Thursday, January 22, 2004

My Favourite Things - Part I: Movies

I have a bit of spare time on my hands at the moment (haven't received any work from Canberra yet, and noone around here wants me to get involved in any of their matters since I'll be gone soon...and, btw, I am booked on a flight on Wednesday 4 February - so soon!) so I thought I would indulge and write the first in a series of rundowns on various categories of my favourite things! I'll try to limit each list to 10. We'll start with movies, in no particular order (there are so many great movies, each of which I like for different reasons).

The Princess Bride: As Fred Savage's grandfather says at the beginning of the film, this movie has everything - fencing, fighting, revenge, an evil prince, true love, shrieking eels, rodents of unusual size - the works! This is a timeless movie that I can watch over and over again, and it never fails to cheer me up. Great for a laugh.

Clue: A madcap caper! Based on the boardgame "Cluedo", a number of people are invited for dinner on a stormy night to a scary looking mansion by a mysterious host, who it turns out has been blackmailing each of the guests. A series of murders follow, with everyone who's still alive a suspect, and the butler leads a hilarious chase to find the murderer. Classic quote from Mrs White, when she's discussing her dead (3rd) husband: "men should be like Kleenex - soft, strong and disposable".

Mulholland Drive: I really like David Lynch's bizarre take on things, and love that his movies defy logic and leave you confused and wondering. I enjoy the mystery and unpredictability, and trying to work out how it all ties together. Mulholland Drive is the best I've seen so far of Lynch's work - with a stellar performance from Naomi Watts as the stars-in-her-eyes innocent and hopeful Betty.

Heaven: A beautiful movie. I've yet to see a Cate Blanchett movie that I haven't liked, and this is definitely her best.

The Apartment: One of the things I really appreciate about "non-Hollywood" movies is that generally they rely so much less on dialogue and things being spelled out - it takes a lot more skill to paint a story using imagery, symbolism and filming technique, and it takes actors who can convey their feelings effectively without words. The Apartment is a great example of this - a French film following Vincent Cassel and the love of his life through a series of flashbacks. Brilliant.

Better Off Dead: An obscure 80s teen comedy featuring a very young and cute John Cusack, whose girlfriend has dumped him and is now dating the captain of the school ski team. He's obsessed with winning her back, and his bizarre snow- and jelly-snorting friend, kooky family and neighbours don't make his life any easier. Absolutely hilarious.

The Sound of Music: What a classic movie - they just don't make films like this any more! I loved Julie Andrews in this. A great family film.

Dead Man Walking: I've only seen this movie once, but it made such a huge impact on me, and cemented my abhorrence of capital punishment. Directed brilliantly by Tim Robbins, it's based on the real life experiences of Sr Helen Prejean and her interactions with/counselling of persons on Death Row waiting to receive their lethal injection. It was very emotionally draining to watch, but it was great to see such an honest portrayal of a rapist/killer and his eventual acceptance of his crime and his fate. Excellent performances from Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Charade: Cary Grant was a smooth and suave old-school charmer, and Audrey Hepburn - well, she was just graceful and gorgeous. Charade is an entertaining thriller/mystery/romance - a real classic.

The Neverending Story: I loved this movie as a kid. I think there's a bit of Bastian in everyone - we all want to escape reality and find a world where we are the hero. A great fantasy movie.


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