it - I built my own replica of the duo's battered blue truck in Lego, and while wearing my own jeans (knees ripped-through - it was the 90s), white t-shirt and burgundy shirt, I would pretend I was Kevin Bacon - or rather, his character of Val. From an older view, it has nostalgia as well as an undeniable fun factor - a modern day (at the time at least) fifties monster movie. Add in the beloved gun-toting Burt, gravel-voiced Earl, and some truly memorable deaths (the hat in the sand, the road workers, Walter Chang, etc) and what do you get? A bloody good time, is what.

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