Ok, this is getting serious now. For every film I include, there are at least another three or four that I suddenly think of and decide should be here – thank goodness I haven’t limited this to a Top 100 or 300 or, for that matter (as its getting that way) Top 500!! So, without a further or a do, here’s the next ten (remember, these are in no particular order) in my all-time favourite list.
Daniel Craig‘s incarnation of James Bond 007 came of age in spectacular style. Released in the 50th anniversary year of Dr. No, Skyfall has all the hallmarks of a classic Bond film but with the modern twist set up in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace. Director Sam Mendes brings a unique edge to proceedings and handles the action scenes brilliantly. Javier Bardem is one of the best villains the franchise has had in a long time, being both charming and dangerous at the same time. Not surprisingly, Skyfall is now the most successful Bond movie ever.
WATCH IT FOR: Javier Bardem’s charming villain, Silva
The mother of all movie spoofs, Airplane! brought us some of the finest straight actors being funny and making this one of the most gag-filled movies ever. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker are the masterminds behind this story of a plane full of passengers who become ill and the only person who can save them is an ex-pilot who is now afraid to fly. Packed to the hilt with one-liners, sight gags and absurd humour, you can watch Airplane! dozens of times and still see something new.
WATCH IT FOR: So many jokes, but the funniest thing about the film for me is Johnny
MR HOLLAND’S OPUS (1995)
Glenn Holland is a frustrated composer who takes a teaching job to pay the rent. His plan is to compose in his spare time but ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans’. His pupils then become his focus and the film follows him through the years as he marries, has a child and, eventually, retires. The film is very moving thanks to Richard Dreyfuss who doesn’t add any extra scmaltz to a role that could quite easily have turned syrupy. Granted, there are sugary moments, but this is one of those uplifting films that is truly underrated.
WATCH IT FOR: Beautiful Boy – one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen
STAND BY ME (1986)
In the summer of 1959, four friends set out to locate the body of a missing boy in the woods. Along the way they learn about themselves, their friendship and standing up for what is right. Based on a novella by Stephen King, this coming of age drama has fast become a classic thanks to an outstanding cast – Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell – and assured direction from Rob Reiner.
WATCH IT FOR: Lardass!
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946)
A British wartime pilot who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court. This quintessential British drama from Powell and Pressburger has become one of the most respected films of all time, and rightly so. David Niven is charming in the lead role as is his love interest Kim Hunter but the star of the show is Jack Cardiff’s cinematography.
WATCH IT FOR: Jack Cardiff’s magnificent photography.
LETHAL WEAPON (1987)
The movie that spawned dozens of buddy-cop partnerships, Lethal Weapon is a fast-paced action thriller about a detective who is about to retire and a detective who is suicidal who are forced to work together in order to stop a gang of drug smugglers. Movie casting doesn’t get any more perfect than it does in this film. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are superb as the mismatched detectives, while Gary Busey is scarily good as one of the villains, Mr Joshua. Three sequels followed, with diminishing effect, but this original is still the best of the bunch.
WATCH IT FOR: Riggs making a good first impression on his colleague
CARLITO’S WAY (1993)
A Puerto Rican former convict, just released from prison, pledges to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him and make a new life for himself away from New York City. A fine gangster thriller from Brian De Palma that showcases the talents of its star, Al Pacino. A great supporting cast – Sean Penn, John Leguizamo and Penelope Ann Miller – add to what is, in my mind, an underrated classic.
WATCH IT FOR: Carlito’s last ditch attempt to get out of New York via Grand Central Station.
A cocky pilot takes part in a revolutionary miniaturizing experiment but accidentally gets injected into the body of a hypochondriac store clerk. Dennis Quaid is perfectly cast as Tuck Pendleton, the pilot on the mission of a lifetime, while Martin Short takes full advantage of his role as Jack Putter. Add a little romance to mix, courtesy of Meg Ryan and you’ve got yourself a great sci-fi classic.
WATCH IT FOR: Martin Short’s performance, wildly energetic and beautifully innocent.
A team of commandos, on a mission to a Central American jungle, find themselves being hunted by an extra terrestrial enemy. Action doesn’t come much bigger than this testosterone-heavy affair. Arnold Schwarzenegger leads the team as Dutch, through the jungle, shooting first and asking questions later. One by one, his team are picked off until just Dutch and the alien are left.
WATCH IT FOR: The alien special effects
A modern retelling of the classic Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, Scrooged sees Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a cynically selfish TV executive who gets visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Murray sleepwalks his way through the cynical role and, although it gets overly sentimental and schmaltzy at the end, he does a great job of redemption. Sure, its not the best version of the story but its also not the worst. If you ask me, this is up there with the best of them!
Wow, can’t believe I’ve made it through fifty films already and there are still so many great ones to come. Don’t be strangers…come back soon!