My Life In Film: Part Three

Here we go with the next batch of film favourites.  Again its an eclectic mix with a couple of surprises, even to me!  But enough chit-chat, let’s get this party started…

 

JAWS (1975)

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The story of the making of this film is almost as exciting as the film itself.  Tales of mechanical sharks that won’t work properly, filming in the middle of the ocean and almost sinking and tensions between two of the main stars.  But for all the backstage stories, its the one on the screen that keeps viewers coming back for more.  On the small island of Amity a great white shark is menacing the community so the town’s sherrif, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), an oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled, old fisherman (Robert Shaw) take it on to save the island.  Another brilliant, taut adventure from Steven Spielberg featuring some of the most iconic theme music in movie history!

WATCH IT FOR: Three Men On A Boat!

 

A FEW GOOD MEN (1992)

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An inexperienced Navy lawyer gets the case of his career when he comes to the aid of two Marines accused of murdering one of their own.  Based on the play by Aaron Sorkin, the film climaxes in a tense courtroom battle between the lawyer, Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and Col. Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson).  Nicholson gives a typically ‘Nicholson’ performance but is also strangely understated until the final act where he kicks it up a notch.

WATCH IT FOR: The Nicholson/Cruise courtroom showdown

 

FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)

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The more I watch this film, the more it speaks to me.  Kevin Costner plays an Iowa farmer who, after hearing voices, interprets them into building a baseball diamond in his field.  Then the ghosts of old players turn up.  Its basically a tale about who we are and what we’re doing with our lives and how we interpret the messages we see around us every day.  Also, its a great baseball movie!  Its a fine cast, too with great support from James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster and Ray Liotta.

WATCH IT FOR: James Earl Jones’ inspiring speech

 

POLTERGEIST (1982)

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This film still scares the bejesus out of me!  A house is plagued by terrifying hauntings centred on the family’s young daughter, Carol-Ann (Heather O’Rourke).  At first the spirits appear friendly, moving furniture much to the amusement of the family, but then things take a sinister turn as the spirits then ‘kidnap’ Carol-Ann.  Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams play the parents along with Dominique Dunne and Oliver Robins as their other children but its the appearance of psychic Tangina, played by the brilliant Zelda Rubinstein who steals the show, even though she’s not in the whole movie.  The film plays on our fears and keeps scaring audiences to this day.

WATCH IT FOR: Zelda Rubinstein’s psychic

 

UP (2009)

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By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years younger, inadvertently becomes a stowaway.  If you can survive the opening montage without losing a few tears you are a stronger man than I am.  Pixar win again!

WATCH IT FOR: That opening montage! (tissue moment)

 

BLAZING SADDLES (1974)

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Mel Brooks has made a career out of the absurd and it doesn’t come much more absurd than this comedy western.  In order to ruin his town, a corrupt political official appoints a black sherriff who then becomes his fiercest adversary.  Cleavon Little stars as Bart with Gene Wilder as Jim, The Waco Kid,  who go face to face with Harvey Korman and Mel Brooks himself.  The film is packed with gags, and childish humour as you would expect from Brooks, but this better than most.  The all-out fight scene at the end is just perfect as is the delectable Madeline Kahn as Lili von Shtupp.

WATCH IT FOR: Harvey Korman

 

IN THE LINE OF FIRE (1993)

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Aging Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan was part of the convoy that failed to protect President Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let the same mistakes happen again.  Clint Eastwood is perfectly cast as the grizzly agent targeted by would-be assassin John Malkovich.  The familiar cat and mouse game ensues between the two where there can be only one winner.

WATCH IT FOR: John Malkovich acting everyone off the screen

 

THE MOSQUITO COAST (1986)

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Allie Fox has never been a man to do things by the book. An avid inventor, he is a troubled genuis given to intense moods and an incredible drive. Seemingly on a whim, he shifts his family to the jungles of Central America, telling his children that America “is gone”. Determined to create a civilization better than the one he has abandoned, Fox’s obsession and mania might pull his family through, or it might pull them apart.  Harrison Ford cites this as one of his favourites and, although it didn’t do well at the box-office, it still remains one of my favourites too, due in part to Ford’s performance.

WATCH IT FOR: Harrison Ford, against type and on the edge!

 

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)

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Probably one of Alfred Hitchcock‘s most accessible films, North By Northwest sees everyman Cary Grant caught up in a case of mistaken identity and intrigue that takes him across the country while trying to find a way to survive.  Famous for the crop duster scene and the climax atop Mount Rushmore, Hitchcock drives the action and thrills at breakneck speed.

WATCH IT FOR: Crop Duster!

 

PULP FICTION (1994)

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The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.  Quentin Tarantino is a truly unique force of nature and his take on the movie industry is extra special.  This film is easily his most quoted, mimicked, referenced and parodied work to date.  Featuring the mother of ensemble casts: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken etc.  Its violent, funny and very, very enjoyable.

WATCH IT FOR: Ezekiel 25:17

 

Another ten bites the dust!  Part Four is being worked on as we speak, so stick around for that.

Back-to-the-future-2

 

 

 

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