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Dustforprints – Desert Island Films

Ewan from Dustforprints has kindly submitted his Desert Island Films. Read on for his choices and reasons, and be sure to check out his site.

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Desert Island Films is about choosing 8 films you would take if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and explaining your choices. They don’t necessarily have to be your favourites, just 8 films, no more or no less! You are also permitted to take one book and one novelty item which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.

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Desert Island Films

My plane has crashed. I am marooned on a desert island and my efforts at building a shelter have, frankly, rendered me in need of a sit down and dvd. I only have eight of them. Lord knows how (or why) I managed to grab hold of them instead of my oxygen mask & life jacket in the ensuing chaos but they’d better be ones I can watch again and again as I could be here for some time…

One thing that Wilson and I agreed on when we came up with the list was that each film had to be a standalone i.e. no trilogies. Wilson can be quite bossy at times.

1) Rule One – There has be at least one Powell and Pressburger Technicolor classic. The choice came down to Deborah Kerr in the stunningly beautiful “Black Narcissus” or Niven’s tour de force in “A Matter of Life and Death”. Winner: “A Matter of Life and Death” (More uplifting in the end)

2) Rule Two: There has to be “Lawrence of Arabia”. It doesn’t matter that someone else said it first – a classic is a classic. If it is good enough to sustain David 8 on the spaceship Prometheus for however many years they travelled then it is good enough to sustain me for my time on the island. Entertainment needs to be epic every now and again.

3) Rule Three: There needs to be a ‘popcorn’ movie. So so many contenders here: “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Casino Royale”, “The Dark Knight”, “Zodiac”. In the end it needs to be one where familiarity does not breed contempt (I can virtually quote Raiders word for word). So the winner is Brian de Palma’s “The Untouchables”. Again, a really uplifiting ending and so many moments of quality: Connery’s death scene, Costner throwing Nitty off the roof, De Niro with the baseball bat, the Odessa steps homage with the baby carriage, “Here endeth the lesson”.

4) Rule 4: There should be a film that I have watched only once and not given much time or consideration. Kubrick’s “2001”, Wong Kar-Wai’s “2046”, Tarkovsky’s “Mirror” are all contenders here. In the end, “Paths of Glory” won out. It serves dual purposes – some much needed Kubrick in the list plus it satisfies the need for a B&W matinee-type film for those lazy Sundays kicking back on the hammock with a coconut cocktail hangover.

5) Rule 5: there should be some weird in the list. David Lynch’s whole back catalogue counts. Out of “The Elephant Man”, “Blue Velvet” and “Mulholland Drive”, “Mulholland Drive” edges it in terms of richness. You need that if you are going to have to watch it again and again. I might need all that time to work out everything that occurs in that movie in any event.

6) Rule 6: There should be some World Cinema. Daniel Bruhl and Tony Leung are normally in quite good films so “Goodbye Lenin”, “Love in Thoughts” and “The Edukators” are all contenders along with “Infernal Affairs”, “Happy Together” “In The Mood For Love”. Or maybe I should consider a thriller like “Tell No One” or “Oldboy”. In the end I opted for Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” – a thriller would be spoiled for repeat viewings by knowing the plot so intimately but a beautifully shot, beautifully acted love story might help me imagine life beyond the place I am stuck.

7) Rule 7: There should be another classic OR a comedy. Was thinking about including “Citizen Kane” or a James Stewart movie but I feel classics have been covered elsewhere in my list. Some comedy to lighten the mood is the order of the day. Very few comedy films bear repeat viewings so I’m gonna opt for “After Dark” – an underrated Scorcese film with a desperately funny turn from Griffin Dunne. “Dodgeball” just wasn’t going to cut it for a year or more…

8) Rule 8: There should be even more weird. There has to be a David Cronenberg film on the list. “The Dead Zone”, “Scanners”, “Eastern Promises” – which one do I take? I would gladly take them all but in the end I opted for “Scanners”. Some B-movie horror with Patrick McGoohan, why not? It would entertain me and Wilson on the Saturday nights for sure.

BOOK – It needs to be something you can dip into that is rich, entertaining, educating and bears repeat readings. It has to be an encyclopaedia. The biggest and best you can find. Then you can dip into interesting articles about “St. Vitus Dance/ Dancing Mania” or “Akinetopsia” and use the uninteresting articles as toilet paper.

ITEM – Other submitters to this column have gone for tents. I will go for a caravan. Don’t ask me how or why it came to be on the plane. Just rest assured that it survived the crash and the chemical toilet still works.

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Thanks again to Ewan for taking the time to join the prestigious Head In A Vice ”castaway” list. If you would like to submit your choices and add your name to this list, please drop me an email to – tysoncarter@hotmail.co.uk

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11 Comments

  1. LOVE bringing the encyclopedia!

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    • Yeah, it’s the only book that could possibly keep you going for months or years at a time. Where else can you go from Howard Hughes to a Colombian necktie to a flying lemur to Tycho Brahe to the Darwin awards to Hammer Films to Nostrodamus to the alligator pear to the history of psychology and on and on? Only thing is it probably wouldn’t fit in your hand luggage. But I can live with that.

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  2. truemistersix

     /  October 8, 2012

    A caravan! Dammit – I wish I’d thought of that!

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    • Wasn’t sure I’d manage to get that one past Tyson to be honest but it just goes to show that if you don’t ask you don’t get. Hopefully a calor gas canister will wash ashore too, fingers crossed.

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      • Hmmmm……I did send you an email explaining it would be the caravan shell, so basically a bigger tent, before people start trying to pick houses/mansions/other crazy stuff 🙂 It won’t be a caravan full of cool stuff. I let it slide since I messed up posting it under the wrong name.

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  3. Reblogged this on dustforprints and commented:
    Many thanks again to Tyson Carter at headinavice.com for hosting the excellent “Desert Island Films” challenge. You pick 8 films, a book and a novelty item to help you eke out time on a desert island.
    My own selections are below but make sure you check out ALL of the other selections (the good, the bad and the headscratcher) and their contributors too at http://www.headinavice.com.
    Would you pick differently? See a movie that’s obviously missing? Don’t sit on your hands if so. Join in.
    That is all. Now where did I leave my rubber dunghy and GPS satellite phone? (ho ho!)
    Ewan @ Dustforprints (groans inwardly)

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  4. Awesome picks! From the movies to the book to the luxury item. Loved this post’s structure.

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  5. Sorry for the late comment, and again for the mix up. Some of you may recognise Ewan’s picks, they got sneaked up accidently under the wrong name. I had to delete the old thread and lost you some comments, apologies dude. All correct now though, and another worthy castaway! Thanks for joining in buddy 🙂

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  6. atothewr

     /  October 10, 2012

    Nice list. Never thought about bringing a camper.

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