Week of Movies: Number 1

Saturday 25 November (2006)

Here we are again: a second week of consecutive posts. I should be getting fucking paid for this shit 😦

So what could number one be?! First, some analysis: The films on the list span from 1941 to 1998; a period of fifty-seven years. There are films from the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties – but none from the ‘noughties.’ Does this mean movies are getting worse? Absolutely not. Movies like Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine and Pirates of the Caribbean have been some of my favourite films from recent years, all of which would appear on a more comprehensive ‘top 100’.

Which decade is the most popular on my list? Well surprisingly, whilst there are two movies each from the seventies and nineties (what I would assume to be the ‘best’ movie-making decades) the winner is actually the 1980’s, with three movies represented. Amazingly, two films from the top ten (actually, the top four) are from 1988. When you consider that My Neighbour Totoro is from 1988 as well (a movie that only just missed out on my top ten, coming in at a conservative #11) that’s quite an eye-opening fact – at least for me 🙂 I was, of course, born in 1985.

Other films that narrowly missed out on a place were Leon, The Big Lebowski, Jaws, Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Reservoir Dogs. And there are some nice directors there – Luc Besson, the Coens, Spielberg, Tarantino. But then, what about the directors who made the cut? Hitchcock, John Huston, Kubrick (twice! Kubrick takes the ‘best director’ gong clearly), Brian DePalma, Gilliam, Scorcese, Coppola (and, uh, McTiernan). These guys are undisputed geniuses.

If you know me very well, or you just know your movie years, you’ll already have figured out which movie is at number one. If not, on with the show:

2. A Clockwork Orange (1971) 
3. Apocalypse Now (1979)
4. Die Hard (1988)
5. Goodfellas (1990)
6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
7. Scarface (1983)
8. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb) (1964)
9. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10. Vertigo (1958)

My Favourite Moviethe big blue (le grande bleu) (1988)

The Big Blue. This is my favourite movie of all time – but I know I’ll never be able to convince any of you to agree with me, so just think of this as a paean to the most amazing cinematic experience I think there is.

This film is about a man named Jacques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr), a freediver, and his relationships with two people: Enzo Molinari (Jean Reno at his best), another freediver (world champion) and Johanna, played by Rosanna Arquette. Johanna falls in love with Jacques, but she is forced to fight for his attention constantly, being as he prefers life in the the ocean. He goes swimming late at night, playing with dolphins, and he can stay underwater for extremely long periods of time. He’s a metaphorical merman; his relationship with the sea is one of kindred spirits.

The story follows Jacques and Enzo around the Mediterranean as they compete in the freediving world championship, and it’s beautifully shot at every location. From the French Riviera, Greek islands and Taormina in Sicily, there isn’t a single place in this film that you wouldn’t live to visit. Eric Serra’s score is tragically eighties, but for some reason when it’s put with the film it just… works. It’s quite amazing, actually.

But still, I always find it hard to explain why I like this film. Beautiful locations and a fantastic score are helpful, but they do not define a good movie. Perhaps it’s the characters, then? Enzo, the brash and egotistical Italian who is very annoyed by the fact that he isn’t as good as Jacques – Jacques himself, with his infuriating passion for the ocean.

That’s certainly part of it. But I still can’t define it. It certainly seems that I’m in the minority of people who think that this is anywhere near the ‘best film ever’ but I think I’ll have to come to the conclusion that this film is simply art. Like a painting, you take it in and you either get it or you don’t. If you don’t, you might admire aspects of it, or like the sentiment, but it’ll never get to your heart. If you do… ah, you are in for a treat.

I’m guessing a lot of people reading this will never have seen the film, so my advice is this: rent it, watch it (in one sitting) with an open mind and see what you think. I think it’s the best film ever made, and I love it. I can watch it time after time and it just gets better each time.



4 Responses to “Week of Movies: Number 1”

  1. Sally Says:

    Do you not mean ‘Week of Movies’ (title)? 😛 x

  2. stan Says:

    Oh, bugger off 😦

    I had been awake for a long time, I had been at work for 9 hours and I had to repeat that day the next day (which is in fact, today) so I have an excuse.

  3. Dave Says:

    lol i noticed that – why dont you do a week of pubs sometime?

  4. stan Says:

    That’s actually a brilliant idea… I just need copious amounts of money and a free week. Sounds like a job for Preston! What do you reckon:

    Monday: Greyfriars
    Tuesday: The Old Black Bull & The Black Horse
    Wednesday: The Black Bull (Garstang Road)
    Thursday: Withy Trees & The Plungington
    Friday: The Hog’s Head or Owd Nell’s
    Saturday: Hartley’s

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