This week’s League of Extraordinary Bloggers assignment was simply ‘Top 10’ – amazingly open-ended, which normally I’d welcome, but actually had me racking my brains all week.
I considered, as usual, something game related but figured I’d done that to death. I’d also done music recently for the League, and have a post on books on the way, so instead turned to a subject I usually don’t blog about: movies.
I don’t have a huge DVD collection – less than 100 films in total, plus the obligatory TV favourites and a few comedy/music shows. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to pick out my favourite 10, right? Oh boy.
My first flyby saw seven titles go straight into the top 10, no problem. Unfortunately 24 were left on the ‘nearly’ list fighting for the last three places (including some cheaty trilogies). So here’s the top 10 – the big seven, with plenty of honourable mentions, plus the three that scraped in because they didn’t fit in any other sections…
The undisputed top seven (in alphabetical order)
- Bladerunner: While I’ve said this list is alphabetical, if I’d agonised over actually ordering the list this would’ve been the one easy part – Bladerunner has been my favourite film since I first laid my amazed eyes on it in the mid ’80s. I love the sci-fi noir style, the cast is top rate and the tension/storyline compelling throughout. And yes, it’s the director’s cut. (Honourable mentions: The wonderfully imaginative Fifth Element, Cloud Atlas, K-PAX and 12 Monkeys).
- Die Hard Boxset: I love me a good action blockbuster and for me they don’t get better than this. Bruce is brilliant, as are the settings, bad guys, one-liners and set pieces – even the emotional angles work. (Honourable mention: The Lethal Weapon Boxset, which is almost as good for all the same reasons).
- Fargo: I also love me a film that has me grinning and transfixed throughout, without needing to force me into belly laughs; nothing does that better than dark comedy Fargo. While the whole cast is unfalteringly brilliant, Frances McDormand is just about perfect. (Honourable mentions: Almost as equally brilliant quirky comedies Burn After Reading and Everything is Illuminated).
- High Fidelity: Hey, I’ve got an introspective side I occasionally like to exercise too you know! Having spent my late teens/early 20s working in record shops while making a pig’s ear of relationships (in the late ’80s/early ’90s) this is unnervingly close to the bone, but nails every emotion; then has the nerve to get away with a happy ending! (Honourable mentions: Fever Pitch, Garden State and Clerks).
- Hudson Hawk: Probably the only controversial pick on the list in terms of generally perceived quality, I am an unapologetic defender of this wonderfully daft caper. If you’ve avoided it due to bad reviews, I’d advise seeking it out – just go in with your brain tuned to silly and just enjoy the ridiculous ride. (Honourable mentions: Other less fashionable buddy cop movies Midnight Run and Running Scared).
- Serenity: Like all Firefly fans I still cling to the hope more will come along from the ‘verse; but if it doesn’t, this was a fitting send off. I do love sci-fi, but don’t suffer second rate writing/acting (Star Trek, Babylon 5 etc); however this was an absolute joy in atmosphere, acting, setting and character creation. (Honourable mentions: Classic trilogies Star Wars and Lord of the Rings).
- Withnail & I: A true British classic. Withnail & I takes celebrated English character actors and smothers them in booze and desperation, ending up with one of the most darkly comic movies ever made. It has me in stitches every time, from the toe-curlingly creepy Uncle Monty through to the inspired faux-drunken performance of the teetotal Richard E Grant. (Honourable mentions: Intelligent off kilter comedies Leon, The Lonely Guy, In Bruges, La Haine and Amelie).
The other three (still properly awesome) that round out the top 10
- The Blues Brothers: If push had come to shove, I think this would’ve made it into the Top 10 by rights anyway. It’s a film I never tire of, thanks in equal part to the amazing Aykroyd/Belushi chemistry and the truly wonderful cavalcade of blues/jazz stars that add both their music and comedy cameos to the mix. (Honourable mention: Bonkers music ‘documentary’ Dig).
- Repo Man: While a little low on star quality in the acting department (with the obvious exception of Harry Dean Stanton), Repo Man was the visual accompaniment to my mid to late ’80s indie teen rebellion. Funny, unconventional and pretty bonkers, this was exactly what the teenage me wanted to immerse myself in and I still enjoy a rerun of it to this day (Honourable mention: Low budget 1984 squat/punk classic Suburbia, for the same reasons).
- Kelly’s Heroes: This lurched dangerously close to ruining the list by being released outside of my lifetime, but just scraped in by dint of hitting the screens in the year I was born (1970). Unlike any other films I truly love, this completely took me by surprise when I saw it and its kooky comedy totally won me over. Half crime caper half anti-war war movie, it draws fantastic performances from a stupendous cast, with Donald Sutherland managing to steal the show from Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas and Don Rickles.