Sun-Earther

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Films

February 2, 2004

My current top ten favourite films ever, subject to arbitrary change as always:

  1. Funnyman
  2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
  3. This is Spinal Tap
  4. Pulp Fiction
  5. The Matrix
  6. Network
  7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  8. Buddha Fist
  9. Barbarella
  10. The Toughest Man in the World

1. Funnyman (1994)
Funnyman is liable to remain number one on my list of top ten movies for all time. It's gory, hilarious, highly quotable and British, featuring a masterful accent-wandering turn by unknown Tim James as the Funnyman. The supporting cast are fantastic too, including a PC puppeteer with a right-on alternative Punch 'n' Judy show, Velma out of Scooby Doo and the creepy Callum Chance played by Christopher Lee.

Favourite scene: probably the Psychedelic Wig Evening at Club Sexy.

Favourite quote: so many to choose from! "What can you get for 73 quid these days? A wig and a lager!"

2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
In my humble opinion not only the greatest western ever made but also one of the greatest films ever made, Sergio Leone's crawling, sprawling masterwork never hits a bum note. From the opening scene which takes minutes before abyone even speaks, the film rightly refuses to sacrifice atmosphere and tension to push the narrative along at a forced pace. The three main characters are all engaging but despite Clint Eastwood's laconic ultracompetence and Lee Van Cleef's sly evil, the film is comprehensively stolen by Eli Wallach's transparent amoral self-serving bandit Tuco.

Favourite scene: what else? The three-way standoff in Sad Hill Cemetary.

Favourite quote: "If you gotta shoot, shoot. Don't talk." Advice to be heeded by all Bond Villains!

3. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Half-improvised and full to the brim of some of the funniest quotes in cinema, Rob Reiner's spoof "rockumentary" has me guffawing all the way from "enough of my yakkin'" to "what are the hours?" Tap withstands heavily repeated viewing and features many examples of the rarest of all comedy beasts: the comedy song that is actually funny.

Favourite scene: Jazz Odyssey

Favourite quote: so many! In the end I'd have to plump for "so long as there's plenty of sex and drugs I can do without the rock 'n' roll".

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
OK, so it's an easy choice, and not one you'd pick if you were trying to make out your taste in films is unconventional or obscure but, dammit, I really like Tarantino and this is definitely his best film (pending Kill Bill Vol 2). I dig the non-sequential narrative and the way the three plots interleave, not to mention the belting soundtrack! Let's not forget that the film features the sublime Uma Thurman (on whom I've developed rather a crush of late), a career-defining moment for Samuel L. Jackson and revived the career of Scientology-dupe John Travolta. Ah well, no film's perfect I suppose ...

Favourite scene: Vincent Vega administering the adreneline shot to Mia Wallace.

Favourite quote: "Oh, oh you ready to blow? Well I'm a mushroom cloud layin' mother-fucker, mother-fucker. Every time my fingers touch brain, I'm Super-Fly TNT! I'm the gunes of the Navarrone."

5. The Matrix (1999)
Another easy one from my point of view: when Cres heard that they were releasing a VR/hacker/kung-fu/sci-fi movie she asked me who I'd been bribing at Warner Brothers. A bit po-faced and not very quotable but god-DAMN the kung-fu! Sadly tainted by association with the substandard sequels and with effects so imitated they now seem cliché'd, it's sometimes easy to forget just what a fantastic, ground-breaking film this actually was at the time. Even so, there's no denying that it's a solid, satisfying and literate piece of sci-fi.

Favourite scene: Morpheus and Neo sparring in the construct.

Favourite quote: "Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger ... and you give me my phone call."

6. Network (1976)
I love this film for its cynicism, its depressing ending and its ahead-of-its-time rant about of globalisation. Who can fail to cheer Howard Beal on as he rails against the decay of society and community? Makes me want to get up lean out of my window and shout ... you know what!

Favourite scene: Arthur Jensen pitches the New World Order to Beale.

Favourite quote: the whole Beale rant, but for brevity's sake "So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'"

7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
It's not often that you get a kung-fu movie that my girlfriend will not only sit through but actually like, and this film delivers the goods. I'm actually rather glad that Jet Li turned down the role of Li Mu Bai 'cos I reckon that Chow Yun Fat is the better actor and the relationship between Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien would have suffered with Jet Li in the male lead role. Beautiful and melancholy with fantastic fight scene set-pieces and a refreshingly downbeat ending.

Favourite scene: The fight scene where the policeman and his daughter encounter Jade Fox.

Favouite quote: "When it comes to emotions, even great heroes can be idiots."

8. Buddha Fist (1980)
This golden-harvest style chop socky romp has to be my favourite film for kung-fu choreography and unusual fights. A classic, it features fights involving chess-sets, what appears to be a full pencil-holder, a jade buddha on a bit of string, a giant chopper (fnar), a birdcage and the frankly bizarre Holy Ghost Claw. To add to the fun, everyone shouts out the stance and form they're adopting during the fight and the dubbing is comically awful. A beauty!

Favourite scene: the fortune teller fights the chess master.

Favourite quote: "Left hand Buddha Palm! Right hand Buddha Fist! Buddha Fist has the power, Buddha Palm has the technique!"

9. Barbarella (1968)
One of the campest films ever made and featuring a scrumptious Jane Fonda at her prime, this saucy space romp is great fun. Shagpile-lined spaceships, killer dolls, angels and man-bongs it's totally bonkers and has more costume changes than an IBS sufferer on laxatives.

Favourite scene: Dildano and Barbarella make out with pills and telepathy.

Favourite quote: "A great many dramatic situations start with screaming."

10. The Toughest Man in the World (1984)
In this film, Mr T plays a nightclub bouncer trying to ensure the survival of the kid's daycentre that he runs by entering the "Toughest Man in the World" competition! Because he's helluva tough! What more could you possibly want? Features much throwing, a villain named Tanker and the rare sight of Mr T refusing a glass of milk!

Favourite scene: Mr T goes to the council offices.

Favourite quote: "See, I been social, now I'm gonna get some service!"

Posted by Jonah at February 2, 2004 11:33 AM