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Desert Island Films #81 – Vic’s Movie Den

Desert Island Films

Vic from Vic’s Movie Den has kindly submitted his Desert Island Films. Please 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 #81 – Vic’s Movie Den

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1 – John Carpenter’s The Thing

“The Thing” is easily my favorite movie by John Carpenter. “Halloween” held that spot for a long time but this seminal masterpiece of paranoid / alien terror has bumped it down. A fantastic work of art that showcases Rob Bottins’ monstrous and shape shifting alien in vivid starkness. It is hard for me not to write an essay on how exceptional and impressive this Carpenter/ Russell film is. Scary, gripping, beautifully shot by Dean Cundey ASC and timelessly acted by the all male cast, “The Thing” is indeed a favorite of mine that I wouldn’t be able to live without.

2 – Jaws

Perfect Perfect Perfect. A high adventure and the definitive monster movie about a shark by Steven Spielberg who previously directed “Duel” which was about another monster except on wheels. Based on the seminal novel by the late Peter Benchley,  “Jaws” deals with how a small coastal town named “Amity” deals with a real life monster great white shark. It is compelling, fun, adventurous and exceptionally scored and shot. “The Great White Turd” named Bruce is shown very late in the film and everything before that is Spielberg masterfully building suspense and style. The Moby Dick inspired third act is insanely watchable and glorious to watch as the 3 protagonists face the beast on it’s terms and in it’s element. I know “Jaws” line for line and one summer, when it was re-released, I spent just about everyday at the theaters watching this masterpiece. My favorite movie of all time!

3 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Another perfect Spielberg film. Harrison Ford plays archeologist Indiana Jones and George Lucas supplies the story. Raiders is a true classic. Raiders is fun, adventurous, gripping and sports a fantastic score by John Williams. It is a period movie about religious lore, history, nasty nazis, overly competitive archeologists and sports not one but numerous, absolutely stunning action set pieces. The Truck Chase is my favorite. The look of the film is dirty, glamorous and real. It transports you to the past and immerses you in a glorious world of serialized adventure. The cast, photography, make up and direction is on beautiful display here. Spielberg gives us a riotous, fast paced and bloody movie that Harrison Ford carries brilliantly on his shoulders for over 2 hours. One of my favorite movies and I can never part with it. Ever!

4 – Airplane!

How funny is this movie? It was so funny that upon first seeing it in the theaters I could not find a seat for about 10 minutes because I had dropped to the floor laughing my ass off. I cannot live without this incredibly funny movie which consistently remains the funniest movie filled with numerous one liners and sight gags that keeps the viewer laughing, cringing and entertained. Yep, this one is a desert island keeper for sure.

5 – Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein

Oh man. How could I ever part with this hilarious horror comedy classic from Abbott and Costello? What is clearly the best thing about this movie is the incredible and impeccable timing of Bud and Lou. Also, the respect and reverence that is shown to the classic Universal Monsters. Yeah, they are all here: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and even The Invisible Man. The horror actors play it fast and straight taking the material very seriously while Bud and Lou do the hard stuff and that is to make us laugh. The movie is timeless and nostalgic which makes the cut as a DI film in my book.

6- The Empire Strikes Back

My favorite Star Wars film and my favorite science fiction movie. I must include this movie because it had a deep and profound effect on me when I first watched it as a kid. It is moving, rousing, engaging, fun and sports an amazing score once again by maestro John Williams. Lucas bowed out from directing duties to let Irvin Kershner come in and deliver what is a very moody, dark but uplifting tale of the Jedi, the rebellion and of course, a father and son. The iconic Vader/Luke reveal till this day remains one of the most powerful sequences ever filmed. I know this puppy word for word and I have watched this entry more than any other Star Wars film, hands down.

7 – The Godfather

My favorite Francis Ford Coppola film about the Italian/American Corleone family. This movie is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Adapted with incredible efficiency by Mario Puzo from his novel and beautifully shot and acted by the incredible cast. Brando, Pacino, Cazale, Keaton and Duvall all knock it out of the park here. The film is full of amazing and long lasting messages, images, violence and forever changed how gangster films were to be made.  It raised the bar very high. Coppola’s palette totally immerses us in this world and we are forever changed by it. Coppola once said that “The Godfather” is about a father and his 3 sons. It is indeed. Gotta keep this one.

