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Desert Island Films #68 – I Liked That Film

Desert Island Films

Richard from I Liked That Film 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 – I Liked That Film

1) Drive

driveQuite simply, the coolest film I think I’ve ever seen. The first time I watched it, I enjoyed it. Then the more I thought about it afterward, I realised I loved it. There are very few films I re-watch within a year of first seeing them, but I’ve watched Drive three or four times in the last twelve months and it never fails to impress. Along with Blue Valentine, this film opened my eyes to what a brilliant actor Ryan Gosling is, he absolutely nails his part as the mysterious stuntman turned part-time shady criminal assistant. That the movie relies so little on dialogue is an impressive feat. It also has my favourite movie soundtrack. Outside of Quentin Tarantino films, I don’t think I’ve ever known a soundtrack fit the style of a movie so perfectly. Add to that the unexpected cartoon violence and you have a brilliant film that I could never get bored of watching.

2) Inglorious Basterds

basterds

This was both an easy choice and a hard choice. Easy because it’s one of my favourite films; Hard because I have decided to limit myself to just one Tarantino movie. As he’s my favourite director, that proved difficult. There are three things that just tipped this for me. In reverse order;
1) The sheer ambition of the film. To re-write some of the most important events in human history was a bold move and I think Tarantino nailed it. The story is outstanding and the casting perfect to help him pull it off.
2) The running time. I figure if I’m stuck on a desert island, I’m going to have plenty of time on my hands, so the two-and-a-half run-time is going to be appreciated, especially when there is not a single second that isn’t used perfectly.
3) Christoph Waltz. In a stunning film, his performance soars above everything else, which is quite an achievement in itself. Whether he’s interviewing a Frenchman in two languages about harboring Jews, or simply ordering a strudel, his screen presence is extraordinary. Along with two more performances that I’ll write about shortly, his portrayal of Colonel Hans Lander is one of all-time favourite performances. It has to be seen to be believed.

 3) Leon

leon

This is another film that I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of. The story in itself is quite simple, but it’s so original. Jean Reno plays a hitman who takes a young Natalie Portman under his wing when her family are killed. The directing of Luc Besson is wonderful but more than anything, it’s the acting that makes this one what it is. Reno is fantastic as the timid title-character and the maturity of the 13 year old Portman is incredible. Their chemistry on screen is special; two-parts beautiful to one-part creepy. Gary Oldman comples a hat-trick of perfect performances as a dodgy DEA agent, this is the film that made me fall in love with him as an actor. Leon is a timeless, gritty classic and one where I always see something new to love with every watch.

4) There Will Be Blood

blood

There is one main reason for taking this film with me – Daniel Day-Lewis. This is another of those that ranks as one of my very favourite acting performances. I do have a slightly shameful confession to make here; I hadn’t seen a DDL film until I saw Lincoln. He blew me away, so I immediately followed that up with Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood. He’s not a bad actor, is he? His portrayal of the inherently bad oil man Daniel Plainview is the reason that this film is so good. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Paul Thomas Anderson gets the direction spot-on, and there are perfectly good supporting performances from Paul Dano and others. In fact, it’s a credit to Dano that he holds his own next to an extraordinary performance from Day-Lewis. Despite having only seen this once, I have found myself regularly watching the closing scene on YouTube – it is an absolute acting masterclass in acting from the imperious DDL. Full of intensity, you almost feel sorry for the actor facing him. Day-Lewis can’t be praised enough and in trying to describe his performance here, you’ll quickly find that there aren’t enough superlatives in the English language. Just watch it and admire it.

5) And Justice For All

pacino

Perhaps not an obvious choice this one, and if I was writing this another day I might have left it out. However, it’s going in, and there’s one reason and one reason only – the final scene. Or rather, Al Pacino in the final scene. Pacino is another of my favourite actors and I am enjoying making my way through his back catalogue. I don’t think this ranks as one of his best films but he does give an excellent performance as a lawyer trying to make a positive stand in a mucky business. Assigned a case he doesn’t want to take, but needs to for the sake of his career, he is conflicted throughout, which builds to an astonishing crescendo in the closing ten minutes of the film. His explosion in the courtroom is incredible. It’s spleen-venting Pacino at his absolute best. I’ve seen the film twice and both times it gave me goose bumps. The rest of the film is good, albeit slightly dated. The story still stands up but it would be nothing without the magnificent Pacino. As ever, he pours his heart and soul into it and though he may have produced better, the climax is a microcosm of everything that makes him one of the all-time greats.

6) The Lion King

lion king

There is nothing that I don’t love about this film. It has heart-warming, loveable characters that are one of the hallmarks of Disney; Arguably one of the most heart-breaking movie moments of all; A fairly basic story told brilliantly, containing laughter, friendship, love, revenge and redemption. The animation is fantastic, the soundtrack is unique and wonderful and the characters produce some classic Disney songs that I still occasionally get stuck in my head for no obvious reason. There is another key-element that makes this one as well – nostalgia. It’s impossible to watch this and not be taken back to the five-year-old me sat in the cinema. I’ve never cried at a film, but the famously heart-wrenching scene early on in this one is the closest I’ve ever come. Even watching now at 24, I pretty much relive that moment as child, it still produces a lump in the throat. For reasons other than it’s quality, this will always stand as a personal favourite and a film that I believe everybody should see. It’s pure brilliance from Disney.

