July 19, 2012

My Top Ten Favourite Non-horror Films

It's been nearly two years since I listed my top ten favourite horror films, so I thought it was about time to do the same thing with the non-horror ones.

Just as before, I've put them in reverse order so you have to read all the way to the end.

10. Die Hard (1988)
In the '80s, I used to love watching "Moonlighting" until it was ruined by too much of Herbert and Agnes. It was a logical progression that Bruce Willis moved on to films, but I don't think anyone expected him to become quite such a big action star. I saw "Die Hard" at the cinema when it came out and probably 20 more times on television before I finally bought a copy of it on DVD. I never had the VHS version. "Die Hard" is pretty much the perfect Christmas action movie for me. I tend to alternate between it and whichever James Bond movie I haven't seen for a while each year during my dinner.

9. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Another action movie which I saw at the cinema also makes the list because I watched it with a group of friends. Yes, I used to have friends. We were a riotous group that day, lobbing Kia-Ora cartons at each other like grenades (having pulled the straw out with our teeth like a grenade pin), and thoroughly upsetting the cinema staff. One of the most memorable jeers was when Co (Julia Nickson) was dying and somebody shouted, "Quick! Shag her while she's still warm!" Every time I watch "Rambo" now, I'm reminded of happier times.

8. GoldenEye (1995)
It's hard to choose just one Bond film for my top ten but, based only on the number of times that I've rewatched "GoldenEye" and played the N64 game, it has to be this one. I used to watch "Remington Steele" when it was popular and couldn't wait to see Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. He wasn't in any way disappointing although I never much liked Judi Dench as "M" (or in anything else for that matter). Of course, given that the only Bond films which I really like are the Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan ones, my choices were narrowed down. If the Sean Connery ones weren't so dated, "From Russia with Love" would have been here instead.

7. Total Recall (1990)
This is the last movie on my top ten list which I saw theatrically with a reduced number of the same group of former schoolfriends. We had all started to go our separate ways, some moved away, one got married, and life was a bit like the famous Bryan Adams song. We all loved Arnold Schwarzenegger and had watched everything he was in from "Conan the Barbarian" onwards. I bought this as a VHS boxset with two tapes as soon as it came out, but I never watched the special features on that second tape. I still don't have this on DVD, but I might have to upgrade just to see Sharon Stone at her most beautiful again.

6. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Having finally watched "L.A. Confidential" for the first time a couple of years ago, I was ashamed of myself for switching it off every time it was shown by the BBC. I must have thought that it was something else (or something crappy like "The Fabulous Baker Boys") and Guy Pearce was still too fresh in my mind from his work on "Neighbours" for me to take seriously. By forcing myself to sit through the first scenes again, I became completely caught up in it all and I now think this is a much better neo-noir than "Chinatown". Russell Crowe is really good in this as well.

5. Bring It On (2000)
No, I'm not joking. Given the big three of "Clueless", "Legally Blonde" or "Bring It On", the cheerleaders win every time. I love Kirsten Dunst in nearly everything she's done (although she really didn't look toned enough to be a tennis player in "Wimbledon") and, of course, Eliza Dushku is in this too. As you can imagine, this movie is on my list for purely sinister reasons and I'm not ashamed to admit it either. For other people, this is probably a very guilty pleasure.

4. Sin City (2005)
Possibly the only comic book adaptation that actually feels like a comic book makes it to number four on my list. Although I'm usually not much of a Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino fan, Frank Miller kept both of them in check with his own vision and created a minor masterpiece here. I've only ever seen this movie on DVD as my hometown didn't even have a cinema when this came out. If I ever get a Blu-ray player, this will be one of the first discs I buy again.

3. Watchmen (2009)
Really it's all due to Malin Akerman that I even bothered to buy a copy of "Watchmen" in the first place. She is extremely hot as "Silk Spectre II". As you may know, I'm not really into superheroes (since I'm not a twelve year old). All those Marvel films seem to be the same story over and over again but with the title character changed. "Watchmen" promised to be something different and it was. Just like everybody else who loves the film, I also ended up with all three versions. I actually slightly prefer the theatrical cut over the director's cut. The ultimate cut just has an annoying cartoon in it which is completely superfluous to the rest of the story so I've only watched that version once.

2. Scum (1979)
I wouldn't be me without my great love of gritty British dramas and there aren't any which are more brutal than this. Even "Sexy Beast" seems tame in comparison although that was my alternative choice for this position on my list. If I want to shock somebody (in particular, Americans), I stick this DVD on in front of them and make sure they know that the Borstal system was real.

1. Quadrophenia (1979)
Finally, the movie which I've watched more times than any other in my whole movie collection is "Quadrophenia". I became a bit obsessed with this film about ten years ago, bought a scooter, dressed up as a mod, and went to Brighton just so that I could say, "I was a mod there! That's got to mean something!" Brighton has excellent fish and chips on the pier, by the way. Like Jimmy, I eventually became thoroughly disappointed with the whole scene. I got bored with going to Brighton every bank holiday. I sold my scooter and my motorbikes though just before moving to America rather than drive them over a cliff.

So, those are my favourite non-horror films. As you can see, I'm quite eclectic. I don't like comedies at all so there are none of those on the list, and the foreign language films which I've enjoyed haven't really stuck in my mind either. I also like the majority of Clint Eastwood's movies but, obviously, not more than anything which I've chosen over them.

What are your top ten non-horror films?

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