8 – 2001 A Space Odyssey

My favorite Kubrick film. I love it dearly and I hold it in very high regard. This is another DI keeper because it is deep, transcendental, trippy, confusing and beautiful to look at. It is 2 hours of incredible imagery that makes it the film world’s best moving screensaver. The movie is realistic and smart with some very interesting theories about our place in the universe and how we are products of alien tampering. The HAL 9000 remains one of the most treacherous (if a bit mis-guided)  sci fi villains ever thrust upon the silver screen. Kubrick’s decision to include a mostly classical score is inspired and the gateway and star child sequences are astounding. This is a no brainer for me as a DI movie.  Just timeless.

Book:

“The Keep”

by F. Paul Wilson

This historical horror novel by author F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack) is a spellbinding read. This and Salem’s Lot remain my 2 favorite Vampire (The term Vampire in The Keep is a loose term) novels and it was tough picking this one over King’s book but I have so much respect for Wilson’s ability to meld harsh history with Gypsy and Romanian myths. It remains a seminal monster novel that takes place during WWII. It features a blood curdling creature named “Molasar” and an enigmatic hero in “Glaeken.” Wilson’s book is broad, effective, romantic and beautifully written. He has some great passages of sheer terror and some of elegant prose. I find myself re-reading this fright-fest over and over again. This is the one book I would welcome on a deserted island.

Luxury Item:

My Recliner is my best friend. It is practically a part of my anatomy and I know when I am all alone on my deserted island that my recliner will never leave me or let me down. It is a keeper. Nuff said.

This was a lot of fun and my thanks go out to Tyson for the opportunity!

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Thanks again to Vic 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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39 Comments

  1. Just a great list and a pleasure to have you onboard Vic. The Godfather is a must have on the island, and the recliner is a very cool luxury item. I went for something useless like a photo album. Should of gone for comfort……….. Thanks again dude 🙂

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      My pleasure! Thanks for having me, Tyson. Sorry I took forever to get it over to you. I had a blast doing this! Oh and a photo album isn’t completely useless. But when you wanna put your feet up you can’t really use a picture album. 😀

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  2. I want to change my desert island list to this one 🙂 superb choices!

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    • Desert Island Redux 🙂

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      It’s not too late!!! Glad you liked the list! 🙂

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      • It was a great list, the only one I didn’t go yay all the way for is Jaws. Don’t get me wrong I love the movie but not one I can watch over and over again, the thing is re watchable all the time though. And thats even with me eyes closed because Carpenters theme music is perfect.

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        • Victor De Leon

           /  October 12, 2013

          The score by Ennio Morricone is amazing. The Thing was the first major movie where JC turned the duties for the music over to someone else. But he has worked with some greats like Alan Howarth, Dan Wyman and even the late Shirley Walker. The score does have JC written all over it, though. Like you said, it’s perfect.

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        • Wtf, I have been a massive fan of this movie and I had to google this now because I thought it was JC music in this movie. Damn. I’m actually gobsmacked.

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        • Victor De Leon

           /  October 12, 2013

          You aren’t the first to ever think that, lol. It’s all good. I do believe at one point they did work on some tracks together, so hence the Carpenter vibe to the score. Unfortunately, the whole soundtrack wasn’t used but it still remains effective to this day.

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  3. Terrific list! A lot of classic films here from cinema’s canon. Superb choices, well done fellas…

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      Thanks! I wanted to include so many others but I had to be realistic and pick the best ones that I couldn’t live without. Glad you liked the picks!

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  4. Seriously one of the best lists yet!! Awesome choices, Vic, I knew you had good taste. 😉

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      Wow, thanks, William. I appreciate that. Especially from a young and savvy movie fan like yourself! 🙂

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  5. Fine list. I remember reading ‘The Keep’ ages ago, and Vic describes well why it was a page-turner. Thumbs up with having ‘Salem’s Lot’ as his top two vampires novels.

