Hello and welcome to my first ‘Film & TV’ blog post! I figured what better way to start than with My Top 10 Films of All Time (or ‘My Top 10 Movies of All Time’ for any Americans out there!) Well, let me just start by saying, writing this post has made me realise two things about myself…
Number 1- I am terrible at making decisions. You don’t even want to know how long it took me to narrow down a list of about 70+ films that I consider my favourites to just 10 *sobs* The good news is, I did it! However, if you were hoping to see my favourite film of all time, I’m sorry to say I honestly couldn’t choose. I adore every single one of these, so instead of ranking them 10-1 I’ve decided to list them chronologically (from oldest to newest production).
Number 2- The second thing I’ve realised is that I am a massive film geek (okay, so maybe I already knew this one…) This is my first time writing about films again since graduating my Film & Television Studies degree nearly two years ago, and as soon as I started watching these films again, taking screenshots of my favourite shots/scenes and making notes on why I love them, I realised I was basically analysing them and making essay notes (ha, help!). So I’m going to try my best to keep things short and not get carried away or nerd out too much- though no guarantees on the latter.
Now without further ado, here are My Top Ten Films!
The Graduate (1967)
Hello darkness, my old friend.
The oldest film on my list and without a doubt an absolute classic. I’m a massive fan of lead actor Dustin Hoffman and an even bigger fan of Simon & Garfunkel who feature throughout the soundtrack, so you can imagine why this film is a winner for me. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) is the queen of leopard print and seduces Benjamin like a literal animal catching her prey, while her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) is just effortlessly cool and has that hair/makeup/style that makes you wish you were in the 60s.
(Just a little nerd note: I love the water motif in this film – the fish tank, the pool, the scuba suit, and that cut between Benjamin leaping from his pool lilo to Mrs. Robinson- genius).
I don’t think many guys can say they’ve been seduced by an older woman then fallen in love with her daughter, but pretty much every graduate I know has felt “a little worried about his future” and that’s why Benjamin Braddock is still relatable over 50 years later. Plus, Hoffman is so awkward and intriguing you can’t help but love him. There are so many reasons why I love The Graduate, and if this is one of those old films you’ve missed, it’s a must-see. Until then… Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.
This is my oldest favourite film and even thinking about it now fills me with nostalgia and a longing to be a kid again, watching the VHS on my boxy TV in my old bedroom and falling asleep to the end credits. I’m going to be an old lady right now and tell you- they just don’t make films like this anymore. Dustin Hoffman (again!) plays Hook, who genuinely terrified me when I was younger but watching him now it’s amazing to actually understand and relate to him, he’s hilarious, and can we just take a minute to appreciate that wig and costume?! Julia Roberts is the most perfect Tinkerbell, and I have to say as much as I adore the Disney animation, Robin Williams will always be my Peter Pan.
Hook brings alive a sense of child-like wonder, fear, love and magic that quite literally feels like you’ve flown with them into Neverland. It fills me with joy, but brings me to tears. Rest in peace Robin Williams. Thank you for believing…
Pulp Fiction (1994)
*Cue the most badass film soundtrack in existence*
Pretty much everyone has seen this film, and if you haven’t you’ve definitely heard of it (if you’ve never seen it, I suggest putting this to the top of your ‘to watch’ list right now) I love Kill Bill and Django Unchained, but Pulp Fiction has to be my favourite Quentin Tarantino film. I even dressed as Mia Wallace post-overdose on Halloween one year (original, I know) and drunkenly attempted to dance the twist to any music that sounded remotely rock and roll… I definitely didn’t look as cool as Uma Therman.
Pulp Fiction was my first experience of ‘cult film’ and to be honest, it just blew my mind. I’d never seen a film with such a non-linear narrative, so many monologues, so much violence but so much style…or to put it simply, something so ‘artsy’. I had so many questions and just didn’t even know what to think – the pawn shop sequence definitely took me by surprise. But after watching it again, and again, I was obsessed. I watched the breakfast scene with Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) so many times in college, I’m now that annoying person who quotes the whole thing. SAY. WHAT. AGAIN.
Fight Club (1999)
So I’m going to break the first rule of Fight Club here because.. I’m going to talk about Fight Club.
This is the most existentially depressing film that constantly reminds you that you’re being controlled and manipulated by advertising/consumerism/materialism and ideological beliefs of who you should be or how you should look etc etc… and it’s fantastic. I love director David Fincher’s style (Zodiac, Se7en and Panic Room are my other faves) and this is the first film that got me hooked. Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is the ultimate attractive bad-boy, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) is totally heroin-chic and a complete nutcase (but I love her), and the unnamed main character who narrates the whole film (Edward Norton) is basically that part of your brain that hates on life and eventually thinks “fuck it.” Also just putting it out there now: this film has the best twist of all time.
Every time I hear ‘Where Is My Mind’ by the Pixies play in that final scene, I sit back and let it all sink in and think, “God, it’s such a good film.”
