Blogathon – Five Films Forever

It’s been quite some time since I’ve participated in one of these things, so when my blogging mate Claire Packer over at Cinematic Delights recently returned to the blogosphere after a prolonged absence (so, officially, welcome back Claire!) and touched base a while back to see if I’d participate in this latest venture, entitled Five Films Forever, I figured it was about time to jump back in.

You can find Claire’s own post for this blogathon here, with links to many others as well! Enjoy.

It’s a fairly straightforward idea too: pick by five desert island films, films I could happily watch on an endless loop provided I had power, a television, and either a DVD player or WiFi.

My dream location to be stuck forever isn’t a desert island, however. It’s far less cliched as that. No, if I had to be stuck somewhere and I could choose, it would be somewhere cosy, comfortable, well stocked with food and filled with cartography. There’s only one place that ticks all those boxes. Therefore, my dream isolation, where I could comfortably sit and while away the rest of my life, is:

Bag End, Hobbiton, The Shire.

Of course I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life there, mainly because I’d hope my reverie would be interrupted by tiny men wanting to go on quests and stuff. But with a big enough television and a loud enough sound system, I could make do for long enough I’d at least come out looking like pre-Balrog Gandalf.

Selling this to my wife and kids would be hard, so I’d have to come up with five movies I love so much they’d just nod and wave me away on my ringwraith. So here’s my five all-timer movies (in no particular order) I could watch on repeat, rewind and repeat.

  1. Armageddon (1997)

Honestly, the cheese and high hokum in Michael Bay’s asteroid extravaganza is enough to sink any desert island list beneath the waves. One of the great 90’s action films, it came along at the perfect cinema-watching time of my life and, aside from perhaps The Rock, is arguably the most fun film Bay has ever directed. With a stellar cast (hell, there’s only one or two people in the cast who haven’t gone on to bigger and better things, plus it’s got the great late Michael Clarke Duncan as well, RIP), a fantastic soft-metal score by Trevor Rabin, not to mention some fantastic action sequences, what’s not to love?

2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Forget the “Special Edition” bullshit, I want the original theatrical version of Star Wars, the sci-fi blockbuster that kicked off an entire franchise and transformed a generation of young kids into nostalgic filmmakers themselves. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Sir Alec Guinness taking on the Empire in the Millennium Falcon alongside an overgrown saltshaker, a reject tin man from the Wizard Of Oz and a mutated St Bernard: it’s a classic, evokes powerful memories in me (as it does most people) and also boasts John Williams’ iconic score. But it would have to be the original version, not the one filled with preposterous new (dated) CG effects and additional Jabba.

3. Starship Troopers (1997)

Paul Verhoeven has directed many masterpieces and he’s also directed Showgirls, which is probably a masterpiece for a whole load of different reasons. Arguably his best is RoboCop, but the one I find most rewatchable is Starship Troopers, his loosely-based-on take on Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel set in the future. Filled with splendid CG and model effects, action violent enough to make Game Of Thrones look piss-weak by comparison,  and a slew of subtext commentating the US military industrial complex and how close “freedom” might seem to fascism, this ostensibly shallow action classic is a lot smarter that many give it credit for. It’s a hell of a thing.

4. The Dark Knight (2008)

Christopher Nolan’s near-perfect take on Batman, Gotham City’s caped crusader, stepped up to shatter expectations with his enormously successful 2008 sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins. Rocked by the death of co-star Heath Ledger during post-production (he would go on to snag a rare posthumous Oscar for his turn as the Joker) and featuring a stellar cast and dynamic performances, this is arguably the superhero film of the last two decades and set the bar for all to follow, including the MCU and DC’s reset with Man of Steel.

5. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (Extended Editions, duh)

It’s an easy pick. Plus, there’s the additional bonus of this trilogy technically counting as one film, surely? Peter Jackson’s extended editions have become the definitive editions in the two decades since these films released into cinemas, setting the bar for fantasy filmmaking (a bar not even Jackson himself could match with his Hobbit trilogy a decade later) and they offer a fully-realised world in which the audience can immerse itself eternally. Elijah Wood’s jewellery-wielding Frodo, Ian McKellan’s Gandalf, Sean Astin’s Samwise, Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn and Orlando Bloom’s gravity-defying Legolas will transport you to Middle Earth and the armies of Mordor – not to mention the superbly rendered schizophrenic Gollum (Andy Serkis) – in this lengthy and largely faithful adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s 60’s uber-novel. Clocking in somewhere around 12 hours, rewatching this thing is a sure-fire way to throw away many hours in the comfort of Bilbo’s favourite chair.