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      It’s a novel I revisit often and every time I re-read it, I discover something new and terrifying in it. It is that good. Speaking of Salem’s Lot, I just passed passed the paperback on to my son and he is really digging it. Glad you liked the picks. Thanks!

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  6. Too bad the movie The Keep was nowhere near as good as the book. Great list Vic; The Thing is my all-time favorite film.

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 12, 2013

      I hold The Thing is such high regard. I’m glad you liked the list! As for the film version of The Keep, despite some cool visual imagery and a smooth (but sometimes mixed up) score from Tangerine Dream, it remains a bit of a jumbled mess. Mann wants nothing to do with the anticipated Director’s Cut. Can’t blame him. I still own it the film but I’m not sure why. Re-watching it isn’t going to make it any better. The comics they eventually did were decent. Thanks for stopping in and checking out my list!

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  7. You’re stepping things up visually, Tyson. You adapt well & are an inspiration.

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  8. THE THING!!! ALWAYS 😀

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  9. Great to see your choices Vic. And what choices they are! Classics all of ’em!

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 13, 2013

      Thanks! I appreciate that. It’s rough to choose just a few from some many incredible movies I’ve watched over the years. Probably why it took me so long to get this in to Tyson. 🙂

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  10. Good choices. Funny about 2001. It was my favorite movie — top of the top — for a long time and then my taste changed and it slipped gradually downward while others rode up. It still holds my personal record for the movie I’ve seen most frequently on a big screen. And under the influence of some substance or other. Maybe that’s what really changed. Hm. Something to ponder. Glad to see Airplane in the mix too … Garry and I run lines from that not only when we play it (often), but in conversation. “Don’t call me Shirley” and “Have you ever seen a grown man naked?” never get old 🙂

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 13, 2013

      I’m glad you liked my choices! My kids and I also walk around quoting “Airplane.” “Do you like Gladiator movies?” It has so many great lines. We also love The Naked Gun and do the same thing with that film. “Jane, you’re hurting me.” By the way, “Jaws” holds my personal record for most frequently seen movie on the big screen. One summer, as a kid, when they re-released it, I practically lived in the theater. Back then they let us rowdy kids stay showing after showing. Thanks for checking out my list! 😀

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  11. gregory moss

     /  October 13, 2013

    I reread The Keep just recently – great book!

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 13, 2013

      It is! It works best as a standalone story but F. Paul Wilson continued the saga of Rasalom and Glaeken with many more books including his “Repairman Jack” stories. Thanks for checking out my list, Gregory!

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  12. Great choices Vic. The only thing I would not want with me was Jaws because it would be too scary considering I would be surrounded by open water 🙂

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 13, 2013

      Ha! I never thought of it that way! Thanks for checking out my list, Michael. I appreciate it. 🙂

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  13. Lots of great classics on here Vic! Love that you have Raiders of the Lost Ark and Airplane, such a funny flick it’ll make you forget your loneliness on the island, ahah.

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 14, 2013

      Thanks Ruth! Glad you liked my picks. Airplane is so off the wall, isn’t it? I was going to include a Mel Brooks film but I measured it upon how hard and often I would laugh through a sitting of each of the movies and Airplane won over my other considerations hands down. Thanks for checking out my DI list!

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  14. Raiders is a must have, great choice! And combined with the recliner, your time spent on the island before being saved is a piece of cake.

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    • Victor De Leon

       /  October 16, 2013

      Glad you liked my pick of Raiders! If I am ever saved from the island, I’d be sure to bring my recliner off with me. 🙂 Thanks for checking out my DI list! I appreciate it.

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  15. Okay. To be perfectly honest, I think this is one of the best “Desert Island” lists I’ve seen here. I’d happily visit your island. Good work! 🙂 (And, yay – someone didn’t choose Drive! Lol)

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  16. With respect to other lists posted previously…this one, Vic, is my favorite, simply because it’s the first where I can say I’ve not only seen every movie, but would love to have every movie on an island with me…especially MY favorite and most-viewed movie, ‘Jaws’. I may have a hard time topping this one, whenever I get my list perfected and mailed in!

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