My Life In Film: Part Ten

Here we go folks! This batch of ten films will take the current tally up to 100 films that, in some way or another, have influenced me or had an emotional impact on me.  Most of the time they just entertain and bring me great pleasure…

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III (1990)

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The third and final part of the excellent time travel trilogy sees Doc Brown enjoying a peaceful existence in 1885, but he is about to be killed by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen. Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend and reinvent the western! Following the confusing and slightly messy first sequel, the team are back on form with this rip-roaring adventure that lives up to the brilliance of the original movie.  Once again, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are on top form, this time joined by Mary Steenburgen as a love interest for Doc Brown.  This is a fitting end to an excellent trilogy.

WATCH IT FOR: Marty’s Moonwalk

ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES (1991)

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When Robin and his Moorish companion come to England and the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham, he decides to fight back as an outlaw.  Much maligned for the questionable accents, this action adventure film harks back to the days of old with swashbuckling heroes and menacing villains.  Sword fights, highway robberies and feats of derring do are all in the mix as Kevin Costner‘s Robin Hood leads his band of merry men against the tyranny of the scene-stealing Sheriff of Nottingham, played deliciously by Alan Rickman.  Add in a surprise cameo and a bit of soft rock over the end credits and you’ve got yourself a winner!

WATCH IT FOR: Alan Rickman

GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)

Bill Murray is perfectly cast as the dour weatherman who ends up having to live his life over and over again in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where he is covering the annual Groundhog Day festivities.  Along with his producer Andie MacDowell and cameraman Chris Elliott, he must figure out what’s going on unless he’s doomed to repeat the same day for the rest of his life.

WATCH IT FOR: There are many stand-out moments in this film, most notably from Murray himself, but hot on his heels is Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson – Bing!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

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Epic story of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica who joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.  I never truly appreciated the beauty of cinema until I saw this sprawling epic from Sergio Leone.  He was a painter of the silver screen, bringing the landscape to life and utilising the camera to its utmost ability.  Filled with close-ups, magical framing and unbelievable scenery, this is one of the finest westerns ever made.  Henry Fonda shines as the villain (a role he refused a number of times) as does Charles Bronson as Harmonica, a sort of Man With No Name character.  Ennio Morricone provides the music which is as much of a part of the cast as the actors.

WATCH IT FOR: One of the best opening sequences in cinema history

WITNESS (1985)

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A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.  Harrison Ford is superb as the policeman dedicated to protecting the young witness in Peter Weir‘s drama that sees him having to adapt to living an Amish life whilst falling in love with his young charges mother (Kelly McGillis).  Its a subtle portrayal of an often misunderstood way of life and how two seemingly opposite worlds can collide and conform.

WATCH IT FOR: Wonderful World

THE MASK (1994)

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Bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss is transformed into a manic super-hero when he wears a mysterious mask.  This is easily one of Jim Carrey‘s best performances, its a role he was born to play! To go from mild-mannered bank clerk to super zany comic book hero takes a lot of skill.  Carrey obviously had a ball making this and it shows, although the film does drag a little when The Mask isn’t around.  Also notable as Cameron Diaz‘s movie debut!

WATCH IT FOR: Jim Carrey at his best in Cuban Pete

BUBBA HO-TEP (2002)

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Elvis and JFK, both alive and in nursing homes, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy.  This is one of those rare, low-budget B-movies that actually delivers the goods.  Thanks mainly to an outstanding performance from Bruce Campbell, this cult fantasy movie is an underrated gem.

WATCH IT FOR: Bruce Campbell

THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)

Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.  Writer/Director John Hughes was the voice of the 1980s and this is probably one of his finest pieces.  An excellent ensemble cast including Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy make this the perfect study of teenage life in the eighties.

WATCH IT FOR: No, not the cringeworthy dance sequence…Paul Gleason!

WAYNE’S WORLD (1992)

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Two slacker friends who host their own cable tv show are approached by a television big shot to make their show professionally.  Originally a sketch on Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World is definitely of its time having brought a new vocabulary to the audience.  Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are just perfect as the drop-outs who hit the big time but it is the music and the catchphrases that live on.

WATCH IT FOR: Bohemian Rhapsody

WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954)

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.  This has become one of the staples of Christmas viewing with its catchy songs, lively dance numbers and colourful costumes.  Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen are outstanding together and the musical numbers stay with you long after the credits have rolled.  I defy you to have a dry eye when the pull the doors open to reveal the snow whilst singing the title song!

WATCH IT FOR: Dazzling musical numbers like this one!

And there you have it…the first 100 favourite films in no particular order!  There’s still plenty more where that came from…

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