As a film writer, the moving image has driven me for as long as I can remember. When my peers were reading comics (before they became ‘graphic novels’) I was at the cinema. I read Lord of the Rings but I would rather have seen it on screen (with less talking trees). Films are books, but with less faffing about, more to look at and lots of sounds – and that all spells ‘win’.
I tell you this because choosing a ‘top ten’ of films isn’t easy for me. I’ll try, but tomorrow, it’ll be a different list. Today, though – in no particular order – it looks a lot like this:
SE7EN: If you’re going to read a script – and you really should – then this is the one to read. It builds perfectly, the premise takes a standard – the cop on his last day handing over to a new guy – and subverts the genre effortlessly. And then it does this thing where you’re really building up to the chase when the bad guy runs and hides and kills and… he gives himself up! I remember sitting in the cinema fuming – twenty minutes left to go and the film is ruined. Except it isn’t, of course. In fact, it gets better and then better still. And what an ending!
BLACK HAWK DOWN: This may be my most watched film, because when I’m alone I buy a microwave curry, drink ice cold beer and stick this on. It’s a fantastic combination of great characters, terrific dialogue and world-class action. If you like ‘Remains of the Day’ (as my wife does) this might not be for you. But if you like explosions, screaming, blood and death, you’ll be fine.
THE GODFATHER: Okay, so there’s nothing I can say about this which hasn’t been said better by other, more intelligent people. If you don’t love the Godfather (and the Godfather 2) then we can’t be friends. (I’ve checked. This is a rule.)
THE GODFATHER 2: I’ve already covered this in the above paragraph. 2 is the same as 1, only 5% better. And as 1 is as good as it gets, that’s really quite something.
JAWS: The first film I saw and (SPOILER!) when the head pops out of the hole in the boat, I jumped up, spilled my drink and sat down again – only the seat had gone up whilst I was leaping about and I sat on the floor, spilling my popcorn over the drink which was over me. Also, the film was great.
MAD MAX 2: I’m nervous now – I was told ‘500 words’ and I don’t know if that is ‘per film’ or ‘all together’, so I had better be careful. This word is 453, so I’m going to blow it. Anyway, Mad Max 2 is glorious – as good as Mad Max 3 is terrible. Fury Road is wonderful, of course, but it doesn’t have Mel Gibson in it. Now, I’m Jewish, so that shows how much I liked this film, sugartits.
GRAND THEFT PARSONS: I wrote this and it fed my family for a while, so I’m choosing it. It’s my list, after all. (GREAT film, of course.)
DEBBIE DOES DALLAS: This was, uh, the first film I owned on VHS, so that. Happy days.
TRUE ROMANCE: Toss-up between this and the RAID 2, but this wins because of the ‘caravan scene’ between Hopper and Walken. Of course it does.
PULP FICTION: Well, Tarantino. His dialogue sings, when he gets it right. When he doesn’t, it’s still better than great. Watch the first 25 minutes of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, but only after you’ve watched all of this.
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