I love movies. Most movies anyway. There are some I hate.
But this is not that blog.
This blog is about movies I adore.
Storytelling is as old as time. In the long forgotten days of yore when weary travelers, merchants, adventurers and innkeepers would sit around a fireplace or cooking fire to trade stories and news from far distant lands, there was an art to the telling of the story.
It had to be interesting, engaging, maybe even a little bombastic and perched just on the edge of disbelief. Stories like that that have survived to this day are the adventures of Sindbad, Gulliver and Munchhausen. They, in my humble opinion, represent the best of the craft.
These days that art is almost lost. Especially in movies. Special effects and pretty faces have replaced the simple elegance of a good story.
Jack Lemmon said (in the 80s) that he could make 5 great movies with the blood and special effects budget from Terminator. ***I am not disparaging Terminator – actually quite liked the original*** But the point Jack made stands.
So here are the movies I adore. They have complex, interesting and at times surprising story lines. The characters are rich and layered, they draw you in. You start caring. You hate them, you love them, you feel for and with them.
Casablanca – Bogie and Bergmann, love lost, found and lost again. One of the best ending scenes in movie history. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship….
The man from Earth – Truly a surprise when I first watched it. This is the kind of movie that makes you wish you could watch it over and over again for the first time. A very strong and engaging story, with clever conversation and a number of twists. The final twist though was the most rewarding.
The Shawshank Redemption – Brilliant acting and a truly epic story of one man’s will to live and overcome. The final 20 minutes of this movie are magic and amongst the most rewarding I have had the pleasure to spent in a cinema.
Don Camillo and Pepone – An Italian classic, black and white, set just after World War II. It is the kind of cinema that fills you with joy at being alive. I strongly urge you to watch this movie, it is well worth the subtitles (in case you do not like subtitles).
They live – Odd choice, you think? I am a big fan of John Carpenter movies. He breaks the mold of Hollywood. No happy endings, no final justice – for the most part anyway. This movie speaks to me on a very personal level and represents one of the best cinematic attacks on our over-bloated consumer society I have come across. Apart from other, deeper layers of meaning and understanding.
Spirited away – A triumph. Miyazaki did everything right in this astonishing and enchanted tour de force. I was blown away. I wanted to be there. I longed to be in the spirit world. It all felt oddly familiar. This movie tapped into something deep and hidden within me.
There are more movies I love, but these are the ones I would pack on a one way trip to Mars.
I am sure you have similar lists, and hey, it might just be time to re-watch one of those old favourites. What do you think?