Films and Movies: A Favourites Collection

Earlier this year, I shared my favourite songs. I now present my favourite films and movies (yes, there’s a difference). A note for the reader – may contain spoilers!

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

This is my favourite film of all time. It stars my idol Katharine Hepburn in one of the greatest screw-ball comedies ever made. This film was considered a comeback for Hepburn who had escaped to Broadway to shake the “box office poison” tag. Upon returning to Hollywood, this screenplay in hand, Hepburn wanted top billing and to star with Spencer Tracy and Clark Cable – instead she got second billing, and Cary Grant and James Stewart (who won an Academy Award ® for his role). The immeasurable talent and undeniable chemistry between the three leads makes it impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. Sadly, there was remake of this film in 1956 called High Society with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra – it was redone shot-for-shot and it’s truly awful.

All About Eve (1950)

The Queen of film noir, Bette Davis is at her absolute best in this classic. It tells that tale of Anne Baxter’s up-and-coming actress deviously trying to steal the spotlight from Davis’ ageing, legendary star. It won six Academic Awards ®, including Best Picture and also features one of Marilyn Monroe’s first forays into film. The film was pitched as “a needle sharp study of bitchery” in the original trailer.  Yet, it’s truly a showcase of supremely talented women taking centre stage in film, featuring one of the greatest and fiercest actresses of all time.

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Elvis is my first and only true love (and not the gross jumpsuit-wearing version, the sexy leather jacket-wearing version). As we all know, Elvis made a series of dodgy films (at the mercy of The Colonel) but Jailhouse Rock is genuinely good, and film critics agree it’s his best film. Sure, it’s still filled with cheesy musical interludes but Elvis plays against character in this film – a wayward bad ass, and it’s amazing!

North by Nothwest (1959)

There are so many Hitchcock films to choose from (Rear Window just misses out), but despite the long screen play Cary Grant gives a master class in being Cary Grant in North by North West. It features two of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history: Grant diving through the corn fields to escape the crop duster attacks, and Grant and Eva Marie Saint climbing across Mount Rushmore at the film’s climax. It’s a classic tale of mistaken identity and criminal intrigue told in a way that only Hitchcock knows how.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This is my favourite movie of all time. John Hughes’ best film (many will disagree, but I didn’t like The Breakfast Club!) turned into a cult classic – SAVE FERRIS t-shirt anyone? The narrative is a ridiculously over the top day of wagging school, led by Matthew Broderick’s charming Bueller, with his best friend and girlfriend by his side – all the while escaping the tirades of Dean of Students Mr Rooney and sister Jeannie. As much as I love this movie as a whole, I could really just watch the opening monologue over and over again, and then turn it off – and with sage advice including “a person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon “I don’t believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me””, I feel like my actions are justified.

Toy Story 1 (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)

I was 8 year olds, 12 years old and 23 years old for each of these respective releases. I grew up with these films, so there is a strong nostalgic value to this trilogy. Each movie – with the 1995 release the first from Pixar – is great in its own right, but as a series it reflects the 90s kid in all of us: playing with all our toys and letting our imagination run wild as a child, to storing them away without care as we become too cool for anything young adults, only to reclaim them as pride of place in our memories as we move out of home, onto the next stage of our lives. Andy is all of us, and we all have a friend in our own Woody and Buzz.

10 Thing I Hate About You (1999)

This movie defined the Hollywood phase of a certain type of teen rom-com: the hot jock/mysterious outsider who really has a heart of gold snags the ugly/bitchy girl who’s actually really pretty (She’s All That, Bring It On, etc) – but this was the best of them. It’s also based on my favourite Shakespeare plays The Taming of the Shrew. My two favourite scenes are when Kat reads her English Lit poem to the class (which is like, totally for Patrick!) and when Patrick sings one of my favourite songs of all time Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You to Kat. I love you Heath!

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

This is not a film that would typically be my cup of tea – it’s filled with crass, sexist, toilet humour which is synonymous with the humour of a 14 year old boy. But I can’t help myself with this movie. I’ve watched this so many times, and I cry-laugh every single time. Here is just a sample of ridiculously hilarious quotes that are now part of our everyday vernacular:

  • “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly”
  • “I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
  • “I love lamp.”
  • “And I’m Ron Burgundy, go f%&@ yourself San Diego”
  • “I’m in a glass case of emotion”

Up! (2009)

There has never been an animated (Disney/Pixar) film like this. The opening scene tells the story of a husband and wife through the years: their courtship and wedding, new house, saving for their dream trip, inability to have children and the wife’s heartbreaking death. Needless to say, this caught me off guard – and I hysterically ugly-cried for the first 15 minutes (the heaving, blotching face, snotty nose cry). What follows is a charming tale of an initially reluctant grandfather-grandson relationship with an enthusiastic boy-scout, founded on a sense of adventure, wisdom and ultimately, inner peace.

500 Days of Summer (2009)

With beautiful cinematography and an exquisite soundtrack (featuring The Smiths, Etta James, She & Him, Simon & Garfunkel and my all-time favourite Hall & Oates), this is a film that is heartbreaking yet surprisingly feminist. The ever handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the hopeless romantic and the ever-adorable Zooey Deschanel, the independent commitment-phobe. It’s a refreshing change from the usual rom-com shtick where the female character is the one who’s portrayed as desperate, crazy or love-obsessed and the male character is the stoic, lad-about-town. And the ending is not something the viewer necessarily sees coming either: the girl actually gets what she wants, and the boy is left to pick up the pieces (but he’s going to be ok!)

What are your favourites? Comment below!


4 thoughts on “Films and Movies: A Favourites Collection

  1. Regarding animated full length feature films.

    The beginning of Up reminded me of Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life (a film which is in my list of favorites, and although I am incapable of crying, does cause my muscles to excrete a clear fluid which is then forced out of my tear ducts). As a full movie it felt like a good short film that had been turned into an OK movie. Though, the libertarian in me likes it when the elderly protagonist is sticking it to the man.

    I have always thought of Aldan as a turning point in Hollywood animation that set the precedent of a cartoon that was entertaining for adults, even to the point of containing pop culture references children wouldn’t necessarily understand, and there for deserves a hat tip.

    For pure artistic and literary merit I couldn’t go past Mamoru Oshii’s The Ghost in the Shell. However, I do concede that a film that makes you question the quality of life, intelligence, and consciousness in the digital age doesn’t necessarily equate to a fun filled time for the whole family.

    At the moment, based on the number of times I have watched it, How to Train Your Dragon. Has to be up there for favorite animated movies. Though, my black cat probably doesn’t agree, given that it causes me to call him Toothless and pick him up and ‘fly’ him around the room.

    1. I agree James – It’s a Wonderful Life is fantastic. I watch it every other Christmas. And I would love to see How to Train your Dragon!

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