It’s been a while since there was a Listography of some kind here, and I was talking with Eldest about movies the other day. We got to discussing movies that had really made an impact, really impressed me. It’s not as easy to come up with them as you might think.
I hated Avatar – a movie Eldest loves – and I will always think of it as “James Cameron’s Pocahontas”. Google that as a search term and you’ll see what I mean. It wasn’t even a 2 hour advert for toys, unlike the LEGO movie, and I loved that! CGI-fests leave me cold. I still don’t know why George Lucas couldn’t leave well alone and just clean up the original 3 Star Wars movies for their DVD release. I want the original ones I saw in the cinema, not these new ones. And no, I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of new Star Wars movies, not at the prices we’re paying for cinema tickets!
The movies that have impressed me most have not been what I was expecting. They’ve largely come from the days before the Internet and instant-access spoilers for everything. Usually it’s been word-of-mouth that’s taken me to see them or a trailer so enticing that you’ve just got to see it.
Oh, and on the subject of trailers, there’s this:
I watched this movie, based on the strength of the trailer. It sounded interesting, there wasn’t much in the way of Urban Fantasy around at the time and I thought it would be good. At the end of it, I looked at my wife and we both said one of our favourite lines from FRIENDS: “Well, that’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.” And the problem is, even knowing that it’s a crap film, every time I see that trailer I still think “That looks like a decent film, maybe I’ll give that a go” before the rational part of my brain gives that thought the kicking it deserves.
Anyway. The movies. You see a film, you come out of it thinking “that was OK/Great/Dreadful but so unintentionally funny/a mistake”. Sometimes a line or two, a scene or two will stick with you for a few days, but it’s a rare film that you come out of thinking “I did not expect that!” Even rarer, a film that you can quote years later and that does not get old when you see it for the hundredth time.
The Princess Bride
Probably my favourite movie, ever. The most quotable film I’ve ever seen and it will never, ever, get old. Between us, we’re probably word perfect. Stardust comes close but it doesn’t quite have the same humour, the same strength of story, and it certainly doesn’t have Miracle Max and a man who’s been mostly dead all morning.
So you get hints of what this movie is going to be from the trailer but they don’t really do it justice. They tease, they tempt and they entice, just as a good trailer should. But the movie is better. It’s one of those occasions where the F/X work with the story, helping it along rather than, like James Cameron’s Pocahontas, where they are the reason the movie was made.
Standard-issue Denzel Washington crime drama. Big explosions, chases, guns, time travel. Sorry, what? Nope, I’m explaining this no further. Suffice to say that, although there may be holes in this one, I have yet to spot them. I watched this one twice, back to back, in one session to look for the clues, the foreshadowing, and they’re there – and they’re explained! Now that’s the mark of a great movie.
Here’s something I love. That whole “Turn Left” moment when a movie goes in a direction you were not expecting. Not from the trailer, not from the reviews you’ve read, not from what your friends have told you. You were not expecting that. And then you watch the film again and the clues are there. When you know what’s coming, you see the hints that were planted, the little throwaway lines that seemed perfectly innocuous at the time, a photograph here, a comment there, a spark between two characters. Absolutely love it.
I’m not going to trail this one, you all know it. And if you don’t then you need to go and see it right now. I’ll wait.
This could’ve been a standard-issue RomCom. Bill Murray, the late Harold Ramis, Andie MacDowel. Small town America comedy about someone who’s life is not what they want it to be. And then it turns left.
Definitely not the movie I was expecting. And for that, probably one of the better superhero movies out there. In fact I’m sat here laughing as I write this. Must watch this one again soon!
So there you go. Five of my favourite movies and one that I will hate forever for not being the movie I was expecting – and not in a good way. What are yours?