I love film and television! What do I look for in the films/shows I watch? That's easy.
The films and shows I love the most are the ones with so much heart, so much love and respect for their characters and for the art of filmmaking, that you can feel it and see it in every frame.
Heart can overcome a lot of other flaws, although when it's combined with sharp writing, auteur-like direction, wonderful cinematography, characters who feel real and who behave in ways that we can understand, then you've got a great--a *special--film on your hands.
Here is a list of ten films (in alphabetical order) that I love with all *my* heart and that I consider special:
1. Before Sunset
I was near the same age as the protagonists when "Before Sunrise" came out in 1995, and I loved it very much and watched it a bunch of times that year, then not again. Fast forward ten years and the best sequel I've ever had the pleasure to watch is released. The characters are ten years older, I'm ten years older, and none of us had seen each other in a decade. My memory of what happened between Jesse and Celine in '95 was as fuzzy as theirs was, which made Before Sunset seem and feel even *more* wonderfully real.
I know a lot of people must think a film about two people wandering around Paris for an hour and a half doing nothing but talking is the most boring concept in the world. It *sounds* boring. But God, this film is anything but (to me). I know these characters, I care about them, I understand them, I *am* them. One of the most realistic and romantic films I've ever seen, and with a truly perfect ending.
2.The Bourne Identity
This is a wildly entertaining and artful action/thriller; intelligent, stylish, sexy and emotionally raw. It's an absolute masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, featuring a never-better Matt Damon, whose Jason Bourne is one of film's hottest ever heroes, his ambiguity only making him that much more unreasonably attractive. Happily, it is followed by a spectacularly good sequel (hopefully sequels plural. *fingers crossed*).
3. Dirty Dancing
IF YOU DON'T LOVE THIS FILM YOU ARE DEAD INSIDE. I must have seen it fifty gazillion times and it never stops being awesome. I know it's got a stoopid script and the acting isn't all that, but it's DIRTY DANCING. And it stars Sir Patrick of Swayze.
NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER.
Best comedy ever, in my not remotely humble opinion.
See, I love films that understand the nature of comedy. It’s pretty simple really: the characters don’t know they’re being funny so the actors should play every scene like it’s serious drama. Ironic delivery of funny lines kills comedy dead. “Winking” at the audience is something that far too many actors do and far too many directors think is acceptable. John Favreau and his actors understand this rule, which is why “Elf” is so successful. Its premise is utterly absurd, but every actor plays it straight to the point of deadpan, as if what's happening is completely normal; as if Santa really does exist and the reason his sleigh won’t fly is because there’s no Christmas spirit anymore. Genius. Also, it can be watched at least once a year and it stays hilarious, which is why it's the ultimate Christmas film. ♥
5. Lost in Translation
I don't get the haterz. I think this is an astonishing movie: funny and serious, sad and deeply moving; a perceptive, believable tale of unrequited, impossible love. And the brilliance of their story is that we (the audience) don't even *want* them to get together at the end. Because sometimes a connection is meant to be fleeting. Sometimes that's what makes it special. Oh my heart. I get a lump in my throat whenever I think about this film.
6. The Matrix
Uh. The cinema experience of a lifetime? I've seen it countless times since but I think the first time I went, we ate hash cookies beforehand in celebration. Well you've all seen it, you know how cool it is. Also, Keanu is a really good actor in it. Don't argue.
If you've been around a while you already know that this is one of my favourite films of all time. Truly original, with characters we may not be able to relate to but who feel completely real and whose attraction to each other is both believable and wonderfully bizarre. It's a remarkably sexy, warm-hearted, affecting, truly romantic love story, starring two of the best actors in the industry.
8. Sin City
Sex, violence, stunning visuals, ridiculously over the top dialogue, Jessica Alba getting her kit off. What's not to love!
9. Singin in the Rain
The best musical ever made. Start to finish this film is a joy. What makes it stand out from most other musicals is the wonderfully inspired plot (amazingly, the songs were written first, but they fit so perfectly into the story you'd never guess it), as well as magnificent comic performances by Jean Hagen (as the beautiful silent movie star, Lina Lamont) and Donald O'Connor (as Cosmo Brown, Don's long suffering partner). Plus, every musical number is a winner.
10. When Night Is Falling
I mentioned this the other day. It's a very passionate, very beautiful movie about a (female) professor at a Christian college who falls in love with a (female) circus performer. HA! No seriously, it's really very good. And it contains one of the most glorious and erotic sex scenes I've ever seen.
Special mention must go to the following films, which I also love but which didn't quite make the cut: Beautiful Girls, Die Hard, Jerry Maguire, Pretty Woman, Rosemary’s Baby, Ten Things I hate About You, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Withnail and I
Now your turn! Tell me your favourites today!
This post is dedicated to slodwick.