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
If you like Jim Carrey but have only ever seen him in comedies, you need to see this. I always watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with my boyfriend because we both love it so much, so it definitely reminds me of him. That seems like a weird thing to say when the premise of this film is a couple, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), undergo a procedure to have each other removed from their memories – but it’s hard to explain until you see it.
The characters, narrative and filming are messy, raw, honest and beautiful. Kate Winslet’s character Clementine makes me want to dye my hair crazy colours, and Jim Carrey’s performance always hits me. I feel like Eternal Sunshine really makes you appreciate the people you love and the memories you hold, good or bad… I know that sounds ridiculously soppy, but it’s why this is one of my favourite films of all time.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
I’ve just realised that none of the romance films on this list are exactly happy- 500 Days of Summer being no exception. This was the first film I ever saw on a cinema date with a boy. I was obsessed with the soundtrack (this still stands, Temper Trap-Sweet Disposition will always remind me of this film), but admittedly I was a bit too distracted by nerves to fully understand it at the time.
Relationships are rarely picture-perfect like Hollywood movies make them out to be, and that’s why I love 500 Days of Summer, because it shows the reality of heartbreak. One of the best examples of this, and also one of my favourite moments in the film, is a split screen of Tom Hansen’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ‘expectations’ of a meeting with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), alongside the less sweet ‘reality’ of what actually happens (genius). Yes, “this is a story of boy meets girl,” but it’s definitely not that simple, because neither is life. I think 500 Days of Summer ultimately reminds you that love hurts and life can be a bitch sometimes, but it’s worth it.
Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island is my all time favourite psychological thriller. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio (ily Leo) alongside Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Michelle Williams… yeah, I don’t think I even need to explain why this is such a great film.
I’m not the biggest fan of horrors and thrillers, mainly because I don’t enjoy pointless gore/jump scares/repetitive plots etc., but when a psychological thriller is done right and you get pulled in, hooked on the story, emotionally captured by the characters.. it’s the best. This is exactly what happens when I watch Shutter Island. Even after knowing what happens (mind. blown.), I still love rewatching this film and getting lost in the insanity of it all.
Ah, Submarine. Every line of this film is pure comedy genius – I mean, produced by Ben Stiller and directed by Richard Ayoade it was bound to be really . I will always love the quirky, awkward and hilarious Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). Like most of the films on this list, Submarine also has a brilliant soundtrack, entirely composed by Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys), which I spent most of my later school/college years listening to on repeat.
I don’t know about you, but for me growing up wasn’t easy. Not being a “popular” kid, the whole talking to boys/dating/relationships thing, everything is awkward, you say the wrong things, act like an idiot and over-think everything, and when things go wrong it feels like the end of the world. Well, Submarine is so relatable because it shows all of this through Oliver and his obsession with Jordana (Yasmin Page). Even though I’m not a teenager anymore I think Submarine will always be my go-to comedy that just makes me laugh and feel good.
*Coin drop, dial, ringing tone, ‘Kavinsky- Night Call’ plays*
Just thinking about Drive I almost feel like I’m in a trance. I can’t explain why really, but that’s what it feels like watching this film. I think it’s mainly down to the music, and the performances of Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. I can’t help but smile whenever they look at each other (this happens a lot, just long silent stares- somehow romantic instead of creepy, I’m for it) and Gosling does that goofy smile. I don’t think we’re ever told what the main character’s name is, all I know is Ryan Gosling plays the coolest, most romantic yet badass stunt double/driver/getaway driver ever. I also wish I had a silk bomber jacket with a scorpion embroidered on the back – cool af.
The lighting and cinematography in Drive is so perfect I think I’d still love this film even if there was no dialogue. The dreamy slow motion, night cityscape, and that elevator scene (!?) with the long silence, realisation, lighting change, kiss, then sudden violence… it’s just stunning, and one of my all time favourite moments in cinema.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Last, but most definitely not least, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I am a massive Wes Anderson fan and found it so hard choosing a favourite. It was between this and The Royal Tenenbaums, but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and I personally think this film is his masterpiece.
There’s something so satisfying about Wes Anderson’s style, with old-school hand built sets, symmetrical shot compositions, long tracking shots and classic Futura font titles – The Grand Budapest Hotel has all of this and more. I just love being taken into his little world. It’s almost like (once you get used to seeing Voldemort with a nose) you become the Lobby Boy, Zero (Toni Revolori), and hotel concierge M.Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is the hilarious and stylish life mentor you never knew you needed until now.
…Well, that’s it!
I’ve loved watching these films again and writing about My Top 10 Films of All Time, so I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! If you happened to just skip to the bottom (you sneaky devil, you) I don’t blame you, because this post turned out to be much bigger than I anticipated! For those of you that took on the challenge- What do you think, are any of these films in your top ten? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know some of your favourites and any film recommendations!
Just a final note- for anyone wondering why/disappointed that there are no animated films on the list- I do love animation, it’s just hard to compare them to live action (totally not another excuse for my bad decision making skills…) Disney, Studio Ghibli and Tim Burton animations particularly will always hold a special place in my heart, so much so that I could probably write a list of just my all-time favourite animated films- please do let me know if that’s something you’d like to see in the future!