This is one I wanted to avoid if I’m honest. It’s a little obvious for me and I have a habit of trying to give obvious a wide berth.
Simultaneously, this is perhaps the easiest because it’s about the only definitive Top Five I have. I couldn’t pick my five favourite songs of all-time. I already did one about videogames and you’ll recall it was a ‘five of my favourite’; rather less committal than a Top Five.
So despite the obviousness, I’m going to run with it anyway because it’s my blog and I effing well can!
What do I look for in a good movie? Erm…that is a tough question to answer. I suppose I don’t actually look for anything in particular. I’m usually swayed by which actors appear in the movie or the subject matter, but I guess I approach movies with an open mind. There are some movies I thought I’d hate, but actually wound up being quite good and vice versa
I’m a less avid movie watcher than I once was. I tend to like playing videogames more nowadays when I’m not writing or blogging. Nevertheless, I do have an extensive collection of DVD’s covering a wide array of genres and time periods. The oldest movies in my collection are King Kong (1933), Gone with the Wind (1939), Citizen Kane (1941) and Casablanca (1942).
We all love to watch a good flick and the best of them stay with us forever. The five I’m about to mention are favourites of mine because they appeal to me in so many ways. Whether sublime or ridiculous, each one of them has invoked a huge reaction from me. Without further ado, let’s get this Top Five rolling. Action!
- The Matrix (1999) – Oh, this movie! Just seeing the name typed gives me goosebumps. There is nothing bad I will ever hear against The Matrix. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, okay; I’ll just about allow you to be rude about. They aren’t as good, but still both easy Top Twenty fodder for me. The first of the trilogy was just flawless in every aspect. The cast was amazing, the technology was ground-breaking and the story was gripping. The Matrix changed the way I looked at the world. The hidden message in this movie is such a smack in the kisser. I’ve watched it so many times, but I still get excited about the fight scene between Neo and Morpheus, when Agent Smith captures Morpheus, Cypher’s deception and sabotage, Neo and Trinity’s gunfight against the SWAT in the lobby, the iconic part where Neo avoids the bullets, Neo’s fight with Agent Smith in the subway station and when Neo finally realises he’s The One. It all still excites me like it was my first time watching. The Matrix is my favourite movie of all-time, hands down. I imagine it always will be.
- Fight Club (1999) – The first and second rule of Fight Club is about to be broken. Bringing up P2 in my list is this piece of cinematic art. Another movie that changed my perception of things. This movie is so good that even the author of the book, Chuck Palahniuk, said that the film was better. He was right. It really, really is! Fight Club contains some of the finest monologue and dialogue I’ve ever heard in movies. Edward Norton has one of the best voices in cinema (I could listen to him talk all day) and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is one of the coolest characters in cinema. This movie really has everything. There’s only one bad thing about Fight Club…you can never watch it for the first time again. Nothing beats the first time watching it because you just don’t see that plot coming! After the first time, you know it is so you’re just waiting for it. Not that it suddenly becomes unenjoyable. It doesn’t. It’s still brilliant no matter how many times you watch it. If you haven’t seen it before then what the hell are you doing sitting here reading this? Watch it…NOW!
- Casino (1995) – Most everybody remembers Goodfellas. No harm in that. It’s a brilliant film. But I think Casino is so much better. Like, heads and shoulders better. It’s not a sequel, but it kind of is at the same time. Both films are mob movies based on true stories and both star Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. What Casino has that Goodfellas doesn’t is the Vegas setting. That’s what makes this movie and then some. All three of the main characters in this are scintillating. De Niro; brilliant. Pesci; superb. Sharon Stone; just wow! She was so good she won the best actress Golden Globe. The violence is gruesome and one of the things that makes this such a riveting watch. What happens to Pesci at the end…sick! Martin Scorsese created a masterpiece with Casino. It’s a massively underrated movie. Some parts can drag and it’s probably a wee bit longer than it needs to be, but that’s such a minor drawback and definitely not enough to ruin the movie overall. The soundtrack is fantastic too. This will always be one of my all-time favourites and has been third behind The Matrix and Fight Club for a long time now. It’d take something very special to dislodge it.
- V for Vendetta (2005) – This is the newest film on the list, but belongs here on merit. It’s the second Wachowski Brothers film too along with The Matrix. If you don’t like this movie then I think it says more about you to be honest. Hugo Weaving is absolutely spellbinding as V, just as he was as Agent Smith in The Matrix. Natalie Portman plays her role brilliantly too, but the essence of this movie is the message it’s conveying. The mask of V has become iconic and is used in a host of antidisestablishmentarian memes (which I admit has gone beyond annoying now). It’s similar to a retelling of the Guy Fawkes story set in the near future and is as hard hitting as we expect from a Wachowski Brothers movie. There’s always that sense of ‘shit; this could actually happen’ with their films. V for Vendetta is no exception. The way this world appears to be heading I would say that this film could be frighteningly more realistic than any of us care to believe.
- Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) – I know what you’re thinking. Every film on this list up to this point has been quite a sensible and reasonable shout; how in sweet holy f**k has this Wayans Brothers Boyz n the Hood parody ended up in my Top 5? The answer is pure and simple; this movie is absolutely hilarious. I mean it’s so funny it almost makes me vomit! That is why this movie belongs here on merit. It’s probably the funniest film I’ve ever seen. The acting ‘talent’ on display is so shocking that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching an Ed Wood movie, but that’s part of the reason it’s so great. It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously and it does it better than any other spoof that has come along before or since. Shawn and Marlon Wayans deliver some superb comedy throughout and you can tell the whole cast had so much fun shooting it. I wouldn’t be bothered if somebody said this was the only movie I could ever watch again for the rest of my life. Besides, I spend so much of my time being deep that a movie like this gives me the opportunity to traverse and enjoy shallower waters for an hour and a half. If you haven’t seen it before then make sure you do.
There’s my Top 5. There are so many others that I could mention. I love all the Bond films for example. You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971) wouldn’t have looked out of place on the list. Desperado (1995) is a fantastic movie with a brilliant cast, as is Get Shorty (1995). I could spiel off a few Tarantino classics while there are other Scorsese movies that could have easily made the cut; most notably Raging Bull (1980) which is easily the best boxing themed movie ever made.
There are movies from my childhood too. Hook (1991) is one I still enjoy now and who doesn’t like Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989)? Schindler’s List deserves and honourable mention while the Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon (1973) and the absolutely hilarious Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000) are definitely in amongst my favourites.
As you can probably tell, I like my movies. I could mention a whole lot more aside from the ones I have. A good movie stays with you for life. A great movie can change your life. Perhaps one day I’ll do a six-to-ten list, but for now I’ll leave this one where it is. Thanks for reading!
What are your favourite movies and why? Do you like my list? Am I over emphasising how great any of them are in your opinion? I’d love to see your Top 5 so we can compare and discuss. Drop a comment in the usual place and I’ll respond in due course.
Image header from mobiviki.com