The Top Ten Desert Island Movies (The Happy 101 Awards)

Okay, so we don’t really get into internet meme’s here at, but this one has me hooked. Dan over at Top 10 Films, a site I sometimes scribe articles for, nominated me for this meme, and, by golly, I’m going to take him up on it. The basic premise is that you have to list 10 things that make you happy: and it can be anything!! I’ve decided to go with the top 10 films I can watch anytime, anywhere. These aren’t necessarily the best films ever made, but they’re my favourite “desert island” choices. List your own in the comments!!

Images below link to our own reviews of the mentioned films, where applicable.

10 - Superman II

For me, the greatest comic-book film ever. Knockdown fights through the streets of New York… I mean, Metropolis, carnage untold and a set of the greatest screen villains ever. Terrence Stamp’s softly softly rendition of “kneel…. before Zod” is skin prickling stuff, as is Margot Kidder’s realisation, towards the end when Clark gives up his powers to stop Zod and his cronies from destroying everything, that Superman is gone forever. Credited to Richard Lester, yet directed predominantly by Richard Donner, Superman II remains a classic of the genre, and while perhaps not as even in tone as the original, is more fun.

9 - The Rock

I’m a sucker for Michael Bay, and The Rock was my first exposure to his work (I didn’t see Bad Boys until afterwards) and boy, was it a journey!! 2-dimensional characters, a script peppered with chiselled one-liners and cornball dialogue, as well as one of the great car chases in cinema, the pairing of Nic Cage and James Bond #1 was film nirvana. Loved it then, love it now.

8 - The Boondock Saints

I could wax lyrical about this film all day and night. Brilliantly conceived, wonderfully executed, and featuring some of the most dazzling uses of curse-words ever put onto screen, Boondock Saints is an adrenaline rush from star to finish. Billy Connolly steals the show as the silent, deadly assassin El Duce, on the hunt for twin brother vigilantes the MacManus brothers. You know you’ve got a winner when even the cameo appearances from major porn stars are hilarious.

7 - Equilibrium

Dazzling, breathtaking directorial debut from Hollywood screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, featuring a pre-Batman Christian Bale and some awesome new fighting sequences based on Wimmer’s “gun karta”, a specialised martial art based on predetermination. While the majority of critics derided the film as being an confusing, underdeveloped muddle, I lapped up the stylish visuals and the intense, demanding performance from Bale. If you haven’t seen it, do so now.

6 - Transformers

The second of Mr Bay’s films to make an entry in this list, Transformers is a fantastic escapist fantasy. The wonderful cast (including super-thespian Megan Fox… *ahem*) and some stunning visual effects make Transformers a dead-set winner in my book. Throwing out logic and common sense, filling the screen with amazing action sequences (and some admittedly dull “humour”) and giving it the rapid-fire, lens-flare-afflicted look Bay loves to see, this is an absolute winner on BluRay and remains, to date, the most accomplished Bay film so far.

5 - Twister

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I adore Twister. Its logic nothwithstanding, Jan De Bont kicked this out of the park after Speed set the bar. Twister ain’t the most cerebral film ever made: heck, it’s a romantic drama at high velocity and without any brakes, but somehow Twister struck a chord with me back in ’95. The chemistry between Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt (whatever happened to her?) was dynamic, the effects were pretty good (for their time) and the secondary characters had about as much development as a cardboard carton: Twister ticked all the entertainment boxes for me. Most awesome moment: Bill and Helen driving through a house (blown over by a twister) and watching a teddy bear fly up and over the windscreen…. little moments like this that make watching films fun.

4 - Return Of The Jedi

I know, it’s the least popular of the original Star Wars trilogy, due mainly to the cutsey-fluffy wank of the Ewoks, but dammit, this film has one of the best space battles you’ll ever see. Featuring a three-pronged narrative, epic emotional weight and the final confrontation between Vader and Luke, Return Of The Jedi remains the most visually stunning of all the Star Wars movies. And the most fun.

3 - Starship Troopers

If you don’t like it, too bad. Ballsy, stupid and bereft of intellect, Paul Verhoeven’s science fiction version of the Heinlein novel looks more like a promotional video for the Beautiful People Brigade, as well as graphic, gory violence. I’ve seen this film more than any other, at least once a week for 12 months back when it came out on VHS (remember those?) and then DVD. A guilty pleasure that the wife refuses to watch with me, much like Verhoeven’s other classic, Showgirls. Her loss I guess.

2 - Armageddon

For me, the zenith of action movies, with Bruce Willis and Co doing the unimaginable, all layered with the cheeze and cornball antics Bay has honed to perfection over the years. It’s idiotic, it’s completely unbelievable (well, except for the giant asteroid hitting Earth bit!) and an unabashed action/thrill ride, Armageddon remains the single most entertaining film Ben Affleck has ever appeared in. Worth it only for the effects (and the sound mix), the destruction, and Billy Bob delivering lines like “This is as real as it gets!”. Chuckleworthy-awesome.

1 - Moulin Rouge

Awe inspiring cinema experience, translates to DVD (and hopefully, one day, BluRay) with as much energy and enthusiasm; this is far and away the single greatest film-going experiences I’ve ever had. Breathless, often corny but never clichéd, far-fetched and filled with style to burn, Baz Luhrmann’s musical masterpiece remains the one film I can watch no matter what mood I’m in. A perfect marriage of sound and vision.

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5 thoughts on “The Top Ten Desert Island Movies (The Happy 101 Awards)

  1. My perspective is the Fernby listing is too narrow and obviouslysly connected with the visual component first rather than the story line and written word. Pretty typical of those film fantastics this side of the silver age of comic books. Changes should come with age and experience… I think. Realizing my loneliness on the island may be of my own making I submit my old fashion selections: Shane, The Wild Bunch, The Godfather I &.II, Treasure of The Sierra Madre, Singin' in the Rain, Gone With The Wind, White Heat, Casablanca, Sunset Blvd. Toy Story… Honorable mention: The General (Keaton), the Good-The Bad & The Ugly, The Maltese Falcon, Laura, My Darling Clementine, Once Upon A Time In The West, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Stagecoach, The Third Man, The Wizard Of Oz, Zulu. Aocalypse Now would be there somewhere.

  2. Nice list – And I love the way you combined it with the Happy 101 Award! A few of these films are ones of which I don't think I will ever tire. I must have watched Twister a dozen times! There's no better choice for a desert island DVD than a natural disaster 🙂 Sometimes I dearly miss the 1990s movie industry 🙁

    1. Twister, along with Armageddon & Deep Impact, as well as Dante's Peak, Volcano and the critically lambasted Firestorm (with Howie Long) are all great (if cheesy) natural disaster films, and I'll always enjoy them!!! I miss the 90's too!!!

  3. Oooh, scary. You and i don' even share 1 top ten film in common. Hmmm. No Apocalypse Now? No The Wall? No Almost Famous (personal favorite)? No Ferris Buehler's Day Off?

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