A Meaninglessly Mawkish Meander Through Must-See Movies
I like movies, lots. If I didn’t have things to do, I would just laze around marathoning David Fincher movies and drinking beer. And I’d love it. Here I have compiled a list of movies I think everyone’s life would be improved by seeing. Like every movie list ever made, it’s essentially pointless; a vile, opinionated snobfest of epic proportions that everyone else will violently disagree with. Long live film criticism.
This film has slowly worked it’s way into my life to the extent that I get physical withdrawal symptoms unless a watch it at least twice a month. I think it’s a perfect movie; it’s put together beautifully, a considered, dark, unsettling piece which is not even close to being the torture porn it’s often sold as. Hostel it ain’t; it’s far more like Se7en in that it’s as much a meditation on what it actually means to be “living” and what separates a good person from a bad one as it is a film about the machinations of an evil genius and his ever-widening collection of hilariously horrifying “traps”. Okay, it’s not for the totally feeble, but it’s a damn good film, with superb performances from Cary Ewles and Leigh Whannel. And just a brilliant soundtrack which you should use to spice up your day-to-day events against the clock.
2. Muppet Treasure Island
I distinctly remember, as a po-faced child, my Dad taking me to see this and having to take him aside and have a serious discussion about him definitely not being allowed to sing along to any of the songs in the cinema. Now, I’m the one being taken aside and told the same thing. For pure, total, unpretentious fun, there is simply nothing better than this rollicking voyage of tunes, treachery and treasure, featuring a disconcertingly handsome Tim Curry as Long John Silver. And it features some properly pumping choons, including the insanely good When You’re A Professorial Pirate, which I like to rewrite as an anthem for male prostitutes. Listen to it now and replace “pirate” with “rentboy”. It works. Also, this.
3. The Skin I Live In
Yes, I’m a hipster so massive I’m on the brink of turning into a self-aware black hole. But fuck it, I love me a bit of Pedro Almodovar (a very little bit-pretty much only four of his films are worth seeing, but how), and this bizarre body-horror-cum-soap-opera-drama is a mad, disturbing and brilliant little gem. Featuring a properly sinister Antonio Banderas and perhaps the grimmest rape scene of all time ever, it’s still peppered with spots of humour and Almodovar’s penchant for picking up on great female characters. It’s not a perfect film, but damn, you’ll see nothing like it this year and you’ll be haunted by the image of a man in a tiger suit having sex for weeks afterwards. Eurgh.
4. Little Miss Sunshine
Oh YES oh YES oh YES. This teeny little indie comedy follows a family as their daughter competes in the beauty pageant of the title. But it’s not about that; it’s about the failings and faults of every family member, from the hyper-sexed, heroin snorting grandfather portrayed by Alan Arkin to the gay, suicidal Proust scholar played by a superbly reserved Steve Carell. I love the clinky-clanky music, the way it elicits emotions without having to fire a nail gun of schmaltz into you, and the fact that’s it’s abso-bloody-loutly hilarious. Shout out to a baby-faced Paul Dano completely destroying the role of a voluntarily mute disengaged teenager, and also for being pretty.
I only saw it this year to get my Brownie badge for watching indie films, but hotdamn, I enjoyed it. Featuring an outrageously handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt (whose name I always mispronounce as Goseph Jordon, which sounds like a prairie animal to me), this neo-noir teen crime sort-of romance thrillery thing is a strange little offering, but an interesting one. It transplants Dashiell Hammet into a high school, giving an aneamic Lucas Haas the role of the bizarely appealing villain and a collection of wonderfully suave femme fatales and mob thugs. Do it. Do it for me.