7) The Dark Knight

batman

Along with Christoph Waltz and Daniel Day-Lewis, I think Heath Ledger’s Joker completes my top three acting performances ever. Part cartoon-baddy, part real-world terrorist, Ledger’s psychotic clown is breath-taking to behold. There are plenty of other elements to love about this film too. It’s glorious to look at, the bleakness of the story encapsulated perfectly in Christopher Nolan’s dark Gotham City. It’s a bona fide epic, a modern classic and the best of Nolan’s excellent Batman trilogy. Make no mistake though, this is very much the Heath Ledger show. He reinvented the Joker. If forced to compare them, I’d say he makes Jack Nicholson’s Joker of 19 years previous look silly and irrelevant. That may be unfair though, as despite sharing a name, this portrayal is so superior and so removed from Nicholson’s that they are essentially different characters. It’s a tragedy that Ledger didn’t live to see the plaudits he earned, as they are so well deserved. The Dark Knight is a brilliant movie full of stunning Hollywood action sequences and moral conflict, elevated by one of the most memorable performances of all time.

8) Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Desert Island Films

The first seven films are all pretty serious and don’t contain too many light-hearted moments between them. I guess if I’m stranded on a desert island I’m going to want something to make me laugh, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall ticks that box. It’s daft and it’s crude and could, to an extent, be considered a ‘guilty pleasure’. One of the revelations of this film for me was Russell Brand. He’s something of a polarising figure, loved and loathed in equal measure. Here though, he essentially plays a slightly exaggerated version of his public persona. Puerile though it is at times, the day I don’t laugh at his sex-obsessed rocker teaching a newly-wed how to consummate his marriage is the day you can consider my sense of humour dead. Jason Segel as well plays the comedy perfectly; creating a character you will love and sympathise with. Paul Rudd’s stoner surf-instructor makes me howl. And, let’s be honest here, Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are easy on the eye. You can scratch what I said earlier, this isn’t a guilty pleasure at all; This is wonderfully crafted comedy that knows what makes people laugh and provides belly-laughs in perfect measures.

Book – Manchester:The City Years

man city

Don’t judge me – Manchester City are my big passion – I’ve been a season ticket-holder since I was ten and I can’t talk about them or hear about them enough. Gary James is a brilliant City historian and this is a thick book that I have barely skimmed the surface of yet. I’ve never read a book twice so taking one I haven’t completed yet was a big factor. Basically, this a book of endless interest to me so it’s coming with me.

Luxury Item – Digital Camera.

No originality here I’m afraid. I think if being stuck on a desert island would provide lots of photo material and, if I ever escape the island, this would provide fantastic back-up to the many stories I had to tell.

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Thanks again to Richard for taking the time to join the prestigious 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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41 Comments

  1. Great choices here Richard. Obviously Drive and Leon are standouts, and whilst I love Basterds, it wasn’t my Tarantino pick. I like how you covered all bases. Plus you can use the book as toilet paper 😉 (at least its not the red half of Manchester!)

    Thanks for joining in 🙂

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  2. At The Back

     /  July 2, 2013

    THE LION KING?! Richard, we need words on Thursday. Otherwise decent choices.

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  3. Arrrr and then you went and ruined it with the book! Red half of Manchester is where it’s at! 😉

    Great film picks though, really strong choices!

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  4. “And Justice For All” is an inspired choice. I saw it when it first came out, and had forgotten how powerful Pacino’s performance was in that film. Nice list!
    Bill

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    • Thanks a lot. I’ve seen it a couple of times now and the final scene is incredible. First time I loved watching it unfold. Second time I just smiled all the way through in anticipation of what was coming.

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  5. The Lion King and the Man City book? I want to agree with you… I really do… I love your other choices… but… 😉

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    • Haha! The Lion King just has such a nostalgic beauty for me, I couldn’t go through the rest of my life knowing I’d never see it again.

      As for the book…I’m saying nothing more 😉

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  6. garryarmstrong

     /  July 2, 2013

    Very interesting list!! “And Justice For All” is a favorite here. Nice little turn by Jeffrey Tambor. Pacino’s courtroom scene is a classic. We do the “You’re ALL out of order” line frequently here.

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  7. Fantastic choices! Another ‘Drive’ to add to the list of Desert island Favs.

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  8. theipc

     /  July 2, 2013

    Great choices – although I couldn’t stand There Will Be Blood.

    is that book about that soccer game Tyson is always going on and on and on and on and on and on and on about??

    : )

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  9. The digital camera is a great answer.

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  10. Such a varied list, I like it — especially the LION KING choice! 🙂

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  11. Excellent list! Well done. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is hilarious the whole way through. And smart choice on the camera! Just about any luxury taken to the island is useless in the grand scheme of things, but that’s a good choice. Corroboration for when you get saved 🙂

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    • Exactly. I could use my pictures to tell my story, get it turned into a film and end up on somebody else’s Desert Island Films list one day.

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  12. Tom

     /  July 2, 2013

    Nice list Richard! Watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall, some great DDL, Al Pacino and Heath Ledger moments, as well as one of the coolest movies I’ve also ever seen (a.k.a Drive) — well this just sounds more like you’re on vacation than stranded on an island! 🙂

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  13. Love this list. Glad to see Inglorious Basterds and then… LION KING? Awesome.

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  14. Glad you like it, thanks for the comment 🙂

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  15. Wow, all-around fantastic list! And I love that you included Lion King.

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  16. Abbi

     /  July 3, 2013

    Great choices!

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  17. Nice list!! I’d be happy to take TDK and The Lion King along as well.

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  18. And Justice for All is one of those movies that gets forgotten usually, but Garry quotes it all the time. It reminds himmmm of spending all those years dealing with the real nutters!

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